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June 18 2019
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IN THE SHADOW OF PLAUSIBLE DENIABILITY: Realities Don't Always Follow Common Sense

- The shape of Iran in geographic atlases resembles a sitting cat; perhaps sitting and waiting as cats often do. We all know how a cat behaves when cornered and threatened by some formidable enemy such as a large dog. The cat, not seeing some escape route, does not cower and crawl into a tight spot and plead for mercy! It puffs up, making itself look as big as possible, and attacks its adversary with fully spread claws. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/17/19

President Xi: China to promote ties with Iran no matter what

- Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing will continue to promote steady development of ties with Tehran no matter how the situation changes. He made the remarks on Friday during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit underway in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, the official Xinhua news agency said. -Press TV - 6/14/19

What does the Trump administration want from Iran?

- The showdown in the Persian Gulf is not like the U.S. and the Soviet Union incrementally adjusting the balance of power, as they did during the Cold War. Mixed signals, bad timing and this kind of uncalibrated brinksmanship is how World War I began and spiraled out of control. It has brought the U.S. closer to the next Middle East war. -Noah Weisbord, The Conversation - 6/14/19

Iran's Supreme Leader to Japan's Prime Minister: Trump not worthy of exchanging messages with

- Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei dismisses US President Donald Trump as a person not worthy of a response or a message, stressing that negotiations with Washington cannot help solve any problem. Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a Thursday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who told the Leader he was carrying a message from the US president. - 6/13/19

Tanker Crews Rescued Safely By Iran After Reported Attacks In Gulf Of Oman

- Dozens of crewmembers have been rescued after two tankers transporting petroleum products were reportedly attacked and caught fire in the Gulf of Oman. The June 13 incidents come a month after attacks on four tankers off the nearby United Arab Emirates increased tensions between Tehran and Washington and U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. - 6/13/19

Japan's Abe On Tehran Mission To Help Ease U.S.-Iran Tensions

- Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a military conflict should be avoided at all costs amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran. Abe spoke in Tehran on June 11 following talks with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who praised his meeting with the Japanese prime minister as successful and said that the two had discussed economic ties and the 2015 nuclear deal with major world powers. -RFE/RL - 6/13/19

Japan's Prime Minister Abe arrives in Tehran on historic visit

- Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in Iran on a first visit by a Japanese premier to Tehran in more than 40 years, with a plan to help ease tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States. Prime Minister Abe arrived in Tehran on Wednesday morning. -Press TV - 6/12/19

Can Mediation Efforts Between US And Iran Succeed?

- The visit of the German foreign minister was not a resounding success, to say the least. First, prior to coming to Tehran, he visited some Arab states, including Jordan and the UAE, demonstrating where Germany's priorities were. Second, his tone during his talks, according to Iranian news outlets, was arrogant and hectoring. -Shireen T. Hunter - 6/12/19

Detained Iranian Journalist Denied Hospitalization Despite Worsening Symptoms

- Imprisoned journalist Sanaz Allahyari has been denied hospitalization despite suffering from worsening health problems in Tehran's Evin Prison, a source close to her family told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on June 10, 2019. "Sanaz's condition is very worrying," said the source who also told CHRI that her family was not allowed to submit a letter about her case to Parliament. -CHRI - 6/12/19

U.S. Welcomes Iran's Release Of Lebanese National, Eyes U.S. Detainees

- The United States has welcomed Iran's decision to free a Lebanese national imprisoned on charges of spying for Washington, saying it hoped it would lead to the release of other Americans being held by Tehran. The State Department on June 11 said Washington was "very pleased" by the release of Nizar Zakka and it praised Lebanon's role in ending his "unlawful imprisonment." "We hope that Mr. Zakka's release is a positive sign for American detainees in Iran," a State Department spokesman said. -RFE/RL - 6/12/19

200 Iranian Activists Call For Unconditional Talks With U.S.

- In a statement on Sunday, June 9, more than 200 civil and political activists living in and outside of Iran called for unconditional talks between Iran and the U.S. Referencing the Iranian people's desire for detente with forces around the region and world at large, 225 signatories to the statement called for the public and civil and political activists to urge the Iranian and American administrations to hold talks. -Radio Farda - 6/11/19

Lebanese U.S. Resident Convicted Of Spying Leaves Iran For Beirut: Reports

- A Lebanese national imprisoned in Iran on charges of spying for the United States has been released and is heading to Beirut with Lebanon's security chief, reports say. Western news agencies quoted an unidentified Lebanese official as saying on June 11 that Nizar Zakka was on a plane with General Ibrahim Abbas. -RFE/RL - 6/11/19

Iran's Haft Tappeh Workers Send Written Appeal to International Labor Organization

- A group of Haft Tappeh sugar mill workers in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, have submitted an official complaint to the International Labor Organization (ILO) about the ongoing suppression of protests there and detentions of peaceful demonstrators and journalists covering the protests. -CHRI - 6/10/19

Iran, under U.S. sanctions, a perfect travel destination for tourists

- There has been a rise in the arrival of foreign tourists to Iran as well as internal tourism by Iranians themselves after the unilateral US sanctions devalued the national currency rial, making a trans-Iranian journey very cost-effective and relatively cheap for world travelers. - 6/7/19

German Foreign Minister to travel to Iran next week to discuss JCPOA

- Germany's Foreign Ministry says the country's top diplomat Heiko Maas is to travel to Tehran next week to address ways to save the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers. The ministry spokeswoman, Maria Adebahr, made the announcement during a news conference in Berlin on Thursday, adding that Maas will be in Tehran on Monday and he plans to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif. -Press TV - 6/7/19

Iranian Poet Once Praised By Supreme Leader Lands In IRGC Custody

- In the summer of 2010, poet Hossein Jannati was basking in the adulation of the supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a self-professed poetry lover who also has the final say in politics and religion in Iran, was publicly reciting Jannati's "very fine" verses and using his powerful media team to share that poetry. But less than a decade later, 39-year-old Jannati has run afoul of Khamenei's censorship and security apparatus, reportedly charged with "spreading propaganda" against the establishment. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 6/7/19

Iranian MPs, Media Challenge President Rohani's Call For More Power

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani's chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, has defended Rohani's call for more power while critics continue to voice their opposition to Rohani's expanding authority. The Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) quoted Vaezi on June 7 as having said that Rohani needs more power in order "to make decisions about problems quickly." -Radio Farda - 6/7/19

Russia And China Voice Support For Iran After Xi Visit To Kremlin

- Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Kremlin talks that reflected increasingly close ties between the two countries that were communist rivals during the Cold War. At the conclusion of the meetings a joint statement by Russia and China voiced support for Iran and commended Iran's implementation of the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers, reported Russia's Interfax news agency. -Radio Farda - 6/6/19

Russia 'In Talks With Europeans' To Be Included In Iran Trade Mechanism

- A Russian diplomat has said that Moscow is in talks with Europeans to be included in the trade mechanism created by three EU members to ease sanctions pressures on Iran. The Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizov told Interfax news agency that Russia is holding talks with European countries on being included in the INSTEX trade mechanism with Iran. -Radio Farda - 6/6/19

"Your Pens Should Be Broken": Iranian Journalist Jailed for Social Media Posts

- Charged with national security crimes for his social media posts, journalist Masoud Kazemi has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, of which he must serve two years (subject to appeal), his lawyer announced on June 2, 2019. - 6/6/19

Iran's Khamenei Speaks Softly About Trump, Lashes Out At Saudi Arabia, Bahrain

- An unprecedented change of tone about U.S. President Donald Trump turned out to be the highlight of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech on the 30th anniversary of his predecessor's death on Tuesday June 4. -Radio Farda - 6/5/19

Iran: Three Rights Lawyers Sentenced to Lengthy Jail Terms in Less Than a Year

- Amirsalar Davoudi has become the third known defense attorney to be sent to prison in Iran for his peaceful activities in less than a year. Prominent imprisoned defense attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose imprisonment made international headlines, stated in March 2019 that she would not appeal her own lengthy prison sentence in protest against Iran's justice system. In addition to Davoudi and Sotoudeh, Mohammad Najafi is currently serving a three-year prison sentence and facing a total of 19 years behind bars. -CHRI - 6/5/19

Shiraz City Councilman Begins Serving One-Year Prison Sentence for Advocating Religious Tolerance

- A few hours ago agents came to our house and took away my husband Mehdi Hajati to enforce a one-year prison sentence," Hajati's wife Zohreh Rastegari tweeted on June 2, 2019. A member of the Shiraz City Council, Hajati had been arrested in October 2018 and held for 10 days for seeking the release of two local Baha'is who had been arrested for practicing their faith, which is severely persecuted by the Iranian government. -CHRI - 6/5/19

Iran Lawmaker Blames U.S. Sanctions For Shortage Of Medical Devices

- Iran continues to face serious problems with the import of medicines and medical equipment as a result of sanctions imposed by the U.S., according to Behrouz Bonyadi, a lawmaker who sits on the parliamentary health and treatment commission in Tehran Sanctions "have definitely affected transactions for medicine and foodstuff," he told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Sunday, June 2. -Radio Farda - 6/4/19

Iran: Sentencing of human rights lawyer to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes 'a shocking injustice'

- Responding to the news that Iranian human rights lawyer Amirsalar Davoudi has been sentenced to 30 years in prison and 111 lashes for his human rights work, including publicizing violations through a channel he set up on the Telegram mobile messaging app and giving media interviews, Amnesty International's Research and Advocacy Director for the Middle East and North Africa, Philip Luther, said: "This shockingly harsh sentence is an outrageous injustice. Amirsalar Davoudi is blatantly being punished for his work defending human rights. -Amnesty International - 6/4/19

My Pentagon Regret: As the U.S. Rattles Its Sabers at Tehran, Echoes of Sabers Past

- Earlier this month, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group -- the massive aircraft carrier itself with its dozens of warplanes and thousands of sailors and marines, a guided missile cruiser, and four destroyers -- suddenly began to make its way from the Mediterranean Sea into the Persian Gulf, heading for the waters off Iran. Pentagon sources spoke of ominous but unspecified threats. The U.S. military moved into a showy state of readiness, with reports that a force of up to 120,000 troops might be mobilized and sent to the Middle East for a possible future war with Iran. -James Carroll, TomDispatch - 6/4/19

Is The U.S. State Department Funding Attacks On Iranian Activists Abroad?

- Considerable evidence emerged late this week connecting the U.S. State Department to a Twitter account that has engaged in online attacks against human rights organizations, Iranian-American activists, journalists, and others advocating against the escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. The revelation is raising questions about whether the Trump administration is using federal funds to propagandize in favor of a potential Iran war. -Derek Davison - 6/1/19

170+ Iranian Women Activists Condemn Sanctions and Threats of War

- We a group of Iranian women's movement activists and women's rights defenders strongly condemn US efforts to stoke yet another war in the Middle East, this time against Iran. The Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign, its bellicose posturing and sanctions, hurt the Iranian people most, especially women, children, minorities, refugees, the chronically ill and those with disabilities. - 5/30/19

U.S. Displays Lack Of Understanding Of Iranian Politics And Society By Designating IRGC

- Trump is making a strategic mistake with significant consequences for Iran-West/US relations. The Guard has much domestic support in Iran due to its role in rebuilding the nation after its costly war with Iraq. Without the Revolutionary Guards, an indispensable part of the official army, Iran could not have defeated Saddam's invasion (1980-1988). Conservative estimates place casualties of Saddam's "imposed war" at around 1 million for Iran. -Younes Mahmoudieh - 5/30/19

Iran's Intelligence Denies Any Ties With Murdered Wife Of Former Mayor

- A senior official of Iran's intelligence ministry has said that the murdered wife of former Tehran mayor "had no connection or cooperation" with the ministry. The former mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi gave himself up on May 28, hours after his second wife's body was found at home. She was killed with bullets from a handgun. Najafi confessed to shooting his wife. -Radio Farda - 5/30/19

Former Tehran Mayor Confesses To Killing Wife, Prosecutor Says

- Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi has confessed to killing his second wife, Iranian media quote a prosecutor as saying. Tehran prosecutor Mohammad Shahriari said on May 28 that Najafi "surrendered to police officers" and confessed to killing his wife over family issues, according to the hard-line Tasnim news agency. - 5/29/19

Icon of Iran's Hijab Protest Movement Vida Movahedi Released From Prison

- Eight months after she was arrested for peacefully protesting Iran's compulsory hijab law, Vida Movahedi was released from prison on May 26, 2019, her lawyer announced. "According to judicial authorities, the reduction of her punishment has been approved and she has been granted furlough," attorney Payam Derafshan told the state-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) on May 28. "The remainder of her [one-year] sentence has been forgiven." -CHRI - 5/29/19

Trump: U.S. Wants Iran Without Nuclear Weapons, Not Seeking Regime Change

- U.S. President Donald Trump, who is on a state visit to Japan, has said that the United States is not seeking regime change in Iran, amid heightened tensions between the two countries. "We're not looking for regime change, we're looking for no nuclear weapons," Trump said after talks with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, adding that he thinks "we'll make a deal" with Tehran. -RFE/RL - 5/27/19

SANCTIONS: Iran Medical Professionals Report Shortage, High Prices Of Imported Equipment

- Medical professionals in Iran say prices of imported medical equipment have risen 4 to 5 times in the last few months, Mehr news agency reported on Monday May 27. Vahid Karimi, the secretary of Iranian Radiology Association told Mehr that the price of laboratory equipment have risen up to five fold. The Iranian currency has depreciated more than fourfold in the last 18 months against major currencies, mainly due to U.S. sanctions. - 5/27/19

Iran's Zarif says finds no reason to answer Pompeo's phone call

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said because of the bad approach of U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, he finds no reason to answer the phone if he calls. "Pompeo makes sure that every time he talks about Iran, he insults me," Zarif said in a recent interview with Reuters. "Why should I even answer his phone call?" -Tehran Times - 5/26/19

Iran Says Zarif Met But Did Not 'Negotiate' With Senator Feinstein

- Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Mousavi says the meeting between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Senator Dianne Feinstein which took place during Zarif's recent visit to the United States was not tantamount to negotiation. Mousavi explained that Iranian officials and U.S. Congress members have been holding talks and exchanging views all along the past two decades. -Radio Farda - 5/26/19

Iran slams as politically-motivated France's extradition of Iranian engineer to US

- Iran has denounced as politically-motivated a French court's verdict to extradite an Iranian engineer to the United States over accusations of importing American technology for military purposes. The condemnation came on Saturday after the court in Aix-en-Provence, southern France, approved the extradition of Jalal Rouhollahnejad to the US to face charges of "attempting to illegally import US technology for military purposes on behalf of an Iranian company." - 5/26/19

Effort To Force Trump To Seek Congressional War Approval For Iran Fails

- An effort to force the Trump administration to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran has failed after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee turned down the bipartisan proposal tabled by Democratic senators Chris Murphy and Tom Udall. -Radio Farda - 5/24/19

Chabahar Port: U.S. geopolitical interests offer Iran sanctions loophole amid mounting tension

- The Indian-backed Iranian port of Chabahar has emerged as a major loophole in a tightening military and economic noose and ever harsher U.S. sanctions that President Donald J. Trump, reluctant to be sucked into yet another war, sees as the best way to either force Tehran to its knees or achieve regime change. - 5/24/19

U.S. Lawmakers Set Against Plans To Sell Offensive Arms To Saudi Arabia

- Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has warned of a White House plan to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in spite of a ban by Congress. "I am hearing that Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act and notice a major new sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they drop in Yemen) in a way that would prevent Congress from objecting. Could happen this week," Murphy tweeted on Wednesday 22 May. -RFE - 5/24/19

62 Organizations Tell Congress: Halt a March to War with Iran

- We write to request that Congress take urgent action to halt a march to war with Iran. The Trump administration, spurred on by National Security Advisor John Bolton, has moved the U.S. into a war posture. Over the last few weeks, Bolton pushed through unprecedented sanctions and escalated the war of words intended to provoke retaliation from the Iranians. Now, Bolton has used a routine carrier deployment to the Middle East to threaten Iran with "unrelenting force" and has overseen the revision of war plans that would send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran takes his bait. - 5/23/19

There will be no talks with U.S. as long as it keeps mistreating Iran: National Security Council's spokesman

- Iran's top security body says the Islamic Republic will not hold any talks with the US as long as Washington sticks to its hostile approach in dealing with the Iranian nation. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC)'s spokesman Keivan Khosravi said on Thursday that Tehran will not engage in any negotiations with this US "as long as there is no change in such behavior, the country's rights are not respected" and practical measures are not taken instead of mere rhetoric. "There will be no negotiations at all," he emphasized. -Press TV - 5/23/19

Seven to Face Trial in Iran in Connection with Labor Protests

- After months of unlawful prosecution in connection with workers' rights protests in southwestern Iran, five journalists and two labor activists are due to go on trial at Branch 15 of the revolutionary court in Tehran presided by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, a source with knowledge of their cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 20, 2019. -CHRI - 5/23/19

US grants sanctions waiver for Iraq to import energy from Iran: Official

- The US envoy to Baghdad says Washington has exempted Baghdad from some of its unilateral anti-Iran sanctions, allowing Iraq to continue importing energy from Iran. US charge d'affaires Joey Hood told reporters on Wednesday Baghdad can now buy energy from Iran, a report by Al-Alam news network said. The waiver will allow Iraq to continue buying gas and electricity from Iran. -Press TV - 5/23/19

Lessons From The Gulf Of Tonkin Incident: The Iran Script

- Disturbing similarities between the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003 and the Trump administration's bellicosity toward Iran keep accumulating. They include war-selling rhetoric seemingly derived from the same script. But in some respects, the more striking parallel to the present occurred over half a century ago, beyond the living memory of most Americans. The time was August 1964, and the place was the dark nighttime waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/22/19

Iran's Central Bank: Forex Reserves Remain Ample

- Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati says the country's foreign exchange reserves are robust despite tightening US sanctions which seek to stem the Islamic Republic's hard currency stream. Last month, the United States demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases or face sanctions. The US reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after President Donald Trump last spring pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal. -Press TV - 5/22/19

Iranian Minister's Son-In-Law Accused Of Embezzling $50 million

- Mohammad Hadi Razavi - the son-in-law of Iran's labor minister, Mohammad Shariatmadari - has been charged with embezzlement and "disruption of the economy" after receiving 2.11 trillion rials (around $51m) in loans from banks, which he has failed to pay back. - 5/22/19

Iranian medical academy writes to UN about 'unjust' U.S. sanctions

- The Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran has written to the UN to complain about the illegal sanctions imposed by the US against the Iranian nation, saying the restrictive measures have adversely affected the medical treatment of Iranian patients. - 5/21/19

Leading Iranian stem cell scientist behind bars in U.S. for 7 months without trial

- Top Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani has been behind bars in the United States without trial for the past seven months. Back in October last year, Soleimani, a professor and biomedical researcher at the Tarbiat Modares University (TMU) in Tehran, was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) upon his arrival in the US. -Press TV - 5/20/19

Harsh Prison Terms for Three Iranian Authors Who Dared to Criticize the State

- In a glaring repudiation of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful dissent, the Iranian judiciary sentenced three prominent members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) to six years in prison each on May 15, 2019. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) joins the IWA in forcefully condemning these unjust and unlawful sentences against Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan. -CHRI - 5/18/19

Second Women's Charity Group Member Who Assisted Iran's Flood Victims Is Arrested

- A second senior member of the charity group Voice of Iranian Women (VIW), which has been involved in aid and rescue operations during the recent devastating floods in southwestern Iran, has been arrested for unknown reasons. Nahid Shaghaghi, who has also worked to combat violence against women, was taken away by security agents on May 15, 2018. -CHRI - 5/18/19

Will The U.S Pressures Bring Iran To The Negotiating Table?

- It didn't require a crystal ball to predict that some false-flag incident might escalate tensions in the current display of hostilities between Iran and the United States or its regional allies. That was why in the final paragraph in my previous article I cautioned Iran to "...create closer dialog with the Arab counterparts to watch out for deliberate accidents that might ignite the powder keg and destroy both nations." Well, the incident happened the day after my post on Payvand, as it was obvious something like that would take place sooner or later, and likely would be repeated in days or weeks to come. -Kam Zarrabi - 5/17/19

What Makes Iran Look Like An Immediate Threat

- The current crisis atmosphere in U.S.-Iranian relations, in which the risk of open warfare appears greater than it has been in years, is solely and unequivocally due to the policies and actions of the Trump administration. To point this out does not mean that actions of the Iranian regime have not come to be part of the crisis atmosphere as well. It instead means that such an atmosphere would never have existed in the first place if the administration had not turned its obsession with Iran into the relentless campaign of hostility that has become one of the single most prominent threads of the administration's foreign policy. -Paul R. Pillar - 5/17/19

In Beijing, Iranian FM Zarif Calls For 'Concrete Action' To Salvage Nuclear Deal

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged China, Russia, and other "partners" to take "concrete action" to safeguard a nuclear deal that the United States exited a year ago. Zarif made the call on May 17 upon arriving in Beijing where he held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. -RFE/RL - 5/17/19

Reformist Magazine Suspended After Advocating Diplomacy to Ease US-Iran Tensions

- Tehran's Culture and Media Court suspended the reformist weekly magazine "Seda" (The Voice) on May 11, 2019, hours after it had published an article about the possibility of a war with the United States. "The suspension of Seda magazine and the arrest of one of its reporters are causes for concern," tweeted prominent reformist Member of Parliament Fatemeh Saeidi. "This is the wrong way to overcome these difficult times." -CHRI - 5/16/19

Isfahan Prosecutor Bans "Sinful Act" of Women Riding Bicycles

- Citing domestic Islamic religious decrees and common law, Isfahan city prosecutor Ali Isfahani announced on May 14, 2019, a ban on female bicyclists. "Based on fatwas by religious scholars as well as the law, bicycling by women in public spaces is a sinful act," Isfahani told the state-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). - 5/16/19

British Council Employee Aras Amiri Jailed for Refusing to Spy, Says Cousin

- The UK-based British Council employee Aras Amiri was jailed in Iran for refusing to spy for the country's Intelligence Ministry, her cousin, Mohsen Omrani, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 14, 2019. "They made a proposal to Aras to become an agent for the Islamic Republic in the UK and give them information about the British Council," he said. -CHRI - 5/15/19

Paramilitary Force Attacks Tehran University Protest Against Hijab Enforcement Units

- Members of Iran's paramilitary Basij force violently attacked several students at a peaceful protest at the University of Tehran on May 13, 2019. The demonstrators had gathered to protest the increased presence of so-called "guidance" units charged by the government to enforce strict observance of Iran's compulsory hijab law at the campus. -CHRI - 5/14/19

Iran Parliament allows Iranian mothers to pass citizenship to children

- Lawmakers overwhelmingly ratified details of a bill today which allows Iranian mothers to pass on citizenship to their children. The bill was approved in Monday's open session of the Parliament by 170 votes in favor, 21 votes against, and 4 abstentions out of 213 MPs in attendance. - 5/14/19

Iranian-American organizations campaign against U.S. war with Iran

- Iranian-American organizations are actively campaigning against a U.S. war with Iran encouraging members of community to write to their members of Congress urging them to support the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act. - 5/13/19

Seven Baha'i Faith Members Sentenced to Three Years Imprisonment in Bushehr, Iran

- A revolutionary court in the city of Bushehr in southern Iran sentenced seven members of the Baha'i faith to three years in prison each for allegedly answering questions about their religious beliefs to Muslim guests in their homes. -CHRI - 5/13/19

A Realistic Alternative To A War Between The United States And Iran: Let Someone Else Do It!

- Much to the delight of my regular detractors, I have cut back from writing my almost monthly opinion articles about the ongoing US/Iran tug-of-war. However, with the appointment of the warmonger neoconservative psychopath, John Bolton, as the national security advisor by the Clueless Clown-in-Chief, this decades-long almost ceremonial push and pull seems to be reaching, at least potentially, a disastrous flash point deserving of a bareknuckle commentary. -Kam Zarrabi - 5/11/19

The Looming War And Tehran's Ostrich Politics

- Last week, tensions between Iran and the United States reached even more alarming levels. First, Iran's Supreme Leader admonished Iranians that since the enemy-read America-is in war mode, Iran, too, should prepare for war (Arayesh Jangi Begirad). Then there was the news of the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln going to the Middle East, ostensibly because of threats posed by Iran. According to some reports, this move was triggered by intelligence that Iran was moving missiles to the Persian Gulf. -Shireen T. Hunter - 5/11/19

New U.S. Sanctions On Iran Metals Target Jobs, Not Government Revenue

- The Trump administration has announced a new wave of sanctions on Iran's steel, aluminum and copper industries. A statement from President Trump declares, "Today's action targets Iran's revenue from the export of industrial metals-10 percent of its export economy-and puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated." -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 5/10/19

Iran's Minister of Education Sees "Plot" Behind Videos of Dancing Schoolchildren

- Iran's minister of education has called on the police to trace the "source" of what he described as "disturbing videos" of schoolchildren cheerfully dancing to a pop song by US-based Iranian singer Sasy Mankan. The videos are part of an online "dance challenge" that features children in different schools around the country grooving to Mankan's newly released "Gentlemen" song. -CHRI - 5/10/19

Official Admits to "Defeated" Attempt to Move Iranians Over to State-Sponsored Messaging Apps

- One year after Iran blocked access to the Telegram messaging app, used by a reported 40 million users, officials are admitting that the state's attempts to attract users to Iranian-made versions have failed. -CHRI - 5/10/19

Grim Outlook For Iran Nuclear Deal

- Iran's patience with Europe's feeble submission to one of the most villainous U.S. administrations of all time finally ran out on May 8. That day President Hassan Rouhani told the European parties to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), via remarks at a session of his Cabinet, that henceforth Iranian performance of certain of the agreement's commitments would be conditional on European performance of all its commitments. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 5/9/19

U.S. Targets Iranian Steel, Mining Sectors With New Sanctions

- The United States has announced new economic sanctions on Iran, targeting its steel and mining industries, as Washington tries to turn up the pressure on Tehran. The new sanctions target Iran's steel, copper, aluminum, and mining sectors, all key sources of revenue for the country. -RFE/RL - 5/9/19

Iran giving remaining signatories chance to save JCPOA: Foreign Minister Zarif

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says it is time for Tehran's remaining partners in the 2015 nuclear deal to uphold their end of the bargain following the US withdrawal, because Iran has provided them with a 60-day "opportunity" to salvage the landmark agreement. - 5/8/19

Several Detained Without Access to Counsel One Week After Labor Day Protests In Tehran

- Several workers' rights activists including teachers who were arrested at rallies in Tehran on May 1 (International Labor Day) and May 2 (Iran's Teachers' Day) remain in detention without access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI - 5/8/19

Bolton's War With Iran

- National Security Advisor John Bolton, aided by his comrade-in-arms Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, is doing everything possible to instigate a war with Iran. Naked aggression as a means of starting such a war may be too much for even Bolton to pull off, so the strategy has been to try to pressure and goad Iran into doing something-anything-that could be construed as a casus belli. So far, no doubt to Bolton's frustration, Iran has exercised remarkable restraint in the face of unrelenting and escalating hostility from the Trump administration. -Paul Pillar - 5/7/19

Iran's Currency Drops To A Seven-Month Low In Tehran's Forex Market

- Iran's currency reached its lowest level against the U.S. dollar in the past seven months, according to reports from Iran on Tuesday, May 7. Foreign exchange websites reporting virtually live on actual free market rates, say that the Iranian rial reached a low of 154,000 against the greenback. - 5/7/19

Journalists Condemn Arrest of Reformist Iranian Reporter Ahead of World Press Freedom Day

- Marzieh Amiri, a reporter for the reformist Shargh newspaper, has been in Evin Prison's Ward 209 under the control of the Intelligence Ministry since she was arrested while covering a Labor Day protest in Tehran on May 1, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI - 5/7/19

European Deal Signatories Criticize U.S. Move On Iran Nuclear, Oil Sanctions

- The European Union and the foreign ministers of Britain, France, and Germany expressed concern about the U.S. decision not to extend two waivers related to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran and others regarding Tehran's oil industry. -RFE/RL - 5/6/19

Three Writers Tried in Iran on "National Security" Charges

- The trial of three board members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) was held at Branch 28 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on April 27 and 28, 2019. Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan were charged with "propaganda against the state" and "assembly and collusion against national security" for peacefully opposing state censorship policies. -CHRI - 5/6/19



Manchester to Galway and Leitrim via Iran

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