Payvand Iran News... Day 1 1393
December 22 2014
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Photos: Rock castle of Sirjan

- The rock castle of Sirjan belonging to the Sassanian era, 224-651 CE, is located 7km southeast of Sirjan, Kerman Province in southern Iran. This castle has been registered as one of Iran's national monuments. -Vahid Dehyadgari 12/22/14

Iranian hunter sentenced for killing panther, illegal rifle

- A poacher has been sentenced to 42 months in jail for hunting an Iranian panther in northern Iran, the head of Environment and Wildlife Watch of Iran told the Mehr News Agency. 12/22/14

Iran projected to maintain oil output at 2.8 mbpd in December.: EIA

- Iran's crude oil output was projected to remain 2.8 million barrels per day in December 2014, unchanged compared to previous months, according to the U.S. Energy Information Administration (EIA). 12/22/14

New Iran Bank Rules Change Interest Paid On Deposits

- New central bank directives have put an end to the payment of daily interest on deposits, and only a minimum one-year deposit is allotted interest at 22 percent. Reports indicate, however, that some financial institutions are still offering daily interest rates at 27 percent per annum. 12/22/14

Freer and Sackler Galleries to Release Complete Digitized Collection Jan. 1, 2015

- The Freer Gallery of Art and Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, the Smithsonian's museums of Asian art, will release their entire collections online Jan. 1, 2015, providing unprecedented access to one of the world's most important holdings of Asian and American art. The vast majority of the 40,000 artworks have never before been seen by the public, and more than 90 percent of the images will be in high resolution and without copyright restrictions for noncommercial use. 12/22/14

Iran is world's fourth missile power: Defense Minister

- The Islamic Republic of Iran is the fourth missile power in the world, Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan says. "Iran has an acceptable status among countries possessing missile capabilities, and stands after the United States, Russia, and China [in missile power]," Dehqan said in a televised interview with Al-Alam channel on Friday. 12/22/14

Iran's unwelcome dogs find care at rare shelter

- Man's best friend is seen as anything but in Iran, where city workers gun down strays and conservatives view pet dogs as a corrupting Western influence. But in a rare animal shelter in the countryside west of Tehran, hundreds of lucky pups have found mercy, and a growing number of Iranians are learning to love them. -Nasser Karimi, AP 12/22/14

Photos: Iran Honors Its Fallen Jewish Soldiers

- Iran is well-known for its stinging anti-Israeli rhetoric and refusal to recognize what it calls the "Zionist regime." So, it might have come as a surprise when officials in Tehran unveiled a monument honoring Iranian-Jewish soldiers who died in action during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. -Frud Bezhan, RFE 12/20/14

Iran and Landlocked States

- Land-locked states or coast-less states are the states that have no free access to the open waters of the world. At the moment, there are 42 land-locked States and out of these, a considerable number are in the area that Iran is situated: Afghanistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Uzbekistan, Armenia, and Kirgizstan. - Bahman Aghai Diba 12/20/14

Iran's Income from South Pars Gas Field to Hit $167B in 2017

- An Iranian gas official predicted that South Pars gas field will generate an annual income of 167 billion dollars for Iran in 2017-2018. -The South Pars gas field, whose development has been divided into 24 phases, is located in the Persian Gulf straddling the maritime border between Iran and Qatar. 12/20/14

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Iran Chat with Gary Sick

Ex-IAEA Chief Warns on Using Unverified Intel to Pressure Iran - In a critique of the handling of the Iran file by the International Atomic Energy Agency, former IAEA Director General Han Blix has called for greater skepticism about the intelligence documents and reports alleging Iranian nuclear weapons work and warned that they may be used to put diplomatic pressure on Tehran. -Gareth Porter, LobeLog 12/20/14

If It's True on Cuba, It's True on Iran - America's Cuba policy has long been an open joke in international circles. Seldom has a country pursued such a futile policy for so long while clearly recognizing its senselessness. It's probably the foremost example of how American domestic politics can take its foreign policy hostage, leaving everyone a loser. -Ryan Costello and Trita Parsi, NIAC 12/20/14

Flights Resume between Iranian city of Shiraz and Bahrain's capital Manama - Direct flights between Iran's southern city of Shiraz and the Bahraini capital, Manama, were resumed after three years of suspension, the managing director of the Bahraini airline Gulf Air announced. 12/20/14

What Iranians are saying about the U.S.-Cuba deal - The deal hatched between the Obama administration and Raul Castro's government is big and historic. The comparison on everyone's mind was Iran. After all, much of the groundwork toward the Cuban deal was laid in clandestine talks that took place roughly around the same time the Obama administration was meeting Iranian officials secretly over Tehran's nuclear program. -Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post 12/20/14

U.S. Department of State Delays Release of Iran History - The U.S. Department of State has blocked the publication of a long-awaited documentary history of U.S. covert action in Iran in the 1950s out of concern that its release could adversely affect ongoing negotiations over Iran's nuclear program. -Steven Aftergood, Federation of American Scientists 12/19/14

Photos: Iranian activist Emad Bahavar released after 5 years in jail - Iranian political activist Emad Bahavar was released on Thursday December 18 after serving five years in jail for his support of reformist leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mohammad Khatami. 12/19/14

Photos: Bonefishing season begins in Caspian Sea - Iranian fishermen in north of the country have started the bonefishing season in the Caspian Sea. Bonefish live in shallow inshore water and the fishing is done by wading or from a shallow-draft boat. 12/19/14

161 PhD Students Demand Immediate Medical Attention and Judicial Review for Omid Kokabee - In a statement of solidarity with the imprisoned Iranian scientist Omid Kokabee, 161 doctoral students and graduates from universities around the world have released an open letter, demanding medical attention and due process for him. 12/19/14

Welcoming Philanthropists and Major Social Venture Capital Investors to Partner for a "Culture of Human Rights and Responsibilities" Advocacy - Injustice can easily become the norm and the law of the land. As the honorable Dr. Martin Luther King eloquently noted, "unjust law is no law." Congruently, Thomas Jefferson noted that, "When injustice becomes law, resistance becomes duty." -Majid Baradar, 12Petals Media Group 12/19/14

Lecture in London: Cyrus the Great: Between History and Legend - The life of Cyrus the Great has been the subject great interest from antiquity to the present. Reza Zarghamee will discuss the aims and methods of his recently published book Discovering Cyrus. 12/19/14

Alcohol poisoning deaths decline in Iran - The Iranian coroner's office reports that 53 people have died in the past seven months due to alcohol poisoning. Coroner's office spokesman Kambiz Soltani said this represents a 31-percent decrease from the same period last year. 12/19/14

Iran unveils a memorial honoring Jewish heroes Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Google Plus Share via Email More Options Resize Text Print Article Comments 32 - Earlier this week, authorities in Tehran unveiled a monument to slain Iranian Jewish soldiers who died during the country's long and bitter war with Iraq between 1980 and 1988. Death tolls for the hideous conflict differ, but casualty counts usually reach more than 1 million for both countries. -Ishaan Tharoor, Washington Post 12/19/14

For Leopards in Iran and Iraq, Land Mines Are a Surprising Refuge - Land mines keep people out of the Persian leopard's last habitats, creating a conundrum -- removing the hazards leaves the cats more vulnerable. -Peter Schwartzstein, National Geographic 12/19/14

Nuclear Program Has 'Hurt Iran More Than Iraq War' - Iran's nuclear activities and ambitions faced rare, blunt criticism at a roundtable at Tehran University, where one of the speakers said the damage done by the nuclear program was greater than that by the 1980-88 war with Iraq, which left tens of thousands dead and caused much devastation. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 12/18/14

Persian Architectural Element Windcatcher Featured On Iranian Currency - The picture of famous windcatcher of Aghazadeh House is printed on the Iranian bill as the Iranian unique structure is going to be registered in world heritage list of UNESCO. The windcatcher of this house is considered as one of the most beautiful and original windcatchers with a height of 18 meters and 19 vents to adjust the temperature even when there is no wind in the region. 12/18/14

Women Continue Struggle for Rights Despite Barriers - The focus of this presentation is on the struggles of members of the women's movement in Iran against human rights violations, particularly since the 1979 Islamic revolution, up to 2014. I will try to show how Iranian women have succeeded in taking a stand against human rights violations, even as problems continue. -Mansureh Shojayee 12/18/14

Iran Slams U.S. Fight Against IS, Backs Russia's Push For Syria Talks - Washington is "not serious about fighting terrorism," Iran's deputy foreign minister has said, in a sharply worded criticism of the United States and its allies fighting against the Islamic State (IS) militants in Syria and Iraq, according to Russian media reports. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE 12/18/14

Iran, Britain to discuss reopening of respective embassies - A group of Iranian MPs has been invited by the British House of Commons to travel to London to discuss the reopening of the British Embassy in Tehran. IRNA reports that according to Iranian MP Abbasali Mansouri Arani, there is much hope that the two countries will open their respective embassies in the coming year. 12/18/14

Project Pressure captures Iran's melting glaciers - Project Pressure has created the first open source glacier archive, recording the environmental impact of climate change by documenting the world's changing glaciers. Some of the most endangered glaciers on the planet are in Iran. The rugged mountains of Iran have shaped both the political and the economic history of the country, forming distinct valley communities that remained largely isolated until major roads were built in the 20th Century. -Laurie Balbo, Green Prophet 12/18/14

If It's True on Cuba, It's True on Iran - America's Cuba policy has long been an open joke in international circles. Seldom has a country pursued such a futile policy for so long while clearly recognizing its senselessness. It's probably the foremost example of how American domestic politics can take its foreign policy hostage, leaving everyone a loser. -Trita Parsi and Ryan Costello, Huffington Post 12/18/14

UN: Freeze Funding of Iran Counter-Narcotics Efforts - he United Nations agency charged with combating illicit drug trafficking should withdraw its support for counter-narcotics police operations in Iranuntil the death penalty for drug offenses is abolished, six rights groups said in a letter published today. The groups made the plea after Iran's judiciary hanged 18 alleged drug traffickers within 24 hours on December 3, 2014, bringing the number of drug offenders executed in the country during 2014 to at least 318. 12/18/14

Activist Iranian woman Mahdieh Golroo in jail for nearly two months without charges - Golroo, a prominent women's rights activist, was arrested in 2009 and released after 30 months in jail. She was arrested again about two months ago after she took part in a protest in front of Parliament calling for action against acid-throwing attacks on women. 12/17/14

Friends, Not Just Enemies, of an Iranian Nuclear Deal are Imperiling It - U.S. and Iranian negotiators are in Geneva resuming work on an agreement to limit Iran's nuclear program. Whether the negotiations succeed in producing a deal is still very much in doubt, but not because it is doubtful that there is a deal to be had. -Paul R. Pillar 12/17/14

Film Director Abbas Kiarostami visits Tehran Peace Museum - Celebrated filmmaker Abbas Kiarostami has visited the Tehran Peace Museum at the invitation of Hassan Hassani-Sadi, a war veteran who is a curator of the museum, some Persian news agencies reported on Saturday. 12/17/14

Reports of Ahmadinejad administration's corruption called "tip of iceberg" - The head of Iran's Expediency Council said on Tuesday December 16 that the administration cannot fully report on the depth of the problems it has inherited from the former administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, adding that only "the tip of the iceberg of corruption" has been revealed so far. 12/17/14

Iran's President, Revolutionary Guards 'Enjoy Very Good Relations' - Mohammad Ali Jafari, the commander of Iran's powerful Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), says President Hassan Rohani and the IRGC enjoy " very good relations," based on mutual trust. Jafari was reacting to a question regarding recent comments by Rohani, who warned against the monopolization of power and the spread of corruption in Iran, saying that corruption is brought about when guns, money, and media are concentrated in one institution. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 12/17/14

Finalists Announced for 'Freedom: A Shared Dream' Competition - Farhang Foundation is pleased to announce that five finalists have been selected for Freedom: A Shared Dream, an international urban art competition inspired by Cyrus the Great, who ruled the ancient Persian Empire 2,600 years ago and championed the principles of religious diversity and personal freedom for all. 12/17/14

Iran's Justice Minister says administration powerless to end house arrests - Iran's Justice Minister says the administration has no jurisdiction over the opposition leaders' continued house arrest, and this issue can only be decided by the National Security Council. Mostafa PourMohammadi, referring to the house arrest of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavard, said: "I have no particular responsibility regarding this matter." 12/17/14

Iran exports $954M pistachios in eight months - Iran exported $954 million of pistachio in the first eight months of the current Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21, a 67 percent rise compared to the same period last year, the Fars news agency reported on Monday. 12/17/14

Why Does ISIS Hate Shi'a? - ISIS is a close kin to the Wahhabi /Salafi school of Islam in Saudi Arabia and elsewhere. In fact, these people don't see Christians or Jews as first and foremost their main enemy-they see other Muslims who don't share their narrowly exclusionist views as the chief target. Shi'a top the list, for sure, but so do more liberal schools of Sunni Islamic thinking-that is, nearly everybody else. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog 12/17/14

Western-style stores growing in Iran - When Thomas Cristofoletti walked into the Hyperstar supermarket in Shiraz, Iran, he was stopped at the door. He had his camera over his shoulder, and the international-style grocery store was built inside a large mall with a strict policy against photography. -Allison Love, CNN 12/17/14

Marzieh Rasouli Letter to Bahareh Hedayat - Below are excerpts of a letter written by Journalist Marzieh Rasouli, to Bahareh Hedayat, imprisoned student and women's rights activist. Marzieh and Bahareh were in Evin prison together for a short while. Marzieh has been released since, but on December 30, 2014, Bahareh Hedayat will have served a full 5 years of her 10 year prison sentence. 12/16/14

Iran takes 1st place in World Classic Bodybuilding Championships - Iran came first in the IFBB World Classic Bodybuilding Championships 2014 on Sunday. The competitions held in La Nucia, Spain from December 12-15. Iran claimed one gold, one silver and one bronze medal and won the title with 49 points. 12/16/14

Tensions, Slogans During Speech By Hard-Line 'Kayhan' Editor - Tensions were reported at a December 15 speech by Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the ultra-hard-line daily "Kayhan" who spoke at an event at Tehran University about the 2009 antigovernment protests. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 12/16/14

"Tales" director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad wins APSA jury grand prize - Iranian director Rakhshan Bani-Etemad has won one of the two jury grand prizes at the 8th Asia Pacific Screen Award for her acclaimed social drama "Tales". Iranian actress Merila Zarei received a special mention for her performance in "Track 143". Iranian writer/producer/director Reza Dormishian received the APSA Academy NETPAC Development Prize for his second feature film "I'm Not Angry!". 12/16/14

Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand receives the ICHR's prestigious human rights award - The International Center for Human Rights (ICHR) announced today that Mr. Mohammad Sadiq Kaboudvand, received the ICHR's prestigious human rights award for 2014. Although he is currently imprisoned the award recognizes his efforts to defend the right of Iranian Kurds under persecution. 12/16/14

Iran says it warned Australia about hostage-taker's mental problems - The Iranian Foreign Ministry has condemned the hostage-taking incident in Sydney, Australia, adding that it had warned Australian authorities on several occasions about the history and the mental problems of the hostage-taker over the past two decades. 12/16/14

Iran: Nuclear Talks with US Proceed in Good Atmosphere - Iran said on Tuesday bilateral nuclear talks with the United states were proceeding in a good atmosphere despite lingering gaps over key issues such as Tehran's uranium enrichment capacity and how fast economic sanctions should be lifted. -Reuters 12/16/14

The IAEA Faces a Major Credibility Test - On December 11, the spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that his agency was, as Gareth Porter asserted on this website earlier this month, not interested in accepting a recent invitation by Iran to visit Marivan, at least at this time. -Robert Kelley, LobeLog 12/15/14

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended: A Perilous Slippery Slope - Soon after the Iran nuclear talks were recently extended for another seven months (beyond the November 22, 2014 deadline), President Rouhani spoke with the Iranian people in a televised address in which he sought to portray the inconclusive negotiations as a diplomatic victory for Iran, as an indication that his team of negotiators "stood their ground" in the face of excessive demands by the US and its allies. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh 12/15/14

CONFERENCE: From Persepolis to Isfahan: Safeguarding Cultural Heritage - This conference will focus on protecting the cultural heritage of Iran. As is well known cultural heritage worldwide is under threat, and from many countries there are stories of damage to monuments and archaeological sites allied to ongoing deterioration of cultural resources. 12/15/14

Iranian MP slams "completely overt" corruption - Iranian MP Abed Fatahi has spoken out against the widespread nature of corruption in the country, saying it is has become a matter of course in every branch of life. Fatahi told ISKA news on Sunday December 14: "It has now gone beyond under-the-table handouts, it is completely overt." 12/15/14

Iranian economy to grow 2.8% in 2014: Business Monitor - The Iranian economy will grow 2.8 percent in 2014, Business Monitor said in its latest report. Meanwhile, the country's inflation rate is estimated at 23 percent in 2014, according to the report. The Iranian economy will grow by 3.3 percent on average by 2018, the report added. 12/15/14

Internet filters to be custom-fit for each user - Iran's Deputy Communications Minister says Smart Filtering will be implemented on the basis of "age, profession and the needs of users." He said information blocking will be tailored according to the identity of the user. 12/15/14

Tehran's Ovissi gallery exhibits works by three American painters - An exhibition displaying works by three U.S. abstract painters are currently underway at Tehran's Ovissi Gallery. Thirteen works by Sheila Rice, Fernando DeOliviera and Brian Xavier will be on display until December 17 at the exhibit. 12/15/14

Photos: 20 million converge on Karbala for Arbaeen - The number of pilgrims who flocked to the holy city of Karbala for the Arbaeen ceremonies passed the 20-million mark, Iraqi officials announced on Saturday. The head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), Ammar al-Hakim, stated last Monday that the Arbaeen pilgrimage confirms the citizens' stance against the Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant (ISIL) terrorists. 12/14/14

Iranian official says replacing members of US negotiating team has no impact on strategies - Official close to Iranian negotiating team said on Sunday that replacing members of the US negotiating team has no impact on the process but Iranian team will carefully check possible shift in attitudes. 12/14/14

Iran to resume petchem exports to Europe - Iran will soon resume exports of petrochemical products to Europe, which have been banned under the US-led sanctions in recent years. The ban was lifted last year following breakthroughs in nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 group of world powers. 12/14/14

Another Asiatic cheetah sighted in Yazd - Director of Iranian Cheetah Society has announced the sighting and registering of another new Asiatic Cheetah in Yazd Province. Morteza Eslami told Mehr News that a number of camera traps had been placed in each of the cheetah habitats in Iran for an overall observation of the target species. 12/13/14

Now at the Sands Casino: An Iranian Hacker in Every Server - This was no Ocean's Eleven. The hackers were not trying to empty a vault of cash, nor were they after customer credit card data, as in recent attacks on Target (TGT), Neiman Marcus, and Home Depot (HD). This was personal. The perpetrators wanted to punish the company, or, more precisely, its chief executive officer and majority owner, the billionaire Sheldon Adelson (for saying US should drop a nuclear bomb on Iran) -Ben Elgin and Michael Riley, Business Week 12/13/14

IAEA rejects Iran offer to visit Marivan site - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has rejected a visit proposed by Iran to a site in the country's western region of Marivan to investigate allegations of large-scale experiments on explosives. The IAEA claimed on Thursday that the offer does not help address the agency's concerns pertaining to the issue of alleged high-explosive experiments at the site. 12/13/14

Oil prices fall below $60 for first time since July 2009 - Oil prices have fallen below USD 60 for the first time since July 2009 amid mounting evidence that global supplies are far outstripping demand. US benchmark West Texas Intermediate (WTI) for January delivery decreased by 86 cents to USD 59.09 in Friday morning trade in Asia. Brent was also down 52 cents at USD 63.16. 12/12/14

Mortar shelling hits Karbala suburbs as 17 million pilgrims gather for Arbaeen rituals - No Iranian was among the victims of the multiple Karbala suburb explosions Thursday night, the cause of which is cited to be mortar or mini katyusha shelling. The attacks on the largest peaceful gathering of Shia Muslims occured at a time that according to Iraqi sources at least 17 million pilgrims had arrived in Karbala until Thursday to participate in Arbaeen rituals - to be held on Saturday -- and the number is still increasing. 12/12/14

Royan using stem cells to treat kidney diseases - Iranian researchers at Royan Institute are conducting clinical trials to treat chronic and acute kidney disease by using mesenchymal stem cells, an official said. Speaking on the sidelines of the 12th Asian Congress of Urology (ACU), Dr. Reza Moqaddas-Ali, the head of Kidney Group of Stem Cells Research Center affiliated to Royan Institute, added that the researchers have conducted animal trials successfully. 12/12/14

Israel must pay Iran for pipeline project loss: Arbitration panel - A Swiss arbitration panel has ruled that Israel should pay Iran for the loss of its stake in the Eilat-Ashkelon pipeline. The pipeline project was a joint venture by the former Iranian regime and Israel in 1968, but it crashed after the 1979 Islamic Revolution of Iran. 12/12/14

Jailed Iranian activists assess government's record on rights - Abdolfattah Soltani, Saeed Madani, Mehdi Khodayi, Keyvan Samimi and Saeed Razavi issued a statement commending "the relative efforts of the Iranian administration toward improving the situation" in Iran. They expressed support for "the return of expelled professors and students to universities", "the drafting of a citizen's bill of rights", "efforts to remedy environmental problems" and "the approval of a comprehensive plan for free access to information." 12/11/14

Is Iran's "Tsunami" Set to Become the Most Dominant Force in Taekwondo? - In the final bout of the men's -58kg category on Dec. 3, 2014 in an event that is considered the pinnacle of elite taekwondo, the gold medal was won by an Iranian who can boast skill and talent in spades - but is a mere lad who is not only still at high school, but as a 4th poom, does not even hold a black belt. 12/10/14

Israeli Nukes Meets Atomic Irony in the Middle East - The stated rationale for the United States casting on Tuesday one of the very lonely votes it sometimes casts at the United Nations General Assembly, on matters on which almost the entire world sees things differently, warrants some reflection. The resolution in question this time endorsed the creation of a nuclear weapons-free zone in the Middle East and called on Israel to join the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty, ... -Paul Pillar, National Interest 12/10/14

Calls For Release Of Jailed Students, Opposition Figures On Iran's Student Day - Some students in Iran used Student Day, celebrated on December 7 with speeches and other events at universities, to call for the release of opposition figures and jailed students. Iranian semiofficial news agencies Mehr and Fars reported that a speech by President Hassan Rohani at Tehran's University of Medical Sciences was disrupted by students chanting in support of opposition figures. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 12/9/14

Iran's President Rohani warns of corruption from concentration of power - Iranian President Hassan Rohani has referred to the concentration of power as a cause of corruption and he criticized the combination of arms, money, power and the media controlled by one institution. It appears that President Rohani is referring to Iran's Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), which in addition to extensive military power is also widely active in economic projects and the media. 12/9/14

Jason Rezaian's Family Speaks Out - On July 22, Jason Rezaian, an American-Iranian Washington Post reporter, was detained in Tehran by Iranian authorities along with his wife, Yeganeh Salehi, and two other people whose names have been kept private. The reason for the arrests was never publicly announced, and today, more than four months later, everyone but Rezaian has been released. -Jasmin Ramsey, LobeLog 12/9/14

Iran clinches third place in World Cup Taekwondo Team Championships - Iranian taekwondo fighters have managed to secure the third place in the 2014 world cup taekwondo championship. Iran lost to Mexico 39-43 in a furiously close-fought match on Sunday in which the Iranian managing team was heavily critical of the way the Mexicans hosted the competition. 12/9/14

Rise In Cohabitation Has Iran Officials Railing Against 'White Marriage' - Raana and Hamed have been living together for four years. They eat together. They both contribute to the household and share a savings account. They fight "like husbands and wives in a registered marriage." They even wear wedding rings and introduce themselves as a married couple. But they're not. Because, as they also told Iranian daily "Ebtekar" in May, they don't believe in marriage. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 12/8/14

Iranian Court Charges 'Washington Post' Reporter - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry says he is "deeply disappointed" by reports that a "Washington Post" reporter detained in Iran for more than four months has been formally charged. The U.S. newspaper reported on December 6 that Jason Rezaian spent about 10 hours in a Tehran court on December 6 while his case was reviewed by a judge. 12/8/14

Why Hasn't the IAEA Followed Up Iran's Inspection Offer? - When Iran offered last month to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Marivan region near the border with Iraq, the IAEA might have been expected to respond with alacrity to the opportunity. -Gareth Porter, LobeLog 12/8/14

ISIS Eclipses Iran as Threat Among US Public - Shibley Telhami, the Anwar Sadat Professor for Peace and Development at the University of Maryland, has just released a major new poll of US public opinion on the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. The survey also contains some very interesting data that suggest Islamic State (ISIS or IS) is now seen as a significantly greater threat to the United States than Iran. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 12/8/14

Unexpected Backlash to New Iran Sanctions in Senate Committee - A new Iran sanctions bill being floated by Senator Robert Menendez (D-NJ) would force the P5+1 into a weaker deal or backfire by leading to Iranian nuclear expansion, according to experts handpicked by Menendez to testify before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee yesterday. -Ryan Costello, NIAC 12/6/14

Photos: The Art Of Turquoise Inlaying - Isfahan, Iran - Turquoise inlaying is a kind of handicraft made by implanting small pieces of turquoise stone in mosaic fashion on the surface of the dishes, ornaments and decorative objects with copper, brass, silver or bronze bases. -Alie Sa'adatpour 12/6/14

Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video Exhibition in Los Angeles - The Craft & Folk Art Museum (CAFAM) and Farhang Foundation present Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video. This juried exhibition features photography and video works from artists around the world who have documented contemporary, intimate life relating to Iran and the Iranian diaspora. The exhibition will be on view at CAFAM from January 25 through May 3, 2015. 12/5/14

Photos: Saffron Farms in Ghaenat, Iran - Iran has long been a significant source of high-quality saffron production and export which accounts for up to 95 percent of saffron production in the world. These photos by Mohsen Noferesti show saffron farming in the city of Ghaenat in northeastern Iran. 12/4/14

The Phantom F-4 Phantom? Iran Denies Air Strikes On IS In Iraq - Iran has denied claims by the Pentagon that its F4 Phantom fighter jets carried out strikes against Islamic State (IS) militants in Iraq. U.S. officials told Reuters on December 3 that Iran's F-4 phantoms had struck IS positions in the eastern Diyala province in the last several days. -Joanna Paraszczuk, RFE 12/4/14

Iran's Enrichment Offer: A Postscript - Since Nov. 11, 2013, Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have been cooperating better on the so-called "possible military dimension" (PMD) of the Iranian case. Will this incline the IAEA secretariat to react more forensically than in the past to this latest Iranian dismissal of material allegedly found on a laptop a decade ago? -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 12/4/14

Photos: Iran, Turkmen, Kazakh presidents attend landmark ceremony to open joint railway - Iranian, Turkmen and Kazakh Presidents met and conferred in Incheborun railway station on Wednesday in a landmark ceremony to celebrate putting into operation of joint railway networks. President Rouhani said the project will pave the way for economic development of the three nations and the entire region. 12/3/14

Iranian director Bahram Beizaii to present "Ardaviraf's Report" at Stanford University - Prominent Iranian playwright and director Bahram Beyzaie will stage reading performances of his latest play "Ardaviraf's Report" at Stanford University on January 24 and 25. 11/28/14

IAAB Announces Study Abroad in Iran: YAR Institute - IAAB is extremely excited to announce the launch of a three-week full-immersion summer course in Iran, under its groundbreaking new initiative, the YAR Institute: Youth Advancing Research. IAAB's YAR Institute is designed to create the next generation of leaders informed and engaged on Iran. 11/25/14

No Justice for Survivors of Acid Attacks in Iran - The offenders of the acid attacks in Isfahan, similar to other serial crimes in Islamic Republic of Iran, will not be brought to justice as the perpetuators of these crimes are being protected. The infuriating aspect of these injustices for Iranian people is that the perpetuators of these crimes are still at large and not facing any sentence while the people who are exercising their rights to protest these crimes and holding state accountable for putting an end to these acts of violence are being arrested and detained. -Elahe Amani 11/25/14

Iran's unresolved conflict between reformers and fundamentalists - As we get close to the November 24 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear deal to be reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, Britain, France and Germany), another conflict has been raging in Iran between the moderates and the hardliners, a contest that could be regarded as a culture war between two different ideologies and two different versions of Islam. -Farhang Jahanpour 11/12/14

Nesta Ramazani's Persian Cooking: A Table of Exotic Delights - Persian Cooking is the mother of English language Persian cookbooks. For forty years, this book has been a staple in kitchens of those who enjoy the cooking of Iran. This fortieth anniversary edition is revised and updated to take into account present tastes; the better availability of ingredients; and modern cooking tools and methods. 11/8/14

37 Organizations to Congress: Quit Playing Politics with Deal to Prevent Iran War - The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) was one of 37 organizations to send a letter to Congress today regarding the roles of Congress and the President in sealing a nuclear deal with Iran. The letter was prompted when certain lawmakers reacted harshly to a New York Times report that, if there is a nuclear deal with Iran, the White House plans to initially use executive action to temporarily suspend certain sanctions. 10/24/14

Iranians protest rash of acid assaults on women - Iranians took to the streets in Isfahan and Tehran to protest the recent incidents of acid throwing in Isfahan and demand that the authorities provide security for all citizens. In recent weeks in a number of incidents, women have been assaulted with acid, leaving at least one dead and many others struggling with serious burns to their hands and faces. 10/23/14

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last updated on Mon Dec 22 15:15:36 GMT 2014