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February 17 2018
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Neocons Call For War Against Iran In Syria After Israeli Strikes

- The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a little known but highly influential hawkish think tank in Washington that has made a name for itself over the past few years by opposing the Iran nuclear deal and its subsequent (and current) efforts to derail it. Aside from its long tradition of opposing negotiations with Iran, FDD has also been known as a safe space for its staff--chief among them CEO Mark Dubowitz--to call for war against Iran and/or regime change. -Ben Armbruster - 2/17/18

Iran's President Rouhani and India's Prime Minister Modi express readiness to expand ties in all areas

- President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India have expressed readiness to expand relations between their countries in all areas. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed their respective countries' preparedness for the enhancement of the relations at the Indian prime minister's Hyderabad House in the Indian capital on Saturday. - 2/17/18

Another Iranian Woman Arrested In Tehran For Protesting Compulsory Veiling

- A woman has been arrested in Iran after peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling, the latest such incident in recent months. Video uploaded to YouTube on February 15 shows a woman standing on a concrete block above a crowd on Tehran's Enghelab (Revolution) street, waving her head scarf in protest. - 2/17/18

Iranian Authorities Arrest Lawyer Who Exposed Death of Protester in Police Custody

- Attorney Mohammad Najafi has been held in detention in the Iranian city of Arak since January 15, and is facing eight charges for exposing the death of a young man who died in police custody after being arrested during the recent protests in Iran. Najafi's own attorney has also been threatened with arrest, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 2/17/18

Iran Takes Measures To Combat Rial's Fall To Record Lows

- Iran's central bank announced measures to combat the rial's fall to record lows one day after police cracked down on foreign exchange dealers on the streets of Tehran. The central bank's announcement on February 15 that it will allow an increase in the interest rates paid on bank deposits came after the Iranian currency plummeted to a record low of 48,400 to the dollar earlier in the week. - 2/16/18

Muslim Ban Plaintiffs Celebrate IAAB v. Trump Ruling: We Continue On Together

- Today (February 15, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., upheld the Maryland district court's order blocking implementation of the Muslim Ban in three consolidated cases, Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump, IRAP v Trump, and Zakzok v Trump. This ruling is a significant victory for the many individuals and families whose lives are still hanging in the balance. - 2/16/18

Environmentalists Detained in Iran Denied Legal Counsel Weeks After Arrests

- Environmental activists who were detained at the same time as Kavous Seyed-Emami-who recently died in custody-are being denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "We are simple, ordinary people. We are not political. But unfortunately, the authorities are not letting lawyers get involved," a source who requested anonymity for fear of state reprisals for speaking to the media told CHRI on February 14, 2018. - 2/16/18

Takfiri groups, a creation of West to divide Muslims, says Iran's President Rouhani during India visit

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the West has created Takfiri outfits that have nothing to do with the holy faith of Islam in a bid to sow discord among Muslims. Rouhnai made the remarks in a meeting with a group of elites, religious clerics and leaders of the Muslim community in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Thursday. - 2/16/18

Expanding regional rivalries: Saudi Arabia and Iran battle it out in Azerbaijan

- It's the pot calling the kettle black. As Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to encircle it with its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as Qatar, the kingdom and the Islamic republic are extending their bitter rivalry beyond the Middle East into the Caucasus. The two countries' latest battleground is oil-rich Azerbaijan, an authoritarian, majority Shia Muslim but secular former Soviet republic on Iran's northern border with a substantial ethnic population in Iran itself. -James M. Dorsey - 2/16/18

Mother of Ailing Hunger Striker Atena Daemi Assaulted in Front of Tehran's Evin Prison

- Masoumeh Nemati, the mother of imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi, was attacked in front of Evin Prison in Tehran on February 13, 2018, after she tried to inquire about her daughter's hunger strike. "Atena and Golrokh Iraee [Ebrahimi], who are on a dry hunger strike, are in serious condition. Instead of answering our questions, they beat us up and interrogated us today," Nemati said in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 2/16/18

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Detained Opposition Leaders

- The U.S. State Department late on February 15 called on Iran to release three opposition leaders who have been under house arrest for seven years. The statement came on the seventh anniversary of the detention of 2009 Iranian presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, as well as Musavi's wife and women's rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard. - 2/16/18

Israel was about to get 'a lot more violent' with Syria after losing an F-16 -- and then Putin stepped in

- A simmering conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria could have erupted into another regional war were it not for the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Israeli investigative journalist. -Business Insider - 2/16/18

Tehran's Homegrown Critics Double Down On Rohani's Referendum Challenge

- A referendum proposed by President Hassan Rohani to heal Iran's divisions has been attacked by his hard-line opponents but provided an opening for establishment critics to go a step further. More than a dozen Iranian activists and intellectuals from inside the country and abroad quickly seized on the president's tentative calls this week for the plebiscite, to ask for a UN-backed referendum in Iran that would allow for a transition to a new form of government. - 2/15/18

Son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, Iranian-Canadian Who Died At Tehran's Evin Prison, Reveals Threats Against Family

- The son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist who died under interrogation in Evin Prison in early February 2018, has broken his family's silence on the case and issued a statement on his personal blog. In it, Ramin Seyed-Emami said a film of his father's last hours in his cell does not show him committing the act of suicide, and that the family will be using "every legal channel" to launch an independent investigation. - 2/15/18

Iran Cracks Down On Currency Traders Amid Steep Fall In Rial

- Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of money changers in Tehran amid a steep decline in the Iranian currency that has sent the rial to a record low against the U.S. dollar. A video by state broadcaster IRINN on February 14 showed dozens of currency hawkers who usually are stationed across the street from the British Embassy in central Tehran being rounded up by police. - 2/15/18

Lawyer: IRGC Film of Seyed-Emami's Prison Cell Does Not Show Act of Suicide

- A lawyer representing the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died under interrogation in Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, said a film of the detainee's last living hours does not show him committing suicide. Payam Dorafshan also told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that he and another lawyer hired by the family are investigating the case to determine the cause of death and reason Seyed-Emami was visibly agitated before he died. - 2/15/18

Indian investments in Iran on top of President Rouhani's visit

- Diplomats in New Delhi say Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will try to encourage Indian businesses to invest "billions of dollars" in the Islamic Republic during his three-day visit which will start on Thursday. Top on the agenda of Rouhani's visit would be the completion of Iran's Chabahar port by India as well as discussions over a potential deal for Indian companies to develop an offshore gas field in Iran. - 2/15/18

Sanctions: A Substitute For Serious Foreign Policy

- In recent times, the United States has increasingly resorted to economic and other sanctions to try getting countries, with governments often referred to as "rogue regimes," to change their behavior. Today, Iran, Russia, and North Korea have been notable targets. But are sanctions genuinely a useful tool of policy--that is, do they work? And, if that proposition is at best debatable, why does the United States deploy them so often? -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog - 2/15/18

MP: "More Details Necessary" To Determine Cause of Iranian-Canadian's Death in Custody

- Iran's deputy parliamentary speaker has stated that, based on a video produced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), it's not clear whether Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami committed suicide in Tehran's Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, as officials have claimed. Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told reporters on February 13 than an autopsy was conducted on Seyed-Emami's body before it was delivered to the family on February 13, but no medical examiner's report has been released to the public. Seyed-Emami was buried on in Emameh Cemetery near Tehran on February 13. - 2/14/18

Some University Students Still Detained a Month After Iran's Protests Despite Officials' Claims

- Contrary to Iranian official's claims that all the university students who were detained in connection with Iran's December 2017 protests have been released, some remain in custody without access to legal counsel. "It is not correct to say that all of them have been freed," a Tehran University student activist who asked not to be identified told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 9, 2018. "At least five students are still in detention and they don't have a lawyer." - 2/14/18

Revolution anniversary: 39 years of news control and censorship in Iran

- On the 39th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its condemnation of the regime's harassment of journalists and citizen-journalists. Thirty-nine years after the revolution, as young men and women protest in the streets, the Islamic Republic is trying to reinforce its news control both at home and internationally. - 2/14/18

Mother Denies Espionage Charges Against Son Detained in Crackdown on Environmental NGO in Iran

- The mother of Sam Rajabi, who was arrested in a state-led crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Iran including the one managed by Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died in custody, said her son has been focused on his career and would never betray his country. - 2/13/18

Pollsters Arrested While Conducting Survey Showing Majority of Iranians Dissatisfied With Domestic Affairs

- Several pollsters who were gauging views about Iran's December 2017 protests have been arrested, according to Mohammad Aghasi, the head of the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA). "It was difficult to conduct polls about the recent protests due to the arrests of some of the researchers in a number of cities," said Aghasi at a conference in Tehran on February 7, 2018. "Usually, we do the polls in two days but this time it took longer because of some of these difficulties." - 2/13/18

Female Iranian MPs Demand Action on Stalled Bill Aiming to Preventing Child Abuse

- Some Iranian female lawmakers have called for immediate deliberations on a bill for the protection of children to prevent future cases of child abuse in Iran. "The increase in incidents of child abuse is not becoming of the Islamic Republic. We cannot deal with child abuse with our current laws," said Member of Parliament (MP) Masoumeh Aghapour Alishahi, a member of the Women's Faction. - 2/13/18

Iran says seeking co-op with UN on human rights

- Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of the High Council for Human Rights Mohammad in Iran, has said that Iran is seeking close cooperation with the United Nations on issues related to human rights. Larijani made the remarks in a message read to a conference on Human Rights Achievements in the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 2/13/18

Clear Signs of State Cover-Up of Death of Iranian-Canadian Academic at Evin Prison in Tehran

- The family of the Iranian-Canadian academic, Kavous Seyed-Emami, whose death in custody in Iran was announced on February 9, is under intense pressure to immediately bury Seyed-Emami in a private funeral-without receiving any independent and medically corroborated information on the cause of his death-and to remain silent regarding the death. - 2/12/18

'Not Believable': Friends Of Iranian-Canadian Activist Discount 'Suicide'

- Academics in Iran and rights activists are calling for a serious and transparent investigation into the death of Iranian-Canadian academic and environmental activist Kavous Seyed-Emami in prison. Four academic societies related to political science, sociology, peace studies, and cultural studies made the call in an open letter to President Hassan Rohani published on February 12. - 2/12/18

Thousands of Undocumented Iranians Denied Affordable Kerosene In Winter Months

- Tens of thousands of people living in poverty in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province are being denied heating oil in the cold winter months because they lack identification papers, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "I have a birth certificate but my husband and kids don't and so we don't get [state] coupons to buy kerosene and we cannot afford to buy it [on the black market]," Gol Bibi, a resident of the province's capital city of Zahedan, told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on February 6, 2018. - 2/12/18

Another Unnecessary War

- The writing is already on the wall: Israel will soon launch a military operation in Lebanon. In this well-orchestrated event, Israel's mouthpieces play a single tune: Iran and Hezbollah have crossed a red line, and if their Russian patron does not restrain them (the crux of Israel-Russia security coordination), Israel will strike hard (and it will do so because the Russians cannot restrain them). -Idan Landau, LobeLog - 2/12/18

Iranian-Canadian Academic Dies in Custody While Under Interrogations

- A third detainee, 63-year old Iranian-Canadian Professor Kavous Seyed-Emami, has died in custody in Iran, barely 17 days after his arrest and while under interrogations. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) holds the Iranian Judiciary fully responsible for the death of Seyed-Emami and calls for an immediate, international UN-led investigation into the three deaths that have occurred in custody in Iran in the past 40 days. - 2/11/18

Follower of Sufi Order Expelled From Iranian University After Refusing to Sign Pledge

- Sepideh Moradi Sarvestani, a follower of the Sufi Gonabadi Dervish order, was expelled from Tehran's Tarbiat Modares University on February 3, 2018, for refusing to formally pledge not to engage in activities deemed unacceptable by officials. - 2/11/18

Iranian Says Secure Nuclear Deal Before Talks On 'Other Issues'

- A senior Iranian official says the West must ensure that the 2015 nuclear deal is a success before his country can begin to discuss other issues affecting the Middle East region. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told a conference in Paris on February 8 that the key to future negotiations on matters such as Tehran's regional activities and its missile program is to honor the terms of the nuclear accord, from which the United States has threatened to withdraw. - 2/9/18

MENA Category Rejected by US Census Bureau Despite Clear Benefits

- The US Census Bureau once again declined to add a Middle East and North African (MENA) category for the 2020 census. Many Americans of Middle-Eastern descent, including Iranian Americans, have for decades sought the additional category so that the census more accurately reflects America's mosaic of different cultures and the voices of Iranian Americans are not ignored by lawmakers. - 2/9/18

UK Resident Detained in Iran by IRGC For More Than a Year Without Charge or Access to Counsel

- Mohammad Reza Hashemi-Nabi, a permanent resident of the UK, has been held in solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison for more than a year without access to a lawyer, his mother informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Hashemi-Nabi, 47, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on December 23, 2016, after arriving there from London. - 2/9/18

Israel, Hezbollah And Iran: Preventing Another War In Syria

- The Syrian war has entered a new stage with the regime of Bashar al-Assad gaining the upper hand. Israel, no longer content to remain a bystander as Damascus's position improves, is now jockeying to reverse the deterioration of its strategic posture. In this endeavor it has formidable obstacles to overcome: the regime is more dependent than ever on Iran, which Israel regards as its most implacable state foe -International Crisis Group, LobeLog - 2/9/18

US 'Deeply Concerned' About American's Return to Iranian Prison

- The United States on Wednesday said it was "deeply concerned" that Iran had returned Iranian-American Baquer Namazi to prison after briefly releasing him so he could receive medical treatment. The White House said it understood that the 81-year-old former U.N. official was returned to Iran's "notorious Evin Prison against the strong advice of his doctors and the Iranian regime's own medical examiner." - 2/8/18

"This is Slavery": 30 Sugar Plant Workers Arrested in Iran For Demanding Unpaid Wages

- Police arrested more than 30 protesters on the fourth day of a strike by hundreds of workers on February 4, 2018, at a major sugar plant near the city of Shush, in Iran's Khuzestan Province. In a video message posted on his Telegram channel on February 4, 2018, prominent labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh said the workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Company were being treated like slaves. - 2/8/18

Paris to host Euromoney Iran Conference 2018

- Co-hosted by Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the second round of Euromoney Iran Conference will kick off in the France's capital on Thursday, IRNA reported. Heading a delegation comprised of CBI and Finance Ministry's scholars and experts, Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaie will attend this year's event. - 2/8/18

Tehran Steps Up Pressure on Ankara Over Syrian Operation

- Iran is the latest country to add its voice to growing calls for Turkey to curtail its military operation in Syria against a Syrian Kurdish militia. Turkey-Iran relations have recently improved, but Tehran is seen to be increasingly concerned about the lack of clarity on the scope and duration of the Turkish military operation and Ankara's goals. "We wish for Turkey's operation in Syria to end at the earliest time," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters Tuesday. -Dorian Jones, VOA - 2/8/18

Iran: Samsung must apologize for gift ban against Iranian Olympics athletes

- Iran's Foreign Ministry has summoned South Korea's ambassador to protest a discriminatory decision by Samsung Electronics and organizers of the Winter Olympic games in Seoul not to provide Iranian athletes with gift smartphones, demanding an apology from the technology company. - 2/8/18

China, Russia voice support for Iran's nuclear deal amid US threats

- China and Russia have reaffirmed their support for Iran's nuclear deal with six world powers, including Beijing and Moscow, amid US President Donald Trump's threats against the multinational accord. At a Tuesday meeting with Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's Committee on National Security and Foreign Policy Alaeddin Boroujerdi in Beijing, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi stressed that Iran and China are committed to the nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), IRNA reported. - 2/8/18

President Rouhani says U.S. ruined opportunity for further talks with Iran

- President Hassan Rouhani says by "failing to seize the JCPOA atmosphere", the United States missed the chance of improving its ties with Tehran, noting that if Washington had shown some commitment to the nuclear deal, talks on other issues would have been possible. "Had America acted to its entire commitments under the JCPOA, a new situation could have been established," Rouhani told a press conference. "It is a pity that they ruined this golden opportunity," Rouhani added. - 2/7/18

Iran Returns Iranian-American Baquer Namazi To Prison Against Advice Of Medical Examiner

- An Iranian-American man imprisoned in Iran, Baquer Namazi, has been returned to prison after a brief release due to health concerns. Lawyer Jared Genser said in a statement that the decision to return his 81-year-old client to Tehran's Evin prison despite the advice of the Iranian government's own medical examiner is "tantamount to a death sentence." - 2/7/18

Imprisoned Iranian-American Art Dealer Accuses IRGC of Judicial Interference

- In a new letter from Evin Prison, Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari has accused Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of pressuring the judiciary to impose heavy sentences on him and his wife, Afarin Neyssari. Vafadari's sister, Kateh Vafadari told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 5, 2018, that her brother was arrested "a few days after he got a court order to force the IRGC to vacate one of our ancestral buildings." - 2/7/18

Iran Accuses US of Aiding Islamic State (Daesh) in Afghanistan

- Iran has joined Russia in accusing the United States of aiding Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan, charges Washington vehemently denies. "After witnessing Daesh and other organized terrorist groups losing their ground in Iraq and Syria, they are now relocating them to Afghanistan," Iranian media quoted the country's top military commander as alleging Tuesday. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS. - 2/7/18

Total CEO: Iran's South Pars gas project 'progressing well' despite Trump's threats

- Total's work on the South Pars gas project is well on track despite US threats of new sanctions on Iran, the French oil and gas group's Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne says. Pouyanne told Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday that Total was consulting with French and European authorities over protecting its investments in Iran, in case there was a resumption of sanctions. - 2/7/18

Why Iran Is Not A Mideast Hegemon

- For many observers, Iran emerged as the major winner of Middle East developments in 2017. They saw a "new superpower" in the region now securing military victories "outside its own borders." Although the dynamic in places like Syria, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen may have turned in Tehran's favor, a closer look reveals that all of the 2017 successes bring a set of 2018 challenges. Observers should pay much more attention to these challenges in order to correct their exaggerated views of Iran. -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog - 2/7/18

Arab Neoconservatives And Peace In The Persian Gulf

- Recent years have seen a rise of what could be described as Arab neoconservatives: ambitious leaders such as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed. Their distinctive feature is a heavy reliance on military power to re-shape the political map of the Middle East in their favor, with the overarching aim of pushing back against Iran, a policy they share with the original, American neoconservatives. -Eldar Mamedov - 2/6/18

Iranian Hardline Cleric Says Protesters Should be Sentenced to Death

- A Friday prayer leader in Tehran has called for the death penalty to be issued to citizens who participated in the weeklong protests that erupted across Iran in December 2017. "In our theology, the ruling against those who pour into the streets in opposition to a just Islamic ruler, cause fires or kill people... is death," said Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami during a sermon on February 2, 2018. - 2/6/18

Shirin Ebadi: Bill That Restricts Protests to Designated Areas in Iran Adds "More Limits" to Freedom of Speech

- A proposed bill aimed at designating public spaces in Iran for protests will lead to "more limits" on the people's right to voice their demands, Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "No one would attack rallies without a green light from the state," the Iranian human rights defender told CHRI on February 2, 2018. "It is the state that has attacked protesters for the past 39 years, therefore, these excuses don't have any meaning other than imposing more limits." - 2/6/18

Ahmadinejad Criticizes Iran's Judiciary After Arrests Of Supporters

- Iran's former President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has renewed his criticism of Iran's powerful judiciary following the arrests of several of his supporters. In a letter marking the celebrations of the anniversary of Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution, Ahmadinejad said the judiciary has become "the main pillar of oppression" against the Iranian people. - 2/6/18

The Complicated War In Yemen

- No matter how much some analysts in the United States see the conflict in Yemen as a Manichean contest between good guys and bad guys, the complexities of the war keep intruding. Long overlooked has been how the "good side"--that is, the one on behalf of which Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates have intervened--has been where some genuinely bad guys belonging to al-Qaeda have resided. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 2/6/18

IRAN: More Quake Survivors Perishing In Cold Without Adequate Shelter

- Following Iran's most disastrous earthquake in 2017, several survivors have died from the cold in Kermanshah Province. The 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit Kermanshah on November 12, forcing locals into the streets and rushing to recover neighbors trapped under the rubble. More than 600 people lost their lives in the quake while more than 70,000 were displaced. - 2/5/18

China, Iran, Russia Lash Out At U.S. Nuclear Policy Plan

- Russia, Iran, and China have strongly criticized Washington's newly revealed policy plan to expand U.S. nuclear weapons capabilities in order to deter other countries. The plan, which calls for the U.S. nuclear arsenal to be revamped with the development of new low-yield atomic weapons, was announced in a policy statement by President Donald Trump's administration released on February 2. - 2/5/18

Iranian Leaders Speak of Threat of Social Media

- Having survived popular protests across major cities in Iran, Iranian leaders are now turning to the tools that helped protesters organize and coordinate large-scale demonstrations against the government, which continued for more than a week before the government suppressed them. A senior Iranian official this week urged the country's cyberspace authorities to remain vigilant and prevent another potential wave of protests. -Mehdi Jedinia, VOA - 2/5/18

Poll: Pessimism On The Rise Among Iranians

- New findings from an IranPoll/University of Maryland survey, conducted after the protests that struck several Iranian cities last month, find that the Iranian people are increasingly pessimistic about the state of Iran's economy and its relationship with the West. -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 2/5/18

Hardline Judge Keeps Iranian-American and Wife in Jail by Imposing $27 Million Bail

- The judge presiding over the case of imprisoned Iranian-American gallery owners Karan Vafadari and his wife Afarin Neyssari has deliberately imposed an extraordinarily heavy bail to prevent them from being released pending their appeal, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Karan's son, Cyrus Vafadari, told CHRI on February 2, 2018, that Judge Abolqasem Salavati is demanding 100 billion tomans ($27 million USD) bail for the couple-50 billion tomans ($13.5 million) each for his father and Afarin Neyssari. - 2/5/18

UN Calls On Tehran To Ensure Fair Trial For Three Iranian Christians

- Four UN human rights experts have called on Iran to ensure "a fair and transparent final hearing" for three Iranian Christians who are due to appear before the Revolutionary Court in Tehran this weekend. Pastor Victor Bet Tamraz, Amin Afshar Naderi, and Hadi Asgari were sentenced to between 10 and 15 years in prison last year for a number of charges including "conducting evangelism" and "illegal house church activities," the independent experts said in a February 2 statement. - 2/5/18

Iran starts mass production of Mohajer 6 drone, Qaem smart guided bomb

- Iranian Defense Ministry announced on Monday that it has started mass production of Mohajer-6 advanced drone capable of carrying precision-guided projectiles. Mohajer-6 is the first UAV of the Mohajer family that is armed with a guided weapon system and is bigger than the other types of Mohajer family. The Iranian Mohajer-4 UAV have been successfully used during conflicts in Syria and Iraq, and allegedly in Lebanon. - 2/5/18

Iranian Police Arrest 29 Women Protesting Against Veiling Law

- Iranian police say they arrested 29 women who removed their head scarves in a growing protest against a law requiring women to wear the Islamic veils in public. The Tasnim news agency reported on February 1 that police claimed the women had been "tricked" into removing their head scarves by a propaganda campaign being conducted by Iranians living abroad. It was not immediately clear if all the arrests were in the capital, Tehran. - 2/2/18

Parliamentary Delegation Visiting Evin Prison Told 4,534 Were Arrested in Iranian Protests

- More than a month after thousands of people were arrested in Iran after weeklong protests erupted across the country beginning in December 2017, 11 Members of Parliament (MPs) were allowed to visit Evin Prison in Tehran for three hours on January 30, 2018. MP Allahyar Malekshahi told the conservative Mashregh newspaper on January 30 that the delegation was informed that 4,534 people had been detained nationwide, higher than the number of 3,700 that had been reported earlier. - 2/2/18

Bahrain: Another Year Of Deep State Repression

- When it comes to Bahrain, Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and other serial violators of human rights and basic freedoms, the American and British governments have allowed arms sales and lucrative money deals benefitting them to trump their traditional commitments to the principles of justice, democracy, peaceful dissent, and freedom. They seem to view Bahrain and its autocratic Sunni neighbors as "cash cows" with an unending source of money. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog - 2/2/18

Assessing The Afghan War

- Despite the Trump administration's plan to increase military pressure on the Taliban until it gives up violence and comes to the bargaining table, the past year has seen some of the deadliest terror attacks yet in the Afghan War. Kabul, which lies within the 56 percent of the country controlled by the government, has seen several devastating attacks: -Derek Davison, LobeLog - 2/2/18

"Girls of Revolution St" Protest Ignites Debate on Iran's Compulsory Hijab

- Several women protested against Iran's compulsory hijab law in the streets of Tehran and Isfahan on January 29 and 30, 2018, by publicly removing their headscarves and waving them like flags while standing on a platform. The police detained at least one of the peaceful protesters, Narges Hosseini, who can't afford to post her bail amount, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 2/1/18

PAAIA and Iranian American Coalition Works with Senators to Seek Clarification of the Travel Ban "Waiver" Process

- Today Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) sent a bipartisan letter to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seek clarification on the "waiver provisions" outlined in President Trump's latest Travel Ban. This letter comes after the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), Pars Equality Center, and their legal counsels discussed the issue with Senator Van Hollen's office. - 2/1/18

Iranian nation never forgets US acts of aggression in region: President Rouhani

- In an apparent rebuke to his US counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani has rejected Washington's claim of having "sympathy" for the Iranian people, saying the nation has not forgotten the American acts of aggression in the region. Speaking at a large gathering of people in the southern city of Sirjan in Kerman province on Thursday, Rouhani said, "Nobody in Washington should think that they can make decisions for the great Iranian nation." - 2/1/18

US evidence on Iran missiles in Yemen inconclusive: Russia

- Russia says evidence presented by the United States alleging that Iran had supplied missiles to Yemen's Houthi fighters is not conclusive, stressing there is no case for any UN action against Tehran. After traveling to Washington to view pieces of weapons that Washington claims Tehran gave to Houthi fighters, Russia's UN Ambassador Vassily Nebenzia told reporters on Wednesday that "Iran is vehemently denying it is supplying anything to Yemen." - 2/1/18

Iranian-American Zoroastrian Denounces 27-Year "Unjust" Prison Sentence in Letter From Prison

- In a letter from Evin Prison obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Iranian-American dual national Karan Vafadari has denounced the "unjust and tyrannical" 27-year prison sentence he was issued in Tehran along with his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison. - 1/31/18

President Rohani Says Iranian Leaders Must Listen To The People

- President Hassan Rohani has said that the Iranian people continue to support the clerical establishment despite foreign pressure but insisted that the country's leaders must listen to protesters behind a recent wave of unrest. Rohani made the comments on January 31, hours after President Donald Trump said the United States stands with the people of Iran against the country's "corrupt dictatorship." - 1/31/18

Uncovered 'Girl From Enghelab Street' Picks Up Steam In Iran

- Iranians appear to have taken inspiration from a woman who landed in jail late last month for a peaceful protest against Iran's strict Islamic dress code, echoing frustration at official restrictions on women's appearance in public. At least three more women ditched their head scarves again on January 30, more than a month after 31-year-old Vida Movahedi's daring but silent plea for greater freedom for tens of millions of women in Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari - 1/31/18

Iranian Reformist Leader Tells Khamenei To Bring Reforms, Stop Blaming Foreign 'Enemies'

- A prominent Iranian reformist who has been under house arrest for the past seven years has criticized Iran's supreme leader, urging him to introduce and implement major reforms "before it is too late." Mehdi Karrubi said on January 30 that Iran's Ayatollah Ali Khamenei needs to stop blaming foreign "enemies" for Iran's problems and, instead, "accept responsibility for your policies of the last three decades." - 1/31/18

Iranians Denounce Acquittal of Quran Reciter Accused of Sexual Abuse

- Iranians have widely condemned the acquittal of well-known Quran reciter Saeed Toosi over charges involving the sexual abuse of minors. Information released about how the judiciary handled the case alleges that the office of the supreme leader intervened before the four-year sentence that was initially handed down to Toosi was dismissed. - 1/31/18

300 Iranian Women's Rights Advocates Voice Support For Protests, Demand Equality

- More than 300 Iranian women's rights' activists have expressed support for the recent anti-government protests in Iran and demanded an end to state policies that discourage women from entering the workforce. "As campaigners against discrimination and advocates of equality, we feel it is our duty to be part of this multi-layered movement and be present in the streets and other public spaces to demand our rights," said a statement published on January 11, 2018, signed by prominent human rights defenders including Shirin Ebadi and Parastou Forouhar. - 1/30/18

Missile Dialogue Between Iran And The West

- U.S. President Donald Trump has made it clear that his opposition to the Iran nuclear deal--known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)--is mainly rooted in Iran's missile program and regional policies. Meanwhile, the European powers that seek to preserve the deal have latched onto U.S. concerns about Iran's missile and regional policies in an apparent bid to convince Trump to maintain U.S. commitment to the JCPOA. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian - 1/30/18

Iranian Pastor's Wife Sentenced to Five Years in Prison For "Acting Against National Security"

- Shamiram Isavi, the wife of Victor Bet Tamraz, who formerly led Iran's Assyrian Pentecostal Church, has been sentenced to five years in prison. "As far as we know, and based on Mrs. Isavi's own statements, no evidence has been presented in the case to show that she was engaged in spying or disturbing national security. She has denied all the charges," Kiarash Alipour, a spokesman for Article 18, a UK-based organization focusing on Christians in Iran, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on January 25, 2018. - 1/30/18

Censoring an Iranian Love Story

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