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November 29 2015
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Iranian political prisoners say authorities used violent offenders against them

- Five political prisoners in Rejai Shahr Prison in Karaj have begun a hunger strike to protest that prison authorities have orchestrated attacks against them using "two prisoners with a history of violence". - 11/29/15

Iran new oil contract comes under criticism

- A day after Iran's Ministry of Petroleum unveiled a new format for investment in its oil and gas sector, criticism is rising that future contracts with foreign companies are poised to compromise national interests and incur big losses. - 11/29/15

Turkey Returning Body of Russian Pilot

- On Saturday, Russian President Vladimir Putin signed a decree ordering economic sanctions against Turkey. The measure restricts Russian imports of some Turkish products, prohibits extensions of contracts for Turks working in Russia and impacts the operations of Turkish companies in Russia. - 11/29/15

The Truth About Siamak Namazi, the Iranian-American Arrested in Iran

- "It is only when a mosquito lands on your testicles that you realize there is always a way to solve problems without using violence." Siamak Namazi sent me an Internet meme with this quote only a few weeks ago. It was his clever way of responding to the heated discussions I was having on social media in his defense. The Daily Beast had just published an article attacking Siamak and his family, via a pseudonym, as Siamak was being interrogated in Iran. -Ahmad Kiarostami, Huffington Post - 11/28/15

The Tehran Summit: Iran's biggest oil investment event opens

- An important conference opens in Tehran to lay out 50 oil and gas projects for development through foreign investment which Iran hopes to trickle in with the lifting of Western sanctions. As many as 250 representatives of companies from 33 countries are attending the conference which will also feature Iran's introduction of a new contract format offering better incentives to investors than the previous buy-back deal. - 11/28/15

Muslim Radicalization in Europe: Roots and Resolution

- The November 13 bombings in Paris by a number of Muslim radicals suspected of having links to the Islamic State (ISIS or IS) has once again focused attention on the challenge posed to the security of many European countries, especially those with large Muslim populations, by the radicalization of a small portion of this population. -Shireen T. Hunter - 11/28/15

Tehran Claims It Didn't Engage In Cyberattacks

- Iran says it has not reciprocated cyberattacks it has faced in past years with a similar response. "Iran has never responded to these illegal attacks with reciprocal cyberattacks," Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said on November 27. - 11/28/15

Turkey arrests journalists who exposed shipments of arms to Syria

- The Turkish judiciary has arrested Cumhuriyet editor-in-chief Can Dundar, along with the daily's Ankara bureau chief, Erdem Gul, accusing them of espionage, revealing classified documents and being members of a terrorist organization. The report alleges the arms were going to extremist groups fighting against the Syrian regime. - 11/28/15

Iran's Quds commander only injured in Syrian battle, not killed

- Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) reports that Senior Commander Qassem Soleymani has only suffered "some minor injuries" in Syria. AFP quoted informed sources and the Human Rights Watch saying Soleymani suffered minor injuries in Syria. The Syrian Human Rights Watch indicated that Soleymani was injured during operations near Aleppo. - 11/27/15

Iraq Closes Airspace in Kurdish North for Russian Missiles

- Iraq has shut down two airports in the northern Kurdish region of the country in anticipation of Russian cruise missiles crossing Iraqi airspace to hit multiple targets in neighboring Syria. Iraq Closes Airspace in Kurdish North for Russian Missiles -Sharon Behn, VOA - 11/27/15

Political Prisoner's Health Deteriorating as His Hunger Strike Enters Fourth Week

- Iranian political prisoner Majid Azarpey is in extremely poor health since beginning a wet hunger strike (refusing solid foods) in Tehran's Evin Prison on November 3, 2015 to protest his sentence. - 11/27/15

Iran, Russia in talks over major arms deal

- Russia and Iran are in talks over deliveries of the Russian-made weaponry as Tehran is interested in Moscow's entire range to replace its outdated military equipment, Vladimir Kozhin, Russian presidential aide on military-technical cooperation said Wednesday. - 11/27/15

Justice Minister alarmed by high number of prisoners in Iran

- Iran's Minister of Justice has expressed concern about the high number of prisoners in the country. Prior to Iran's 1979 Revolution, Iran, with a population of 36 million, had about 10,000 prisoners. Statistics released last year indicate that Iran now has 210,000 prisoners. - 11/27/15

Missing Iranian Diplomat Confirmed Dead

- The body of a former Iranian diplomat missing since the September hajj stampede in Saudi Arabia has been found, Iranian news agencies have reported. The corpse of Iran's former ambassador to Lebanon, Ghazanfar Roknabadi, was identified through DNA tests, the ISNA news agency reported on November 25, citing unnamed "reliable sources." - 11/27/15

Women's Futsal Team Captain Allowed to Travel to World Championship Only after Judiciary Gives Consent

- The captain of the Iranian women's national Futsal team, Niloufar Ardalan, who was previously banned from leaving the country to play in the Asian championships in Malaysia because her husband, Mehdi Tutunchi, had not given his consent, has received permission from the Judiciary to travel with the team to Guatemala for the world futsal championship. - 11/25/15

Iranian Diplomat: Nuclear Deal To Enter Into Force In Early January

- "We expect it will be in early January," Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi told reporters in Vienna on November 24 after meeting the head of the UN's atomic watchdog, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which is responsible for verifying the accord. - 11/25/15

Iranian filmmaker among those arrested in recent sweeps

- Mohammad Nourizad, an Iranian filmmaker and activist, was arrested on the morning of Saturday November 23 in front of his home, according to reports from Iran. Nourizad was on his way to the Dena Tyre store, where families of political prisoners and other activists gather each Monday to demand the release of prisoners. - 11/24/15

From Putin To Khamenei: A Koran Copy With Its Own History

- It may not be the original version of the first handwritten edition of the Koran, dating back 1,500 years, but it's still quite a book. In a meeting heavily publicized by Russian media, President Vladimir Putin on November 23 gave Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei one of the few copies made of the original edition of the Muslim holy book, which was first made in the 7th century. - 11/24/15

How far will the IRGC go in its arrests?

- The Islamic Revolution Guards Corps have been busy in recent weeks arresting Iranian journalists, resulting in protests that have included those of president Rouhani as well. Majlis member Ali Motahari - the son of the ideological founder of the Islamic revolution who was assassinated in its early years - has called the recent arrests of journalists by the IRGC as unlawful. He is said the force has no jurisdiction over journalists. -Fereshteh Ghazi - 11/24/15

China calls for accelerated redesign of Iran's Arak reactor

- China has urged all sides involved in a mid-2015 nuclear agreement with Iran to accelerate their efforts for redesign and modernization of the Arak heavy water reactor. Based on the agreement, China will play a major part in the redesign process by participating in the redesign and construction of the modernized reactor in Arak. - 11/24/15

Iranian Hackers Attack State Dept. via Social Media Accounts

- Four months after a historic accord with Tehran to limit its atomic ambitions, American officials and private security groups say they see a surge in sophisticated computer espionage by Iran, culminating in a series of cyberattacks against State Department officials over the past month. -NY Times - 11/24/15

Migrant crisis: 'Iranians' sew lips shut in border protest

- Migrants stuck on the border between Greece and Macedonia sewed their lips together to protest against not being allowed to continue their journey. About six men, apparently from Iran, stripped down during the demonstration near the village of Eidomeni. -BBC - 11/24/15

Russia eyes $21 billion deals as Putin visits Iran

- As President Vladimir Putin arrives in Tehran on Monday, Russia looks to secure export deals worth $21 billion with Iran which is about to walk free from a web of Western sanctions soon. - 11/23/15

Iranian Journalist's One-Year Prison Sentence and Two-Year Ban on Media Upheld

- The journalist Rayhaneh Tabatabaie, 35, has been informed that the Appeals Court has approved her one-year prison sentence and two-year ban on political and media activities issued in November 2014 by Judge Salavati. Facebook Posts and Reformist Affiliations Are Her "Crimes" - 11/23/15

Protesters detained outside Evin Prison in Tehran

- A number of protesters were arrested by Islamic Republic authorities on Saturday November 21 in front of Evin Prison in Tehran. The Human Rights Reporters News Agency reports that police arrested the protesters in front of Evin Prison and transferred them to various detention centres. - 11/23/15

Putin Arrives In Iran For Talks On Syrian Crisis

- Russian President Vladimir Putin has arrived in Tehran for talks with the Iranian leadership expected to focus on the Syrian crisis. Moscow and Tehran have been the key backers of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad during the country's civil war. - 11/23/15

Russia Eases Nuclear Export Ban On Iran

- Russian President Vladimir Putin has formally eased an export ban on nuclear equipment and technology to Iran. The decree was published by the Kremlin on November 23, the same day as Putin arrived in Tehran on an official visit. - 11/23/15

Iran Sentences Washington Post Journalist To Prison

- A court in Iran has sentenced Washington Post journalist Jason Rezaian to an unspecified prison term following his conviction last month on charges that include espionage, Iranian media report. The ruling was announced by Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary. - 11/22/15

Iranian Journalist Sentenced to Three Years in Prison for Her Facebook Posts

- The journalist Solmaz Ikdar has been sentenced to three years in prison for "insulting the Supreme Leader" and "propaganda against the state." The charges were based on content she posted on her Facebook page. - 11/22/15

Turkmenistan-Iran trade to rise to $60 billion

- Iran and Turkmenistan have decided to raise their annual trade to $60 billion over the next decade, President Hassan Rouhani says. The Iranian president on Sunday received his Turkmen counterpart Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedov in Tehran where heads of states of several countries are descending for the most high-profile summit of gas exporting countries. - 11/22/15

Iran banks unprepared for post-sanctions world

- Iran knows full well that the end of international sanctions will only translate to more foreign trade and investment if major global banks re-connect with the Islamic republic. But of all foreign companies, banks are the most reluctant to resume relations with Iran. -Amir Paivar, BBC - 11/22/15

Iran: Key to Stabilizing the Middle East

- It would not have to be a formal or even a declared arrangement. Iran is not ready for that, and in the environment of a presidential campaign the United States is probably not ready either. But there is no realistic way to bring the conflicts in the Middle East under control and stabilize the region unless Washington and Tehran are willing at least to talk to each other, respect each other's positions, and seek to identify common interests as a basis for action. -homas Lippman - 11/21/15

Iran's Interior Minister demands investigation of interrupted reformist speech

- In the middle of a speech by Reformist figure Abdolvahed Mousavi Lari, he was attacked by about 300 hecklers, prompting Iran's interior minister to ask the Tehran Governor to launch a probe into the attack to identify and prosecute the perpetrators. - 11/21/15

So-called "divorce brokers" could face official legal backlash in Iran

- The head of the Tehran General and Revolutionary Courts, Abbas Pouriyani, has denounced what he refers to as "divorce brokers" and calls on police investigation of their activities. In an interview with the Shargh daily, Mohammadreza Alizadeh an Iranian lawyer explained that the so-called "divorce brokers are now charging between five million and 40 million toumans ($1.5K-13k dollars) to obtain a divorce for couples in the shortest period possible. - 11/21/15

Why imprisoned pastor's wife kept her marital abuse a secret - until now

- The wife of Saeed Abedini, the Iranian-American pastor imprisoned in Iran since September 2012, has had a difficult month. First Naghmeh Abedini canceled all public appearances after telling supporters by email that her husband had abused her physically, emotionally and sexually. Twelve days later, she released a statement saying she regretted her previous emails. "I was under great psychological and emotional distress," she said -Timothy C. Morgan, RNS - 11/21/15

Formerly Jailed Journalist Explains Iran's Recent Crackdown On Dissent

- Iranian-Canadian journalist and documentary filmmaker Maziar Bahari has more perspective than most on what's happening in the country. In 2009, Bahari spent 118 days jailed without charge in Iran, and his memoir formed the basis for the 2014 film "Rosewater" by comedian Jon Stewart. After Bahari was freed, he was sentenced in absentia and banned from returning to Iran. -Charlotte Alfred, Huffington Post - 11/21/15

NIAC Action Condemns Discriminatory Backlash to Heinous Terrorist Attacks

- NIAC Action condemns the horrific terrorist attacks in Paris that killed 129 innocent people and injured dozens of others, and is deeply concerned by the reactionary proposals offered by some U.S. politicians in response - including suggestions to openly infringe on the rights of Americans based on their religious faith and calls for the U.S. to suspend the admittance of refugees and potentially non-refugee visa seekers from Middle Eastern countries, including Iran. - 11/20/15

Largest Wave of Arrests by Iran's Revolutionary Guards Since 2009

- The recently announced arrests of 170 people in Qazvin Province, a number of others in Gilan Province, and five journalists in Tehran, all by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, amounts to the largest crackdown since the violent state suppression of the protests that followed the disputed 2009 presidential election in Iran. - 11/20/15

Iran says Telegram agrees to self-censor for Iranian readers

- Iran's ministry of communications says the Telegram now has an employee dedicated to censoring the site's content for Iranian users, making sure it conforms to Islamic Republic regulations. - 11/20/15

Iranian Women Drivers Not Wearing Hijab Face Tough Police Action

- Cars driven by women who do not observe the hijab (head covering for women) will be impounded and fines will be imposed, according to strict new regulations by Iran's police force. In addition, "trusted invisible agents" will be reporting violations on behalf of the police. - 11/20/15

UN Committee Criticizes Iran's Human Rights Record

- The UN General Assembly's human rights committee has criticized Iran for cracking down on dissent and for its increased use of the death penalty. The committee on November 19 approved a nonbinding resolution drafted by Canada that expresses serious concern about rights violations in the Islamic republic. - 11/20/15

The stunning paradox of Iran's war on drugs: How it actually makes America look worse

- Iran regularly puts drug traffickers to death--but it also tests out progressive policies for treating drug addicts -Daniel Denvir, Salon - 11/20/15

How Paris attacks have strengthened Iran's position over Syria

- The attacks in Paris may have postponed Hassan Rouhani's highly-anticipated visit to the Elysee Palace, which was scheduled for this week, but the Iranian president will soon travel to France with a better bargaining position over Syria. -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 11/20/15

UN: Iran Has Begun Reducing Nuclear Program

- The UN nuclear watchdog says Iran has begun curbing its nuclear program in line with a deal with six world powers. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) included that assessment in a report presented to the UN Security Council on November 18. - 11/19/15

Frankfurt hosts Iran investment confab

- A high-profile conference has started in Germany's Frankfurt to look into the prospects for investments in the Iranian economy. Dubbed 'Business Forum Iran-Europe', the two-day conference is to explore business opportunities in post-sanction Iran. - 11/19/15

Senior Iranian Cleric Refuses To Meet With Culture Minister

- Senior Qom-based hard-line Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi has refused to meet with Iranian Culture Minister Ali Jannati to demonstrate his disapproval of the ministry's policies, deemed too liberal by hard-liners. - 11/19/15

Obama says no more reductions of Iran oil purchases

- US President Barack Obama emphasized on Wednesday that Washington will not seek future reductions of oil purchases from Iran and is committed to keep Tehran's oil export at the levels of 2013. - 11/19/15

'Terrorist Team' Demolished, Says Iran's IRGC

- Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says it has demolished a terrorist cell in the western province of Kermanshah. In a statement issued to Iranian media on November 18, the IRGC said the operation was carried out in "recent days." - 11/19/15

Unnamed Iranian football stars arrested at party

- Three professional Iranian football players were arrested by the authorities at a party. Khabar on line published the news on Tuesday November 18 without identifying the players, indicating only that they are well known stars from one of the country's top football teams. - 11/19/15

Will Russia and Iran Finally Tie the Knot?

- Despite its slogan of "Neither East Nor West, only Islamic Republic" and its labeling of the USSR as the "little Satan," the Islamic Republic of Iran from its very early days viewed the USSR and the other Eastern Bloc countries more sympathetically than it did the United States and West European countries. -Shireen Hunter - 11/18/15

Iranian MP accuses IRGC of breaking law by detaining journalists

- Iranian MP Ali Motahari says the recent arrests of journalists by Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) are "against the law". In an interview with the Iran daily on Tuesday November 17, Motahari said detaining journalists is not on the "list of legal duties of the Revolutionary Guards". - 11/18/15

Western Policy and the Paris Terror Attacks

- As we mourn the many killed in Paris by the terror attacks of November 13, we may be tempted to react mainly with anger and outrage and to rally around the Western governments in their "war" against the Islamic jihadists. But if we want to live in a world free of terror, we must do more than react blindly in support of widened Western military campaigns, air strikes, drone attacks, secret operations, assassinations, destabilization campaigns, secret prisons and all the apparatus of official violence. -Jim Paul Bio: Jim Paul, NationofChange - 11/18/15

Prominent Iranian Cartoonist Hadi Heidari Arrested

- Security forces arrested the prominent Iranian cartoonist Hadi Heidari in his office at Shahrvand Daily in Tehran today, November 16, 2015. Two co-workers of Heidari at the Tehran daily confirmed the arrest and told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that "a young man came with a warrant. He showed Hadi the warrant and they took him quietly." - 11/17/15

Authorities Launch New Crackdown on Baha'is

- On the morning of Sunday, November 15, Iranian Intelligence Ministry agents carried out the arrest of 20 Baha'is in Tehran, Isfahan and Mashhad. As part of a massive operation, they also closed down Baha'i-run businesses in the province of Mazandaran. -Iran Wire - 11/17/15

Rouhani talks to Hollande, stresses unity against terror

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has held a phone conversation with his French counterpart Francois Hollande, stressing unity against terrorism in the wake of the recent terrorist attacks in the French capital of Paris. The telephone conversation was held on Tuesday, according to President Rouhani's Twitter account. - 11/17/15

Sweeping arrests target Iranian officials accused of corruption

- Six Sistan-Baluchistan government officials were arrested last week. ISNA reports that the deputy head of the Chabahar Free Zone and five others were arrested, and the Zahedan Prosecutor General Mohammad Marzieh said: "These individuals were arrested last Tuesday in coordination with the provincial capital court." - 11/17/15

Iran among countries said to be targeted for attacks by ISIS

- Speaking on the sidelines of the Syria peace talks in Vienna on Saturday November 14, Iraqi Foreign Minister Ebrahim al-Jafari said: "Information was obtained from Iraqi intelligence sources before the Paris attacks occurred that the countries to be targeted soon were Europe in general, specifically France, as well as America and Iran." - 11/16/15

Tensions in Iran After Nuclear Deal Grow in Hostility

- Tensions between the Iranian president, Hassan Rouhani, and more conservative authorities over the country's nuclear agreement and its future are turning increasingly bitter, punctuated by public exchanges and growing signs of an anti-American backlash, including arrests. -NY Times - 11/16/15

Iran nixed Assad ouster clause in Vienna: Official

- Iran says it opposed the inclusion of a clause that would have asked for the removal of Syria's President Bashar al-Assad from power in the statement that was issued following recent talks in Vienna on the Syrian conflict. - 11/16/15

Wisconsin lawmakers propose ban on Iran business

- Republican lawmakers in the US state of Wisconsin have introduced a bill that would prohibit business with Iran. They say the measure would help blunt President Barack Obama's nuclear accord with the Islamic Republic. - 11/16/15

Iran starts dismantling inactive centrifuges in Natanz: Nuclear Chief

- The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has started dismantling inactive centrifuges in the Natanz nuclear facility, the AEOI chief said on Sunday. However, Ali Akbar Salehi said, "We have dismantled no centrifuge in Fordow yet". - 11/16/15

ISIS- The Hour Has Struck

- ISIS, with its horrific attack on purely civilian targets in Paris, has established new realities about its nature, capabilities and intentions. The need for its elimination can now no longer be in doubt. It is not that Parisian lives are more important than others, but Paris changes the game. -Graham E. Fuller - 11/16/15

Iranian cartoonists and artists draw for France

- Here is a selection of cartoons and drawings by Iranian cartoonists, artists and the press expressing sympathy with the people of France after the Friday's terrorist attacks by the Islamic State in Paris that killed 129 people and injured another 352. - 11/15/15

EY IRAN Anthem and 50th Anniversary of Rouhollah Khaleghi's Passing

- November 12, 2015 marks the 50th anniversary of Rouhollah Khaleghi's demise. Khaleghi was one of iconic figures of 20th-century Persian music whose most famous work is EY IRAN anthem, with lyrics by Hossein Golgolab. - 11/15/15

Photos: Iranians express solidarity with France over Paris attacks

- Iranians have expressed solidarity with the French people following the deadly terror attacks in Paris carried out by the Daesh Takfiri militant group. The Iranians on Saturday paid tribute to those killed or injured in the attacks and extended their condolences to the families and friends of the victims of the attacks by gathering in front of the French embassy in Tehran. - 11/15/15

US-Iran: Zarif, Kerry hold meeting on JCPOA in Vienna

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the manner of removing sanctions and the implementation of the United States' commitments have been discussed during a meeting with US Secretary of State John Kerry. - 11/15/15

Detained Iranian journalists remain in custody

- The fate of journalists recently arrested in Iran remains unknown. Afarin Chitsaz, Issa Saharkhiz, Ehssn Mazandarani and Saman Safarzayi were arrested last week by Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who allege these individuals were linked to "the enemy's infiltration plans". - 11/14/15

Iranian President's Europe visit postponed after Paris attacks

- Planned trips by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani to three European destinations, including France, has been cancelled following a spate of deadly terror attacks in the French capital, Paris. Rouhani called the attacks "crimes against humanity." - 11/14/15

Iran: Economy of Resistance and resistance of the centers of corruption

- While the right-wing factions of the Islamic Republic step up their opposition to the Rohani administration, and as the Revolutionary Guards directly oppose the so-called "economic infiltration", Iran's Supreme Leader has chosen to neither endorse or oppose the administration's "Resistance Economy policies action plan". He has, however, recommended four items to be kept in mind while drawing up future plans for economic development. - 11/14/15

Iran's Position on the Arms Trade Treaty

- The "axis of evil" club portrayed by George W. Bush in 2002 no longer exists. Iran has now famously exited from the group leaving bad boy Kim Jong Un all alone. But the two countries still share something in common. In March 2013, North Korea and Iran, both of whom are under UN arms embargoes, alongside Syria, blocked adoption of the Arms Trade Treaty (ATT) during the treaty drafting conference. -Emma Scott - 11/14/15

Red-Wine Lines: French Impasse Highlights Iranian Envoys' No-No's

- Drinking alcohol and physical contact with unrelated members of the opposite sex are also banned domestically. An unnamed official in charge of protocol at Iran's Foreign Ministry told the ISNA news agency on November 11 that "according to Islamic values and teachings, Iranian officials do not attend banquets where alcohol is served." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 11/14/15

Kremlin Announces Putin Will Visit Tehran On November 23

- The Kremlin has announced that Russian President Vladimir Putin plans to visit Iran on November 23, his first trip there since 2007. The Kremlin's top foreign policy aide, Yury Ushakov, said Putin was making the visit in order to attend a meeting of the Gas Exporting Countries Forum hosted by Tehran. - 11/13/15

Rouhani: US-Iran Ties Could be Restored But US Must Apologize

- ROME, ITALY-- The nuclear deal reached between world powers and Iran could lead to better relations between Tehran and Washington if the United States apologized for past behavior, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani was quoted as saying on Thursday. -Reuters - 11/13/15

Syrian Army Retakes Town Near Aleppo In Second Victory This Week

- Syrian television has announced the capture of Al-Hader, a former rebel stronghold in Aleppo Province, in the Syrian Army's second big victory in two days ahead of international peace talks. Regime soldiers, supported by troops from Iran and the Shi'ite Hizballah militia, claimed to be in full control of Al-Hader, just 48 hours after regime forces broke a siege by the Islamic State group of the Kweyris air base in Aleppo Province. - 11/13/15

Top Iranian official accuses Saudis of backing "terrorist" attack

- Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, says the people who attacked the recent Ashura ceremony in Dezfool, Kuzestan were paid off by the Saudi government. - 11/13/15
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