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November 22 2014
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Police close down more than two dozen Tehran cafes

- At least 26 cafes in Tehran have been shut down by police citing violations such as "the inappropriate hijab" of customers. The Shahrvand daily wrote on Saturday November 22 that this is an unprecedented wave of police action against Tehran cafes. - 11/22/14

Iran 'Blogfather' Thanks 'His Holiness Ayatollah Khamenei' Following Prison Release

- Iranian blogger Hossein Derakhshan has been released from prison after serving six years of his unprecedented 19 1/2-year prison sentence. Derakhshan, dubbed Iran's "blogfather" for his role popularizing the medium, wrote on Google+ on November 19 about his release and said that he had been pardoned by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. "I am free after six years. Thank You, God. Thank you, Your Holiness Ayatollah Khamenei," he wrote. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 11/21/14

Iranian Scholar's 18-Month Prison Sentence for Questioning Nuclear Program Commuted to Fines

- A Tehran appeals court has reduced the 18-month prison sentence originally handed down to Sadegh Zibakalam, a Tehran University professor and political analyst, for his public questioning of Iran's nuclear program and his criticism of the trial process in a state corruption case, to a five million toman fine (approximately $1,600). - 11/21/14

Iran: Thousands rally against legislative attack on workers' rights

- Thousands of Iranian workers took part in a rally on Thursday November 20 organized by Tehran Manufacturing and Service Workers, protesting the government's attempts to change the country's employment legislation to the benefit of employers. - 11/21/14

UN Resolution on Human Rights in Iran Passes by 78-35 Margin

- On November 18, 2014, the United Nations General Assembly's Third Committee adopted a Resolution on the promotion and protection of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran with a vote of 78 in favor, 35 against and 69 abstentions. - 11/20/14

Mother of accused Iranian woman sheds light on volleyball case

- After the Tehran Prosecutor accused Ghoncheh Qavami of links to opposition forces, claiming the charges against her have no bearing on her attempt to enter a Tehran volleyball stadium to watch a game, Qavami's mother announced that her daughter has no connection to opposition forces and all of her interrogations were focused on her presence at the stadium. - 11/20/14

Iranian lawyers protest in solidarity with suspended colleague

- A group of Iranian lawyers stages a sit-in in front of Iranian Bar Association offices in Tehran to protest the suspension of human rights lawyer, Nasrin Sotoudeh's licence. The group that gathered at the Bar Association on Tuesday November 18 included many of Sotoudeh's peers from across the country as well as several civic activists. - 11/19/14

New Report Reveals State's Growing Efforts to Control Internet Access in Iran

- The Rouhani administration should use all its authority to end the government's initiatives to restrict Iranians' access to the Internet, immediately cease state efforts to monitor users' online accounts, and end the prosecution of individuals for their peaceful online activities, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 11/19/14

Iran 'Vigilante' Law to Test Rouhani on Women's Rights

- Iran's parliament last week approved a bill that would allow paramilitary forces to return to public streets and verbally enforce strict Islamic dress codes. Meanwhile, hardliners are reportedly pushing legislation that would support and protect citizen vigilantes who also want to help enforce the hijab. This comes in the wake of a string of acid attacks on women in Isfahan for not dressing properly. -Cecily Hilleary, VOA - 11/17/14

Viber, Instagram sites to be "cleansed" instead of blocked in Iran

- After reports by the Iranian administration that the Viber and Instagram websites will not be blocked, despite a push by Iranian hardliners, a member of the Working Group to Determine Criminal Content in Cyber Space has been quoted as saying that the content of these social networking sites will be "cleansed." - 11/17/14

Iran Said To Disbar Ex-Prosecutor Over Prison Deaths

- Iranian media report that the country's supreme court has disbarred a former chief prosecutor of Tehran over his role in the death of at least three jailed antigovernment protesters in 2009. - 11/17/14

Column: 'Rosewater' Shows 'How Ridiculous' Iran Can Be

- Jon Stewart's new movie, "Rosewater," was conceived out of guilt and is being born at a potentially pivotal time for U.S.-Iran relations. The hero of the film, which opens in U.S. theaters on Friday, is former Newsweek correspondent Maziar Bahari, who in the run-up to Iran's 2009 presidential elections gave an interview to Jason Jones, mock correspondent on The Daily Show, which Stewart hosts. -Barbara Slavin, VOA - 11/15/14

Iranian university students protest handling of Isfahan acid attacks on women

- A group of students from the International University of Qazvin gathered to protest the recent acid throwing assualts on women in Isfahan and the authorities' failure to arrest the culprits. - 11/15/14

Iranian Activist Woman Challenges President Rohani To Fulfill Promises On Citizen Rights

- Iranian activist Nargess Mohammadi has written to President Rohani protesting against the interrogation procedure she was subjected to in Evin Court. According to the Human Rights Defenders Centre website, Mohammadi has been under investigation by Islamic Republic authorities since last March for meeting with Catherine Ashton when the latter was visiting Iran as the EU foreign policy chief. - 11/14/14

Is UN Engagement Having an Impact on Iran's Human Rights? Absolutely

- To critics who question the ability of UN processes to change the behaviors and policies of the leadership in the Islamic Republic of Iran, an English language media interview with a top Iranian official has provided a revealing answer. - 11/14/14

UANI Targets Legal Humanitarian Trade With Iran

- The anti-Iran pressure group United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) claims as its mission to stop the Iranian nuclear program. A big part of its effort revolves around what it calls "private sanctions campaigns"-attempts to get consumers to boycott or otherwise pressure companies doing business with Iran, while at the same time "striving not to punish the Iranian people," as the group's mission statement puts it. -Eli Clifton and Ali Gharib, LobeLog - 11/14/14

Iran announces plan to accommodate female fans in sports facilities

- The Iranian Ministry of Sports has reacted to public pressure and announced it has plans to designate a section of stadiums to female spectators. The ministry's deputy for women's sports, Robab Shahrian, told ISNA that the ministry will implement a new plan designating specific areas in stadiums for women to attend all athletic events. - 11/13/14

Ghoncheh Ghavami's Lawyer Says New Charges Looming Against Her Are Illegal

- New charges may be brought against Ghoncheh Ghavami, the young woman who was arrested outside a sports stadium in Tehran in June 2014 for trying to attend a volleyball match and who remains in prison. - 11/13/14

Video Appears To Show Police Harassment In Iran

- Four young men are publicly paraded in the back of a vehicle while masked men in black who appear to be members of Iran's police force beat them up and tell them "to bleat" like sheep. One of the young men has his hair pulled and is repeatedly hit on the head while being forced to eat leaves. "I want to see you bleat," one of the balaclava-clad men shouts. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 11/13/14

Iran's unresolved conflict between reformers and fundamentalists

- As we get close to the November 24 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal to be reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany), another conflict has been raging in Iran between the moderates and the hardliners, a contest that could be regarded as a culture war between two different ideologies and two different versions of Islam. -Farhang Jahanpour - 11/12/14

Narges Mohammadi Summoned to Evin Prison Court on Unspecified Charges

- A video of her October 31 speech in remembrance of the second anniversary of Sattar Beheshti's murder quickly went viral among social networks. In her speech, Narges Mohammadi spoke about the police negligence that led to Beheshti's death under torture while being interrogated, and a bill currently under review at the Iranian Parliament that aims to implement the Islamic principle of "Promotion of Virtue and Prevention of Vice" in Iran. - 11/12/14

Rohani Administration Reports No Progress In Probe Of Isfahan Acid Attacks

- The president's adviser on women's affairs announced today that there has been no progress in the investigations regarding acid assaults on women in Isfahan. Some have connected the attacks to the discussions around hijab enforcement by Basij volunteers. - 11/12/14

"I Am Not Angry": Iran's Culture Minister blocks release of film about expelled student

- After persistent pressure from conservative factions in Parliament, the Ministry of Culture and Guidance announced that Reza Darmishian film, "I am not Angry" was finally blocked from screening through direct intervention of the Culture Minister Ali Jannati. - 11/11/14

Iranian officials linked to Kahrizak deaths must return to court

- Saeed Mortazavi and Ali Akbar Heydarifar, two of the judiciary officials linked to the torture and death of detainees in Kahrizak Prison in 2009 have been summoned to court once again because of renewed complaints filed by Abdolhossein Ruholamini, father of Mohsen Ruholamini, one of the victims. - 11/11/14

Iran: Basij forces given go ahead to enforce hijab compliance

- Iranian Parliament has approved a bill allowing Basij forces to give verbal warnings to people in public regarding their compliance with the Islamic dress code. - 11/10/14

Iran Punished By The Volleyball Federation For Refusing To Allow Women In The Stadium

- Ari Grasa, the head of the World Federation of Volleyball, has written a letter to Mohammadreza Davarzani, the head of the Iranian Federation of Volleyball, expressing the global body's gratitude to Iran for its willingness to host the championships but informing Davarzani that Argentina has been chosen as the host. - 11/10/14

Iranian Culture Minister stands firm against critical group of MPs

- Iran's Culture Minister Ali Jannati has once again defended his policies at the ministry despite repeated efforts by a faction of parliamentarians to impeach him for loosening the censorship criteria. - 11/9/14

IRAN HUMAN RIGHTS REVIEW: Equality for women means progress for all

- The fifty eighth session of Commission on the Status of Women (CSW) took place in New York at the Headquarters of United Nations from 10-21 March 2014. -Elahe Amani - 11/9/14

Iran Lawmakers Propose Lashes For Leashes

- Iranians walking their dogs in public could be sentenced to 74 lashes and a fine of more than $3,500. Their pet dogs could also be confiscated, taken to the zoo, or left in a desert. - 11/7/14

Sources: Detained Iranian-American Journalist's Condition Deteriorating

- The health of detained Iranian-American journalist Jason Rezaian has deteriorated in the past few weeks, sources have told VOA. Rezaian has been detained in Iran since July 22, when he, his wife and two other American journalists were taken into custody. No formal charges have been announced against them. -Margaret Besheer, VOA - 11/6/14

New Hope for Revocation of Death Sentence for Insulting Prophet on Facebook

- A Supreme Court branch reviewing the appeal request in the case of Soheil Arabi, a man convicted of "sabb al-nabi" (insulting the Prophet) and sentenced to death, will soon announce its ruling, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 11/6/14

Iranian Political Prisoner After His Release: We Do Not Repent, Have Full Belief In Our Struggle

- Last week when he was released from Evin prison, where he had spend the last four years as a political prisoner, Amin (Peyman) Chalaki, the 2009 deputy manager of Mir-Hossein Mousavi's election campaign in Saveh, held up a photograph of his former boss in defiance of those who had arrested, sentenced and imprisoned him. -Fereshteh Ghazi, Rooz - 11/6/14

Insurance aid requested for treatment of Iran's land mine victims

- Iran's Ministry of Health has been urged to provide land mine victims with the health insurance needed to help them recover as best possible from their injuries, as land mines continue to plague residents in the provinces of Khuzestan, Kurdistan, Western Azerbaijan, Ilam and Kermanshah. - 11/5/14

Police official downplays acid attacks in Isfahan

- Ahmadreza Radan, the Chief of Police Strategic Studies, says the acid assaults on women in Isfahan have been "blown out of proportion [which allowed] the enemy to take advantage of it." President Rohani has implicitly linked the actions to overt government interference in the enforcement of hijab and Islamic dress codes in public. - 11/4/14

Fighting for freedom in Iran in the privacy of their own homes

- Nothing much has changed since the protests in 2009 despite President Rouhani's pledges. Young and old are surprisingly open to quietly revealing their frustrations with theocratic rule, even to a Westerner -Rob Hastings, Independent - 11/3/14

Iranian Lawmakers Look To Protect Vigilantes Of Islamic Justice

- The bill winding through the conservative-dominated parliament would strengthen punishments for those who injure or kill people carrying out their Islamic duty to promote virtue and prevent vice, and would give injured vigilantes of Islamic justice the same benefits and legal protections afforded to "martyrs and disabled veterans." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 11/2/14

U.K. Concerned By Trial, Jailing Of British-Iranian Woman

- The British government says it is concerned about reports that a British-Iranian woman has been sentenced to one year in prison after trying to attend a volleyball match in Tehran. In a statement on November 2, the British Foreign Office said there are "concerns about the grounds for this prosecution, due process during the trial," and the treatment of Ghonchech Ghavami while in custody. - 11/2/14

Iran Says Nearly All Executions Drug-Related

- Iran's top human rights official responded to UN criticism of the death penalty in his country by saying 93 percent of the executions in Iran are for illegal drug smuggling. Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Human Rights Council, made his comments in answering a UN report criticizing Iran's frequent use of capital punishment. - 11/2/14

Iranian reporter who covered Isfahan protests set free on bail

- Arya Jafari, an ISNA reporter detained for nine days by the Isfahan Revolutionary Guards for covering public protests against acid attacks on women, was released on bail today, October 31. Three ISNA staff members were arrested following their reports on the protests, and Jafari is the last to be released. - 11/1/14

Iranian journalists rally around detained colleague who covered protests

- A letter signed by 129 journalists calls for the release of Arya Jafari, the ISNA photojournalist who has been in custody in Isfahan since October 22 for coverage of protests against the repeated acid attacks against women in Isfahan. - 10/31/14

Iranian Government Spying in Social Networking Sites

- This is a field report about the indifference of internet users to the Islamic republic regime's spying efforts in cyber space as it tries to identify those who are against the regime or certain policies.The only immunity for these users comes from their overwhelming multitudes and the undeniable prevalence of opposition to the regime. -Hamid Rezai - 10/30/14

Reporter's family urges Iran to release him

- The family of an Iranian-American correspondent for the Washington Post who has been jailed in Iran since July is urging authorities to release him, saying on Thursday that his continued incarceration without charge is a "farce." -AP - 10/30/14

Desired Discussion Model

- 12Petals encourages cooperative (unadversarial) approach as more valuable to the creation of and the nourishing of a culture of tolerance and a culture of human rights, because this system seeks out solutions and subsequently sets much higher standards in the search of truth and cooperative settings for justice. - 10/30/14

ISNA journalists detained over coverage of acid attacks in Isfahan

- The editor-in-chief of ISNA in Isfahan has been detained by the authorities in connection with the news agency's coverage of the acid assaults on women. Reports indicate that four ISNA staff were originally arrested in this regard, and while two have been released, Editor-in-chief Zahra Mohammadi and the head of ISNA's society columns, Sanam Farsi, remain in custody. - 10/29/14

Citing 'surge' in executions, UN expert voices deep concern about right to life in Iran

- The human rights situation in Iran remains of deep concern, an independent United Nations expert said today, flagging issues related to the right to life, the judicial system, religious persecution, and discrimination against women. - 10/28/14

Iran Moves To Muzzle Media Coverage Of Acid Attacks

- Iranian officials are moving to muzzle media coverage of a string of recent acid attacks targeting young women in the central city of Isfahan. In recent days, several Iranian officials have warned the media over their coverage of the crimes, accusing them of fomenting public discord and promoting the "views of the enemy." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 10/28/14

Iranian MP complains of mass firing at Kurdistan university

- Marivon MP Omid Karimian has spoken out against the termination of 300 members of the Kurdistan Medical Sciences University staff, calling the move even more concerning in view of the province's high rate of unemployment. - 10/28/14

Iranian Activist Sotoudeh Freed After Detention

- Sotoudeh, a well-known human rights attorney, told Reuters on October 26 that she was held along with several other activists the previous day after a rally against a three-year ban on her from practicing law. She said the rally was also to urge Iranian authorities to allow "more openness and freedom" in society. - 10/27/14

US Condemns Iranian Woman's Execution

- The United States has condemned Iran for executing a woman convicted of killing a man to defend herself from an alleged sexual assault. The 26-year-old woman, Reyhaneh Jabbari, was hanged Saturday morning. - 10/27/14

Iran's President Rouhani orders investigation into acid attacks in Isfahan

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has instructed three ministries to accelerate efforts to find culprits behind the recent acid attacks in Isfahan amid national outrage over the despicable acts. - 10/25/14

Acid attacks on Iranian women highlight political divisions

- Media coverage of protests against the throwing of acid and other violence against women in Isfahan and Tehran was met with resistance from government bodies, even as President Hassan Rohani called for swift action against those who throw acid. - 10/25/14

Iran Hangs Woman Accused of Killing Rapist

- Iran has hanged a woman who had been on death row for five years for killing her alleged rapist. The execution of Reyhaneh Jabbari was reported by the official IRNA news agency. The man she killed - Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi - was a former intelligence officer, whom she said tried to rape her. - 10/25/14

31 Nobel Physics Prize Laureates Join Thousands of Activists to Call for the Release of Iranian Physicist

- A delegation consisting of Amnesty International, the Committee of Concerned Scientists, and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran will deliver thousands of petitions and letters collected by these organizations and the American Physical Society calling for the release of Omid Kokabee to the Iran UN Mission in New York - 10/24/14

Iranians protest rash of acid assaults on women

- Iranians took to the streets in Isfahan and Tehran to protest the recent incidents of acid throwing in Isfahan and demand that the authorities provide security for all citizens. In recent weeks in a number of incidents, women have been assaulted with acid, leaving at least one dead and many others struggling with serious burns to their hands and faces. - 10/23/14

Iran's Isfahan Outraged Over Acid Attacks

- Soheila Jowrkesh had just pulled over to take a call from her mother when she became a victim. As she sat in her car with the window open, two men on a motorcycle threw liquid acid at her. The attack left her completely blind in her right eye, with injuries to her left eye and extensive burns to her forehead, hands, and legs, her father, Nasser Jowrkesh, told the BBC's Persian service. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 10/22/14

Iranian Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Stages Sit-in to Protest Ban on Her Legal Practice

- Human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh began a sit-in on October 21, 2014, at the Iranian Bar Association in Tehran to protest a ruling that puts a three-year ban on her legal practice, and in protest against the general state of legal representation in Iran. - 10/22/14

Iranian Justice Minister calls acid attacks on women "terrorism"

- On the sidelines of a meeting in Tehran, the justice minister told reporters that authorities in Isfahan are thoroughly investigating the incidents of acid being thrown on women, adding that the actions were "acts of "sabotage and terrorism." - 10/22/14

Iranian Culture Minister stands firm against call for film censorship

- Ali Jannati, Iran's Minister of Culture and Guidance, has announced that a request by the head of Parliament's Culture Commission to ban a number of films has been denied. Ahmad Salek has reportedly called on Ali Jannati to ban eight films branded as "seditious" by his commission. Iran's conservative factions refer to the opposition protests that were triggered by allegations of vote fraud in 2009 as "sedition." - 10/22/14

Four arrested for acid attacks on women in Isfahan

- Four people suspected of throwing acid in Isfahan have been arrested, says a spokesman for Iran's Interior Ministry, and "all dimensions of the incidents" are being investigated. - 10/21/14

Iran Investigates Acid Attacks On Women

- Iranian officials said they are investigating a series of acid attacks on women that occurred in the historic city of Isfahan in recent days. Some social network users in the country wrote that there had been up to 13 acid attacks against female drivers who allegedly were targeted for not being properly veiled. - 10/20/14

Iran Bans Human Rights Lawyer From Practicing Law

- A prominent Iranian human rights lawyer says she has been banned from practicing her profession for three years. Sotoudeh told AFP that she would not try to appeal the decision but will conduct a sit-down protest outside the Iran Bar Association's headquarters in Tehran, starting October 21. - 10/19/14

Iran scholars, associations deplore 'medieval' death verdict on Saudi cleric

- Iranian grand ayatollahs and associations have deplored death sentence against Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr, a prominent Saudi Arabian Shia cleric. A death sentence passed against the dissident Shia cleric in Saudi Arabia after a deeply flawed trial is appalling and must be immediately quashed, said Amnesty International. - 10/19/14

Ahmad Montazeri summoned after defending Iranian opposition leaders

- Ahmad Montazeri, whose late father Ayatollah Montazeri was a chief critic of the Islamic Republic regime, has been summoned by the Special Court for the Clergy. The Kaleme opposition website reports that Ahmad Montazeri appeared in court on Saturday, but so far nothing has been confirmed about the charges against him. - 10/19/14

Acid attacks against women on the rise in Isfahan

- Reports from Isfahan indicate that in recent weeks there has been a rise in the incidence of people throwing acird onto women, purportedly for not wearing appropriate hijab or Islamic gard in public. - 10/18/14

Iranian MPs push bill to crack down on immodest attire, satellites

- A number of Iranian MPs have introduced a bill to punish violations of hijab (the Islamic dress code) with fines and the possession of satellite receivers with prison terms. - 10/17/14

Sons of murder victim deny mercy to convicted woman

- The last "peace and reconciliation" meeting in the case of Iranian woman Reyhaneh Jabbari, sentenced to death for the murder of Morteza Abdolali Sarbandi, culminated without a resolution on Wednesday October 15. - 10/17/14

New Videos Confront Iran's Rights Violations through Personal Stories of Persecution

- Impact Iran, a coalition of human rights organizations, in partnership with theInternational Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, today launched a new video, "Promises Made, Promises Broken." The video is part of a series aimed at drawing attention to Iran's second Universal Periodic Review (UPR) at the UN Human Rights Council on October 31, 2014. A new video will be released each week leading up to the review. - 10/16/14

Iranian activist Qavami ends hunger strike after closed-door trial

- The trial of Ghoncheh Qavami, the jailed Iranian activist, was held on Tuesday, October 14 behind closed doors in branch 16 of Tehran's Revolutionary Court for the charge of propaganda against the Islamic Republic regime. - 10/16/14

Retrial Granted for Iranian Nuclear Scientist Omid Kokabee, Raising Hope for His Release

- The request for a retrial for the imprisoned young scientist, Omid Kokabee, has been accepted by Branch 36 of the Supreme Court, according to Kokabee's lawyer, Saeed Khalili, who posted the update on his Facebook page. "Acceptance of the retrial request means that the top judicial authority has deemed Dr. Omid Kokabee's [initial] verdict against the law," he wrote. - 10/15/14

Iranian activist filmmaker detained for one day, reportedly beaten

- Mohammad Nourizad, an Iranian political filmmaker and activist, reported on his Facebook page that he was released from Evin Prison on Sunday October 13 after a one-day arrest. Nourizad posted a photo of himself and a report about his release on his Facebook page and thanked his supporters. - 10/14/14

Presence of female musicians stops concert in Isfahan despite proper permit

- The music group Erfan was prevented from holding a concert in Isfahan because women were part of the group. The concert was cancelled even though the group had the necessary permit from the Ministry of Culture and Guidance. - 10/14/14

Iran's Jailing of Activist Offers Hint of Liberty Under Rouhani

- Iran can also be deceptive, activists here say, especially for people like Ms. Ghavami who spend most of their lives abroad. The return to the motherland can feel warm and surprisingly safe, but dangers lurk, especially for those who return with the idea of promoting change. -Thomas Erdbrink, NY Times - 10/12/14

Coalition Contacts President Obama in Support of Judge Tabaddor's Suit Against the Department of Justice

- This week, the Public Affairs Alliance (PAAIA), along with 30 Years After, the Arab American Institute, the Armenian National Committee of America, and the PARS Equality Center sent a letter to President Obama in support of Judge Afsaneh Ashley Tabaddor and her recently filed suit against the United States Department of Justice (Case No.14-cv-06390, Tabaddor v. Holder et al.). - 10/11/14

Iranian journalist arrested after critique of Saqez Police

- The Iranian-Kurdish journalist Hiwa Fouladi was arrested after the Saqez Police Force filed a complaint against him. The Shar News Website reports that Fouladi has been transferred to the city's Central Prison. The website reports that the complaint involves a critical report published by the website regarding the actions of the police. - 10/11/14

More Power for Iran's Vigilantes

- In an overwhelming vote Wednesday, conservative lawmakers granted greater powers to volunteer groups to "promote virtue and prevent vice" on the street. Derided by critics as fundamentalist vigilantes, the groups chastise and in some cases, physically assault and arrest Iranians they consider improperly dressed. -Arash Sigarchi, VOA - 10/10/14
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