Esfand 9 1399 - February 27 2021
Iranian women's ski coach barred from going to world championships by husband

Samira Zargari, the coach of the Iranian women's Alpine skiing team, has been barred by her husband from travelling to Italy for the world skiing championships, according to reports in the Iranian press. The squad left for Cortina d'Ampezzo, where the championships are being held, on Wednesday, but without Zargari, who was replaced by another athlete, Marjan Kalhor. -Guardian 2/19/21

Iranian journalist Nooshin Jafari begins 4-year jail term on propaganda and insult charges

Iranian authorities should immediately release Nooshin Jafari and stop imprisoning members of the press for their work, the Committee to Protect Journalists said today. On February 16, police arrested Jafari at her home in Tehran and took her to the city's Qarchak Prison to begin serving a four-year sentence -CPJ 2/19/21

Iranian skier makes appeal for women's rights in her country

Iranian skier Forough Abbasi accomplished one goal Thursday merely by completing her giant slalom run at the skiing world championships. It made no difference to her that she crossed the finish line nearly 25 seconds behind American favorite Mikaela Shiffrin, the first-run leader. Still, Abbasi was just getting started. -AP 2/18/21

Photos: 10th Fajr Fashion and Clothing Festival in Azadi Tower 2

The 10th Fajr Fashion and Clothing Festival officially started at the Azadi Tower Cultural and Artistic Complex in Tehran. -Honar online 2/18/21

"I Will Never Perform Just for Women!": Golnoush Khaleghi Passes Away in Exile

Golnoush Khaleghi, first Persian woman conductor and daughter of legendary composer Rouhollah Khaleghi, passed away on February 14. She was 80. Khaleghi was the conductor of the NIRT (National Iranian Radio & Television) Choir in the 1970s. Shortly after the 1979 Islamic Revolution Ms. Khaleghi moved to the United States and founded the Rouhollah Khaleghi Orchestra in Washington DC to preserve Persian music. BBC's Pejman Akbarzadeh has reviewed her career. 2/17/21

A Love Letter to Artist Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian

On now through March 6, James Cohan Gallery in New York presents a two-part solo exhibition of the late Monir Shahroudy Farmanfarmaian's work. For Cultured, Iranian American creator Pari Ehsan pens a letter of love and appreciation to Farmanfarmaian and presents a fashion editorial inspired by the artist's work. -Cultured 2/17/21

Women's share in research, development up to 39% in Iran

The participation of Iranian women in higher education's research and development projects has increased from 27 percent in 2000 to 39.6 percent in 2017, Science Minister Mansour Gholami has said. In all levels of education, the share of women has risen from 5.3 percent in 1978 to over 50 percent or even 60 percent during the past seven years, he noted, IRNA reported on Sunday. 2/16/21

France's female dervish takes transcendence online

One of the world's few female whirling dervishes, Rana Gorgani has opened up Sufism to a wider audience, and is now making surprising spiritual connections over Zoom thanks to the pandemic. French-Iranian Gorgani, 37, used to think of whirling -- a sort of "moving meditation" through which Sufis seek to commune with the divine -- as something that should remain behind closed doors. -AFP 2/16/21

Shirin Neshat on telling complex stories through art

In my artworks I approach beauty as a way to escape the mundane. Beauty isn't just the physicality of my characters, but their raw emotions, dignity and humanity. As an Iranian, I was born into a culture that is deeply rooted in poetry and mysticism, where beauty means a heightened sense of emotions and spirituality -- it's a way to cope with the hardship and ugliness of tyranny and everyday life. -CNN 2/16/21

ConsenSys Grants Help Iranian Women Learn Solidity

Seven female coders from Iran got scholarships and graduated from a bootcamp of ConsenSys Academy, Ethereum startup incubator's educational branch. The scholarships, a part of ConsenSys' global program to help developers start coding on the Ethereum blockchain, might provide additional opportunities for people in the country largely cut off from the international tech community. -Anna Baydakova, Coindesk 2/15/21

A Toast to Everything Yara Shahidi Accomplished Long Before Her 21st Birthday

Actress and activist Yara Shahidi hasn't been idling away her youth. In honor of her 21st birthday Feb. 10, we're celebrating all the ways the Grown-ish star has made her mark. The eldest of three kids, Yara grew up immersed in the arts and became a voracious reader thanks to her Black model mom Keri Salter Shahidi and Iranian-American photographer dad Afshin Shahidi, who made sure their daughter was absorbing a diverse array of perspectives. -E 2/10/21

A Death on the Anniversary of the Iranian Revolution

Haleh Lajevardi, an Iranian professor of sociology, died last week in Tehran at the age 56. Her brother who tweeted the news of her passing did not reveal the cause of death. People close to her knew that she had dealt with bouts of depression for many years, particularly after she was dismissed from her position at Tehran University more than 10 years ago. -Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi, Counterpunch 2/10/21

Legends Of Tomorrow's Zari Is A "First" The MCU Should Learn From

Originally hailing from a very grim future that saw her parents persecuted and ultimately killed because they were Muslim, Zari joins the Legends on their time traveling adventures at the beginning of Legends of Tomorrow season 3. In an alternate timeline, the original Zari is replaced by a version who grew up with her family in season 5. It's kind of complicated, but it works. As an Iranian-American, Zari is the first Middle Eastern superhero on television and in DC Comics' live-action slate. -Mae Abdulbaki, Screen Rant 2/5/21

The label paving the way for Iran's nascent fashion industry

Founded by two self-taught sisters Shiva and Shirin Vaqar, LVMH Prize-shortlisted Vaqar is dispelling conservative perceptions of what Iranian fashion looks like. Like so many of the much-feted, independent designers you'll speak to in London, Paris, New York or Berlin, running their own label was a dream that dated back far into the Vaqar sisters' youths -- one that eventually came true in 2013. -Mahoro Seward, i-D 2/4/21

A brush with... Tala Madani

Ben Luke talks to Tala Madani, the Tehran-born, Los Angeles-based artist, about the influences and cultural experiences behind her remarkable paintings and animations. She talks about art's role in shaping her experience in the US after she had moved to Oregon from Tehran as a teenager, ... -Art Newspaper 2/3/21

Iran: Women's share of national budget rises by 61%

The budget proposed for women and family affairs has increased by 61 percent in the national budget bill for the next calendar year. The budget, which directly covers women and family affairs, is equivalent to 37 trillion rials (nearly $880 million), which increased by 61 percent compared to the current year's budget. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 2/3/21

Tehran hosting national festival of creative, entrepreneur women

Iran's first national festival of creative and entrepreneur women opens on Tuesday in Tehran both in person and virtually, according to the National Innovation Fund. Coinciding with National Women's Day, the two-day event is held aiming to emphasize the successful presence of women in the development of a sustainable economy in recent years and honor those who are working toward a sustainable economy. 2/2/21

Artist to Watch: Nazanin Amiri Meers

A Love of Pattern Drives the Iranian-Born Artist's Work, from Textiles to Public Art to Tilework Celebrating Women. "So, you make clothes, right?" is a question that fiber artist Nazanin Amiri Meers is accustomed to hearing. And the answer is always the same. "No," she says, with a hint of patient bemusement. "I don't even know how to sew. I design prints or patterns that go on the textile - upholstery, clothing, sheets, wallpaper - anything with a surface that needs a pattern." -Matthew Thompson, KC Studio 1/26/21

Iranian government submits 'violence against women' bill to parliament

The Iranian government has submitted a long-awaited bill for the protection of women against violence to the parliament. The bill titled, Protection, Dignity, and Security of Women against Violence, had been under review since September 2019. It criminalizes any act or behavior that causes "physical or mental harm" to women "as a vulnerable gender". 1/15/21

Photos: 1st female mechanic in Tabriz

Jila Ghahramani is the first female mechanic in Tabriz, the provincial capital of East Azerbaijan Province in northwestern Iran. -Mina Noei, Mehr 1/14/21

The 2,000-year-old Wonder Women who inspired the comic

The contemporary superheroine has a backstory inspired by Greek mythology, which in turn was inspired by real-life ancient warrior women. Experts have identified depictions of the women in battle with Greek men on vases and other ceramics as dressed in Persian-style clothing. By the 470s, the Greeks began to refer to portrayals of the Persians as the Amazons, turning their real-life adversaries into mythological folklore. Even the word "Amazon", meaning "warrior", is likely rooted in the Iranian language. -Kimiya Shokoohi, BBC 1/12/21

Music video of "Shahrzaad" performed by the Symphony Orchestra of Motherland's Ladies

Shahrzaad Symphony, composed by Aminollah Andre Hossein was performed by a symphony orchestra led by Nozhat Amiri and performed by 30 Iranian women musicians. The music video of "Shahrzaad" Symphony was released with the performance of the Symphony Orchestra of the Motherland's Ladies and a tribute to the sacrifices of the medical staff in the fight against Corona and in support of peace, friendship and health of the human race. -Honar Online 1/7/21

Sonia Hadad Releases Short Film EXAM

EXAM is an Iranian film, directed by Sonia K. Hadad, about a schoolgirl who is given a 'package' to drop off right before an important exam. This nail biting live action short film has garnered numerous high profile accolades at festivals across the globe, from the Best Live Action Short at AFI Fest to Best Actress in a Short Film for Sadaf Asghari at Sundance. -Broadway World 12/30/20

Iranian women's group empowers amid pandemic by making masks

As the coronavirus pandemic ravages Iran, home to the Mideast's worst outbreak, a women's group hopes to empower its members by helping them make and sell face masks. The organization called "Bavar," or "Belief" in Farsi, formed in 2016, allowing women looking for work to make handicrafts with donated sewing machines. -Vahid Salemi, AP 12/29/20

In a Village of Widows, the Opium Trade Has Taken a Deadly Toll

On the barren high plains of western Afghanistan, along a roadway south of Herat city, is a collection of sturdy earthen huts known as Qala-e-Biwaha, or "village of widows." Most of the village's men have disappeared - killed while trying to smuggle opium across the desolate frontier into neighboring Iran. -New York Times 12/28/20

Shabnam's vibrant 'Carpet Grew Like a Garden' looks inside Iranian life; Coming to Gallery 263

For even more reason to look forward to 2021, the exhibit "The Carpet Grew Like a Garden" begins Jan. 14 at Gallery 263 in Cambridgeport, showing works by Iranian-born Shabnam Jannesari. The life-size works are vibrant with rusts and ultramarine blues that pop from a common element: the intricate Persian rugs on which women lie, sit and stand, contrasting patterns and colors often infiltrating into their shirts, skirts and tights. -Cambridge Day 12/27/20

Literature-loving Iranian women read more books than men

French authors Albert Camus and Simone de Beauvoir rub shoulders with the likes of Jewish diarist Anne Frank and Russian poet Osip Mandelstam in Tehran bookstores where the largely female readership lap up foreign writers. "Iranian women read more, translate more and write more. In general, they are more present in the book market than men," said Nargez Mossavat, editorial director of Sales publishers. -AFP 12/23/20

PEN America and Ms. Magazine Present: 'Nasrin Sotoudeh, The Mandela of Iran'

To mark the theatrical release of the documentary NASRIN, join PEN America and Ms. Magazine for a special online conversation on Monday, December 21 at 3pm ET featuring an introduction by Margaret Atwood and opening remarks by PEN America's Karin Deutsch Karlekar; followed by a discussion moderated by New York Times columnist Nicholas Kristof with human rights advocate Kerry Kennedy, Iranian artist and activist Parastou Forouhar, Nasrin filmmakers Jeff Kaufman and Marcia Ross; and a message from Nasrin's husband, Reza Khandan. 12/18/20

Iranian girls to participate in the World Weightlifting Championships for the first time

An official in Weightlifting Federation of Iran said on Monday that Iranian girl weightlifters will participate in the world competitions to be held in Saudi Arabia. Maryam Manzi said that the Iranian girl weightlifting team will participate in 2021 IWF Junior World Championships (Jeddah, 5-18 March 2020). 12/16/20

Ground-breaking step in Iran towards reducing statelessness

The United Nations Refugee Agency (UNHCR) has said it welcomes Iran's move to give nationality to thousands of children born to Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers. The first children, out of some 10,000 children whose citizenship applications have so far been accepted, received their Iranian identity card, known as a 'Shenasnameh', last month. 12/3/20

The New 'Face of Iran' Elnaz Golrokh STUNS In Sexy New Cover Of MAXIM

Supermodel and beauty blogger Elnaz Golrokh is taking the industry by storm after getting the cover of Maxim Magazine, and she looks drop-dead gorgeous. The new 'Face Of Iran' is well known by her huge devoted fan base in the Middle East, but the supermodel is hell-bent on letting the whole world learn to love the Iranian culture and beauty. -Blast 12/3/20

Iranian National Commission for UNESCO honors actress Jaleh Olov

The Iranian National Commission for UNESCO honored actress Jaleh Olov, Iranian actor and voice actor with a lifetime achievement award on the margins of the Selfie 20 Short Film Festival in Tehran on Monday. The 93-year-old Olov expressed her thanks to the organizers in a video message screened during the closing ceremony of the festival, and said, "I am proud of working for the art of this land for 72 years in the different fields of theater, radio, dubbing and poetry." 12/2/20

75,000 children in Iran to gain nationality under new law

UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, welcomes the Government of the Islamic Republic of Iran's move to give nationality to thousands of children born to Iranian mothers and non-Iranian fathers. The first children, out of some 10,000 children whose citizenship applications have so far been accepted, received their long-awaited Iranian identity document - known as a 'Shenasnameh' - last month. -UNHCR 12/2/20

How a feminist framework can guide US, European Iran policy

The election of the nation's first female vice president marks a political watershed in Washington, DC. And while President-elect Joe Biden and Vice President-elect Kamala Harris have promised a different kind of foreign policy, the real question about "building back better" is - how exactly, and for whom? Who benefits? Whose interests will be taken into account? Whose voices will not be heard? Such are the questions that a feminist approach would ask of every policy. -Cornelius Adebahr and Barbara Mittelhammer, Responsible Statecraft 11/25/20

Online screening of Focus Iran in Montreal: a French documentary about Iran

The documentary, Focus Iran (2017), follows the efforts and struggles of five Iranian photographers, including four young women, who have to overcome many barriers to continue working in their country. It is a story which shows the honest personal narratives of these artists about how they could battle the religious and social taboos to shoot a real image of the invisible folds of current Iranian society. -Maryam Azimzadehirani , The Concordian 11/24/20

Iranian Women Entrepreneurs Recognized for Innovative Activities

Top Iranian women entrepreneurs working in the domains of job creation and creating added value have been recognized in appreciation of their services. -IFP 11/12/20

From Texas to Iran to Nashville: Kimya Raietparvar's journey to Vanderbilt

Kimya Raietparvar has played on both United States and Iranian international teams, which eventually led her to Vanderbilt-where the sophomore is already making an impact. -Sam Curtis and Anita Mukherjee, Vanderbilt Hustler 11/12/20

Iranian Activist Sotoudeh Contracts Coronavirus, Husband Says, Amid 'Catastrophic' Prison Conditions

Nasrin Sotoudeh, an Iranian human rights lawyer who was temporarily released from prison last week, has tested positive for the coronavirus, her husband has said. Reza Khandan wrote on Facebook on November 11 that his wife contracted the virus at the Gharchak women's prison in Tehran, where she was transferred last month. The conditions at the prison were particularly "catastrophic," he said. 11/11/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh Released on Temporary Leave from Prison

Imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was released on temporary furlough today from Gharchak Prison in the Iranian city of Varamin, south of Tehran, her husband Reza Khandan told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "We welcome Nasrin Sotoudeh's release on temporary furlough and call on the authorities in Iran to permanently release her," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of CHRI. -CHRI 11/9/20

PAAIA Celebrates Historic Election for Iranian Americans

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) a nonprofit, nonpartisan, nonsectarian organization serving the interests of Iranian Americans, congratulates Oklahoma State Senator Stephanie Bice (R-OK), Florida State Representative Anna Eskamani (D-FL), New York State Senator Anna Kaplan (D-NY) and Phoenix's City Council candidate Yassamin Ansari for their successes in the 2020 election - a truly historic moment for the Iranian American community. 11/5/20

Iran's #MeToo movement makes waves in Toronto as calls mount for festival to cut ties with celebrated artist

Accusations of sexual assault against one of Iran's most celebrated visual artists are making waves in Toronto's Iranian community - with many saying they represent a critical moment not only in the burgeoning #MeToo movement inside Iran, but also an opportunity for community leaders abroad to take a stand against a culture of impunity they say has too long shielded perpetrators at all levels of power. -Shanifa Nasser, CBS 11/2/20

There's no limit to what Iranian women can do: Football Player Yasaman Farmani

RCSC Charleroi player Yasaman Farmani says that there is no limit to what the Iranian women football players can accomplish. Farmani joined the Belgian top-flight football club from Iran's Malavan in August. She is the wife of Iran international Ali Gholizadeh. They are the first Iranian couple to play at a European based football team. 10/26/20

Iran Moving Women Political Prisoners to Jails with "Common Criminals"

As part of a new policy to isolate political prisoners by incarcerating them alongside common criminals at various prisons in Iran, three women convicted of national security crimes for opposing Iran's mandatory hijab laws were recently transferred out of Evin Prison's Women's Ward, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Yasaman Ariyani and her mother Monireh Arabshahi, were transferred to Rajaiee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, and Samaneh Norouz-Moradi to the central prison in Roudsar, northern Iran. -CHRI 10/26/20

Female Cyclist Angers Hard-Liners In Iran By Riding Without Her Hijab

A young Iranian woman who rode a bicycle without wearing a hijab has spurred angry protests by hard-liners in Najafabad, a conservative city in Iran's central province of Isfahan. The unnamed woman was arrested earlier this week. Iranian authorities say her "motives" are being investigated. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 10/26/20

A #MeToo Awakening Stirs in Iran

The #MeToo movement has hit a nerve among Iran's women. Now accusations against a politically connected celebrity artist are testing the movement in a sexually conservative society dominated by men. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 10/23/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh Transferred to Notorious Gharchak Prison

Nasrin Sotoudeh, the imprisoned human rights attorney, has been moved to the notoriously harsh Gharchak Prison (also spelled Qarchak) in the Iranian city of Varamin, south of Tehran, despite grave medical issues that require her hospitalization, her husband, Reza Khandan said today, October 20, 2020. -CHRI 10/21/20

The Wunderkind Iranian Director Who Stopped Making Films

The Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf is one of the best modern directors, and one of the most precocious of all time, but, even when the repertory houses were in high gear prior to the lockdown, her films were rarely shown. Makhmalbaf made her first feature, "The Apple," in 1997, at the age of seventeen; her second, "Blackboards," came out in 2000, and her third, "At Five in the Afternoon," three years after that. -Richard Brody, New Yorker 10/20/20

Will Iran let a woman run for president in 2021?

With Iran's June 2021 presidential elections approaching, a perennial public debate over whether women have the right to run for president has resurfaced. In a statement on September 13, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, spokesman of Iran's Guardian Council-which is responsible for vetting candidates for elected office-said that there was no legal impediment to a woman president and that it is possible that this will happen in the future. -Raz Zimmt, Atlantic Council 10/16/20

Cleric reopens scars of acid attacks after threatening Iranian women

Threats by an influential hard-line cleric against Iranian women with loose headscarves has opened up old wounds left behind in acid attacks perpetrated by religious extremists. -Al-Monitor 10/14/20

Iran Lifts Restrictions to Let Women Compete in Bodybuilding Competitions

Restrictions have been lifted in Iran to allow women to compete in bodybuilding competitions across the country. It was a welcome change for some tough ladies, who have been in training waiting for this day to come. Azam Farahani, 29, is one of them. She lives In Tehran with her family and has been active in bodybuilding for seven years. -Yahoo 10/8/20

Photos: Pottery, ceramic art of Tabriz women

Women in Tabriz, Iran have created pottery and ceramic art workshops as individual or group work. They combine soil and water with their art and create beautiful potteries. -Ali Hamed Haghdoust, IRNA 10/8/20

Iranian musicians help out in secret on Israeli singer's new record

An Israeli singer of Persian heritage is set to release an album she made by working in secret with Iranian musicians, her long-held aspiration for artistic collaboration despite bitter animosity between the two states. Using encrypted instant-messaging apps like Telegram and by wiring money through third countries, such as the UK and Turkey, Liraz Charhi said she spent months of sleepless nights fearing those who associated would be in danger. -Oliver Holmes, Guardian 10/8/20

Iran frees rights activist after more than 8 years in prison

Iran has released a prominent human rights activist who campaigned against the death penalty, Iranian media reported Thursday. The semiofficial ISNA news agency quoted judiciary official Sadegh Niaraki as saying that Narges Mohammadi was freed late Wednesday after serving 8 1/2 years in prison. She was sentenced to 10 years in 2016 while already incarcerated. -AP 10/8/20

Mother of Iranian Astronomy: In Commemoration of Alenoush Terian

The 100th birth anniversary of the late professor Alenoush Terian, the mother of Iranian astronomy, will be celebrated on October 29. Concurrent with World Science Day for Peace and Development, the ceremony will take place in Tehran. Setting up the first solar physics observatory, launching the first solar telescope, Offering solar physics and astrophysics courses for the first time in the country, and dedicating her house to students are some of the most notable contributions of Terian to the growth of astronomy in Iran. 10/6/20

Memories, Tales and Folk Songs: Group exhibition in New York by seven female Iranian artists

Roya Khadjavi Projects is pleased to present "Memories, Tales and Folk Songs", a group exhibition by seven female Iranian artists in diaspora including Afsoon, Arghavan Khosravi, Atieh Sohrabi, Farnaz Zabetian, Leila Seyedzadeh, Parastoo Ahovan, and Roxana Manouchehri. 10/2/20

An Iranian Woman Walking For Peace: Pupeh Mahdavi Nader embarks on round-the-globe journey

Iranian globetrotter Pupeh Mahdavi Nader has started a journey on foot from the UNESCO-registered Burnt City, southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan province, with the motto of "Love, Friendship and Global Peace". 9/30/20

Olivia Colman-Narrated Documentary About Iranian Activist Nasrin Sotoudeh Acquired By Virgil Films

Virgil Films & Entertainment has acquired North American rights to Nasrin, a documentary about activist Nasrin Sotoudeh narrated by Oscar winner Olivia Colman. Sotoudeh is a human rights activists and an outspoken leader of Iran's women's rights movement. Last week, she cited serious health concerns in ending a six-week hunger strike in Evin Prison, where she has been serving a nearly four-decade sentence. Millions of people from around the world have called for her release. -Deadline 9/30/20

In Iran, outrage over patriarchy spurs change

How does change come to a traditional society? In Iran, a lenient sentence for the murder of a 14-year-old girl and the removal of girls' images from a math textbook are fueling anger at the patriarchy. -Scott Peterson, CSM 9/29/20

Jailed Iranian Human Rights Defender Ends Hunger Strike As Health Deteriorates

Jailed Iranian human rights advocate Nasrin Sotoudeh has ended her hunger strike due to deteriorating health, her husband Reza Khandan said on social media on September 26. Sotoudeh had been on a hunger strike in Tehran's Evin prison since August 11 to protest the risk that political prisoners in Iran face amid the coronavirus pandemic. 9/28/20

Iranians break taboos with their own version of #MeToo

Tehran, Iran - Countless Iranians have taken to social media in recent weeks to recount their experiences of sexual abuse, bringing to the fore a topic that remained taboo for years. Iran's version of the #MeToo movement has seen candid accounts of sexual trauma - some dating back decades - being shared, and has already led to at least one arrest. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 9/24/20

Race to watch: Iranian-American activist faces Texas conservative

A congressional race between staunchly conservative House Republican Dan Crenshaw and Iranian American progressive Sima Ladjevardian has garnered national attention while encapsulating the shifting Demographics in the one-time Republican bastion of Texas. Crenshaw and Ladjevardian are competing to represent the state's second congressional district, which includes parts of northern and western Houston. - Joseph Stepansky, Al Jazeera 9/23/20

Narges Mohammadi's Letter from Prison: "The lives of people on death row are in danger"

Prominent human rights activist Narges Mohammadi, imprisoned in Iran since 2015 for her peaceful defense of civil and political liberties, has written an impassioned letter from prison in which she speaks out against "not only the killing of protesters in the streets in recent years, but also the execution of young protesters." -CHRI 9/23/20

Iran: Young, blind woman helps others - including those with disabilities - fight COVID-19

For 30-year-old Samaneh Shabani, a former intern at UN Information Centre-Tehran, COVID-19 suddenly rendered her primary sensory connections to the world. The deathly silence of empty city streets was not only disturbing, but disorienting to her ability to navigate her way, and her need to get her bearings by touching surfaces puts her at greater risk of possible infection. But Samaneh's determination in setting and achieving her goals has never been deterred by her blindness or by society's prejudice toward people with disabilities. She has steadfastly refused to accept any notion of limitation. -UNIC Tehran 9/22/20

Golriz on Ghazaleh

My friend Ghazaleh Golbakhsh is a film-maker, a writer, actor, Iranian, Kiwi, woman of colour, citizen of the world, and wild dreamer. Her new book of essays examines the impact of her identity and its formation, on everything from dating to growing up in war torn Iran. I released my memoir, a bit of the journey to becoming that so called first so-called "Refugee MP", this year too. She's a prominent character in that story, and we compared notes a lot as we wrote our accounts. -Golriz Ghahrman, Newsroom, NZ 9/22/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh in Hospital, Condition Deteriorating, Family Denied Access and Information

The imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, who has been on a hunger strike since August 11 to free Iran's political prisoners, has been hospitalized as of September 19, 2020, with her condition worsening, and the family is being denied access to her and any information on her condition, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned, after speaking with her husband, Reza Khandan on September 20, 2020. 9/21/20

All-women band in Iran struggles to break through

The men in the audience clapped and the women ululated as the band finished singing: it would have been commonplace except the venue was in Iran and the group on stage were all women. The catchy rhythmic music they played that balmy night is known as "bandari". Its lyrics are from ancient folkloric songs, passed down the generations and familiar to many at the concert in an amphitheater in the southern port of Bandar Abbas. -AFP 9/18/20

Honour killings and violence against women in Iran during the COVID-19 pandemic

The incidence of violence against women has increased worldwide since lockdowns to prevent the transmission of COVID-19 were implemented.1 Iran already had high levels of violence against women, with a reported 8000 so-called honour killings between 2010 and 2014. -Bijan Pirnia, Fariborz Pirnia & Kambiz Pirnia, The Lancet 9/18/20

Iran To Alter Schoolbook Cover After Anger Over Girls' Removal

Iran's education ministry said Tuesday the new cover of a schoolbook which removed girls from an illustration would be modified next year, following widespread criticism on social media. After the ministry distributed textbooks for the new school year on September 5, parents saw the cover of the third-grade mathematics book had changed. Two girls had been removed, leaving only three boys under a tree made up of numbers and mathematical signs. -Amir Havasi, AFP 9/16/20

Anger In Iran After Images Of Girls Removed From Cover Of Math Textbook

There's outrage among Iranians over the removal of the images of girls from the cover of a third-grade math textbook in what critics say highlights gender discrimination and the sexist attitude of the country's officials. The Education Ministry said the original cover showing two girls and three boys playing under a tree was "overcrowded" and that those who reviewed the book from "an artistic, aesthetic, and psychological perspective" had proposed to make it "less crowded." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 9/14/20

Jacqueline Saper's "From Miniskirt to Hijab" is a story for our times

As Jacqueline Saper shopped for a gift for her husband on a sunny Tehran boulevard in 1979, she had no idea that she was about to witness history. The young Iranian wife had already lived through events that seemed to shift the earth on its axis. In her lifetime, Jacqueline had endured hardships that few can imagine, but also joys and privileges that Americans would find surprisingly familiar. -Teme Ring, Chicago Now 9/10/20

Iran is having its #MeToo moment

Across the past three weeks, dozens of Iranian women of various backgrounds have taken to social media, in their own #MeToo moment, to report their experiences of sexual harassment and assault. The police have announced they have taken action against at least one suspect. Many women hope this will be just the beginning of a broader movement against sexual violence. -Tara Sepehri Far, Al Jazeera 9/10/20

Human rights award for Iranian lawyer on hunger strike

The Iranian lawyer and women's rights activist Nasrin Sotoudeh, who is apparently in acute danger of death, has been honored with the human rights award of the German Association of Judges (DRB). Sotoudeh has been on hunger strike for three weeks.She has been imprisoned again in Tehran's Evin Prison since 2018 and was sentenced to 33 years in prison and 148 lashes in 2019; she had already served in prison from 2010 to 2013. -Der Tagesspiegel 9/4/20

U of O PhD student's smartwatch a timely innovation in COVID fight

Azadeh Dastmalchi's search for a user-friendly blood pressure test triggered a decade-long research effort that ultimately spawned a groundbreaking wearable device and led the University of Ottawa PhD candidate to launch her own company. On Wednesday, the biomedical engineering student and budding entrepreneur earned some well-deserved time in the spotlight. -David Sali, Ottawa Business Journal 9/3/20

Afghan girl who waited years for school refuses to let her enthusiasm wane

A few months ago, mornings at Vahdat Primary School when the children arrived were full of enthusiasm and energy. Bags bouncing on their backs as they ran through the gates of their primary school, a group of girls skidded to a halt in front of the main building, waiting for assembly. At the back of a line of sixth-graders stood Parisa, the oldest in her class at the age of 16 - her classmates were on average only 12 years old. -Farha Bhoyroo, UNHCR, Isfahan, Iran 9/2/20

Interview: Composer Aida Shirazi On Music, Success And Her Iranian Upbringing

For centuries, the classical music "canon" has been dominated by European male figures. Times are changing, though, and many diverse voices are finally finding a foothold in the genre - and one need look no further than Davis. Iranian musician Aida Shirazi came to the United States four years ago to pursue a Ph.D in composition at UC Davis. Lately, she's been getting a lot of national attention not just for her music, but also for her role as a co-founder of the Iranian Female Composer's Association. -CapRadio 9/1/20

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