Tir 22 1399 - July 12 2020
Photos: Reza Abad desert, a tourist resort in northeastern Iran

Reza Abad desert, located 70 kilometres from the city of Shahroud in Iran's Semnan province, is among the most beautiful desert areas in central and eastern Iran. The nomadic town of Reza Abad is located next to the desert. -Amin Rahmani 7/10/20

Iranian Woman Turns Farmland into Doll Exhibition

An Iranian woman has turned her farmland into an exhibition of dolls she makes for fun at the sixth decade of her life. Khadijeh Abbasi, who lives alone in a village in Ardakan in Iran's central Yazd province, has been making creative dolls, a work that is astonishing and unbelievable. -IFP 7/10/20

Chabahar-Zahedan railway work begins

The track-laying operations of Chabahar-Zahedan railroad was started on Tuesday in a ceremony attended by Iranian Transport and Urban Development Minister Mohammad Eslami and Deputy Transport Minister Kheirollah Khademi. As reported by IRNA, the project which is aimed to connect Chabahar to Zahedan (the capital city of southeastern Sistan-Baluchestan Province) is planned to be completed by the end of the Iranian calendar year of 1400 (March 2022). 7/10/20

Mystery swirls around explosion at Iran's Natanz nuclear facility

An explosion at the heart of Iran's nuclear programme in the dead of night. An obscure group called the Cheetahs of the Homeland takes credit for it. Then there are fires and gas leaks at key infrastructure around the country. In recent days, speculation has flourished about what exactly happened at Natanz, an assembly plant for centrifuges used to enrich uranium, and other facilities around Iran. -Financial Times 7/10/20

Series of 'explosions & power outages' reported near Tehran

A series of explosions have rocked the outskirts of the Iranian capital Tehran, as well as the cities of Garmdareh and Quds, Iranian media reported amid speculation that missile depots were the intended target. Citing social media, official news agency IRIB reported an explosion in western Tehran in the early hours of Friday local time. More explosions were reported in Garmdareh and Quds, the Mehr News Agency added. -RT 7/10/20

Iran is beautiful: Lar National Park in photos

Mount Damavand is not considered a simple mountain for Iranians. Being the highest peak in Iran with the height of 5,671 meters, is not all the greatness of Mount Damvand among Iranians because the Mount has a special place among Iranian mythology and culture and is the symbol of endurance and invincibility. Lar National Park, located in the foothills of Mount Damavand in Mazandaran Province, is a nature reserve which boasts different plant and animal species as well as glorious weather and impressive scenery. -Pouria Pakizeh 7/9/20

Canada should lift sanctions on Iran now

Canada's Liberal government is still sustaining economic sanctions on Iran despite the COVID-19 pandemic. As public health officials now struggle with rising infection rates in what appears to be a second wave in Iran, Canada's sanctions must come to an end. Economic sanctions are hindering the ability of Iran's public healthcare system to deal with the pandemic and have detrimentally impacted public health for years in key areas, including cancer care. -Stefan Christoff, rabble.ca 7/9/20

Why Iranians, rattled by suicides, point a finger at leaders

First the wounded veteran, then the unpaid security guard, then the hungry child. The powerful images of hopelessness came one after another, creating mounting waves of shock for Iranians who may have thought themselves inured to tales of desperation, destitution, and political angst. Yet decades after Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution seized power in the name of "social justice" for the poor and "oppressed," and amid deepening economic collapse, Iran is battling a surge of suicides seen as a barometer of the ever-widening gap between the political leadership and society.-Scott Peterson, CSM 7/9/20

Sohrab Mohebbi to Curate 2022 Carnegie International

Writer and curator Sohrab Mohebbi has been named curator of the Carnegie International's 58th edition, set to open in 2022. Mohebbi, who is thirty-nine and grew up in Iran, is the first Western Asian person to helm the contemporary art survey in its 124-year history -Art Forum 7/9/20

THE BROAD STAGE AT HOME Presents Red Hen Press Poetry Hour

On Thursday July 16 at 6 pm PT, a program entitled Finding Truths and Creating Art in Exile features Award-winning playwrights Iranian-American Sholeh Wolpe and Iranian Nassim Soleimanpour. Soleimanpour's most recent play Nassim will be performed in The Broad Stage 2020/21 season in April 2021. -Broadway World 7/9/20

As Iran applauds BLM, Afghan minority short on rights

While politicians and intelligentsia in Iran often blame the US government for racism towards minorities, their track record at home is far from perfect. The Afghans' experience is a case in point. When American George Floyd was killed on the street in Minneapolis, Minnesota, in late May, his death sparked a global movement demanding justice for minorities. However, the movement has not fully reached the Middle East in general, and Iran in particular. -Ali Dadpay, Al Monitor 7/9/20

Coronavirus infections rise above 250,000 in Iran

Iran's total number of coronavirus cases has reached 250,458 and a record 221 people died of the disease over the past 24 hours, raising the overall death toll to 12,305, the Health Ministry said on Thursday. Iran, the Middle East country hardest hit by the pandemic, has suffered a new spike in the number of daily infections and deaths in recent weeks as lockdown measures have been relaxed to help the economy revive. -Reuters 7/9/20

Iran Signs Military Deal with Syria to Boost Air Defenses, Challenge U.S.

Iran has signed a new military agreement with Syria, vowing to boost the war-torn country's air defense power and challenge the U.S. presence there. Iranian Major General Mohammad Bagheri, Revolutionary Guard commander and chief of staff of the Islamic Republic's armed forces, met Wednesday with Syrian Defense Minister Ali Ayoub to sign a new deal to strengthen defense ties between the two allies. -Tom O'Connor, Newsweek 7/9/20

Photos: Oldest settlement in Iranian Plateau

Archaeologists uncovered 21 historical sites in Sadrabad Village located in Zarandieh County of Markazi Province nearly a month ago in what is called the 'most extensive' systematic field research so far conducted in the central Iranian plateau. -Hadi Zand 7/8/20

An Iranian gamer's battle against sanctions and sexism

27-year-old "Mia" says her all-time favorite game is 'The Last of Us.' She likes to cosplay as "Ellie," the young protagonist of the video game, and even knows how to play the game's theme music on the guitar. A video of Mia playing the song has generated more than fifty thousand views on YouTube. -Sheida Hooshmandi, Atlantic Council 7/8/20

Tehran Mayor Sees 'Threat' in Iranians' Dissatisfaction

Iran's low voter turnout reflects a wider malaise in a country long buckling under sanctions and more recently also hit hard by the coronavirus, spelling "a threat for everyone," Tehran's mayor Pirouz Hanachi told AFP. "The turnout at the ballot box is a sign of people's satisfaction level," said Hanachi, mayor of Iran's political and business centre and largest city, with more than eight million people. -Amir Havasi, AFP 7/8/20

South Korea releases parts of frozen Iranian funds: Businessman

South Korea has agreed to release a part of funds belonging to Iran and frozen in the country's banks under pressure from the United States, says a businessman leading trade between the two countries. Hossein Tanhayi, who chairs Iran-South Korea Joint Chamber of Commerce, said on Tuesday that the two countries had agreed to use a first installment of the funds for Iran's purchase of drugs and medical equipment. -Press TV 7/8/20

Photos: Tehran Metro after wearing masks becomes compulsory

The large outbreak of the new coronavirus in Khuzestan, Hormozgan, Bushehr, Kermanshah, Kudistan, Ilam, West Azerbaijan, East Azerbaijan and Khorasan, have put these provinces of Iran in the red alert category due to their large number of new cases. Because of a considerable increase in the number of new cases throughout Iran, wearing face masks have become compulsory in public spaces. -Majid Khahi, ISNA 7/8/20

Mount Damavand Day: The iconic mountain is grappling with environmental issues

Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, is located northeastern Tehran, but today, it is facing many environmental problems and challenges. Environmental enthusiasts believe that with the inclusion of Damavand National Day in the official calendar of the country, more attention should be paid to this unique natural phenomenon, while unfortunately no action has been taken so far. -Faranak Bakhtiari 7/7/20

Currency crisis impoverishes Iranians, strains economic defenses

Desperate to afford her daughter's overseas university fees, 58-year-old retired Iranian teacher Maryam Hosseini withdrew all her savings from the bank to buy U.S. dollars. It was not enough. With three years of study still to do, her daughter is heading back home, her future now on hold. Hosseini's tale of growing poverty is an increasingly familiar one among Iranians, who have long bought U.S. dollars to support their children financially or squirrel away savings. -Reuters 7/7/20

Right-Wing Media Outlets Duped by a Middle East Propaganda Campaign

Conservative sites like Newsmax and Washington Examiner have published Middle East hot takes from "experts" who are actually fake personas pushing propaganda. -Adam Rawnsley, Daily Beast 7/7/20

U.N. expert deems U.S. drone strike on Iran's Soleimani an 'unlawful' killing

The January U.S. drone strike in Iraq that killed top Iranian general Qassem Soleimani and nine other people represented a violation of international law, a U.N. human rights investigator said on Monday. The United States has failed to provide sufficient evidence of an ongoing or imminent attack against its interests to justify the strike on Soleimani's convoy as it left Baghdad airport, said Agnes Callamard, U.N. special rapporteur on extrajudicial, summary or arbitrary executions. -Reuters 7/7/20

Penny-Wise, Pound-Foolish: The Iranian Coup of 1953

Brands' prediction of a return to Cold War-era covert regime change looks like it might be coming true. In 2020, supporters of the Trump administration's policy of "maximum pressure" against the Islamic Republic of Iran defend regime change as a feasible and "liberal" policy option. Reexamining the 1953 coup's planning, execution, and impact is relevant to examining the current U.S. stance toward Iran. -Gregory Brew, War On The Rocks 7/7/20

Iran's oil storage almost full as sanctions and pandemic weigh

Iran has slashed crude oil production to its lowest level in four decades as storage tanks and vessels are almost completely full due to a fall in exports and refinery run cuts caused by the coronavirus pandemic, industry data showed. -Reuters 7/7/20

Photos: Visiting source of Iran's longest river

Situated in Chaharmahal-o-Bakhtiari Province, Kuhrang spring is the source of Zayandeh Rud, Iran's longest river. The untouched nature of the area and the presence of nomads are also encouraging tourists to have this site on their mustsee destinations. -Pantea Nikzad, Mehr 7/7/20

Iran Marks Single-Day High Of Coronavirus Deaths As New Infections Increase Markedly

Iran has recorded its highest single-day death toll since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, reporting 163 deaths in the last 24 hours on July 5. The total exceeded the previous record of 162 deaths set on June 29. Health officials also said 2,560 new infections were recorded in the previous 24 hours. 7/6/20

Israel Is Trying To Provoke Iran To Start a War

With only four months left to the U.S. presidential elections, and the increasing likelihood of Donald Trump, the most pro-Israel President in history, losing, Israel has been trying to provoke Iran to start a war, so that it can drag the United State into it. This is not anything new. For over a decade Benjamin Netanyahu has been trying to force the United States to go to war with Iran, and Israel itself almost attacked Iran three times between 2010 and 2011. But the with events of the last several months darkening the prospects of a second Trump term, Israel feels a new urgency for a war with Iran. -Muhammad Sahimi, Antiwar.com 7/6/20

Iran Says It Is Negotiating 25-Year Bilateral Deal With China

Iran has been negotiating a 25-year accord with China "with confidence and conviction," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told parliament on July 5, saying its terms will be announced once the deal is struck. Zarif insisted there was nothing secret about the prospective deal, which he said was raised publicly in January 2016 when President Xi Jinping visited Tehran. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei also has publicly supported a strategic bilateral partnership with China. 7/6/20

Iran admits incident at Natanz nuclear site caused major damage

Iran has admitted an incident at one of its main nuclear sites last week caused major damage and could slow down the country's production of advanced centrifuges, technology Israel and the US see as a threat, intensifying suspicions there may have been a deliberate attack on the facility. -Guardian 7/6/20

'Break this taboo': Religious singer Koveitipour's duet with young girl shocks Iran

A well-known religious singer has caused controversy in Iran by releasing a recording of a duet with a 13-year-old girl, which has gone viral on social media. The song, which was first released by Gholam Koveitipour during the Iran-Iraq war, was reprised by Koveitipour and a girl, known as Parichehr, recording their lines separately. -Rohollah Faghihi, Middle East Eye 7/6/20

Iran's foreign minister heckled and called a liar in parliament

Zarif was speaking to the newly elected and conservative-dominated parliament for the first time and had to wait for the speaker to restore order as he was accused of selling the country out by negotiating with the US administration over the nuclear deal in 2015. The row, which lasted several minutes, shows how conservatives will use the failure of the nuclear deal to boost the Iranian economy to isolate any reformist candidate in next year's presidential election. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 7/6/20

Iran rial slides to new low as coronavirus, sanctions weigh

The Iranian rial fell to a new low against the U.S. dollar on the unofficial market on Saturday, as the economy comes under pressure from the coronavirus pandemic and U.S. sanctions. The dollar was offered for as much as 215,500 rials, softening from 208,200 on Friday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com. -Reuters 7/6/20

Israel announces successful launch of new spy satellite

Israel's Defense Ministry announced the successful launch of a new spy satellite early on Monday that would help the country monitor Iran's nuclear activity as its foreign minister hinted that Israel may have been behind a fire that damaged an Iranian nuclear site last week. -AP 7/6/20

Iran operates underground missile cities along southern shores: IRGC commander

Iran's Armed Forces have developed underground missile cities along the country's entire southern shores, including the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman, says the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Navy. Brigadier General Alireza Tangsiri made the remarks in a detailed interview whose text was published on Sunday, noting that such cities accommodate both naval vessels and missiles. -Press TV 7/6/20

Iranian-American Organization Pars Providing COVID-19 Financial Assistance to Community

As the pandemic continues to cause unprecedented trauma and profound financial hardship, Pars Equality Center (Pars) strives to support the community through various initiatives. Thanks to the generosity of private donors, philanthropic foundations and government grants, Pars offers the following assistance to qualified individuals and households. 7/3/20

Can New Spy Thriller 'Tehran' Affect Israeli-Iranian Relations? Its Writer Hopes So

'We present a different, pleasant side of Iran, which no Western series has ever shown,' says Moshe Zonder, the creator of 'Tehran': Moshe Zonder always liked peeking outside and over the fence - and that's not just a metaphor. While working as a young reporter on the local weekly Tel Aviv, he made it a habit to visit Gaza at every opportunity... -Itay Stern, Haaretz 7/3/20

Sweden Says Iran Agrees To Compensate Families From Downing Of Ukrainian Airliner

Swedish Foreign Minister Ann Linde says Iran has agreed that it will compensate the families of foreign victims who died when a Ukrainian airliner was shot down after taking off from Tehran's main airport in January, killing all 176 people on board. -RFE/RL 7/3/20

Iran will not disclose cause of mysterious nuclear site fire

An online video and messages purportedly claiming responsibility for a fire that analysts say damaged a centrifuge assembly plant at Iran's underground Natanz nuclear site deepened the mystery Friday around the incident - even as Tehran insisted it knew the cause but would not make it public due to "security reasons." -Jon Gambrell, AP 7/3/20

US tries to seize Iranian gas heading toward Venezuela

U.S. federal prosecutors are seeking to seize four tankers sailing toward Venezuela with gasoline supplied by Iran, the latest attempt to disrupt ever-closer trade ties between the two heavily sanctioned anti-American allies. -AP 7/3/20

Iran Safety NGO Says Killer Blazes Are Due To Violations, Lack Of Enforcement

The chairman of Iran's National Safe Society Association (NSSA) warned about inadequate safety measures in public buildings which led to the death of nineteen people in an explosion in a medical clinic in Tehran on Wednesday. The explosion at the clinic was caused by a gas leak and faulty electrical wiring in the basement of the building where oxygen tanks were stored. 7/2/20

Being brown in America: Stories of exile, identity and belonging

Written over a period of more than 10 years, Porochista Khakpour's collection of essays, Brown Album, is a reckoning with what it means to be an Iranian in America today. An acclaimed novelist, Porochista Khakpour launched onto the literary scene with her novels Sons and Other Flammable Objects (2007) and The Last Illusion (2014). -Iman Sultan, Middle East Eye 7/2/20

How John Bolton and Mike Pompeo thwarted Trump's plan to get a deal with Iran

Former national security adviser John Bolton's new book gives a window into President Donald Trump's preferred style of negotiation. Bolton paints a picture of a Trump who wants deals but does not believe in conventional diplomacy. Instead, Trump approaches international relations with the real-estate market tactics he formulated in "The Art of the Deal." Trump thought Bolton would help him in this regard. He was sorely mistaken. -Sina Toossi, Responsible Statecraft 7/2/20

The art of discomfort: Sogand Tabatabaei doesn't push the anxiety under the carpet

Sogand Tabatabaei, a young artist and a Master of Fine Arts student at the University of Nevada, Reno, has been living all by herself during the entire lockdown, away from her husband and parents, who are in Iran. During this period, she has created art that reflects some of the anxieties and uncertainties she has been feeling. 7/2/20

Fire damages building at Iran nuclear enrichment site

A fire broke out early Thursday at a building above Iran's underground Natanz nuclear enrichment facility, though officials said it did not affect its centrifuge operation or cause any release of radiation. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran sought to downplay the fire, calling it an "incident" that only affected an "industrial shed," spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said. -AP 7/2/20

Blast At Tehran's Sina Clinic Kills At Least 19

A powerful explosion at a medical clinic in northern Tehran has killed at least 19 people, Iranian media report. Authorities initially said that 13 people were killed and six others injured in the blast at the Sina At'har health center on June 30. But Jalal Maleki, spokesman for the Tehran fire department, was quoted as saying that firefighters recovered six more bodies after the ensuing blaze was extinguished. 7/1/20

U.S. finds little support for extending arms embargo against Iran

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo urged the United Nations Security Council on Tuesday to extend an arms embargo against Iran due to expire in four months, but he faced resistance from China, Russia and even European allies that share his concerns about Iran's missile and nuclear activities. -Carol Morello, Washington Post 7/1/20

Iran upholds five-year jail sentence for French-Iranian academic Fariba Adelkhah

Adelkhah's sentence, passed in May over "security charges including conspiring against national security", was upheld by the appeals court and "she is going to serve five years" including time served since her arrest, judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Esmaili told a televised news conference. -France24 7/1/20

Iran may exit the nuclear accord if the US succeeds in extending UN arms embargo

As the U.N. arms embargo on Iran nears its October 2020 expiration date, the United States has intensified its campaign to extend the ban - which was implemented as part of the landmark 2015 nuclear deal between Iran, the United States, the U.K., France, Germany, Russia, and China. -Saeid Jafari, Responsible Statecraft 7/1/20

Discover Ghadamgah: A millennia-old place of worship embedded beneath rock cliff

Ghadamgah is a millennia-old subterranean temple that was repurposed to be a mosque. The temple is said to be a place of worship where the ancient Mithraism rituals observed before the advent of Islam. The place of worship, which sometimes is referred to as a cave, is situated at the upstream of Ghadamgah's graveyard, near Badamyar village, from environs of Azarshahr in the northwestern West Azarbaijan province. 6/30/20

U.S. Dismisses Iran Arrest Warrant For Trump Over Soleimani Killing As 'Propaganda Stunt'

Iran has issued an arrest warrant for U.S. President Donald Trump and 35 others over the drone killing of its top general, Qasem Soleimani, in what a U.S. official dismissed as a "propaganda stunt." Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasimehr said on June 29 that Trump and the others, who he said included U.S. political and military officials, face charges of "murder and terrorist acts" over the January assassination of Soleimani, who headed the Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). -RFE/RL 6/30/20

British archaeologist David Stronach, famed for intensive Iranian studies, dies at 89

The Iran Heritage Foundation regrets to announce the passing of Professor David Stronach, OBE, on 27th June at the age of 89. He was the founding Director of the British Institute of Persian Studies 1961-79 and from 1981 he was Professor of Near Eastern Archaeology in the University of California at Berkeley. 6/30/20

Top diplomats from US and Iran at UN on Iran nuclear deal

U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif are scheduled to address a U.N. Security Council meeting Tuesday on the implementation of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal - the accord that the Trump administration pulled out of more than two years ago. -AP 6/30/20

Iran's conservative parliament moves to ban Instagram

Iran's newly inaugurated hard-line parliament is pushing for a new ban on the country's already restricted social media, a campaign that critics view as a war on the free flow of information. 6/30/20

Iran sentences former journalist to death for fuelling unrest

Iran has sentenced to death Ruhollah Zam, a journalist-turned-activist captured abroad last year, for allegedly fuelling anti-government unrest in late 2017 on social media, Iranian media reported on Tuesday. The son of a pro-reform Shi'ite cleric, Zam headed Amadnews, which had more 1 million followers on social media before it was suspended by the messaging app Telegram in 2018 after Iran accused it of carrying calls for violence during the protests. -Reuters 6/30/20

Iran To Require The Wearing Of Masks At Indoor Gatherings

Iran has announced that it will make the wearing of masks mandatory at indoor gathering places as the number of coronavirus fatalities recorded in a single day rose by the highest number in nearly three months. The measure announced by President Hassan Rohani on June 28 was accompanied by news that hard-hit provinces would be allowed to reimpose restrictions aimed at countering the impact of the virus. 6/29/20

A Travel Writer Who's Seen It All Still Finds Surprise and Awe in Iran

Our burly driver in the baseball cap kept his eyes on the road as my unfailingly suave guide, Ali, chatted away. We'd barely left the holy metropolis of Mashhad, in northeastern Iran, on our way to the small, ancient town of Tus, and already Ali was discoursing on flowers and mystics and philosophers and empire. Other than a quick hello, our driver, perhaps 60, said not a word. It would be almost an hour before we reached our destination: the quiet tomb of Iran's beloved chronicler, Ferdowsi. -Pico Iyer, Bloomberg 6/29/20

Three Environmental Activists Die Fighting Wildfires In Western Iran

Three environmental activists have died in western Iran while trying to extinguish wildfires in a mountainous area close to the border. The three -- Mokhtar Khandani, Yasin Karimi, and Balal Amini -- died on June 28 in the Hawraman region in Kermanshah Province, Iranian media reported. -RFE/RL 6/29/20

Crumbling but still fabulous: UNESCO-registered Takht-e Soleyman

Photos depict scenes from the UNESCO-registered Takht-e Soleyman ("Solomon's Throne"), a ruined sanctuary in northwest Iran, which is still a source of charm for avid holidaymakers, history buffs and archaeologists. The deserted sanctuary bears testimony to various eras of the nation's history. It is situated in the southeastern highlands of West Azarbaijan province overlooking a lake with a backdrop of a snowcapped mountain range. -Tehran Times 6/29/20

Pressed by sanctions and coronavirus, can Iranian businesses bounce back?

The pandemic and its consequential economic damages may deliver the final blow to many private companies in Iran. However, the private sector is capable of bouncing back and building a sustainable ecosystem if the government eases bureaucracy, including the unnecessary involvement of numerous parallel regulatory bodies belonging to the Justice Ministry, Intelligence Ministry, and the Culture and Islamic Guidance in every aspect of business. Another huge boon would come if the US sanctions are lifted, as they are equally responsible for depressing Iranian businesses and hurting the welfare of ordinary Iranians. -Mohsen Tavakol, Atlantic Council 6/26/20

John Bolton Can Stomach Kim Jong Un's North Korea, but Not Iran

The real revelation of the former national security advisor's memoir is that he placed Israeli and Saudi interests ahead of America's-by successfully undermining any U.S. diplomatic efforts with Iran. Bolton boasts about his extensive coordination with Pompeo and Netanyahu to scuttle mediation efforts by French President Emmanuel Macron and to, at all costs, prevent a meeting between Trump and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during the G-7 summit in Biarritz, France, in 2019. -Trita Parsi, Foreign Policy 6/26/20

PHOTOS: IAIO delivers 3 Kosar jets to Iranian Army

In a ceremony on Thursday morning, Iran Aviation Industries Organization (IAIO) delivered three domestically produced Kosar jets to the Iranian Army. -MNA 6/26/20

Tabas Geopark in Iran moves closer to possible UNESCO registration

An extensive dossier, which is an essential prerequisite for possible UNESCO inscription of a site, has almost been completed for the gigantic Tabas Geopark, which is situated in east-central Iran. "Tabas Geopark can be the largest geopark in terms of the area because the whole county of Tabas is the largest county in the Middle East (West Asia). Given the [historical, natural and geological] values of this county, we decided to consider the whole county as the geopark," said Alireza Amrikazemi, who is a UNESCO assessor. 6/25/20

Composer Loris Tjeknavorian creates "memorable" piece in home quarantine

Loris Tjeknavorian, the 82-year-old Iranian composer, has said that he has created one of the most memorable pieces of his life during the home quarantine. Speaking to Mizan on Tuesday, he said, "I have worked on a special piece over the past four months for which I have not selected a name as yet, but it is the outcome of contemplation and mediation during the home quarantine. I believe it will be one of the most memorable works of my professional life." 6/25/20

'The Salesman' Star Taraneh Alidoosti Given Suspended Prison Sentence in Iran

Taraneh Alidoosti, star of Asghar Farhadi's "The Salesman" and one of Iran's most popular female actors, is set to receive a five-month prison sentence on charges of anti-government activism, BBC Persia has reported. -Variety 6/25/20

How outrage over killing of Iranian girl is helping women's rights

Just as a brutal killing in America is helping to change thought about racism, so has one in Iran, challenging traditions that have long devalued the lives and rights of women and children. -Scott Peterson, CSM 6/25/20

The new Iranian child protection law is holistic, but discriminatory

On June 7, the Guardian Council-an un-elected body responsible for oversight of laws and orders by parliament-approved a bill to protect children and adolescents in Iran. The move marked a historic day for children and children's rights activists in Iran. It was noteworthy particularly because children's rights activists have been waiting for a holistic law to protect all children in Iran since July 1994, when Iran ratified the UN's Convention on the Rights of the Child. -Hamed Farmand, Atlantic Council 6/25/20

A Maximum Pressure Exit Strategy: Returning to & Building on the Iran Nuclear Deal

In November 2018, we warned that President Trump's decision to abandon the Iran nuclear agreement had substantially damaged U.S. national security interests, credibility with allies, and global leadership.[1] To mitigate the long-term damage to the U.S. and salvage the nuclear accord, our previous report urged lawmakers and Presidential contenders to announce their commitment to returning the United States to compliance with its obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA)-the nuclear agreement between the U.S., Iran, and other major world powers. -NIAC 6/24/20

Biden can reverse Trump's failures on Iran

In 2017, Donald Trump inherited a better position on Iran than any U.S. President over the last four decades, with Iran's nuclear program restrained and an opportunity to build on a historic diplomatic accord. More than two years after Trump threw out the successful diplomatic playbook in favor of so-called "maximum pressure," it is clear that a Biden administration would inherit a far worse scenario. Under Trump, the U.S. and Iran have only narrowly avoided all-out war on two occasions, Iran's nuclear program is expanding, and Iranian hardliners are exerting increasing control over policy in Tehran. If elected, Biden would need to immediately shift course. -Jamal Abdi & Ryan Costello, Responsible Statecraft 6/24/20

No Lawyers, No Justice: Attorneys Imprisoned in Iran for Defending Human Rights

Two years after the prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh was arrested and imprisoned in Tehran, the Iranian judiciary's continuing prosecution of independent lawyers under manufactured charges is laying bare the state's disregard for international standards of law and due process. "The courts are colluding with intelligence agencies to go after lawyers so that any last hopes for defending due process are extinguished, with the tacit approval of Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi and the Rouhani government," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 6/24/20

Iran's Rouhani warns UN agency over nuke site access demands

Iran's president on Wednesday warned the U.N. nuclear watchdog to expect a "stern response" from his country regarding the agency's demands for Iran to provide access to sites where Tehran is thought to have stored or used undeclared nuclear material. In a televised speech, President Hassan Rouhani said a stern response "is easy" for Iran but that the country prefers cooperation with the U.N. watchdog. -AP 6/24/20

Rise of Iran hardliners threatens nuclear diplomacy, Europe warned

European diplomats are being urged to restart shuttle diplomacy with Iran after the US presidential election in November or risk Tehran hardliners gaining still wider control of Iran's many layers of government and its economy... There is a growing feeling that the trends in internal Iranian politics mean the 2015 deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will slowly collapse unless some fresh political initiative is made soon by the west. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 6/24/20

Fugitive Iranian Judge Died Of Fall, Romanian Autopsy Indicates

A fugitive Iranian judge facing possible extradition to his homeland on charges of corruption died at a hotel in Romania from a fall, a preliminary autopsy has concluded. Gholamreza Mansuri was found dead June 18 in the lobby of the Duke Hotel in the center of the Romanian capital, Bucharest. 6/24/20

PHOTOS: Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake in Qom, Iran turns red

Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake is located in Qom Province of Iran. Because of heavy rainfalls, more tributaries fed the Lake in spring and as a result, the water level of Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake increased. The rapid growth of algae in the Lake that react with the evaporation of water, turned Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake red. The algae produce beta carotene during the reaction so that the water of the Lake turns red. -Ahmad Zohrabi 6/23/20

PHOTOS: Eye-catching beauty of Lar National Park in Mazandaran, Iran

Lar National Park is a protected area in Mazandaran Province and Tehran Province, in northern Iran. The 30,000-hectare park which is in the Central Alborz mountain range, at the foot of Mount Damavand has stunning beauty in late spring and early summer. 6/23/20

Kaldar cave in Iran estimated to date over 63,000 years

Nearly one decade of archaeological surveys at Kaldar cave has concluded that parts of this western Iranian shelter date more than 63,000 years. "After a decade of studying the cultural evidence yielded from the three seasons of archeological excavations at Kaldar Cave, the recent results show that a Paleolithic layer in the middle of this the cave is more than 63,000 years old," CHTN quoted Iranian archaeologist Behrouz Bazgir as saying on Sunday. 6/23/20

Parliament alone cannot stop honor killings in Iran

While legislation aimed at combatting honor killings in Iran is certainly needed, the country must also address broader issues involving policy failings and social norms. -Leila Alikarami, Al Monitor 6/23/20

Why Black Lives Should Really Matter to Iranian Americans

I work as the executive director of a civil rights organization, the American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California. I am calling on Iranian-Americans to speak up and take action vigorously to support the Black community in the United States. -Abdi Soltani, PAAIA 6/22/20

Important message from the Chair and CEO of Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation

Your generous support has meant that PKCF has been able to do the following. Food and Sanitation Packages, Iran: Our representatives in Iran are distributing monthly packages of essential food and sanitary items to families below the poverty line across five provinces. To date our packages have reached 642 families. Oxygen Producing Unit for Talaghani Hospital, Tehran: In collaboration with Nikan Mammut Charity, our NGO partner in Iran, we purchased an Oxygen Production Unit for Taleghani Hospital, a key COVID-19 treatment centre in Tehran... 6/19/20

Sa'adi Foundation runs virtual course on Persian language teacher training

A Tehran-based organization that promotes the Persian language abroad has launched a virtual teacher training course. Sa'adi Foundation said the virtual training course is aimed at promoting the Persian language, supporting the Persian language centers across the world, enhancing the quality of Persian language teaching and facilitating teachers and enthusiasts' access to such course. 6/18/20

Naybandan Wildlife Refuge: meet Iran's largest remarkable sanctuary

Naybandan Wildlife Refuge located in the eastern province of South Khorasan, with an area of 1,516,994 hectares, is the largest wildlife sanctuary to safeguard the habitats native animals need to survive and thrive in Iran; known as the most important habitat of the Asiatic cheetah. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 6/18/20

Photos: Pink-colored Maharloo Lake in Shiraz, Iran

Maharloo Lake with an area of 600 sq. km is situated on the outskirts of Shiraz, southern Iran, and is a perfect stopover for tourists and nature lovers. Duo to high evaporation rate, the lake's bed has been covered by salt. The color of Maharloo Lake turns pink because of the activity of special algae. The algae grow rapidly in the salty water and cover the surface of the Lake. -Mohammadreza Dehdari 6/17/20

The doves and hawks are here to stay: Time for the E3 to show bold leadership on Iran

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will convene its Board of Governors virtually for the first time in its history. In the weeks leading up to the meeting, much attention has been given to the Agency's outstanding request to visit two sites in Iran where there may have been undeclared nuclear activity, suspected to have occurred in 2003. These requests are based on the Israeli-obtained "atomic archive" which Mossad allegedly stole from a warehouse outside of Tehran in early 2018. -Sahil Shah, European Leadership Network 6/17/20

The Art of Persia: A rare glimpse into an ancient world of art and culture

Samira Ahmed and her team, with the help of some amazing drone photography, make a pretty good stab at revealing Iran's fascinating, rich and complex past, a story of successive invasions and empire-building, about which, I imagine, most of us are fairly ignorant. By calling the three-parter The Art of Persia, as opposed to Iran, there's a clear delineation between the country's past and present, its pre-Islamic and Islamic cultures, and the time before and after it became an Islamic Republic in 1979. -Evening Standard 6/16/20

Iran ends provision by state of contraceptives and vasectomies

Iran's state hospitals and clinics are no longer performing vasectomies or giving out contraceptives in an attempt to revive flagging population growth, a senior health official has told state media. Iranian women were now having 1.7 children on average, well below the 2.2 required to maintain the population, Hamed Barakati, director general of the Ministry of Health's Office of Population and Family Health, told the Islamic Republic News Agency in an interview on Sunday. -Michael Safi, Guardian 6/16/20

Moms Against Poverty grants $600K aid to Iranian families affected by COVID-19

Global charity organization Moms Against Poverty (MAP) has sent a shipment worth 25 billion rials (nearly $600,000 at the official rate of 42,000 rials) to help financially struggling families affected by the coronavirus in Iran, Karim Hemmati, head of the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), said on Sunday. 6/15/20

Golriz Ghahraman: 'I feel such sorrow when I imagine my parents' fate'

The Iranian-born New Zealand MP describes a 'central heartbreak' of being a migrant child in this exclusive extract from her book Know Your Place -Guardian 6/15/20

Handicrafts: The art of 'heart and hand'

Along with other historical and natural attractions of Zanjan province in Iran, handicrafts in the province are manifestation of skills, tastes and thoughts of artists and artisans who have showcased spirit and cultural identity of this land and territory in their works with their creations over the years. -Mehdi Almasi 6/12/20

Iran's Knowledge-based companies to raise annual sales to $35 billion

Knowledge-based companies in Iran sold products worth 1,200 trillion rials (about $28 billion at the official rate of 42,000 rials) in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended on March 19), while the figure is projected to rise to 1,500 billion rials (about $35 billion) in the current year, said Sourena Sattari, Vice President for Science and Technology. 6/11/20

PHOTOS: Newly hatched turtles on Kish Island, Persian Gulf

A group of hawksbill sea turtles hatched out on Kish Island in Persian Gulf and made their way into the sea. Each mother hawksbill sea turtle can lay up to 120 eggs which will hatch after nearly 90 days. -Nasrin Faegh 6/10/20

Iran's 'butterfly children' impacted by sanctions and corruption

Described by US dermatologists as "the most painful disease you've never heard of," EB is caused by a genetic mutation and occurs in every 1 in 30,000 to 50,000 live births globally. Characterised by extreme fragility of the skin and mechanically induced blistering, EB patients are often referred to as 'butterfly children' because their skin appears as delicate as that of a butterfly wing. There is no cure. -Shenaz Kermalli, Atlantic Council 6/10/20

Photos: Aladaghlar (Rainbow) Mountains in Iran

If you are looking for a natural place to be amazed, you should take a trip to Zanjan Province in Iran and see the colorful Aladaghlar Mountains. ''Ala'' in Azeri Turkish language means colorful and ''Dag'' means mountain. The Aladaglar rainbow mountains and hills are tucked into the northwest of Iran, 25 kilometers in the northeast of Tabriz between Ahar and Khajeh. Along the road of Ahar-Tabriz, the landscape begins to switch step by step. -Amin Rahmani 6/3/20

13 Organizations to DNC: Support JCPOA Reentry

NIAC Action and a dozen other organizations - including Foreign Policy for America, J Street, MoveOn, Our Revolution and Truman Center for National Policy - sent a letter jointly calling on the Democratic National Committee to support an unequivocal U.S. return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or the Iran nuclear deal, in the Party's 2020 Democratic Platform. While there may be divisions on some issues within the Democratic Party between the center and the left, the breadth of organizations backing this letter demonstrates a political consensus on this key foreign policy issue. 5/29/20

Bani Adam (Children of Adam): World musicians release solidarity music video during pandemic

A music video inspired by Persian poet Sadi's famous poem "The Sons of Adam Are Limbs of Each Other" has been released with the voice of Iranian vocalist Alireza Qorbani in collaboration with several Italian singers and overseas musicians during the pandemic. The music video has been released to promote the message of peace and friendship, the Italian theater and cinema actress Pamela Villoresi has said in an introduction to the music video. 5/20/20

As Iran Faces Virus, Trump Admin Fails to Use Swiss Channel to Ease Medical Exports

Just a few days after Iran announced its first deaths from COVID-19 in February, the Trump administration's Special Envoy for Iran Brian Hook was asked during a briefing for an update on the Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA), a payments channel intended to ease the sale of medicine and medical devices by Swiss companies to Iran. Hook acknowledged that no further transactions had been processed since a pilot transaction involving a $2.55 million sale of medication a month earlier, but insisted that there were "more transactions coming."Two months later, over 6,000 Iranians have lost their lives to COVID-19, and the Swiss channel has yet to process any further transactions. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj & Image of Sahil Shah, European Leadership Network 5/6/20

PHOTOS: Precipitation brings Hamoun wetland back to life

After two decades of dryness, enough rains have finally come to bring Hamoun wetland back to life in the southeastern Iranian province of Sistan-Baluchestan, reviving agriculture in the region as well. Hamoun is the third-largest lake of Iran after the Caspian Sea and Urmia Lake. 5/1/20

PHOTOS: On the verge of oblivion? Meet stone lions deserted in southwest Iran

Some cultural heritage enthusiasts say that hundreds of stone lions, which were placed on top of the tombstones of brave and courageous people of Bakhtiari tribe in the past, are now on the verge of oblivion and even fading away. Bakhtiari nomads regard such stone statues, locally called 'Bard Shirs' as a symbol of bravery, valor, and characteristics like adroitness at hunting and shooting in war as well as horseback riding on top of the gravestone of that group of people. -Alireza Mohammadi 4/29/20

70+ Groups Demand Trump Immediately End US Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Others During Covid-19 Crisis

Over 70 civil society groups representing more than 40 million people called on President Donald Trump Thursday to issue immediate sanctions relief for numerous countries-including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea-for at least the duration of the coronavirus crisis which threatens to kill thousands in the hard-hit countries. The "urgent appeal" came in the form of an open letter sent by the groups to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin calling for curtailing the sanctions regime for the duration of the pandemic. -Common Dreams 04/24/20

Lessons on humanity from Persian literature

All of Iran's celebrations this year to mark Sadi Day on April 20 will be organized online due to the COVID-19 disaster. Persian poet Sadi was introduced to the generation of Iranians that are now in their fifties with the following verses at the primary school age: The sons of Adam are limbs of each other / Having been created of one essence / When the calamity of time afflicts one limb / The other limbs cannot remain at rest.... -Seyyed Mostafa Mousavi Sabet 4/20/20



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last updated on Fri Jul 10 11:50:33 EDT 2020