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Iran says renewal of UN special rapporteur's mandate lacks 'professional basis'

- Iran reacted strongly to a resolution by the United Nations Human Rights Council on Friday which extends the mission of its Special Rapporteur on Human Rights in the country, saying the resolution lacks "professional basis" and is "confrontational." - 3/25/17

Baha'is Imprisoned in Iran for Religious Beliefs Singled Out for Cruel Treatment

- A member of Iran's perseacuted Baha'i faith has expressed serious concerns about two imprisoned ailing family members who are being denied early release despite being legally eligible. The Intelligence Ministry is refusing to send Jamaloddin Khanjani, an elderly former Baha'i community leader who has spent more than nine years in prison, to the hospital for long-term care, his nephew, Siavash Khanjani, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 3/25/17

Iranian MPs Demand Answers from Rouhani on Increasing Arrests Ahead of Elections

- President Hassan Rouhani has yet to respond to a letter from four reformist members of Parliament demanding an explanation for the spate of arrests of activists and journalists ahead of the May 2017 presidential election. - 3/24/17

New Senate Sanctions Risks Killing JCPOA, Putting US on War Path

- NIAC Action issued the following statement regarding the introduction of new Iran sanctions legislation in the Senate: "The 'Countering Iran's Destabilizing Activities Act of 2017' would risk killing the JCPOA and undoing the restrictions in place on Iran's nuclear program and could very well provoke a military confrontation between the U.S. and Iran... - 3/24/17

Reformist Editor Arrested by Iran's Security Agents Amid Pre-Election Crackdown

- Amid a widening crackdown on journalists and activists in Iran ahead of the country's May 2017 presidential election, security agents arrested Morad Saghafi, the reformist editor-in-chief of Goftegoo (Conversation) magazine, on March 15, 2017. - 3/24/17

U.S. Senators From Both Parties Sponsor Bill Tightening Iran Sanctions

- U.S. senators from both major political parties introduced legislation on March 23 to tighten sanctions on Iran over its ballistic missile launches and other non-nuclear military activities. - 3/24/17

Did AIPAC Help Fund Attack-Ad by Islamophobic Group on J Street?

- The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is going to have a challenging time at its annual policy conference this weekend persuading attendees and those watching at home that it has healed the partisan rift it opened by investing millions of dollars in opposing the Iran nuclear deal. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog - 3/24/17

Iran's President To Meet Putin During March 27-28 Moscow Visit

- The Kremlin says Iranian President Hassan Rohani will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin during a March 27-28 visit to Moscow. Putin's press service announced the visit in a March 23 statement. - 3/24/17

Here's one country where hard-liners might not be poised for election success: Iran

- Iran's conservatives have been vocal in their criticism of President Hassan Rouhani, dismissing his outreach to the West as naive and the nuclear deal he championed as an economic failure. But when it comes to challenging the moderate Rouhani for reelection in May, the hard-liners, who oppose expanding political and social freedoms, are struggling to agree on a message or candidate. -Los Angeles Times - 3/24/17

Prominent Lawyers: Judiciary Ad Announcing Prison Time for 10 Iranians in Absentia Unlawful

- A classified newspaper advertisement by the judiciary announcing prison sentences for 10 Iranian citizens currently outside the country has no legal merit, two prominent lawyers told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Nasrin Sotoudeh and Farideh Gheirat, both based in Iran, said a classified ad placed by the judiciary in its official newspaper, Hemayat, announcing the sentences is unlawful if it was not preceded by a proper summons. - 3/23/17

Luxembourg Court Rejects Iranian Demand To Return $1.2 Billion Frozen In U.S. Victim Case

- A Luxembourg court has rejected Tehran's demand to return $1.6 billion of Iranian assets claimed by the United States as compensation for the victims of the September 11, 2001, attacks. The judge ruled that the assets could remain frozen in Luxembourg for now, awaiting a separate judgment on the merits of the case. - 3/23/17

Iranian Leaks About Missing American Led Levinson Family to Sue Iran

- A U.S. lawyer for the family of a former FBI agent who went missing in Iran 10 years ago says the family is suing Tehran for damages based in part on leaked information from Iranian sources. "Iran, like the United States, leaks information," said attorney David McGee in an interview with VOA Persian's LateNews program Wednesday. McGee represents the Florida-based family of the missing American, Robert Levinson. -VOA - 3/23/17

12 Reformist Telegram Channel Admins Arrested in Iran Ahead of May 2017 Election

- Iranian security forces arrested 12 administrators of reformist-aligned Telegram channels on March 14-16, 2017, deleted the channels' content and changed their names. Users are increasingly turning to the app before elections for uncensored news about moderate and reformist camps, which are usually drowned out or censored from appearing in traditional media. - 3/22/17

White House Adviser Says Will Honor Iran Nuclear Deal, Ensure Iran Complies

- A senior adviser to U.S. President Donald Trump on nuclear matters says that the United States will honor Iran's nuclear deal with world powers for now, while seeking to ensure strict compliance by Tehran. Christopher Ford, the White House National Security Council's senior director for weapons of mass destruction and counterproliferation, told a conference in Washington on March 21 that the U.S. administration accepted the deal despite repeated criticism by Trump. - 3/22/17

Bank of England reluctant to help facilitate Iran-UK trade

- While the British government has reaffirmed its commitment to help Iran's reintegration into the global financial system, reports say the country's central bank is still reluctant to facilitate trade between the two countries. - 3/22/17

Asghar Farhadi: Iranian Oscar-winner navigates politics of nuance

- A yacht in Cannes is not where you would expect to find a martyr. And to be fair, when I meet Asghar Farhadi in the (northern) summer of last year he hasn't yet become one. The Iranian director dubbed "one of the world's greatest filmmakers" by Mike Leigh is at the festival to promote his film The Salesman, a typically subtle and provocative tale of a teacher in Tehran whose liberal values are challenged when a male stranger attacks his wife. -Ed Potton, Australian Times - 3/22/17

Congress races to craft Iran sanctions bills ahead of AIPAC conference

- Key lawmakers in the House and Senate are racing to craft bipartisan Iran sanctions legislation before the nation's largest pro-Israel lobby holds its policy conference starting this weekend, March 26. -Julian Pecquet, Al-Monitor - 3/22/17

President Trump's travel ban disrupts family reunion in San Ramon

- President Trump's new travel ban may be on hold, but it's also putting travel plans on hold during what is usually a festive time especially for people from one of the countries targeted. These are busy days for Golnazar Gourmet Ice Cream. The San Ramon company is filling orders for their exotic flavors including saffron/pistachio -- desserts that will sweeten the 14 day celebration of Norooz, --the Persian New Year. -ABC News - 3/22/17

Iran's Khamenei warns he will confront any interference in May election

- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned on Tuesday he would confront anyone trying to interfere in Iran's May presidential election, in which conservative hardliners will seek to defeat moderate President Hassan Rouhani. Khamenei referred to major street unrest after the disputed 2009 presidential election as an overt attempt to manipulate the outcome, but said there had been other cases of attempted interference including in the 2013 vote won by Rouhani. -Reuters - 3/22/17

Iran: Supreme Leader Criticizes President Rohani On Economy Ahead Of Election

- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has said that the government's economic policies have fallen short and that Iran needs a new "resistance economy" to create jobs. Khamenei's March 20 remarks have piled pressure on Rohani ahead of an election in May. - 3/21/17

Why It's Important Now, More Than Ever, To Celebrate Norooz

- Self-identifying and proudly displaying our heritage as Iranian Americans has always been complicated -- and this is even more pronounced in a climate of policies and political rhetoric that are anti-immigrant, anti-refugee, and anti-Muslim. Melody Ehsani reflected on how that's impacted her family, and strengthened the importance of preserving and sharing her family's Iranian and Baha'i practices -Atoosa Moinzadeh, The Fader - 3/21/17

Evolution, Not a New Revolution, in Iran

- Some hardline myths about Iran never seem to die. One myth especially pertinent to U.S. policy is that revolutionary regime change in Iran is a significant possibility in the near future and that with a bit more of a push from the outside, the Islamic Republic will collapse and be replaced by something much more to our liking. This illusion was prevalent in much of the George W. Bush administration, which accordingly adhered to a policy of refusing to deal with Iran and instead of trying to isolate it and to inflict economic pain through sanctions. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 3/21/17

Iran rings in the New Year with message of peace

- Iran has ushered in the new Persian year of 1396, with President Hassan Rouhani underlining the need for interaction and peace in his message to the leaders of 11 countries that also mark the occasion. "The world, today more than any time, needs a hope which values affection, love and intimacy and invites countries to interaction instead of confrontation," Rouhani said on Monday in the message released by his office. - 3/20/17

White House Appeals Court Decision Blocking Trump Travel Order

- The U.S. government on March 17 announced it is appealing a court decision blocking President Donald Trump's executive order on immigration from taking effect. The Justice Department said in a court filing it would appeal a ruling by a U.S. District Court in the state of Maryland that halted the part of Trump's March 6 order temporarily banning the entry of travelers from six predominantly Muslim countries. - 3/18/17

Faezeh Hashemi, Former Iranian Leader's Daughter, Jailed For 'Spreading Propaganda'

- Iran's hard-line judiciary has sentenced the daughter of late Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani to jail for "spreading propaganda against the regime," Iranian news media reported on March 17. It was the latest move against pro-reform opposition in the Islamic republic ahead of a presidential election on May 19, when hard-line rivals of pragmatist President Hassan Rohani hope to regain control of executive power. - 3/18/17

Iran Takes Stand On Nuclear Deal Provision That Clashes With U.S. View

- Iran is questioning a provision of its nuclear deal with world powers in a way that could lead to confrontation with the United States. The 2015 deal restricts Iran from accumulating a large stock of Heavy Water, which is used in scientific research as well as in nuclear reactors that produce plutonium. - 3/18/17

Saudi Arabia Says Iranians To Take Part In Hajj This Year

- Saudi Arabia says Iranian pilgrims will take part in this year's annual hajj pilgrimage, after they did not attend last year amid tensions between the countries. The Saudi Ministry of Pilgrimage said the sides had finalized arrangements for Iranians' participation in the pilgrimage scheduled for September. - 3/18/17

Memo to Tech and Social Media Companies: Allow Iranians Access to Online Tools

- Major technology and social media companies should stop barring Iranians from buying or accessing personal communications tools and services that are not banned by any sanctions, and make immediately available to Iranians the full range of permissible items, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and ASL19 said in a joint statement on March 15. - 3/18/17

NIAC Welcomes Court Order Halting Trump's Muslim Ban 2.0

- "The court's decision to issue a temporary restraining order barring the latest executive order imposing a Muslim ban is another triumph for American values over discrimination. The Trump administration has now had its attempt to impose a Muslim ban halted by the courts twice. Fortunately, Iranians will once again face a slight reprieve in that the ban will not go into effect tomorrow. Nevertheless, the back and forth struggle has already kept Iranian families apart and imposed turmoil on countless individuals, while doing untold damage to America's image abroad." - 3/17/17

Rouhani's Intelligence Ministry and Khamenei's IRGC Widen Crackdown Ahead of Election

- The number of arrests carried out by Iran's Intelligence Ministry, operating under the control of President Hassan Rouhani, increased in the last few months leading up to Iran's May 2017 presidential election. Research by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) indicates that since January 2017, the ministry has increasingly targeted civil and women's rights advocates, journalists, dual nationals, ethnic and religious minorities, environmentalists, the administrators of social media pages, and relatives of protesters killed during the state's crackdown on peaceful protestors following the disputed 2009 presidential election. - 3/17/17

Predicting Her Arrest, Reformist Activist Hengameh Shahihi Wrote Letters Criticizing Rouhani's Failure to Protect Citizens

- Hengameh Shahidi, a reformist senior member of the Etemad Melli (National Trust) opposition party, has decried her arrest as part of a crackdown by hardliners on reformists ahead of Iran's upcoming presidential election. In two open letters, she also criticized President Hassan Rouhani, who will be running for re-election on May 19, 2017, for failing to protect citizen's rights. - 3/17/17

US welcomes India's plan for Iran's Chabahar port

- The United States has welcomed India's plan to expand Iran's Chabahar port as a project that a top military official says will help the long-term stability of Afghanistan. US Army General John Nicholson, who commands US combat operations in Afghanistan, told the US Senate in a hearing that he welcomed the Chabahar project because it would offer Afghanistan a viable and economic alternative to shipping all its goods via Pakistan. - 3/17/17

Iranian-American Orgs File Federal Court Challenge To Trump Travel Ban 2.0

- On March 14th, four prominent Iranian-American organizations renewed their challenge to the Trump Administration's illegal and unconstitutional policies, filing papers to take on the President's revised "Travel Ban" Executive Order. The organizations, joined by over 20 individual plaintiffs, have updated their existing lawsuit against the January 27th Travel Ban Executive Order, Pars Equality, et al v. Trump, to take on the March 6th version. - 3/17/17

The "#LiveTogether Norooz Challenge" spreading message of tolerance

- Over the past few days, the viral "Norooz Challenge" has brought Americans & Iranians together to broadcast "Happy New Year" in Persian, then challenge friends to follow suit. The Norooz Challenge is the first of several challenges in the #LiveTogether campaign, with a theme of crossing borders and cultures to put our similarities above our differences. - 3/16/17

In Letter from Evin Prison, Dual National Speaks of Yearning for Family and Disillusionment with Iran

- Iranian-British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, imprisoned in Iran since April 2016, has written a letter to her UK-based husband about the pain of being separated from their infant daughter, Gabriella "Gisoo" Ratcliffe, and disillusionment with her birth country of Iran. "I turned 38 without you by my side and you turned 42 without me, while our dear Gisoo turned two-years-old without both of us," she wrote in a letter from Evin Prison in Tehran, published on March 10, 2017 by the Defenders of Human Rights Center. - 3/16/17

Federal judges block Trump's travel ban

- A federal judge in Maryland Thursday morning temporarily blocked the 90-day ban on immigration for citizens of six countries in President Donald Trump's executive order, dealing another blow to the President's revised travel ban. Wednesday afternoon, a federal judge in Hawaii issued a temporary restraining order nationwide over the ban, hours before it was set to go into effect. -CNN - 3/16/17

American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) Gave $60K to Architect of Trump's Muslim Ban

- Newly released tax filings show that the country's biggest pro-Israel group financially contributed to the Center for Security Policy, the think-tank that played a pivotal role in engineering the Trump administration's efforts to impose a ban on Muslim immigration. -Eli Clifton - 3/16/17

UN praises Iran's 'exemplary' refugee efforts

- While Iranians would bear the brunt of Donald Trump's visa ban, which has been blocked on the orders of a US court, international officials say the country has quietly emerged as one of the most generous towards refugees. "The leadership demonstrated by the Iranian government has been exemplary in hosting refugees and keeping borders open," said Sivanka Dhanapala, who heads the UN High Commissioner for Refugees team in Tehran. -AFP - 3/16/17

Reimagining International Relations

- International reactions to the election of Donald Trump have catalyzed a far swifter collapse of the American-led world order than anyone could have imagined. Interactions between great and middle-ranking powers are undergoing rapid evolution. The political, economic, and military interests and influence of the United States still span the globe, as does American popular culture -Chas W. Freeman, Jr., LobeLog - 3/16/17

Iranian Americans Afraid to Travel Under Trump Travel Order

- In the heart of Persian Square, in West Los Angeles, everyone is getting ready for Nowruz, the Iranian New Year, when family members visit each other.Normally it's the busy season for the travel agencies that cater to the Iranian community. But not this year. President Donald Trump's revised executive order banning travelers who do not currently have visas from six Muslim majority countries from entering the U.S. for three months is scheduled to take effect on March 16.Among the six countries on the travel order is Iran. -Elizabeth Lee, VOA - 3/15/17

Teachers Hold Rallies Across Iran for Labor and Education Rights

- Teachers held rallies in several Iranian cities on March 9, 2017 demanding livable wages and improved educational resources for students. "The rallies were held in front of the Ministry of Education offices in provincial capitals in collaboration with several teachers' organizations, and they included employed and retired teachers," - 3/15/17

Son of Iranian Dissident Karroubi Denounces Brother's Sentencing

- A son of a prominent Iranian opposition figure has accused Iran's leaders of persecuting his family by sentencing his brother to six months in prison for distributing propaganda against the government. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 3/15/17

IRAN: IRGC Violently Arrests Reformist Editor One Month After Release From Evin Prison

- Reformist editor Ehsan Mazandarani was shocked with a Taser stun gun while being returned to Evin Prison in Tehran by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' (IRGC) Intelligence Organization on March 11, 2017, less than a month after he was released. - 3/15/17

Iran trade with Russia grew largest in 2016: Envoy

- Iran's trade with Russia saw the highest growth in 2016, says Iranian Ambassador Mohammad Sanai as the two countries are gearing up for President Hassan Rouhani's imminent visit to Moscow. "I believe this trend will be maintained in the next two or three years and bilateral trade volume will reach $10 billion," Russia's Rossiya Segodnya quoted him as saying on Wednesday. - 3/15/17

Iranian Opposition Leader Mehdi Karroubi Under Extrajudicial House Arrest for Six Years Denied Emergency Care

- An elderly opposition leader who has been kept under extrajudicial house arrest in Tehran since 2011 is being denied access to timely emergency medical services, his son told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). - 3/14/17

Iranian-American Robin Shahini Serving 18-Year Prison Sentence in Iran Proclaims Innocence in Letter

- Robin (Reza) Shahini, an Iranian-American dual national sentenced to 18 years in prison in October 2016 during a visit to Iran, has proclaimed his innocence in a letter urging human rights groups and international organizations to work for his release. - 3/14/17

UN Rights Monitor Highlights Political Repression, Abuse, Executions In Iran

- Reformists in Iran are under pressure, detainees face torture and abuse, and people are being executed at an "alarming" rate, a UN monitor studying human rights in the tightly controlled country says. The bleak picture presented to the UN Human Rights Council on March 13 comes ahead of a May 19 presidential election in Iran. - 3/14/17

Two Iranian Navy Ships Enter Gulf of Aden

- Iranian Navy has announced that two of its warships have entered the Gulf of Aden in recent days, Tasnim news agency reported. The two warships will be protecting Iran's cargo ships in the Gulf of Aden and Bab el-Mandeb, the navy said on Monday. - 3/14/17

Grave and Baseless New Charges Against Imprisoned Iranian-American and Wife

- Serious and baseless new charges have been brought against Karan Vafadari and Afarin Nayssari, the dual-national Iranian-American and his wife who have been imprisoned in Iran's Evin Prison without any evidence of wrong doing or due process for almost eight months. - 3/13/17

American Musicians To Perform Works by Iranian Composers in Gesture of Welcome

- n late January, after the first of the recent U.S. travel bans was signed, Los Angeles-based violist and violinist Andrew McIntosh put a post on Facebook looking for recommendations of violin repertoire by living composers from the affected countries. "The response that I received to that post was astounding, with many friends and acquaintances chiming in with suggestions, mostly of music by composers from Iran," McIntosh said. -Laurie Niles, Violinist - 3/13/17

Iranian FM: Netanyahu faking history, falsifying Torah to sell bigoted lies against Iran

- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has resorted to fake history and falsifying the Torah to sell lies against Iran. Zarif made the comment on his official Twitter account on Sunday in response to claims made by Netanyahu that Iran had been trying to "destroy the Jewish people" for some 2,500 years. - 3/13/17

Trump's Executive Order Is an Existential Threat to America

- While immigrants and refugees from the six countries included in the ban are not responsible for terrorism in the US, that hasn't stopped administration spokespersons from using them as scapegoats to justify their proposed policies. The Order, itself, is designed to set up Muslims as a "bogeyman" in order to win support for Trump's efforts to overhaul of the entire immigration/refugee program. -James J. Zogby, LobeLog - 3/13/17

Iran unveils advanced homegrown tank "Karrar"

- Iran has unveiled a state-of-the-art tank dubbed "Karrar" which has been fully developed by domestic military experts, ISNA reported. Karrar (Striker) was unveiled in a ceremony on Sunday attended by Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan, who acclaimed the tank as a symbol of Islamic Republic's power. - 3/13/17

Photos: 2nd Airbus plane purchased by Iran lands in Tehran

- A second airplane purchased by Iran through a major post-sanctions deal with the European aviation giant Airbus has landed in the capital, Tehran. The Airbus A330-200 took off from the French city of Toulouse on Saturday and landed at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport later in the day. - 3/11/17

Germany's Linde CEO says banking issues delaying Iran plans

- German industrial gases group Linde says it has revived plant-engineering contracts in Iran but cannot work on them due to banking problems that obstructed transferring money out of the country. Linde - which was previously reported to be considering a major investment in Iran's petrochemical industry - announced that it had to wait to find a way to transfer money out of the country before proceeding with its Iran investment plans. - 3/11/17

Iran UN Envoy: Israel behind assassinations of nuclear scientists

- The Iranian ambassador to the United Nation's International Atomic Energy Agency said on Thursday that "Israel-hired terrorists" were behind the assassinations of several nuclear scientists in recent years. "While nuclear scientists across the entire Middle East have been assassinated by Israeli-hired terrorists, the regime's nuclear experts are allowed access to some countries' nuclear facilities," Reza Najafi said. - 3/11/17

A message for Donald Trump from Iranian filmmaker who stayed home from Outfest Fusion festival

- Outfest Fusion, a Hollywood film festival dedicated to images of LGBTQ people of color, was supposed to be an occasion of joy for Tehran-born director Pouria Heidary Oureh. But when his film "Apricot Groves" had its U.S. premiere during the festival that ran through Tuesday at the TCL Chinese Theatre, he was back in Iran, unable to take in the applause. -Tre'vell Anderson, Los Angeles Times - 3/11/17

Iran's Conservatives Try a Bit of Democracy: Will It Work?

- Iran's presidential election is slightly over two months away, and Iran's conservatives are still struggling to find a candidate to rally around against President Hassan Rouhani who has the support of a fairly unified alliance of moderates and reformists. Having identified the multiplicity of candidates as the source of their loss in the 2013 presidential election, conservative political parties and groups are trying to settle on a single candidate. -Farideh Farhi - 3/10/17

Iran: Repression of those seeking truth and justice for 1980s killings needs to stop

- In a joint statement issued on March 8, 2017, 20 human rights organizations including the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) called on the Iranian authorities to stop the harassment, intimidation and prosecution of human rights defenders seeking truth and justice on behalf of individuals who were summarily executed or forcibly disappeared during the 1980s and their families. - 3/10/17

Iran's IRGC Reportedly Test-Fires Sea-Launched Ballistic Missile

- Iranian news agencies are reporting that the country's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has "successfully" test-fired a sea-launched ballistic missile. Tehran's state-run Fars and Tasnim news agencies on March 9 said the Iranian-built Hormuz-2 missile was test-fired sometime during the previous week. - 3/10/17

Russia's Putin urges Israel's Netanyahu to focus on modern world affairs when judging Iran

- Russian President Vladimir Putin has urged Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to stop adopting hostile policies against Iran based on a legend in "the fifth century B.C.," instead of focusing on the realities on the ground. - 3/10/17

White House Vows To Find U.S. Man Missing In Iran Since 2007

- The White House has vowed to find a former FBI agent who mysteriously disappeared a decade ago in Iran. Robert Levinson, who disappeared while visiting Iran's Kish resort island in 2007, was not among five Americans freed by Iran in a prisoner exchange last year after sanctions over its nuclear program were lifted. Levinson was working for the CIA at the time of his disappearance. - 3/10/17

Iran's Khamenei: Economic Progress Limited Despite Lifted Sanctions

- Iran's supreme leader criticized the country's slow pace of economic recovery on Thursday despite the lifting of sanctions and called on President Hassan Rouhani's government to champion greater self-sufficiency, state TV reported. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's criticism comes ahead of Iran's presidential election in May, when the pragmatist president is expected to seek re-election. -Reuters - 3/10/17

Luxembourg court rejects US bid to freeze Iran assets; Washington appeals: CBI Chief

- The governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says a Luxembourg court has rejected the US efforts to freeze $1.6 billion of Iranian assets in the European country, adding that Washington has appealed the ruling. - 3/9/17

Trump's Travel Ban: Exempting the Next Osama Bin Laden?

- The Trump administration introduced a new Executive Order that revised its previous order blocking visitors / immigrants from seven countries: Syria, Libya, Yemen, Somalia, Iran, Iraq and Sudan. In the new order, Iraq has been dropped, but the other six countries remain on the list. Trump's new ban, like his old ban, is a policy in search of a justification. -Bahman Baktiari, LobeLog - 3/9/17

Iranian Catholic Converts Arrested in Northwestern Iran

- Two Iranian Catholic converts, Anoohe Rezabakhsh and her son Sohail (Augustin) Zargarzadeh, have been arrested in their home by the Revolutionary Guards in Oroumiyeh, West Azerbaijan Province, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 3/9/17

What's stopping Rouhani from reaching out to Trump?

- With the prospect of confrontation, headlines in Iran are once again focusing on relations with the United States. Ali Khorram, a former Iranian ambassador to China, recently argued that more could have been done to reduce Tehran's vulnerability by improving ties during US President Barack Obama's presidency. -Reza Marashi, Al-Monitor - 3/9/17

Iran's Geopolitical Predicament and Its Consequences

- For some time now, most Middle East states and a good number of Western countries have portrayed Iran as the main cause of problems in the Middle East and parts of South Asia. Iran emerges from this narrative as the world's biggest sponsor of terrorism and, in general, an all-around source of evil. -Shireen T. Hunter - 3/8/17

Hawaii First U.S. State To Challenge New Trump Travel Order In Court

- The U.S. state of Hawaii plans to file the first court challenge to President Donald Trump's new executive order temporarily barring visitors from six predominantly Muslim countries as well as all refugees. Hawaii said that it will seek to temporarily halt the order on March 8. - 3/8/17

What's Behind Iran's Muted Official Criticism of Revised Travel Ban?

- Iran has given a muted response to a revised U.S. immigration policy that temporarily bars entry to most Iranians, with a junior Iranian official criticizing it as the product of a disorganized U.S. foreign policy. Iranian state media quoted Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi as telling reporters on Tuesday that Tehran "rejects" the new U.S. travel order, signed by President Donald Trump a day earlier. -Michael Lipin, VOA - 3/8/17

US effort to seize Iran's assets in Luxembourg illegal: Official

- A senior official with the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) says US efforts to seize $1.6 billion of Iran's assets in Luxembourg run counter to the international laws and will bear no fruit. CBI Legal Chief Executive Ardeshir Fereydouni made the remarks on Tuesday in reaction to a Monday report by the New York Times about a confidential court ruling by a Luxembourg court to freeze $1.6 of CBI assets in a financial institution in the European country. - 3/8/17

Judiciary Refusing to Release Ailing Baha'i Leader Imprisoned in Iran for Nine Years

- Behrouz Tavakkoli, an elderly former Baha'i community leader who has spent nearly nine years in prison for his faith, is legally eligible for early release, but his requests for a case review are being ignored. His son, Naim Tavakkoli, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that his father, a 64-year-old former member of the Baha'i leadership council in Iran, is also suffering from heart disease. - 3/8/17

Iran flotilla sets sail for Russia's Dagestan

- A flotilla of Iranian warships has left the country's northern territorial waters for Russia in a bid to convey the Islamic Republic's message of peace and friendship. The naval fleet, comprised of the domestically-manufactured Damavand destroyer and a missile-launching frigate, dubbed Derafsh, set sail for Makhachkala, the capital city of the Republic of Dagestan, in Russia on Tuesday. - 3/8/17

IRGC warns U.S. of 'irreversible consequences' after vessel encounter in Persian Gulf

- An official with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' navy said that unprofessional acts by the U.S. Navy in the Persian Gulf may have "irreversible consequences." The comments come after IRGC fast-attack vessels forced on Saturday the USNS Invincible and three ships from the British Royal Navy accompanying it to change direction in the Strait of Hormuz. - 3/8/17

Why Trump's travel ban is still a Muslim ban

- President Donald Trump's new travel ban may reduce the chaos at airports caused by his previous executive order, but it will not enhance American security or make the intention behind the original order any less bigoted. Indeed, in our opinion, the new travel ban is still very much a Muslim ban, even if it falls short of the Trump administration's true ambitions. -Trita Parsi and Adam Weinstein, CNN - 3/8/17



Persepolis: Re-Discovering the Ancient Persian Capital of Modern Day Iran

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