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February 06 2016
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Arrest of Iranian-British Dual National in Tehran May Be Hardliners' Ploy to Foil Iran-UK Relations

- New details about the case of Iranian-British translator Bahman Daroshafaei, who was arrested this week at his Tehran home during a historic visit by Iran's foreign minister to the UK, suggest his detainment may be a politically motivated move by hardliners to thwart better relations with the UK. - 2/5/16

Former BBC Journalist, Translator Arrested In Tehran

- Iranian journalist and translator Bahman Darolshafayi, a dual Iranian-British national and former BBC journalist, has been arrested in Tehran. Authorities had not announced the reason for Darolshafayi's arrest on February 3. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 2/4/16

Two Dozen Iranian Baha'is Sentenced to Six to Eleven Years for Practicing Their Faith

- Twenty-four Baha'is from northeastern Iran have been handed down sentences that range from six to eleven years "simply for being Baha'is," according to Simin Fahandej, the faith's spokesperson at the United Nations in New York. - 2/3/16

Families of detained Kerman mine workers upset by lack of news

- Twenty detained miners from the Khatoonabad Mine in Kerman, who were arrested last week for labour protests, remain in custody and have been transferred to Kerman Prison. ILNA reported on Tuesday February 2 that there has been no announcement explaining the charges against these workers. - 2/3/16

FBI Creates Facebook Page in Farsi to Aid Search for Missing Agent

- The U.S. Federal Bureau of Investigation has set up a new Facebook page in Farsi as part of its effort to find retired agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran 2007. The U.S. government is offering a reward of up to $5 million for information leading to Levinson's return, but his whereabouts and the circumstances regarding his disappearance remain a mystery. - 2/3/16

Iran's Ex-President Criticizes Disqualification Of Reformist Candidates

- Iran's former president, Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, has criticized the disqualification of reformist candidates by hard-liners from national elections scheduled later in February. Rafsanjani's remarks on February 1 reflect a deepening dispute between Iran's hard-liner and reformist factions ahead of the February 26 vote. - 2/2/16

Additional charge lodged against pair of detained Iranian journalists

- Issa Saharkhiz and Ehsan Mazandarani, two of the Iranian journalists arrested in the recent backlash against journalists that followed warnings by Iran's Supreme Leader against "foreign infiltrators", are now being tried for "actions against National Security", even though the investigators had slapped them with the charge of "propaganda against the regime". - 2/2/16

List of rejected reformist candidates presented to Iran's Supreme Leader

- Political activists report that a list of 208 reformists candidates for Parliament who were disqualified by the Guardian Council has been presented to Iran's Supreme Leader in a bid to get permission to run in the election. - 2/1/16

Suppression of student media prompts letter to President Rohani

- More than 800 student activists have written to President Hassan Rohani to protest "the pressure against student media" and to call for an end to this approach. The Etemad daily reports that in recent months, student newspapers have been under severe pressure, and writing about politics "has become an unforgivable crime" for them, while reporting on "social maladies is being branded as showing a dark view of the country". - 2/1/16

Activists appeal to UN leader in case of missing Iranian student

- A group of activists has written an open letter to the UN Secretary General urging him to follow up on the fate of Saeed Zinali, an Iranian student missing since the incidents at Tehran University dorms in 1999. - 1/31/16

Family of Imprisoned Iranian Producer: Canada Must Do More

- The family of prisoner of conscience Mostafa Azizi is calling on Canada to exert more pressure on Iran to release him following the prisoner swap that led to the freedom of four Iranian-Americans held in Iran. - 1/30/16

Khomeini's Grandson Vows To Challenge Decision to Bar Him From Election

- A grandson of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the cleric who led Iran's 1979 revolution and founded the Islamic republic, says he will challenge a decision to bar him from running in the February election for the Assembly of Experts even though it could be fruitless. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL - 1/30/16

Internet Freedom in Iran Will Benefit From Sanctions Relief

- Increased foreign investment and access to foreign companies' technology products in Iran now that sanctions against Tehran have been lifted will not only aid the country's ailing economy, it will also give Internet access a vital boost. - 1/29/16

Iranian Artists Call for Immediate Release of Music Distributors

- A coalition of Iranian artists have called for the immediate release of three music producers sentenced to six years in prison for promoting underground music in Iran. "This kind of sentencing by the Judiciary is more believable in dealing with murderers, not artists," said a statement signed by 165 members of the Iranian artistic community in support of Mehdi Rajabian, Yousef Emadi, and Hossein Rajabian. - 1/29/16

Washington Post Journalist Welcomed Home After Iran Imprisonment

- Freed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian says his Iranian captors told him the newspaper did not exist and no one knew of his predicament. Rezaian, who was imprisoned by Iran for 545 days, was welcomed home Thursday by his newsroom colleagues and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the Post's new headquarters not far from the White House in downtown Washington. -VOA - 1/29/16

Only one contender in some races for Iran's Assembly of Experts

- Of the 800 candidates vying for a spot on Iran's Assembly of Experts, the Guardian Council has only approved 166 candidates, which leaves some ridings uncontested. The Guardian Council must approve all candidates in Iran before they can launch a campaign. - 1/28/16

My 41 Days in an Iranian Prison

- One of the five Americans released this month from Iran's most notorious prison describes his interrogations, freedom and the mind games in between -Matthew Trevithick, TIME - 1/28/16

Female candidates rejected in run for assembly seats

- None of the woman who registered to run in the Assembly of Experts elections was approved by the Guardian Council. The council forwarded the list of eligible candidates for the Assembly of Experts elections to the Ministry of the Interior. The list reportedly did not contain the names of any female applicants. - 1/27/16

Iranian government stresses opposition arrests beyond its powers

- The Rohani administration says it has made every effort to secure the release of MirHosein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi from house arrest; however, it has not been successful because the administration is not the final decision-maker in this regard. - 1/27/16

US-Iran Prisoner Swap Raises Hopes for Iranian-Canadian Prisoners of Conscience in Iran

- The release of Iranian-Americans in the recent prisoner exchange between Iran and the United States has given hope to the family of prisoner of conscience Saeed Malekpour that he too might also be freed. - 1/27/16

Why are Iranian-Americans Prisoners Released, but Not Iranian Ones?" Father of Imprisoned Blogger Asks

- "Why has the Islamic Republic agreed to the release of Iranian-American prisoners but they won't free our own prisoners who are the children of Iran?" asked Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, whose son, Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, has spent more than six years in prison for blogging. - 1/26/16

Grandson Of Iran's Islamic Republic Founder Barred From Poll

- The great-grandson of the founder of Iran's Islamic republic says his father has been barred from running for a top clerical body. Ahmad Khomeini, the son of Hassan Khomeini, made the comment about his father in a post on January 26 to what appears to be his Instagram account. - 1/26/16

Facebook Tweak Could Evade Chinese, Iranian Censors

- Many Facebook users in China and Iran may be able to access the world's largest social network on their smartphones without fear of surveillance, thanks to a software adjustment that links them to an "anonymizer" that hides their location and identity. - 1/25/16

Iranian activist remains jailed with no court date in sight

- Iranian activist Shokoufeh Azar Masouleh remains in jail without being charged and cannot put up bail due to a lack of financial means. In a letter from jail, Azar Masouleh writes that the court has not agreed to reduce the bail and release her until the time of her trial. - 1/23/16

Iranian President: Mass Candidate Ban Could Make Elections Pointless

- Iran's president has criticized the mass disqualification of candidates in next month's parliamentary elections, suggesting the decision could make the vote pointless. The comments by Hassan Rohani signaled continuing tensions between the president, who has presented himself as a moderate, and powerful hard-liners who control key bodies in the Islamic republic. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/22/16

Visa Discrimination Now Being Implemented

- Obama administration announced details for how it will implement the legislatively mandated changes to the U.S.'s visa waiver program under the Visa Waiver Program Improvement and Terrorist Travel Prevention Act. Based on our reading, these plans will both cause major problems for non-U.S. Iranian dual-nationals in their travels to the United States and threaten to provoke European and other VWP countries to adopt similar restrictive measures against U.S.-Iran dual nationals. -NIAC Action - 1/22/16

Iranian Judge Rules Faraghdani's Handshake with Her Lawyer is Not a Crime

- Prisoner of conscience Atena Faraghdani and her lawyer, Mohammad Moghimi, have been acquitted of "illegitimate relations" for shaking hands during a prison visit. "My daughter was mentally crushed by this accusation but she's very happy since she heard about the acquittal," Atena Faraghdani's mother said - 1/22/16

Former U.S. Marine Released From Iran Arrives Home

- A former U.S. Marine released by Iran last week in a prisoner-swap deal landed in the United States on January 21 after being held for more than four years in the Islamic republic, where at one point he faced a death sentence. - 1/22/16

Visa waiver restrictions for Iranians are motivated by hatred - not safety

- Sometimes, it doesn't take very long at all for the consequences of bad policies to be felt by innocent people. That was the case at London's Heathrow airport on Tuesday when Rana Rahimpour, a British-Iranian dual citizen, was denied entry into the US. Despite being British, she was rejected because of her Iranian citizenship. -Ali Gharib, Guardian - 1/22/16

Hardliners in Iran Moving to Shut Pro-Rouhani Forces Out of Upcoming Parliamentary Elections

- January 20, 2016-Hopes that pro-Rouhani and reformist candidates would be able to participate in Iran's upcoming Parliamentary elections are dwindling fast, as the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, proclaimed vocal support today, January 20, 2016, for a vetting process that has seen all but one percent of the reformist applicants disqualified. - 1/21/16

Ageing Imprisoned Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Should Be Released on Medical Grounds, Wife Says

- The wife of the prominent lawyer Mohammad Seifzadeh, who has been imprisoned since April 2011 for his work defending human rights and political prisoners in Iran, is hoping the appeal for his release from Rajaee Shahr Prison on humanitarian grounds will be heeded by the authorities, given his extremely poor health. - 1/21/16

Iran: Is the "leader's call" to the opposition to participate in the elections serious?

- On Saturday January 9, Ayatollah Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, spoke about the approaching parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections, saying: "As in the past, we urge that even those who do not believe in the regime or the leadership should come and vote." He was referring to similar statements he made in 2013 in the lead-up to the presidential elections. - 1/20/16

Siamak Namazi's Friends Thought He'd Be Freed From Iranian Prison, But The Media Had It Wrong

- Initial news reports from the official Iranian media outlet Islamic Republic News Agency incorrectly identified Siamak Namazi as one of the four Americans who would be released this past Saturday as part of a prisoner release agreement between Iran and the U.S. By the time IRNA had acknowledged its mistake, several journalists with large Western followings had already tweeted about Namazi's impending release. - Jessica Schulberg, Huffington Post - 1/20/16

American Released From Iran Says He Feels 'Alive For First Time'

- Former U.S. marine Amir Hekmati who was released by Iran over the weekend says he feels lucky to be free again. "I feel really lucky. I feel alive for the first time," Hekmati said on January 19 in his first public comments since his release. - 1/20/16

BBC journalist stopped from flying to US over UK-Iranian nationality

- A BBC journalist has been stopped boarding a plane from London to the US because of her dual British-Iranian nationality. Rana Rahimpour, a presenter at the BBC's Persian service based in London, was stopped at Heathrow airport on Tuesday before catching a flight to New Jersey. US authorities told her she could no longer fly to the US under the visa waiver programme because of her Iranian citizenship. -BBC - 1/20/16

Freed Washington Post Reporter Talks About Iranian Imprisonment

- Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian says he had extraordinarily limited human interaction and spent 49 days in solitary confinement during his 18 months in an Iranian prison. Rezaian is one of four Americans freed Saturday as part of a prison swap with Iran that came with the implementation of the nuclear agreement. -Ken Schwartz, VOA - 1/19/16

Iran's President Rohani to discuss candidate rejections with Guardian Council head

- President Rohani's legal deputy, Elham Aminzadeh, has announced that the president will meet with the head of the Guardian Council to discuss the widespread rejection of election candidates. Hossein Marashi, the head of the Reformist Policy-making Council, was quoted as saying that only 30 of 3,000 reformist candidates have been approved by the Guardian Council. - 1/19/16

Most Reformists Rejected From Running For Parliament In Iran

- State media reports from Iran say about 60 percent of the people who have applied to be candidates in Iran's February parliamentary elections have been rejected -- with most of those rejections involving reformists. Reformist Hossein Marashi said 3,000 registered reformist candidates around the country had been rejected and only 30 had been approved to run for one of the 290 parliamentary seats. - 1/18/16

American Ex-Prisoners Leave Iran

- A plane carrying at least three of four Americans freed by Iran as part of a prisoner swap with the United States has taken off from Tehran. On the other side, U.S. President Barack Obama offered clemency to seven Iranians who have either been charged or convicted for violating U.S. trade sanctions against Iran. -VOA - 1/17/16

Iran Frees 4 Iranian-Americans In Prisoners Swap With U.S.

- Iran's semiofficial Fars news agency says Tehran has freed Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian and three other Iranian-American dual nationals in a prisoner-swap deal. Also released were pastor Saeed Abedini, an Iranian-American in jail for three years after being convicted of undermining national security, and former U.S. Marine Amir Hekmati, who is serving 10 years for cooperating with hostile governments. There are mixed reports about the identity of the fourth freed prisoner. - 1/16/16

NIAC Applauds Release of Americans Imprisoned in Iran

- "The agreement to free Americans imprisoned in Iran - Jason Rezaian, Siamak Namazi, Amir Hekmati and Saeed Abedini - is a triumph of diplomacy that should be universally commended. Now, the freed Americans can be reunited with their families and friends after an extraordinarily trying time for everyone involved. We hope that they find solace in their freedom from the turmoil that they endured." - 1/16/16

Iranian filmmakers to answer for promos on satellite programs

- Ten Iranian filmmakers have been summoned to the media and culture court over the content of promotional teasers for their films as shown on satellite programs. The Cinema daily reported on Friday January 15 that the filmmakers will have to appear before the court on Saturday. - 1/16/16

The U.S.-Iran Prisoner Swap Is Yet Another Victory for Diplomacy and Human Rights

- Diplomacy's great promise is that one can never predict where discussions will lead once they have begun. Serious, sustained negotiations first produced a historic nuclear deal between the U.S. and Iran. They continued working together to ensure that 10 American sailors were released from Iranian custody less than 24 hours after inadvertently crossing into Iran's territorial waters. And now, high-level negotiations have led to the release of four Americans imprisoned in Iran in exchange for Iranians imprisoned in the U.S. -Reza Marashi, Huffington Post - 1/16/16

Marine Veteran Held by Iran Received Care, His Family Says

- A Marine veteran who is the longest-held American prisoner in Iran was allowed to receive medical treatment in a hospital outside his prison in recent weeks, his family said Thursday. It is unclear whether the hospital visit might be a precursor to his release. -New York Times - 1/15/16

Poets facing harsh sentences confirm fleeing Iran

- Iranian poets Mehdi Mousavi and Fatemeh Ekhtesari, who were sentenced to heavy jail terms and flogging by the Islamic Republic government, have confirmed to Radio Zamaneh that they have left Iran. - 1/15/16

Take Action: Support New Visa Waiver Legislation!

- Bipartisan legislation was just introduced by Congress to repeal legislation barring specific dual nationals -- including Iranians -- from eligibility in the visa waiver program. -NIAC - 1/14/16

IRGC arrests of journalists credited with media impact

- The Tasnim news agency, which is linked to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), says the change in leadership at Persian BBC is a result of the alleged blows the IRGC has managed to inflict on the network's activities inside Iran, referring to the arrest of a number of journalists in recent months. - 1/14/16

Iranian Reformist Journalist Begins Serving Prison Sentence for Her Writings on Facebook

- The well-known reformist journalist Reyhaneh Tabatabaie surrendered herself to Evin Prison authorities on January 12, 2016, to serve a one-year prison sentence. Tabatabaie's imprisonment follows a string of arrests of journalists and reformists, as hardliners in Iran move to silence moderate and independent voices ahead of critical Parliamentary and Assembly of Experts elections in February 2016. - 1/14/16

Iranian reformists lobbying Guardian Council for more inclusive elections

- Two days after the spokesman for the Guardian Council said failing to sit for the jurisprudence exam would automatically disqualify candidates from running for an Assembly of Experts seat, he announced that those who forego the exam can still possibly qualify. This comes as reformists have been reporting on efforts to lobby the Guardian Council. - 1/12/16

Detained Iranian Poet Describes Being Transported in a Cage and Watched "Like a Murderer"

- The poet Hila Sedighi, who was arrested and held for two days amidst an intensifying crackdown on independent artistic and cultural figures in Iran, has posted a description of her 48-hour detention on her Facebook page, stating that she was watched throughout her detention "as if they were watching a murderer." - 1/12/16

Young Iranian poet, Hila Sedighi, released on bail

- Iranian poet Hila Sedighi, who was arrested this week at Imam Khomeini Airport upon arriving in Tehran, was released on bail on Saturday January 9. The Kaleme website reported the arrest of the young poet, saying she had apparently been sentenced in absentia. - 1/11/16

Young Poet Hila Sedighi Arrested at Airport in Tehran, Latest in String of Arrests

- The poet and civil activist Hila Sedighi was arrested at Imam Khomeini International Airport on January 7, 2016, as she and her husband returned from a trip to the United Arab Emirates, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned. - 1/9/16

U.S. Urged To Secure Release Of Reporter Jailed In Tehran

- Executives from 25 news organizations urged U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry to press for the release of a Washington Post reporter jailed in Tehran. "Journalism is not a crime. Yet...Jason Rezaian has been imprisoned by Iran since July 2014 for doing his job. Iran has never offered any evidence that even makes a pretense of justifying this imprisonment," the executives said in a January 8 letter to Kerry. - 1/9/16

More concern over health of detained Iranian opposition leader

- The daughters of Iranian opposition leaders Mir Hosein Mousavi and Zahra Rahnavard report that their parents, who have been under house arrest since February 2011, are now facing new health problems. - 1/8/16

Iranian Soccer Player Jailed Over Photos With Unveiled Women

- A professional Iranian soccer player has been jailed after photographs published on social media showed him together with several women not wearing the Islamic hijab, as required by Iranian law. Sosha Makani, a 29-year-old goalkeeper who has competed with Iran's national team, was arrested on January 4 and jailed following a complaint by private plaintiffs, Iranian media reported -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 1/7/16

Elections hopefuls from Iran's Nationalist-Religious groups disqualified as usual

- Iran's elections hopefuls from Nationalist-Religious groups disqualified as usual. The Mizan Khabar website, which is linked to activists from Iran's Nationalist-Religious figures and Freedom Front Party, says a number of members have been disqualified by the Guardian Council from running in parliamentary elections. - 1/7/16

Glenn Greenwald on "Submissive" Media's Drumbeat for War and "Despicable" Anti-Muslim Scapegoating

- In the aftermath of the Paris attacks, media coverage has seen familiar patterns: uncritically repeat government claims, defend expansive state power, and blame the Muslim community for the acts of a few. We discuss media fearmongering, anti-Muslim scapegoating, ISIL's roots, and war profiteering with Glenn Greenwald, Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and co-founder of The Intercept. -Democracy Now - 1/6/16

Iranian Leader rejects idea that elections have been rigged

- The Iranian Supreme Leader has denied the existence of any form of systematic violation of elections to date and said election organizers should be wary of "infiltrators". Iranians will go to the polls in March to elect members of the Assembly of Experts and Parliament. - 1/5/16

Iranian reformist-linked daily Bahar shut down again

- The Bahar daily, a newspaper linked to Iran's reformist forces, was shut down once again on Sunday January 3. The judiciary announced that the Bahar daily was closed down for "propaganda against the regime and publishing material that harms the foundations of the Islamic Republic". - 1/4/16

Judge's Tirade Bodes Poorly for Independent Music Producers in Iran

- An Appeals Court judge has admonished collaborators of a popular music site for ignoring repeated warnings that they were operating illegally and having ties with Iranian singers abroad opposed to the Islamic Republic. - 1/4/16

Shi'ite Muslims Outraged by Saudi Execution of Cleric

- Iran's Revolutionary Guard said in a statement Sunday Nimr's death would lead to the "downfall" of Saudi Arabia's monarchy. The Guard described Nimr's execution as a "medieval act of savagery." Nimr's execution has caused international outrage and a serious escalation of diplomatic tensions in the region, with unrest predicted in Shia-majority areas. -Smita Nordwall, VOA - 1/3/16

Saudi Arabia Executes 47, Including Prominent Shi'ite Cleric

- Saudi Arabia has carried out its largest mass execution in more than three decades, putting to death 47 people convicted of terrorism, including a prominent Shi'ite cleric. The cleric Sheikh Nimr al-Nimr was a key figure in Shi'ite protests that erupted during the 2011 Arab Spring. He had also criticized the government's treatment of Saudi Arabia's Shi'ite minority, many of whom complain of nationalization. -VOA - 1/2/16

Highest Ranked Woman in Iran's Government to Sue Extremist Publication

- The Iranian government's most senior female official, Shahindokht Mowlaverdi, plans to take legal action against an extremist publication for comparing her to a prostitute. The weekly Ya Lesarat, the mouthpiece of the shadowy, semi-official vigilante group Ansar-e Hezbollah known for its violent enforcement of ultraconservative dictates, has a long history of defaming and inciting violence against women with whom it has ideological differences. - 1/1/16

Iranian Judiciary Head Calls For Strict Oversight Of Election Candidates

- The head of Iran's judiciary has urged the Guardian Council to prevent ineligible candidates from running in the Assembly of Experts and Parliamentary elections slated for March 2016. Meanwhile, the Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces has warned that a repeat of the 2009 election events would be difficult to get through. - 1/1/16

Iranian Activist's Health Worsens in Prison As She Awaits Appeal Hearing

- A prolonged delay in hearing children's rights activist Atena Daemi's appeal against her 14-year prison sentence is causing a serious deterioration in her health, particularly as she has not been able to leave prison for the past eight months to receive specialized medical treatment. - 12/31/15

Detained Iranian writers released on bail after three weeks

- Rouzbeh Gilasian and Elaheh Sorooshnia, the two Iranian writers arrested three weeks ago, have been released on bail from Amirabad Prison in Gorgan. They were arrested on Monday December 14 in Gorgan and, according to HRANA, were held primarily in the Revolutionary Guards detention centre, then were transferred to Amirabad Prison when interrogations were completed. - 12/31/15

Iranian official again raises possibility of reducing drug-related executions

- Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran's Human Rights Headquarters of the Judiciary, has once again said that reform of the country's death penalty sentences may be in order. - 12/30/15

Heart problems cause transfer to hospital for jailed Iranian poet

- Jailed Iranian poet Mohammadreza AliPayam was transferred to hospital from Rejai Shahr Prison due to heart complication. The Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA) reports that the jailed poet, who is in his ninth month of incarceration, was transferred to the Tehran Heart Centre on Sunday December 27. - 12/29/15

Iranian Ministry Blocks Album Release; Composer Banned From Working

- The latest album of music by Majid Derakhshani, titled Khoroosh (roar), has been denied distribution, with the security department of the Ministry of Guidance stating that the prominent musician is banned from working. - 12/28/15

Code.org founder a second-class citizen under visa change

- Ali Partovi is the reason Silicon Valley loves immigrants. After moving to the United States from Iran when he was 11 years old, Partovi became a citizen, graduated from Harvard with a degree in computer science, sold a couple of startups, and invested in Facebook, Dropbox and Airbnb. Today, he runs Code.org, a nonprofit organization that focuses on getting more women and minorities into computer science. -SF Chronicle - 12/28/15

War of Words: A woman's battle to end stoning and juvenile execution in Iran

- In the Mazandaran province of northern Iran, where the Elburz Mountains careen toward the Caspian Sea, Asieh Amini grew up on a farm surrounded by kiwi and tangerine orchards. Born in 1974, Amini was the third of four sisters. -Laura Secor, New Yorker - 12/28/15

US Journalist Jailed in Iran Gets Christmas Dinner With Family Members

- Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post journalist who has been jailed in Iran for more than 500 days, was allowed a Christmas Day visit with his wife and mother. "After several efforts, Yegi and I were able to secure permission from the court to meet with Jason for several hours today, Christmas," Rezaian's mother, Mary, said in an email Friday to the Post. - 12/26/15

Popular Iranian Poet Arrested for Third Time amidst Hardline Crackdown against Artistic Community

- The well-known Iranian poet Mohamadreza Haj Rostambegloo was released on bail from Karaj's Central Prison last week, following his third arrest by the authorities in Iran in the last six years. - 12/25/15

Iranian-American Organizations Urge President Obama to Waive Discriminatory Visa Language

- A coalition of Iranian American organizations issued the following joint-statement regarding legislation recently passed into law concerning the Visa Waiver Program: As Iranian American civil rights and advocacy organizations, we are dismayed that Congress passed legislation to amend the U.S.'s Visa Waiver Program in a manner that risks discriminating against the Iranian-American community and other communities. - 12/24/15

Authorities in Iran's Isfahan province stop group tour bus over "intermingling" of genders

- Police stopped a tour bus en route to Naeen in Isfahan and cut the tour short for what the officers described as "the intermingling of men and women". Tour organizer Karim Shadfar told ISNA on Wednesday December 23 that the police stopped the bus at 5 AM while it was on its way to the Varzaneh Desert, holding them for over six hours at temperatures below freezing. He stressed that 80 percent of the travelers were relatives. - 12/24/15
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