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February 20 2018
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Iran Rescue Teams 'Find Crash Site'

- Iranian search and rescue teams have reached the site of the plane crash that authorities say killed all 65 people on board, Iran's Press TV reported on February 19. State television said helicopters were now able to take part in the search for Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 after the weather improved following blizzard conditions that had hampered search efforts on February 18. 02/19/18

Shi'ite Shrine At Persepolis Sparks Row Over Iran's Heritage

- With more than 10,000 religious shrines dotting Iran to mark where descendants of Shi'ite Islam's most revered imams are said to have been buried, many of them go unnoticed. But one of these so-called imamzadeh sanctums recently caught the eye of a passerby who, in a video, questioned its proximity to a globally recognized legacy of Iran's pre-Islamic past, the ruins of Persepolis. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 02/19/18

Iran denies 'hegemon' plans, denounces Saudi and Israel

- Iran deflected accusations by Saudi Arabia and Israel that it was destabilising the Middle East, calling the two "US client states" who were trying to gloss over their "poor choices" and "strategic blunders". Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming Iran for rising regional tensions, at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. -Al Jazeera 02/19/18

Louvre blockbuster show heads to Iran in major move of cultural diplomacy

- Exhibition of 50 Greek, Roman and Persian artefacts is "first large-scale exhibition by a major Western museum in Iran" -Art Newspaper 02/19/18

Neocons Call For War Against Iran In Syria After Israeli Strikes

- The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a little known but highly influential hawkish think tank in Washington that has made a name for itself over the past few years by opposing the Iran nuclear deal and its subsequent (and current) efforts to derail it. Aside from its long tradition of opposing negotiations with Iran, FDD has also been known as a safe space for its staff--chief among them CEO Mark Dubowitz--to call for war against Iran and/or regime change. -Ben Armbruster 02/17/18

Iran's President Rouhani and India's Prime Minister Modi express readiness to expand ties in all areas

- President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India have expressed readiness to expand relations between their countries in all areas. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed their respective countries' preparedness for the enhancement of the relations at the Indian prime minister's Hyderabad House in the Indian capital on Saturday. 02/17/18

Another Iranian Woman Arrested In Tehran For Protesting Compulsory Veiling

- A woman has been arrested in Iran after peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling, the latest such incident in recent months. Video uploaded to YouTube on February 15 shows a woman standing on a concrete block above a crowd on Tehran's Enghelab (Revolution) street, waving her head scarf in protest. 02/17/18

Iranian Authorities Arrest Lawyer Who Exposed Death of Protester in Police Custody

- Attorney Mohammad Najafi has been held in detention in the Iranian city of Arak since January 15, and is facing eight charges for exposing the death of a young man who died in police custody after being arrested during the recent protests in Iran. Najafi's own attorney has also been threatened with arrest, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 02/17/18

Royal Portraits From 19th-Century Iran Will Go on View at the Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler in Washington, DC

- Kings and noblemen of Iran's Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) commissioned self-portraits to convey their power and splendor. Such imagery proliferated as monumental oil paintings, photographs or as intimately scaled lacquer objects and uniquely combined traditional Persian artistic conventions with European modes of representation. "The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran" offers a rare glimpse into the development and dissemination of royal and aristocratic portraiture in the 19th century and early 20th century in Iran at a time when the country underwent major political, societal and cultural changes. 02/17/18

EU ready to negotiate Iran's joining Southern Gas Corridor initiative

- European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said EU is ready to discuss Iran's joining to the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) with all partners of the project, IRNA reported on Thursday. The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for the natural gas supply from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. 02/17/18

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Iran Takes Measures To Combat Rial's Fall To Record Lows - Iran's central bank announced measures to combat the rial's fall to record lows one day after police cracked down on foreign exchange dealers on the streets of Tehran. The central bank's announcement on February 15 that it will allow an increase in the interest rates paid on bank deposits came after the Iranian currency plummeted to a record low of 48,400 to the dollar earlier in the week. 02/16/18

Muslim Ban Plaintiffs Celebrate IAAB v. Trump Ruling: We Continue On Together - Today (February 15, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., upheld the Maryland district court's order blocking implementation of the Muslim Ban in three consolidated cases, Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump, IRAP v Trump, and Zakzok v Trump. This ruling is a significant victory for the many individuals and families whose lives are still hanging in the balance. 02/16/18

Environmentalists Detained in Iran Denied Legal Counsel Weeks After Arrests - Environmental activists who were detained at the same time as Kavous Seyed-Emami-who recently died in custody-are being denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "We are simple, ordinary people. We are not political. But unfortunately, the authorities are not letting lawyers get involved," a source who requested anonymity for fear of state reprisals for speaking to the media told CHRI on February 14, 2018. 02/16/18

Takfiri groups, a creation of West to divide Muslims, says Iran's President Rouhani during India visit - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the West has created Takfiri outfits that have nothing to do with the holy faith of Islam in a bid to sow discord among Muslims. Rouhnai made the remarks in a meeting with a group of elites, religious clerics and leaders of the Muslim community in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Thursday. 02/16/18

Foreign experts to help protect Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, against lichens - Separate teams of Italian and Spanish experts will join hands with Iranian counterparts to cope with spreading lichens in Persepolis, a World Heritage site in southern Iran. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BC). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979. 02/16/18

Expanding regional rivalries: Saudi Arabia and Iran battle it out in Azerbaijan - It's the pot calling the kettle black. As Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to encircle it with its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as Qatar, the kingdom and the Islamic republic are extending their bitter rivalry beyond the Middle East into the Caucasus. The two countries' latest battleground is oil-rich Azerbaijan, an authoritarian, majority Shia Muslim but secular former Soviet republic on Iran's northern border with a substantial ethnic population in Iran itself. -James M. Dorsey 02/16/18

Mother of Ailing Hunger Striker Atena Daemi Assaulted in Front of Tehran's Evin Prison - Masoumeh Nemati, the mother of imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi, was attacked in front of Evin Prison in Tehran on February 13, 2018, after she tried to inquire about her daughter's hunger strike. "Atena and Golrokh Iraee [Ebrahimi], who are on a dry hunger strike, are in serious condition. Instead of answering our questions, they beat us up and interrogated us today," Nemati said in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 02/16/18

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Detained Opposition Leaders - The U.S. State Department late on February 15 called on Iran to release three opposition leaders who have been under house arrest for seven years. The statement came on the seventh anniversary of the detention of 2009 Iranian presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, as well as Musavi's wife and women's rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard. 02/16/18

Israel was about to get 'a lot more violent' with Syria after losing an F-16 -- and then Putin stepped in - A simmering conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria could have erupted into another regional war were it not for the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Israeli investigative journalist. -Business Insider 02/16/18

Tehran's Homegrown Critics Double Down On Rohani's Referendum Challenge - A referendum proposed by President Hassan Rohani to heal Iran's divisions has been attacked by his hard-line opponents but provided an opening for establishment critics to go a step further. More than a dozen Iranian activists and intellectuals from inside the country and abroad quickly seized on the president's tentative calls this week for the plebiscite, to ask for a UN-backed referendum in Iran that would allow for a transition to a new form of government. 02/15/18

Son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, Iranian-Canadian Who Died At Tehran's Evin Prison, Reveals Threats Against Family - The son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist who died under interrogation in Evin Prison in early February 2018, has broken his family's silence on the case and issued a statement on his personal blog. In it, Ramin Seyed-Emami said a film of his father's last hours in his cell does not show him committing the act of suicide, and that the family will be using "every legal channel" to launch an independent investigation. 02/15/18

Iran Cracks Down On Currency Traders Amid Steep Fall In Rial - Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of money changers in Tehran amid a steep decline in the Iranian currency that has sent the rial to a record low against the U.S. dollar. A video by state broadcaster IRINN on February 14 showed dozens of currency hawkers who usually are stationed across the street from the British Embassy in central Tehran being rounded up by police. 02/15/18

Lawyer: IRGC Film of Seyed-Emami's Prison Cell Does Not Show Act of Suicide - A lawyer representing the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died under interrogation in Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, said a film of the detainee's last living hours does not show him committing suicide. Payam Dorafshan also told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that he and another lawyer hired by the family are investigating the case to determine the cause of death and reason Seyed-Emami was visibly agitated before he died. 02/15/18

'You don't sound like an American,' TV hosts tell US-Iranian blogger critical of Washington - An Iranian-American fashion blogger was told on US television that she didn't "sound like an American" after slamming Washington's Middle East policy when the morning show hosts decided to grill her on Iran's nuclear weapons. -RT 02/15/18

Indian investments in Iran on top of President Rouhani's visit - Diplomats in New Delhi say Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will try to encourage Indian businesses to invest "billions of dollars" in the Islamic Republic during his three-day visit which will start on Thursday. Top on the agenda of Rouhani's visit would be the completion of Iran's Chabahar port by India as well as discussions over a potential deal for Indian companies to develop an offshore gas field in Iran. 02/15/18

Sanctions: A Substitute For Serious Foreign Policy - In recent times, the United States has increasingly resorted to economic and other sanctions to try getting countries, with governments often referred to as "rogue regimes," to change their behavior. Today, Iran, Russia, and North Korea have been notable targets. But are sanctions genuinely a useful tool of policy--that is, do they work? And, if that proposition is at best debatable, why does the United States deploy them so often? -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 02/15/18

Iran: Dusty Khuzestan still in tight spot, out of breath - Once again the old story of recurrent sand and dust storms in the southwestern province of Khuzestan is going around. For some years now elevated levels of PM 2.5 fine particles, tens of times above the standard average, is the new normal for the province. 02/15/18

Neoliberalism and Iran's protest movement - On the 1st of January, and the fifth day of protests in Iran, President Rouhani decided to pursue a course that the security and military officials had pursued before him. While speaking of the importance of attention to economic and political realities and the people's right to protest, Rouhani overlooked the true reality of the situation when he proclaimed: "There is a minority, a tiny group, who would come in and do something: to chant slogans against the law and the will of the people, to insult the sanctities and values of the revolution, and to destroy public property. Our country will round them up good." -Amin Bozorgian, Open Democracy 02/15/18

MP: "More Details Necessary" To Determine Cause of Iranian-Canadian's Death in Custody - Iran's deputy parliamentary speaker has stated that, based on a video produced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), it's not clear whether Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami committed suicide in Tehran's Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, as officials have claimed. Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told reporters on February 13 than an autopsy was conducted on Seyed-Emami's body before it was delivered to the family on February 13, but no medical examiner's report has been released to the public. Seyed-Emami was buried on in Emameh Cemetery near Tehran on February 13. 02/14/18

PM 2.5 level 'beyond hazardous' as another dust storm hits southwestern Iran - The recent sand and dust storms have increased the PM 2.5 fine particles concentration to a 'beyond hazardous' level in the southwestern city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan province, on Tuesday. According to Khuzestan provincial department of environment the fine dust concentration has jumped to 60 times above the recommended limits once again over the past months. 02/14/18

Some University Students Still Detained a Month After Iran's Protests Despite Officials' Claims - Contrary to Iranian official's claims that all the university students who were detained in connection with Iran's December 2017 protests have been released, some remain in custody without access to legal counsel. "It is not correct to say that all of them have been freed," a Tehran University student activist who asked not to be identified told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 9, 2018. "At least five students are still in detention and they don't have a lawyer." 02/14/18

Revolution anniversary: 39 years of news control and censorship in Iran - On the 39th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its condemnation of the regime's harassment of journalists and citizen-journalists. Thirty-nine years after the revolution, as young men and women protest in the streets, the Islamic Republic is trying to reinforce its news control both at home and internationally. 02/14/18

Iranian intellectuals call for referendum amid political unrest - A group of prominent Iranian intellectuals have said they have lost hope that the Islamic Republic can reform, and have called for a referendum to establish whether the ruling establishment is still backed by a majority. A day after Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, touted the idea of holding a referendum as a means to heal Iran's deepening political divisions, 15 figures - including some based in Iran - said leaders had failed to deliver on republican ideals. -Guardian 02/14/18

How do Iran's 'corrupt networks' operate? - On Jan. 28, at an event celebrating 50 years of capital markets in Iran, the head of the Central Bank of Iran, Valiollah Seif, publicly stated, "The formidable power of illegal stakeholders on Iran's economy has rendered reforming the economy difficult." These illegal stakeholders, who have also been referred to as shady interest groups, are most accurately described as "corrupt networks." -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 02/14/18

Renault's investment in Iran to hit 800 million Euros - French automaker Renault is going to expand activities in Iran, boosting its total investments in the country to 800 million Euros, IRNA reported quoting the company's director for MENA region. Speaking at the 5th edition of Iran's Automotive Industry International Conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Pascal Felten noted that with the new round of cooperation between Iran and Renault beginning, the company will create 10 times more job opportunities in the country. 02/14/18

Iran's female skier blazes a trail to Pyeongchang - Getting a spot to compete in the 23rd Olympic Games in South Korea was no easy feat for the 26-year-old athlete Samaneh Bayrami Baher, who is the only female member of the country's national cross-country skiing team. As a child, Samaneh fell in love with swimming, competing and winning three international events. She also trained for competitive cycling. -Al Jazeera 02/14/18

Film Review: Tehran Taboo - The fascinating animated drama Tehran Taboo doesn't dismiss outright the reality that many residents of the Iranian city might enjoy happily devout or mundane lives, going about their business by the strict codes and regulations of the Islamic Republic. However, this film, written and directed by Ali Soozandeh, is wholly disinterested in those who are leading devoutly moral lives. -Film Journal 02/14/18

Mother Denies Espionage Charges Against Son Detained in Crackdown on Environmental NGO in Iran - The mother of Sam Rajabi, who was arrested in a state-led crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Iran including the one managed by Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died in custody, said her son has been focused on his career and would never betray his country. 02/13/18

Iranian airlines examining Russian Sukhoi superjet for possible purchase - A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 landed on Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Monday morning and was examined by Iranian aviation experts deciding about its future purchase, Tasnim news agency reported. "The Russian airplane maker asked Iran to let its aircraft land on Mehrabad on its way back from Singapore Air Show 2018," the Secretariat of Association of Iranian Airlines Maghsoud Asadi Samani told Tasnim on the sidelines of the superjet's examination. 02/13/18

Book Review: The Gardens of Consolation by Author Parisa Reza - The "Gardens of Consolation" is a poignant family tale of love, survival and shattered dreams set against the backdrop of a nation's struggle for independence. Seen through the eyes of one rural family, the Aminis, this novel is a prequal to a saga which spans over a century. -Darius Kadivar 02/13/18

Pollsters Arrested While Conducting Survey Showing Majority of Iranians Dissatisfied With Domestic Affairs - Several pollsters who were gauging views about Iran's December 2017 protests have been arrested, according to Mohammad Aghasi, the head of the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA). "It was difficult to conduct polls about the recent protests due to the arrests of some of the researchers in a number of cities," said Aghasi at a conference in Tehran on February 7, 2018. "Usually, we do the polls in two days but this time it took longer because of some of these difficulties." 02/13/18

Female Iranian MPs Demand Action on Stalled Bill Aiming to Preventing Child Abuse - Some Iranian female lawmakers have called for immediate deliberations on a bill for the protection of children to prevent future cases of child abuse in Iran. "The increase in incidents of child abuse is not becoming of the Islamic Republic. We cannot deal with child abuse with our current laws," said Member of Parliament (MP) Masoumeh Aghapour Alishahi, a member of the Women's Faction. 02/13/18

Iran says seeking co-op with UN on human rights - Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of the High Council for Human Rights Mohammad in Iran, has said that Iran is seeking close cooperation with the United Nations on issues related to human rights. Larijani made the remarks in a message read to a conference on Human Rights Achievements in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 02/13/18

Israel and Iran consider next move after Syrian clash crosses red line - Arch-enemies Iran and Israel crossed a line this weekend that both have been warning about for years: a direct confrontation between their militaries. In just a few hours, a potentially devastating precedent was set between two of the region's most bellicose states when Israel downed a drone in its airspace that it claimed was Iranian. After responding by bombing what Israel said was an Iranian target deep in Syria, one Israeli F-16 fighter jet crashed amid a barrage of Syrian anti-aircraft missiles. -Guardian 02/13/18

Clear Signs of State Cover-Up of Death of Iranian-Canadian Academic at Evin Prison in Tehran - The family of the Iranian-Canadian academic, Kavous Seyed-Emami, whose death in custody in Iran was announced on February 9, is under intense pressure to immediately bury Seyed-Emami in a private funeral-without receiving any independent and medically corroborated information on the cause of his death-and to remain silent regarding the death. 02/12/18

Iran beats Australia to finish third at 2018 Men's Indoor Hockey World Cup - The Iran men's national field hockey team has defeated the Australian squad at the 2018 Men's Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany to claim the third place overall at the end of the prestigious international tournament. On Sunday, the Iranian outfit thrashed Australia 5-0 in the bronze medal game, which was staged at the multi-purpose Max-Schmeling-Halle arena in the German capital city of Berlin. 02/12/18

Iranian War Movie "The Lost Strait" Named Best at Fajr Film Festival - "The Lost Strait", a drama produced by Saeid Malekan on an epic battle by Iranian combatants during the last days of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, was crowned best at the 36th Fajr Film Festival on Sunday night. The film's director Bahram Tavakkoli and Ebrahim Hatamikia, whose Daesh drama "At Damascus Time" premiered at the festival, shared the Crystal Simorgh for best director during the closing ceremony of the event that was organized at Tehran's Milad Tower. 02/12/18

'Not Believable': Friends Of Iranian-Canadian Activist Discount 'Suicide' - Academics in Iran and rights activists are calling for a serious and transparent investigation into the death of Iranian-Canadian academic and environmental activist Kavous Seyed-Emami in prison. Four academic societies related to political science, sociology, peace studies, and cultural studies made the call in an open letter to President Hassan Rohani published on February 12. 02/12/18

How American Media Spin-Doctored the Iranian Protests - Barely a month ago, Iranians were amassing in the streets to protest against their government. Their core grievances, according to Western media and politicos, were the economy, foreign policy, expansionism, and human rights. Today, the protests are over. But according to a recent survey by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (based at the University of Maryland) and IranPoll, only one of those grievances actually provided the spark: the economy. -Sharmine Narwani, American Conservative 02/12/18

Thousands of Undocumented Iranians Denied Affordable Kerosene In Winter Months - Tens of thousands of people living in poverty in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province are being denied heating oil in the cold winter months because they lack identification papers, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "I have a birth certificate but my husband and kids don't and so we don't get [state] coupons to buy kerosene and we cannot afford to buy it [on the black market]," Gol Bibi, a resident of the province's capital city of Zahedan, told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on February 6, 2018. 02/12/18

How a rock star of Iranian digital activism built a culture of misogyny and fear - The news came down on Thanksgiving Day. ASL19 founder Ali Karimzadeh Bangi, one of the leading lights of the expat Iranian digital rights community, appeared in court on charges of sexual assault and forcible imprisonment. The following day, he would be forced to cut ties with ASL19 entirely. -Russell Brandom, The Verge 02/12/18

Another Unnecessary War - The writing is already on the wall: Israel will soon launch a military operation in Lebanon. In this well-orchestrated event, Israel's mouthpieces play a single tune: Iran and Hezbollah have crossed a red line, and if their Russian patron does not restrain them (the crux of Israel-Russia security coordination), Israel will strike hard (and it will do so because the Russians cannot restrain them). -Idan Landau, LobeLog 02/12/18

Iranian graffitists feel walled in - "You are no artist if you are drawing on a wall with spray paint. You are either a vandal or a political activist scribbling a slogan," Iranian graffiti artist "Mad" said of the longstanding public's opinion on street art. -Zahra Alipour, Al Monitor 02/12/18

Iran crowned AFC futsal champion for the 12th time - Iran eased past Japan 4-0 in the AFC Futsal Championship final and emerged winners for the 12th time. On Sunday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taipei, Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh gave Iran the lead in the first half, and further goals from Farhad Tavakoli, Hossein Tayebi and Hassanzadeh again secured them a second consecutive title. 02/11/18

Follower of Sufi Order Expelled From Iranian University After Refusing to Sign Pledge - Sepideh Moradi Sarvestani, a follower of the Sufi Gonabadi Dervish order, was expelled from Tehran's Tarbiat Modares University on February 3, 2018, for refusing to formally pledge not to engage in activities deemed unacceptable by officials. 02/11/18

Israel Launches Large-Scale Attack on Syria After F-16 Crashes - Israeli officials have been carrying out large-scale attacks against several military sites within Syria, claiming to have done major damage to Syria's air defenses nationwide. Interestingly, almost all Israeli officials are presenting this to the public as an attack on Iran, as opposed to Syria, and are now calling all of the Syrian military bases that've been attacked are "Iranian bases." -Jason Ditz, Antiwar 02/11/18

Non-oil sector, market reintegration key to Iran growth - Iran's top banker says the country's economic growth was robust in the fiscal year which is coming to a close soon but further improvement will depend on the non-oil performance of the economy. ran's growth last year came courtesy of the recovery in oil production following the lifting of US-led sanctions, which boosted the government's earnings. 02/11/18

"Iranian Women's Movement Museum" inauguration: "From Evin With Love" - In light of International Women's Day, the exhibition "From Evin, With Love" will open on March 9, 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands, presenting the handicrafts of Imprisoned Iranian women activists. The exhibition will run through April 6, 2018 and will feature a number of prominent Iranian and foreign speakers as well as a performance by Nasrin Hobby & Ensemble. 02/9/18

Iranian Says Secure Nuclear Deal Before Talks On 'Other Issues' - A senior Iranian official says the West must ensure that the 2015 nuclear deal is a success before his country can begin to discuss other issues affecting the Middle East region. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told a conference in Paris on February 8 that the key to future negotiations on matters such as Tehran's regional activities and its missile program is to honor the terms of the nuclear accord, from which the United States has threatened to withdraw. 02/9/18

Architecture in medieval Persian painting: Fact or Fantasy? - How did Persian painters tackle both the depiction of architecture and the actual process of construction? Several scholars have studied the first topic, but very few have investigated the second. In neither case is the term "realism" appropriate, but the conventions for depicting architecture in Persian painting are a fascinating study in themselves, while close analysis of three later medieval paintings of workmen on building sites reveals many surprises. The lecture (by Professor Robert Hillenbrand) will show how comfortably Persian painters operated within what to a Western eye might seem like constricting conventions. ​ 02/9/18

MENA Category Rejected by US Census Bureau Despite Clear Benefits - The US Census Bureau once again declined to add a Middle East and North African (MENA) category for the 2020 census. Many Americans of Middle-Eastern descent, including Iranian Americans, have for decades sought the additional category so that the census more accurately reflects America's mosaic of different cultures and the voices of Iranian Americans are not ignored by lawmakers. 02/9/18

Briefing Addresses Iranian Protests and Implications for Washington and Tehran - Washington, D.C -- "Public dialogue with the (Iranian) state occurs through protest and those protests force changes to come about," observed Sanam Anderlini, Executive Director and cofounder of the International Civil Society Action Network, speaking at a Capitol Hill briefing organized by the National Iranian American Council. "Each time there are protests, the regime gives some space and the public moves along, and there is an accommodation" that pushes the country in a more progressive direction. -NIAC 02/9/18

UK Resident Detained in Iran by IRGC For More Than a Year Without Charge or Access to Counsel - Mohammad Reza Hashemi-Nabi, a permanent resident of the UK, has been held in solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison for more than a year without access to a lawyer, his mother informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Hashemi-Nabi, 47, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on December 23, 2016, after arriving there from London. 02/9/18

Israel, Hezbollah And Iran: Preventing Another War In Syria - The Syrian war has entered a new stage with the regime of Bashar al-Assad gaining the upper hand. Israel, no longer content to remain a bystander as Damascus's position improves, is now jockeying to reverse the deterioration of its strategic posture. In this endeavor it has formidable obstacles to overcome: the regime is more dependent than ever on Iran, which Israel regards as its most implacable state foe -International Crisis Group, LobeLog 02/9/18

US 'Deeply Concerned' About American's Return to Iranian Prison - The United States on Wednesday said it was "deeply concerned" that Iran had returned Iranian-American Baquer Namazi to prison after briefly releasing him so he could receive medical treatment. The White House said it understood that the 81-year-old former U.N. official was returned to Iran's "notorious Evin Prison against the strong advice of his doctors and the Iranian regime's own medical examiner." 02/8/18

"This is Slavery": 30 Sugar Plant Workers Arrested in Iran For Demanding Unpaid Wages - Police arrested more than 30 protesters on the fourth day of a strike by hundreds of workers on February 4, 2018, at a major sugar plant near the city of Shush, in Iran's Khuzestan Province. In a video message posted on his Telegram channel on February 4, 2018, prominent labor activist Jafar Azimzadeh said the workers at the Haft Tappeh Sugarcane Agro-Industrial Company were being treated like slaves. 02/8/18

Paris to host Euromoney Iran Conference 2018 - Co-hosted by Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the second round of Euromoney Iran Conference will kick off in the France's capital on Thursday, IRNA reported. Heading a delegation comprised of CBI and Finance Ministry's scholars and experts, Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaie will attend this year's event. 02/8/18

Tehran Steps Up Pressure on Ankara Over Syrian Operation - Iran is the latest country to add its voice to growing calls for Turkey to curtail its military operation in Syria against a Syrian Kurdish militia. Turkey-Iran relations have recently improved, but Tehran is seen to be increasingly concerned about the lack of clarity on the scope and duration of the Turkish military operation and Ankara's goals. "We wish for Turkey's operation in Syria to end at the earliest time," Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told reporters Tuesday. -Dorian Jones, VOA 02/8/18

Iran Returns Iranian-American Baquer Namazi To Prison Against Advice Of Medical Examiner - An Iranian-American man imprisoned in Iran, Baquer Namazi, has been returned to prison after a brief release due to health concerns. Lawyer Jared Genser said in a statement that the decision to return his 81-year-old client to Tehran's Evin prison despite the advice of the Iranian government's own medical examiner is "tantamount to a death sentence." 02/7/18

Delegation of Iranian women entrepreneurs visit France - A delegation of 32 Iranian women entrepreneurs, members of chambers of commerce, heads of private companies and other noble women in different fields visited Paris to attend economic meetings. The group arrived in Paris on Wednesday to attend a seminar titled "Iranian women, dynamic women", and a round table talk in the French parliament, IRNA reported. 02/7/18

Imprisoned Iranian-American Art Dealer Accuses IRGC of Judicial Interference - In a new letter from Evin Prison, Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari has accused Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of pressuring the judiciary to impose heavy sentences on him and his wife, Afarin Neyssari. Vafadari's sister, Kateh Vafadari told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 5, 2018, that her brother was arrested "a few days after he got a court order to force the IRGC to vacate one of our ancestral buildings." 02/7/18

Iran Accuses US of Aiding Islamic State (Daesh) in Afghanistan - Iran has joined Russia in accusing the United States of aiding Islamic State extremists in Afghanistan, charges Washington vehemently denies. "After witnessing Daesh and other organized terrorist groups losing their ground in Iraq and Syria, they are now relocating them to Afghanistan," Iranian media quoted the country's top military commander as alleging Tuesday. Daesh is the Arabic acronym for IS. 02/7/18

Total CEO: Iran's South Pars gas project 'progressing well' despite Trump's threats - Total's work on the South Pars gas project is well on track despite US threats of new sanctions on Iran, the French oil and gas group's Chief Executive Patrick Pouyanne says. Pouyanne told Le Monde newspaper on Tuesday that Total was consulting with French and European authorities over protecting its investments in Iran, in case there was a resumption of sanctions. 02/7/18

Why Iran Is Not A Mideast Hegemon - For many observers, Iran emerged as the major winner of Middle East developments in 2017. They saw a "new superpower" in the region now securing military victories "outside its own borders." Although the dynamic in places like Syria, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen may have turned in Tehran's favor, a closer look reveals that all of the 2017 successes bring a set of 2018 challenges. Observers should pay much more attention to these challenges in order to correct their exaggerated views of Iran. -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog 02/7/18

Tabriz gears up for biggest tourism event of Muslim countries in 2018 - Tabriz in northwest Iran seeks to step out of the twilight with a spectacular gala which is set to attract heads of state, business leaders and gurus of the hospitality industry to the biggest tourism event of Muslims states in 2018. The city, a key location on the Silk Road and a gateway to Europe and East Asia, has been named by the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) as the 2018 tourism capital of Islamic countries. 02/6/18

Arab Neoconservatives And Peace In The Persian Gulf - Recent years have seen a rise of what could be described as Arab neoconservatives: ambitious leaders such as the Crown Prince of Saudi Arabia Mohammed bin Salman and the Crown Prince of Abu Dhabi Mohammed bin Zayed. Their distinctive feature is a heavy reliance on military power to re-shape the political map of the Middle East in their favor, with the overarching aim of pushing back against Iran, a policy they share with the original, American neoconservatives. -Eldar Mamedov 02/6/18

Iranian Hardline Cleric Says Protesters Should be Sentenced to Death - A Friday prayer leader in Tehran has called for the death penalty to be issued to citizens who participated in the weeklong protests that erupted across Iran in December 2017. "In our theology, the ruling against those who pour into the streets in opposition to a just Islamic ruler, cause fires or kill people... is death," said Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami during a sermon on February 2, 2018. 02/6/18

IRAN: More Quake Survivors Perishing In Cold Without Adequate Shelter - Following Iran's most disastrous earthquake in 2017, several survivors have died from the cold in Kermanshah Province. The 7.3-magnitude earthquake hit Kermanshah on November 12, forcing locals into the streets and rushing to recover neighbors trapped under the rubble. More than 600 people lost their lives in the quake while more than 70,000 were displaced. 02/5/18

Iranian Leaders Speak of Threat of Social Media - Having survived popular protests across major cities in Iran, Iranian leaders are now turning to the tools that helped protesters organize and coordinate large-scale demonstrations against the government, which continued for more than a week before the government suppressed them. A senior Iranian official this week urged the country's cyberspace authorities to remain vigilant and prevent another potential wave of protests. -Mehdi Jedinia, VOA 02/5/18

Poll: Pessimism On The Rise Among Iranians - New findings from an IranPoll/University of Maryland survey, conducted after the protests that struck several Iranian cities last month, find that the Iranian people are increasingly pessimistic about the state of Iran's economy and its relationship with the West. -Derek Davison, LobeLog 02/5/18

Hardline Judge Keeps Iranian-American and Wife in Jail by Imposing $27 Million Bail - The judge presiding over the case of imprisoned Iranian-American gallery owners Karan Vafadari and his wife Afarin Neyssari has deliberately imposed an extraordinarily heavy bail to prevent them from being released pending their appeal, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Karan's son, Cyrus Vafadari, told CHRI on February 2, 2018, that Judge Abolqasem Salavati is demanding 100 billion tomans ($27 million USD) bail for the couple-50 billion tomans ($13.5 million) each for his father and Afarin Neyssari. 02/5/18

Blowback: How a CIA-Backed Coup Led to the Rise of Iran's Ayatollahs - WHY CAN'T IRAN have a secular, democratic government? It's a question Americans often ask of their longstanding Middle East adversary - especially when they see images of anti-regime protesters taking to the streets of major Iranian cities and towns to demand greater freedom. -Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept 02/5/18

Iranian Police Arrest 29 Women Protesting Against Veiling Law - Iranian police say they arrested 29 women who removed their head scarves in a growing protest against a law requiring women to wear the Islamic veils in public. The Tasnim news agency reported on February 1 that police claimed the women had been "tricked" into removing their head scarves by a propaganda campaign being conducted by Iranians living abroad. It was not immediately clear if all the arrests were in the capital, Tehran. 02/2/18

PHOTOS: Zoroastrians celebrate annual feast of Sadeh in Yazd - The Zoroastrians marked Sadeh, an ancient feast celebrating the creation of fire, in Yazd, Iran this week. The feast is marked on the tenth day of the eleventh month of Iranian calendar annually. Sadeh has been observed since the days when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in the powerful Persian empire. 02/2/18

"Girls of Revolution St" Protest Ignites Debate on Iran's Compulsory Hijab - Several women protested against Iran's compulsory hijab law in the streets of Tehran and Isfahan on January 29 and 30, 2018, by publicly removing their headscarves and waving them like flags while standing on a platform. The police detained at least one of the peaceful protesters, Narges Hosseini, who can't afford to post her bail amount, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 02/1/18

PAAIA and Iranian American Coalition Works with Senators to Seek Clarification of the Travel Ban "Waiver" Process - Today Senators Chris Van Hollen (D-MD) and Jeff Flake (R-AZ) sent a bipartisan letter to the State Department and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) to seek clarification on the "waiver provisions" outlined in President Trump's latest Travel Ban. This letter comes after the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), Pars Equality Center, and their legal counsels discussed the issue with Senator Van Hollen's office. 02/1/18

Iranian nation never forgets US acts of aggression in region: President Rouhani - In an apparent rebuke to his US counterpart, President Hassan Rouhani has rejected Washington's claim of having "sympathy" for the Iranian people, saying the nation has not forgotten the American acts of aggression in the region. Speaking at a large gathering of people in the southern city of Sirjan in Kerman province on Thursday, Rouhani said, "Nobody in Washington should think that they can make decisions for the great Iranian nation." 02/1/18

Iran's Environmental Problems are an Opportunity for Regeneration - When uber-warmonger regime change cheerleader Thomas Friedman of The New York Times gets on the Iran water crisis bandwagon you know for sure something toxic is brewing in the backroom. And what's brewing is what John Pilger spells out here "Media in the West is now an extension of imperial power. It is no longer a loose extension, it is a direct extension." -Daryan Rezazad, Counterpunch 02/1/18

Iranian-American Zoroastrian Denounces 27-Year "Unjust" Prison Sentence in Letter From Prison - In a letter from Evin Prison obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Iranian-American dual national Karan Vafadari has denounced the "unjust and tyrannical" 27-year prison sentence he was issued in Tehran along with his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison. 01/31/18

President Rohani Says Iranian Leaders Must Listen To The People - President Hassan Rohani has said that the Iranian people continue to support the clerical establishment despite foreign pressure but insisted that the country's leaders must listen to protesters behind a recent wave of unrest. Rohani made the comments on January 31, hours after President Donald Trump said the United States stands with the people of Iran against the country's "corrupt dictatorship." 01/31/18

Uncovered 'Girl From Enghelab Street' Picks Up Steam In Iran - Iranians appear to have taken inspiration from a woman who landed in jail late last month for a peaceful protest against Iran's strict Islamic dress code, echoing frustration at official restrictions on women's appearance in public. At least three more women ditched their head scarves again on January 30, more than a month after 31-year-old Vida Movahedi's daring but silent plea for greater freedom for tens of millions of women in Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari 01/31/18

Life in the mountains: Skiing in Iran - Iran has long been an international destination for avid powder chasers during winter, while - in total contrast - its arid and semi-arid climate reaches sweltering levels in summer. Maybe not the first that comes to mind, snow-capped mountains above Tehran are home to some of the world's best ski resorts where powder hounds can enjoy famous Iranian hospitality. 01/31/18

300 Iranian Women's Rights Advocates Voice Support For Protests, Demand Equality - More than 300 Iranian women's rights' activists have expressed support for the recent anti-government protests in Iran and demanded an end to state policies that discourage women from entering the workforce. "As campaigners against discrimination and advocates of equality, we feel it is our duty to be part of this multi-layered movement and be present in the streets and other public spaces to demand our rights," said a statement published on January 11, 2018, signed by prominent human rights defenders including Shirin Ebadi and Parastou Forouhar. 01/30/18

Europe, Don't Go All Wobbly On The JCPOA! - It looks as though Britain, France, and Germany have decided to appease President Donald Trump to discourage him from withdrawing the United States from the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). "After meeting with British Prime Minister Theresa May... and Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said they had agreed to set up a working group of experts on fixing flaws in the landmark 2015 agreement that President Trump has warned he will walk away from this spring unless adjustments are made to his liking." -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 01/29/18

A New Film on Ancient Persia: "Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture" - World Premiere of the film "Taq Kasra: Wonder of Architecture" will take place at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London on 1 February 2018. The film - which is the first-ever documentary on this iconic monument - is directed by Pejman Akbarzadeh, based in the Netherlands. 01/25/18

Time To Rethink Iran's Strategy - Let's get real for a moment: How would a peaceful Middle East and a less confrontational Iran serve Israel's purpose and, by extension, these days that of the Saud clan and, by default, the presumed interest of the Unites States; who are we kidding? America's default position in Middle East affairs, now even more so than before under the leadership of a clueless leader, has been to follow the Zionist's moneys and political influence rather than what might truly be America's own legitimate and realistic interests. -Kambiz Zarrabi 01/20/18

The Iran Protests, Regime Change, And MEK - When protests broke out in Iran at the end of 2017, most countries maintained a hands-off approach. After all, these countries maintain diplomatic and trade relations with the Iranian government. Even some influential U.S. observers recommended caution. Former Secretary of State John Kerry, for instance, tweeted: "With humility about how little we know about what's happening inside Iran, this much is clear: it's an Iranian moment and not anyone else's. But the rights of people to protest peacefully and voice their aspirations are universal and governments everywhere should respect that." -Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh 01/17/18

Killing The Iran Nuclear Agreement With A Thousand Cuts - Don't be either fooled or relieved by President Trump's waiving, for now, of nuclear sanctions on Iran, and thus his forgoing of an explicit withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. Trump still is determined to destroy the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), though not necessarily in the way he threatens, or in a way some have feared. He is set on destroying the JCPOA partly because of the same guiding principle, if it can be called that, steering so much of his presidency, which is to tear down any significant accomplishment of his predecessor... -Paul Pillar 01/14/18

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last updated on Mon Feb 19 12:24:48 -05 2018