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August 17 2019
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"Why Should We Be Silent?": Colleagues Condemn Iranian Photographer's Unjust Detention

- Several members of Iran's film industry have spoken out against the detention of Nooshin Jafari, a film and theater photographer, who has been detained at an undisclosed location in Tehran since August 4, 2019. The authorities have meanwhile refused to provide information about her to her family since she was arrested, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI - 8/16/19

Iranian Superstar Banned From State TV For What Could Prove To Be Suppression Of Dissent

- An award-winning Iranian movie superstar has been banned from appearing on the Islamic Republic's monopolized TV networks, apparently for protesting the arrest of a female photojournalist. Hanieh Tavassoli and several other famous actors have made public statements condemning the detention of Noushin Jafari, who is a photojournalist focusing on movie stars and celebrities. -Radio Farda - 8/15/19

British-Iranian Scholar Kameel Ahmady Arrested In Tehran On Unspecified Charges

- The wife of British-Iranian anthropologist Kameel Ahmady says her husband has been arrested at his home in Iran on unknown charges. Shafagh Rahmani told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on August 14 that her husband was arrested on August 11, and that authorities told her he faces "unspecified charges in connection with his activities." - 8/14/19

Party Leader's Comments Signals Serious Rift In Iran's Reform Camp

- Iran's reformist political faction seems to have split as one of the groups constituting its backbone has officially pulled out of the lose-knit political force. After remarks by the leader of the centrist Executives of Construction Party, Iranian media reported Tuesday August 13 that the group has all but officially split from the reformist camp. -Radio Farda - 8/14/19

Female Plaintiff's Battle to Get a Motorcycle License Exposes Arbitrary Restrictions on Women in Iran

- In response to a complaint by a woman from the city of Isfahan, Branch 1 of Iran's Administrative Justice Court ruled that the traffic police's refusal to issue motorcycle driving licenses to women is unlawful. However, due to Article 60 of the Administrative Justice Court's Organizational and Regulatory Procedures Law, the ruling, which could be reversed, only applies to the individual plaintiff and not all women in the country. -CHRI - 8/14/19

Thousands In Iran Sign Petition To End House Arrest Of Opposition Leaders

- In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, 8,700 Iranian citizens have called for lifting the house arrest of Iran's Green Movement leaders, confined to their homes since 2011 without trial. Twice speaker of Majles (Islamic Republic's parliament), mid-ranking cleric Mehdi Karroubi, ex-Prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since February 2011. - 8/12/19

The Five Caspian Sea Littoral States Ink Economic Cooperation Deal

- Iran and four other Caspian Sea countries have signed an agreement on economic cooperation in Turkmenistan's capital. Senior officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the deal during the First Caspian Economic Forum in Bishkek on Monday, according to Fars News. -Press TV - 8/12/19

Detained Iranian Conservationists Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani on Hunger Strike

- Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani, two of the eight wildlife conservationists detained in Iran since January 2018, began a hunger strike on August 3, 2019, a source with knowledge of their cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "After more than 560 days in detention, the people accused in this case, and their families, are still unaware of the alleged crimes they committed and they continue to be denied transfers to public wards in prison despite the completion of the preliminary investigations," said the source who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity on August 8, 2019. -CHRI - 8/11/19

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturns ruling to seize Iran-linked building in New York

- A US federal appeals court has overturned a 2017 verdict that allowed the seizure of an Iran-linked skyscraper in New York City. In June, 2017, a US court verdict allowed the government to seize the midtown Manhattan office tower owned largely by a charity organization, the Alavi Foundation. -Press TV - 8/11/19

Prominent Writer in Iran Sentenced To Prison, Female Journalist Arrested

- An Appeals Court has upheld an eight-month sentence for a renowned Iranian author, poet, and member of Iran Writers Association (IWA). "The verdict against the Iranian poet and writer, Nima Saffar, is unfair," IWA said in a statement Wednesday, August 7, adding, "The ruling, as well as all other similar decisions, should be repealed." - 8/9/19

More Iranians Forced to Rely on Unsafe Online Hosting After Blocked by Amazon

- Amazon has become the latest major American technology company to block Iranians from accessing its products and services due to U.S. government sanctions that prohibit companies from providing products or services to people based in Iran. -CHRI - 8/8/19

Iran Prosecutor Defies FIFA On Stadium Entrance Ban For Women

- Iran's ban on women entering stadiums is not the business of world soccer governing body FIFA, the country's prosecutor-general said on August 7. "That is certainly not the concern of FIFA -- whether women are among the football fans in the stadiums or not," Mohammad Montazeri said, according to the semiofficial ISNA news agency. -RFE/RL - 8/8/19

Iran's low birth rate unprecedented over past three decades

- Iran's birth rate has been declining since last year up to now, which was unprecedented over the past three decades, head of committee on population studies affiliated to the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution has stated. The number of births registered during the first three months of this year (starting on March 19), has declined by 13 percent compared to same period last year, he regretted. -Tehran Times - 8/8/19

This Iranian War Vet Has Some Advice for Trump: Don't Play Checkers with the Grandmasters of Chess

- Dear President Trump, In a recent Tweet, you claimed that "Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation." As a world citizen and a veteran of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, I have firsthand experience with the bitterness of war, and I have a few suggestions and responses for you. First, I would advise you against using the words win and winning to describe war, especially from a US perspective. -Habib Ahmadzadeh - 8/7/19

Which "Gulf" Do They Mean?

- If you've ever wondered how historical realities can be sacrificed and manipulated in the service of myopic political goals, there is a great example for you to follow in your daily roundup of international news offered by the mainstream media. While reading through coverage of current Middle Eastern affairs in international newspapers, magazines, and news websites, it's very common for readers to come across the words "the Gulf." -Kourosh Ziabari - 8/7/19

U.S.-Iran Relations ... Waiting For The Adults: Then And Now

- Marx tells us that history happens first as tragedy and then as farce. He was predicting what has occurred between the U.S. and Iran-first forty years ago and then today-when the children take over and the adults choose to disappear. -John Limbert - 8/6/19

Blood Money Paid for a Woman in Iran Is Still Half That Paid for a Man, Despite New Ruling

- Following news in Iran on July 2, 2019, declaring equality between men and women in blood money (financial compensation paid to the family of someone who has been killed or to the victim who has been injured), many people incorrectly assumed that the existing discriminatory law, which assigns blood money ("diya") to a woman victim at half the amount of that of a man, had been abolished. -CHRI - 8/6/19

Iran's FM Zarif says while in UN he was told to go to White House or be sanctioned

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told a press conference on Monday that while he was in New York the Americans told him that if he did not accept to go to the White House to meet President Donald Trump he will be sanctioned in two weeks. Zarif visited New York in mid-July to participate at the annual session of the UN Economic and Social Council (UNOSOC). - 8/6/19

Iranian FM Zarif Says He Was Told He Would Be Sanctioned If He Refused To Talk With Trump

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he was told during his recent visit to the United States that he would be sanctioned within two weeks if he refused to hold talks with U.S. President Donald Trump. Speaking Monday morning August 5 in his first press conference after being sanctioned, Zarif said the sanction against him was "A defeat for diplomacy." -Radio Farda - 8/5/19

IRAN: Detained Independent News Editor in "Terrible Shape" After One-Month Hunger Strike

- The health of Amirhossein Mohammadifar, the detained editor-in-chief of the independent "Gam" Telegram app news channel, has severely deteriorated since he has been on hunger strike for nearly a month in Tehran's Evin Prison, his mother-in-law Golkhanom Norouzi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 1, 2019. -CHRI - 8/4/19

Sanctions on Foreign Minister Zarif show U.S. afraid of Iran's top diplomat: President Rohani

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani slams the United States for imposing sanctions on Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, saying the "childish" move stems from Washington's "fear" of the top Iranian diplomat's logic and interviews. -Press TV - 8/1/19

Germany Refuses to Join US Naval Mission in Strait of Hormuz

- Germany has rejected the U.S. call to join an international mission to protect maritime traffic in the Strait of Hormuz. The United States had asked Germany to join France and Britain in a mission to secure shipping through the strait, the narrow maritime passage through which international tankers transport at least a fifth of the world's crude oil supply. -VOA - 8/1/19

Iran's FM Zarif dares Secretary Pompeo to answer Iranian journalists 'rigorous' questions

- Iran's foreign minister has dismissed his American counterpart's "empty and disingenuous" offers to visit Iran and have an interview with the country's state TV, daring him to accept any of the many interview requests from Iranian reporters. "Instead of making empty and disingenuous offers, Secretary [Mike] Pompeo can accept any of the many requests from Iranian reporters to interview US officials," Zarif tweeted Wednesday. -Press TV - 8/1/19

Coalition of Foreign Policy Experts Outline 8 Recommendations to Deescalate Tensions with Iran

- Today, an expert group of foreign policy practitioners published a letter underscoring the dangerous new phase that has put the U.S and Iran on the path toward war. The signatories include prominent academics, such as John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Andrew Bacevich; foreign policy analyst Rula Jebreal; former Member of Congress John F. Tierney; former ambassadors and diplomats, such as Thomas Pickering, Francois Nicoullaud, and Peter Jenkins; national security expert Edward Price; and Iran experts such as Jamal Abdi, Dina Esfandiary, and Farideh Farhi. - 7/31/19

Iran's government approves plan to drop four zeros from currency, revert to toman

- The Iranian government has approved to revalue its rial tenfold and revert to the currency's old name, the toman, the Fars news agency reported on Wednesday. The proposed plan has now to go before the parliament for vote and final approval by the Guardian Council which vets legislation before it takes effect. - 7/31/19

Macron Calls For 'Break' To Ease Tension Between Iran, U.S.

- French President Emmanuel Macron has called for tensions between Iran and the United States to be scaled down on July 30 after speaking with Iranian President Hassan Rohani. Meeting at the French presidential summer retreat, Macron said he wanted "to ensure that all parties agree to a break and open negotiations." He "recalled the need to initiate a de-escalation of tensions." -RFE/RL - 7/31/19

Iranian Heavy Metal Band Members Escape to Norway After Receiving Prison Sentences

- Nikan Khosravi and Arash Ilkhani, members of the Iranian heavy metal band Confess, have left Iran to escape prosecution and prison for their art. "We took a risk and left the country so that we could continue our work," Khosravi said in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on July 27, 2019. -CHRI - 7/31/19

Detained Iranian Activist Sepideh Qoliyan Loses Consciousness During Hunger Strike

- Hunger striking activist and freelance journalist Sepideh Qoliyan (also known as Gholian) lost consciousness in her cell on July 27, 2019, and was rushed to the clinic in Gharchak Prison, south of Tehran, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI - 7/30/19

Former Tehran Mayor Sentenced To Death For Killing Wife

- Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi was sentenced to death after being convicted of murdering his second wife earlier this year. "The court has established premeditated murder and passed the execution sentence," Judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili said on July 30, according to Mizan, a news agency affiliated with the Iranian Judiciary. - 7/30/19

Cannes Film Festival, Iranian Filmmakers Condemn Sentence Against Colleague Mohammad Rasoulof

- International film festivals including the Cannes Film Festival, as well as two prominent Iranian directors, have condemned the prison sentence issued in Tehran against acclaimed filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof. "Today, we wish to reiterate our deep commitment to freedom of expression and our immense respect for Mohammad Rasoulof, to whom we offer our fullest support," said an unsigned statement published on the Cannes' website on July 25, 2019. "We ask for the immediate and unconditional release of Mohammad Rasoulof and call on festivals around the world, cinemas and all artists to do the same." -CHRI - 7/29/19

Iran ponders legal action against authors of "Iran Modern: The Empress of Art"

- Iran's Visual Arts Office director Hadi Mozaffari said on Monday that the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance is considering taking legal action against the writers of "Iran Modern: The Empress of Art" published in New York last September. - 7/26/19

Iran Prevents Public Commemoration At Grave Of Celebrated Poet Ahmad Shamlou

- Iranian security forces have prevented devotees of fans of late poet Ahmad Shamlou, who pushed for greater freedoms and had some of his work banned under successive governments, from marking the 18th anniversary of his death. - 7/26/19

Brazil judge orders Petrobras to refuel stranded Iranian ships

- Brazil's highest judicial authority has ordered Petrobras to refuel two Iranian grain ships after the Brazilian state-run oil company refused to assist the vessels citing the United States sanctions targeting the Islamic Republic. -Press TV - 7/26/19

Clean water provided to 30 Iranian villages each week: Energy Minister

- Iran's minister of energy has said that providing clean and safe water to rural households across the country has gained momentum as more and more villages are supplied with the utility each week. Reza Ardakanian said on Tuesday that a population of 6,700,000 villagers across Iran had already been provided with piped water. - 7/25/19

Mohammad Rasoulof's Films Were Banned in Iran, Now He's Been Sentenced to Prison

- The sentencing of award-winning filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof to one year in prison for the content of his films has highlighted the perilous political landscape independent artists must navigate in Iran. "Iranian cinema has won international acclaim despite stifling censorship and the ongoing persecution of artists," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). -CHRI - 7/24/19

Iranian startups come to light with No-Afarin scheme

- The No-Afarin scheme, developed by Iran's Information and Communication Technology Ministry to support startups, was introduced during a ceremony on Wednesday July 17, 2019. With the slogan, 'Smart Iran, brighter future', the scheme is a part of the digital economy development document and aims to create 68,000 job opportunities. -Setareh Behroozi, Tehran Times - 7/23/19

Iran: Release Four Women Detained at Labor Day Protest

- Four women arrested on May 1, 2019, after attending a Labor Day rally in Tehran should be allowed unrestricted access to counsel and released, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). The women-journalist Marzieh Amiri and activists Neda Naji, Atefeh Rangriz, Anisha Asadollahi-were all charged with national security crimes after peacefully attending the protest and then denied bail. -CHRI - 7/23/19

Two Iranian Political Prisoners Sentenced to 3.7 More Years in Jail for Protesting Death Penalty

- Political prisoners Atena Daemi and Golrokh Iraee Ebrahimi have been told they must serve an additional 3.7 years in prison for the charges of "insulting the supreme leader" and "propaganda against the state," Daemi's mother informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on July 15, 2019. -CHRI - 7/22/19

War in the Persian Gulf? Let's hope not

- In recent weeks, we have witnessed an alarming escalation of tensions between Iran and world powers that should frighten everyone involved. Uncertainty and mutual hostility have propelled the United States and Iran towards a perilous conflict that can only lead towards one terrifying conclusion (unless immediate measures are taken): war. -Younes Mahmoudieh, Foreign Policy - 7/22/19

The Symbolism Behind The Latest U.S. Sanctions Against Hezbollah

- While the latest American sanctions, imposed on July 9, continue a trend of US pressure on Hezbollah, they symbolize an imperfect realignment of interests between the Trump Administration's Iran approach and Lebanese leaders' aim to alter their country's political dynamics. Lebanon has been mostly shielded from US-Iranian tensions over the nuclear deal, but there are questions about whether this is about to change. -Joe Macaron, Arab Center - 7/22/19

May The Force Be With You, Ilhan

- I definitely understand what the young Somali emigre, now a congresswoman from Minnesota, Ilhan Omar, has been going through. I understand how it feels to be told "Why don't you go back to where you came from." Or, "If you don't like it here, you can just leave!" I got used to being called a damn "furner" by my supervisor, a semi-literate redneck from Alabama, who was the "Party Chief" of a seismic exploration crew where I worked fresh out of college. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 7/19/19

Mass Hunger Strike Launched in Evin Prison Against Unlawful Treatment of Political Prisoners

- In an open letter calling on the people of Iran to support their demands, six political prisoners in Ward 4 of Tehran's Evin Prison have announced that they've gone on hunger strike to protest the judiciary's treatment of political prisoners. The undated letter was posted July 14, 2019, on the official Facebook page of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh. -CHRI - 7/19/19

The European Union And The Threat Of A U.S.-Iran Conflict

- On July 16, the European Parliament debated the "Situation in the Persian Gulf" with the European Union's High Representative for foreign policy, Federica Mogherini. The fact that the item was among the first on the foreign policy agenda of the newly-elected assembly testifies to the concern the representatives of the European peoples feel about the escalating tensions in the region. -Eldar Mamedov - 7/19/19

Behind The Foundation For Defense Of Democracies' Embrace Of Authoritarianism

- The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), a neoconservative organization in Washington founded after the 9/11 terrorist attacks, has long been obsessed with Iran and has vocally opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement between Iran and 5+1 group of nations. While much is known about FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz-whose purported "defense of democracies" has been undermined by his recent calls for "inclusive authoritarianism" in the Middle East-his right-hand man on Iran, Saeed Ghasseminejad, has gone largely unnoticed. -Muhammad Sahimi - 7/18/19

U.S. travel restrictions on Iranian diplomats inhuman: Foreign Minister Zarif

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says US travel restrictions imposed on Iranian diplomats and their families living in New York are "basically inhuman." "It is certainly not a friendly action. It puts the members of the mission and their families under basically inhuman conditions," Zarif told reporters at the United Nations on Wednesday. The United States has restricted their travel to between the United Nations, the Iranian UN mission, the Iranian UN ambassador's residence and John F. Kennedy airport. - 7/18/19

EU Announces Strides in Iran Trade Mechanism Amid Nuclear Deal Scramble

- The European Union says talks are under way on whether a barter mechanism aimed at salvaging some trade with Iran might include oil, as Europeans scramble to ease tensions between Iran and the United States. -Lisa Bryant, VOA - 7/16/19

Husband and Wife Iranian Journalists Hunger Strike to Break "Limbo" of Six-Month Detention

- Imprisoned journalists Amirhossein Mohammadifar and Sanaz Allahyari, a married couple, have been on a wet hunger strike since July 4, 2019, in Tehran's Evin Prison to convince the authorities to allow them to post bail. -CHRI - 7/16/19

Iran Judiciary Confirms Arrest Of French-Iranian Academic Fariba Adelkhah

- Iran's Judiciary has confirmed the arrest of French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah, a day after French President Emmanuel Macron said he had raised the issue with Tehran. Macron demanded an explanation on July 15 from Iran after the arrest last month of Adelkhah, a researcher with the prestigious Paris Institute of Political Studies, who is believed to have been arrested by the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on suspicion of spying. -RFE/RL - 7/16/19

Iran's currency rial regains footing as government tightens controls

- Iran's national currency rial has recovered against US dollar in a first sign that new government measures to control the exchange market are paying off. Iran's rial traded a months-high against dollar at 118,000 on Tuesday afternoon local time, up more than 10 percent compared to the same time last week when traders sold each dollar for 130,000 rials. -Press TV - 7/16/19

Hard Choices Facing Tehran And Washington

- Perhaps Iran has done the Trump Administration a favor by announcing that it has moved to enrich uranium at five percent, thus violating the terms of the 2015 nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, JCPOA). -Daniel Brumberg, Arab Center, DC - 7/15/19

Joint Statement: House Reins In Trump on Iran

- CREDO, Foreign Policy for America, J Street, NIAC Action, and Win Without War issued the following joint statement regarding the House vote passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment to block any funds for an unauthorized war with Iran -Win Without War - 7/12/19

Trump Administration's Futile Flailing On Iran

- The administration went to the IAEA board in order to be seen doing something about an Iranian nuclear issue the administration itself has stirred up, and it has no better ideas on what to do. It is flailing in trying to get out of a box of its own making, and it sees no way to get out-other than the way it refuses to admit, which would be to reverse its own action that built the box in the first place. -Paul Pillar - 7/12/19

U.S. 'Holding Off' On Sanctions Against Iran's Foreign Minister For Now

- The United States has decided not to slap sanctions on Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif for now, an indication that Washington may not be closing the door to diplomacy in the countries' tense dispute, Reuters reports. Reuters on July 11 cited two sources familiar with the matter in reporting the decision, although they did not give specific reasons for the move. -RFE/RL - 7/12/19

Iran Jails Mohammad Nourizad, The Outspoken Critic Of Supreme Leader Khamenei

- The Iranian Human Rights News Agency, HRANA, reported on Wednesday July 10 that outspoken political activist Mohammad Nourizad, has been jailed. Nourizad was one of the signatories of a statement by 14 Iranian activists who called on Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to resign in order to end the country's political deadlock. -Radio Farda - 7/12/19

U.S. Iran Policy Gives Me Vertigo

- In the interest of confronting Iran, the U.S. government has sacrificed its credibility, has put at long-term risk U.S. primacy in global finance, and has infuriated virtually all of this country's closest traditional allies. Washington is goading Tehran to renege on its nuclear promises, bringing both countries perilously close to another catastrophic war in the Middle East. -Gary Sick - 7/11/19

Urgent medical treatment needed for detainees in Iran with life-threatening conditions: UN experts

- UN human rights experts today expressed serious concern that Iran continues to deny appropriate healthcare to detainees, despite repeated calls. "Over several months we have communicated to the Iranian Government our deep concerns about the physical and mental integrity of detainees," the experts said. "Despite Government assurances, we are frustrated to still receive reports of denial of medical treatment, including in life-threatening situations. These no longer appear to be isolated incidents, but a consistent pattern." - 7/11/19

Iran warns UK about 'consequences' of oil tanker seizure

- President Hassan Rohani warns the UK about the "consequences" of its recent seizure of an Iranian supertanker. "I remind [this] to the Britons," Rohani cautioned on Wednesday, "You are the ones initiating insecurity, and will come to realize its consequences in the future." Rohani, who was addressing a government meeting in Tehran, called the action "very juvenile, heinous, and wrongful" and "to their [Britain's] detriment," noting that all international efforts should instead be focused on ensuring maritime security. -Press TV - 7/10/19

Why Did Internet Access Speeds Slow to a Crawl in Iran?

- Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi made a false statement when he said via Twitter that recent disruptions to internet access in Iran were due to technical issues occurring outside the country, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI - 7/10/19

Iran's trade with Turkey sees major leap despite sanctions

- While the U.S. unilateral sanctions against Iran have created some limitations for trade with the Western partners which led the Islamic Republic to expand economic and trade ties with its neighbors and boost non-oil exports to them, trade with the northwestern neighbor, Turkey, is growing significantly. -Mahnaz Abdi, Tehran Times - 7/10/19

Iran raps U.S. mistreatment of volleyballers at Chicago airport, urges apology

- Iran denounces the US for mistreating its national men's volleyball team, which has traveled to Chicago for the Final Six of the 2019 FIVB Volleyball Nations League, calling on Washington to issue an apology for its misbehavior. The team was delayed for four hours upon arrival at Chicago's O'Hare Airport on Saturday, while the Iranian volleyballers were detained and interrogated by US Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agents. - 7/9/19

IRAN: Parliament Faction Links Lacking Accountability to Deaths of Political Prisoners in State Custody

- One month after political prisoner Alireza Shirmohammadali was murdered in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary (GTCP) after being unlawfully held in a ward with inmates convicted of violent crimes, two prison officials have been fired while the unofficial policy that precipitated the tragedy remains in place. -CHRI - 7/9/19

IRAN: Evin Prison Protesters Receive Suspended Prison Sentences

- An Appeals Court upheld 91-day prison sentences against 18 people who were arrested while peacefully protesting outside Evin Prison in Tehran but suspended most of the sentences for three years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. - 7/7/19

We're Not the Good Guys: Why Is American Aggression Missing in Action?

- Headlined "U.S. Seeks Other Ways to Stop Iran Shy of War," the article was tucked away on page A9 of a recent New York Times. Still, it caught my attention. Here's the first paragraph: "American intelligence and military officers are working on additional clandestine plans to counter Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, pushed by the White House to develop new options that could help deter Tehran without escalating tensions into a full-out conventional war, according to current and former officials." Note that "Iranian aggression." -Tom Engelhardt, Tom Dispatch - 7/4/19

Open Letter by academics and civil society activists to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on significance of return to JCPOA

- Hon. Secretary General, You are well aware that in 2015 with the support of all permanent members of the UNSC (China, France, Russia, UK, and US) plus Germany and Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was drafted, upon which UNSC issued Resolution 2231, replacing all previous UNSC resolutions targeting Iran's nuclear program. - 7/3/19

Arak reactor to resume pre-deal activities if EU fails to meet pledges: Iran's President Rohani

- President Hassan Rohani says Iran's Arak heavy water nuclear reactor - which was agreed to be redesigned under a 2015 nuclear agreement - will resume its previous activities after July 7 if the other signatories to the deal fail to uphold their end of the bargain. Rohani said Iran's decision concerning the reactor could only be reversed "if they (the other signatories) act on all of their commitments concerning the facility." -Press TV - 7/3/19

Iran exported $13B worth of goods and services to Iraq

- Iran has managed to export some $13 billion worth of goods and services to neighboring Iraq in the last Iranian calendar year which ended in March 2019, a business magnate has revealed. Yahya Al Eshaq, who heads the Iran-Iraq Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday that the value of the Iranian export to Iraq increased by 37 percent in the 12-month period. -Press TV - 7/3/19

The JCPOA And Exiting The Iran Crisis

- "No nuclear weapons," declares President Trump, identifying that objective as his top priority regarding Iran. The contradiction with Trump's own policy toward Iran is jarring. The starting point, and a continuing leitmotif, of that policy has been the administration's reneging on, and effort to destroy, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that has the very purpose of preventing an Iranian nuclear weapon and that closed all possible paths to such a weapon. -Paul R. Pillar - 6/28/19

FIFA President Announces Deadline for Iran to Take "Concrete Steps" to Let Women Into Stadiums

- In a letter addressing the chief of the Football Federation of the Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) Mehdi Taj, the president of FIFA announced a July 15, 2019, deadline for Taj to inform him of the "concrete steps" the Iranian government would be taking to lift its ban on women in stadiums by September of this year. -CHRI - 6/27/19

Persian Gulf Escalation Threatens Drinking Water

- The Persian Gulf is one of the most populous and environmentally-sensitive regions in the world. Consequently, it is no surprise that Gulf states are increasingly dependent on desalination for their drinking water. But that dependence carries severe risks in a region as volatile as the Gulf has been, especially in light of recent tensions between the United States and Iran. -Najmedin Meshkati - 6/27/19

Seven Steps For Trump To Get U.S. Out Of The Mess Of His Own Creation

- This time the Islamic Republic of Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps, the IRGC, had no problem admitting, even bragging, about shooting down the most advanced and the most expensive American pilotless drone out of the skies. The ten-miles-high drone was hit by an indigenous surface-to-air missile over what the IRGC insists was Iranian airspace. -Kambiz Zarrabi - 6/26/19

Can International Institutions Stop A U.S.-Iran War?

- The similarities between the run-up to the 2003 invasion of Iraq and today's rhetoric and events triggering Iran-U.S. hostilities are startling. The March 2003 invasion of Iraq, for instance, was premeditated. Preparations for attacking Iraq had been underway for months prior to the actual start of military activities. -Parisa Zangeneh - 6/26/19

Iran Can Do Better Than Counter Pressure With Pressure

- There is a flaw in the Iranian plan to use partial non-implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA)-and maybe eventual withdrawal from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT)-to put pressure on Europe and other U.S. allies to persuade President Donald Trump to lift the economic siege of Iran. It assumes that those allies have greater influence over Trump's decision-making than has been apparent in the past. -Peter Jenkins - 6/25/19

30 Tehran University Academics Call for Release of Detained Iranian Journalist Marzieh Amiri

- Thirty scholars and researchers at the University of Tehran have called for the release of detained reporter Marzieh Amiri in a letter addressing Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mansour Gholami. -CHRI - 6/24/19

Russia Calls New Iran Sanctions 'Unlawful' And 'Deliberate' Escalation By U.S.

- Russian officials continue to criticize U.S. policy towards Iran, especially new sanctions to be announced Monday by Washington. Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov called U.S. sanction "unlawful" Monday, and Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said tightening of sanctions leads to further escalation of tensions. -Radio Farda - 6/24/19

The Fog Of Selling A War

- The "fog of war," about which Carl von Clausewitz wrote, refers to the confusion and lack of knowledge of what an adversary is up to on a chaotic battlefield. Currently, those promoting or welcoming a war with Iran are using a different kind of fog. It should be easier to see through the current war-selling fog than it was to see what was happening on smoke-filled battlefields of Clausewitz's time. -Paul R. Pillar - 6/21/19

Our Man in Tehran

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