Azar 16 1400 - December 07 2021
Searching for Iran, Through Pictures

Bar Liberty manager and photographer Dominic Xavier travelled throughout Iran, documenting its people and places. The result is a new book and exhibition that looks to challenge Western perceptions of the country. -Broadsheet 12/7/21

The Iran nuclear deal will be kept alive - but barely

Everything unfolded according to the script at the Iran nuclear talks last week in Vienna. Iran, led by new President Ebrahim Raisi's government, adopted a much harsher negotiating position, which the U.S. and the Europeans predictably rejected as the blame game officially began. Despite the harsh rhetoric from the Biden administration, this is how everyone expected this round to start and end. -Trita Parsi, MSNBC 12/7/21

Trade, Not Investment, is Iran's Sanctions Relief Must-Have

Last week, the seventh round of the negotiations over the fate of the JCPOA saw Iran table an initial proposal on sanctions relief. The proposal led to complaints from Western officials that the Iranian negotiators were being unreasonable. Iranian officials responded by insisting their proposals were "pragmatic." The initial exchange suggested to some that disagreements over sanctions relief issue are going to prove the intractable because what Iran wants-significant investment-is impossible for the P5+1 to guarantee. -Esfandyar Batmanghelid, Bourse & Bazaar 12/7/21

Illegal Attacks on Iranians Won't End the Impasse

If the nuclear deal isn't going to be salvaged, that does not have to mean war or proliferation, but it will give Iran hawks an opening to start a war that will likely end with more proliferation. Salvaging the nuclear deal was still the best way forward, but there is clearly no political will in Washington or in European capitals to do what is necessary to save it. -Daniel Larison 12/7/21

Witnesses say Iranian police 'intentionally targeted' heads and eyes of protesters in Isfahan

Iranian security forces carried out a violent crackdown on November 26 on farmers who had been peacefully protesting the redirection of a vital river in the town of Isfahan for several weeks. Dozens of protesters lost an eye or sustained head injuries. Photos and eyewitness accounts, including those by our Observer, support the theory that security forces aimed and fired directly at people's faces. -France 24 12/7/21

Top Israeli military officials say Trump's Iran deal exit was a 'mistake,' bad for Israel

The United States, its allies, and Iran have returned to negotiations this week in Vienna aimed at restoring the JCPOA. All parties are expressing pessimism regarding the current round of talks. President Joe Biden is feeling pressure from Congress and from Israel to find ways to "improve" the deal, while the new, more hardline Iranian leadership is holding firm to its demands that Washington lift all sanctions imposed since 2018 immediately and offer a guarantee that it will not renege on its commitment to the deal, as President Donald Trump did. -Mitchell Plitnick, Responsible Statecraft 12/7/21

Iran Currency Falls as Nuclear Talks Seem to Hit Roadblock

The Iranian rial currency dipped on Saturday but remained above historic lows after news that talks with world powers to revive the 2015 Iran nuclear accord may have run into difficulties. Indirect U.S.-Iranian talks on saving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal broke off on Friday until next week, with European officials voicing dismay at sweeping demands by Iran's new, hardline government. Washington said Tehran "does not seem to be serious". -Reuters 12/6/21

On bombing Iran, Israel needs to cool its threats

Today, as Iran and global powers carry on past the seventh round of this year's nuclear negotiations in Vienna, which ended on December 3, Israel has been calling on all parties to halt the talks at once. But it would behoove the Israelis to understand that a revived JCPOA is now the most realistic pathway toward ensuring that Iran freezes and, if possible, reverses its nuclear program to the levels prescribed by the 2015 nuclear deal. -Giorgio Cafiero, Responsible Statecraft 12/6/21

Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan, and Iran reach gas trade deal

The agreement was presented by both Baku and Tehran as proof that their recent political crisis had been overcome. Has it? Azerbaijan and Iran have agreed to a deal to swap natural gas along with Turkmenistan, solidifying their economic rapprochement shortly after a serious political rupture between the two neighbors. The presidents of Azerbaijan and Iran met on November 28 in Ashgabat, after which the agreement was signed.-Joshua Kucera, Responsible Statecraft 12/6/21

UAE's top security official visits Iran to develop 'warm ties'

The UAE's top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan is on a visit to Iran for high-level talks that are seen as a possible sign of thawing relations between the two countries. Sheikh Tahnoon, a brother of the country's de facto ruler and Abu Dhabi's crown prince, Mohammed bin Zayed, discussed improving bilateral ties and developments in regional affairs in the capital Tehran on Monday. -Al Jazeera 12/6/21

US seeks Russian and Chinese support to salvage Iran nuclear deal

The US is hoping pressure from Russia, China and some Arab Gulf states may yet persuade Iran to moderate its negotiating stance in regards to the steps the Biden administration must take before both sides return to the 2015 nuclear deal. Talks in Vienna faltered badly last week, when the new hardline Iranian administration increased its levels of uranium enrichment and tabled proposals that US officials said at the weekend were "not serious"since they had gone back on all the progress made in the previous round of talks. -Guardian 12/6/21

Iran's RQ-170 Clone Crashes Suspiciously On 10th Anniversary Of The Real One Falling Into Its Hands

At first glance, in what seems like something of a hugely ironic flashback to the headline-making loss of a secretive American RQ-170 Sentinel in Iranian territory exactly a decade ago to the day, one of Iran's rather crude sub-scale knock-offs of the basic Sentinel airframe (we can't stress basic enough here) appears to have crashed in the Iranian province of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari. -Tyler Rogoway, The Drive 12/6/21

Iran slams France for selling arms to UAE, 'destabilising' region

Iran on Monday accused France of "destabilising" the Persian Gulf region after Paris signed a record 14-billion-euro deal with the United Arab Emirates for 80 Rafale fighter jets. "We must not ignore France's role in destabilising the region," foreign ministry spokesman Saeed Khatibzadeh told a news conference. "We expected France to be more responsible -AFP 12/6/21

Iran explosion near Natanz nuclear facility a controlled test

A loud explosion was heard near Iran's main nuclear facilities in Natanz, which have previously been targeted by sabotage attacks, but state media said it was part of a controlled test. A major explosion and flash of light in the sky were reported around 8:15pm local time (16:45 GMT) on Saturday in Badroud, 20km (12 miles) from where the enrichment facilities are located. -Al Jazeera 12/6/21

Talks with Iran on restoring 2015 nuclear deal suspended

The first formal talks between western powers and the new Iranian regime on how to restore the 2015 nuclear deal were suspended on Friday, with Europe warning that Iran had walked back all previous diplomatic progress and fast-forwarded its nuclear programme. It now seems possible the talks will collapse next week if Iran does not modify its demands, potentially risking an attack on Iran by Israel. -Guardian 12/4/21

U.S. and Iran pessimistic about reviving nuclear deal

The United States and Iran both sounded pessimistic on Thursday about the chances of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, with Washington saying it had little cause for optimism and Tehran questioning the determination of U.S. and European negotiators. "I have to tell you, recent moves, recent rhetoric, don't give us a lot of cause for ... optimism," U.S. Secretary of State Antony Blinken told reporters in Stockholm, saying he could judge in a day or so if Iran would engage in good faith. -Reuters 12/3/21

Afghanistan situation: Emergency preparedness and response in Iran

669,492 people have been internally displaced in Afghanistan in 2021, of which 15% are families, 21% are women and 59% are children. Afghans continue to make their way to Iran informally through unofficial borders. UNHCR is aware of 23,964 Afghans who arrived in Iran from 1 January to 27 November, though the numbers are much higher. -Relief Web 12/3/21

As Israel bids to nix nuke talks, Iran says delegates not taking orders from Bennett

Iran lashed out at Israel Thursday after Prime Minister Naftali Bennett called for an immediate halt to talks in Vienna aimed at restoring the 2015 nuclear deal. A spokesman for the Iranian foreign ministry charged that Israel was showing its "true color" by opposing negotiations to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which placed curbs on Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. The talks resumed this week after a months-long pause. -Times of Israel 12/3/21

Iran says nuclear deal 'within reach' if West shows goodwill

Iran's top diplomat says an agreement to revive his country's nuclear deal with world powers was "within reach" but that this depended on the goodwill of the West. Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Twitter on Thursday that negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna, were "proceeding with seriousness" and that the removal of sanctions was a "fundamental priority". -Al Jazeera 12/2/21

Iran doubles down on abortion and contraception restrictions

Iranians long had degrees of access to free contraception at public health facilities, part of family planning policies aimed at limiting population growth. In recent years, policy shifts have whittled away such programs. The changes have culminated under a new law - meant to address an emergent demographic shift - which critics have decried as a major setback for women's and reproductive rights. -Miriam Berger, Washington Post 12/2/21

Women's football discussed as Infantino meets Iranian football chief in Doha

FIFA President Gianni Infantino has met Football Federation Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI) President Shahabaldin Azizi Khadem in Doha, with talks over women's football claimed to be on the agenda. FIFA has faced issues with the FFIRI in recent years, with government interference and Iran's policy of banning women from entering stadiums among key issues. -Inside the Games 12/2/21

Iran preparing to enrich uranium, nuclear deal talks in Vienna told

Iran sought to heighten pressure on western negotiators in Vienna through increasing its use of advanced centrifuges as talks on reviving the 2015 nuclear deal carried on for a third day on Wednesday. The International Atomic Energy Agency reported on Wednesday that Iran had started the process of enriching uranium to up to 20% purity with one cascade, or cluster, of 166 advanced IR-6 machines at the Fordow fuel enrichment plant, which is about 20 miles north-east of Qom. -Guardian 12/2/21

Iranian press review: Conservatives open 'sins rehab clinic'

A poster advertising a clinic for "sins rehabilitation" under the guidance of conservative clerics and a hardline deputy minister has prompted anger and mockery on Persian social media. The poster advertised a 40-day rehabilitation programme consisting of 25 lessons, four online conferences, four Q&A workshops and a daily checklist for the sinners. -MEE 12/2/21

Iran and Taliban forces clash in border area

Clashes erupted between Iranian soldiers and Taliban forces near the Afghanistan-Iran border, but appear to have led to no casualties and was later described as a "misunderstanding". Multiple videos on Wednesday showed Taliban troops mobilising. Gunfire can be heard while one shows Iranian forces firing artillery shells in response to Taliban fire. -Al Jazeera 12/2/21

Iran strikes hard line as talks over nuclear deal resume

Iran struck a hard line Tuesday after just one day of restarted talks in Vienna over its tattered nuclear deal, suggesting everything discussed in previous rounds of diplomacy could be renegotiated. Speaking to Iranian state television, Ali Bagheri, Iran's top nuclear negotiator, referred to everything discussed thus far as merely a "draft." It remained unclear whether that represented an opening gambit by Iran's new president or signaled serious trouble for those hoping to restore the 2015 deal that saw Tehran strictly limit its enrichment of uranium in exchange for the lifting of economic sanctions. -AP 12/1/21

He led IDF intel gathering on Iran, was ignored and fears Israel is now paying price

Several months after the 2013 election of former Iranian president Hassan Rouhani, Aviv Kohavi submitted a position paper to then-prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu in which he pointed to a significant, strategic shift underway in the Islamic Republic. Kohavi, who currently serves as IDF chief of staff, was the head of the Military Intelligence unit at the time, and he relayed his assessment that Iran was becoming more moderate and willing to negotiate an agreement with world powers that would enshrine restrictions on its nuclear program. -Times of Israel 12/1/21

Facing mounting global crises, Biden risks addiction to sanctions

President Biden has a full plate of global problems. In Ethiopia, a brutal, year-long civil war between the government in Addis Ababa and the Tigray People's Liberation Front has plunged Africa's second largest country into destitution. Along the European Union's eastern border with Belarus, up to 2,000 migrants from the Middle East and Africa, some supplied with wire cutters courtesy of the Belarusian government, are camped out in a no-man's land... -Dan DePetris, Responsible Statecraft 12/1/21

Vintage cars show racy past of Iran's toppled royalty

Before they were ousted by the 1979 Islamic revolution, Iran's royal family enjoyed a lavish lifestyle with a taste for fast cars quite unlike any ever built. ADVERTISING Now, after half a century hidden away, the royal racers are back on show, with the Iran Historical Car Museum drawing in thousands since it opened to the public in recent weeks. -AFP 12/1/21

'For the Sake of Peace,' Anti-War Groups Demand Biden Return to Nuclear Deal With Iran

As negotiations regarding Iran's nuclear program convened in Vienna on Monday, more than three years after the U.S. walked away from an international agreement, anti-war groups called on the Biden administration "to choose the proven path of peace" and re-enter the pact for the benefit of Iranians, Americans, and the global population. -Julia Conley, Common Dreams 11/30/21

Progress in Iran nuclear talks as Tehran agrees to discuss compliance

Western diplomats have expressed guarded optimism and relief after the first day of resumed Iran nuclear talks in Vienna made unexpected progress when Tehran formally agreed to discuss steps to come back into compliance with the 2015 agreement. The EU's chief negotiator, Enrique Mora, said Iran had agreed that the talks could resume largely where they had ended in June, rather than with an entirely new agenda. -Guardian 11/30/21

Iranian water protests a 'wake-up call' for regime

Farmers demanding water for their crops, protesters with blood pouring down their faces and riot police shouting at them to disperse - in recent weeks the scorched riverbed at the heart of the historic city of Isfahan has been the site of Iran's biggest ever environmental protest. Riot police patrolled Isfahan this weekend after clearing the dried up river Zayandeh Roud of thousands of demonstrators who had made a camp there. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 11/30/21

A Hacking Spree Against Iran Spills Out Into the Physical World

Hackers have targeted the country's trains, gas stations, and airline infrastructure, as cyber conflict with Israel continues to escalate. -Wired 11/30/21

UN chief calls for nuclear weapons-free Middle East

The UN Secretary-General on Monday called on all Middle East States to transform the vision of a region with no nuclear weapons, or other weapons of mass destruction, into a working reality. Antonio Guterres was speaking in New York at the second session of the Conference on the Establishment of a Middle East Zone Free of Nuclear Weapons and Other Weapons of Mass Destruction. -UN News 11/30/21

Why the new German coalition pact doesn't bode well for Iran

Anyone hoping for a more creative policy that recognizes all bad actors in current Middle East crises will be disappointed. If proponents of engagement with Iran in the United States hoped that European allies would push the Biden administration towards bolder steps in that direction, they are likely to be disappointed. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 11/29/21

Reviving the Iran nuclear deal is the key to regional stability

Iran's new administration has concluded its lengthy internal review on how, and with what new strategies, to return to the Vienna nuclear talks, to find out practical solutions to the current impasse in reviving the 2015 agreement. The negotiations have been halted since Iran's presidential election in June 2021 but are set to resume on Monday. -Yousof Azizi, Responsible Statecraft 11/29/21

Iran nuclear talks to resume with world powers after five-month hiatus

Talks between world powers and Iran on salvaging the 2015 nuclear deal will resume in Vienna on Monday after a five-month hiatus, but expectations of a breakthrough are low. The talks could liberate Iran from hundreds of western economic sanctions or lead to a tightening of the economic noose and the intensified threat of military attacks by Israel. -Guardian 11/29/21

Israel and Iran Broaden Cyberwar to Attack Civilian Targets

Millions of ordinary people in Iran and Israel recently found themselves caught in the crossfire of a cyberwar between their countries. In Tehran, a dentist drove around for hours in search of gasoline, waiting in long lines at four gas stations only to come away empty. In Tel Aviv, a well-known broadcaster panicked as the intimate details of his sex life, and those of hundreds of thousands of others stolen from an L.G.B.T.Q. dating site, were uploaded on social media. -New York Times 11/29/21

Iranian banks notch win in dispute over sanctions enforcement

An arbitration panel has ruled in favor of two Iranian banks in a financial dispute over the 2015 closing of a Bahraini financial institution accused of helping Iran skirt U.S. and U.N. economic sanctions. The Hague-based tribunal's three arbitrators ordered the government of Bahrain to pay more than $270 million in compensation for losses and legal fees stemming from its decision to close Future Bank -Washington Post 11/29/21

Iran riot police arrests scores in Isfahan water protests

Iran's riot police were deployed in force in the city of Isfahan on Saturday, a day after dozens were arrested during protests over the drying up of a river. Security forces fired tear gas on Friday at demonstrators, who threw stones, during a protest in the dry bed of the Zayadneh Rood river that crosses the city, Fars and ISNA news agencies said. -MEE 11/28/21

Police fire tear gas to disperse protesters in Iranian city

Police used tear gas to disperse hundreds of people in a central Iranian city who were protesting to demand government action over a drought, media reported. Some videos on social media appeared to show police and protesters clashing in the dry bed of the Zayandehrud River. The video corresponded to known features of the area, though original posters of the material could not be immediately reached by The Associated Press. Other videos showed similar unrest in nearby streets of Isfahan. -AP 11/26/21

America's abyss of weapons and warmaking

There can't be the slightest doubt: America worships its Pentagod and the weapons and wars that feed it. Who is America's god? The Christian god of the beatitudes, the one who healed the sick, helped the poor, and preached love of neighbor? Not in these (dis)United States. In the Pledge of Allegiance, we speak proudly of One Nation under God, but in the aggregate, this country doesn't serve or worship Jesus Christ, or Allah, or any other god of justice and mercy. In truth, the deity America believes in is the five-sided one headquartered in Arlington, Virginia. -William J. Astore, Responsible Statecraft 11/26/21

'No progress' ahead of Iran nuclear talks, says United Nations agency

The UN nuclear watchdog said Wednesday there had been "no progress" in talks with Tehran on disputes over the monitoring of Iran's atomic programme, just days before talks restart on reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal. -AFP 11/26/21

Two Years After Iran's Deadly Crackdown On Protests, Victims' Families Still Fighting For Justice

For the past two years, Mahboobeh Ramezani has been grieving the loss of her son while calling for justice over his death at the hands of Iran's security forces. Pejman Gholipur was shot and killed during a November 17, 2019, protest in Tehran triggered by a sudden rise in the price of gasoline. He was 18. Ramezani has kept her son's bloody clothes as evidence that he was murdered. -RFE/RL 11/26/21

Iran loses 300,000 university graduates to better prospects abroad

Ehsan Ghazizadeh, member of the Iranian parliament, reported on Tuesday a massive exodus of university-educated people from Iran. Over the past three years, some 4,000 doctors and about 300,000 academics with masters or PhD degrees have left Iran. Hossein-Ali Shahriyari, chairman of the parliamentary health commission, recently wrote a letter to Ali Khamenei, head of the Islamic Republic, expressing his concern about the increasing exodus of doctors. -Qantara 11/26/21

Report: Israel Warns US Not to Settle for 'Partial' Nuclear Deal With Iran

The Wall Street Journal reported Wednesday that Israel is warning the US not to strike a "partial" nuclear deal with Iran. Israeli officials said they feared the US was setting up for a "less-for-less" agreement that would require Iran to reverse some of its nuclear activity in exchange for some sanctions relief. 11/26/21

Frustrated with CIA, Trump administration turned to Pentagon for shadow war with Iran

In the final month of his presidency, Donald Trump signed off on key parts of an extensive secret Pentagon campaign to conduct sabotage, propaganda and other psychological and information operations in Iran, according to former senior officials who served in his administration. The campaign, which was to be led by the military's Special Operations forces, was designed to undermine the Iranian people's faith in their government as well as shake the regime's sense of competence and stability, according to those former officials. -Zach Dorfman, Yahoo 11/24/21

Iran-Azerbaijan: A new cold war?

The short-term crisis between the two neighbors has dissipated. But in the longer term, relations have gotten a lot more complicated. As tensions subsided following weeks of saber-rattling and hostile rhetoric, the foreign ministers of Iran and Azerbaijan had a November 5 phone call in which they blamed "ill-wishers" for trying to exploit "recent misunderstandings between the two neighbors," as the Iranian readout put it. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 11/24/21

Iran appeals ban from judo for avoiding Israeli opponents

The Iran judo federation's appeal against a four-year ban from international events for refusing to let its athletes face opponents from Israel was heard on Tuesday. The Court of Arbitration for Sport said the Iranian appeal against an International Judo Federation ruling was held by video link. A verdict is expected to take at least several weeks. -AP 11/24/21

Israel signals readiness to escalate Iran confrontation

Prime Minister Naftali Bennett has signalled a readiness to step up Israel's confrontation with Iran, reiterating on Tuesday, his country would not be bound by any new Iranian nuclear deal with world powers. Indirect negotiations will begin on November 29 on reviving the 2015 accord, which former United States President Donald Trump withdrew from, deeming it insufficient to shut down projects with bomb-making potential - a view shared by the Israelis. -Al Jazeera 11/24/21

How Iran sees the Biden doctrine for the JCPOA and Persian Gulf

Iranian experts in Tehran see the Joe Biden administration's approach toward Iran and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in the context of his government's overall foreign policy and its desire to extricate itself from military conflicts in the Persian Gulf. -Javad Heiran-Nia, Atlantic Council 11/24/21

'NYT' often cites thinktank on Iran without saying it was founded to promote Israel's image

The New York Times and other media frequently quote experts from the Foundation for Defense of Democracies, and identify FDD as a hawkish thinktank. But they fail to say what the FDD told the IRS: it was founded to promote Israel's image in the United States, the investigative journalist Eli Clifton says. He characterized the omission as bordering on "journalistic malpractice." -Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 11/23/21

Iran, IAEA agree to continue dialogue ahead of Vienna talks

Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have agreed to maintain communication and dialogue after the nuclear watchdog's director-general visited Tehran days before talks to restore Iran's 2015 nuclear deal resume in Vienna. Rafael Grossi landed in the Iranian capital late on Monday and met the country's nuclear chief, Mohammad Eslami, early on Tuesday. The two then said during a joint news conference they agreed to continue talks. -Al Jazeera 11/23/21

Water protests spread in Iran

Just days after thousands of Iranians took to the streets in Isfahan to protest water policies and the government's inability to address the water shortages, Iranians in an adjacent province took the streets over the same cause. For back-to-back days, hundreds of residents of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province gathered in the provincial capital Khahrekord to protest water scarcity. -Al Monitor 11/23/21

Review: 'Titan of Tehran' uniquely blends history, memories

When most of us get curious about our family history, we pay a visit to Shahrzad Elghanayan is not most of us. She is the granddaughter of Habib Elghanian, arguably one of the most famous Iranian industrialists of all time, whose rise and fall mirrored that of his homeland. She's also an award-winning photo journalist, trained to recognize a good story when she sees one. -AP 11/23/21

Report: US Warns Israel Covert Attacks on Iran are 'Counterproductive'

According to a report from The New York Times, the US has warned Israel against launching cover attacks against Iran's civilian nuclear program, calling them "counterproductive." But Israeli officials said they have no intention of "letting up." The report said over the past 20 months, four explosions at Iranian facilities have been attributed to Israel. 11/23/21

Iran publishes photos of closed hearing into plane shootdown

Iranian state media on Monday published photographs of the trial investigating the shootdown of a Ukrainian passenger jet in 2020 by the country's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard, trying to tamp down criticism of the largely closed-door proceeding. -AP 11/23/21

US must 'accept reality' and lift sanctions: Iran negotiator

The United States must "accept reality" and agree to lift its sanctions on Iran during next week's nuclear talks in Vienna, according to Tehran's top negotiator. Representatives of Iran and the other signatories of its 2015 nuclear deal will be in Austria starting November 29 to try to restore the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which the US abandoned in 2018. -Al Jazeera 11/22/21

Iran's Farhadi threatens not to represent Iran at Oscars

Iranian double Oscar winning film director Asghar Farhadi has launched a scathing attack on Tehran authorities and threatened not to represent Iran at the next edition of the prestigious awards ceremony. ADVERTISING "How can I be associated... with a government whose extremist media have not stopped these past years from destroying me, marginalising me, stigmatising me?" he asked on his Instagram page. -AFP 11/22/21

Iran is 'leapfrogging our defenses' in a cyber war 'my gut is we lose': Hacking expert Kevin Mandia

To Kevin Mandia, the CEO of cybersecurity firm Mandiant, Iran's success in the hacking realm is no surprise, as the nation has been upping its cyber-offensive capabilities for years to take advantage of U.S. weaknesses. Iran has progressed well beyond the first few stages of cyber evolution - defending its government in cyberspace and targeting its closest geographic foes, the immediate threats, which in Iran's case would include the back and forth between itself and Israel in the cyber realm. -CNBC 11/22/21

Persian Gulf States Come Full Circle On Iran Nuclear Deal By Backing It Once More

America's partners in the Gulf region have once again switched their stance on the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, by calling on Iran to fully comply with it once more. The deal was signed in July 2015 by Barack Obama, his counterpart in Iran and other world powers. Donald Trump unilaterally pulled the U.S. out of the deal in May 2018, to cheers from his Gulf supporters, but President Biden is now trying to revive the deal. -Forbes 11/22/21

In latest breach, Iran's Mahan Air hit with cyberattack

A cyberattack on Sunday disrupted access to Iran's privately owned Mahan Air, state TV reported, marking the latest in a series of cyberattacks on Iranian infrastructure that has put the country on edge. Mahan Air's website displayed an error message saying the site couldn't be reached. The carrier said in a statement that it had "thwarted" the attack and that its flight schedule was not affected, adding it has faced similar breaches in the past. -AP 11/22/21

Iran's IRGC seizes foreign tanker for smuggling diesel

Commandos with the naval force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) have seized a foreign tanker in the Persian Gulf for smuggling diesel. Colonel Ahmad Hajian, the commander of the Naval Type 412 Zulfiqar in the southern Parsian county in the Hormozgan province, was quoted by the state broadcaster's website on Saturday as saying that the ship was found to be illegally carrying 150,000 litres (32,995 gallons) of diesel. -Al Jazeera 11/22/21

'It's My Decision': Iran's New Population Law Blasted For Restricting Access To Contraceptives, Abortions

Gouya, a 43-year-old woman in Iran, decided that she will not have children. But her right to choose is now being threatened by the state. Authorities have approved new legislation that imposes further restrictions on abortions, bans the free distribution of contraceptives by the public health-care system, and provides added state benefits to families with more children. -Golnaz Esfandiari & Elahe Ravanshad, RFE 11/19/21

Iranian farmers protest, demand water be released from dam

Thousands of farmers in central Iran joined a protest on Friday demanding authorities open a dam to relieve drought-stricken areas, state TV reported. Several prominent actors and athletes have taken part in the peaceful demonstrations in the city of Isfahan, urging the government to intervene to aid famers increasingly suffering from droughts that have worsened over the years. The demonstrations began earlier this month. -AP 11/19/21

Zahedi, playboy Iran ambassador to US under shah, dies at 93

Ardeshir Zahedi, Iran's flamboyant ambassador to the United States during the rule of the shah who charmed both Hollywood stars and politicians with his lavish parties until the 1979 Islamic Revolution, died on Thursday, Iranian state media reported. He was 93. Whether seen with Henry Kissinger or entertaining Barbra Streisand, Zahedi cut such a memorable presence across Washington's social scene that one newspaper report referred to him as both the "playboy of the Western world" and the capital's "most-sought-after bachelor." -AP 11/19/21

2 suspected Iranian hackers are charged with trying to intimidate U.S. voters

The Justice Department has charged two suspected Iranian hackers for allegedly trying to intimidate American voters ahead of the 2020 U.S. election, including by sending threatening emails and spreading false information. An indictment unsealed Thursday in New York charges Seyyed Kazemi and Sajjad Kashian with several counts including hacking conspiracy, voter intimidation and transmitting interstate threats. -NPR 11/19/21

Asghar Farhadi Says Iran Can Withdraw 'A Hero' from Oscars in Scathing Anti-Government Post

Asghar Farhadi has issued a scathing takedown of the Iranian government in an open letter posted Tuesday, November 17 to his Instagram account. The filmmaker was responding to an unnamed person who stated he was "pro-government" and "anti-government" at the same time. Farhadi rejects the notion he is "pro-government," and listed out various reasons why. -Indie Wire 11/18/21

"White Torture": Why We Must Oppose Solitary Confinement

Narges Mohammadi, vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran, has been held in solitary confinement on and off from 1998 and 2020 for her human rights advocacy. On Tuesday night, Mohammadi was arrested by Iranian security forces during a ceremony honoring a victim of Iran's deadly response to November 2019 protests. She was taken to the notorious Evin prison. -Ms. Magazine 11/18/21

Americans Must Demand 'Maximum Peace' With Iran

In Vienna, at the end of November, the indirect talks to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will resume. Of the original P5+1, five states remain within the nuclear deal: Iran, Russia, China, France, the United Kingdom, and Germany. Of course, the missing country is US. The JCPOA was inked during the Barack Obama administration. It is seen as a bright spot-a true accomplishment-on a foreign affairs record that was otherwise bloody, imperialist, often treasonous, and even genocidal. -Connor Freeman, Libertarian Institute 11/18/21

Freed after 8 years in prison, Iranian journalist must now spend 2 years in internal exile

Reporters Without Borders (RSF) condemns the Iranian judicial system's unrelenting persecution of Soheil Arabi, an award-winning journalist who was released from prison yesterday after being detained for nearly eight years but who must now serve two years of internal exile in a remote southern city. -RSF 11/18/21

Scoop: U.S. floats interim Iran nuclear deal

National security adviser Jake Sullivan raised with his Israeli counterpart the idea of an interim agreement with Iran to buy more time for nuclear negotiations, three Israeli and U.S. sources tell me. Why it matters: The idea is only preliminary, and the Biden administration continues to insist that the full 2015 nuclear deal be restored. But with nuclear talks set to resume in Vienna on Nov. 29, it provides a window into at least some of the thinking inside the administration. -Axios 11/18/21

Iran calls on countries not to issue hasty statements on IAEA claims

Speaking to reporters on Wednesday afternoon, acting representative of Iran in international organizations in Vienna Mohammad Reza Ghaebi said that the IAEA's new quarterly report on the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal states that the UN nuclear watchdog has been continuing its verification and oversight activities regarding Iran's related commitments, urging the countries not to make hasty remarks about the report. -Tehran Times 11/18/21

High-Level UAE Delegation to Visit Iran Soon -Officials

A top delegation from the United Arab Emirates will visit Tehran soon as the Gulf state works to de-escalate tensions with Iran, senior Iranian and Gulf officials told Reuters on Wednesday. A Gulf official said a high-level delegation is expected to visit Teheran soon but they declined to confirm whether UAE's top national security adviser Sheikh Tahnoon bin Zayed Al Nahyan would lead the visit. -Reuters 11/18/21

To sink nuclear talks with the U.S., Iran's hard-liners use a novel weapon: A hit TV show

It doesn't star Claire Danes, it's not about Al Qaeda and it won't win any Emmys. But "Gando," a hit "Homeland"-like show that swept Iran by storm, is having an impact far beyond the small screen, morphing into a real-life political force that could upset sensitive nuclear negotiations between Tehran and the West. That's exactly what its producers want. -Los Angles Times 11/18/21

US warns that Iranian government-sponsored hackers are targeting key US infrastructure

Iranian government-sponsored hackers are actively targeting a "broad range of victims" across multiple US sectors, including transportation and health care, and in some cases have deployed ransomware against those victims, US federal agencies and their counterparts from the United Kingdom and Australia warned on Wednesday. -CNN 11/18/21

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