Khordad 26 1400 - June 16 2021
Iran field narrows as candidates quit on campaign's last day

Iran's presidential contest headed toward a showdown between the country's hard-line judiciary chief and moderate former Central Bank chief on Wednesday, as two candidates dropped out on the last day of campaigning to clear a path for the challengers. Mohsen Mehralizadeh, the only reformist candidate in the vote, as well as hard-line contender Alireza Zakani withdrew from the race, state media reported, leaving just five candidates in the field ahead of Friday's vote. -AP 6/16/21

EU sees progress on key obstacles at Iran nuclear talks

A top European diplomat said Tuesday he believes international negotiations with Iran will ultimately succeed in re-imposing limits on its nuclear program, but indicated that more time may be needed. Enrique Mora, who is coordinating the talks in Vienna, said progress had been made on overcoming key obstacles at the talks. -AP 6/16/21

Hope, fear, apathy: Iranian youths look to election

Iran is gearing up for a presidential election Friday but many young people are more focused on the daily struggle to survive and their dreams for the future. Jobs are scarce in a recession-hit economy battered by sanctions, a crisis exacerbated by the region's deadliest outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic. -AFP 6/16/21

Will the outcome of Iran's election affect the nuclear deal?

Iranians head to the polls on Friday to elect a successor to President Hassan Rouhani, the reformist leader whose second term in office is coming to a close. Rouhani was one of the key architects of the 2015 nuclear deal which saw Iran consent to limiting its nuclear programme in exchange for sanctions relief. 6/16/21

Iran hardliners fight to ensure Ebrahim Raisi wins presidential election

Iran's hardline rulers are battling to ensure not only their preferred candidate, the head of the judiciary, Ebrahim Raisi, wins Saturday's presidential election, but also that the electoral system that puts him into power retains a veneer of credibility with ordinary Iranians. Polls are predicting a turnout as low as 40%, down from the previous 73% in 2017, partly because the Iranian regime has gone further than ever to engineer the result. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 6/16/21

Iran's next president unlikely to seek deals with the US

Barring some unexpected surprise, Ibrahim Raisi is likely to emerge as Iran's new president. Once in power, he will pursue a conservative social policy and promote the so-called resistance economy that will attempt to maximize Iran's internal capabilities rather than prioritize foreign investment and technology. In other words, he will apply the same policies that Khatami and Rouhani tried to change but were stymied by conservatives and the West's rather cool and disappointing responses. -Shireen Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 6/16/21

Iran's next president will ride a wave of voter apathy into power

Rap and K-pop aren't music genres you'd expect an Iranian presidential hopeful to be familiar with. And yet, during the second televised debate ahead of the countrywide poll on 18 June, one of the candidates displayed an impressive knowledge of the contemporary musical landscape. "They play rap on their own programmes, but they have banned rap. Our teens have moved on to K-pop or Korean pop. Our own rap is still underground," said centrist Abdolnaser Hemmati, the former governor of the Central Bank of Iran. -Holly Dagres, Guardian 6/16/21

How COVID shaped preparations for Iran's presidential elections

Presidential elections are scheduled to take place in Iran on Friday as the country continues to battle a fourth wave of the coronavirus pandemic. Iran, with the deadliest outbreak in the Middle East, has reported more than three million cases, including 82,000 deaths. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 6/16/21

Why Iran's next hardline president should thank Donald Trump

Donald Trump may no longer be president but he looms large over Iran's presidential elections. He has proved Iran's hardliners right for once: the United States cannot be trusted. And the consequences of his policies are now shaping Iran's increasingly farcical elections. -Trita Parsi and Rouzbeh Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 6/16/21

Asian Qualifiers - Group C: IR Iran finish top, Iraq advance as well

Sardar Azmoun was the hero as Islamic Republic of Iran edged Iraq 1-0 on Tuesday to finish as Group C winners in the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023. The win completed a remarkable turnaround for Team Melli, who won all four of their matches following the resumption of the Asian Qualifiers and keeps them on track for a third consecutive appearance at the FIFA World Cup Finals. -AFC 6/15/21

Iran Approves Emergency Use Of Domestic COVID Vaccine

Iranian authorities say they have given emergency approval for a domestically developed vaccine against COVID-19 as the country battles the Middle East's deadliest coronavirus outbreak. Health Minister Saeed Namaki told a press conference on June 14 that permission for the emergency use of the vaccine called COVIran Barekat was issued the previous day. 6/15/21

Iran presidential candidate urges better ties with West

A prominent contender in Iran's presidential election appealed Tuesday for better economic and political relations with the West, his most extensive attempt yet to attract reformist voters just days ahead of the poll. Former Iranian Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati, among the seven candidates allowed on the ballot for Friday's vote, has no official ties to any political faction but is positioning himself as the likely candidate for moderate and reform-minded voters. -Amir Vahdat, AP 6/15/21

How we conveniently ignore the 'terrorists' among our allies

The term "terrorist" often gets used as a general-purpose epithet intended to consign a disliked state or group to perpetual isolation and punishment. Used in this way, the label of "terrorist" becomes a substitute for careful analysis of policy toward the state or group in question. Usually, the object of the labeling has indeed used terrorism - but so have many others who don't get labeled the same way and may even be treated as friends and allies. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 6/15/21

US, Russia envoys discuss Iran nuclear deal ahead of summit

Delegations from Russia and the United States involved in nuclear negotiations with Iran held talks in Vienna on Monday, two days ahead of a summit meeting between U.S. President Joe Biden and Russian President Vladimir Putin. The United States is not directly involved in the Vienna negotiations but has regular contacts with participating diplomats. -AP 6/15/21

Iran's navy launches new indigenous destroyer and minehunter

Iran has welcomed two new vessels to its navy - the Iranian-made Dena destroyer and Shahin minehunter - during a ceremony at Bandar Abbas port. The launch comes after Iran sailed two warships into the Atlantic for the first time. On Monday, during a ceremony at the port of Bandar Abbas on the Persian Gulf, two indigenously developed warships were launched into the sea. -RT 6/15/21

Analysis: Subdued Iran vote will still impact wider Mideast

Iran's presidential election on Friday, though likely more a coronation for a hard-line candidate long cultivated by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, still carries implications for a wider Middle East already roiled by years of tensions between Tehran and the West. Khamenei holds final say over Iran's military and its nuclear program, but the presidency does control domestic matters such as the economy, and serves as the public face of the Islamic Republic. -AP 6/15/21

Four reasons why Iran's election matters to Europe

The outcome of Iran's presidential election on Friday could reshape the country's political balance of power - and Tehran's relations with its allies and rivals. Conservative candidate Ebrahim Raisi is widely seen as the frontrunner to succeed Hassan Rouhani, the reformist president whose second term is ending. -David Child, Al-Jazeera 6/15/21

US-funded media spreads bizarre conspiracy theory about Shi'a Muslims

The U.S. government's Arabic-language news channel amplified a conspiracy theory about a Shi'a Muslim foundation so bizarre that even the U.S. State Department disavowed it on Saturday. The U.S.-funded outlet Alhurra ran a brief web story on Friday about how Iran may be "spreading terrorism" in Europe through the al-Khoe'i Foundation, a London-based Shi'a Muslim institution. Alhurra's only source was a dubious report by the Israeli think tank Alma, and it did not include a response from al-Khoe'i Foundation. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 6/15/21

Voices of Iranians ahead of the presidential election

Iranians this week are preparing to vote in - or perhaps to boycott - a presidential election that many fear will only underscore their powerlessness to shape the country's fate. Hopefuls are running to replace the term-limited President Hassan Rouhani, whose promises of a bright economic future withered as Tehran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers collapsed. -Mohammad Nasiri, AP 6/14/21

Iran says it has broad agreement with the US on lifting sanctions

Iran said it has reached a broad agreement with the U.S. over the lifting of sanctions on its industrial sectors, including energy, but warned there was "very little time left" for world powers to revive a 2015 nuclear deal. Saeed Khatibzadeh, spokesman for Iran's Foreign Ministry, didn't give more detail on the potential easing of trade restrictions, which have all but prevented the Islamic Republic from exporting oil and battered its economy. -Bloomberg 6/14/21

USA to Face Argentina, Iran and Serbia at 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup in Lithuania

The U.S. Futsal National Team will face Argentina, Iran and Serbia in Group F at the upcoming 2021 FIFA Futsal World Cup, which will take place from Sept. 12-Oct. 3 in Lithuania. The final draw for the competition took place today at FIFA Headquarters in Zurich. -US Soccer 6/14/21

EU talks up hope of breakthrough at Iran nuclear meetings

European Union negotiators said international talks that resumed Saturday on the Iran nuclear agreement were on track to revive the deal, which crumbled after the United States withdrew in 2018. Senior diplomats from China, Germany, France, Russia, and Britain concluded a 90-minute meeting with Iranian representatives at a hotel in the Austrian capital. -ap 6/14/21

One Ahwazi man's mission to preserve Arab cultural identity in Iran

The culture of the 1.6 million Ahwazi Arabs in Iran has been brought to popular and presidential attention by the Missan organisation. As the founder and director of Missan, Hamadi, a musician by profession, seeks to protect the cultural heritage of Iran's Arabs, whose 1.6 million people comprise just under two percent of Iran's population of 83 million. -Maedeh Sharifi, MEE 6/14/21

'Livestock' Remains From Iran Show Goats Were First Tamed At Least 10,000 Years Ago

Frequently the stuff of fairy tales, the relationship between humankind and goats just got a new chapter. A new East-West study based on archaeological and genetic research says ancient inhabitants of a mountainous nook of what is now northwestern Iran undertook one of the earliest defining features of human civilization, domesticating goats that differed significantly from their wild cousins at least 10,000 years ago. -Andy Heil, RFE 6/14/21

With So Much Of The Debate Hampered Ahead Of Presidential Vote, Iranians Turn To Clubhouse

Iranian ex-President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and reformist politician Mostafa Tajzadeh, who was jailed for years in the crackdown that followed the former's disputed 2009 reelection, have little in common. Except, that is, their responses to their respective bans against competing in next week's presidential vote. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 6/14/21

Netanyahu uses last speech as prime minister to attack Biden on Iran

Hours before a vote to oust him, outgoing Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu accused President Biden of endangering Israel's security by taking a soft line on Iran, and claimed his successor, Naftali Bennett, would be too weak to stand up to Washington. -Axios 6/14/21

Asian Qualifiers - Group C: IR Iran firmly in control with victory over Cambodia

Iran defeated Cambodia 10-0 in Group C of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Friday to ensure their qualification hopes are very much in their own hands. The win took Iran to 15 points and with Iraq - who defeated Hong Kong later on Friday to stay two points ahead at the top - up next on the final day of the Asian Qualifiers, a win for Team Melli will mean finishing as group winners.-AFC 6/13/21

The Passing of Parviz Kardan, a pioneer of Iranian stage, screen and television

It is with deep sorrow that we announce the passing of Mr. Parviz Kardan, one of the pioneers of the Iranian stage, screen, and television. Mr. Kardan was born in Shiraz on October 20, 1937, and started his artistic career in 1959 by acting on stage and on television. -Farhang Foundation 6/13/21

'Garbage': Putin denies Russia plans to give Iran spy satellite

President Vladimir Putin on Friday denied a United States media report that Russia is set to deliver an advanced satellite system to Iran that will vastly improve its spying capabilities. Putin, who is expected to hear a range of complaints from US President Joe Biden when they meet on Wednesday in Geneva, dismissed the report as "garbage". -Al-Jazeera 6/13/21

Volleyball Nations League: Germany defeats Iran 3-2

Germany stunned Iran in five sets for their fourth win in nine games, as Day 9 at the 2021 FIVB Men's Volleyball Nations League got underway. "It was a tough battle. In the first set we struggled a bit, but we found our rhythm in the end. It was a hard battle, they were pushing us in the fourth and last set again." -Volleyball World 6/11/21

Israel spy on Iran nuclear scientists: 'We offer them a way out'

The outgoing chief of Israel's Mossad intelligence service has offered the closest acknowledgement yet his country was behind recent attacks targeting Iran's nuclear programme and a military scientist. The comments by Yossi Cohen, speaking to Israel's Channel 12 investigative programme Uvda in a segment aired on Thursday night, offered an extraordinary debriefing by the head of the typically secretive agency in what appears to be the final days of PM Benjamin Netanyahu's rule. -Al-Jazeera 6/11/21

Why the United States Can't Touch Iran's Atlantic-Bound Warships

Last week, Politico reported the movement of two Iranian warships apparently on their way to the Atlantic Ocean. U.S. national security officials expressed concern that these ships were bound for Venezuela with cargoes that violate U.S. sanctions on Caracas. Already, Sen. Marco Rubio has called for the United States to prevent the ships' arrival. However, any U.S. action against these vessels would be unlawful and undermine a core tenet of the international order: sovereign immunity. -Cornell Overfield, FP 6/11/21

As Iran prepares to vote, its battered economy a major worry

Almost six years ago, Iranians poured into the streets to celebrate Tehran's nuclear deal with world powers. They saw it as a chance for the Islamic Republic to re-enter the world economy and create opportunities like purchasing airplanes and selling its oil on the international market. Today, that dream has faded into a daily grinding nightmare of high inflation, an ever-weakening national currency and high unemployment worsened by the coronavirus pandemic. -AP 6/11/21

US lifts sanctions on 3 former Iranian officials and two companies

The Treasury and State Departments lifted sanctions "on three former government of Iran officials, and two companies previously involved in the purchase, acquisition, sale, transport, or marketing of Iranian petrochemical products, as a result of a verified change in status or behavior on the part of the sanctioned parties," Secretary of State Antony Blinken said in a statement. -CNN 6/11/21

Iran elections: Voters plan boycott over lack of choice

With just a week to go before Iran holds its presidential elections, a key phrase has been circulating among much of the electorate: "There is no way I will vote." Across the Islamic Republic, there appears to be a surge of apathy towards the 18 June poll, with many planning to stay home rather than take part in a process which they see as unfair, unrepresentative and unlikely to produce any substantial change in their lives. -Saeid Jafari, MEE 6/11/21

US Hypes Presence of Iranian Ships in the Atlantic Ocean

Even though the US is constantly sailing warships near Iran's coast, the presence of two Iranian military vessels in the southern Atlantic Ocean is grabbing headlines in the Western media and is being portrayed as some sort of provocation. Over the past few days, US officials have been claiming that the Iranian ships are carrying weapons that will be delivered to Venezuela. -Antiwar.com 6/11/21

Iran's hard-liners take page from China's election playbook

Another presidential election is unfolding in Iran. Many observers expect a low turnout as many ordinary Iranians are either discouraged or disillusioned. However, those in power seem not to mind. The political elite of the Islamic Republic of Iran had once considered elections a source of the regime's legitimacy. According to them, Iranians who voted in the past polls approved the system and wanted to participate. However, it all changed when Iranians increasingly voted for the candidates not endorsed by the hard-liners. -Ali Dadpay, Al-Monitor 6/11/21

Iran judiciary chief stages 1st campaign rally despite virus

Iran's leading presidential candidate staged a mass rally in the country's southeast that drew thousands of supporters, sparking controversy Thursday as the first such gathering amid the raging coronavirus pandemic that has largely halted traditional election campaigning. Ebrahim Raisi, Iran's hard-line judiciary chief, toured the oil-rich southwestern Khuzestan province and addressed some 5,000 supporters at a sprawling football stadium in the city of Ahvaz late on Wednesday. -AP 6/11/21

U.S. Men Struggle Early and Fall to Iran

U.S. Men's National Team improved as it went along, but fell to Iran, 3-0 (25-19, 25-23, 25-23) on Wednesday at the FIVB Volleyball Nations League in Rimini, Italy. Iran led the match in kills (44-37) and blocks (7-6) and scored 19 points on U.S. errors while giving up 21. The teams tied in aces (2-2). -USA Volleyball 6/10/21

Comedy drama recounts story of Persian mythical heroine Goshasb Banu

A comedy drama telling the story of the wedding of heroine Goshasb Banu, the daughter of Persian mythical hero Rostam, went on stage at Tehran's Mehregan Theater on Tuesday. Somayyeh Abadeh is directing "Wedding of Banu Goshasb" written by veteran playwright Ardeshir Salehpur based on some ancient Persian texts. Goshasb Banu has swarms of suitors from Turan, China and India. Therefore, Rostam lays down only one condition: that he will agree to the one who can defeat her in a battle. 6/10/21

Iran candidate says he's willing to potentially meet Biden

A prominent Iranian presidential candidate said Wednesday he'd be willing to meet with U.S. President Joe Biden if he wins his country's election next week, though "America needs to send better and stronger signals" to the Islamic Republic. Speaking to The Associated Press, former Iranian Central Bank chief Abdolnasser Hemmati stressed that an American return to Iran's tattered nuclear deal was key to any possible relationship amid the wider tensions in the Mideast. -AP 6/10/21

Photos: Vista Gallery Shows artworks by Ali Fakhraei

A collection of artworks by Ali Fakhraei is on display in an exhibition at Vista Gallery. The exhibit named "Miles of Ropes" will continue until June 4. -Honar Online 6/10/21

World Bank Revises Up Iran's Growth Estimates, Forecasts

he World Bank has revised up its estimates and forecasts for Iran's economic growth in its latest Global Economic Prospects reports published in June. According to the report, the economy is forecast to experience 2.1% and 2.2% growth in 2021 and 2022 respectively. New forecasts have been revised up by 0.6 and 0.5 percentage points respectively. This is while forecast for 2023 GDP growth is at 2.3% in the new report. -Financial Tribune 6/10/21

US Warns Venezuela, Cuba Against Welcoming Iranian Ships

According to a report from Politico, the US is calling on Venezuela and Cuba to turn away two Iranian warships that the US claims are carrying weapons that are intended to be transferred to Caracas. Since Venezuela and Iran are under such heavy US sanctions, the two countries are natural trading partners. The growing trade relationship angers Washington. The US has gone as far as stealing Iranian gasoline shipments that were bound for Venezuela. -Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com 6/10/21

No, European intel has not concluded Iran is seeking to build nukes

Iran hawks are pulling out all the stops in their campaign to prevent Iran and the United States from returning to full compliance with the 2015 nuclear accord. The latest effort comes in the form of an opinion piece published last week in Politico Europe by Foundation for Defense of Democracies fellows Benjamin Weinthal and Alireza Nader, purporting to show that Iran is currently seeking to develop nuclear weapons, and therefore, they claim, American diplomats should "take a timeout" from the JCPOA negotiations. -Ben Armbruster, Responsible Statecraft 6/10/21

Flaws in US Iran Policy

U.S. Iran policy is marred by many flaws, and some of the worst are threat inflation, imperial arrogance, and hypocrisy. Alarmist media reporting routinely overstates the threat that Iran poses to the US and the world, and hawkish politicians and pundits are only too eager to use this alarmism to agitate for more aggressive policies and to scuttle ongoing diplomacy. -Daniel Larison, Antiwar.com 6/9/21

'Game show': Iranian candidates slam debate format, trade barbs

The seven men running to become Iran's president have once again traded barbs in their second debate, while also criticising state television for the way the sessions are being conducted. Several of the candidates, both conservative and moderate, recognised that the peculiar format of the debates - the first of which was held on Saturday - stifle meaningful dialogue on the major issues at hand ahead of the June 18 polls. -Al-Jazeera 6/9/21

Blinken Says 'Hundreds' of Sanctions Will Remain on Iran Despite Talks

On Tuesday, Secretary of State Antony Blinken said even if the US rejoins the Iran nuclear deal, known as the JCPOA, "hundreds" of sanctions would still remain on Iran, including Trump-era measures. "I would anticipate that, even in the event of a return to compliance with the JCPOA, hundreds of sanctions remain in place, including sanctions imposed by the Trump administration," Blinken told a Senate hearing. -Antiwar.com 6/9/21

Iranian Kurds in Iraq hopelessly seek asylum, UN assistance

On May 18, Behzad Mahmoudi, a Kurdish asylum seeker from Iran, set himself on fire in front of the United Nations office in Erbil, capital of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) of Iraq. Four years ago, the 26-year-old fled his home city of Boukan in western Iran, hoping to find a better future away from the persecution and discrimination many Kurds in Iran say they face. -Dana Taib Menmy, Al-Jazeera 6/9/21

Asian Qualifiers - Group C: IR Iran defeat Bahrain to get firmly back in the race

Riffa: Sardar Azmoun starred with two goals as Islamic Republic of Iran scored a vital 3-0 victory over Bahrain in Group C of the Asian Qualifiers for the FIFA World Cup Qatar 2022 and AFC Asian Cup China 2023 on Monday. -AFC 6/8/21

Washington's Hypocritical Iran Obsession

Since Joe Biden took office as president in January, there has been considerable speculation about the prospects for successful US negotiations with Iran to revive the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action regarding Tehran's nuclear program. President Trump effectively torpedoed that agreement when he rescinded Washington's adherence to its provisions in 2018. The chances of resuscitating the JCPOA remain uncertain, even as tensions between US and Iran on the nuclear issue continue to simmer. -Ted Galen Carpenter, Antiwar.com 6/8/21

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2021 Academic Scholarships

Momeni Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent anywhere in the world. Deadline for receiving the application material for Scholastic Achievement Scholarship and Financial Assistance Scholarship is June 30th, 2021. 6/8/21

US and Europe dismiss IAEA warning in hope of reviving Iran nuclear deal

The US and Europe have decided to set aside a fresh warning from the director general of the UN's International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that it is no longer possible to say with confidence whether Iran is seeking to build a bomb, as they press on with attempting to revive its nuclear deal with the west. -Guardian 6/8/21

Hotu Cave: A story from living in cave to sedentism

Iranian archaeologists have begun excavations in Hotu Cave, located in Behshahr City of Iran's Mazandaran Province, approximately 70 years after American archaeologists had excavated there. By excavating the cave, archaeologists obtain additional information regarding primitive humans living in the cave and how sedentism began. Remains of two children have been discovered thus far in Hotu cave, and archaeologists hope to find more information about humans living 12 thousand years ago. -Hadi Zand, ISNA 6/8/21

Photos: Iran's women golf contest

A one-day competition was held in the golf course of Enghelab Sport Complex in Tehran on 3 June 2021. About 50 athletes from 13 provinces partook in the event. -Mohammad Babaei, IRNA 6/8/21

Iran Election: Political Prisoners Dying Under Candidate Raisi's Watch

Another political prisoner has died in state custody two weeks before Iran's Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi, who is ultimately responsible for the care of prisoners, runs for president. "The reported death of Sassan Niknafs in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary reveals the mounting human toll of the Iranian judiciary's policy of imprisoning individuals for criticizing the government," said Hadi Ghaemi, executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran. -CHRI 6/8/21

Targeting Iran, strengthening NATO: U.S., British, Israeli, Italian F-35s in unprecedented air combat exercise

The twelve-day Falcon Strike 21 aerial war games commenced in earnest today out of the Amendola Air Base in Italy. The exercise is led by the Italian Air Force and is described by U.S. Air Forces in Europe and Air Forces Africa as designed for the integration of 4th and 5th generation fighter capabilities; all four participating countries - Britain, Israeli, Italy and the U.S. - have provided variants of the fifth-generation F-35 fighter jet for the drills. -Rick Rozoff, Anti-Bellum 6/8/21

"The Statue" by Iranian director Mohsen Salehifard tops at VAFI & RAFI animation festival

Iranian short movie "The Statue" has won first prize at the 12th VAFI & RAFI International Children and Youth Animation Film Festival in Croatia. Directed by Mohsen Salehifard, "The Statue" tells the story of a sculptor who engages with the clay of his sculpture and shapes it. 6/7/21

Lawmakers smear Iranian-American Biden adviser with unsubstantiated conspiracy theory

A conspiracy theory smearing a State Department official as loyal to Iran has migrated from the internet to a group of Republican congressmen. Earlier this week, Breitbart News reported that a group of lawmakers led by Rep. Jeff Van Drew (R-N.J.) was demanding an investigation into State Department senior adviser Ariane Tabatabai and the revocation of her security clearance. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 6/7/21

Iran's presidential candidates clash amid disqualification row

Seven candidates qualified to run in Iran's June 18 presidential election have gone head-to-head in a televised debate, as controversy over the disqualification of other hopefuls persists. Saturday's three-hour event focused on the economy, which has taken a big hit in the past three years under US sanctions and is characterised by rampant inflation and high unemployment. Two more debates are due to be held on Tuesday and next Saturday. -Al Jazeera 6/7/21

Olivia Abtahi's Perfectly Parvin

In her debut novel, Perfectly Parvin, author Olivia Abtahi tells the story of 14-year-old Parvin Mohammadi, a second-generation Iranian American who navigates the trials of adolescence with the added complexity of growing up with different cultures. Growing up in the U.S. with an Iranian father and an Argentine mother, Abtahi herself is a reflection of the increasingly diverse Iranian diaspora. 6/7/21

Iran's most beautiful hotels

Cultural heritage, great food and... boutique hotels? Some people travel to Iran for its history -- the 24 UNESCO World Heritage sites in the country, for starters. Others go for the living culture -- the great food and legendary day-to-day hospitality that regular travelers rave about. Thomas Wegmann is a little different. For him, the most striking thing about Iran is its hotels. Not grand seven-star hotels, either, but small, boutique properties run by families -- while being absolutely cutting edge. -CNN 6/7/21

Webinar: The Nonviolent Revolution of Iranian Women Writers: A Conversation with Farzaneh Milani

Professor Farzaneh Milani discusses Iranian women writers and the Iranian women's movement with Professor Abbas Milani. The conversation is a part of the on-going series on the Iranian women's movement. Farzaneh Milani is Raymond J. Nelson Professor of Iranian and Gender Studies and Cavaliers' Distinguished Teaching Professor at the University of Virginia. -Stanford University 6/7/21

Food and nutrition literacy status and its correlates in Iranian senior high-school students

Planning interventions to promote food and nutrition literacy (FNL) require a better understanding of the FNL status of the target group and its correlates. This study aimed to examine the FNL status and its determinants in Iranian senior high-school students. -Marziyeh Ashoori, et al, BMC Neutrition 6/7/21

Iran election candidate threatens to try rival for treason during TV debate

Iran's presidential election candidates have engaged in a fiery and bruising first television debate, during which one promised to put another, the former governor of the central bank, on trial for treason and ban him and other members of the government from leaving the country. The threat to put Abdolnaser Hemmati on trial was made on Saturday by the former leader of the Revolutionary Guards Mohsen Rezaei, currently secretary of the Expediency Council. -Guardian 6/7/21

30M Records talks 'This is Tehran?' and Iranian music's global potential

Hamburg-based label 30M Records was founded in 2020 by Matthias Koch with the aim of helping Iranian musicians to release their music globally, at a time when economic sanctions mean artists and labels there cannot deal directly with digital music services in the US or Europe. The label's first compilation album 'RAAZ' came out last year, and this week its second release drops. 'This is Tehran?' focuses on current Iranian composers and musicians working across a range of genres, from classical and jazz to electronica. -Music Ally 6/4/21

Take us to HIGH ALERT: Iranian oil tanker might be headed to the Atlantic!

If you ever wondered why Americans have an extremely irrational fear of Iran, two recent articles from Politico can provide a good answer. On Saturday evening over the Memorial Day weekend, Politico published what it purported to be an "exclusive" - "U.S. monitoring Iranian warships that may be headed to Venezuela," the headline read, with the two opening graphs -Ben Armbruster, Responsible Statecraft 6/4/21

Iran report: Huge fire at refinery near Tehran extinguished

A massive fire that broke out at an oil refinery near Iran's capital and sent a huge plume of black smoke into the sky over Tehran was extinguished on Thursday, after more than 20 hours, a news agency reported. The semi-official ISNA agency quoted the country's deputy oil minister, Alireza Sadeghabadi as saying the blaze was first fully contained and then finally put out. -AP 6/4/21

Iranian press review: Reformist election candidate warned not to cross red lines

Iran's Guardian Council, the constitutional body responsible for vetting candidates for elections, has warned the only candidate close to the reformist camp in June's presidential poll that he will be disqualified if he crosses any red lines during the campaign. Khatami's remarks came after Abdolnaser Hemmati, a candidate who leans towards the reformists, criticised the country's mandatory hijab law for women during an interview broadcast on state TV. -MEE 6/4/21

Slivers of Hope in the Middle East

Saudi Arabia and its allies also now look back on Trump's "maximum pressure" against Iran as having backfired. At the time, they cheered him on. The result, however, has been that Iran enjoys, if anything, more influence in the region. If the U.S. and Iran get back to the nuclear deal, Riyadh fears the extra revenue that Tehran would accrue will further beef up that clout. If, conversely, nuclear talks collapse, Riyadh still expects blowback, this time out of Iranian anger. Diplomacy with Tehran appears partly aimed at blunting the storm. -Richard Atwood, ICG 6/4/21

Ramin Fatehi: A first-generation Iranian-American lawyer running for Norfolk Commonwealth Attorney

"I have lived a privileged life," Ramin recalls, "But having to take up for my American mom in Iran and for my Iranian dad in the States - having been an insider and an outsider at the same time in one country and then the other - taught me that we should never let our prejudices about people's skin color, parents, or background blind us to who they are as individuals." 6/3/21

From hospitals to amusement parks, Iranians grapple with surprise power outages

Lifts and amusement park rides grinding to a halt, businesses, and employees left in the dark, hospital equipment stopping suddenly ... People around Iran have been experiencing regular power outages since the beginning of May. While the state energy distributor has tried to schedule these outages to align with energy demands, our Observers tell us that power cuts have been more frequent, and lengthier, than planned. -France24 6/3/21

A Family's Anguish and Cautious Hope After Dad Is Imprisoned in Iran: 'Missing a Huge Chunk of Our Family'

For most of the last three years, Bahareh Shargi's watch has been set to Iranian time. And when she checks the clock hands ticking away, the Washington, D.C., mother of two imagines how her husband of 32 years is managing life as an American captive overseas. -People 6/3/21

New Stories From A Rising Generation Of Iranian-Americans Debuts At The Braid

Yashar and Akhondzadeh are part of a plethora of Persian talent - writers, actors, musicians, and in Ora's case, a producer - of the brand-new salon show from The Braid (formerly Jewish Women's Theatre), Persian Sunrise, American Sunset. The autobiographical narratives of these Iranian-Americans will be given dramatic life in four live-on-Zoom performances between June 19 and June 28. -Broadway World 6/3/21

NIAC Action endorses Jennifer Adeli for Virginia House

NIAC Action has endorsed Jennifer Adeli for Virginia House of Delegates, HD 34! Jennifer's election takes place on June 8, 2021. Jennifer has decades of experience bringing innovative business solutions to meet the greatest needs of her community. She is hoping to take her leadership to the next level by bringing her business expertise to the legislative process. -NIAC Action 6/3/21

The Electoral Politics and Legitimation Crisis in Iran

Last week, Iran's Guardian Council disqualified an entire class of politically diverse candidates from running in the next month's presidential election. The Council certified only seven candidates, one of whom, Ayatollah Ibrahim Raisi, the current Head of the Judiciary, is unmistakably designated to be the next president of the Islamic Republic. The Council axed all the candidates who could even remotely jeopardize Raisi's chances... -Behrooz Ghamari Tabrizi, Counterpunch 6/3/21

Human testing of Spicogen COVID-19 vaccine to begin in Iran

The second and third phases of clinical studies of the Iranian-Australian Spicogen vaccine for coronavirus will be performed in Iran, Iranian Food and Drug Administration spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said. The first phase of the clinical trial was performed on volunteer Australians and the two next phases will be administrated to 400 Iranians, he stated. 6/1/21

Iranian superwomen's career experiences: a qualitative study

Superwoman refers to the identity of a woman who performs several important roles simultaneously and full-time, such as being a wife, mother, and homemaker while holding a job. This study aims to examine the career experiences of Iranian superwomen who maintained their mental health while holding multiple roles. -Maryam Nosrati Beigzadeh, et al, BMC 6/1/21

'Freedom is not a western commodity': Inside Iranian reformers' battle for change

For more than two decades, Hossein Yazdi, a political activist, has campaigned in Iranian presidential elections, determined to bring about change in the conservative theocratic state. But now, 42-year-old Yazdi, who was born a few months before the revolution that created the Islamic republic in 1979, has all but given up. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 6/1/21

Photos: Iranshahr Gallery Exhibits Saeid Shahlapur's Sculptures

Iranshahr Gallery is playing host to an exhibition of sculptures by Saeid Shahlapur. The exhibit will run until June 9. Saeed Shahlapour (Born 1944, Tehran) is an Iranian leading sculptor, painter, and printmaker. He studied sculpture in the Faculty of Fine Arts, University of Tehran, where he experimented with various materials and techniques of painting and sculpture, as well as the fundamentals of architecture. -Honar Online 6/1/21

Sofreh: Iranian Cuisine Through the Seasons

Join the Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies and Diaspora Arts Connection for ُSofreh: Iranian Cuisine through the four Seasons with Chefs Hanif Sadr and Hoss Zare. This four-part foodways series with celebrated Bay Area Iranian-American chefs explores the food habits and culinary practices of Iran and the diaspora. 5/31/21

Apprentices become partners as Afghan refugee and Iranian team up

Spare parts clutter every corner of the auto-repair shop in the bustling centre of Shiraz, in the Islamic Republic of Iran's southern Fars province, where Abbas Balkhi leans under the hood of a car making careful adjustments until the rev of the engine sounds just right. -UNHCR 5/31/21

An exquisite new exhibition brings home my long obsession with Iran

I like the way life works in circles, taking you back to where you began. Last Tuesday, I was invited to the opening of the V&A's exhibition, Epic Iran, an event so thrilling for me that not even the sight of Oliver Dowden could dent my mood (distracted by a famous photograph of a girl making a bubble with her gum, I managed not to accost the culture secretary, keen though I am to know what he plans to do about the nation's beleaguered musicians, who now need visas to tour in Europe). -Rachel Cooke, Guardian 5/31/21

Iranians with rare disease dying under US sanctions

After the United States under former president Donald Trump withdrew from Iran's 2015 nuclear deal with world powers in May 2018 and reimposed unilateral sanctions on Iran, Molnlycke stopped exporting the Mepilix product to Iran... According to The Hague-based Iranian Centre for International Criminal Law (ICICL), nearly 30 Iranian EB patients - mostly children - have died since Molnlycke stopped selling its dressings to Iran. For EB survivors, the pain has increased by 70 percent. -Al-Jazeera 5/28/21

Iranian Diaspora Spotlight: Forging a Progressive Future with Yasmin Radjy

Despite having a seasoned career as a political organizer, Yasmin Radjy, the National Political Director for Planned Parenthood Action Fund, didn't always see herself taking up a career in politics. A born and bred Californian, Radjy describes her upbringing in Palo Alto as "idyllic," noting that "a big part of why [she is] involved with politics has, in part, to do with just how idyllic [her] family's Iranian-American immigration experience was." -Ariana Damavandi, Center for Iranian Diaspora Studies, 5/28/21

Attracting foreign students to Iran more than projected: Official

"Some 57,675 foreign nationals from 133 countries are studying in Iranian universities, 30,600 of whom are studying in universities affiliated with the Ministry of Science, while 25,000 others are receiving education in Azad University, and about 2,000 in medical universities." 5/27/21

Five thousand years of mystical magnificence: Epic Iran at the V&A - review

Typical. You go for months without any culture, then 5,000 years of it come along at once. That's what the V&A's luxury coach tour of a blockbuster promises, and delivers, including quite brilliant recreations of Iran's two most renowned sites, Persepolis and Isfahan. Epic Iran shows there is a cultural history that connects the country as it is today with the people who lived here five millennia ago. -Jonathan Jones, Guardian 5/26/21

Young Iranians find freedom in wild camping

Since Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution there have been no nightclubs or bars where young Iranians can meet and socialise. Strict families and the Islamic regime also forbid sexual relations before marriage. Chafing at the restrictions and seeing no chance of substantive change, a new generation is escaping overzealous conservative relatives and official restrictions by heading into the wilderness. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, FT 5/25/21

Photos: Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble

Sheikh Safi al-Din Khanegah and Shrine Ensemble was built in Ardabil Province of Iran in 1334. The ensemble, which is among the ten most important historical monuments in Iran, was inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2010. It is the resting place of the Safavid Dynasty's founder, Sheikh Safi al-Din Ardabili. The monument is an artistic and architectural masterpiece with a remarkable collection of antique artifacts. -Ali Anvar, ISNA 5/25/21

Photos: Migratory, native birds of South Khorasan

Since South Khorasan Province has a hot and dry climate, different species of terrestrial birds are found there. The province hosts approximately 180 bird species, both native and migratory. Some birds choose wetlands and mountainous regions of South Khorasan for temporary habitat during different seasons of the year. These photographs show some of the birds found in the province. -Behzad Nakhaei, ISNA 5/24/21

Photos: Making rag dolls - Tajmir village revives old tradition

Sarbisheh is one of the counties of South Khorasan Province. Women living in Sarbisheh have revived the old tradition of making rag dolls. There is a village in this county called Tajmir, which has changed from an unknown village into the center of doll-making in less than three years. Doll-making has completely changed people's lives in this village, and they no longer seek to migrate to cities. -Amir Madadipour, ISNA 5/21/21

"Asak" named best short doc at Vienna Ethnocineca festival

Iranian filmmaker Mehdi Zamanpur Kiasari's "Asak" won the award for best short documentary at the 15th edition of the Vienna Ethnocineca International Documentary Film Festival. "Asak", which means a small hand-mill in the local dialect of southern Iran, is about the life of an 80-year-old blind man who lives in that area. 5/20/21

From historic boutique houses to secluded oases

The world's first book about hotels in Iran reveals the country's charming, beautiful and welcoming places to stay. Persian Nights - Amazing Boutique Hotels & Guesthouses in Iran is authored by traveller Thomas Wegmann. 16 hotels and guesthouses are showcased in the book, from Tehran in the north to Qeshm Island in the south. 'I didn't think that Iran had so many charming boutique hotels with beautiful rooms,' Wegmann revealed. -Daily Mail 5/20/21

Iran's groundwater resources are rapidly depleting, and everyone should pay attention

It's their problem today, but it's going to be our problem in the future. People have been relying on groundwater resources for all their drinking and washing needs since time immemorial. But some seem to be depleting fast when faced with today's levels of demand, a new paper reports, explaining more than three-quarters of Iran's groundwater resources are being overexploited. -Alexandru Micu, ZME Science 5/20/21

Passage Through the Zagros

True to an ancient way of life, a family in Iran makes a treacherous seasonal migration across the mountains. The Zagros mountains, in Western Iran, stretch for nearly 1,000 miles, from the sands of the Persian Gulf northwest along the modern border with Iraq and Turkey, separating the plains of Mesopotamia from the expanse of the Iranian plateau. -Smithsonian Magazine 5/19/21

50+ DNC Leaders Urge Biden to Lift Sanctions and Rejoin Iran Nuclear Deal

After weeks of negotiations in Europe, more than 50 members of the Democratic National Committee and state party leaders sent a letter Monday urging U.S. President Joe Biden to scrap his predecessor's economic sanctions against Iran and return to the nuclear deal that was reached in 2015. -Common Dreams 5/11/21

Photos: Dedicated Iranian teacher holds classes on prairies during pandemic

Kolsoom Faqiri, 39, is a teacher who works in an elementary school in Chaharchenar village, suburb of Gorgan, the capital of northern Golestan province in Iran. Since the outbreak of coronavirus and despite suffering from heart disease, Faqiri has held classes on vast plains and prairies near her house on a regular basis. This dedicated teacher is standing on her feet for long hours, against the advice of physicians, since her students cannot afford buying smartphones or tablets to attend classes online. 5/7/21

Iranians and Americans Support A Mutual Return to JCPOA

A joint Council and IranPoll survey shows that although Iranian and American public support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has waned over time, there is still sizable backing for it in both countries. -Chicago Council on Global Affairs 4/5/21



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last updated on Wed Jun 16 11:31:41 EDT 2021