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'Expert Groups' Hammering Out Details of Iran Nuclear Deal

- U.S. officials in Vienna say international nuclear and sanctions experts are grinding through details of various issues in an effort to negotiate a final agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA - 7/4/15

Zarif Says 'Never Been Closer' To Nuclear Deal

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said a lasting nuclear deal with Iran has "never been closer." In a message posted on YouTube late on July 3 (below), Zarif also said that there is "no guarantee" of success. - 7/4/15

Iran denies report on 'tentative agreement' over sanctions relief

- Iran has denied a report claiming that it has reached tentative agreement with the P5+1 group of world countries on the removal of the sanctions against the Islamic Republic in the course of ongoing nuclear negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna. - 7/4/15

Iran sports body invites female reporters to cover volleyball showdown

- With only two games of the world volleyball league championships left to be played in Iran, Iran's Volleyball Federation has called on female reporters to arrive at Azadi Stadium on Friday and Saturday nights to cover the matches between Iran and Russia. - 7/4/15

Other Reasons to Review IAEA's Al-Kibar Conclusions

- The UK's former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Peter Jenkins, has done us the service of calling into question the methods by which the Agency's inspection team may have obtained or collected the uranium particles that contributed importantly to its conclusion that the building destroyed by Israeli missiles in 2007 at Dair Alzour "was very likely a nuclear reactor." -Robert Kelley, LobeLog - 7/4/15

Kerry, Zarif to Meet on Key Iran Nuclear Disputes

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna Friday on key disputes that have prevented nuclear negotiators from meeting a June 30 deadline. The discussions follow IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's trip to Tehran where he met with President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. -Mary Alice Salina, VOA - 7/3/15

Yet-To-Be-Fully-Released Poll Suggests Solid Support for Iran Deal

- The Chicago Council for Global Affairs (CCGA) has just released the highlights of a public opinion survey taken in late May and early June concerning public opinion on Iran's nuclear program. The numbers should encourage the Obama administration in its drive to conclude a deal between the P5+1 and Tehran in the next week. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 7/3/15

The Father Of Iran's Nuclear Program Recalls How It All Began

- It was late in 1973 when Akbar Etemad got the call -- the shah wanted to discuss ways to launch a nuclear program that would cement Iran's place among the world's modern nations. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi had reached the conclusion that Iran needed to diversify its energy sources for the future in order to provide for a rising population. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 7/3/15

Russia Says Iran Nuclear Deal In Sight

- Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said Iran and world powers are close to a nuclear agreement. TASS news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying in Vienna on July 2, "All parties are of the opinion that this matter will be resolved in the coming days." - 7/3/15

Law to let volunteers enforce morality worries Iranian administration

- Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa PourMohammadi says the legislation regarding the Islamic tenet of "Enforcing Good Behaviour and Forbidding Bad" is breaking rules about the branches of government and their jurisdictions. - 7/3/15

No Official Reason Given for Arrest of Former Professor and Activist by Security Agents in Tehran

- The family of former chemistry professor and activist Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, has not been given an official explanation for why he was arrested and imprisoned nearly two weeks ago. - 7/3/15

Are We Negotiating With Iran or Persia?

- Much more than a name is involved. In terms of a national state of mind the two identities sit side-by-side-but not quietly. "Iran" and "Persia" diverged a long time ago as cultural and political concepts but one cannot exist without the other-and wishing won't make the harsher one go away. -Clive Irving, Daily Beast - 7/3/15

The Islamic State and the Terrible Twos

- The Islamic State celebrated its one-year anniversary in customary fashion. Other organizations might sponsor parades and make speeches. ISIS spilled blood. A beheading in France, the murder of 38 tourists at a resort in Tunisia, and a bomb blast at a mosque in Kuwait all reminded the world, if it had somehow forgotten, that ISIS isn't merely interested in securing sovereignty over a particular stretch of territory. It has much grander ambitions. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 7/3/15

Chicken in Vienna

- With the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in its final days (and seven days of overtime having just been announced), a broken leg is not the most serious impairment to Secretary of State Kerry's ability to conclude an agreement that will ensure Iran remains a non-nuclear-weapons state and advances U.S. interests in other respects... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog - 7/2/15

Amherst University Reverses Ban On Graduate Students

- Facing a backlash from international students, the U.S. state of Massachusett's flagship university said it is lifting a ban on Iranian nationals in certain graduate programs. Instead, the university said it is instituting monitoring measures to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran. - 7/2/15

Mansoureh Shojaee' letter to the Chief of Justice of Islamic Republic of Iran

- In protesting the unlawful action that has taken place in processing my lawsuit in the Revolutionary Court, I Mansoureh Shojaee, journalist, researcher, woman's activist, address this letter to you. At the present time, I am a resident scholar at Hague, Netherlands, a research scholar in the area of social justice, human rights, and gender studies. - 7/2/15

Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison

- As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage. Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly four years. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 7/2/15

IAEA Chief, Iranian Officials Work to Resolve Nuclear Issues

- The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog met with Iranian officials Thursday in Tehran in the latest effort to resolve long-standing questions about the country's nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano held talks with the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, and was also due to meet with President Hassan Rouhani. - 7/2/15

Iran's Alliance of Convenience with the Taliban?

- Ismail Kosari, a conservative member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and the chair of Defense Committee of the Iranian parliament, confirmed in early June the Taliban's trip to Tehran: "I can't divulge any details, but what I can say is that they have declared their readiness to talk." -LobeLog - 7/2/15

Iran repatriates 13 tons of frozen gold

- Iran has secured the release of 13 metric tons of its gold assets blocked in South Africa under US-led sanctions, central bank Governor Valiollah Seif has said. The repatriation came thanks to the Iranian negotiating team's follow-up of the matter in the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said in a statement. - 7/2/15

Iran Nuclear Negotiators Eye New Deadline

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif sit down for more talks in Vienna, on Wednesday, a day after Iran nuclear negotiators extended their deadline for an agreement to July 7. Their talks come a day after both President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani commented on the negotiations underway in Vienna. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 7/1/15

The WINEP Letter and the Bipartisan Fallacy

- For the past week, a letter from a varied group of policy experts has been making the rounds, mostly as a case against doing a deal with Iran. More particularly, many of these experts have been opposed to doing this deal currently being hashed out in Vienna. -Ali Gharib - 7/1/15

Iran's Supreme Leader sets growth target at 8%

- Iran's new development plan, unveiled by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Tuesday, envisages sustainable growth of eight percent over the next five years. The Leader's blueprint for the years 2016-2021, communicated to President Hassan Rouhani and heads of the judiciary and legislature, also calls for economic diplomacy, notably in Southeast Asia, to "revive foreign investment and enter global markets". - 7/1/15

IAEA's chief Amano due in Iran Thursday for nuclear talks

- Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano is due in Iran on Thursday for talks on Tehran's nuclear program. During his stay in Iran, the IAEA chief is expected to hold talks with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. - 7/1/15

Cyrus Copeland Investigates in New Book, Was Dad a Spy?

- Searching for the truth behind allegations that his American father was a CIA spy in Iran, Cyrus Copeland has crafted a gripping memoir. Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, A Mother's Heroism, and A Son's Quest (Penguin/Blue Rider, 2015) takes readers through a dramatic, yet witty journey in understanding his dual Iranian and American identity. - 7/1/15

Congress on Iran and Israel

- As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. - 7/1/15

Iran's Communications Minister says Telegram not restricted by government

- Following reports of disruptions in access to Telegram social networking site, Iran's minister of communications denied any involvement from government censorship in blocking the site. ISNA reports that Mahmoud Vaezi the communications minister said on Tuesday the ministry has no plans on restricting social networking sites. - 7/1/15

Iran: Police and Basij crackdown on eating, drinking during Ramadan

- Shiraz and Hamadan officials reports that since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, 600 people in total have been arrested in the two cities for breaking their fast in public. - 7/1/15

Zarif Rejoins Iran Nuclear Talks

- Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif returned to Vienna to rejoin the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program Tuesday, the day of the original self-imposed deadline for an agreement. Zarif arrived with Iran's nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, who has been recovering from illness, after returning to Iran for consultations Sunday. Upon their return, Zarif met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/30/15

Grassroots Groups Representing Millions of Americans Urge Congress to Support an Iran Deal

- NIAC Action signed a letter sent today by grassroots organizations representing millions of Americans urging Congress to support a strong final nuclear deal with Iran. "Every single poll shows that the American public supports an Iran deal and yet Congress seems hellbent on voting to kill it," said NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi. - 6/30/15

Critiquing a Critique of Obama's Approach to Iran

- Last week, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) posted a "statement" on the Iranian nuclear negotiation. The statement attracted attention because some of the parties appeared to be finding fault with the Obama administration despite past service in that administration. -Peter Jenkins - 6/30/15

Open Letter to 2016 Presidential Candidates from Prominent Iranian Americans

- Thirty-seven prominent Iranian Americans, consisting of current and former government officials, foreign policy experts, scientists, business leaders, authors and media personalities, sent an open letter urging the 2016 presidential candidates to refrain from broad generalizations about the Iranian people when discussing the prospective nuclear agreement taking shape between the P5+1 and Iran. - 6/30/15

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify

- As Iran and world powers negotiate a deal to lift international sanctions in exchange for curbing the Iranian nuclear program, economists say the deal could inject more than $100 billion into Iran's coffers. The money is not enough to entirely rescue Iran's ailing economy, they say, but it may be enough to create an "economic momentum" to solidify the leadership's power base. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 6/30/15

Iranian Teachers' Leader Arrested, Pressured Over Protests

- The head of the Iranian Teachers' Association, Esmail Abdi, was arrested when he reported to court in response to a summons. The Kaleme website reports that Abdi tried to board a plane to Armenia last week and only then did he realize he was under a foreign travel ban. - 6/30/15

Don't Fear Iran's Impending Windfall

- As Iran and the P5+1 look set to complete a historic nuclear agreement this week, the policy community in the US and Europe is very fearful that sanctions relief will provide Iran a dangerous windfall that it can use to expand its interventions in the region. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog - 6/30/15

Iran's nuclear talks: Five reasons why a deal would be good for the U.S.

- The criticism of the pending nuclear deal between Iran and world powers is intensifying. Opponents of the deal will spend millions of dollars on ads pushing the U.S. public and Congress to kill the deal in the next few days. -Trita Parsi, CNN - 6/30/15

Saudi Arabia's Quagmire

- Three months after Saudi Arabia rounded up a few allies and began an intensive bombing campaign against the rebels known as Houthis across the border in Yemen, a conventional wisdom has developed. "It has not worked," as The New York Times put it in a front-page article, and it probably can't work because the strategic goals are too murky, ... -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog - 6/30/15

Russia Undermining U.S. in the Middle East

- The Ukraine crisis and the resulting deterioration of Russia's ties with the West have fomented a level of geopolitical instability in Europe unseen in decades. Yet, the Middle East is arguably where Moscow and Washington's tension is most significant -Daniel Wagner and Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog - 6/30/15

Iran Talks: Days Dwindle Down to a Precious Few

- By the morning of July 1, we should know whether President Barack Obama has achieved one of his presidency's central foreign policy goals: an agreement to deal effectively with the Iranian nuclear program. -Robert E. Hunter - 6/29/15

Prospects Dim for Iran Nuclear Talks to Make Deadline

- With the prospects dim for an Iran nuclear agreement on the original June 30 deadline, U.S. officials launched a new round of talks, on Monday, with a chief nuclear regulator. Secretary of State John Kerry led a delegation, in Vienna, that met with Yukiya Amano, the director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency. As he headed into the talks at the ornate Palais Coburg hotel, Kerry said, "We are just working and it is too early to make any judgments." -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/29/15

Iran: Draconian amendment further erodes fair trial rights

- The Iranian authorities have put another nail in the coffin of justice by making a retrogressive amendment in Iran's new Code of Criminal Procedures which limits the right to access an independent lawyer of one's choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases, including those related to national security. The authorities must immediately amend the law to ensure that any person charged with a criminal offence has access to a lawyer of their own choosing from the time of arrest. -Amnesty International - 6/29/15

As Potential Deal Draws Near, Iran Talks Critics Out in Force

- As world powers and Iran continue nuclear negotiations in Vienna, many observers are optimistic a deal will be reached soon. But hardliners are amping up the rhetoric on both sides. And while a deal that can be implemented successfully may be difficult to reach, analysts say out-dated ideas are simply no longer a practical factor in negotiations. -Heather Murdock, VOA - 6/29/15

Dastan Ensemble shuns Iran over concert cancellations

- To protest the cancellation of concerts in Iran, the Dastan Music Ensemble says it will no longer schedule any concerts in Iran. The Etemad daily reports that ensemble member Saeed Farajpouri said: "Although we were planning on holding a number of concerts in Iran in the coming year, in light of the recent problems with concerts, we decided that we will not hold concerts in Iran for the time being." - 6/29/15

Refugee World

- According to the latest UN report, we face an unprecedented refugee crisis. Nearly 60 million people are now classified as refugees, more than at any time since such records have been kept. Perhaps our civilization won't end with a bang or a whimper. We'll all simply become, failed state after failed state, refugees in a heartless world. -John Feffer, LobeLog - 6/29/15

Iran Negotiations to Go Beyond June 30 Deadline

- A senior U.S. official says all parties at the Iran nuclear talks in Vienna plan to continue negotiating past the June 30th deadline. The official added that Washington is not troubled by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif's decision to briefly return to Tehran for consultations with his government before the deadline that is two days away. The U.S. official said it was expected that participants in the talks would come and go from Vienna during the negotiations. -Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/28/15

Iranian human rights lawyer succeeds in reducing licence suspension

- After months of protest, prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has finally managed to reduce the suspension of her licence from three years to just nine months. Sotoudeh's Facebook page reports that because nine months have elapsed since the order was issued, she will be applying for her licence at the Bar Association in the next few days. - 6/28/15

Record rise in foreign investments in Iran

- Iran's media reported on Saturday that foreign investments in the country had seen an unprecedented three-time rise in the second quarter of 2015. Foreign investments in Iran over the period had reached as high as $3 billion. The figure was higher than the total of $2.1 billion of foreign investments made in the country from March 2014-2015. - 6/28/15

Kerry, Zarif in Agreement on Iran Nuke Deal: Hard Work Ahead

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "we're hopeful" days ahead of a deadline for a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program. "I think it's fair to say that we're hopeful. We have a lot of hard work to do. We have some very tough issues, and I think we all look forward to getting down to the final effort here to see whether or not a deal is possible," Kerry said Saturday in Vienna as he met with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. -VOA - 6/27/15

The 2nd Europe-Iran forum: on September 24-25, 201 in Geneva, Switzerland

- In October 2014, the 1st Europe-Iran Forum became the first major international business conference dedicated to Iran's private sector commercial opportunities. Building on the success of the first event, BHB Emissary and its partners are proud to host the 2nd Europe-Iran Forum on September 24-25, 2015 at the prestigous Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva, Switzerland. - 6/27/15

Laying Zero Enrichment to Rest

- With the self-imposed deadline for Iran nuclear talks looming, obstacles to reaching a deal are emerging mostly from the Iranian side. The majles, or parliament, passed a bill seeking to restrain inspections on Iranian soil. More importantly, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has final word on all matters of state, laid out onerous conditions for a deal that, if he holds to his red lines, would make an accord difficult for world powers to agree to. -Ali Gharib - 6/27/15

U.S. To Continue Rights Sanctions Against Iran, Regardless Of Nuclear Deal

- The U.S. State Department says sanctions imposed against Iran in response to its violations of human rights will remain in place regardless of any nuclear deal brokered by Tehran and six world powers. Tom Malinowski, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, made the announcement on June 25 in Washington during the presentation of the State Department's 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. - 6/27/15

Wikileaks Strikes Again: Saudi Meddling in Lebanon

- Last Saturday morning, Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese daily opposed to the West- and Saudi-friendly March 14 movement, once again helped Wikileaks disseminate material, this time with 70,000 diplomatic cables from the Saudi foreign ministry. And nearly half a million more are lined up for publication through the holy month of Ramadan. -Aurelie Daher, LobeLog - 6/27/15

Iran Nuclear Agreement Deadline May Slip

- U.S. and Iranian officials depart Friday for a final round of nuclear talks in Vienna, even as U.S. officials conceded a deal may not be able to be reached by a June 30 deadline. A senior U.S. administration official said Thursday negotiators are expected to be "close" to an agreement on the 30th, if they "can get there at all." -William Gallo, Pamela Dockins, VOA - 6/26/15

Saudi Leaks Expose 'Checkbook Diplomacy' in Battle With Iran

- Saudi Arabia's willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. WikiLeaks has not revealed its source, but a group calling itself the "Yemen cyber army" has claimed it hacked government servers. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA - 6/26/15

Why Iran Suspects Western Calls for Transparency

- On May 20, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei spoke at the Imam Hussein Military University in Tehran. Referring to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the U.N. watchdog mandated to deal with nuclear issues, he said that foreigners would not be permitted to inspect Iran's military sites or interview Iranian nuclear scientists. -Emma Scott, LobeLog - 6/26/15

The Day After a Nuclear Deal

- Iranian president Hassan Rouhani may soon discover that negotiating a nuclear deal was the easy part of his job. He is likely to have a much more difficult time in office--with pressure from his opponents and his supporters--once the initial euphoria of a deal passes. -Hooman Majd, Politico - 6/26/15

Nuclear Talks: Paradigm Shift in Iran Foreign Policy?

- During my recent trip to Tehran I had a chance to listen to and participate in discussions on both the political and societal levels about the final stages of the nuclear talks. As I discussed here in mid-February, the level of anxiety in Iran could not be higher. More importantly, the overall debate about the talks and all its details goes far beyond factional politics. -Adnan Tabatabai - 6/25/15

Kerry Heads to Vienna in Final Push for Iran Nuclear Agreement

- U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Vienna Friday for the final phase of negotiations on a comprehensive international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. On Wednesday, Kerry warned, "It may be that the Iranians will not fill out the full measure of what was agreed on" in the framework agreement reached in April. -Victor Beattie, VOA - 6/25/15

US universities on symbolic visit to Iran

- A group of senior United States university representatives has visited Iran, in what is believed to be the biggest academic delegation since the 1970s. As relations between the two countries begin to thaw, the delegation met representatives of 13 Iranian universities and research institutes. -Sean Coughlan, BBC - 6/25/15

From the Damavand Vote to Nuclear Talks in WikiLeaks: Mohajerani Remains Silent; the Three Islands in the Persian Gulf

- In the wake of the most recent leaks of classified intelligence diplomatic cables belonging to Saudi Arabia's foreign ministry - posted on the WikiLeaks site - Iran's minister of culture and Islamic guidance during reformist president Mohammad Khatami's administration is mentioned to have received money from Saudi Arabia. When approached, Mohajerani chose to remain silent and said he would respond at a "suitable" time. -Fereshteh Ghazi - 6/25/15

Social Media Analysis: How an Iranian Kurdish Woman's Death Triggered a Regional Social Media Conflict

- Farinaz Khosrawani was a 25-year-old Kurdish chambermaid who fell off of a hotel room balcony on May 4 while allegedly escaping a sexual assault. The incident resulted in protests from Kurds in Mahabad, who set Hotel Tara on fire in reaction to her death. -Simin Kargar, Global Voices - 6/25/15

Iran: Mass firing of ILNA labour reporters draws criticism

- Following the mass firing of the reporters in the labour section of the Iranian Labour News Agency, a group of teachers, activists and workers has issued a letter protesting their dismissal. The reporters of the Labour section of ILNA say they have had constant tension with ILNA management, the House of Workers and the Ministry of Labour over the past five years. The reporters were also prevented from fully covering teacher protests. - 6/25/15

Tehran Talks Tough with India

- The Iranians, sensing a nuclear deal or a thaw at the very minimum, have in recent months become more assertive in their dealings with India. This toughening stance is most visible in sectors poised to attract tremendous foreign investment (particularly European) if sanctions are lifted. For Indian companies hoping to engage with Iran on energy, particularly upstream, recent months have been tough. -Sumitha Narayanan Kutty, LobeLog - 6/25/15

Iran's Supreme Leader Rejects Long-term Limits on Nuclear Program

- Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made clear in an address Tuesday night that Iran will not accept any long-term curbing of its nuclear program as negotiators from his country and a group of world powers close in on a deadline for reaching a comprehensive agreement. - 6/24/15

POLL: Iranian Public Opinion on Nukes, the U.S., Politics

- A major new poll of Iranian public opinion with important and fascinating results was released here and in Tehran Tuesday and deserves much more attention than it is likely to get (at least in the United States). -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 6/24/15

PAAIA Releases National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans and the American Public

- The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) today released the findings of a national public opinion survey examining the attitudes of both Iranian Americans and the American public at large toward a number of issues related to the nuclear negotiations with Iran and U.S.-Iranian relations. The results show that both Iranian Americans and American voters are supportive of a nuclear agreement with Iran. - 6/24/15

Pro-Israel Lobby Prepares to Battle Obama Over Iran

- As U.S. and Iranian negotiators approach the June 30 deadline to reach a nuclear deal, America's largest pro-Israel lobby is campaigning to kill such an accord in Congress. -Eli Lake, Bloomberg - 6/24/15

National Iranian broadcaster denies reports of gender segregation

- The Public Relations Manager of Seda va Sima radio programming says reports of gender segregation in the national broadcaster's offices are not true. ILNA reports that Ali Akbar Khodabakhsh said on Tuesday June 23: "Do you think Seda va Sima is a school where you can separate the genders." - 6/24/15

Sistan Baluchistan MP lists distressing stats about province

- Seventy percent of people in Sistan Baluchistan province are living below the poverty line, the Khash representative to Parliament reports. He added that in that past three decades, the province has been ranked last among the country's 31 provinces in terms of development. The reports adds that unemployment remains very high. Two-thirds of the province's population does not have access to drinking water, and only 50 percent of students continue their education. - 6/24/15

Iran, EU Hold Talks as Nuclear Deal Deadline Approaches

- Iran's foreign minister and his European Union counterparts are meeting in Luxembourg for a final round of nuclear talks aimed at completing a deal before a June 30 deadline. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif met privately with ministers from Germany and France before a larger meeting with EU leaders. - 6/23/15

Obama's Three Hard Choices in the Middle East

- The first steps in righting US policy and actions in the Middle East are recognition and acceptance of what we have wrought and what we can or cannot do to alter the current political realities. Clarity is required above all. -Charles Naas - 6/23/15

"Portals" Opens New Channel Between U.S. and Iran

- I "visited" Iran the other day but didn't need a visa or a plane ticket. Through the magic of the Internet and sophisticated audiovisual technology, I chatted for 20 minutes with a young man in Tehran about the mood there in anticipation of a historic nuclear agreement with the U.S. and five other nations. - 6/23/15

Iranian Ex-President Says U.S. Seeks Arrest Of Hidden Imam

- Iran's former hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has reportedly said that the United States is working to arrest the Hidden Imam, who according to Shi'ite belief went into hiding in the 10th century and will reappear to bring justice to Earth. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 6/23/15

Report: Child Refugees Face Obstacles in EU, Iran

- An international rights organization has called on European Union nations to better provide for children from Afghanistan, Syria, and other nations seeking asylum in Europe. Human Rights Watch released a report saying many children who have fled Afghanistan to avoid recruitment by the Taliban or conscription by the Syrian army are traveling alone to refugee centers, where they can be held for weeks while awaiting space in children's shelters. - 6/23/15

Iran Navy sends 35th flotilla to high seas

- The 35th flotilla of the Iranian Navy has set off for high seas to safeguard naval routes for the country's vessels operating in the region. The flotilla, consisting of Bandar Abbas auxiliary ship and Alvand destroyer, left the country on Monday after the 34th fleet completed its mission and returned home. - 6/23/15
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