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May 23 2015
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Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi banished to exile after completing prison term

- Ahmad Zeidabadi, a jailed Iranian journalist who reached the end of his prison term on Thursday May 21, was immediately transferred to Gonabad to serve out the exile portion of his sentence. - 5/22/15

Iranian Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship

- Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers' Association. - 5/22/15

U.S., Iranian Warships Shadowing Cargo Ship Near Yemen

- Iran has sent two warships to accompany an Iranian cargo boat delivering humanitarian aid to Yemen, and the United States has sent warships to shadow the Iranians. Those were the intriguing developments May 19 as the Iranian ships neared the Yemeni port of Hodaida, where Iran has insisted they will unload their cargo. - 5/20/15

Critic of Iran's Supreme Leader to spend another year in solitary

- Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent political prisoner and former deputy interior minister, was not released at the end of his six-year sentence and has to serve another sentence. The Human Rights Activists News Agency reported on Monday that Tajzadeh's six-year prison sentence has ended. - 5/20/15

Iranian prisons inquiry in peril after MPs meet with security officials

- Only days after Parliament announced that it would conduct an inquiry into the state of prisons across the country, there is talk of canceling the initiative. - 5/20/15

Young Iranian Activist Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Facebook Postings and Peaceful Protest

- A young civil activist who has been held at Evin Prison since October 2014 has been sentenced to seven years in prison at her interrogator's urging, a source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, for her Facebook postings and her participation in peaceful gatherings. - 5/19/15

Iran: Basij Militia Unveils Messaging App that Gives State Access to All Conversations

- The Basij paramilitary organization, a subsidiary of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), announced the launch of its new messaging service for mobile phones, "Salam," which will give state officials full access to any content flowing across the service. - 5/19/15

Iranian Parliament to investigate unregulated detention centers

- Those detention centres are often run by a number of security institutions dealing with political prisoners and they are often accused by human rights activists of mistreating detainees. - 5/18/15

Israeli Defense Minister Invokes Hiroshima and Nagasaki In Response to Iran Question

- Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem nearly two weeks ago, the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon invoked the American decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in World War II in response to a question about "dealing with a threat like Iran." -Ali Gharib - 5/17/15

Iranian Officials Re-Affirm Facebook Will Remain Completely Blocked in Iran

- Despite the Iranian government's stated intention to move towards the selective blocking of Internet content ("smart filtering"), a top government official proclaimed that the social networking giant Facebook would continue to be completely blocked in Iran. - 5/16/15

Digital age poses a new challenge to Iran's relentless book censors

- Writers and translators turn to internet to publish their work - and to avoid the anonymous scrutineers who remove words such as 'kiss' and 'wine' -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian - 5/16/15

"No Books, No Book Fair," Says Publisher of Banned Books

- Iranian publisher Shahla Lahiji has boycotted the annual Tehran International Book Fair for the fourth year running, to protest the government's refusal to issue licenses to her publishing house. "Since 2014, I have suggested 55 books for publication, but none of them have been issued a license. .." - 5/15/15

14 Iranian fishermen held by Somalia militants: Officials

- Al-Shabab militants are holding 14 crew members of an Iranian fishing boat they seized off the coast of Somalia, two Iranian officials say. "Now, the 14 crew members of this vessel are in captivity and a number of al-Shabab group members are on board the fishing boat," Hassan Salehi, head of Iran's Fisheries Organization, told IRIB on Thursday. - 5/15/15

'Why Nations Fail' Among Works Seized At Tehran Book Fair

- Several books have already been confiscated from one of Iran's largest cultural events, the annual Tehran International Book Fair, which kicked off last week. They include Why Nations Fail, a 2012 treatise by Daren Acemoglu and James Robinson that examines why some nations are rich while others are poor, and argues that "it is man-made political and economic institutions that underlie economic success" or failure. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/14/15

Family Says Journalist Jailed in Iran Meets With Lawyer

- The family of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who is jailed in Iran facing espionage charges, says he has finally been allowed to meet with his attorney, just ahead of the soon-expected start of his trial. - 5/14/15

Iran's New Search Engine Denies Access to Political or Human Rights Content on Internet

- A new Internet search engine developed by the Iranian government, Parsijoo, has been designed to keep Iranian users from accessing any political or human rights-related content. - 5/14/15

Silence Did Not Protect Farinaz Khosravani

- Audre Lorde, feminist scholar of 1970s once said, "Your silence will not protect you" and women globally know this reality. While gender justice has moved closer from margin to the center of global agenda particularly during the last 40 years, still patriarchal power structure is deep rooted in many parts of the world. -Elahe Amani, Safe World for Women - 5/14/15

Iranian Professors Urge Government To Butt Out

- Agroup of 700 Iranian university teachers have sent a letter to the government calling for an end to what they say is "unprecedented interference" in the internal affairs of universities. - 5/12/15

U.S. Senate Calls On Iran To Free Jailed Americans

- The U.S. Senate May 11 unanimously passed a resolution calling on Iran to release three jailed Americans and help locate a fourth. The lawmakers urged Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran eight years ago. - 5/12/15

Man Arrested In Iran After Woman's Death Sparks Violence In Kurdish City

- A day after riots were reported over the unexplained demise of a young chambermaid in Mahabad, the capital of Iran's West Azerbaijan province, local authorities announced that an individual has been detained over the death, which happened earlier this week. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/9/15

Eminent Iranian Poet and Filmmaker Repeatedly Interrogated by Intelligence Ministry

- Iran's Intelligence Ministry has repeatedly summoned and interrogated the well-known Iranian poet, documentary filmmaker, and member of the Board of Directors of the Iran Writers Association, Baktash Abtin, in recent days, and interrogations over his work and professional associations are likely to continue prior to his case being sent to court. - 5/9/15

Critics slam frightening nature of Iranian activist's arrest

- The arrest of Iranian human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi has triggered criticism from activists both inside and outside Iran. The Association of Women Citizens has written an open letter condemning the "sudden and unannounced" arrest of Mohammadi, saying: "Why did the officers, rather than summoning Mohammadi, swarm her house and create an atmosphere of fear." - 5/9/15

Many titles banned in first days of Tehran Book Fair

- The 28th Tehran International Book Fair opened just yesterday and already several titles have been banned from the fair for various reasons. The Tasnim News Agency reported earlier that 10 titles in the fair's foreign section have been banned. They quote Fereydooni saying that some of these books promote "cults and false mysticism" and others have used a fabricated name for the Persian Gulf. - 5/9/15

Iranian women's rights activists celebrate year of Stealthy Freedom

- A group of women's rights activists marked the first anniversary of the My Stealthy Freedom campaign by praising the "bold women" who have challenged compulsory hijab. - 5/7/15

"Why Did I Go to Prison for Four Years, Mr. Zarif?"

- Astonished reactions to recent statements made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during a television interview with PBS' Charlie Rose, in which he defended his government's human rights record, continue to pour in. - 5/6/15

Leading Iranian Activist Arrested Ahead of Her Trial for Peaceful Civil Activities

- Civil rights activist and Deputy Director of the banned Defenders of Human Rights Center, Narges Mohammadi, was arrested at her home in Tehran in the early hours of May 5, 2015, the Kaleme website, which is close to Green Movement leader Mir Hossein Mousavi, reported. - 5/6/15

Quirky Bans In Iran

- Jagged hairstyles, body tattoos, solarium treatments, and the plucking of eyebrows for men are the latest fashion statements to be banned in Iran. But they are by no means the only things that can get a man in trouble. For years, Iranian authorities have occasionally cracked down on signs of Western influence, targeted "un-Islamic behavior," and enforced strict dress codes. -Frud Bezhan, RFE - 5/6/15

Four Iranian Baha'is released while seven remain in prison

- Four Baha'is involved with the Baha'i Institute for Higher Education (BIHE), who had been unjustly imprisoned in Iran four years ago, have been released after completing their sentences, while concern remains for seven others who are still languishing in jail. -BWNS - 5/5/15

No One Jailed In Iran For Their Opinions? Many Take To Social Media To Disagree

- While Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif believes Iran does not jail people for their opinions, many disagree with his assessment. Zarif was asked during a late April appearance on a U.S. news program about the detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who has been in jail in Tehran for the past nine months on security charges, including espionage. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/5/15

Opposition house arrest conditions called worse under Rohani

- Fatemeh Karroubi, the wife of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under house arrest since 2011, has written to the Minister of Intelligence saying the "lack of accountability" around the opposition detainees has increased since the Rohani administration took power. - 5/4/15

Prominent Iranian Activist Charged with National Security Crimes for Her Peaceful Civic Activism

- A Tehran court has charged the prominent Iranian civil rights activist and deputy head of the banned Defenders of Human Rights Center, Narges Mohammadi, with crimes against national security for her peaceful activism. - 5/4/15

Iranian workers march on May Day despite state resistance

- ILNA reports that thousands participated in May Day demonstrations in Tehran and the International Workers Day was finally marked after "an eight year hiatus" with a parade by Iranian workers. ILNA reports that the demonstrations began at 10 AM with two thousand people in front of the Worker's House and demonstrators marched to Palestine Square where they ended the march at noon. - 5/2/15

Zarif Says Iran Doesn't Jail People Over Their Opinions

- "We do not jail people for their opinions," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview with U.S. journalist and television personality Charlie Rose aired on April 27. Zarif made the comments in response to a question about the fate of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who's been imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 5/1/15

Managing Editor of Banned Iranian Women's Publication Hopes for Reversal of Decision

- Iran's Press Oversight Committee has decided to suspend publication of Iran's premier women's magazine, Zanan-e Emrooz, and forward its case for prosecution to the Iranian Judiciary. The publication's managing editor, Shahla Sherkat, said that she hoped to be able to convince the court to allow resumption of the monthly magazine's publication. - 5/1/15

U.S. writers' group honours Iranian blogger who died in custody

- Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who died in prison after being arrested by the Iranian cyber police for his internet activities, has been posthumously awarded the 2015 Pen New England Vasyl Stus Freedom to Write Award. - 5/1/15

Labor Leaders Detained in Iran as International Workers' Day Approaches

- On the eve of International Workers' Day on May 1, Iranian authorities have arrested at least five labor leaders. The arrests have taken place in the context of intensifying labor protests, strikes, and arrests of individuals organizing or participating in labor protests. - 4/30/15

Washington Post: Iran Charges Against US Journalist 'Ludicrous'

- The executive editor of The Washington Post says espionage and other charges against a correspondent of the paper imprisoned in Iran are "ludicrous" and "preposterous." In an exclusive interview Wednesday with VOA's Persian News Network (PNN), the Post's Martin Baron said correspondent Jason Rezaian is an "innocent and good man who deserves to have his freedom as any other human being." - 4/30/15

Final Verdict: Five to Seven Years for Facebook Users in Iran

- An appeals court in Tehran has sentenced six individuals to prison terms ranging from five to seven years for postings on their Facebook pages. Two additional individuals are facing as of yet unknown terms for their activities on the social networking site. - 4/30/15

When Duty Calls, Do Iranian Police Enforce Islam?

- Is the role of Iranian police to serve and protect the people, or the revolution? That's up for interpretation in the Islamic republic, where the country's president and supreme leader have recently voiced different opinions on the police's role in enforcing Islamic values. President Hassan Rohani sparked the debate when he addressed police commanders in Tehran on April 25. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/30/15

Iranian women's magazine shut down for reporting on 'White Marriage'

- Iran's Press Supervisory Board has shut down Zanan Emrooz (Today's Women) magazine and filed a complaint against it in court. The Tasnim website reports that the magazine has been shut down for "publishing material in violation of religious and national values". - 4/28/15

Iran's President Rohani says religious oversight not the job of police

- Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a meeting of security force commanders on Saturday that the police must enforce the law and not Islam. "The police are not responsible for executing Islam, they are charged with the execution of the law, and any other expectation would create confusion and cause problems for the people." - 4/26/15

Prospect Of Iranian Nuclear Deal Stirs Hope For Detained Americans

- When Iran and the United States found some common ground at the negotiating table earlier this month, it gave Naghmeh Abedini a welcome glimmer of hope. Her husband, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012 on charges of threatening the country's national security through private religious gatherings. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/24/15

Iranian Expats Face Arrest upon Return to their Homeland

- The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a video today highlighting the plight of the thousands of Iranians who wish to return to their homeland, yet fear likely imprisonment upon arrival for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, art, or lifestyle. - 4/24/15

Prominent Iranians' Views on Impact of Nuclear Agreement on Human Rights

- "Our next agreement will be on our civil rights!" was one of the slogans people chanted in Tehran only hours after a nuclear agreement was reached on April 2, during their street celebrations. During his election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly pledged to observe citizens' rights, end the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders, and release all political prisoners... - 4/23/15

Moderate Iranian candidates face threats from conservative group

- Ansar-e Hezbollah, the ultra-conservative group dedicated to preserving Islamic principles in Iran, has announced that if Hassan Khomeini and Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri arrive in Gorgan for a speech, they will receive the same reception that outspoken MP Ali Mortahari got in Shiraz. - 4/23/15

More migrant boats in danger as Europe grapples with problem

- As boats carrying asylum seekers continue to head for Europe despite repeated catastrophic accidents, the International Organization of Migration announced that its offices in Rome received calls on Monday April 20 about three more vessels carrying migrants in the Mediterranean that met with trouble and sought aid. - 4/22/15

Iran Charges US Reporter With Spying

- A U.S. reporter jailed in Iran is being charged with four crimes, including espionage. A lawyer for Jason Rezaian told The Washington Postthat Rezaian also faces charges of "conducting propaganda against the establishment" and "collaborating with hostile governments.'' - 4/21/15

Iran Teaching Head Sent To Jail

- The secretary-general of Iran's Teachers' Organization was arrested on April 20 and transferred to Tehran's Evin prison to serve a five-year sentence, Iran's semi-official ILNA news agency reported. Alireza Hashemi was sentenced to prison in 2010 for "pursuing union demands" and "meeting with relatives of jailed teachers," his deputy, Tahereh Naghiyi, told ILNA. - 4/21/15

Photos: Protests grow over film of stray dogs dying in agony

- The killing of stray dogs in Shiraz has triggered widespread protests across Iran and they continued today, with large groups of animal rights activists in Tehran gathering in Pardisan Park, across from the Department of the Environment. Protesters wanted the department to identify and prosecute whoever killed the dogs. - 4/20/15

Family Waits to Hear Charges Against Reporter Jailed in Iran

- The Iranian trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian is set to start soon, but Rezaian has yet to meet with his lawyer, and his family still does not know the exact charges against him. His brother, Ali Rezaian, told VOA's Persian service Friday that despite reports in the Iranian media that Jason has been charged with espionage, the precise indictment has not been made public. -Molly McKitterick, VOA - 4/18/15

Animal-Rights Activists In Shiraz Protest Apparent Stray-Dog Killings

- A group of animal-rights activists protested on April 17 in the city of Shiraz, the capital of Iran's Fars Province, against animal cruelty and abuse of stray dogs. The rare protest, in front of the building of the provincial department of environmental protection, was organized after a disturbing video emerged on social media showing four men giving stray dogs what appeared to be lethal injections. - 4/18/15

Worsening Conditions for Women in Iran Begin to Draw Attention

- Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran. - 4/17/15

Iranian News Agency, U.S. Spokesman Spar Over Jailed Reporter

- The continued detention of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian in Iran on security charges has led to an online spat between a Persian-speaking U.S. State Department spokesman and an Iranian news agency affiliated with the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). - 4/17/15

Post Executive: Iran Denying Jailed Reporter Legal Counsel

- The Washington Post's executive editor said Tuesday that the newspaper's Iranian correspondent, jailed in Tehran on unspecified charges, was being denied acceptable legal representation. Martin Baron said that Jason Rezaian, who was arrested last July, had been allowed only one meeting with a lawyer and that they were not allowed to discuss the charges against him. - 4/15/15

New Report on Washington Post Writer Seen as Prelude to Espionage Trial

- An Iranian news report that suggests that an imprisoned Washington Post correspondent is a spy who furnished economic and industrial data to the Central Intelligence Agency was viewed by friends on Monday as a sign that a trial might be held soon. -NY Times - 4/14/15

Executions Useless in Preventing Drug Crimes says Prominent Iranian Lawyer

- In an interview with ISNA (the Iranian Student News Agency), the prominent Iranian lawyer Nemat Ahmadi lambasted Iran's anti-drug law, calling it "lacking in preventive powers" despite its stipulation of the death penalty as punishment for drug traffickers. - 4/13/15

Iranians protest Saudi sexual assault on teen pilgrims

- Hundreds of Iranian protesters gathered in front of the Saudi Embassy in Tehran on Saturday April 11 following a rally call on social media to protest against the "sexual assault of two Iranian teenagers" at Jeddah Airport. - 4/11/15

Prominent Iranian Activists Optimistic on End of Ban on Women at Sports Stadiums

- Two prominent Iranian human rights defenders have expressed optimism over the recent moves in Iran to amend the laws banning women from sports stadiums, but note that real and permanent changes will require time and sustained citizen support for its realization. - 4/11/15

Tehran Professor Decries Iran's Criticism of UN Human Rights Expert

- The following is a translation of Tehran University Professor Sadegh Zibakalam's letter to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Marzieh Afkham, responding to her statements on the latest report of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. - 4/8/15

Detained Iranian Opposition Leader 'Very Happy' About Nuclear Talks

- The son of opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi says his father is "very happy" about the course taken by Iranian President Hassan Rohani in nuclear negotiations with major powers aimed at finding a lasting agreement that would curb Iran's nuclear program in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 4/7/15

Iranian Rights lawyer fears potential backlash over nuclear framework

- Prominent Iranian lawyer and human rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh says activists in Iran feel the consensus reached in Lausanne between Iran and the 5+1 is positive but fear that it could trigger a backlash against human rights in Iran by extremists in the establishment. - 4/7/15

Iranian women not allowed to attend sports events: Official

- Just a few hours after Deputy Sports Minister Abdolhamid Ahmadi said that female fans have been allowed to attend sporting events, an Interior Ministry official denied any plan has been confirmed so far. - 4/6/15

Iran To Ease Ban On Women Attending Sports Matches

- Iranian authorities say they will partially lift a ban on women attending men's sports matches. The official IRNA news agency quoted Deputy Sports Minister Abdolhamid Ahmadi as saying on April 4 that Iran's State Security Council had approved a plan by his ministry to allow women and families to attend some sports events. - 4/5/15

Initial Accord with Iran Holds Promise for Human Rights: But Risks of Hardline Backlash Remain

- The understanding reached on Iran's nuclear program on April 2 is a welcome development, averting at least for now, an inexorable descent into confrontation, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 4/4/15

Iranian-British Woman Jailed For Going To Volleyball Match Pardoned

- An Iranian-British woman jailed in Tehran last year for taking part in a protest against a ban on women's attendance at sports stadiums alongside men has been pardoned. A British Foreign Office spokeswoman on April 2 welcomed news that Ghoncheh Ghavami was pardoned while expressing concern that "she is still subject to a travel ban." - 4/3/15

UN Keeps Pressure on Iran for its Rights Failures

- March 27, 2015-The United Nations Human Rights Council voted today to renew the mandate of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, signaling the international community's continued concern over the state of human rights in Iran. The resolution to renew the mandate received 20 votes in favor, 11 against, and 16 abstentions. - 3/29/15

Iranian Screenwriter, TV Producer Jailed In Tehran

- A former screenwriter and producer with Iran's state-controlled television has been in jail in Tehran for the past two months. Mostafa Azizi, who moved to Canada in 2010, had returned to Tehran to visit his relatives when he was arrested in February and transferred to the notorious Evin prison. - 3/29/15

Following Outcry at UMass Amherst, Another U.S. University Revises Policy on Iranian Students

- In response to outreach from the National Iranian American Council, one more university is taking steps to ensure that its enforcement of sanctions and other restrictions against Iran do not unduly discriminate against Iranian students. - 3/27/15

Journalist Who Backed Rohani Flees Iran

- An Iranian journalist who campaigned for President Hassan Rohani and who had traveled to Lausanne with Iranian negotiators to cover talks on Tehran's nuclear program is seeking political asylum in Switzerland. Amir Hossein Motaqi, editor of Iran's ISKA news agency, told RFE/RL he decided to seek asylum after being hampered in his journalistic work by Iranian officials. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 3/27/15

Azerbaijanis Strive to Build Civil Society Away from Home

- The space for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan is now roughly the same size as a jail cell, watchdog groups say. Azerbaijani rights activists and journalists are accordingly fleeing the country in growing numbers. -Nargiz Rashid, EurasiaNet - 3/23/15

Iranian Children's Rights Activist Charged with "Acting against National Security"

- Civil and children's rights activist Atena Daemi has been formally charged, after six months of "temporary detention" in Evin Prison, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 3/22/15

Iran agrees to tackle persecution based on sexual orientation

- Iran has announced it will implement some of the recommendations provided to it in the latest Universal Periodic Review of human rights in Iran. More specifically, Iran has committed itself to ending the persecution of individuals based on their sexual orientation. - 3/20/15

Human Rights: Under scrutiny, Iran Shows Increased, but Limited Cooperation with UN Mechanism

- Four years into his mandate as the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Dr. Ahmed Shaheed told UN member states at a meeting of the Human Rights Council today in Geneva that although he has yet to be let into the country for a site visit, Iran is demonstrating other signs of cooperation with the mandate. - 3/19/15

Political prisoner's father threatens self-immolation if son not freed

- Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, the father of jailed Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, has threatened to set himself on fire in front of the prosecutor's office in Tehran if the authorities refuse to release his son for necessary medical care. - 3/19/15

Iran Should Release Jason Rezaian

- Last week Jasmin reported on the case of American-Iranian journalist Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post's Tehran bureau chief who has been detained in Iran since July 22, 2014. Jason turned 39 in Tehran's Evin prison on Mar. 15. Citing both his birthday and the upcoming Persian New Year (Nowruz), when the government traditionally offers gestures of goodwill, his lawyer has submitted a furlough request. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog - 3/18/15
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