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March 18 2019
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Russia dethrones Iran, takes the crown at Men's Freestyle World Cup

- Iran fell short in the final match of the 2019 United World Wrestling (UWW) Freestyle World Cup, losing to hosts Russia 9-1 at the Yakutsk's Triumph Sports Training Center. The Russian Federation claimed their seventh overall Freestyle World Cup title and first gold since their title-winning performance at the 2011 Makhachkala World Cup. 03/17/19

Defying US sanctions, Iran inaugurates new South Pars gas field phases

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated four new phases of the huge offshore South Pars gas field in a move, which has been seen as a clear sign of the failure of US sanctions against the country. During an inaugural ceremony in the southern coastal city of Kangan on Sunday, Iran's president officially launched phases 13, 22, 23, and 24 of South Pars gas field, noting that despite all the US pressures on the Iranian nation, especially through the imposition of unilateral economic sanctions, Iranians remain steadfast and resistant and continue to progress. 03/17/19

Good Iraqi-Iranian Relations Are Not A Reason To Worry

- Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been visiting Iraq this week-a friendly, extended visit that has yielded several bilateral agreements on trade and transportation. Such an event causes heartburn, of course, within the Trump administration and for others who believe that the only useful thing to do to Iran is to try to isolate and cripple it. -Paul Pillar 03/17/19

Iranians in Truro celebrate ancient spring festival of Nowruz

- Crowds of people attend Persian New Year party at Dal AC featuring live music, keeping alive a 3,000-year-old tradition -Fram Dinshaw, Truro Daily, Canada 03/17/19

Tehran Ranks Near Bottom In Mercer's 2019 Quality of Living Report

- Western European cities dominated Mercer's 2019 Quality of Living report comparing the quality of life in cities around the world, while Tehran ranked near the bottom, at 199 out of 231 cities surveyed. Dubai (74) and Abu Dhabi (78) in the United Arab Emirates, Tel Aviv (104) in Israel, and Muscat (105) in Oman were among the cities in the Middle East that were ranked higher than Tehran. 03/17/19

U.S. Navy Veteran Sentenced By Iran To 10 Years In Prison, Lawyer Says

- The lawyer of a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran says his client has been given a 10-year prison sentence. Washington-based lawyer Mark Zaid told AP that Michael White was convicted of insulting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and posting private information online. -RFE/RL 03/17/19

What Did Rouhani Really Get From His Iraq Visit?

- n Iran, President Hassan Rouhani's recent visit to Iraq has been hailed as a great victory. In particular, Iranian officials and media have portrayed the visit as demonstrating the inability of the United States as well as Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arabs to undermine Tehran's position in Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 03/17/19

Iran: UN expert concerned by crackdown on protests and strikes

- Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and labour rights activists in Iran signal an increasingly severe State response to protests and strikes in the country, a UN expert said today. Javaid Rehman, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said rising inflation, difficult working conditions, late or unpaid wages, falling living standards, and increased challenges in accessing adequate work, food, health care, and water was making life harder for many Iranians. -OHCHR 03/16/19

Qassem Soleimani is a master strategist, not a cartoon villain

- Last night, BBC Two aired a primetime documentary on a senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who has become a figure of nationalist adulation in Iran and a kind of bogeyman in the West: General Qassem Soleimani, The programme narrates recent decades of Middle Eastern history in light of Iran's meddling, with Soleimani, the leader of a special unit responsible for overseas operations, known as the Qods Force, as a driving force. -Marco Carnelos, Middle East Eye 03/16/19

Veteran Iranian Lawmaker And Former Guards Commander Convicted Of Rape

- A veteran member of parliament and a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been convicted of rape, the head of the Justice Department, Gholamhossein Esmaeili, announced on March 15. Hours later, the IRGC-run Fars news agency reported that Esmaeili was referring to the MP for the city of Malekan, Salman Khodadadi, who is chairman of the legislative body's Committee for Social Affairs. -Radio Farda 03/16/19

Featured Video

Mahdieh Mohammadkhani - "Welcome Norooz!"

42 Human Rights Groups Support Renewal of UN Special Rapporteur's Mandate on Iran - A coalition of diverse human rights organizations have signed an open letter supporting the renewal of the UN special rapporteur's (SR's) mandate on Iran. Javaid Rehman, a Pakistani-born British legal scholar, was appointed to the position in July 2018 after former SR Asma Jahangir passed away in February 2018. -CHRI 03/16/19

Gantz Denies Sex Tape After Iranians Hack Phone, Says There's No Threat of Extortion - Benny Gantz, the chariman of the Kahol Lavan political alliance, said on Friday no compromising data was found on the phone breached by Iran, and claimed the whole matter was 'a political spin' meant to obscure Israel's real issues. Earlier, Gantz reassured his part's members that there are no sex tapes of him. -Haaretz 03/16/19

PHOTOS: Norooz Khani Persian New Year Ritual In Kordkouy, Northern Iran - Persian New Year Norooz is around the corner. This is a festive occasion for Iranians and many other countries in the region. There are many local cheerful customs associated with Norooz. One such custom is called "Norooz Khani" which is performed in some of the villages and towns. -Marjohn Sheikhi 03/15/19

Photos: Tabriz Grand Bazaar Busy With Norooz Shopping - Iranian citities are abuzz with excitement in the countdown to the Persian New Year, Norooz which this year coincides with Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 01:28:27 AM Tehran time. These photos show the historic Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, in northwestern Iran, busy with people doing their Norooz shopping. Tabriz Grand Bazaar is one of the greatest indoor markets in Iran and Asia. -Morteza Rahmani 03/15/19

IRAN: Qoliyan and Bakhshi Held Without Bail or Access to Lawyers for Almost Two Months, Transferred to Prisons in Ahvaz - Despite the apparent end of investigations by judicial authorities against labor activist Esmail Bakhshi and freelance reporter Sepideh Qoliyan, the two have not been offered bail and continue to be held, without access to a lawyer, for almost two months, awaiting trial. No date has been set for the trial. -CHRI 03/15/19

Tehran Says Renault Will Resume Operations In Iran - Following lengthy negotiations, giant French carmaker Renault will return to Iran, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Farshad Moqimi (Moghimi) announced March 14. Moqimi was cited by state-run media as saying that a new "mechanism" had been devised for Renault, enabling it to resume manufacturing in Iran despite U.S. sanctions targeting companies doing business in Iran. Representatives of Renault have neither confirmed nor denied the minister's statements. -Radio Farda 03/15/19

US officials offered my friend cash to take down Tehran's power grid - It took a country-wide power outage in Venezuela, whispers of a cyberattack, and smug tweets from US officials to make me suddenly recall the cloak-and-dagger story of a close Iranian-American friend nine years ago. My friend, an engineer, revealed to me in 2010 that he was approached by two "State Department employees" who offered him $250,000 to "do something very simple" during his upcoming trip to Tehran. -Sharmine Narwani, Medium 03/15/19

A Photo Op in Najaf Reveals an Iran That Could Be - As far as photographs go, it's a rather inartful moment. Three aging men dressed in dark clothes sit in a spartan room with small glasses of heavily-brewed tea and a tissue box resting before them, as they engage in conversation. But to Iranians and Iran-watchers the March 13 meeting marked a historical moment. The image of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani seated with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif graced the front pages of almost every Iranian newspaper the next day. -Borzou Daragahi, Atlantic Council 03/15/19

Iran Asking Canada For Extradition Of Marjan Sheikholeslami In A Financial Case - Iran's General Prosecutor says that Tehran has referred to Interpol the case of a woman in Canada accused in his country's petrochemicals scandal and expects extradition. The news website of Iran's Judiciary quotes Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri as saying that an arrest warrant for Marjan Sheikholeslami has been issued and sent to Interpol, and he hopes "they will cooperate". -Radio Farda 03/14/19

Widow of Dual National Who Died in Iranian Custody Sues Judiciary for Banning Her from Travel - Maryam Mombeini, the widow of Iranian Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami who died under suspicious circumstances in Tehran's Evin Prison, has sued a judicial official for extending a travel ban imposed on her a year ago, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI 03/14/19

AFC Beach Soccer Championship: Japan win epic clash against Iran - Japan came from two goals down to secure a place in the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019 semi-finals, after earning a stunning 3-2 extra time win against defending champions Iran on Thursday. The loss comes as a crushing blow to Iran, who will miss the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after having qualified for seven of the last eight editions, and finishing third in 2017. -AFC 03/14/19

Gas Pipeline Explosion In Southwest Iran Leaves 4 Dead, 6 Injured - At least four people were killed on Thursday in an explosion of the pipelines that link the gas network from Mahshahr city to Ahvaz city in southwestern Iran, a senior provincial official said. A bus, a water tanker truck and a private car had also caught fire amid the explosion. -MNA 03/14/19

U.S. Looks To Cut Iran Oil Exports '20 Percent' To Below 1 Million Barrels A Day - Reuters on March 13 quoted two sources familiar with the matter in its report, quoting one as saying the "goal right now is to reduce Iranian oil exports to under 1 million barrels per day." The source added that the administration of President Donald Trump was concerned that if it pushed for a complete and immediate shutdown of Iran oil purchases, it would cause a large rise in prices on the world market. -RFE/RL 03/14/19

Iran's President Rouhani meets Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf, Iraq - President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday met with Iraq's top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the holy city of Najaf on the last day of his historic visit to neighboring Iraq. Ayatollah Sistani welcomed any step toward expansion of Iraq's ties with its neighbors based on mutual interests, respect for the sovereignty and not interfering in the internal affairs of one another. -Tehran Times 03/14/19

The Rise Of The Hardliners - Here's the foreign policy question of questions in 2019: Are President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, all severely weakened at home and with few allies abroad, reckless enough to set off a war with Iran? -Bob Dreyfuss, LobeLog 03/14/19

Billions Of Dollars Involved In Two Corruption Trials In Iran - The court has brought charges against 14 individuals, three of whom who are living abroad and are represented by their lawyers, said the prosecutor. It is still not known if the lawyers have been appointed by the suspects or the court. Tehran prosecutor Dolatabadi added that a major part of the case is about a "runaway suspect" he has named as Marjan Sheikholeslami, who has been referred to in the indictment as the main partner of Reza Hamzehlou, the prime suspect. -Radio Farda 03/14/19

Iran's IRGC holds massive drone drills in Persian Gulf region - Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) holds offensive-combat drone exercises in the Persian Gulf region, involving dozens of RQ-170 stealth unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that Tehran has manufactured based on a model of a US Sentinel drone it captured unharmed in 2011. -Press TV 03/14/19

Iranian Lawyers Join Global Backlash to Iran's Sentencing of Rights Defender - A group of Iranian lawyers has added its voice to international criticism of Tehran for sentencing a female colleague to additional years in prison in relation to her work in defending Iranian rights activists. In an open letter to the Iranian people dated Tuesday and sent by one of the authors to VOA Persian, the group of 16 lawyers said the multiyear sentencing of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, announced by Iranian state media Monday, violates the Iranian constitution's commitments to human rights and fair trials. -Michael Lipin, VOA 03/13/19

How to celebrate the Persian New Year - Persian New Year festivities last 13 days during the month of March. The holiday - rooted in Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion that predates Christianity and Islam - has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years in Iran. -Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle 03/13/19

Persian New Year, Nowruz, Is Coming Up. Here's How (And Where) To Celebrate Around D.C. - Spring in D.C. is marked by certain annual rituals-a flood of cherry blossoms and the bigger flood of tourists they bring with them (cue rant about navigating Metro escalators), seemingly endless rainy days (I'm looking at you April 2016), and the return of rooftop everything (actual views optional). -dcist 03/13/19

Reformist Iranian Politician Abolfazl Ghadyani Ordered to Copy Out by Hand Supreme Leader's Book - Veteran Iranian politician Abolfazl Ghadyani has been sentenced to two years in prison for the charge of "insulting the supreme leader" and one for the charge of "propaganda against the state," the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Ghadyani has also been ordered to copy out by hand three books including "Doshmanshenasi" (Enemy-ology), a collection of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's political views about his enemies. -CHRI 03/13/19

Iran's President Rouhani meets with Grand Ayatollah Sistani on final day of Iraq visit - In a historic meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has held talks with Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf on the final day of his landmark visit to the neighboring Arab state. Rouhani sat down with Ayatollah Sistani at his residence on Wednesday after visiting the shrine of Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shia Muslims. -Press TV 03/13/19

Iran overtakes Qatar in South Pars with new gas phases - Iran on Sunday will launch four new development phases of the world's largest gas field at South Pars with a capacity to produce 112 million cubic meters per day, the Ministry of Petroleum says. President Hassan Rouhani will travel to Bushehr in the Persian Gulf to inaugurate two refineries built with $10 billion of investment. With their launch, Iran's daily gas production will surpass that of Qatar with which it shares the offshore field. -Press TV 03/13/19

Do clothes make the woman? An Iranian artist's search for identity - The works of Mona Hakimi-Schueler, an Iranian artist based in Berlin, depicts Iranian women not as victims but strong individuals whether in a hijab, summer dress or armor. -Zahra Alipour, Al Monitor 03/13/19

Iran, North Korea, And The Pitfalls Of "Maximum Pressure" - Donald J. Trump's hitherto failed "maximum pressure" approach to Iran, as well as for that matter North Korea, begs the question what the US president's true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail. -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog 03/13/19

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Says She Has Been Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison - Iranian defense attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh told her husband she has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Her statement follows media reports quoting the hardline judge overseeing her case who said she has been sentenced to seven years in prison. -CHRI 03/12/19

Iran: Countering Extremism Through Inclusiveness - The Iranian government has long accused some of its neighboring states of using terrorism and insurgency to destabilize the country. There may be some truth to these accusations. But Iran's treatment of minority groups has also contributed to the rise of militancy. -Fatemeh Aman 03/12/19

Will endangered Kaiser's mountain newt survive people's hankering for variety in Norooz? - Kaiser's mountain newt, the world's most attractive salamander species, confined to western Iran, is driven on the brink of extinction due to habitat degradation as well as uncontrolled overharvesting for national and international pet trade which pace up near the Iranian New Year celebration (Norooz, starting on March 21). -Faranak Bakhtiari 03/12/19

50+ Retired Generals and Diplomats Urge the United States to Reenter Iran Deal - The United States should rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), put limitations on Iran's nuclear program that provided assurances that it would not be used to develop weapons, improved American intelligence about potential future development and significantly improved the security of the United States and our allies. -National Interest 03/12/19

Prime Suspect In Large Corruption Case Linked To Khamenei-Led Enterprise - Reports from Tehran say the prime suspect in the financial corruption case involving Iran's petrochemical industry is linked to a body under the aegis of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 03/12/19

Iran, Iraq sign five MoUs for economic, healthcare cooperation - Iran and Iraq have signed five memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors. The documents were signed by senior officials of the two countries in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad on Monday. -Press TV 03/12/19

Record corruption scandal puts spotlight on Iranians in Iran, US - The revelation of perhaps the biggest corruption scandal in Iranian history has exposed domestic political fault lines and is already reverberating as far away as Washington, DC. -Rohollah Faghihi, Al Monitor 03/12/19

Interview With Emile Nakhleh On Bahrain - Two decades after sitting on the throne, Bahrain looks like a wounded corpse waiting for a savior. During the year when King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa assumed power in 1999, the country's public debt stood at $370 million. Today, however, it is closer to $30 billion, according to the latest Central Bank of Bahrain data. -Bahrain Mirror via LobeLog 03/12/19

Iran's President Rohani Kicks Off First Official Visit To Iraq, Hails 'Special Relations' - Iranian President Hassan Rohani has arrived in Baghdad for his first official visit to Iraq, state television reported, as Iraq is under pressure from the United States to limit ties with its neighbor. Iraq, which receives financial and military support from Washington, has attempted to balance its relations with the United States and Iran, which carries significant influence with members of Iraq's Shi'ite population. -RFE/RL 03/11/19

Iran finishes second at Sabre World Cup - Iran finished in second place at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) men's Sabre World Cup in Padua, Italy on Sunday. Team Melli, consisting of Ali Pakdaman, Mojtaba Abedini, Mohammad Fotouhi and Mohammad Rahbari, lost to reigning world champions South Korea 45-28 in the final match. 03/11/19

Norooz Spring Festival kicks off Persian New Year celebrations - People gathered in Union Square Saturday, March 9, 2019 to commence Persian New Year Celebrations. Norooz (also spelled Nowruz) takes place on March 21 this year, however traditional activities happen for the weeks before and after the actual date. This event was hosted by Norooz Outreach and is the first event in what they anticipate will be an annual recurrence. -SF Examnanier 03/11/19

Tehran theater group to host Woody Allen's "Old Saybrook" - A group of Iranian actors will perform a reading of Woody Allen's "Old Saybrook" at Shahrzad Theater in Tehran on March 15. Sajjad Qatei is the director of the reading performance in which he will also play a role, and Mahmud Rashidi is the producer of the production. -Tehran Times 03/11/19

Prisoners of Their Own Rebellion: The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran - Members of the Trump administration have been providing support to a political sect that aims to topple the Iranian regime in Tehran. Around 2,000 of its members live in a camp in Albania. Former members say it subjected followers to torture and psychological terror. -Luisa Hommerich, Spiegle 03/11/19

Congratulations to David Emami, City Councilor of Happy Valley - "I am humbled, appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to serve as Oregon's first ever Iranian-American City Councilor. I hope to inspire others out there to achieve their dreams and It is my absolute goal to represent ALL people of Happy Valley." -NIAC Action 03/11/19

U.S. Peace Delegation to Iran Welcomed by Foreign Minister, Met by FBI Agents on Return - Code Pink delegation members Medea Benjamin, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, speak about the highlights of their trip, a 90 min meeting with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and more. -Real News Network 03/11/19

Billionaire Iranian Football Sponsor On Trial For Financial Corruption - The prosecutor in the corruption trial of a super-rich sponsor of major Iranian football (soccer) clubs, says one of the suspects in the case had opened 242 bank accounts within a day in his 8-year-old son's name, Iranian news agencies reported. -Radio Farda 03/11/19

Iranian Students Win Award At The "Architecture At Zero" Competition In U.S. - An Iranian team from University of Science and Technology has gained a citation award at The 2019 International Architecture at Zero competition in the US. Students of 'the School of Architecture and Environmental Design' of the Iranian university claimed third place by winning the Citation Award along with three other teams from the US and one from Poland. 03/10/19

Thousands of Iranian Teachers Launch Third Strike Demanding Fair Pay, Universal Education - Thousands of teachers went on throughout Iran for the third time in less than a year March 3-5, 2019, to demand fair pay, the release of their imprisoned colleagues and free, universal education. "The most important reason for the strike is that the government does not feel obligated to implement Article 30 of the Constitution," Javad La'l Mohammadi, an activist teacher based in the city of Mashhad, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on March 5. -CHRI 03/10/19

CODEPINK In Iran: Day 10-Last Day - We have had a great trip to Iran. We have learned much about Iranian life and culture, and despite the sanctions, the excellent medical care experienced by a member of our delegation, as well as about Iranian government policies and concerns. -Ann Wright, CODEPINK 03/10/19

Iranian Couple Arrested Over "Indecent" Shopping Mall Marriage Proposal - Iranian police have arrested a couple for "outraging public decency" after they got engaged in front of a crowd at a shopping mall. Video of the public proposal in the western city of Arak appeared on social media on March 8, showing the pair standing amid rose petals in a heart shape on the floor. After the proposal, the woman can be seen hugging the man as the crowd cheers. -RFE/RL 03/10/19

Are The MEK And Regime Change Finally Running Out Of Road? - The "regime change in Iran" bandwagon-driven by warmongers, fueled by false prophesy, and hurtling pell-mell down the road to Iran contains various characters, some new and some old. The bandwagon itself is an ideological construct created 40 years ago in response to the Iranian Revolution. -Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, LobeLog 03/10/19

Outspoken Lawmaker Tells Iran Judiciary 'Stop Wrong Practices', As UN Issues Critical Report - The outspoken Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Motahari has called on Iran's new Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeesi to "stop some wrong practices" in the judicial system. In a letter, Motahari, representing Tehran, has put forward five requests including one that calls on Raeesi (Raeisi) to stop limiting the number of defense lawyers political prisoners can choose from. -Radio Farda 03/10/19

Open Letter to National Geographic: Failure to Report Context in Iran is Dangerous - National Geographic has failed to report on the death of a prominent wildlife conservationist in Iran in an article about wildlife conservation in Iran. The conservationist, Dr. Kavous Seyed-Emami, died in Iranian custody in Tehran's Evin Prison in February 2018. -CHRI 03/10/19

The Politicisation of Fashion - Before I rush out of college, slightly late for pre-talk mingling, I catch up with a friend currently living in Berlin who did her exchange semester in Iran two years ago. I remember the media coverage of the Iran elections I watched prior to visiting her and my excitement about taking my first long-distance flight to 'contemporary Paris' - fashion-wise this was the image of Tehran I had been presented with. -Sarah Naima, Varsity 03/10/19

Iran medical societies write to UN in condemnation of US bans - Sixty-six Iranian scientific medical societies have written to the UN chief in condemnation of the "inhumane and medieval" American sanctions targeting Iran's health sector. In a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released the letter, which had been written to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on February 23. -Press TV 03/8/19

French President Invites Iranian Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to G7 Gender Equality Advisory Council - The husband of imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh has received a letter from French President Emmanuel Macron inviting Sotoudeh to be part of an advisory council created to advise the Group of 7 (G7) countries on gender equality issues. Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, received the letter the day after news spread that his wife, a prominent lawyer and human rights defender who is now in Iran's Evin Prison, had been convicted of "national security" charges in Iran. -CHRI 03/8/19

US Lawmakers Renew Bipartisan Bid to Press Iran to Free Americans - U.S. lawmakers are making a renewed bipartisan effort to pressure Iran into freeing at least four Americans and a U.S. permanent resident viewed by Washington as hostages of the Islamic Republic. -Michael Lipin, VOA 03/8/19

Labor Groups In Iran Ask For A Five Fold Increase In Minimum Wage - Three independent labor groups in Iran have demanded a minimum monthly wage of 70 million rials for the coming Iranian year. Based on current free market exchange rates, the requested amount would be equal to approximately $540 monthly. 03/8/19

From poachers to protectors, meet the rangers of Masjed Mountain - EACH EVENING AS the sun sets over Masjed Mountain in central Iran, a group of volunteer patrolmen scan the craggy slopes for poachers making their way down with the day's kill. If the poacher is a first-time offender, the rangers will reason with him and try to convince him to change his ways. They're well-placed to make a compelling case: the eight or so rangers of the Masjed Protected Area are all former hunters themselves. -Kayleigh E. Long, National Geographic 03/8/19

'3 Faces': An Urgent Plea Sends A Director And Actress To A Rural Iranian Village - During the first eight years of a 20-year filmmaking ban imposed by the Iranian government, Jafar Panahi has been unable to leave the country, but he keeps pushing his creative limits, proving the adage that necessity is the mother of invention. -Scott Tobias, NPR 03/8/19

Hawkish Israeli PM threatens to block Iran oil shipments - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has issued another military threat against Iran, this time saying that the regime's navy could take action against Iranian oil shipments. -Press TV 03/8/19

Food of Persia on The Splendid Table - - The Splendid Table, a podcast and radio broadcast program with host Francis Lam, will be celebrating the food of Persia ahead of Norooz, the Persian New Year. The episode will air on Friday, March 8 from local public radio stations and will be posted on The Splendid Table website. Several guests are scheduled to appear on the show whom Francis will be talking to including Samin Nosrat, Naz Deravian, Najmieh Batmanglij and Behzad Jamshidi. 03/7/19

Iranian Belgian Academic Arrested in Iran on Unspecified "Security Charges" - A dual national academic who has taught at the University of Tehran and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium was arrested on "security charges," a senior Iranian official revealed on March 4, 2019. "The University of Tehran has submitted a request to colleagues at the judiciary who are looking into whether he deserves to be given a break to avoid harming scientific ties between the University of Tehran and that university [in Belgium]," he told the state-funded Mehr News Agency. -CHRI 03/7/19

Geologist Says The Ground Is Sinking In 300 Regions Of Iran - The head of Iran's Geological Agency says that in 300 plains in Iran the earth is sinking and huge sinkholes are appearing. Alireza Shahidi says that the capital city Tehran is sinking 35 centimeters (more than a foot) a year, ISNA reports. -Radio Farda 03/7/19

Dubious Caspian Sea Water Transfer Project Moving Ahead In Iran - A highly controversial proposal to transfer water from the Caspian Sea to the parched inland province of Semnan has reportedly been approved by Iran's parliament, much to the chagrin of environmentalists and coastal residents. -Radio Farda 03/7/19

US, Rights Activists Slam Iran's Appointment of New Judiciary Chief - The United States and rights activists are criticizing Iran for selecting as its new judiciary chief a conservative cleric allegedly involved in mass executions of dissidents in the 1980s. An Iranian judiciary spokesman confirmed in a Sunday news conference that Ebrahim Raisi will succeed another conservative cleric, Sadeq Amoli Larijani, as judiciary chief on Friday. Iranian media had predicted the move since Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei promoted Larijani to the role of head of Iran's Expediency Council in December. -Michael Lipin and Ramin Haghjoo, VOA 03/7/19

Photos: Samanoo Festival in Daraq, Iran - Samanoo festival, a joyous occasion where people cook Samanoo - a traditional Iranian sweet paste made entirely from mashed germinated wheat - was celebrated in Daraq, North Khorasan Province, on Thursday March 28, 2019. Some 60 participants took part in the festival. Samanoo, prepared in advance of arrival of Persian New Year Norooz, is one of the components of the Haftsin spread for Norooz. -Maryam Davarnia, Mehr 03/6/19

Nasrin Sotoudeh, Iranian Attorney Who Defended Hijab Protesters, Convicted of "National Security" Crimes - One of Iran's most outspoken human rights defenders, Sotoudeh has been jailed since June 2018 when she was detained in part for representing women in a court of law who had been arrested for peacefully protesting the state's compulsory hijab law. She was convicted on the basis of several charges but has not received the verdict or her sentence in writing, her husband Reza Khandan told CHRI on March 5, 2019. -CHRI 03/6/19

PHOTOS: Tehran's First International Conference Of Modern Power Trains - The first international conference of modern power trains technologies in road, rail, air, sea and stationary applications with special focus on electric vehicles - battery, fuel cell and solar-powered vehicles - was held at Iran University of Technology (IUST) on February 26-27, 2019 in Tehran. -Maryam Kamyab, Mehr 03/6/19

2019 AFC Champions League: Al-Duhail defeats Esteghlal 3-0, Persepolis ties with Pakhtakor 1-1 - In Doha, Al-Duhail of Qatar have overpowered Esteghlal of Iran 3-0 in 2019 AFC Champions League's group C. Meanwhile, Persepolis of Iran have begun their 2019 AFC Champions League Campaign with a 1-all draw against Pakhtakor of Uzbekistan in Group D. 03/6/19

Autistic Children in Iran Segregated and Punished for Having Learning Disabilities - Responding to news of an autistic child being treated inhumanely in a school, Iranian officials blamed the child and the parents for not putting their kids in a learning institute for "special" children. But according to the testimonies of dozens of parents of autistic children in Iran, the "special" schools are poorly equipped to care for and support their children's learning needs, due to employing poorly trained staff and lack of resources. 03/6/19

Iran-U.S. differences non-negotiable: President Rouhani - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Wednesday that differences between Iran and the U.S. are non-negotiable. "The differences with the U.S. cannot be negotiated and compromised on, we should make the enemy back off and continue our path of glory," he said, addressing a gathering of people in Lahijan, Gilan province. 03/6/19

Iranian forum looks to address so-called 'sexual crisis' - A 1970s building on Tehran's Enghelab (Revolution) Avenue that ends in Azadi (Liberty) Square has recently been the site for a series of meetings on an unusual subject given Iranian social norms. Every Tuesday, experts and members of the public come together there to talk, sometimes heatedly, about sex. -Fereshteh Sadeghi, Al-Monitor 03/6/19

Triumph of Self-Empowerment over Darkened Despotic Tyranny - Legend has it that once upon a distant past juncture, ZaHawk a mythological, tyrannical, unjust, and cruel despot, ruled over Persia. Confiscating an ambivalent hiatus with his absolute power, he crowned himself on the Persian peacock throne as if he was immortal and anointed by an imaginary vengeful supreme. He reigned with iron fist, suffocating people with hegemony and heavy taxations over the vast Persian Empire to the fatal detriment of most inhabitants he mistreated as his serfs and slaves. -Davood N. Rahni 03/5/19

VERNADOC documenting historical windmills (Asbads) in Iran - The International Camp of Vernacular Architecture Documentation (VERNADOC) have commenced documenting arrays of the centuries-old windmills, located in eastern parts of Iran. Vertical-axis windmills, which are locally known as "Asbads", are scattered in the provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Khorasan Razavi and South Khorasan. They bear testimony to the human being's adaption with the nature through turning environmental obstacles into opportunities. 03/5/19

US-Based Environmentalist Detained in Iran's Kurdistan Province - Environmentalist Afshin Sheikholeslami Vatani, a US permanent resident, was arrested on February 17, 2019, at his father's home in the city of Sanandaj, the capital of Iran's Kurdistan Province, a month after returning to the country from the United States, his sister informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 03/5/19

Q&A: Why Iranian conservationists are facing 'ludicrous' spying charges - Adding his voice to the rising chorus is David Laylin, 82, an ecologist in Orange, Virginia, who has long helped broker exchanges between Iranian and Western scientists and environmentalists. Laylin's family is well known in Iran: His father, an international lawyer, helped Iran negotiate a landmark water-sharing accord with Afghanistan... His sister, Louise Firouz, lived in Iran most of her life and is known for her efforts to preserve the Caspian horse, a rare breed. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine 03/5/19

Iranian artist Masoud Akhavanjam presents two new sculptures in the Giardini Marinaressa alongside 2019 Venice Biennale - The sculptures, Dilemma of Man and Metamorphosis will be exhibited publicly in Venice's waterfront park, Giardini Marinaressa from 5 May to 29 November 2019. Akhavanjam's industrial yet delicate forms draw on philosophy, contemporary socio-political issues and Persian mythology, so that within each work a didactic tale is contained. Both works contain three visible figures, melded seemingly effortlessly into each other. -ArtfixDaily 03/5/19

IAEA head Yukiya Amano reaffirms Iran's compliance with nuclear deal - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again reaffirmed Iran's compliance with its nuclear-related commitments under a 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -Press TV 03/4/19

Iran Ranks Near Bottom On World Bank's Index Of Women's Equality - Women in Iran are paid less than three-quarters of the salaries paid to their male compatriots, the World Bank said in a study published February 28. In terms of economic equality for women, Iran ranks 185 out of 187 countries included in the study, behind only Saudi Arabia and Sudan. -Radio Farda 03/4/19

Persian New Year Concert at Pacific Symphony in Orange County, California - Celebrate Nowruz, the Persian New Year, with Pacific Symphony (on March 24! A traditional festival that marks the beginning of spring, Nowruz is a time to celebrate the "rebirth of nature" and wash away the past. Homayoun Shajarian and brothers Sohrab and Tahmoures Pournazeri join the symphony for a concert that unites cultures through the power of music. 03/4/19

Two Persian Leopard Cubs Found Dead In Southwestern Iran - Two Persian leopard cubs have been found dead in Choram county located in the southwestern province of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad, the provincial department of environment (DOE) chief has said. "A group of locals reported the department of environment that two carcasses of leopards with their hands cut off have been spotted," Mehr quoted Mohsen Jafari Bastami as saying on Friday. -Tehran Times 03/3/19

Millions of iPhone Users Unable to Use Iranian Apps Due to Apple Certificate Revocation - A new move by the Apple Corporation aimed at protecting user data has resulted in Iranian apps becoming unusable on the iOS mobile operating system as of February 27, 2019, for some 9 million users. -CHRI 03/3/19

Experience the Largest Nowruz Celebration in the USA: March 10 at UCLA - The most colorful and lively festival of the year marking the arrival of spring, The Farhang Foundation Nowruz (the Iranian New Year) is back. This event has become the largest Nowruz festival in the United States. The special celebration brings together a variety of programming and excitement for all ages to enjoy. The daylong festival is free and open to the public for the 11th Annual Nowruz (the Iranian New Year) celebration at UCLA's Dickson Court, taking place on Sunday, March 10, 2019. 03/2/19

First Ever Persian New Year Party in the Florida Capitol - Every year, millions celebrate Persian New Year, or Norooz. This year for the first time ever, we are bringing the Persian New Year to the Florida Capitol! Join us we share Persian food, music, and dance to all of Florida! -Hosted by Office of Representative Anna V. Eskamani 03/1/19

First Iranian-American Woman to Win Oscar Turns to Iran-Themed Films - The first Iranian-American woman to win an Oscar, Rayka Zehtabchi, says she wants to build on Sunday's triumph of her documentary about menstruation by producing several films with Iran-related themes. -Michael Lipin, VOA 02/27/19

Iranian photographer Jalal Shamsazaran wins Environmental Vision Award at Pictures of the Year Competition - Iranian photographer Jalal Shamsazaran has won the Environmental Vision Award at the 76th Pictures of the Year International Competition (ROY) in the U.S. Shamsazaran received the award for his collection "The Wind Will Take Us Away", which covers the ongoing drought and mismanagement of the crisis in Iran's southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, the organizers announced last week. 02/24/19

Natural mating raises hope for Persian leopard conservation - Two Persian leopards mated naturally for the first time at Tehran Zoological Garden on Wednesday and will breed by the next 100 days in case of reproductive success. Given that Kija, the female leopard, and Gaspar, the male one, are both healthy, there is a very high chance of achieving a live birth within less than 4 months. 02/24/19

Iranians are paying for US sanctions with their health - Officially, the sanctions exempt humanitarian goods, such as food, medicine and medicinal instruments. But in reality, shortages in essential goods have affected households across the country. Because of sanctions, Iran's health sector is struggling to keep up with soaring prices of medications and medical instruments, doctors tell CNN. -Tamara Qiblawi, Frederik Pleitgen and Claudia Otto, CNN 02/22/19

Statement of Pro-Diplomacy Groups Regarding U.S. Policy Toward Iran - Pro-diplomacy groups representing millions of American voters urge lawmakers to publicly articulate and support the following principles with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that verifiably blocks each of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon and created a much-needed diplomatic relationship between Iran, the United States, and U.S. allies -Foreign Policy for America 02/21/19

NIAC Action Endorses Yasmine Taeb for Virginia State Senate - NIAC Action is proud to announce its official endorsement of Yasmine Taeb, candidate for Virginia's 35th Senate District. Yasmine is waging a primary challenge against the Virginia Senate's Democratic Minority Leader, Dick Saslaw. 02/20/19

Why Has Iran Remained In The Crosshairs - The value of a US Dollar is now around 12,000 Tomans in Iran. The inflation rate seems out of control. There is a shortage of meat, even chicken, as well as other staple commodities and medicines in the market. The prices of locally manufactured automobiles fluctuate from one day to the next. Housing prices have skyrocketed since last year, to where the price of a typical flat in Tehran is over 1,000 US Dollars per square meter! There is also the horrible prospect that what is happening in Venezuela is a model of what the United States has in mind for Iran. -Kambiz Zarrabi 02/12/19

Pompeo, Bolton, And Iran's "Fake Opposition" - As Iranian people struggle for democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law, as well as preserving the national security and territorial integrity of their country, two main groups have emerged among the opposition to Iran's hardliners, both within Iran and in the diaspora. One group, the true opposition that includes the reformists, religious-nationalists, secular leftists, various labor groups, human rights activists, and others, believes that it is up to the Iranian people living in Iran how to change the political system in their country. -Muhammad Sahimi 02/6/19

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last updated on Sun Mar 17 13:22:15 EDT 2019