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February 27 2015
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Kerry: Netanyahu Misjudging Nuclear Talks with Iran

- Kerry told a congressional hearing that what has been accomplished so far in talks with Tehran has actually made Israel safer by stopping Iran from advancing its nuclear program. He said critics of the ongoing talks with Iran, including Netanyahu, may not know what they are talking about. - 2/26/15

Iran's Intent is the Real Issue, Says Former IAEA Inspector

- Robert Kelley is a licensed nuclear engineer who has worked on many aspects of nuclear weapons and later on nuclear nonproliferation. His personal experiences include weapons simulation testing, plutonium metallurgy, isotope separation and emergency response. -RNN - 2/26/15

Photos: IRGC flexes muscles in Strait of Hormuz

- On Wednesday, the Naval Force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps carried out a new round of exercises dubbed Payambar Azam 9 in the Persian Gulf and the strategic Strait of Hormuz. As the main part of the drills, the naval forces successfully targeted a model U.S. aircraft carrier. - 2/26/15

Nuclear Deal Could Increase Pressure On Rohani

- Nonetheless, even though negotiations are still ongoing and success is far from guaranteed, President Hassan Rohani could come under pressure if his administration succeeds in reaching an enduring agreement that would rein in Tehran's nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/26/15

Activists Ask FIFA to Intervene to End Iran's Ban on Women in Stadiums

- In a letter addressed to the Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA), the Swiss-based organization responsible for administering the World Cup soccer competitions, 190 Iranian activists have asked FIFA to suspend Iran's membership in FIFA, in response to the Iranian government's ban on the presence of Iranian women in soccer stadiums. - 2/26/15

Forget Bibi: Let's Hear More from Our NATO Allies

- As a framework deal for a comprehensive nuclear accord between the P5+1 and Iran becomes more likely by the end of the month, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin ("Bibi") Netanyahu and his U.S. allies are stepping up their efforts to sabotage any agreement through the Republican majority in both houses of Congress. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 2/26/15

Libyan MP Says Iran Should Bolster Role to Stem Chaos

- Days after militants affiliated with the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for a bomb attack on the residence of the Iranian ambassador in Tripoli, a prominent Libyan lawmaker and former rights activist said Iran has taken an ineffective, hands-off approach regarding his country. - 2/26/15

EU Says Iran Nuke Deal 'At Hand'

- The European Union's foreign policy chief has said a nuclear deal with Iran was "at hand," urging different sides to show political will ahead of a new round of talks scheduled in Geneva next week. Federica Mogherini, whose predecessor Catherine Ashton chairs the talks in Geneva, said February 24, "We cannot miss this opportunity." - 2/25/15

Subversive Facebook page wins women's rights prize

- The Geneva Summit for Democracy and Human Rights announced on Monday that Iranian journalist Masih Alinejad, creator of the My Stealthy Freedom Facebook page, is the recipient of its Women's Rights Prize for 2015. - 2/25/15

Iranian Student Who Triggered UMass Dispute Fights to Return

- Lost in the dispute over the University of Massachusetts' controversial restrictions on Iranian students was the woman who inadvertently sparked it all. Until now. Her name is Zahra Khalkhali, and her case has become a cause celebre on UMass' Amherst campus. -NBC News - 2/25/15

MP says sanctions-related cash leaving Iran in suitcases

- A conservative Iranian MP says he has received certain reports that a significant amount of Central Bank foreign currency assets has been taken out of the country in suitcases. He also claimed that the money represents the very assets released as a result of the Geneva agreement. - 2/25/15

The Unwritten American Rules of the Road

- "The sovereign is he who decides on the exception," said conservative thinker Carl Schmitt in 1922, meaning that a nation's leader can defy the law to serve the greater good. Though Schmitt's service as Nazi Germany's chief jurist and his unwavering support for Hitler from the night of the long knives to Kristallnacht and beyond damaged his reputation for decades, today his ideas have achieved unimagined influence. -Alfred W. McCoy, LobeLog - 2/25/15

As Netanyahu Tries to Stop U.S.-Iran Deal, Leaked Cables Show Israeli Spies Reject His Nuke Claims

- In what has been described as the biggest intelligence leak since Edward Snowden, Al Jazeera has begun publishing a series of spy cables from the world's top intelligence agencies. In one cable, the Israeli spy agency Mossad contradicts Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's own dire warnings about Iran's ability to produce a nuclear bomb within one year. -Democracy Now - 2/25/15

US, Iran Report 'Some Progress' at Nuclear Talks

- Both sides described a second day of talks in Geneva between U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as "serious, useful and constructive." But Zarif told Iran's Fars news agency that "there is a long way to reach a final agreement." - 2/24/15

Russia offers Iran latest anti-aircraft missile system

- The head of Russian state defense conglomerate Rostec says Moscow has offered Iran its latest Antey-2500 missile defense systems after a deal to supply less powerful S-300 missiles was scrapped under Western pressure. - 2/24/15

Iran, IAEA to expedite cooperation: Iranian official

- A senior Iranian nuclear negotiator says Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have decided to enhance their cooperation within the framework of the nuclear talks between the Islamic Republic and the P5+1. - 2/24/15

Iranian teachers escalate protests by skipping class

- Teachers in several Iranian cities are refusing to attend classes as they continue to protest the lack of attention to their demands. Zamaneh's own reporting as well as reports on the Melli Mazhabi website indicate that on Sunday February 22, teachers used social media to coordinate a one-day strike across the country. - 2/24/15

Iranophobia Complicates the Fight against ISIS

- As the March deadline for a political framework agreement between the P5+1 and Iran approaches, Iranīs regional rivals have ratcheted up their opposition to a deal. The preferred line of attack now seems to be that the deal will further enhance Iranīs regional influence. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 2/24/15

Leaked cables show Netanyahu's Iran bomb claim contradicted by Mossad

- Binyamin Netanyahu's dramatic declaration to world leaders in 2012 that Iran was about a year away from making a nuclear bomb was contradicted by his own secret service, according to a top-secret Mossad document. -Guardian - 2/24/15

Kerry and Iran's Zarif Hold Nuclear Talks

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have held two hours of talks on Tehran's disputed nuclear program. The meeting on February 22 in Geneva included for the first time U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz and Iran's nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi. - 2/23/15

Maz Jobrani: I'm Not a Terrorist but I Played One on TV

- World-renowned comedian and actor, Maz Jobrani, explains what it's like to be an Iranian American in Hollywood in his new book, "I'm Not a Terrorist, But I've Played One on TV." Following the book release earlier this week, Jobrani set out on a comedy tour explaining how he overcame Hollywood stereotypes and forged a path to stardom in an industry that only saw him as the perfect TV terrorist. - 2/23/15

Iran's Interior Minister warns of illegal drug profits financing election campaigns

- Iran's Interior Minister says "dirty money from drug trafficking" in Iran now amounts to 10 trillion toumans a year, some of which has been finding its way into "elections and the securing of votes" to influence the country's politics. - 2/23/15

IS Claims Attack on Iran Ambassador's Residence in Libya

- Militants loyal to the Islamic State group claimed responsibility for bombing the empty residence of Iran's ambassador to Libya. No one was injured Sunday in the central Tripoli attack. - 2/23/15

Iranians Wait And Wonder If A New Dawn Is Coming

- When we walked into a shopping mall in Tehran, Pooya Shahsiah was waiting for us at the top of the escalator. She's the co-owner of a trendy little shop on the second floor that sells shirts, scarves, cups and jewelry. Cloth hangs along the walls in reds and yellows and blues. -Steve Inskeep, NPR - 2/23/15

'Significant Gaps' Exist in Iran Nuclear Talks, Kerry Says

- There are still "significant gaps" in negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said Saturday in London ahead of Sunday talks in Geneva with Iranian officials. "There is still a distance to travel," he said, adding that if an agreement is not reached by the March 31 deadline, the talks will not be extended. - 2/22/15

Iran Seeking Role In Selling Gas To Europe

- Russia, beware, Iran is trying to get into the European gas market. In recent months, Iranian officials have been signaling to potential customers in Europe, potential suppliers in the Caspian Basin, and transit country Turkey that Iran is not only ready to get into the game but that without Iranian participation the European Union's Southern Gas Corridor will take many years to realize, or might never be realized. -Bruce Pannier, RFE - 2/22/15

Award-winning Taxi filmmaker on art and politics in Iran

- Jafar Panahi, the winner of this year's Berlinale Golden Bear prize, responded to statements from the head of Iran's Cinema Organization about the "political" nature of Panahi's recognition by the film festival, saying that "for many years the art scene [in Iran] has been haunted by the footsteps of politics". - 2/21/15

Reading the Runes in the Latest Report on Iran's Nuclear Program

- The latest report from the International Atomic Energy Agency on Iran's nuclear program contains much that is worth emphasizing. Iran is continuing to account for all its declared nuclear material (and the agency appears to have no reason to suspect the existence of undeclared nuclear material). Iran is also continuing to comply fully with the commitments it made to the United States and others on November 24, 2013 and which it has renewed since. -Peter Jenkins - 2/21/15

Hardline Iranian Judge Blocks Lawyer Chosen to Represent Washington Post Journalist

- An Iranian lawyer trying to represent a detained Washington Post journalist is not being allowed to see his prospective client, he says. Masoud Shafii said he has been trying to see Jason Rezaian, but he has been stymied by the judge assigned to preside over the case. Rezaian, a dual citizen of Iran and the U.S., has been held in Tehran's notorious Evin prison for seven months. - 2/21/15

Iran and U.S. resume nuclear talks in Geneva

- Iran and the United States restarted intensive nuclear talks in Geneva on Friday with the aim of narrowing remaining gaps in the run up for a political agreement by the end of March and a final nuclear deal by July 1. - 2/21/15

Iranian Parliament rejects $22-million budget for environment protection

- In its study of the next year's national budget bill (March 5015-March 2016), Majlis on Wednesday refused to pass a $22 million bill intended to fund projects to protect environment. The fund reportedly sought to battle environmental issues, especially dust storms that have recently crippled the country's western parts - 2/21/15

NIAC Runs Full Page NY Times Ad on Netanyahu Visit

- Today (Thursday, February 19th, 2015), the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is running a full-page ad in the New York Times highlighting John Boehner and Benjamin Netanyahu's outrageous political stunt that could kill diplomacy with Iran and start a war. - 2/20/15

Iranians Take To Social Media To Challenge Media Ban On Ex-President Khatami

- Some Iranians are protesting against a state media ban on former President Mohammad Khatami by posting his pictures on social media under the hashtag "We will be Khatami's media" -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/20/15

'You Are Invited': Isolated Iran Seeks Foreign Tourists

- Two events last week suggested the conflicting currents in Iran. The country marked the anniversary of its revolution last Wednesday with the usual slogan, "Death to America." The following day, Iran opened an international tourism exhibition with a different slogan: "You are invited." -Steve Inskeep, NPR - 2/20/15

Power Players: Meet Iran's first woman vice president

- As the first female vice president of Iran and the head of Iran's Environmental Protection Organization, Masoumeh Ebtekar may be the most powerful woman in Iran. But long before her current role, Americans came to know Ebtekar in 1979 as "Mary,"... -ABC News - 2/20/15

Good Reads on Bibi-Boehner, P5+1 Progress

- For those who want to keep up with the Bibi-Boehner fiasco and prospects for an agreement between the P5+1 and Iran by the end of March, there has been some good reading material published on the Web in the last few days. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 2/20/15

U.S. University Reverses Ban On Iranian Science Students

- The University of Massachusetts at Amherst says it will accept Iranian students into its science and engineering programs. The university said in a February 18 statement that it will develop individualized study plans to meet the requirements of a U.S. sanctions law. - 2/19/15

Iranians Anxious about Nuclear Talks

- With the March 24 deadline approaching for a political agreement between Iran and the P5+1 (the permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany), one aspect of this ongoing political issue is often neglected: the humanitarian dimension. -Adnan Tabatabai - 2/19/15

Iran: Supreme Leader casts doubt on lifting of sanctions

- In a speech on Wednesday February 18, Ayatollah Khamenei said: "The enemy is taking maximum advantage of its sanctions tactic. They are trying to stop the people. I believe that even if the nuclear issues proceed as they dictate, sanctions will not be lifted because they are against the principle of the Revolution." - 2/19/15

US Keeping Some Details of Iran Nuclear Talks From Israel

- The United States said Wednesday it has been withholding some details of nuclear talks with Iran from Israel to prevent those details from possibly being made public and distorted. - 2/19/15

Iran's Jews: It's Our Home And We Plan To Stay

- Iran is a country where people at rallies routinely chant "Death to Israel." It's also home to the largest Jewish population in the Middle East outside of Israel and Turkey. Iran's Jewish population topped 100,000 in the years before the shah of Iran was toppled in 1979 by the country's Shiite Muslim clerics. Today, the number of Jews has dipped to below 9,000. -Steve Inskeep, NPR - 2/19/15

The Middle East and China

- he Middle East is where Africa, Asia, and Europe come together and where the trade routes between China, India, and Europe converge. It has two-thirds of the world's energy reserves. It is also the epicenter of this planet's increasing religious strife. Relationships between this strategically crucial region and the rest of the world are now undergoing a sea change. -Chas W. Freeman, LobeLog - 2/19/15

CNN/ORC poll: Majority of Americans oppose Netanyahu invite

- A large majority of Americans believe that Republican congressional leaders should not have invited Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to Congress without consulting the White House, according to a new CNN/ORC survey. -CNN - 2/19/15

Some Questions Worth Asking

- ISIS, ISIL or actually DA'ESH, and its self-appointed associates have been hitting Western European targets as of late, killing some half-dozen Jewish people among others. The terrorist group is also responsible for the decapitation of journalists and innocent aid workers, as well as the wholesale massacre of thousands of Moslems and non- Moslems, including several dozen Christians. -Kam Zarrabi - 2/18/15

Photos: Iran displays manned spacecraft prototype

- In a ceremony on Tuesday Iran unveiled a mock prototype of its first domestically manufactured spacecraft that is capable of taking astronauts into space. The spaceship, built on a one-to-one scale, was put on display in an exhibition on Iran's latest achievements in space industry. - 2/18/15

Opinion: Effort to Thwart Iran Deal Won't Have Intended Effect

- Friction between the United States and Israel is not uncommon. On issues ranging from the 1956 Suez war to the expansion of settlements in the occupied West Bank, the leaders of the U.S. and Israel have often clashed in ways that reflected different perceptions of their national interests. Still, there is something particularly disturbing and counterproductive about the current disagreement over Iran. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 2/18/15

Iran's Judiciary Chief Defends Opposition House Arrests As Legal

- The head of Iran's Judiciary says there is no legal obstacle to the house arrest of the leaders of the Green Movement according to the country's laws. Speaking at a conference commemorating two martyrs, Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani slammed recent U.S. statements about the house arrest of Mehdi Karroubi, MirHosein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard as interference in the country's internal affairs. - 2/18/15

Relations of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan: Potential friends and enemies

- Islamic Republic of Iran and the Republic of Azerbaijan may seem as potential close allies or at least two neighboring countries with very good relations. The two countries have land, river and sea borders. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 2/18/15

Opening a Southern Front in the Hezbollah-Israel Conflict?

- If what now in retrospect seems like a harbinger of the "War of the Syrian South," an exception to this pattern was established January 18 when Israel's air force attacked an IRL convoy in the Quneitra region near the Golan on the Syrian side of the border. Six fighters were killed, including a general in Iran's Revolutionary Guard. -Aurelie Daher, LobeLog - 2/18/15

Omid Kokabee, in Letter from Evin Prison in Tehran, Accepts Prestigious Science Award

- An acceptance speech by Omid Kokabee, written from his Evin prison cell in Iran, was delivered at the Award Ceremony for the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS) 2014 Freedom and Responsibly Award on February 13. - 2/17/15

Iran: Journalists Association Wary Of Government Interference

- The Association of Iranian Journalists has issued a statement warning against efforts by the Ministry of Labour to establish a larger, all-encompassing organization to replace the existing association. - 2/17/15

Rohani's administration seems to back down on women's right to sing

- The Ministry of Culture appears to have caved in to pressure from Islamic Republic hardliners regarding women singing in public, as a recent report indicates that the female singer scheduled to perform in the opening of Fajr Music Festival did not perform. - 2/17/15

Iran's Green Movement Leaders in Limbo After 4 Years of House Arrest

- Even though the unlawful house arrests of the leaders of the Green Movement and the denial of their basic rights continues for years no official agency or institution has been identified to be responsible for this situation. Many believe that the national security council is responsible while there are those who argue that ayatollah Khamenei is the cause and continuation of the arrests. -Behrooz Samadbeygi - 2/17/15

Iranian Media Told, Again, Not to Mention Ex-President Khatami

- The spokesman for Iran's judiciary has confirmed that Iranian media remain banned from mentioning former reformist President Mohammad Khatami and publishing his comments, statements, and pictures. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/17/15

EU Realignment on Saudi Arabia and Iran?

- In a rare move, the European Parliament (EP) recently adopted a strongly worded resolution condemning human rights abuses in Saudi Arabia by a vote of 460 to 153. This unprecedented criticism of Saudi Arabia, officially an "ally," by a EU institution contrasts with the relatively milder treatment accorded to Iran, an official "foe" and Saudi Arabia's regional antagonist. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog - 2/17/15

Iran's Neoliberal Austerity-Security Budget

- President Hassan Rouhani submitted Iran's 1394 (the Persian New Year begins on 21 March 2015) Budget Bill to the Iranian Parliament this last December. The budget was put together before the sharp fall in oil prices and before the nuclear negotiations failed to reach the expected "comprehensive" deal on November 24, 2014. -Hooshang Amirahmadi - 2/16/15

Chinese Foreign Minister Pushes Iran On Nuclear Deal

- Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said during a trip to Tehran on February 15 that striking a deal in talks with the United States, China, France, Russia, Germany, and Britain would allow Iran to uphold its "legal rights" to use nuclear power and shed international economic sanctions, allowing Iranians to "energetically develop the economy." - 2/16/15

President Rouhani condemns killing of 3 Muslim students in North Carolina

- "The brutal crime of the killing of three young Muslim students in the United States of America is a deplorable act and another manifestation of the serious danger of the spread of violence and extremism in our time," Rouhani said on Sunday. - 2/16/15

Iranian government allots money to encourage birth of more children

- Iranian Ministry of Health has announced a budget of 400 billion toumans to promote childbearing and increase the national fertility rate. A ministry spokesman told IRNA that the budget will be targeted toward "infertility treatments, providing insurance for infertility treatment drugs and reducing their costs". - 2/16/15

Former Iranian VP begins serving sentence for corruption

- Former vice president Mohammadreza Rahimi has been taken to Evin Prison to serve out his five-year sentence for corruption charges. In an open letter, Rahimi called himself a victim of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's stubbornness. - 2/16/15

Iran forbids involvement of armed forces in elections

- "Members of armed forces, including army, Sepah [the IRGC], the law enforcement, Basij [volunteer forces], and security and intelligence systems, are not allowed to participate in political fronts or support any certain nominees in elections," the council said on Saturday, according to IRNA. - 2/16/15

Iran's Supreme Leader sends new letter to Obama: Wall Street Journal

- According to the WSJ, Ayatollah Khamenei wrote to Obama in recent weeks in response to an October presidential letter that raised the possibility of U.S.-Iranian cooperation in fighting the so-called Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) if a nuclear deal is secured. An Iranian diplomat told the paper that the Supreme Leader's response was "respectful" but noncommittal. - 2/15/15

Iran Weekend Update

- If you want to keep up with legislative and other Washington-based developments regarding Iran, including Bibi Netanyahu's forthcoming visit here, there are a number of documents and websites that should bring you up to date. Below you will find excerpts I've lifted from the latest Legislative Round-Up, the indispensable weekly by Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now (APN). -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 2/15/15

Being Realistic about Nuclear Proliferation

- Earlier this week, after a closed hite House briefing on Iran, Senator Bob Corker (R-TN) said: "Instead of preventing proliferation, we are managing proliferation. If we enter a new world order where we are going to manage proliferation.... that is a different and far more challenging world." -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 2/14/15

PAAIA Voices Concern Over UMass Amherst's Proposed Policy on Iranian Students

- In a recent statement, University of Massachusetts Amherst announced they will no longer accept Iranian nationals to their engineering and natural sciences programs due to their concerns in complying with the Iran Threat Reductions and Syria Human Rights Act of 2012. PAAIA is concerned that UMass Amherst's potential broad interpretation of the law will negatively impact Iranian students during the admissions process and could lead to similar policy decisions by other U.S. universities. - 2/14/15

Hardline Stance on Iran Nuclear Deadline Could Be Pressure Tactic

- As the March 24 deadline nears for Iran nuclear negotiators to agree on the fundamental structure of a final deal, both the U.S. and Iran increasingly have been vocal in saying they do not favor another overall extension in negotiations. There is debate, however, over whether the U.S. and Iran are actually taking more hard-line positions over the final July deadline or if they are trying to use their public assertions to pressure the other side. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 2/14/15

Iranian Vice President Shahindokht Molaverdi Meets Pope

- Iranian Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Shahindokht Molaverdi met with Pope Francis on Thursday. In the meeting, the Pope stressed the need for inter-religion cooperation and said that freedom of expression does not justify insulting religious sanctities, referring to terrorist acts carried out in the name of religion. - 2/14/15

Revolutionary Guard Commander Says Iran Helped Defeat IS In Iraq

- A Revolutionary Guard commander says Iran has helped defeat the Islamic State group in Iraq. "When Islamic State emerged in Iraq, no country offered assistance to destroy it," General Mohammad Ali Jafari said on February 14. "But Iran rushed to help the Iraqi nation to annihilate Islamic State." - 2/14/15

The Islamic State Unites the World

- During the Cold War, science fiction writers and politicians like Ronald Reagan imagined that the threat of an invasion from outer space could break down ideological barriers and unify the world. The arrival of giant bug-eyed creatures bent on death and destruction would prompt world leaders to set aside their petty rivalries for the higher purpose of saving the planet. - John Feffer, LobeLog - 2/14/15

NIAC Concerned by University's Exclusion of Iranian Students, Calls for Reversal

- The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) has learned that the University of Massachusetts Amherst will no longer admit Iranian nationals as students in certain engineering and science programs and will require all Iranian students to certify their compliance with certain sanctions. NIAC is deeply concerned by the University of Massachusetts Amherst's action and calls on the University to reverse its decision. - 2/13/15

Iranian Commander Says IS Group 'Nearing' Demise

- The head of Iran's powerful Quds Force has been quoted as saying the Islamic State (IS) group is nearing its demise. General Qassem Suleimani was quoted by Fars news agency as saying in a ceremony on February 11, "Considering the heavy defeats suffered by [IS militants] and other terrorist groups in Iraq and Syria, we are certain these groups are nearing the end of their lives." - 2/13/15

Iranian Judiciary urged to let jailed journalist get medical care

- Ninety-six social and political activists have issued a letter urging the Islamic Republic judiciary to take the necessary steps for the release of jailed journalist Saeed Razavi Faqih. The letter highlights Razavi Faqih's need for immediate medical care and reminds the judiciary of its responsibility for his health and safety. - 2/13/15

Tell Congress: Don't Attend Netanyahu's Speech

- Congressional hawks have invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to Congress to directly challenge President Obama's diplomacy with Iran and promote sanctions that could start a war. - 2/13/15

Iranian translator of Blue Is the Warmest Colour 'declared persona non grata'

- Sepideh Jodeyri, who translated Julie Maroh's 2010 graphic novel about a lesbian romance into Persian, has spoken out after her book launch in Tehran was cancelled -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 2/13/15

Lest We Forget: Bibi's "Wisdom" on Iraq

- Republican members of Congress say they are eagerly waiting to hear directly from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu on why the nuclear deal being negotiated between the United States and its P5+1 partners (including its three closest NATO allies) and Iran is so dangerous...Which, of course, brings to mind once again Netanyahu's demonstrated regional expertise in his enthusiastic promotion of the invasion of Iraq...-Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 2/13/15
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