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Iran Re-elects Conservative Parliament Leader

- Iran's moderate conservative parliament leader was re-elected Sunday despite the gains made by reformists in elections held in February. Ali Larijani was re-elected with the votes of 173 of 281 lawmakers, with several members of the reformist party breaking ranks to vote against the head of their own List of Hope party, Mohammad Reza Aref. - 5/29/16

Iran cancels Hajj due to Saudi 'obstacles'

- Iran says it will not take part in this year's Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca because of "obstacles" created by Saudi Arabia. "Performing the Hajj ritual this year is virtually impossible," Iranian Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ali Jannati said on Sunday. - 5/29/16

Iraqi Forces Poised For Attack On Fallujah, Kurdish Troops Attack IS Near Mosul

- Iraq's military says its special forces have been deployed around Fallujah as part of an operation aimed at retaking the city from so-called Islamic State (IS) militants. Meanwhile, Iraqi Kurdish forces have launched more attacks in northern Iraq as part of a strategy aimed at cutting off IS militants who control the city of Mosul. - 5/29/16

Iran Arrests 8 Over 'Obscene' Music Videos

- Iranian authorities have arrested eight people involved in allegedly producing "obscene" music videos. Mizan Online, a news agency controlled by Iran's powerful judiciary, quoted Tehran prosecutor general Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi on May 28 as saying that the eight were arrested last week in Tehran. They were not identified by name. - 5/29/16

Iran's 10th Parliament Sworn In

- The new Iranian parliament that was formed from elections held in February and April has been sworn in at its opening session in Tehran. The 290-member Islamic Consultative Assembly held its first meeting on May 28 with a fresh crop of reformist lawmakers who are expected to back President Hassan Rohani's efforts to modernize Iran's economy and social policies. - 5/28/16

More Than 30 Iranian Students Lashed 99 Times Over Party

- Iran's judiciary says more than 30 students have received 99 lashes each for violating the Islamic republic's morality code. Mizan, a news agency affiliated with the judiciary, on May 27 quoted the prosecutor in Qazvin as saying the punishments were meted out in the northwestern city. No date was given. - 5/28/16

Discriminatory 'VISA Act' Moves Forward

- Legislation targeting Iranian and other visa seekers for enhanced security measures moved forward in the House today after a contentious committee debate. The bill, which would also subject visa applicants and their American family petitioners to DNA testing, was advanced by the House Judiciary Committee on a party-line vote, setting up a potential final vote before the full House within weeks. -NIAC - 5/28/16

Tehran, Riyadh Fail To Agree On Hajj Arrangements For Iranians

- Saudi Arabia and Iran failed to reach a deal on arrangements for Iranians to attend this year's Hajj pilgrimage to Mecca, with officials from both countries blaming the other for the impasse. Saudi officials accused Iran of walking out of talks early on May 27, despite their having offered "solutions" to Iranian demands. - 5/28/16

IAEA Verifies Iran's Compliance With Nuclear Accord

- The UN nuclear agency has verified Iran's compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015. - 5/27/16

U.S. House Votes To Bar Future Heavy-Water Purchases From Iran

- The U.S. House has voted to bar the U.S. government from purchasing heavy water from Iran in the future, undercutting President Barack Obama's nuclear pact with Tehran. The House attached the prohibition to an essential funding bill for the U.S. Energy Department with a 251-168 vote. - 5/27/16

U.S. Opposes Bail For Wealthy Trader In Iran Sanctions Case

- U.S. prosecutors have opposed a wealthy gold trader's request to be released on bail while he awaits trial for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying his "immense" resources makes him a flight risk. - 5/27/16

The Litigious Society's Latest Take on Terrorism

- The recent passage by the U.S. Senate of a bill labeled the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act elicited cheers from those wanting to see any kind of significant bipartisan action in Congress. The bill is intended to amend existing law regarding sovereign immunity to make it easier for U.S. citizens to haul foreign governments into U.S. court for involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Saudi Arabia is the unnamed but obvious target. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 5/27/16

US Lawmakers Ask: Is White House Catering to Iran?

- Nearly a year after world powers announced the historic Iran nuclear deal, and four months after the agreement was implemented, U.S. lawmakers remain deeply skeptical of the deal and its broader implications. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 5/26/16

Can OPEC Agree on Oil Production Policy?

- The fall in the price of oil from $115/barrel in mid-2014 to $27/barrel this year has had a devastating impact on petro-states all over the world. Whereas the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil producer and exporter, cut production in the 1980s to raise oil prices, officials in Riyadh have been determined to avoid a repeat of this experience, which cost Saudi Arabia market share. Yet the kingdom has paid a major price for this geopolitically motivated oil production policy... -Alex Stout - 5/26/16

Imprisoned Iranian Physicist Given Two-Week Medical Furlough After Losing Cancerous Kidney

- Imprisoned physicist Omid Kokabee has been granted a two-week medical furlough upon payment of five billion rials ($164,000 USD) bail, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 5/26/16

The Neocon-Liberal Hawk Convergence is Worse Than I Thought

- Late last month, I published a post entitled "Hillary's Foreign Policy: A Liberal-Neoconservative Convergence?" that featured the announcement of a new report by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to be rolled out May 16. I was traveling that day, so I missed the formal launch and only got around to reading the report this past weekend. It was even worse than what I had anticipated. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 5/26/16

Saudi Arabia Has a Plan B to Try to Stop Iran's Economic Rise

- Saudi Arabia couldn't stop the Iran nuclear deal from being signed. Plan B is to limit Iran's ability to reap its benefits. The kingdom is mobilizing its Gulf allies to make sure that, more than four months after the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iran's opening-up to the global economy doesn't go smoothly. -Bloomberg - 5/26/16

U.S. Examining Whether Indian Port Deal With Iran Violates Sanctions

- U.S. senators have questioned whether India's deal to develop a port in Iran violates international sanctions, and the State Department said it is examining the question. "We have been very clear with the Indians [about] continuing restrictions on activities with respect to Iran," Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 24. - 5/25/16

'Homeland' actress: Iran, free jailed British-Iranian mother

- Once, I hoped to return to Iran. Like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the woman who now sits in an Iranian jail, I longed to visit family, friends, the land of my birth. Her arrest last month, the latest in a string of arrests of dual nationals lured back to Iran, has thrown cold water on my hopes, for now. The oppressors, for the moment, have won. -Nazanin Boniadi, CNN - 5/25/16

Kurdish Political Prisoner in Iran on Hunger Strike to Protest New Charges

- Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand, a prominent Kurdish human rights activist who is in his ninth year of incarceration at Tehran's Evin Prison, has gone on hunger strike to protest the new charges that have been brought against him. - 5/25/16

India Cements Role in Iran with Chabahar Deal

- Indian prime minister Narendra Modi made his first-ever visit to Iran on Sunday. It was also the first visit by an Indian head of state since the Iranian nuclear deal last year. Topping Modi's agenda were two key agreements-the trilateral transit pact between India, Iran and Afghanistan and the bilateral contract between India and Iran on the first phase of development of the Chabahar port. -Sumitha Narayanan Kutty - 5/24/16

Kamancheh Master Kayhan Kalhor Plays in Tehran amid Conservative Backlash against Concerts

- After six years of silence in Iran, music of kamencheh master Kayhan Kalhor blared out in Vahdat Concert Hall once more. On Saturday night, May 21, Kalhor and his ensemble performed to a full hall of ardent fans in Tehran. - 5/24/16

Iran helped Syria hold Daesh back: Soleimani

- The Commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Qassem Soleimani says Daesh terrorists would have overrun Syria if it were not for Iran's assistance. - 5/24/16

Hard-Liner Elected Head Of Iran's Powerful Assembly Of Experts

- Iran's Assembly of Experts has chosen hard-liner Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati to head the powerful body that is responsible for electing and overseeing the work of Iran's supreme leader. - 5/24/16

The Future (of a Nuclear Deal)

- The problem today is that while the U.S. can claim it has accomplished its goal with the JCPOA-namely that Iran, having shipped out most of its enriched uranium stockpile, essentially shuttered one impenetrable (to conventional weaponry) facility and taken out the core of a reactor, is in no position to go nuclear anytime soon-Iran and some of its former business partners, especially the Europeans who were party to the deal, argue that U.S. laws and unilateral sanctions are presenting major obstacles to their being able to do business with each other. -Hooman Majd, LobeLog - 5/24/16

Iran Says It Will 'Speed Up' Case Of Jailed Advocate For Internet Freedom

- For the first time, Iran has officially acknowledged that it has imprisoned a U.S. permanent resident who advocates for Internet freedom. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said Tehran "will try to speed up" the case of Lebanese citizen Nizar Zakka, who disappeared in Tehran in September after attending a government-sponsored conference. - 5/24/16

Iran, India agree to expand relations: President Rouhani

- Heading a high-ranking delegation, Modi arrived in the Iranian capital on Sunday. The Indian prime minister was accorded an official welcome in Tehran at the start of a two-day visit to make a case for India's space in Iran's market following the lifting of sanctions. - 5/23/16

Iran, India, Afghanistan sign Chabahar transit agreement

- Iran, India and Afghanistan sign a key trilateral deal, known as the Chabahar agreement, to establish a strategic transit and transport route connecting the three countries. The agreement was signed in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Monday. - 5/23/16

Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and positions of Iran

- The Caspian littoral states (Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) have been working on a document called "draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea" for the last several years in numerous meetings at various levels including the summit conferences of the heads of states and governments. They have not yet succeeded to reach a consensus on all important articles of such a document which are related to the criteria for delimitation of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 5/23/16

India PM in Tehran to strike agreement on Chabahar Port development

- Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran at the head of a large delegation to boost economic and political ties with Tehran. Modi landed in Tehran on Sunday for a two-day visit with Iranian officials. He was welcomed by Iran's Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport. - 5/22/16

Tehran Calls On U.S. To Encourage Investment In Iran

- Iran's foreign minister has called on the United States to encourage investors to engage with Tehran. Speaking at a news conference in Tehran a day after Western powers said they back legal business with Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that "more serious and concrete actions must be taken" by the United States to spur investment in Iran. - 5/22/16

UN Experts Outraged By Jailing Of Iranian Rights Activist

- A group of United Nations officials have expressed outrage about the conviction and sentencing of a leading human rights activist in Iran on charges that include membership in a campaign for the abolition of the death penalty. - 5/22/16

Hill Update: National Defense Authorization Act

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. -LobeLog - 5/22/16

North Korea and the GCC

- North Korea has had a relatively short and somewhat complicated relationship with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Despite the lack of an energy relationship, North Korea does interact with the GCC in three realms. It maintains an official diplomatic relationship with five of the six countries, primarily through its embassy in Kuwait. It sends laborers to work in many of the GCC countries. And it is involved, somewhat tangentially, in military affairs in the region as well. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 5/22/16

US, Europe to Clear Up Rules for Doing Business with Iran

- The United States and three key European allies -- Britain, France, and Germany -- say they want to eliminate any confusion about what investment and business deals with Iran are permitted after the nuclear deal. -Ken Schwartz, VOA - 5/20/16

Concerts of Popular Iranian Musicians Canceled Due to Pressure from Religious Conservatives

- Two of Iran's top musicians have been prevented from performing in the city of Neyshabour and other locations in northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province by the local prosecutor. Iran's House of Music, an independent association of musicians, has written a letter to Judiciary Chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani protesting the ongoing disruption of sanctioned musical performances. - 5/20/16

Iran Judiciary Vows to Punish Former President's Daughter for Upholding Baha'i Rights

- A high-ranking member of the Iranian Judiciary has said that action will be taken against Faezeh Hashemi, the outspoken daughter of prominent former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, following her meeting with Baha'i leader Fariba Kamalabadi and other well-known civil rights activists in Tehran last week. - 5/20/16

Why the Iranian Nuclear Deal Is at Risk of Unraveling

- Today, nearly six months after the deal was implemented, Iran is still waiting for those benefits. The country can't access most of the estimated $100 billion it holds in foreign banks. The reason: U.S. laws, which weren't included in the nuclear deal, are still highly restrictive. -Jonathan Broder, Newsweek - 5/20/16

Confessions of a Dangerous Model

- A film about an interrogation session was aired by the media inside Iran. In it the Tehran Prosecutor General, is interrogating a woman, a famous fashion model: Elham Arab. Elham Arab is a female bridal fashion model that stirred much controversy when she made a guest appearance in a TV program called Mah-e Asal (Honeymoon). She is now the subject of a publicly aired interrogation and prosecution. - 5/19/16

Lawyers say OFAC not clearing Iran sanctions ambiguities

- Criticisms are rising against the US Treasury Department for what lawyers say is its failure to clear up the ambiguity caused by a maze of overlapping sanctions and exemptions over Iran trade issues. At the center of criticisms is the Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, known as OFAC. - 5/19/16

Anti Death Penalty Activist Sentenced to 10 years in Prison in Iran

- Narges Mohammadi, human rights and anti death penalty activist who is the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran was sentenced to 16 years in prison. On 18 May 2015, Judge Abolghasem Salavati who heads the 15th division of Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court stretched the already long prison sentence of Narges Mohammadi by sentencing her to 16 years in prison. - 5/19/16

Iranian Political Activist Tabarzadi Arrested

- Iran has reportedly rearrested political activist and journalist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, who was released last year after spending more than five years in jail for his outspoken criticism of the Iranian establishment. His son said Tabarzadi had "very likely" been arrested on May 17 and reportedly was transferred to the special wing of a Tehran prison notorious for housing political prisoners for the country's intelligence service. The reason for his arrest is unclear. - 5/19/16

Iranian-Turkish Businessman Seeks Bond in Sanctions Evasion Case

- WASHINGTON- Lawyers for an Iranian-Turkish national arrested in March on charges of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran have asked a federal court to set a $50 million bond for his release until trial. Reza Zarrab is one of three people charged in what prosecutors allege was a five-year scheme involving millions of dollars in transactions on behalf of the Iranian government and businesses. -Chris Hannas, VOA - 5/19/16

An Ayatollah's Daughter Prompts a Debate on Religious Persecution in Iran

- A house visit by a daughter of a prominent ayatollah to a female leader of the persecuted Bahai religious minority touched off a debate this week in Iran about the harsh treatment of a group deemed pagans and impure by the country's dominant clerics. -Thomas Erdbrink, NY Times - 5/19/16

Iran's Government and Revolutionary Guards Battle for Control of Economy

- President Hassan Rouhani wants to make way for foreign deals and investment by limiting the business role taken on by the Revolutionary Guards when sanctions isolated Iran. -WSJ - 5/19/16

President Rouhani: Croatia can be gateway to Iran's ties with Europe

- "Croatia can be the gate of our relations with the European Union due to historical and cultural commonalities between the two countries and its geographical status," Rouhani said during a press conference with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Tehran. - 5/18/16

Iran's Fashion Industry under Assault; Details of Arrests of Models by Revolutionary Guards Surface

- Eight people working in Iran's fashion industry have been arrested and formally charged in an industry wide crackdown led by the Revolutionary Guards. Cases have also been opened on another 29 people, and most of the 170 fashion industry workers who have been targeted during the past six months have also been interrogated, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 5/18/16

IMF Warns Iran Not To Rely Only On Oil Revenue To Boost Economy

- A top International Monetary Fund official warned Iran not to count on a big jump in oil revenue to boost its economy, but said it should seek other opportunities to re-engage with the global economy. "I speak here today at a pivotal moment for Iran's economy," said IMF Deputy Managing Director David Lipton in a speech at the Central Bank of Iran on May 17 during a two-day visit to Tehran. - 5/18/16

Iran's Parliament Seeks Compensation From U.S. For 'Moral Damages'

- In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Iran's outgoing parliament has passed a bill that requires the government to seek compensation from the United States for "material and moral damages" due to U.S. policies toward Tehran over the past six decades. - 5/18/16

Women Prevented from Attending Iran's Premier League Finale

- Iranian women were once again blocked from attending a major public sports event alongside men as the police stopped women from entering Tehran's Azadi Stadium for the finale of Iran's Premier League soccer season on May 13, 2016. - 5/18/16

New director of IRIB says change in news programs high on agenda

- The new director of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Abdol-Ali Ali-Asgari, has said that making a couple of major changes to new programs is high on the agenda. Speaking to the reporter after his inauguration on Tuesday, he also said that IRIB will turn its main focus on producing educative programs. - 5/18/16

Iran Arrests 8 for 'Un-Islamic' Online Modeling

- Iranian police have cracked down on women posting pictures of themselves online with their hair uncovered. Eight female models who posted photos of themselves uncovered have been arrested and charged with "un-Islamic acts." Women in Iran have been required to cover their hair in public ever since the 1979 revolution. - 5/17/16

French Foreign Ministry Staffer with Dual Citizenship Awaits Appeal on Prison Sentence in Iran

- Nazak Afshar, an employee of France's Foreign Ministry who holds Iranian and French citizenship, is awaiting a ruling on her appeal against a six-year prison sentence issued by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on unspecified charges. - 5/17/16

Regime Changers and War Hawks Dominate Congressional Iran Deal Hearing

- It didn't take long for the much remarked upon New York Times Magazine profile of Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes to reach a height that all probing news stories might aspire to: spurring Congressional hearings to investigate wrongdoing on the part of the government. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 5/17/16

Iran's Revolutionary Guard Accuses Kim Kardashian of Being a Secret Agent

- The Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corp, an agency tasked with policing domestic culture and heading off the influence of other nations, is concerned about the social-media popularity of Kim Kardashian. -Vanity Fair - 5/17/16

Cleric, daughter slammed for her meeting with Baha'i leader

- Faezah Hashemi and her father, the moderate cleric Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, have become the target of serious criticism by conservative factions of the establishment after the daughter met with a Baha'i community leader. - 5/16/16

IMF deputy director to meet high ranking Iranian officials

- The International Monetary Fund's second in command is to meet with the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh, and other senior officials. The IMF's First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday, is also set to meet private sector representatives, bankers, academics and students during his two-day visit. - 5/16/16

Drop in Iran's fertility rate frustrates official policy goal

- The head of Iran's census department has announced that despite the overhaul of population-control policies, the fertility rate in the country is on the decline. The report adds that gains of 4.25 percent in earlier years have suddenly declined to only 2.3 percent in the past year. - 5/16/16

Hill Update: Undermining the Iran Nuclear Deal

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. -LobeLog - 5/16/16

Lack of Medical Attention: "Progressive Premeditated Murder" of Political Prisoners

- They did not want to transfer prisoners to the hospital so they brought the hospital to the prison. The planned building of a hospital in Evin Prison was the mark of the judiciary's reluctance to transfer sick prisoners to hospitals outside of the prison. That plan, however, like many other projects undertaken by the Islamic Republic, lacked the necessary preparatory studies and assessments and was ultimately reduced to a clinic. -Ehsan Mehrabi - 5/14/16

Iran Hosts Holocaust Cartoon Contest

- Masuod Shojai-Tabatabai, the secretary of the contest, claimed it had nothing to do with denying the Holocaust, but that it was meant to highlight the plight of Muslims currently being massacred "by the Zionist regime in Gaza and Palestine." -VOA - 5/14/16

Senior Tabriz city officials charged in growing scandal

- The corruption scandal at the Tabriz municipal offices has deepened with the arrest of two more senior managers accused of "receiving bribes and collusion charges". The Tabriz Prosecutor General told Seda va Sima broadcasting on Friday May 13 that the latest detainees are the city's Security Manager and the Manager of Tabriz City Hall. - 5/14/16

Sadiq Khan and the End of Islamophobia

- In the recent mayoral race in London, the Conservative Party's Zac Goldsmith was in many ways the perfect candidate: a young, handsome fellow who possessed full-spectrum appeal. To win the election, Goldsmith could have focused on all the work he'd done on the environment, as a journalist and former editor of the magazine The Ecologist... Instead, the Goldsmith team prompted a huge backlash by suggesting that his opponent, the Labor Party's Sadiq Khan, was a Muslim extremist because of his associations and his political bedfellows. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 5/14/16

US Navy Officer Fired Over Iran Incident; More Action Expected

- A U.S. Navy commander has been fired and further disciplinary action may follow as American authorities investigate the detention of 10 U.S. sailors who entered Iranian waters by accident in January. - 5/14/16

Where Iran Sanctions Relief Falls Short

- Over the last few weeks, the debate about supposed U.S. obstruction of sanctions relief has reached a fever pitch. Secretary of State Kerry has brushed off criticism from Europe and Iran, making it clear that the US stands by its obligations under JCPOA. He has stated that US sanctions are used as "an excuse" to hide the fact that some European companies "don't want to do business or they don't see a good business deal." -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj - 5/13/16

Banks Still Wary Of Doing Business With Iran Despite U.S. Urging

- Some of the top European bankers who met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to hear assurances that they can resume business with Iran still have no plans of doing so. Britain's Standard Chartered bank, which, along with France's BNP Paribas, has been fined billions of dollars for breaking U.S. sanctions against Iran in the past, issued a statement after the meeting on May 12, saying it hasn't changed its plans. - 5/13/16

Cleric Calls On Khamenei To Back Female Lawmaker Barred From Parliament

- A prominent Iranian cleric has called on Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to intervene in the case of a reformist lawmaker who has been barred from taking her seat in parliament after photos published on social media reportedly showed her not wearing a hijab. - 5/13/16

Supporters of Nuclear Deal Should Promote Iran Human Rights

- At a panel discussion Wednesday at the Atlantic Council that this reporter moderated, Ahmed Shaheed, the U.N. Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, expressed optimism that the Iranian government could improve its record on human rights in the aftermath of a landmark nuclear deal. -Barbara Slavin - 5/13/16

White House, Congress Clash Over Aide's Tactics Pushing Iran Deal

- The White House and congressional Republicans sparred on May 12 over an aide who was reported to have used questionable tactics to "sell" the Iran nuclear deal to Congress and the press. - 5/13/16

The Costs of Violence

- In brief, the Global War on Terror sledgehammer strategy has spread jihadi terror from a tiny corner of Afghanistan to much of the world, from Africa through the Levant and South Asia to Southeast Asia. It has also incited attacks in Europe and the United States. The invasion of Iraq made a substantial contribution to this process, much as intelligence agencies had predicted. -Noam Chomsky, LobeLog - 5/13/16

Ahmadinejad's Return to Public Eye in Iran Fuels Talk of Comeback

- After nearly three years out of the public eye following two terms as president, Ahmadinejad has made a handful of appearances in the past few weeks, including his speech last week in Jiroft, which have stoked talk of a political comeback. -Reuters - 5/13/16

Kerry Reassures Top Bank Executives On Doing Business With Iran

- Kerry told the meeting of European bank executives in London on May 12 that lenders will not be penalized for doing legitimate business with Iran because most global sanctions have been removed under Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. - 5/12/16

Iran: Poet Released After Multiple Arrests. Activist Teacher Released After Hunger Strike

- Keyvan Mehregan, the Iranian poet, journalist and filmmaker, was released from Evin Prison on Wednesday May 11. Mehregan's wife, Afsaneh Parchekani, reports that the prosecutor and the judge agreed to a conditional release for her husband, who had been on a furlough. - 5/12/16

Neocons for Trump?

- The dominant media narrative is that an insurmountable chasm exists between Donald Trump and the neoconservative wing of the Republican Party. Derek Davison and Jim Lobe mapped out the contours of that divide, pointing to Trump's isolationist foreign policy leanings and his position as "neutral" in the Israeli-Palestinian conflict as the basis for neocons' discontent. -Eli Clifton - 5/12/16

British mother, Nazanin Ratcliffe, held prisoner in Iran 'allowed to see daughter and parents'

- The British mother held prisoner in Iran has been allowed to see her parents and her infant daughter for the first time since her arrest. Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, 37, was allowed out of solitary confinement for over two hours on Wednesday. -Telegraph, UK - 5/12/16
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