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September 02 2014
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Iran's President Tells Clerics Internet Vital

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani said Iran "cannot close the gates of the world for the younger generation." Iranian President Hassan Rohani has urged the country's clerics to be more tolerant of the Internet and new technologies. - 9/2/14

An American Jailes in Iran: Hekmati Family Hopes for His Release, Three Years after Arrest

- Three years after his arrest in Tehran, US-born Amir Mirzaei Hekmati remains in prison. His family continues to hope that he will be released in time to see his father, who suffers from a terminal illness in the US. Hekmati's earlier charges of espionage have been changed to "cooperating with a hostile government," and his death sentence has been overturned, according to his lawyer, Seyed Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaee. - 9/2/14

Iran Foreign Minister 'Optimistic' About Nuclear Talks

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says he is "quite optimistic" that a dispute over Tehran's nuclear program can be resolved by a November 24 deadline. Zarif on Monday held what he described as "good'' talks with European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Brussels. He also held separate talks with Belgian Foreign Minister Didier Reynders. - 9/2/14

Incoming EU chief diplomat upbeat on prospects for Iran nuclear deal

- Italian Foreign Minister Federica Mogherini, who has recently been appointed by the European Council to replace the UK's Catherine Ashton as the European Union foreign policy chief, says she is optimistic that Iran and the six major powers will strike a final nuclear deal soon. - 9/2/14

Former Iranian Oil Minister Summoned Over "Unhealthy Gasoline"

- Massoud MirKazemi, who was oil minister from 2009 to 2011, is being accused of "acting against public health and well-being." The report indicates that representatives from the Ministry of Health and the Department of the Environment have been enlisted to investigate the charge. - 9/2/14

New Sanctions Threaten Iran Nuclear Deal

- On Aug. 29 the US Treasury added 28 Iranian individuals and entities to its ever-expanding sanctions list. Expectedly, Tehran denounced the decision. "They are in conflict with the spirit of talks. They are unconstructive in my opinion," said Iranian President Hassan Rouhani during an Aug. 30 news conference broadcast on State TV. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 9/2/14

Iranian Women's Monthly Under Pressure From Hard-Liners

- A newly launched women's monthly run by a prominent female editor has irked Iranian hard-liners, who have accused her of promoting "obsolete" feminist views and ideas that are un-Islamic. Iran's semi-official Fars news agency reported last week that Shahla Sherkat , editor of "Zanan-e Emruz," will be put on trial by Iran's Press Court on September 7. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 9/1/14

Iran Police Chief Stirs Controversy Over Women Working In Coffee Shops

- Islamic Republic Police Chief Khalil Helali told reporters on Sunday that women are prohibited from working in coffee shops and traditional cafes. Helali's statements are being challenged by legal experts, who maintain that there is no legislation banning women from employment in coffee shops. - 9/1/14

Iranian activist lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh wins right to resume her law practice

- Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh says an order issued by the Solicitors Disciplinary Tribunal gives her permission to resume practicing law. Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested in 2010 and sentenced to a 20-year ban from practicing law. - 9/1/14

Is the lack of clarity about the Iran-Russia oil-for-goods deal intentional?

- Nader Habibi unpacks the possible motivations for the mixed signals from Moscow and Tehran regarding a proposed oil-for-goods deal between the two countries. Both countries, he argues, face domestic opposition to the deal but want to maintain the possibility of a deal as a hedge against tightening Western sanctions. -Iran Matters - 9/1/14

Who is failing Iran's forests, Environment Department or Parliament?

- This spring flames of fire soared higher than ever in the forests and rangeland of Iran. Golestan National Park caught fire a number of times burning down or severely damaging over 1000 hectares of the trees. The situation begs the question who is responsible for putting out and preventing these raging flames? - 8/31/14

Saudi-Iran Meeting Could Boost Fight Against Islamic State

- The fact that the Iranians and Saudis are talking again does not guarantee a breakthrough against Islamic State fighters, but could make it easier to build a broad coalition against the group and facilitate efforts to form a more inclusive government in Iraq and potentially, Syria. -Barbara Slavin - 8/31/14

Minister of Economy touts Iran's economic turnaround

- The Iranian economy has faced serious decline due to changes in government subsidies, the rise in inflation and widespread international sanctions. Previous reports regarding inflation indicated that after reaching rates of 40 percent, the inflation rate is now in a downward trend and closer to 23.2 percent. - 8/31/14

Nuclear Talks: Crisis Group Points the Way

- The talks to resolve concern about Iran's nuclear program will resume in early September. The negotiators will have had time to read and reflect on a well-informed and wise report that the International Crisis Group (ICG) published this week. Let us hope they will have done so. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog - 8/31/14

New U.S. sanctions run contrary to Joint Plan of Action: Iran

- The Iranian Foreign Ministry issued a statement on Saturday stating that the new U.S. sanctions run contrary to the Joint Plan of Action and the current process of nuclear talks. Iran rejects any "unacceptable and unilateral interpretation" of the Geneva nuclear deal and strongly believes that the sanctions violate the commitment of the United States made in the deal, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said stated. - 8/31/14

Elusive Deal With Iran Could Yield Foreign Policy Legacy for Obama

- A 15-minute phone call made just under a year ago may be what historians say set the stage for a landmark nuclear agreement with Iran - if one is achieved by a November 24 deadline. The call between Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani marked the first direct contact between the United States and Iran since 1979. -Catherine Maddux, VOA - 8/31/14

Iran Didn't Create ISIS; We Did

- The Baroness Turner of Camden recently argued in The Diplomat that Iran is the "major driving force" in Iraq's civil war, and furthermore, that Iran is "central to the broader conflict that has seemingly put the entire Middle East beyond hope of stability." -Ben Reynolds, The Diplomat - 8/31/14

President Rohani Condemns 'Oppressive' New Sanctions Imposed by U.S. Against Iran

- The United States has announced newly imposed sanctions against more than 25 Iranian entities and individuals that Washington accuses of a range of transgressions. Iranian President Hassan Rohani has condemned the latest round of Western sanctions against the Islamic republic. Rohani, in an address on August 30, called the sanctions an "oppression." - 8/30/14

Iranian Director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad Criticizes West's Sanctions On Iran At Venice Film Festival

- Acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Rakhshan Bani-Etemad criticized the U.S. and EU sanctions against Iran during a press conference for her latest film "Tales" at the 71st International Venice Film Festival on Thursday. She said that the embargos "actually penalized the people in the country," AP reported. - 8/30/14

Iran Bolsters Surveillance of Phones, Internet

- One year after Iranian President Hassan Rouhani assumed the office of President, the regime in Tehran is apparently stepping up surveillance of its citizens' online and telephone activities, threatening some with punishment for "seditious" activities. -Doug Bernard, VOA - 8/30/14

Iran calls on Russia to help end nuclear talks

- Iran's foreign minister and chief nuclear negotiator says Iran hopes to bring the nuclear negotiations to completion "with assistance from its Russian friends." Mohammad Javad Zarif held a joint conference with his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on Friday August 29 to point out Russia's cooperation in Iran's peaceful nuclear program, saying Russia is well aware of the "importance of Iran's peaceful nuclear activities." - 8/30/14

Football: Coach Queiroz leaves Iran without signing

- The Portuguese coach Carlos Queiroz whose visa was due to expire, flew to Dubai on Friday morning without signing an extension to his contract as the head coach of the Iranian national football team. Abbas Torabian the supervisor of Iran's national football team believes he will return to Iran to continue with the negotiations. - 8/30/14

Persian paranoia: America's fear of Iranian cyber power

- Rather than large, singular groups of digital spies, Iran has quietly built up a secret, disparate army of "mercenaries", each separate from one another but with similar aims, according to the authors of the report, which will be published soon by Silicon Valley security company Norse. -Tom Brewster, Guardian - 8/30/14

To Defeat Terror, We Need the World's Help

- In a polarized region and a complicated world, the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria presents a unifying threat to a broad array of countries, including the United States. What's needed to confront its nihilistic vision and genocidal agenda is a global coalition... -John Kerry, NY Times - 8/30/14

Iranian Culture Minister Next Target For Removal

- The Shargh daily reported on Thursday August 28 that critics of the Culture Minister have raised the issues of film censorship and women singing in concerts, and the minister is now charged with submitting a report to Parliament. - 8/29/14

US Grants Intelsat, Eutelsat New Waivers for Iran Channels

- The U.S. government has authorized European satellite providers Intelsat and Eutelsat Communications an additional six-month waiver to broadcast Iranian programming after U.S. and European authorities had banned them from working with state-run Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. -Mark Snowiss, VOA - 8/29/14

Head Of Iranian Judiciary Warns President Rohani About "Seculars"

- The head of the Iranian judiciary, Ayatollah Amoli Larijani, urged President Rohani in a public speech to refrain from appointing "seculars" to his administration and those who do not agree with the main tenets of the constitution. - 8/29/14

Five Thousand Iranian Mine Workers Strike in Protest against Arrest of Strikers

- In an increasingly tense and prolonged stand-off between striking miners, the Bafgh Iron Ore Mines, and judicial officials, which originally began in May 2014 over plans to privatize the mine, a new round of strikes at the mines began on August 19 over the arrests of some of the strikers, reportedly involving some 5000 miners... - 8/29/14

Friends of Israel

- The lobbying group AIPAC has consistently fought the Obama Administration on policy. Is it now losing influence? -Connie Bruck, New Yorker - 8/29/14

Yemen's President Blames Iran for Inciting Conflict

- Yemen's President Abd Rabbo Mansour Hadi is blaming Iran for inciting the conflict. He claimed in a statement that Iran was trying to "trade Sana'a for the Syrian capital, Damascus," a reference to Iranian support for Syria's Bashar al-Assad in the Syrian civil war. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 8/29/14

Is nonprofit "United Against Nuclear Iran" a Mossad front?

- On July 19, 2013 Greek shipping magnate Victor Restis sued the U.S. based nonprofit American Coalition Against Nuclear Iran Inc. which is more popularly known as United Against Nuclear Iran. -Grant F. Smith, IRMEP - 8/29/14

Families of striking Iranian miners angered by bail

- While the court has issued bail for workers detained during the labour protests in Bafgh, their families protest that the accused "have not committed any crime and should not be required to put up bail for their release." - 8/28/14

Senior Iranian Ayatollah Says High-Speed Mobile Internet Is Un-Islamic

- "un-Islamic" and violate "human and moral norms". Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said Iranian authorities should introduce measures that would prevent access to the "negative features" of high-speed mobile Internet and 3G services before making them widely available. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 8/28/14

Caspian Summit will not solve the issue of Caspian Legal regime

- The 4th Summit meeting of the Caspian littoral states (Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan Republic and Turkmenistan) is going to be held in September 2014 in Russia. The main subject in the agenda of this meeting is review of the latest draft treaty on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea. However, it seems the summit will not solve the issue of Caspian Legal regime and it will be dominated by other issues. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 8/28/14

Tehran police renew satellite crackdown

- Tehran police have once again started a campaign of confiscating satellite dishes from people's homes. The Etemad daily reported on Thursday that some people have described officers arriving at residential buildings with warrants to enter and confiscate satellite dishes. - 8/28/14

Iran Claims Israeli Drone Was Launched From Ex-Soviet Republic

- An Iranian military official says that an alleged Israeli drone shot down close to the Natanz nuclear facility was launched from a former Soviet republic to the north of Iran. In Baku, officials have denied a report alleging that the drone was launched from Azerbaijan's territory. - 8/28/14

The Middle East's Unfinished Wars

- The predictions of doom in the Middle East that are dominating thinking in the foreign policy commentariat of Washington and other capitals over the spread of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could use a little perspective. -James A. Russell - 8/27/14

Iran Says Modifying Arak Reactor To Ease Western Concerns

- Iranian media say Tehran has started to modify its Arak heavy water reactor and limit plutonium output to allay Western concerns that the Islamic republic could be seeking nuclear weapons capability. - 8/27/14

Tehran mayor distances himself from gender segregation plan

- Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who has stirred controversy with his plan to segregate male and female public servants, declared on Tuesday that he is in essence against gender segregation. - 8/27/14

Extremist Iranian group can't patrol without permits

- Iran's interior minister says that Hezbollah motorcycle patrols must attain legal permits before they can carry out any patrolling duties. Khabaronline reports that Minister Rahmani Fazli told a press conference on Tuesday August 26 that the activities of Ansar-e Hezbollah, including their motorcycle patrols, cannot be allowed without the appropriate legal permits. - 8/27/14

US Coast Guard Craft Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Dhow

- A U.S. Coast Guard vessel operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf fired today on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive move after the crew of the Iranian vessel turned a machine gun on the Americans with hostile intent. -U.S. Department of Defense - 8/27/14

Iran Speaks More Softly But Keeps Building Bigger Sticks

- "Iran's military strategy is defensive" and designed to "deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor and force a diplomatic solution" while avoiding major concessions, says the unclassified executive summary of a congressionally mandated Pentagon report submitted to lawmakers on July 7. -Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg - 8/27/14

Iranian Minister: Saudi Talks 'Constructive'

- Iran's deputy foreign minister said he held "positive and constructive" talks with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday where Islamist militancy in Iraq -- which both countries view as a threat -- was one of the topics discussed. -Reuters - 8/27/14

Iran 'Provided' Weapons To Iraqi Kurdish Forces To Fight IS

- The Iraqi Kurdish leader says Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to Iraqi Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State (IS) militants. Masud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, made the comment during a joint news conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 26. - 8/26/14

Israel's "Qualitative Military Edge": Blank Checks, No Balance?

- This month the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration had slowed the shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel after it bombed a UN school in Gaza on Aug. 3 with the US-made weapon. The White House has insisted that weapons transfers to Israel have not been suspended or halted, and that the administration is only "taking extra care to look at these shipments." -Marsha B. Cohen - 8/26/14

Will Rouhani's Iran economic stimulus package work?

- In mid-July, nearly a year after President Hassan Rouhani took office, his administration introduced a package of economic reforms with the objective of moving the economy out of stagflation. The so-called stimulus package has tried to address key challenges in the Iranian economy... -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor - 8/26/14

Iran: Students must repay illegally granted bursaries

- Iran's Minister of Justice has announced that students who received bursaries illegally will have to pay for the costs of their studies. IRNA reports that Mostafa PourMohammadi was addressing the controversial issue of bursaries that were illegally granted to ineligible students under the former administration when he said: "A committee has been established to handle the irregularities." - 8/26/14

Drone downed in Iran was not launched from Israel

- One day after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that it had downed an Israeli drone, the IRGC reported that the operation range of the drone indicates that it did not come from Israel but rather was launched from one of the countries in the region. - 8/26/14

How to Ensure a Thriving Caliphate

- Think of the new "caliphate" of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its rise, for the fact that the outlines of the Middle East, as set up by Europe's colonial powers in the wake of World War I, are being swept aside in a tide of blood. -Patrick Cockburn, Tom Dispatch - 8/26/14

U.S. and Iran Hit ISIS, Ignore Each Other

- With ISIS over-running Syrian bases, the time might seem right for a grand alliance against the Islamic State. But so far, the U.S. isn't talking to Iran or Syria's armies. -Daily Beast - 8/26/14

Iran releases pictures of downed Israeli 'Hermes' drone

- The Israeli spy drone shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is an Israeli-made Hermes drone, says an Iranian commander. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can operate within a radius of 800 kilometers and is capable of flying 1,600 kilometers without refueling, said Commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh on Monday. - 8/25/14

Obama Mulling Broader Strikes Against ISIS?

- This week's video-taped beheading of a U.S. journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has spurred renewed calls for President Barack Obama to broaden Washington's military efforts to strike the terrorist group, including in Syria. -Jim Lobe - 8/25/14

Iranian FM visits Baghdad, says Iran fully backs new Iraqi PM

- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated Tehran's position that Iran fully supports new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In a meeting with al-Abadi in Baghdad on Sunday, Zarif also said Iran attaches great value to the Iraqi people's choice of prime minister. - 8/25/14

Political Prisoners at Evin Transferred into Quarantine without Explanation

- Twenty-seven political prisoners have been transferred from Evin Prison's Ward 350 to quarantine, where they are now being held in conditions tantamount to clear and serious ill treatment. - 8/23/14

Iran Politics: Central Contradiction Remains

- A vote in Iran's parliament on Wednesday resulted in the dismissal of President Rouhani's minister of science. The vote was a shock but also an important message: the main contradiction in Iran remains between the hardliners and supporters of democracy. -Morteza Kazemian - 8/23/14

Learn about the role of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran

- Dr. Ahmed Shaheed is the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. How do UN human rights mechanisms encourage all countries, including Iran, to uphold human rights? - 8/23/14

Iran: Riot police arrest protesting mine workers

- Riot police were deployed at the Bafgh Iron Ore Mine on Wednesday August 20 in response to miner protests. According to ILNA, one of the protesting workers reported that police tried to break up the demonstrations and arrested 16 workers. - 8/23/14

A Ministerial Impeachment in Tehran

- After a year of relative political calm, initiated by the presidential election of Hassan Rouhani, and their seeming marginalization, the hard-line MPs close to the Steadfastness Front, estimated at no more than 50, were able to break the ranks of conservatives and draw enough support from the caucus that supported Ali Larijani's speakership to remove Faraji-Dana, the minister deemed closest to the reformists and largely supported by the university students and faculty. -Farideh Farhi - 8/22/14

Female Iranian-American photojournalist freed on bail

- The Washington Post reports that its female photojournalist who was detained by Iranian authorities a month ago has now been released on bail. The daily has refrained from releasing the name of the photojournalist upon the request of her family; however, it has indicated that she holds dual Iranian-U.S. citizenship. - 8/22/14

Israeli Democracy Evaporates While Gaza Burns

- The wanton destruction Israel is wreaking in Gaza right now, its blatant declarations that it will never relinquish control of most of the West Bank, and its adamant refusal to recognize that Palestinians, whether citizens or not, are entitled to the same basic human, civil and, yes, national rights as anyone else, all make outside interference imperative. -Mitchell Plitnick - 8/22/14

Iranian quake victims demand help from visiting minister

- Victims of the recent earthquake in the Mormori region of Ilam Province protested during the visit of the Minister of Roads and Urban Development and demanded the provision of aid and resources needed to overcome their ordeal. - 8/21/14

Report details century of fatal air accidents in Iran

- Iran's Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development reported on Wednesday August 20 that the average age of the Iranian air fleet exceeds 20 years, and in the past 100 years to date, two thousand Iranian have died in air accidents. - 8/21/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament

- Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. - 8/21/14

France Wants Arabs, Iran, UN Security Council to Tackle Islamic State

- France said on Wednesday it wanted the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and regional countries, including Arab states and Iran, to coordinate action against the militant group Islamic State, the insurgents who control parts of Iraq and Syria. -VOA - 8/21/14

New Iranian Science Minister named following impeachment

- President Hassan Rohani appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi to replace Reza Farajidana at the helm of the Ministry of Science and Technology today, after Parliament voted to impeach Farajidana. - 8/21/14

Jailed Iranian journalist out on bail after two months

- Jailed Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been released on bail after two months in custody. Azarpeyk's lawyer told ISNA that Azarpeyk's family posted bail of 200 million toumans for her release, which occurred at 2 PM. Azarpeyk was arrested in May and charged with propaganda activities against the regime. - 8/21/14

Policy Memo: New Senate Bills Concerning Iran Nuclear Negotiations

- In the last week of July, three separate pieces of legislation were introduced in the Senate that, if passed, would have a significant impact on nuclear negotiations with Iran. -Tyler Cullis and Jamal Abdi, NIAC - 8/21/14

Warplanes: Joint U.S.-Iran Operations Over Iraq

- Without getting too chummy the U.S. and Iran have been trying to work out some rules for each other's use of UAVs now operating over Iraq. Iranian UAVs have been seen flying over Iraq since late June, apparently with the approval of the Iraqi government (and quiet assent of the Americans, who already had F-16s and UAVs over Iraq). -Strategy Page - 8/21/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament

- Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. - 8/20/14

Public Offers Support for Obama's Iraq Intervention

- Despite rising criticism of his foreign policy - even from his former secretary of state - President Barack Obama's decision last week to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq enjoys relatively strong public support, at least so far. -Jim Lobe - 8/20/14

Paying the price for sanctions: The customers with Iranian links being ditched by British banks

- HSBC and others deny discrimination, but have hefty fines led to some banks being far too cautious? -Maria Tadeo, Independent - 8/20/14

Maliki is Gone: Now What?

- Nouri al-Maliki is no longer Iraq's prime minister, but his departure does not mean that Iraq's problems will be resolved easily or soon. A basic change must first occur in Iraq's domestic politics, the power struggles within its different ethnic and sectarian components, and the behavior of regional and international actors towards Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter - 8/19/14

Final deal possible only if 5+1 lifts UN sanctions: Iran

- The Iranian foreign minister has said that a comprehensive nuclear deal can be reached only if the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) annuls the sanctions resolutions imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council. - 8/19/14

Iran: Dozens Unlawfully Held in City's Prisons

- Several dozen prisoners in a northern city are serving prison terms for exercising their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said. - 8/19/14

Iranian journalist's arrest extended despite lack of trial

- The arrest warrant for jailed journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been renewed again for another month despite Azarpeyk's objections and her demand for due process. In a report by the Etemad daily, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabayi, Azarpeyk's lawyer, said the investigation is now complete and his client should be given a chance to face her charges. - 8/19/14
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