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March 23 2018
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With Bolton Pick, Trump is Assembling an Iran War Cabinet

- Trita Parsi, President of the National Iranian American Council, issued the following statement regarding the appointment of John Bolton as National Security Advisor: "Donald Trump may have just effectively declared war on Iran. With the appointment of John Bolton, and nomination of Mike Pompeo at State, Trump is clearly putting together a war cabinet. As the world awaits Trump's May 12 decision as to whether he will abandon the Iran nuclear deal, all of the signs now point to a decision to move to war footing. 03/23/18

Iranian American Groups Urge Trump Admin to Investigate "Targeting" of Civil Servant Sahar Nowrouzzadeh

- Seven Iranian American organizations including the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) have called on the Trump administration to investigate credible allegations that career government employee Sahar Nowrouzzadeh was demoted from a top advisory position because "high level officials at the White House and State Department worked with a network of conservative activists to conduct a 'cleaning' of employees" including Nowrouzzadeh. 03/23/18

The Iran Deal Is Dead, Long Live The Iran Deal

- With the news that John Bolton will be Trump's new national security advisor, the death of the Iran Deal is all but assured. Bolton has vocally advocated for war with Iran, which he sees not as an option of last resort but as the only appropriate course of action. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog 03/23/18

Sixth Iranian Baha'i Faith Leader Completes 10-Year Prison Sentence

- Mr. Vahid Tizfahm completed his 10-year sentence yesterday. At 44, he is the youngest of the seven former Baha'i leaders in Iran who were unjustly imprisoned for their religious beliefs in 2008. Mr. Tizfahm is the sixth of the former group, known as the Yaran, to complete his sentence and be released. The Yaran was an ad-hoc group which tended to the basic spiritual and material needs of the Iranian Baha'i community. It was formed with the full knowledge and approval of Iranian authorities after formal Baha'i institutions were declared illegal in Iran in the 1980s. 03/23/18

US Announces $1 Billion in Arms Sales to Saudi Arabia

- The State Department approved nearly $1 billion in new arms sales for Saudi Arabia as the kingdom's crown prince continued his American tour. Some critics of the kingdom have raised concerns about arms sales to Riyadh as its forces remain involved in Yemen's three-year civil war against Iranian-backed Houthi rebels. Critics have condemned Saudi Arabia for airstrikes that have killed thousands of civilians in Yemen. -VOA 03/23/18

N. Korea Experts Tear Into Bolton: 'He's Never Met A Country He Hasn't Wanted To Destroy'

- Trump announced Thursday that Bolton would replace his outgoing adviser, H.R. McMaster, early next month. Bolton is seen as one of the most controversial and dangerous figures in U.S. diplomacy and is a fierce war hawk who has long advocated for a preemptive military strike against North Korea and the dismantling of the Iran nuclear deal. -Huffington Post 03/23/18

U.S., Europeans Wary As They Discuss Creating Iran Nuclear Side Deal

- The United States has had "constructive" talks with France, Britain, and Germany about creating a side agreement to the Iran nuclear deal but is making contingency plans should the effort fail, the lead U.S. negotiator has said. "We have had constructive talks with the Europeans towards a supplemental agreement, but I can't predict whether we will reach an agreement with them or not," Brian Hook, a U.S. State Department policy director and lead U.S. negotiator, told reporters on March 21. 03/22/18

Crossroads: New play written and directed by Bahram Beyzaie

- Approximately year eighty of the Persian calendar. In a busy crossroads of Tehran, a woman and a man run into one another, torn apart by the events of the last fifteen years! March 23rd-April 1st at Stanford University 03/22/18

The Untold Story of John Bolton's Campaign for War With Iran

- But the strong likelihood that Donald Trump will now choose John Bolton as his next national security advisor creates a prospect of war with Iran that is very real. Bolton is no ordinary neoconservative hawk. He has been obsessed for many years with going to war against the Islamic Republic, calling repeatedly for bombing Iran in his regular appearances on Fox News, without the slightest indication that he understands the consequences of such a policy. -Gareth Porter, American Conservative 03/22/18

Report: Famed Iranian philosopher Shayegan dies at age 83

- Famed Iranian philosopher Dariush Shayegan, who challenged Western domination of philosophical thought and wrote the book "Cultural Schizophrenia" on the Muslim world and modernity, died on Thursday. He was 83. -Nasser Karimi, AP 03/22/18

Featured Video

Trailer - Crossroads by Bahram Beyzaie

How did Iranian cinema go global? - On Friday 16 March 2018, I had the distinct privilege of joining legendary Iranian filmmaker Amir Naderi and Dave Kehr, the curator at the Department of Film, on stage at Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) in New York to launch a magnificent retrospective of his work. -Hamid Dabashi, Al Jazeera 03/22/18

China's Silk Road fires up Iran's rail revolution - Iran's rail industry gets a fresh boost from China's dedication of $845 million to build a train line connecting Tehran to the western cities of Hamadan and Sanandaj. A Wednesday report said China National Machinery Industry Corp, known as Sinomach, signed a contract worth 5.35 billion yuan with Iran which is on a railway modernization and expansion drive. -Press TV 03/22/18

Yolo County in Sacramento, California proclaims Tuesday, March 20, 2018 as Iranian-American Day - WHEREAS, Iranian/Persian history dates back to 2,000 B.C. The people of Iran have celebrated Noruz, the New Year, on the first day of spring for 3,000 years; and WHEREAS, the Iranian people have a long tradition of tolerance and respect for human rights, including the establishment, in 550 8.C., of the earliest significant monarchy that contributed to the civilization of the world, under Cyrus the Great. Cyrus the Great freed the Jewish people from Babylonian oppression; and 03/21/18

Does The Road To Korean Denuclearization Run Through Tehran? - The March 15 edition of the Wall Street Journal carried an op-ed by Mark Dubowitz and Richard Goldberg that seeks to make trouble for Iran by exploiting President Donald Trump's decision to meet North Korea's supreme leader in May. Dubowitz and Goldberg have two aims. The first is to insinuate that Iran, like North Korea, wants to acquire nuclear weapons and intercontinental ballistic missiles (ICBMs). The second is... -Peter Jenkins 03/21/18

Trump Touts Arms Sales To Saudi Crown Prince, Discusses Iran - President Donald Trump has praised U.S. defense sales to Saudi Arabia at a meeting with Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman at the White House, where the two discussed simmering tensions with Iran. During the March 20 meeting, the powerful Saudi crown prince, who is likely to succeed King Salman, spoke with Trump about their perceived flaws with the Iran nuclear deal and countering Iran's involvement in Middle Eastern conflicts. 03/21/18

For the Persian new year, a menu full of memories - Iranians around the world are marking our new year this week. Nowruz means "new day" in our native language, and the ancient holiday's 13 days of celebration mark what we consider the most logical time to start the year: spring, the annual rebirth of nature. For me, this time is made rich from a lifetime of memories, as it is for most Iranians. New clothes are purchased. Families deep-clean their homes for weeks in advance; we do this because the days bring a constant parade of visits from friends and relatives. -Journal Gazette 03/21/18

Iran's President Rouhani opens 'strategic' rail line near Iraqi border - President Hassan Rouhani on Tuesday opened a new train line, linking a major city near the border with Iraq to the national railway network. The railway to Kermanshah in western Iran ended 27 years of anticipation for the mainly-Kurdish city to have an alternative transportation mode and for the project to be completed. 03/21/18

Chomsky On The Middle East - Noam Chomsky is a linguist and an outspoken critic of U.S. foreign policy. This interview took place on February 28 in his office at the University of Arizona's Department of Linguistics in Tucson, Arizona. -Fariba Pajooh, LobeLog 03/21/18

Iran And The Middle East - As Mike Pence said on March 13: "President Trump has called on the Congress and our European allies to enact real and lasting restraints on Iran's nuclear and ballistic missile ambitions... make no mistake about it: This is their last chance. Unless the Iran nuclear deal is fixed in the coming months, the United States of America will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal immediately." This is bullying language directed at close allies, inspired not by sober determination of US interests and capabilities, but by hatred of President Obama and disdain for the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty and its protocols. -Richard Dalton, LobeLog 03/21/18

Trump poses new threat to Iran's resurgent rug trade - As many as 80 countries received shipments of handmade Iranian carpets totaling $400 million in value in the Persian year which ended on Tuesday, head of Iran National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar told Fars news agency Wednesday. "More than $100 million worth of Iranian carpets were exported to the United States in the 11 months of 1396 while in the past years, those exports had reached zero as a result of sanctions and malicious policies of the United States," he said. 03/21/18

How Carlos Queiroz turned Iran into Asia's best World Cup hope - The former Manchester United coach eased the Iranians through qualification but they now want tangible finals success, something that has always eluded Team Melli -Guardian 03/21/18

Nowruz The Persian New Year at the spring vernal equinox in IRAN, Central/West Asia and in Diaspora is commemorated - The flower buds of yellow, violet, red and white crocuses of saffron bulbs, intermingled with the blossoming daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and the Persian violets, herald the arrival of Nowruz (Norooz). The Persian New Year, signaling the rebirth, rejuvenation and reconciliations, appropriately arrives on the spring vernal equinox. -Davood N. Rahni 03/20/18

EU plans no additional sanctions against Iran: Foreign Policy Chief - The European Union foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, says the bloc has no plans to impose more sanctions on Iran after reports emerged that European signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal have proposed fresh sanctions against Tehran under the pressure of Washington. 03/20/18

Trump Lambastes Iranian State, 'Hostile Army' IRGC In Norooz Greeting - U.S. President Donald Trump has used an annual message to Iranians and others celebrating Norooz, the Persian New Year, to sharply criticize Iran's government and the powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). 03/20/18

Iranian athletes, artists launch campaign to reduce road accidents during Norooz - A group of famous Iranian athletes and artists have initiated a campaign titled 'please_stay_alive' with the aim of cutting road accidents and fatalities. Many Iranians take a trip during the two-week Norooz (Persian New Year) holidays, starting on March 21, however, considerable number of accidents and fatalities in this period is recorded every year. 03/20/18

PHOTOS: Tehran adorned with giant colored eggs ahead of Persian New Year Norooz - To mark the beginning of the Persian New Year, also known as Norooz, visual artists have decorated Tehran with large colored eggs. The new year starts on Tuesday, March 20 this year. Norooz (literally "New Day") is the name of the Iranian New Year, also known as the Persian New Year, which is celebrated worldwide by the Iranians and Turkic peoples, along with some other ethno-linguistic groups, as the beginning of the New Year. 03/19/18

Iranian karate practitioners grab three silver medals at Karate 1 - Premier League Rotterdam 2018 - Iranian karate practitioners have exhibited great punching, knee strikes as well as open-hand techniques at the Karate 1 - Premier League Rotterdam 2018, and scooped three silver medals in the prestigious international tournament. 03/19/18

Iran's Conservatives Again Push To Block Telegram - Once more, conservatives in Iran are ramping up pressure on President Hassan Rouhani's government to block the messaging app Telegram. In an Op-Ed published on the website KhabarOnline, Hassan Firouzabadi, head of Iran's High Council for Cyberspace, wrote that it was not in Iran's interest to continue to allow access to Telegram inside the country. 03/19/18

Pompeo's Appointment Bodes Ill For The Middle East - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson's departure and his replacement--current CIA director Mike Pompeo--will not move the Middle East to a better place. Nor will the possible elevation of the current deputy director of the CIA Gina Haspel to the director of the Agency bring clarity to American policies and intentions in the region. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 03/19/18

Total says committed to its contract with Iran - French energy giant Total says it is fully committed to the development of an Iranian gas field, adding the firm will seek a waiver if the US decides to unilaterally pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. 03/19/18

U.S. Senator Says Trump Likely To Withdraw From Iran Deal - A senior U.S. senator says he believes President Donald Trump will pull out of the Iran nuclear deal in May. The comments by Bob Corker (Republican-Tennessee), the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, in a television interview broadcast March 18 came less than two months before Trump must decide whether to extend U.S. sanctions relief to Tehran under the landmark deal. 03/19/18

Iranians Do New Year's Better - Being an immigrant from Iran has never been a cakewalk. From the moment I landed in the United States as a 6-year-old in the late 1970s, I had to navigate a world where my "people" were the bad guys and I had to represent them on the playground. While Chinese-Americans had Bruce Lee and Italian-Americans had Rocky Balboa, I had Ayatollah Khomeini and the hostage crisis. -Maz Jobrani, New York Times 03/19/18

Another Bite Of The Apple? Tech Giant's App Store Goes Dark For Iranians - Iranians hungry for the latest in Western gadgetry got an abrupt shock on March 15 when they were unable to access a key distribution platform for Apple-friendly software. Famously tech-savvy through decades of government efforts to shield the citizenry from outside news and cultural influences, Iranians who tried to visit the App Store were greeted with the message: "The App Store is unavailable in the country or region you're in." Many users reported that the App Store was available again the next morning. 03/18/18

U.S. Negotiating 'Supplement' To Iran Nuclear Deal With European Allies - The United States and European powers are negotiating over a possible "supplemental" agreement to the Iran nuclear deal that would address Iran's ballistic-missile development and involvement in Middle East conflicts, a U.S. diplomat said. U.S. envoy Brian Hook said the allies had "very good" talks about a "supplemental" accord in Vienna on March 16 as Reuters reported that Britain, France, and Germany have proposed new European Union sanctions against Iran over its ballistic-missile program and its role in the Syrian civil war. 03/18/18

Iran stomps Sierra Leone 4-0 in pre-FIFA World Cup warm-up in Tehran - The Iran men's national football team, domestically known as Team Melli, has routed the Sierra Leone national football team in a friendly fixture as part of preparations for the 2018 Federation Internationale de Football Association (FIFA) World Cup. On Saturday evening, Team Melli thumped the Leone Stars 4-0 at the end of a match staged at Azadi Stadium in western Tehran. 03/18/18

Iran Arrests Close Ally Of Ex-President Ahmadinejad - Iranian authorities say they have detained a close ally of former hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, a former vice president and chief of staff of Ahmadinejad, was arrested on March 17, the website of Tehran's prosecutor said. It said Mashaei was arrested by police officers who were acting on the orders of the judiciary. o further details were provided. 03/18/18

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

How The New York Times Is Making War With Iran More Likely - IT'S NOT EASY to say which country America will fight in its next ill-advised war. Iran? Or, assuming President Donald Trump and Kim Jong-un don't hit it off at their summit, North Korea? Maybe even Venezuela or Russia? It's easier to say what one of the major causes of the war will be: the failure by many Americans -- notably politicians, journalists, think tankers, and other elites -- to employ a specific mental power that we're all capable of employing. -Robert Wright, The Intercept 03/18/18

Child's tears spark weightlifting protest that raises bar for Iran's sportswomen - "Weightlifting is more popular in Iran than in any other country," said Mohammad Barkhah, the national team's head coach. Only football is more popular and, as with football, the sport has historically been an overwhelmingly male domain - until now. Next month four teenagers are set to become the first female weightlifters to represent Iran - in a competition in Uzbekistan. The young women have the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo in their sights, and weightlifting has become an unlikely vehicle of female empowerment. -Brian Oliver, Guardian 03/18/18

Signatories to Iran nuclear deal meet in Vienna amid Trump's threat - Signatories to Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers have held a new round of their periodic meetings to review its implementation amid US threats to kill the multilateral accord. Representatives from Iran, the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany convened in the Austrian city of Vienna on Friday for a meeting of the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action Joint Commission, or JCPOA. 03/16/18

As Short-Term Solutions Fail, Iran's Currency Loses More Value - The exchange rate for the US dollar against the Iranian currency, tuman, rose to a record high on March 13 as attempts by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) during recent months to defend the local currency appear to have failed. One dollar was traded for 4,800 tumans in Tehran on Tuesday, showing yet another hype since its steep decline began 10 months ago. 03/16/18

Death of Man Accused of Filming Protests in Iran Marks Fifth Detainee Death in Two Months - The death in custody of a nursing student arrested for allegedly filming anti-state protests in the Iranian Province of Ilam marks the fifth known death of a detainee in Iran within the course of two months. Officials claimed Taleb Basati, 26, died of a stroke but his death certificate only says "head injury and trauma" according to a friend. As in the other four cases, the authorities have told the victim's family to not ask questions about their loved ones' cause of death and to avoid speaking to media outlets. 03/16/18

Chinese firm to fund Iran plane purchases - Iran's media say the country's national airline Iran Air has signed an agreement with a Chinese company to provide funding for the company's plane purchase campaigns - most notably those pursued with Airbus and Boeing. The Persian-language newspaper Iran reported that the agreement had been signed on Monday at Iran Air premises in Tehran, citing a statement by the country's Ministry of Roads and Urban Development. 03/16/18

Saudi Prince Says Kingdom Will Build Nuclear Weapons If Iran Does - Saudi Arabia's crown prince asserted on March 15 that the kingdom will develop nuclear weapons if Iran does, in a television interview immediately denounced by Tehran. Iran signed a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015 that prohibits it from developing nuclear weapons, and beyond that. Tehran has said it has no ambition to develop such weapons of mass destruction. However, U.S. President Donald Trump has threatened to pull out of the nuclear deal, and Tehran has said that, if the United States withdraws, it will no longer be bound by the deal. 03/16/18

Trump's And Pompeo's Path To Nuclear Crisis - The prospective replacement of Rex Tillerson with Mike Pompeo clears one of the last apparent hurdles between Donald Trump and his destruction of a significant diplomatic achievement that has been squarely in the interests of the United States, of nuclear nonproliferation, and of the containment of conflict in the Middle East. This is, of course, the multilateral agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear program, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 03/16/18

Railroad Project to Connect Iran With Turkey, Georgia, Azerbaijan - The foreign ministers of Azerbaijan, Georgia, Turkey and Iran held the first-ever quadrilateral meeting in Baku to discuss regional cooperation. At the center of the discussions was the construction of Rasht-Astara railroad, the 180-kilometer-long rail line that will connect the Iranian and Azerbaijani cities. The project is expected to be completed in three years. -Asgar Asgarov, VOA 03/16/18

In Loving Memory of My Father, Dr. Ali Asghar Khodadoust - Born in 1935 in Shiraz, son to Abdullah and Behjatosadat Khodadoust, Ali Asghar Khodadoust lived what can only be described as an extraordinary life defined by his passion, values, faith, and love of humanity. The breadth and depth of his legacy could not help but shine out past his humility, and he left this world better in as many ways as he could with each and every one of his days. He passed away in his 83rd year in New York. -Mojgan Khodadoust 03/16/18

U.S. Reports Major Drop In Encounters With Iranian Vessels In Persian Gulf - The Pentagon says the U.S. Navy has experienced a major, unexplained drop in close encounters with Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf since August. "They don't seem to be engaging in the same provocative behavior" seen in previous years, U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis told reporters on March 15 as he returned from a trip to the Middle East. 03/16/18

Evoking Sophia Loren In Iran - ... my ears perked up when I heard cleric Ahmad Alamolhoda-the hardline Friday Prayer Leader of the holy city of Mashhad, the seat of Imam Reza Shrine-mention Sophia Loren in his Friday speech. The occasion for remembering Loren was a Women's Day performance of Iranian folklore dance by eight and nine year olds in front of the mayor of Tehran. -Farideh Farhi 03/15/18

Iran Signs $4 Billion Oil Deal With Russian Firm - Iran has signed a $742 million deal with Russian state-owned energy firm Zarubezhneft to boost production at two oil fields in the country's west. Zarubezhneft and Dana Energy, a private Iranian company, will jointly develop the Aban and Paydar fields in Ilam province near the Iraqi border, to boost production from 36,000 to 48,000 barrels of oil per day. 03/15/18

Iran's Growing Water Shortage Protests Spur Accusations of Mismanagement - Escalating street protests by Iranians against water shortages in a rural part of central Iran have inspired more domestic criticism of the government's handling of the nation's water resources. Overseas-based human rights groups say the protests by farmers in Varzaneh in Isfahan province began last month and escalated into violent confrontations with security forces last week. -Michael Lipin and Mohammad Naficy, VOA 03/15/18

Men Detained at Women's Rights Rally in Iran Remain Behind Bars After Female Detainees Released - The women who were detained at a women's rights demonstration in front of the Iranian Labor Ministry in Tehran on March 8, 2018, have all been released but five male demonstrators remain behind bars. The last of the female detainees were freed from Gharchak Prison in the city of Varamin after posting bail on March 12, a source with knowledge about the cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 03/15/18

Pompeo: Springtime For Irano/Islamophobes - "Great news for the Republic!" tweeted Sebastian Gorka, on hearing the news that CIA Director Mike Pompeo is replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. Gorka, who was forced to resign from his position as a former deputy assistant to the President in major part due to his apparent membership in a Hungarian "knighthood" that collaborated with the Nazis in World War II, thinks quite highly indeed of the former Kansas congressman. -Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton, LobeLog 03/15/18

This business owner learned to take risks at a young age - Anoosheh Oskouian, 54, is chief executive of Ship & Shore Environmental Inc., a multimillion-dollar Signal Hill company that makes pollution-reducing equipment. The firm also helps cut energy costs and develop energy alternatives for U.S. and foreign industrial companies. -Los Angeles Times 03/15/18

Iran deal advocates prepare to battle Pompeo nomination - President Donald Trump's shock Twitter announcement today that he's replacing Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with Iran hard-liner Mike Pompeo immediately generated considerable backlash from advocates who fear that he could precipitate the president's threats to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal. -Bryant Harris, Al Monitor 03/15/18

Pompeo, Big Oil and the attack on Iran Deal - All you need to know about Mike Pompeo, the four-term congressman from Kansas who is actually from California, is that most of his life he has been in business with the Koch brothers. His appointment as Secretary of State puts a seal on Trump's withdrawal from the Paris climate accords. More dangerously, Trump was straightforward that he put Pompeo in to replace Rex Tillerson in order to destroy the 2015 Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action treaty between the United Nations Security Council and Iran. -Juan Cole, Informed Comment 03/15/18

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

Iran: End Persecution of Families Seeking Truth and Justice For Detainees Who Died in Detention - The Iranian authorities should end their cruel campaign of harassment and intimidation against the families of detainees who have died in detention under suspicious circumstances, Amnesty International, the Centre for Human Rights in Iran, Human Rights Watch and Justice for Iran said today. 03/14/18

Europe, Iran Baffled By US Position On Nuclear Deal - During his presidential campaign, Donald Trump called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) "the worst deal ever" for the US. In his first State of the Union address in January, Trump called on Congress to "fix the terrible flaws" of the Iran nuclear deal. The president has threatened to withdraw from the accord if Congress and Europe fail to amend it by May 12. -Mohammad Ghaderi and Javad Heiran-Nia, LobeLog 03/14/18

Outspoken Iranian Academic Sadegh Zibakalam Sentenced To Prison, Banned From Political Activities - An outspoken pro-reformist Iranian political analyst says he has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after being convicted of "spreading propaganda" against the Iranian establishment. In a short video posted online, Sadegh Zibakalam, a professor of political science at the University of Tehran, said he planned to appeal the sentence. 03/14/18

Tehran City Council Names Street After Former Primer Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq - Tehran city council has named Naft (oil) street after Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddeq. Mosaddeq is very well-known for his efforts in nationalization of the Iranian oil industry in 1951. Prior to the nationalization of the industry it had been under British control since 1913 through the Anglo-Persian Oil Company. 03/14/18

Overthrow: 100 Years of U.S. Meddling & Regime Change, from Iran to Nicaragua to Hawaii to Cuba - As special counsel Robert Mueller continues his probe into Russian meddling in the 2016 election, we take a look back at Washington's record of meddling in elections across the globe. By one count, the United States has interfered in more than 80 foreign elections between 1946 and 2000. And that doesn't count U.S.-backed coups and invasions. We speak to former New York Times reporter Stephen Kinzer, author of "Overthrow: America's Century of Regime Change from Hawaii to Iraq." -Democracy Now 03/14/18

Women and their achievements feature on billboards in Iran - A soldier, war photographer, and an Olympian are some of the women gracing public billboards in Iran's capital Tehran in a rare move in the conservative country. The billboards showcase the achievements of ground-breaking Iranian women, including the late mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani who in 2014 became the first woman to win the Fields Medal - the equivalent of the Nobel Prize for mathematics. -BBC 03/14/18

Iran Jails Ahmadinejad's Vice President For Corruption - Iran on March 13 jailed Hamid Baghai, a vice president under former hard-liner Mahmud Ahmadinejad, following his conviction for corruption, Iranian media reports said. "Police officers apprehended and transferred the convict to prison," the Tehran prosecutor's office said, cited by the Fars news agency. 03/14/18

Iran's Cultural Cleavages And The Need For National Compromise - Popular demonstrations in Iran at the end of 2017 reflected economic and other grievances along with a growing frustration and impatience with the Islamic system's shortcomings. However, the demonstrations also revealed deep cultural cleavages in Iranian society. Some of Iran's cultural divides are very deep rooted and are related to Iran's Islamization after the Arab/Islamic conquest of the Sassanid Empire in 642 CE. Others are of more recent origin and developed with the start of Iran's modernization in the late nineteenth century. -Shireen T. Hunter 03/13/18

The Tyranny of Social Media - There have been many studies showing the effects of (social media) in-group and out-group biases on individual decision making. Therefore, the availability or popularity of a particular social media platform among members of any movement can have a huge impact on outcome. The fact that about 48 million Iranians today use Telegram, a 40% consumption of Iran's internet bandwidth, calls for an analysis of its role in the recent uprisings across the country. -Behnam Zoghi and Jalal Shahinitiran 03/13/18

Prominent Iranian Human Rights Lawyer to Appeal Hijab Protester's Prison Sentence - A woman who was sentenced to prison in Iran for removing her headscarf in public is being used as an example to dissuade others from repeating the peaceful protest against the compulsory hijab, according to prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh. "What Narges did was appear in public without the hijab, that much is true," Sotoudeh told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on March 10, 2018. "But in court, she was tried for 'encouraging corruption,' as if she ran a house of prostitution." 03/13/18

Iran Considers Lifting Its Nine-Year Ban on Twitter - The Iranian government's top internet policy body is currently debating whether it should lift the state's nine-year ban on Twitter. "The issue regarding un-filtering Twitter is being followed up by the minister of telecommunications who has presented it to the SCC with a positive view," said Saeed Mahdiyoun, the deputy director in charge of drafting regulations for Iran's Supreme Cyberspace Council (SCC), on March 8, 2018. 03/13/18

New book SOFREH: Take a journey in words and images through the culture of Persian celebration - SOFREH: The Art of Persian Celebration is a journey in words and images through the culture of Persian celebrations. Never before have the splendour and beauty of these ancient traditions been presented in such an intricate and novel fashion. Sofreh, Persian for spread, is the focal point of the celebrations. These two lavishly illustrated volumes devoted to compositions created for the Persian New Year and marriage ceremonies are beautifully presented and richly documented. 03/12/18

Three Iranian Students Arrested During Protests Sentenced To Prison - Three Iranian students who were detained during the widespread protests earlier this year have been sentenced to nine years in prison by the Revolutionary Courts. The students were all charged with propaganda against the regime, acting against national security, and disturbing peace and public order through participation in unlawful assemblies. 03/12/18

Dollar in doldrums in Iran - Iranians have been dealing with an ever-increasing devaluation of the rial since the beginning of the present Iranian calendar (March 21, 2017) but the major and unexpected depreciation occurred almost a month ago, in mid-February, when is supposed to be the biggest crackdown on foreign exchanges in six years. At the time, U.S. dollar broke all records and jumped to almost 50,000 rials in Tehran's currency exchange shops, while it used to be bought almost 37,500 rials earlier in past April, 38,000 rials in past September, 41,000 rials in past December and 43,000 rials in early January, 2018. -Haniyeh Sadat Jafariyeh 03/12/18

Iran Finds Black Box, Bodies From Turkish Plane Crash - Iranian state media reports that authorities have recovered the black box from a Turkish private jet that crashed in southwestern Iran on March 11, killing all 11 people onboard. Turkish media reports said the plane was carrying Mina Basaran, the 28-year-old daughter of Turkish businessman Huseyin Basaran, along with seven of her friends and three crew members. 03/12/18

'Startups, the golden solution for tackling urban development challenges': Tehran Mayor - Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi has expressed the municipality's readiness to actively support startups, considering them as 'the golden solution' for tackling challenges of urban development. The municipality has a positive and supportive view towards startups and recognizes them as a prerequisite for developing a smart city, Mehr quoted him as saying on Sunday. 03/12/18

Renewed Serbia-Iran Flights Seen As Possible Migrant Route - Direct flights between Iran and Serbia have resumed after a gap of 27 years with the landing on March 10 of an IranAir jet at Belgrade's Nikola Tesla Airport. With the resumption, some groups in Serbia have raised concerns that the flights might be used as a new route for migrants from Iran looking to remain permanently in Europe. All flights on IranAir's twice-weekly Tehran-Belgrade service have been fully booked until the end of the summer, Serbian media have reported. 03/12/18

Sacramento developer Ali Youssefi, instrumental in downtown resurgence, dies at age 35 - Ali Youssefi, a dynamic young developer involved in some of Sacramento's most important projects during its current renaissance, died Saturday after a battle with cancer. He was 35 03/12/18

Conservative Iranian Officials Outraged That Little Girls Were Allowed to Dance at Women's Day Event - Iran's ultra-conservative prosecutor general has demanded that the organizers of a Women's Day event in the capital city be punished for allowing little girls to dance on a stage. His demand has been echoed by religious hardliners around the country but some liberal commentators have pointed out that the issue has been blown drastically out of proportion. 03/11/18

Feminist Trio Takes Defiant Song To Tehran's Subway, Video Goes Viral - A video of three Iranian women singing a famous feminist song on Tehran's subway on March 8 to mark International Women's Day is going viral on social media and highlighted ongoing challenges to veiling and other discriminatory laws. The women are not wearing the Islamic head scarf, known as the hijab, that is mandated for women in public under Iran's clerically dominated system. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 03/11/18

Russia says Iran to become Eurasian Economic Union member in May - Russia says Iran could join an emerging economic bloc that it leads as early as May in a move that could eventually help both nations dodge the impacts of US-led economic sanctions they face. Russia's Energy Minister Alexander Novak was quoted by media as saying that Iran's membership to the Eurasian Economic Union (EEU) could help the expansion of bilateral trade and investment between Tehran and Moscow. 03/11/18

An Iranian judge who punishes minor crimes with tree planting not jail - Mohammad Reza Amuzad is a judge in Galikesh, northern Golestan province, who punishes minor crimes with alternative sentences such as planting trees in the province. During the past one and a half year that he has judged in this rather small city, Amuzad has passed many cases of alternative sentences since he believes they are more preventive than jail, Khabaronline reported on Saturday. 03/11/18

Economic Problems Prompt Iran to Cautiously Consider Change - Labor strikes. Nationwide protests. Bank failures. In recent months, Iran has been beset by economic problems despite the promises surrounding the 2015 nuclear deal it struck with world powers. Its clerically overseen government is starting to take notice. Politicians now offer the idea of possible government referendums or early elections. Even Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei acknowledged the depths of the problems ahead of the 40th anniversary of Iran's Islamic Revolution. -AP 03/11/18

Iranian-Armenian actor Levon Haftvan dies at 51 - Levon Haftvan, the Iranian-Armenian actor who played roles in acclaimed movies such as "Kupal" and "Parviz," died of heart attack on Saturday. He was 51. Haftvan suffered a heart attack on Friday night while acting in a scene in the TV series "Bride of Darkness" and was taken to the hospital where he passed away the next day, Persian media reported. 03/11/18

Iran Reportedly Blocks Women's Day Gathering, Detains Some Participants - Several women who had attempted to gather in Tehran to mark International Women's Day have been detained, reports said. Women's rights activists had announced that they would stage a peaceful protest outside the Labor Ministry in the Iranian capital on March 8 to call for more rights. 03/9/18

Seyed-Emami Family: Iran is "Trying to Prevent Us From Rebuilding Our Lives" - Upon arriving in Vancouver, Canada, on March 8, 2018, the sons of Kavous Seyed-Emami-the Iranian-Canadian academic who died in Tehran's Evin Prison last month-issued a statement about the "chaotic ordeal" they have suffered at the hands of the Iranian Judiciary and Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps since their father was pronounced dead on February 9. 03/9/18

Inaugural director of Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies wants to break bread, build bridges - Persis Karim thinks about food a lot -- not so rare in a region known as a foodie capital. But she's interested in how it can serve as a vehicle for cultural exchange. A lot of people's first exposure to immigrant groups is through their cuisine. From there, they learn about the history, the culture and the conflicts, she says. That's why food is one of several ways Karim, the Neda Nobari Distinguished Chair and director of the San Francisco State University Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies, is engaging the campus and greater community about the Iranian diaspora. -SF Gate News 03/9/18

Iranian Woman Gets Two Years In Prison For Removing Head Scarf - An Iranian woman who removed her Islamic head scarf on a Tehran street has been sentenced to two years in prison, local media report. The semiofficial Tasnim news agency on March 7 quoted prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi as saying that the woman was attempting to "encourage corruption through the removal of the hijab in public." 03/8/18

Ongoing Harassment: Wife of Iranian-Canadian Who Died in Iran's Evin Prison "Banned" From Leaving Country - The Iranian government should immediately allow the wife of Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist Kavous Seyed-Emami to leave Iran as she wishes and stop intimidating and harassing the Seyed-Emami family, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). In the early hours of March 8, 2018, the Seyed-Emami family-mother and two sons-were en route to Vancouver, Canada, from Tehran when the mother, Maryman Mombeini, was prevented from boarding the plane at the Imam Khomeini International Airport. Her passport was also briefly confiscated. 03/8/18

CAMA Gallery of Iranian Art announce opening of London gallery on April 5th, 2018 - Following the success of their space in Tehran, CAMA Gallery, the new international market leaders in Modern and Contemporary Iranian art, have announced the opening of their London gallery on the 5th of April with an inaugural exhibition of 19 Contemporary Iranian artists. 03/8/18

The Non-Existent Waiver Process Under Trump's Muslim Ban - The National Iranian American Council is appalled by the revelation that, despite the Trump Administration's claims that there is a "waiver" process to ensure his Muslim ban does not target family members of Americans, only two such waivers had been issued by Feb. 15 - out of 8,406 visa applications from "banned" countries. NIAC applauds the efforts of Senators Jeff Flake and Chris Van Hollen, who uncovered this information as part of an inquiry to the State Department. 03/7/18

The Middle East's nuclear technology clock starts ticking - The Middle East's nuclear technology clock is ticking as nations pursue peaceful capabilities that potentially leave the door open to future military options. Concern about a nuclear arms race is fuelled by uncertainty over the future of Iran's 2015 nuclear agreement, a seeming US willingness to weaken its strict export safeguards in pursuit of economic advantage, and a willingness by suppliers such as Russia and China to ignore risks involved in weaker controls. -James M. Dorsey 03/7/18

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

Professors to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres: Use Persian New Year Norooz as opportunity to promote peace - A group of distinguished professors and intellectuals have written a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres calling on him to use Norooz, the Persian New Year, as an opportunity to remove "structural violence" in international system in order to achieve true peace (Positive Peace). Inscribed in 2009 on the Representative List of the Intangible Cultural Heritage of Humanity as a cultural tradition observed by numerous peoples, Norooz is an ancestral festivity marking the first day of spring and the renewal of nature. It promotes values of peace and solidarity between generations and within families as well as reconciliation and neighbourliness... 03/4/18

Opposition Leader Under House Arrest and 68 Female Documentary Makers Lend Support to Iran's Hijab Protesters - As people protesting against the Islamic Republic of Iran's mandatory hijab law continue to be arrested, an increasing number of political and cultural personalities inside the country are expressing support for the peaceful movement. In late February 2018, prominent opposition figure Zahra Rahnavard, who has been under house arrest for more than seven years, said for the first time that she opposed the compulsory hijab. 03/2/18

Prominent Iranians Lifting The Veil On The Hijab Debate - A small number of Iranian women, risking arrest to protest compulsory head scarves, have rekindled debate about Iran's so-called hijab rule. The Islamic scarf, or hijab, is one of the pillars of the Islamic republic and among its most visible symbols. It became compulsory after the 1979 revolution, after which Iranian women were required to cover their hair and body in public. Those who violate the rule face police harassment, fines, and even jail terms, and a number of the recent hijab protesters have already been taken into custody. -Golnaz Esfandiari 03/2/18

Does Iran's Constitution Promote Export Of Islamic Revolution? - Some claims are repeated unchallenged so often that they end up becoming part of the conventional wisdom. Such is the case with the assertion that the Iranian constitution mandates the export of the country's Islamic revolution and bestows on the Islamic Republic the responsibility to protect all Shia Muslims in the world regardless of citizenship. Saudi Foreign Minister Adel Al-Jubeir made such claims in his speech in the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament (EP) on February 22. Before that, he claimed the same thing in the Munich Security Conference and on many other occasions. -Eldar Mamedov 02/28/18

IAAB v. Trump Muslim Ban Plaintiffs File Petition with the United States Supreme Court - On Friday, the plaintiffs in Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) v. Trump joined plaintiffs in two other cases in filing a petition for certiorari to the United States Supreme Court. The parties have asked the Court to review their cases and are seeking an expedited briefing schedule so that the cases may be heard along with Hawaii v. Trump, another challenge to President Trump's Muslim ban, that is set for argument on April 25, 2018. 02/27/18

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

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

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

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last updated on Fri Mar 23 10:29:49 -05 2018