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April 29 2016
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Could Runoffs Tilt Iran's Balance Of Power?

- Iran's fractious political camps clash on April 29 in runoff votes to finalize the makeup of parliament two months after a split result dealt a blow to hard-liners but failed to produce a majority. There are reasons to watch the voting again this time around, even if the contests make less of an international splash than when reformists and moderates came back in from the political cold in late February. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL 4/29/16

Four Iranian Rights Activists Summoned to Appear Together at Appeals Court

- Rights activists Omid Alishenas, Atena Daemi, Ali Nouri and Aso Rostami have been summoned to appear together at an Appeals Court in Tehran on July 5, 2016 to appeal the prison sentences they received from a preliminary court. 4/29/16

Saving Iran's Precious Lake Urmia

- Many of Iran's once flourishing wetlands have dried dramatically in recent years. Lake Urmia in particular, the sixth largest salt lake in the world and a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve, is dangerously receding and threatens to vanish entirelly. Spanning an area larger than the Dead Sea and the Great Salt Lake combined, the dwindling lake lies tucked in the Zagros Mountain range in northwest Iran near the Turkish border. -Ramin Skibba, Scientific America 4/29/16

German firms cite troubles in Iran deals

- German industries on Thursday refreshed complaints that obstacles are still hampering a smooth business with Iran even though the international sanctions that had kept them away from the Iranian market were effectively lifted in January. 4/29/16

U.S. Arrest Awakens Ghosts Of Turkey's Iran-Gold Scandal

- Reports of shoe boxes stuffed with $4.5 million in cash hidden in the home of a Turkish state bank head, plus a money-counting machine in the bedroom of a government minister's son. And allegations that state funds are being used illegally to buy and funnel gold to Iran to help it evade international sanctions over its nuclear program. Welcome back to 2013, when Turkey was rocked by a corruption scandal that implicated some of the closest associates of then-Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan. Charles Recknagel, RFE/RL 4/29/16

Iran Asks UN Chief To Intervene To Prevent U.S. Diversion Of Funds

- Iran has asked the United Nations to intervene to prevent the United States from diverting $2 billion in frozen funds to victims of terrorism under a U.S. Supreme Court ruling. Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif wrote to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon on April 28, asking him to convince the United States to stop what he said would be a violation of state immunity. 4/29/16

How the CIA failed a spy who went missing in Iran

- In a world of seemingly random massacres in Paris, Brussels and San Bernardino, Calif.; Islamic State beheadings; and an erratic potentate in a nuclear-armed North Korea, we like to think that the CIA, the FBI and the other 14 agencies charged with gathering intelligence are doing their damnedest to keep us safe. -Valerie Plame, Washington Post 4/29/16

Public Outcry in Iran Over Plan for Increased Morality Police Prompts Review

- Deploying 7,000 undercover morality police in Tehran contradicts the principle of the presumption of innocence, Iranian lawyer Ali Rambod told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. "We should move towards interpreting laws on the basis of innocent until proven guilty," he said. "It appears this principle has been overlooked in regards to the undercover police force." 4/28/16

Human Rights Groups Condemn Journalists' Prison Sentences in Iran

- U.S. human rights groups are condemning the sentences imposed by an Iranian court on four journalists who were arrested late last year. The four were accused of "paving the way for U.S. infiltration of the country."The Iranian judiciary has handed down sentences of five to 10 years in prison to the journalists who were arrested last November in the period leading up to parliamentary elections. 4/28/16

Minister intervenes in plot to block winning Isfahan candidate

- Iran's interior minister has written to the head of the country's three branches of government to say the Guardian Council's cancellation of the votes obtained by parliamentary candidate Minoo Khaleghi's is "an error" that needs to be examined by Parliament. 4/28/16

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Hadi Heidari, creator of controversial "Blindfold" cartoon, finishes serving sentence - In September of 2013, several Iranian MPs maintained that the cartoon was intentionally released during the week of Holy Defence, which is the term used in Iran to refer to the eight-year Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s. They maintained that the blindfolds reflect the black headband worn by Iranian soldiers and that the cartoon suggests the soldiers went to war blindly. 4/28/16

Iran, Russia draft military cooperation roadmap - Iran and Russia have developed "specific plans" for bolstering the two countries' military and technical cooperation, says Iran's defense minister. Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan made the announcement following a meeting with Russian Defense Minister Sergei Shoigu held on the sidelines of the 5th Moscow Conference on International Security (MCIS) in the Russian capital on Wednesday. 4/28/16

U.S. Senate Democrats Block Bid To Kill Heavy Water Deals With Iran - U.S. Senate Democrats blocked an attempt by Republicans on April 27 to prevent future purchases of Iranian "heavy water" by the U.S. Energy Department. Republicans offered an amendment to a department spending bill to bar future purchases after an $8.6 million deal to buy 32 metric tons of heavy water from Iran was announced on April 22 to help Tehran carry out its obligations under a nuclear deal with world powers. 4/28/16

Gold Trader Pleads Not Guilty To Helping Iran Evade U.S. Sanctions - A Turkish gold trader pleaded not guilty to charges that he conspired to conduct hundreds of millions of dollars in financial transactions to help the Iranian government evade U.S. sanctions. Reza Zarrab, a dual citizen of Turkey and his native Iran, entered the plea at a hearing before Judge Richard Berman in U.S. District Court in Manhattan. He was arrested last month in Miami. 4/28/16

Has The American Age of Decline Begun? - "Low-energy Jeb." "Little Marco." "Lyin' Ted." "Crooked Hillary." Give Donald Trump credit. He has a memorable way with insults. His have a way of etching themselves on the brain. And they've garnered media coverage, analysis, and commentary almost beyond imagining. Memorable as they might be, however, they won't be what last of Trump's 2016 election run. -Tom Engelhardt, LobeLog 4/28/16

Four Iranian Journalists Jailed For 'Acting Against National Security' - Four Iranian journalists have been given prison sentences of between five and 10 years on charges of acting against Iran's national security. Lawyers for the journalists announced the sentences to Iranian state media on April 26. 4/27/16

Terror Payout Latest Challenge to U.S.-Iran Reconciliation - Chances for a more constructive U.S.-Iran relationship in the aftermath of a landmark nuclear deal are eroding with new disputes over missiles, Iran's access to its assets in foreign banks and now a Supreme Court judgment allowing distribution of $2 billion in Iranian government money to relatives of U.S. victims of alleged Iran-backed terrorism. -Barbara Slavin 4/27/16

Revolutionary Guards' Cyber Attacks Now Directed at Rouhani Cabinet Members - Iran's Revolutionary Guards, who have long waged cyber attacks against the country's activists and journalists, have extended their hacking attacks to Rouhani administration officials, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran has learned, including close associates of President Hassan Rouhani and his cabinet members. To date, the Rouhani administration has not publicly criticized the Guards' cyber attacks. 4/27/16

Noted director Abbas Kiarostami leaves hospital after long stay for cancer operations - Iranian filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami was released after 50 days in hospital and will reportedly continue to receive treatment at his home. Kiarostami was reportedly released on Tuesday April 26 after four surgeries said to be related to complications caused by intestinal cancer. 4/27/16

Iranian Hard-Liners Link Afghan Girl's Killing To Telegram Messaging App - After a horrifying crime sent shock waves through Iranian society, hard-line conservatives found the perfect scapegoat -- technology. "When there are pornography websites and Internet freedom, any underage child can easily buy a SIM card and access this material," the ultraconservative news outlet Rajanews.ir wrote in a recent commentary. "The result is the bitter tragedy that we are witnessing today." -Frud Bezhan, RFE 4/27/16

Iran's Foreign Exchange Reserves Surges: IMF - The International Monetary Fund (IMF) has pointed to a significant rise in Iran's foreign exchange reserve. In its latest World Economic Outlook report, the IMF said the Iranian reserve of foreign exchange rose by 14.3 billion dollars in 2015, registering a record of 125.9 billion dollars. 4/27/16

Iran's Chabahar port to harbor Chinese industrial town - The Iranian city of Chabahar is all set to host a Chinese-built industrial town as part of China's role to develop Iran's sole ocean port. A technical team of CMI of China visited Chabahar in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan on Tuesday for the launch of the Chinese industrial town project, according to IRNA. 4/27/16

US seizure of USD 2 billion in Iranian assets highway robbery: FM Zarif - Iran says the seizure of around $2 billion in frozen assets recently authorized by a US court ruling is "highway robbery," vowing that the Islamic Republic will retrieve the sum anyway. "It is a theft. Huge theft. It is highway robbery. And believe you me, we will get it back," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told The New Yorker in an interview published on Monday. 4/26/16

Iran Nuclear Deal at Risk - Concern has recently grown over the ultimate sustainability of the Iran nuclear accord. Having withstood the full-frontal attack of congressional hawks last summer, the Obama administration faces the challenge of securing the agreement's viability beyond its own tenure in office. -Tyler Cullis 4/26/16

Iranian Judiciary insists ailing physicist's sentence for espionage is final - The spokesman for Iran's judiciary says Omid Kokabi's sentence is final and he is "being provided with all necessary facilities". ISNA reports that on Sunday April 24, Gholamhossein Mohseni Ejei said that Omid Kokabi, the physicist who has served five years in jail, was tried for espionage and his 10-year sentence is final. 4/26/16

Iran Said Ready To Release Jailed Cartoonist Farghadani Soon - A lawyer for prominent jailed Iranian artist and activist Atena Farghadani has said that the authorities will soon release his client. In June 2014, a court sentenced her to 12 years in prison for a cartoon that depicted Iranian politicians who passed a law limiting women's access to birth control as goats and monkeys. 4/26/16

U.S. Sanctions Spite Europe, Not Just Iran - Evidence continues to mount on how lopsided has been the implementation so far of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, a.k.a. the Iran nuclear agreement, with Iran's rigorous carrying out of its obligations regarding its nuclear program being unmatched by the sort of financial and commercial opening to Iran that was a fundamental part of the bargain that was struck. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 4/26/16

Rate of Iranian road deaths triple that of developing countries - The number of people killed in road accidents in the past year across Iran is 16,500, according to Taghi Mehri, the head of National Road Traffic. Road accidents are the third-highest cause of death in Iran after cardiovascular diseases and cancer. 4/26/16

Washington-Riyadh Chill: The Sequel - After three months on the road, I returned to work on the eve of President Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia to discover that in my absence the decades-long strategic partnership between the kingdom and the United States had vaporized. It had passed into history, finito, kaput, done. -Thomas W. Lippman, LobeLog 4/26/16

Iran's Final Vote: Battle Beyond the Ballot Box for Rouhani's Reformers - For Iran's reformists, it's been a long couple of months. Despite a widely-expected victory in February's first-round parliamentary election, the final runoff has been repeatedly delayed. Contrary to popular belief, Iran does have real political debates. Noisy elections have been routine since the 1979 Islamic revolution. -Natela Outtier 4/25/16

Status of Persian poet Omar Khayyam unveiled at the University of Oklahoma - On March 30, 2016, the University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced a $4 million gift for the College of International Studies, and the establishment of a new center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies. At the announcement, Boren also unveiled one of OU's newest pieces of artwork, "Omar Khayyám," inspired by the Persian polymath, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet of the Islamic Golden Age. 4/25/16

Health care denied to jailed Iranian cleric who championed internet - Jailed Iranian cleric Mohammadreza Nekounam is suffering from health problems, and the special court for the clergy refuses to let him to be hospitalized. Nekounam was arrested entenced to five years in jail after he reacted to statements by Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi declaring high-speed internet service was "haram" (religiously forbidden). 4/25/16

Bombardier to set up own airline in Iran: Report - Canada's global aviation firm Bombardier is reportedly planning to launch its own airline in Iran - a groundbreaking move that could help boost air trips between Iran and Northern America. 4/25/16

Iranian people: The friendliest in the world? - I had heard a few things about Iran before I began my journey, that the country is beautiful, its history rich, the architecture is second to none and also that the people of Iran were some of the kindest you could hope to meet. -Lucy Grant-Sturgis, Wild Frontiers 4/25/16

Is Trip To Iran On President Obama's Agenda? - US President Barack Obama will likely not visit Iran before his term in office ends, White House official Ben Rhodes, Deputy National Security Adviser, told reporters on Thursday April 21, 2016. "Oh, Iran. Yes. Well, I think the trip to Cuba was probably enough in terms of breaking a longstanding taboo." 4/24/16

Mehdi Karroubi: Despite Five Years of House Arrest, He Continues to Speak Out against Abuse of Power in Iran - Former presidential candidate Mehdi Karroubi, who has been living under extrajudicial house arrest for over five years for contesting the result of Iran's widely disputed 2009 presidential election, has written an open letter to President Hassan Rouhani calling on him to convince the "ruling dictatorship" to allow Karroubi to stand trial. 4/24/16

South Africa's trade with Iran to rise to $8B: President Zuma - South Africa's President Jacob Zuma said in Tehran on Sunday that his country plans to increase the volume of trade with Iran to as high as $8 billion by 2020. Zuma told a meeting of Iranian and South African businessmen that the figure had been agreed on in his meeting with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani earlier in the day. 4/24/16

Iranian Women's Issues Advisor Says Mothers Fear "Morality Police" - Shahidokht Molaverdi, the Iranian president's advisor on women and family affairs, says the new plan to deploy 7,000 "undercover morality police" on the streets of Tehran is causing serious concern for families. 4/24/16

Farhadi Film "The Salesman" Gets Last-Minute Acceptance At Cannes - Asghar Farhadi's latest film, The Salesman (Foroushandeh), has been accepted into the Cannes Film Festival. The film follows the story of a couple acting in a production of Arthur Miller's Death of Salesman in Tehran. 4/24/16

Kerry Says U.S. Won't Block Foreign Firms Doing Business With Iran - "The United States is not standing in the way, and will not stand in the way, of business that is permitted in Iran since the [nuclear deal] took effect" in January, Kerry said on April 22 before meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York. 4/23/16

Public demand cited as reason for undercover morality policing in Tehran - The Tehran police chief says the deployment of undercover morality police has been initiated due to public demand. Hossein Sajedinia said on Wednesday April 20 that the public expects the police to act against "harassment in the streets" and "inappropriate behaviour and hazardous traffic acts". 4/23/16

Iran, P5+1 meet for 1st time after JCPOA implementation - Representatives of Iran and the P5+1 group of countries hold their first joint commission meeting to discuss framework for the implementation of the historic nuclear agreement they struck last year. 4/23/16

EU Must Not Ignore Iran's Human Rights Record, Says Former Political Prisoner - Saeed Razavi Faghih, a reformist journalist who was released from Evin Prison on April 6, 2016 after serving two years for his political beliefs, has issued an open letter urging the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini, to not "sacrifice human rights for commercial greed" during her April 16, 2016 trip to Tehran. 4/23/16

Iran's Foreign Minister signs Paris Agreement on climate change - Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has signed the historic Paris Agreement on climate change during a ceremony at the United Nations headquarters in New York. French President Francois Hollande was the first leader who signed the deal on Friday. According to UN, a record 175 countries, including the world's top producers of greenhouse gases China and the United States, inked the accord, raising hopes of restraining global warming. 4/23/16

US to Buy Iranian Heavy Water as Part of Nuclear Deal - STATE DEPARTMENT-The United States is purchasing 32 tons of a key component in the development of atomic weapons from Iran, in a bid to help Tehran implement provisions in the landmark nuclear deal. The U.S. Energy and State departments confirmed Friday the purchase of heavy water, which can be used to produce weapons-grade plutonium. -Pamela Dockins, VOA 4/23/16

Iran backs any move to stabilize oil market: Zangeneh - Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zangeneh says Iran will support any initiative to stabilize the oil market after recent talks in Qatar failed to freeze production. Zangeneh told reporters on the sidelines of a meeting with his South African counterpart in Tehran on Saturday that the meeting between OPEC and non-OPEC producers in Doha was a "good step." 4/23/16

Israel, Iran, and Saudi Arabia on the Hill - As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. -LobeLog 4/23/16

U.S. Congressional Leaders Warn Kerry Over Moves To Help Iran - U.S. congressional leaders warned Secretary of State John Kerry against going too far in his effort to help Iran realize the economic benefits of its nuclear accord with world powers. The warning came on the eve of an April 22 meeting between Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in New York that Kerry had said was aimed at addressing Iranian concerns that remaining U.S. sanctions are blocking economic relief for Tehran. 4/22/16

Fajr Film Festival Showcasing Bright Lineup of World Cinema - A vibrant lineup of movies, documentaries and shorts by directors from around the globe will be screened during the 34th Fajr International Film Festival, which opened on Wednesday at Tehran's Charsu Cineplex. 4/22/16

Imprisoned Iranian Physicist Loses Kidney to Cancer, Must Be Released Permanently - Omid Kokabee, the young physicist who has been imprisoned in Iran for over 5 years for his refusal to work on military research, underwent surgery on April 20, 2016 to completely remove his right kidney, which was in an advanced stage of cancer. 4/22/16

Environmental awareness measures come to Iranian universities, schools - Iran's Department of the Environment has announced that two Environmental Studies credits have been approved as requirements for the completion of all university degrees. Universities have also reportedly been working with nursery and elementary schools to train early childhood educators and teachers to introduce environmental knowledge and awareness in the early stages of children's education. 4/22/16

Iran slams US Supreme Court ruling as money theft - Iran has strongly condemned a ruling by the US Supreme Court granting some two billion dollars in frozen Iranian assets to the families of victims of a 1983 bombing in Beirut, saying it violates international law. 4/22/16

Saudi Arabia and Obama: Time to Reset Relations - President Obama's visit to Saudi Arabia comes in the midst of a changing kingdom with a different outlook on its regional role and its relations with the United States. The US-Saudi relationship is becoming less "special," which is not a bad thing. Washington cannot remain slavishly dependent on the Kingdom. Nor can the Saudis expect to ride on the American coattails freely. According to The New York Times, Obama will find Saudi Arabia "deep in turmoil." -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 4/22/16

Where are the censors? Popular TV drama flouts Iran's Islamic taboos - "Shahrzad", a slick, new Iranian TV series set in the Shah era, is raising eyebrows and wowing audiences across the country. But it's also sparking fears of a crackdown to come. -France24 4/22/16

Obama in Saudi Arabia, Exporter of Oil and Bigotry - I'm glad that President Obama is visiting Saudi Arabia, for engagement usually works better than isolation. But let's not let diplomatic niceties keep us from pointing to the insidious role that Saudi Arabia plays in sowing instability, and, for that matter, in tarnishing the image of Islam worldwide. -Nicholas Kristof, NY Times 4/22/16

Obama Discusses Security With Gulf Allies - At talks with King Salman, Obama's aids said he made it clear he would like the Sunni-led states to "share the neighborhood" with Iran. "The president and King discussed the challenges posed by Iran's provocative activities in the region, agreeing on the importance of an inclusive approach to de-escalating regional conflicts," the White House said. 4/21/16

Former French embassy employee held in solitary in Tehran's Evin prison - Nazak Afshar, a former staff member of the French Embassy in Tehran who was arrested upon returning to Iran last March for a visit, is reportedly being held in solitary confinement for questioning in Evin Prison. Also, Sabri Hassanpour, the executive and host of an online network has reportedly been arrested in Iran. Hassanpour, who currently resides in the Netherlands, had reportedly travelled to Iran to visit relatives. 4/21/16

Russia, Iran Poised to Break Syrian Opposition Toehold in Aleppo - Russia and Iran are gearing up around the key northern Syrian city of Aleppo in what appears to be the beginning of a renewed push to shore up the regime of President Bashar al-Assad. -Jeff Seldin, VOA 4/21/16

Iranians May Soon Be Able to Make International Online Transactions - A global payment service provider based in the U.S. has announced that it has made its platform available to Iranians, enabling them to make international online transactions, which was previously almost impossible. But a representative from the Central Bank of Iran reportedly denied the announcement, raising questions over whether the deal would be completed. 4/21/16

US High Court Awards $2B in Damages for Iran-Sponsored Terrorism - The U.S. Supreme Court says Iran must pay nearly $2 billion in frozen assets to American families of people killed by Tehran-sponsored terrorism. Iran's Bank Markazi argued that congressional passage of the law specifically directing the damages be awarded to victims' families intruded on U.S. courts that were already considering the damage claims. 4/21/16

What Have the Saudis Done For Us Lately? - The president of the United States is going on a foreign trip, and that means it is time for another surge in temperature-taking regarding the state of relations between the United States and some of its "allies." -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 4/21/16

Hye Times - Armenian and Persian tales on vinyl, as dangerously funky as ever. Just don't call them 'exotic'. -Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient 4/21/16

Rouhani clashes with Iranian police over undercover hijab agents - Iran's president criticized the use of thousands of undercover morality police in Tehran to report on young women who are not wearing a full Islamic hijab or those who play loud music in their cars. -Reuters 4/21/16

Top US, Iranian Diplomats Confer on Sanctions Relief for Tehran - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held talks Tuesday in New York with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, aimed at ensuring that Iran gets the sanctions relief promised in the landmark nuclear deal reached in January. 4/20/16

Announcing The 8th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Celebrating Iranian Heritage - Now in its eighth year, the 2016 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival has officially been announced. Calling on filmmakers worldwide to submit short films visualizing some aspect of Iranian art,culture, and heritage, Farhang Foundation's annual online short film festival offers contestants the opportunity to compete for $10,000 (first prize), $5,000 (second prize), and $3,000 (third prize). 4/20/16

U.S. Senate Effort to Lift Dual Nationals Restrictions Blocked - Washington, DC - The Senate voted Tuesday afternoon to approve legislation authorizing the Federal Aviaton Administration, but an amendment authored by Sen. Jeff Flake that would repeal discriminatory Visa Waiver Program (VWP) restrictions on certain dual nationals was blocked from consideration. 4/20/16

NIAC and PayPal Take Steps to Address Payment Concerns Within Venmo - The National Iranian American Council ("NIAC") and PayPal Inc. issued the following joint statement regarding certain difficulties Iranian Americans were having using Venmo during the Persian New Year 4/20/16

President Rohani accused of folding to U.S. during nuclear talks - The Iranian president tried to defend his administration's record on the nuclear agreement as the ultra-right factions of the Islamic Republic heightened their criticism of the significance of the deal with the world powers. 4/20/16

EU considering lifting Iran Air sanction: WSJ - The European Union (EU) is reportedly considering removing its air travel restrictions on Iranian national carrier, Iran Air. According to the Wall Street Journal, the EU will send aviation security experts to Iran in May to investigate the airline's security status. 4/20/16

Killing Of Afghan Girl Prompts Outrage In Iran - In Iran, which hosts at least 1 million Afghan refugees and seasonal laborers, the fate of an Afghan migrant doesn't normally make media headlines. The slaying of a 6-year-old girl outside Tehran is a tragic exception. -RFE 4/20/16

Iranian dentist examines people on the street - Shafi Ja'fari is a young dentist who visited and examined people around Enqelab square, central Tehran, for three hours on Thursday, ISNA news agency reported. What Ja'fari, a Tehran University graduate, did, was a symbolic act of criticism centered on the widespread ignorance of prevention. 4/20/16

Iranian crude output to reach pre-sanctions level by July - A deputy to the Iranian petroleum minister says the country's crude oil production will reach pre-sanctions levels of 2011 within a couple of months. Tehran has expressed concern over market oversupply and low oil prices but also reiterated its right to regain pre-sanctions market level. 4/20/16

Obama in the Arab Lions' Den - President Barack Obama would surely not compare himself to a Biblical prophet. But by going this week to Riyadh to take part in a summit meeting of the Gulf Cooperation Council, he might as well be like Daniel in the Old Testament, thrown into the lions' den. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 4/20/16

Does the US Really Want Iran to Moderate Its Policies? - Only three months after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the success of the nuclear deal with Iran already appears in doubt. The underlying reason is that those in the United States and Iran who opposed the agreement in the first place remain determined to sabotage it. -Shireen T. Hunter 4/19/16

Iran, US at Odds Over Nuclear Sanctions Relief - STATE DEPARTMENT-Iran's concerns about its perceived lack of sanctions relief and Syria's faltering political talks will be focal points for Secretary of State John Kerry when he sits down for talks Tuesday with his Iranian counterpart. 4/19/16

Iran Launches Undercover Morality Unit - Iranian authorities have launched a new undercover police unit that will be tasked with monitoring citizens' morality in the Iranian capital and reporting transgressions to authorities. 4/19/16

Iranian Political Prisoner in Critical Condition Vows to Continue Hunger Strike - Prisoner of conscience Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, who has been on dry and wet hunger strikes since March 26, 2016 to protest being denied crucial medical treatment, is in critical condition, but has vowed to continue until his situation changes. 4/19/16

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: Apr 30-­May 22 - For more than two decades, UCLA Film & Television Archive has showcased the ever-unfolding film tradition of Iran for Southern California audiences. This adventure has been a journey of constant discovery, as the Archive has tracked Iran's national cinema, its evolving modes of storytelling and the perspectives and achievements of its leading talents. 4/19/16

India Between Iran and Saudi Arabia - Continuing tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia and the subsequent deteriorating security situation challenge India's interests. Saudi-Iran tension and its impact in Yemen have forced India to evacuate thousands of its citizens from Yemen. Therefore, it is in India's interest to maintain an effective balance between the two countries, and both countries seem to understand that. -Fatemeh Aman 4/18/16

She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World - This landmark exhibition of more than 80 photographs and a video installation challenges stereotypes surrounding the people, landscapes, and cultures of Iran and the Arab world. She Who Tells a Story refutes the conventional idea that Arab and Iranian women are oppressed or powerless, illuminating the fact that women are creating some of the most significant photographic work in the region today. 4/16/16

Unclear on US Rules, Banks, Corporations Wary of Doing Business in Iran - Three months after the implementation of the Iran nuclear deal, banks and other corporations are wary of doing business in the country due to concerns over running afoul of U.S. sanctions, especially as U.S. lawmakers ponder a clampdown over Iran's missile development. -Luis RamirezT, VOA 4/16/16

A NOTE TO MY READERS: Read the Last Paragraph First - The good thing is that, contrary to what the neocon-driven foreign policy engineers in the US Congress would like us to believe, Iran's fate does not hang on American politics alone. There is bigger world out there in that parallel universe where not everything that is done is with the knowledge and approval of one superpower. -Kambiz Zarrabi 4/15/16

Iran's president slams any 'divisive' measure at OIC - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has slammed as unacceptable "any divisive move" at the ongoing Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) conference. Rouhani made the remark in an address to the 13th OIC summit in the Turkish city of Istanbul, which kicked off on Thursday. 4/15/16

Lawyer Released from Prison in Iran Describes Grim Conditions for Political Prisoners - Mohammad Seifzadeh, the prominent Iranian human rights lawyer who for years defended political prisoners in Iran and railed against the inhumane conditions of their incarceration, was freed on March 10, 2016 after serving his own five-year prison sentence, and spoke at length about the harsh conditions he experienced first-hand as a political prisoner. 4/15/16

Tehran, Rome pen deals on major economic exchange - The Islamic Republic of Iran and Italy have signed 12 major agreements in various sectors of economy. The agreements were inked on Wednesday in the presence of Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh and visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Tehran. 4/14/16

Iran, Italy seek to restore ties as Renzi visits Tehran - President Hassan Rouhani says Iran would like to see its trade ties with Italy restored to the level that existed before the Islamic Republic came under nuclear-related sanctions. President Rouhani made the remarks at a joint press conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Matteo Renzi in Tehran on Tuesday. 4/12/16

Toward a World Free of Nuclear Weapons? - President Barack Obama claimed in The Washington Post on March 30 that the United States had made important progress under his leadership toward the vision he outlined in Prague nearly seven years ago: a world free of nuclear weapons. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 4/5/16

President Rouhani's "Open-Door" Economic Policies - A number of commentators have compared President Rouhani's policies of opening Iran's markets to Western business with those of China's Deng Xiaoping following the death of Mao Zedong some four decades ago. A closer look at Mr. Rouhani's open-door economic policies indicates, however, that they are more akin to those of Boris Yeltsin's Russia following the collapse of the Berlin Wall than those of China since Deng Xiaoping. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh 03/30/16

Societal Demand in Iran for Female Representation in Government is Unstoppable - An overlooked outcome of Iran's recent elections is the unprecedented success of women, who achieved voter support even though the Guardian Council, the hardline clerical body that vets all candidates, prevented huge numbers of females from running. 03/24/16

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Father, Son Jailed Without Charges - The United States has called for the release of two Iranian-American citizens detained without charge in Tehran. Family members say businessman Siamak Namazi was arrested in October while his father Baquer, 80, was detained last month. Both men are believed to be in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. 03/19/16

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Young Persian Artists

Rights

Ninety Iranian Journalists Call for Release of Four Arrested Colleagues

General

World Bank forecasts 5.8% GDP growth for Iran in 2016

Iranian-American

The Nuclear Deal Implementation Day: Can the Deal with Iran Survive Iranian and US Elections?

Politics

France and Iran Are Back to Business

Economy

Iran, China Agree To $600 Billion Trade Deal After Sanctions Lifted

Culture

Going their own way

Sports

Iranian women win their first futsal championship

Art

Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli's 'Heech Garden' Exhibit Mixes Old With New

Literature

Famed Iranian Poet Simin Behbahani Dies At 87

Travel

New Adventure Film KARUN released 16th November Worldwide Aims to Change the Way We Think about Iran

Environment

Man-made Issues Exacerbate Iran's Water Crisis

Entertainment

"Nahid" director denies connection with "A Separation"

Music

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?

Book

A book by Meghan Nuttall Sayres: "Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran"

Event

IAAB's YAR Fellowship: An Exciting New Opportunity in Iran

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last updated on Fri Apr 29 13:13:36 GMT 2016