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April 19 2018
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Iranians: Surge in Foreign Drug Prices Causing Hardship

- Iranians say prices of foreign pharmaceuticals have surged in recent weeks because of the strengthening U.S. dollar, causing hardship for the sick and inciting anger toward people seen as profiting from the situation. In Tuesday's edition of VOA Persian's Straight Talk call-in show, callers from inside Iran accused the government of failing to deal with the problem. -Michael Lipin, VOA 4/18/18

Philanthropist Bita Daryabari Receives Honorary Doctorate And Delivers Golden Gate University Commencement Address On April 27, 2018

- Award-winning philanthropist and humanitarian Bita Daryabari has been selected as the 2018 recipient of an Honorary Doctorate in Human Letters from her alma mater, Golden Gate University (GGU), where she will also deliver the commencement address on Friday, April 27, 2018. 4/18/18

Iranian Pakshoo Brand Wins New York Festival Award

- An Iranian company has outperformed global brands, winning silver and bronze World Medals at an internationally recognized festival for corporate film production, the first in Iran's advertising industry. Pakshoo industrial Group was awarded the Corporate Image Film and Writing distinctions for its Your Story Is Our Story film on April 10 at the 2018 New York Festivals World's Best TV & Films competition. 4/18/18

Iran expects delivery of 14 ATR, Airbus and Boeing aircraft this year

- Iran should receive 14 new passenger aircraft this year under agreements signed with Airbus, Boeing and ATR planemakers, a government official has said. Tehran has ordered more than 200 planes since US-led sanctions against the country were lifted in 2016 under a nuclear agreement but US President Donald Trump's threat to rip up the deal next month has raised doubts about deliveries. 4/18/18

Environmentalist Resigns From Official Post And Leaves Iran Amid Smear Campaign

- A prominent Iranian scientist and deputy head of the Islamic Republic's Department of Environment has apparently resigned from his post while abroad after being detained in connection with allegations of espionage against other environmentalists. 4/18/18

Senior Iranian Official: Telegram App Could Be Blocked "At Any Moment"

- On the same day the secretary of Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council told a radio program that the widely used Telegram app could be blocked "at any moment," the Education Ministry banned the app on campuses nationwide. 4/18/18

Farnam Jahanian Named President of Carnegie Mellon University

- Farnam Jahanian, the nationally recognized computer scientist, successful entrepreneur, senior public servant and respected leader in higher education, has been appointed as the 10th president of Carnegie Mellon University. The appointment is effective immediately, with a formal inauguration scheduled for fall 2018. 4/18/18

Iranian Rights NGO Approved For U.N Council

- The United Nations has approved the accreditation of a U.S. based NGO focusing on human rights issues in Iran. The Economic and Social Council of the U.N granted accreditation to the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center with a vote of 22-7. Belarus, China, Russia, South Africa, Venezuela, Vietnam and Iran voted against. 4/18/18

Five Remarkable Things About Azerbaijan's Unremarkable Election

- Statistical Wonders. For starters, the vote tabulation results will challenge anything you thought you knew about probability theory. For example, one of Aliyev's rivals, Araz Alizadeh, appears to have received exactly two votes in each and every one of the 35 polling stations in one electoral district in the north-western exclave Nakhchivan. -Giorgi Lomsadze, LobeLog 4/18/18

Israel hints it could hit Iran's 'air force' in Syria

- Israel released details on Tuesday about what it described as an Iranian "air force" deployed in neighboring Syria, including civilian planes suspected of transferring arms, a signal that these could be attacked should tensions with Tehran escalate 4/18/18

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First Ever Release of 1978 Farah Choir Recording - After 40 years, a never-before-heard recording of the Farah Choir, which was supported by the former queen of Persia Farah Diba (Pahlavi), has been released in Europe. The release of the recording, which contains seven Persian folk songs, was planned for 1978, but was halted due to the Islamic Revolution. 4/17/18

EU Stops Short Of Imposing Additional Sanctions On Iran - Meeting in Luxembourg, EU foreign ministers strongly defended the 2015 nuclear deal between Tehran and world powers and declined to impose new sanctions against Iran over its role in the Syrian conflict. "There is no consensus at the moment on the fact that these measures would be useful in this moment or appropriate in this moment," EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini said after the April 16 meeting. -RFE/RL 4/17/18

Iran's Foreign Currency Markets In Chaos Despite Central Bank Intervention - One week after the Rouhani administration announced the government-imposed rate of 42,000 rials against every US dollar, chaos and ambiguity in Iran's foreign exchange market continue. In an attempt to control the free fall, the Rouhani administration announced an imposed rate of 42,000 rials to the U.S. dollar April 10, in addition to other protective measures. -Radio Farda 4/17/18

Iranian Education Minister Issues Stern Warning Against UN 2030 Agenda - Iran's minister of education has warned that any official or non-governmental organization (NGO) that uses educational guidelines from the banned 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development will be "firmly dealt with." 4/17/18

Penalty For Iran's Football Federation Head Over Israel Sports Row - The president of Iran's Football Federation, Mehdi Taj, has been summoned to court over his decision to allow a player to return to the national team after playing against Israeli athletes while under contract with a foreign club, local websites reported April 16. -Radio Farda 4/17/18

Start-up republic: can Iran's booming tech sector thrive? - It carries at least 1m passengers every day, has an 85 per cent share of its local market and people speculate about its billion-dollar unicorn potential. Yet most people outside of its home market will not have heard of Snapp. It does not operate out of Silicon Valley or a European capital, but Iran. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 4/17/18

Iranian forces foil attack on border watchtower in southeast, kill three terrorists - Iranian forces have thwarted an attempt by Pakistan-based terrorists to storm and seize a security watchtower in the country's southeastern border region, killing three terrorists in the operation. During the operation, two IRGC forces also lost their lives and two other were wounded when their vehicle hit a booby trap, the statement said, adding that an Iranian border guard was also killed in the abortive attack. -Press TV 4/17/18

Iran, Turkey open first LC in own currencies in blow to dollar - Iran and Turkey have opened their first letter of credit for business transactions in their national currencies as the two countries move to ditch the US dollar and the euro in bilateral trade. The first foreign exchange swap in the Iranian rial and Turkish lira came on Tuesday after months of anticipation, which followed an agreement signed last year to use local currencies in trade. -Press TV 4/17/18

Following Syria strikes, Rouhani calls for closer Iran-Russia ties - Iranian officials have condemned the latest strikes on Syria by Western powers, saying that Iran will continue to support the Syrian government and that the United States will not achieve its objectives, whatever they may be. -Al Monitor 4/17/18

Notorious Iranian Judge 'Disappears' Before Serving Sentence For Murder - Iranian Judiciary's Spokesperson Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei says the country's most notorious judge, former Tehran prosecutor and Press Court Judge Saeed Mortazavi, has vanished into thin air before going to jail as "accomplice in murder." President Hassan Rouhani's media adviser Hesamoddin Ashna warned on April 13 that Mortazavi might flee in order to evade justice. Meanwhile, social media users commenting on the development have questioned the Judiciary's authority and the regime's integrity. 4/16/18

Keeping Iran nuclear deal in place vital for EU: Foreign Policy Chief Mogherini - The European Union has reiterated its strong and unequivocal commitment to the full implementation of the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran by all sides, saying preserving the deal is vital. "The Europeans have always made it clear, the European Union has always made it clear that for us, keeping the agreement in place is vital. It is a strategic interest for the European Union and we will stick to it," EU foreign policy chief, Federica Mogheri, told reporters on Monday ahead of the bloc's Foreign Affairs Council meeting in Luxembourg. 4/16/18

Imprisoned Rights Defender Narges Mohammadi Gives Message of Hope and Strength in Accepting 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize - Prisoner of conscience Narges Mohammadi was unable to accept the 2018 Andrei Sakharov Prize in person in Columbus, Ohio where the American Physical Society (APS) awarded it to her but she sent a message of hope and strength in a powerful speech. 4/16/18

Iran Bans Sale Of Foreign Currencies At Exchange Bureaus - Iran's central bank has announced a ban on the sale of foreign currencies at exchange bureaus. Under new government guidelines, exchange bureaus no longer have the right to buy, sell, or transfer foreign currencies, and the central bank will no longer provide cash to the bureaus. 4/16/18

Iranian alternatives for Telegram messaging app in close-up - Iranian alternatives for Telegram messaging application are now on the table for Iranian users, who are encouraged by the government to replace their Telegram account with a domestic application. The replacement of Telegram, as the most popular messaging app in Iran, with Iranian messaging applications is being turned into a challenge on the national level. -Setareh Behroozi, Tehran Times 4/16/18

Iranian discus thrower Haddadi receives second gold at USSD Competitions - Iranian discus thrower and London 2012 Olympics silver medalist Ehsan Haddadi has maintained his perfect composure at the USSD competitions in the United States, and collected his second gold medal. The 33-year-old Iranian sportsman competed against Swedish athlete Daniel St�hl and Daniel Jasinski from Germany in Chula Vista city, located just 12 kilometers (7.5 miles) from downtown San Diego. 4/16/18

NIAC Sues Trump Administration for Failing to Provide Information on Backdoor Muslim Ban - National Iranian American Council v. United States Department of State will compel the Trump Administration to turn over requested documents which would provide vital information about how the 'extreme vetting' policy is being implemented, how information is being gathered through the DS-5535 form, and the impact that this policy is having on Iranian nationals, as well as nationals from the five other designated predominantly-Muslim countries. 4/16/18

The US is considering economic warfare with Iran - The problem for Iran is that the U.S. government is likely going to start taking on a more belligerent posture any day now. Moreover, some hawkish groups in Washington are calling for open economic warfare against Iran. National Security Adviser and infamous war-hawk John Bolton just started work this week. Mike Pompeo, another person eager to start a war with Iran, is hoping to soon be confirmed as Secretary of State. -Business Insider 4/16/18

Trump's Wag The Dog Strategy On Syria Helps No One -- Not Even Himself - After a few days of threatening tweets and tough guy rhetoric, Donald Trump went ahead and instructed the U.S. military to bomb Syria in response to a chemical weapons attack on civilians there that has been widely attributed to the Assad regime. -William Hartung, LobeLog 4/16/18

Water Shortage "Serious": Iran's Environment Chief - The country is facing a serious water shortage, said Isa Kalantari, the chief of the Department of Environment. Water should be at the center of all the national programs and plans, he said, adding that industrial and agricultural development should comply with the national Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) law, Mehr reported on Wednesday. 4/14/18

Iran captures crown at 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships - Young Iranian taekwondo practitioners have featured praiseworthy displays of spinning kicks and fast kicking techniques at the 2018 World Taekwondo Junior Championships in Tunisia, and won the tile at the conclusion of the prestigious international event. 4/14/18

Iran's Expediency Council Dragging Its Feet Over Fate of Religious Minority Candidates in Local Elections - Six months have passed and the Iranian government has still not resolved the dispute over the suspension of a Yazd City Council member, Sepanta Niknam, due to his Zoroastrian faith. "I think they want this issue to go away and be forgotten with the passage of time," said his uncle, Kourosh Niknam-himself a former Zoroastrian member of the Iranian Parliament-in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on April 5, 2018. 4/14/18

A Syria for All Its People -- Two Books on an Unnecessary War - On Friday night, the United States, France, and the United Kingdom launched strikes against military targets in Syria to punish Bashar al-Assad's regime for a suspected chemical attack near Damascus last weekend. The United States and its allies have been bombing Syria since 2014 as part of a military campaign against the Islamic State, but ... -Maryam Saleh, The Intercept 4/14/18

Cannes Festival To Feature Films By Dissident Iranian, Russian Directors - France's Cannes film festival has made a show of support for dissident directors in Iran and Russia in unveiling its selection of films to compete for the festival's Palme d'Or prize. Festival director Thierry Fremaux included films by Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who has been banned from leaving Iran, and Russian director Kirill Serebrennikov, who is under house arrest in Russia. 4/13/18

Angry Farmers Chant 'America Is Not The Enemy - The Enemy Is Right Here' - Reports received from Iran on social media say angry farmers again launched protests in Isfahan, central Iran on Friday, against "mismanagement of water resources". Hundreds of farmers from eastern parts of the province stormed the provincial capital, among them many women, chanting, "America is not our enemy, our enemy is right here". -Radio Farda 4/13/18

Teachers' Rights Advocate Writes Scathing Letter From Prison on Revolutionary Iran's Failed Promises - Prominent teachers' rights advocate Esmail Abdi has written a letter from Evin Prison strongly criticizing Iranian officials' for their failure to uphold the promises of the country's 1979 revolution. Noting that he will begin a hunger strike on April 18, 2018, Abdi also blasted the Iranian Judiciary's "arbitrary and illegal rulings" and "widespread violation of the rights of teachers and workers in Iran." 4/13/18

String 'Em Up: Iranian Cleric Wants Money Changers Executed Amid Currency Crisis - A senior hard-line Iranian cleric has called for the execution of "several key money changers" to help end the country's currency crisis. Iran's rial hit a record low earlier this week, losing 35 percent of its value against the dollar amid fears of U.S. actions that could cripple Iran's economy. 4/13/18

European Official Sees Progress on Trump's Iran Deal Concerns - Senior British, French and German officials believe they are making headway toward an agreement that would address U.S. President Donald Trump's concerns about the Iran nuclear deal, a European diplomat said on Thursday. -Reuters 4/13/18

Iranian banking reforms gain steam after long delay - The arduous path to independence in monetary decision-making from the government that many central banks have gone through remains the road not taken for Iran. But the new Iranian year, which began March 21, holds promise to prove the turning point bestowing the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) with its long overdue independence while also having the potential to yank the banking system out of its current state of limbo. -Maziar Motamedi, Al Monitor 4/13/18

The Iranian American Women Foundation Launches New Los Angeles Chapter and Presents 16th IAWF Women's Leadership Conference on April 29, 2018, in Los Angeles - The Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF)-the only non-profit organization providing networking and mentorship services to women of Iranian descent across all professional industries-launches its Los Angeles Chapter and also presents the 16th IAWF Women's Leadership Conference in Los Angeles on April 29, 2018. Azita Raji, the first female U.S. ambassador to Sweden, and the first Iranian-born American to serve as a U.S. ambassador, will keynote the event. 4/12/18

U.S. Treasury Secretary Warns Of 'Very Strong' Sanctions On Iran - U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin has signaled that the United States may impose "very strong" sanctions on Iran as President Donald Trump seeks to address what he called the "disastrous flaws" in the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. -RFE/RL 4/12/18

Italian Football Team's Persian Twitter Account a Hit after Iran Censors Crest - An Iranian state TV network's unusual decision to censor the crest of Italian football club AS Roma has helped the club attract a big following of Iranian fans to its new Persian Twitter account. -Michael Lipin, VOA 4/12/18

Iranian movies line up for Atlanta Film Festival - Six movies from Iranian filmmakers will be competing in the 42nd Annual Atlanta Film Festival in the United States. "Disappearance" directed by Ali Asgari will be screened in the Narrative Features section, while five other films will compete in the shorts section. 4/12/18

Iranian messaging apps reportedly removed from Apple's App Store - Two Iranian messaging applications have been reportedly removed from the Apple's iOS App Store from Monday, according to local media. However, Apple Inc. has not yet issued any statement about removing the messaging apps Soroush and Baleh. 4/12/18

Exhibition: No Man's Land - works by darvish - Asia House is to host an exhibition comprising of film, painting and drawings by the Iranian-American artist, darvish. The exhibition will explore a notion of internal and external explorations of space, and pays homage to the Iranian farmer Darvish Khan Esfandiarpour (coincidentally sharing the same first name as the artist). 4/12/18

IRAN: Supreme Leader Rejects 'Western Influence' Of UNESCO Education Goals - Speaking to a group of teachers and education specialists April 7, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vehemently denounced UNESCO's Education 2030 goals, which include gender equality in education. 4/12/18

Iran to switch to Euro as official reporting currency - Iran has unveiled a plan to switch from the US dollar to Euro as its official reporting foreign currency in an effort which could be meant to reign in the rate of the greenback that hit multiple records against the Rial earlier this week. Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), was reported to have said the plan would be implemented immediately after the approval of the government. 4/11/18

IRAN: Supreme Leader Uses Fatwa to Silence Widespread Distrust of Domestic Apps - Following a recent flurry of public criticism of domestically made messaging apps, Iran's supreme leader has issued a fatwa calling on the government and the Judiciary to protect citizens' personal privacy rights. "Violating the people's security and domestic space is religiously haram [forbidden] and should not take place," said Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a meeting with state officials on April 9, 2018. 4/11/18

American director Oliver Stone to attend Iran's Fajr Film Festival - Oscar-winning American filmmaker Oliver Stone will be attending the 36th Fajr International Film Festival, the secretary of the festival, Reza Mirkarimi, announced in a press conference on Wednesday. The Fajr festival will be running in Tehran from April 19 to 27. 4/11/18

Iranian Political Prisoner Urges "Contentious People" To Be the Voice of His Imprisoned Wife - Imprisoned civil rights activist Arash Sadeghi has urged "all contentious people" to call for the release of his ailing wife, Golrokh Iraee Ebrahimi, who according to informed sources is suffering serious health problems due to a two-month-long hunger strike. 4/11/18

26 Million Iranians Suffer Absolute Poverty, Says Prominent Economist - A prominent Iranian economist says 33 percent of the country's population live in absolute poverty, and six percent are starving. A family of four living in an urban area with a monthly income below forty million rials (roughly $1000) is living in poverty, Hossein Raghfar told state-run Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) April 7. 4/11/18

Armenia, Azerbaijan Compete For Iranian Cargo - On its heavily fortified border with the Islamic Republic of Iran, Armenia is developing a new strategy to overcome decades of economic isolation. But a bit to the east, on its own border with Iran, Azerbaijan is endeavoring to thwart Yerevan's plans. -Bradley Jardine, LobeLog 4/11/18

How a Remote Iranian Port Could Heighten China-India Tensions - A remote Iranian port could be the next trigger for geopolitical tensions between rivals China and India. India has pledged more than $500 million to develop the strategically located port of Chabahar -- roughly 1,800 kilometers (1,110 miles) from the capital Tehran -- since it first expressed interest in 2003. Yet repeated delays have prompted Iran to turn to China in the hope of speeding up construction. -Bloomberg 4/11/18

Iran Tries To Unify Exchange Rates To Halt Currency Decline - Iranian authorities have vowed to enforce a single exchange rate to the U.S. dollar in a bid to stop a slide that has seen Iran's rial currency fall by more than one-third in seven months. The move came after the rial slid to 60,000 rials against the dollar on the unregulated market on April 9, according to media reports. The U.S. currency stood at 36,000 rials in mid-September. 4/10/18

Blackouts On The Way, Warns Iran's Energy Minister - Power outages are inevitable next summer across Iran, the country's energy minister has warned. "Since the volume of water behind the dams is significantly lower than usual, if residents do not decrease electricity consumption, power cuts will be inevitable across the country," Energy Minister Reza Ardakanian announced on April 8. 4/10/18

Rouhani Admin Facing Backlash Over Plan to Give 100 Vetted Iranian Journalists Uncensored Internet Access - Iranian journalists and editors working for various news publications in Iran have strongly criticized the government's decision to grant what has been described as uncensored internet access exclusively to 100 "approved" members of their profession. 4/10/18

Stop Dam Building And Water Transfer Projects: Iranian Environmentalists - A group of environmentalists have issued a statement, urging all dam building and water transfer projects around Zayanderud, Karun and Dez rivers to be halted in a bid to deal with the severe drought conditions that have affected western part of the country. 4/10/18

Tehran Mayor Resigns Again After Prosecutor's Open Threat - Tehran's Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi has once again resigned a few hours after Prosecutor-General Mohammad Jafar Montazeri threatened him to step down. Montazeri on April 9 called the city council's rejection of Najafi's first resignation "political" and told the Mayor to resign again. Montazeri's statement "Resign and you won't be prosecuted," is one of the most blatant interventions by a judiciary official in this matter. Referring to Montazeri's remark, Council member Zahar Sadrazam Nouri said, "Now pressures are being exerted on the mayor openly." 4/10/18

Rasoul Khadem returns to Iran Wrestling Federation - Rasoul Khadem, who had announced his retirement as the president of Iran Wrestling Federation, has returned to the federation after two months. Khadem had resigned after saying authorities should reconsider their policy of not allowing Iranian athletes to compete against Israelis. 4/10/18

Noam Chomsky And Other Thought Leaders Push Back On Shirin Ebadi - For most Iranians who are tired of hearing the American neocon drums of war beat against Iran over and over again, right through the Bush, Obama and Trump eras, it is hard to know what to make of a recent interview that took place between Iran's Nobel Peace Prize-winning human rights lawyer Shirin Ebadi and Bloomberg's notorious anti-Iranian hawk Eli Lake. -Darius Shahtahmasebi, Iranian 4/10/18

Sudden Rise Of Dollar In Iran Stops Currency Trading On Free Market - Iran's currency took another big hit, falling between 6-9 percent on Sunday, extending a slide to a new record low on continued concerns over a return of crippling sanctions if U.S. President Donald Trump carries out his threat to exit a nuclear deal with Tehran. The U.S. dollar jumped to as much as 58,000 rials on the open market in the capital Tehran, according to some reports. -Radio Farda 4/9/18

Deutsche Grammophon releases Persian Compositions for Cello and Piano - The German Classical Music Records Lable Deutsche Grammophon has released Kian Soltani's debut album which contains works by Schubert, Schumann and Persian composer Reza Vali. The young Persian-Austrian cellist Kian Soltani was born in 1992 in Bregenz. His parents Khosro Soltani and Farzaneh Navai used to work with Tehran Symphony Orchestra for a while and shortly after the Islamic Revolution in Persia moved to Austria. 4/9/18

FOOTBALL: Persepolis wins Iran's Persian Gulf Pro League title race - Iran's professional soccer club Persepolis has claimed the championship of Iran's Persian Gulf Pro League, formerly known as Iran Pro League (IPL), for the second consecutive year following a victory over Padideh Football Club. 4/9/18

Preview Screening Of Two Feature Films 'Man' & 'Three Worlds' By Amir Motlagh At Chicago Filmmakers - LA based, award winning Iranian-American filmmaker Amir Motlagh along with producing partner and Chicago based filmmaker Charles Borg are set to preview two new feature films - MAN, Three Worlds in a double feature screening hosted by Chicago Filmmakers on April 21st, 2018 at 6 PM in Chicago, IL. 4/9/18

Iran celebrates Nuclear Day with warning to Trump - Iran celebrated its National Nuclear Technology Day, with President Hassan Rouhani warning US President Donald Trump against a possible pullout from the nuclear deal with the Islamic Republic. "If the deal breaks, they will surely regret it. They will witness the fallout in less than a week," Rouhani said on Monday during a special ceremony held in commemoration of the occasion. 4/9/18

Inaccessible Louvre Exhibit Highlights Ongoing Challenges For Persons Living With Disabilities in Iran - A popular exhibition by the Louvre Museum in Paris at the National Museum of Iran has come under criticism because it is inaccessible to people living with disabilities. From March 2018 until June, works of art from the Louvre will be displayed in Tehran to mark the 80th anniversary of the Iranian museum. 4/9/18

Freestyle Wrestling World Cup Opens In U.S. Without Russia, Iran - The 2018 World Cup of freestyle wrestling opened on April 7 in the U.S. state of Iowa without Russia and Iran, two traditionally strong teams in the sport. Iran, the six-time defending champ, pulled out in March without citing a reason, although many tied it to the resignation of the Iranian federation president, Rasoul Khadem, over issues related to the country's state policy of refusing to compete against Israeli competition. 4/9/18

Only 2% of devices affected by recent cyberattack: Iranian IT Minister - "Only two percent of devices in Iran were affected by the recent cyberattack and the attack was neutralized in two hours," Iran's Communication and Information Technology Minister Mohammad-Javad Azari Jahromi has said. Following an attack which was detected late on Friday, a flaw in Cisco switches allowed hackers to target critical infrastructure in many countries with cyberattack, including Iran. 4/9/18

Tehran Mayor's Resignation Rejected As Council Members Cry Foul - The Tehran City Council rejected the resignation of Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi on April 8. There were four votes in favor of him stepping down and 16 against in the latest episode of the factional conflict over power and influence among regime insiders. Najafi announced he was resigning for health reasons, but some members of the all-reformist council have said he was bowing to political pressure. 4/9/18

13th RoboCup Iran Open to kick off in Tehran - The adult competitions for the 13th edition of RoboCup Iran Open kicked off on April 5 at Tehran International Exhibition Center, with participation of about 500 teams. According to the chairman of Iranian National RoboCup Committee, Morteza Mousakhani, 478 teams will participate in Iran Open, a competition domain designed to advance robotics and AI research through a friendly competition. 4/6/18

Russia, China Denounce U.S. Efforts To Change Iran Deal, World Trade Rules - The foreign ministers of Russia and China have jointly denounced what they described as efforts by the United States to unilaterally change negotiated treaties ranging from the Iran nuclear deal to the global-warming pact and world trade rules. 4/6/18

Iran's Non-Oil Export Revenue $6 Billion Less Than Projected - Chairman of Iran's Trade Promotion Organization Mojtaba Khosrowtaj says Iran's non-oil export between March 2017 and March 2018 has had a growth of 6.5 percent compared to previous year, but still non-oil export revenues lag behind the projected figure by $6 billion, reported official news agency IRNA on April 4. The annual non-oil export revenue was projected at $53 billion, but Iran has realized only around $47 billion, the report said. 4/6/18

Photos: Bachukheh wrestling competition in Esfarayen, Iran - The Bachukheh traditional wrestling competition was held in Esfarayen in Iran's North Khorasan province on Tuesday. The competition brought 230 wrestlers at the 'Zeinal Khan Spring'. Bachukheh is a traditional wrestling sport with its own championship games. This is one of the most important local wrestling matches in Iran with Greater Khorasan as its birthplace. The Bachukheh wrestling field is usually covered with red clay. 4/6/18

Germany's Merkel Set To Visit U.S. As Trump's Iran Deadline Nears - German Chancellor Angela Merkel will travel to the United States to meet with President Donald Trump in the coming weeks, the White House says. The meetings would come shortly before a May 12 deadline that Trump has set for adjustments to the 2015 nuclear deal signed by the United States and other world powers with Iran. Germany, France, and other signatories have urged the United States to remain in the pact. 4/6/18

Iranian-American Woman Nazak Nikakhtar Becomes U.S. Assistant Commerce Secretary - An Iranian-American lawyer on Tuesday sworn in as U.S. assistant secretary of commerce for industry and analysis affairs. On March 19, the U.S. Senate agreed to appoint Nazak Nikakhtar as the assistant secretary of commerce for industry and analysis affairs. 4/5/18

Ankara Hosts Iran, Russia Leaders as Cooperation Deepens to End Syria Conflict - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan hosted his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Ankara Wednesday for a second trilateral summit, part of ongoing efforts to end the Syrian civil war. -Dorian Jones, VOA 4/5/18

'Everybody Knows' by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi to open Cannes 2018 - The Spanish-language psychological thriller, written and directed by Farhadi, stars the Oscar-winning Penelope Cruz as a mother (Carolina) who travels with her family from Buenos Aires back to her small hometown outside Madrid, Spain, for a celebration. The family's trip is plagued by unexpected events that threaten to tear the loved ones apart. The film also stars Javier Bardem as Carolina's husband. 4/5/18

As Tehran Mayor Insists On Resignation, Many Attribute It To Political Pressure - Tehran mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi has tendered his resignation claiming poor health, but many say it is the result of political pressure by Iran's conservatives. Despite calls from city council members to rescind his resignation, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi is resolved to leave his post for medical reasons, city Budget Committee Chairman Majid Farahani announced April 3. 4/5/18

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: April 28, 2018 - May 19, 2018 - The power of the moving image to connect people across cultural, political and national differences has been embodied nowhere more profoundly over the last several decades than in the humanism, artistry and courage of Iranian filmmakers. UCLA Film & Television Archive has been presenting the best of their work in this annual survey for almost 30 years and it does so again this year with a renewed sense of purpose. 4/5/18

Policy Recommendations for US-Iran Relations in the Trump Era - Allies for most of the 20th century, the United States and Iran were radically divided after the 1979 Iranian Revolution that overthrew Mohammad Reza Shah and replaced him with a theocratic government. Throughout the last 38 years, U.S. policy toward Iran has fluctuated between open animosity and cautious mistrust. -Shiva Darian, Gabriela Billini, and Nicolas Pedreira, AIC 4/5/18

Russia to invest $50 billion in Iran oil, gas: Official - Russian investment in developing Iran's oil and gas fields could total more than $50 billion, presidential aide Yuri Ushakov has said. "Energy is the most promising sphere for cooperation between Russia and Iran. Leading Russian oil and gas companies such as Gazprom, Gazprom Neft, Rosneft, Lukoil, Zarubezhneft and Tatneft are systemically working on development of fields in Iran. The expected amount of investments is over $50 billion," he told reporters in Moscow Monday. 4/5/18

Dervish Protester Convicted Of Running Over And Killing Police Officers By Bus Sentenced To Death - A man accused of driving a bus into a group of security forces in Tehran and killing three of them has been sentenced to "death by retribution." Mohamad Salas, a dervish of the Gonabadi order, was convicted of driving a bus into a group of police and plainclothesmen in the heat of bloody clashes between security forces and Gonabadi dervishes February 19. 4/5/18

The Dolls Of Militarism - Donald Trump's continual cabinet reshuffling - otherwise the stuff of reality-TV drama - has become genuinely frightening. In just the last few weeks, President Trump has fired his secretary of state and national security adviser, while nominating two fanatical replacements: CIA Director Mike Pompeo and former U.N. Ambassador John Bolton. The "old" team, Rex Tillerson and Lieutenant General H.R. McMaster, were flawed choices from the start, but Pompeo and Bolton seem like an instant formula for a war -- or two or three of them. -Danny Sjursen, LobeLog 4/5/18

Sacred fire alive for 1,550 years at Iranian Zoroastrian temple - Iran's central city of Yazd is home to one of the fire temples most sacred to Zoroastrians worldwide with a flame that has been burning for nearly 1,550 years. The Yazd temple is one of the world's nine Zoroastrian fire temples which hold the sacred Atash Behram, meaning Fire of Victory. 4/4/18

How an Oklahoman is scoring goals in Iran - Teenage Iranian girls, in conservative soccer uniforms, screamed for joy and chanted, "Iran! Iran!" The video of the country's under-19 national team was posted in an Instagram story March 21 by Iranian-American coach Katayoun "Kat" Khosrowyar, after Iran beat Romania 2-1 at the 2018 Kuban Spring Tournament. -Holly Dagres, Al Monitor 4/4/18

Iran's Categorization of Autism As a "Special Disease" Is a Double-Edged Sword for Persons With Disabilities - The Iranian Parliament's recognition of autism as a "special disease" will have positive and negative consequences for persons living with the disability in Iran according to an Iranian disability rights advocate. 4/4/18

Workers Demanding Overdue Wages Detained In Iran - The Islamic Republic's security forces have reportedly arrested several workers on Saturday, March 31, at Haft Tapeh Sugar Cane Mill in city of Ahvaz, capital of oil-rich Khuzestan province, southwestern Iran. Earlier on Thursday, five other workers were also detained. 4/4/18

US-China trade war a boon to Iran's pistachio exports - A trade war between the US and China might be an unlikely boon to Iran's pistachio exports which have resurged following the lifting of sanctions on Tehran. China has announced retaliatory tariffs of between 15 and 25 percent on some imports from the US, including nuts, in response to steep duties on some Chinese goods announced by the Trump administration. 4/4/18

Iranians mark Nature's Day as Norooz holidays end - People across Iran are celebrating Sizdah Bedar, the ancient festival of nature, on the last day of Norooz holidays, with many leaving their houses and spending time outdoors in the fresh spring air before getting back to work and their regular routine after the holidays. 4/2/18

Iranian-American Organizations File Amicus Brief In Supreme Court Travel Ban Case - PARS Equality Center, The Iranian American Bar Association (IABA), and the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) have filed an amicus ('friend of the court") brief with the United States Supreme Court in support of the challenge to the Trump administration's third travel ban. 03/31/18

Dance, Exhibition, Music, Visual art in New York: ON LOVE: The Art of Lines, Shapes & Symbols - Four extraordinary artists with roots around the world will create large-scale calligraphic paintings on the windows of the Winter Garden around the poetic theme of love. Artists from Iran, Japan, India and the United States will use words, letters, shapes and symbols from their respective languages and alphabets to explore the linguistic and artistic connections to calligraphy. Over two weeks the artists will produce a magnificent temporary art installation which the public can watch as it's being crafted. 03/31/18

Iranian Receives U.S. Visa To Help Brother With Cancer - An Iranian man has been allowed to travel to the United States to donate bone marrow to his U.S. citizen brother with blood cancer, the family's lawyer says. Kamiar Hashemi was granted a visa by the U.S. State Department, obtaining a rare waiver to President Donald Trump's travel ban, Mahsa Khanbabai said on March 29. -Radio Farda 03/30/18

Even If US Doesn't Exit Iran Nuclear Deal, Risk Of War Remains - When the United States, China, Russia, Britain, France, and Germany signed a deal that effectively prevents Iran from developing nuclear weapons, those in Iran and in other signatory states who did not want to see another war erupt in the Middle East sighed with relief. This sense of relief was short-lived. When Donald Trump became president, anxieties about a potential war with Iran reemerged.-Shireen T. Hunter 03/29/18

Iran Nuclear Agreement: Listen To Voices Of Experience - Donald Trump appears poised to make one of the most damaging moves yet of his presidency: to pull out of the multilateral agreement known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), which severely restricts Iran's nuclear program and closes all pathways to a possible Iranian nuclear weapon. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 03/28/18

Keep The Iran Deal: 10 Good Reasons - President Trump should maintain the U.S. commitment to the Iran nuclear deal. Doing so will bring substantial benefits and strengthen America's hand in dealing with North Korea, as well as Iran, and help maintain the reliability of America's word and influence as a world leader. Ditching it would serve no national security purpose. -by National Coalition to Prevent an Iranian Nuclear Weapon 03/27/18

Here's John Bolton Promising Regime Change in Iran by the End of 2018 - AMONG THOSE MOST alarmed by President Donald Trump's selection of John Bolton as his new national security adviser on Thursday were supporters of the Iran nuclear deal, the 2015 international agreement that curbed Iran's nuclear program in exchange for a partial lifting of economic sanctions. -Robert Mackey, The Intercept 03/25/18

Iran beach volleyball team placed second in 2018 FIVB World Tour - The national Iranian men's beach volleyball team has finished as the runner-up at the end of the Muscat one-star men's event on the 2018 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) Beach Volleyball World Tour, following a defeat against Germany. 03/18/18

Pentagon Voices Support For Iran Nuclear Deal Amid Tillerson Exit - A top U.S. military commander expressed the Pentagon's continued support for Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, hours after the announced departure of U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, a top defender of the deal in the U.S. administration. U.S. Central Command chief General Joseph Votel told the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 13 that he shares the views of Defense Secretary Jim Mattis and Joint Chiefs of Staff Chairman Joe Dunford that the deal is still in the best interests of the United States. 03/14/18

Louvre Museum Sponsors First Major Western Art Show In Tehran - More than 50 artworks from the Louvre museum in Paris arrived at the National Museum of Iran on March 5 in the first major show by a Western museum in Iran's history. The 40-day show reflects France's determination to use cultural diplomacy as it seeks to rebuild ties with Iran that have been strained recently by a dispute over Iran's ballistic-missile development. 03/6/18

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last updated on Wed Apr 18 11:24:35 EDT 2018