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February 24 2018
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The Education of Women & The Vices of Men: Two Qajar Tracts


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UN Should Keep Engaging Iran on Its Human Rights Record by Renewing Special Rapporteur's Mandate

- Iran's deteriorating human rights record requires the UN Human Rights Council to renew the mandate of the special rapporteur on the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic to maintain constructive pressure on the government and magnify the voices of activists inside the country. "Renewing the mandate of the special rapporteur will send a strong signal to the Islamic Republic that the international community is watching and expects the government to produce tangible improvements," said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 02/23/18

The Limits Of EU Diplomacy In The Persian Gulf

- In line with the EU policy of balanced engagement with Saudi Arabia and Iran, a group of senior EU lawmakers visited both Riyadh and Tehran last week, with a stopover in Kuwait. The delegation was led by the German chairman of the foreign affairs committee of the European Parliament, David McAllister (European People's Party, centre-right). -Eldar Mamedov 02/23/18

International Atomic Energy Agency once again verifies Iran's compliance with nuclear deal

- The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran is living up to its commitments under the 2015 multilateral nuclear agreement. The UN nuclear agency said in a report, cited by French news agency AFP, that the Islamic Republic is sticking to the deal's key parameters such as the number of uranium centrifuges and stockpiles. 02/23/18

"The Rock" by Iranian Director Hamid Jafari Wins Best Short Documentary Award At Irvine International Film Festival

- The Rock by Hamid Jafari has won the Best Short Documentary at 7th annual Irvine International Film Festival. Also at the same category which Iranian short film competed, the 'Knife Skills by Thomas Lennon won the 'Honorable Mention.' 02/23/18

Trump: Cherry-Picking International Law

- In drafting a resolution seeking to condemn Iran for its role in Yemen's ongoing civil war, the United States--along with its UN Security Council allies Britain and France--seems to have cherry-picked information from a UN report that condemned all actors in that war for violations of international law. Rather than draft a resolution reflecting the broad range of crimes that have been committed in Yemen, the Trump administration chose to selectively pick out only those crimes that could be attributed to Iran while ignoring arguably more heinous crimes attributable to Saudi Arabia and the internationally recognized government of Yemen. -Derek Davison, LobeLog 02/23/18

Forced Confessions in Iran's House of the Dead

- "The degree of civilization in a society can be judged by entering its prisons," Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote in "The House of the Dead," his semi-autobiographical novel about inmates in a Siberian prison camp. Iran continues to fail the Dostoyevsky test. The Evin Prison in Tehran, where a long list of leaders, intellectuals and journalists have been detained over the years, added to its infamy this month with the so-called suicide of Kavous Seyed Emami, a leading environmentalist and academic. -Ervand Abrahamian, New York Times 02/23/18

Can Iran and Afghanistan cooperate to bring an oasis back from the dead?

- Since 2014, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) has been crafting a restoration plan that would require Afghanistan to help restore the flow of the Helmand, the main river feeding the former wetlands, and Iran to overhaul its water management. And last month, experts from the two nations met in Paris for a workshop on transboundary water issues. The bilateral efforts hearten water researchers. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine 02/23/18

Discover Iran's Most Important Documentary Filmmaker: Mehrdad Oskouei

- When he was 15, Mehrdad Oskouei decided to commit suicide. As he tells it, it was an act of both hopelessness and selflessness: His father had gone bankrupt after being imprisoned, and the family had reached the end of its financial rope; young Mehrdad wanted to drown himself so that there would be one less mouth to feed. But then, as he waited with ropes and weights late one night on the shore of the Caspian Sea, he saw something in the darkness that made him change his mind. -Bilge Ebiri, Village Voice 02/23/18

Iran Among the Ruins: Tehran's Advantage in a Turbulent Middle East

- Over the last seven years, social upheavals and civil wars have torn apart the political order that had defined the Middle East ever since World War I. Once solid autocracies have fallen by the wayside, their state institutions battered and broken, and their national borders compromised... In the eyes of the Trump administration, and those of a range of other observers and officials in Washington and the region, there is one overriding culprit behind the chaos: Iran. -Vali Nasr, Foreign Policy 02/23/18

Celebrate The Iranian New Year And The First Day Of Spring At The 10th Annual Farhang Foundation Nowruz Festival In Los Angeles

- The Farhang Nowruz Festival is a free to all, public, daylong celebration located at UCLA, including a colorful Spring Walk, Iranian Tea House, spectacular dances, children activities, puppet shows, authentic musical performances, a rare performance by Iranian living legend Sima Bina, and more. 02/22/18

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Iran may withdraw from nuclear deal if gets no benefits: Abbas Araqchi - Iran says it could withdraw from the 2015 nuclear deal if the "atmosphere of uncertainty" created by the new US administration continues to prevent Tehran from reaping the benefits of the multilateral accord, particularly in the business and banking sectors. Speaking at Britain's Royal Institute of International Affairs in London, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi criticized US President Donald Trump over his threat to stop waiving anti-Iran sanctions, a US commitment under known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 02/22/18

Seven Rights Activists Denied Legal Counsel After Being Arrested by Iran's Intelligence Ministry - Seven civil rights activists detained in Evin Prison since February 1, 2018, have been denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. A source with firsthand knowledge of the cases identified the detainees as Behnam Mousivand, Shima Babaei, Dariush Zand, Saeed Eghbali, Saeed Seifijahan, Mahmoud Masoumi and Nader Afshari. 02/22/18

Iran says currency market volatility over: Central Bank Chief - Iran's top banker says calm has returned to the country's currency market after a turmoil of multiple weeks that shot the rates of foreign currencies through the ceiling. Valiollah Seif, the governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), told reporters on Wednesday that the current calm in the currency market was a result of a series of measures the most important of which he said was preventing "unlawful activities in the currency market". 02/22/18

IRAN: Bodies recovered from plane crash site - Four days after a passenger plane heading from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasouj crashed into Dena mountain range, search and rescue teams on Wednesday found and recovered some of the bodies. The bodies were not easy to identify, according to Tasnim news agency. While some news agencies reported that 7 bodies were transferred to Yasouj, Kohgiluyeh and Boyer-Ahmad Province, forensics director Kamrouz Amini has said that no bodies are transferred to the city yet. 02/22/18

Iran announce bid to create own digital currency - Iran says it is preparing to launch its own digital currency in a move that many believe can help reduce the country's vulnerability to the impacts of US-led sanctions. Iran's Minister of Information and Communications Technology Mohammad Azari Jahromi was quoted by the domestic media as saying that a plan was already on agenda to develop a platform for using cryptocurrency in the country. 02/22/18

Unanimous Supreme Court Rules Against Terror Victims in Iran Case - The U.S. Supreme Court on Wednesday made it more difficult to attach museum artifacts and other holdings in the United States to fulfill judgments against foreign countries under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. By a unanimous 8-0 vote, the court said the law in most instances "does not provide a freestanding basis for parties holding a judgment... to attach and execute against the property of a foreign state." 02/22/18

The Forgotten Benefits Of Deterrence - The case of Iran, which presents a much different set of issues, provides probably the best example of coming to believe U.S. rhetoric about the other guy supposedly being fanatical and not thinking like the rest of the world. Amid much rhetoric designed to stir up worries about Iran, clear logic about deterrence has been lacking. Some of that rhetoric has been self-contradictory, such as the argument a few years ago for a military attack as a way to prevent an Iranian nuclear weapon. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 02/22/18

Iranian film on Tehran's role in Syria war creates controversy - Iranian director Ebrahim Hatamikia's "Damascus Time" is the first major Iranian film about the country's presence in Syria. Ever since its first screening at Iran's Fajr International Film Festival in February, the film has caused controversy, both for its take on the subject and its artistic value. -Rohollah Faghihi, Al Monitor 02/22/18

Clashes Highlight Tensions Between Dervishes And Iran's Establishment - Fresh clashes between Iranian security forces and Gonabadi dervishes follow years of tensions and persecution of dervishes, whose houses of worship have been destroyed and members detained. The semiofficial hard-line Fars news agency, affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), reported that a Sufi follower rammed a bus into a group of police officers late on February 19, killing three of them before being arrested. 02/21/18

Trump set to oppose Boeing deal with Iran Air: Report - Officials at the Trump administration are using a case against an Iranian airliner to thwart a multibillion-dollar deal between Boeing and flag carrier Iran Air for the sale of new passenger planes, US reports say. The push comes as President Donald Trump is considering whether to grant licenses to Boeing to sell 80 planes to Iran Air under a deal signed in December 2016. 02/21/18

ACL: Esteghlal of Iran defeat Saudi Arabia's Al Hilal, Persepolis beaten by Al Sadd of Qatar - Esteghlal of Iran football team defeated Al Hilal of Saudi Arabia 1-0 in Group D of the 2018 AFC Champions League on Tuesday. In the match held in Muscat's Seeb Stadium, Abdullah Al-Hafith scored an own goal just after the halftime. Persepolis football team of Iran suffered a 3-1 defeat against Al Sadd of Qatar in Group C of the AFC Champions League. 02/21/18

The conductor smashing Iranian taboos over women, and music - In her 38-year career, which is as long as the history of the Islamic republic, Iran's first and only female conductor had led as many public performances as the number of fingers that hold her baton. Last month, however, Nezhat Amiri conducted a 71-member orchestra performing at Tehran's most prestigious concert hall - a remarkable milestone in a country where it is considered taboo for state TV to show musical instruments, women are not allowed to sing solo and female musicians have been prevented from going on stage in provincial cities. -Guardian 02/21/18

1,000 Days in Prison: Narges Mohammadi Condemns Iranian Judiciary's "Subservience" to Security Agencies - Human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi, who recently marked her 1,000th day of imprisonment in Iran, has strongly condemned Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadegh Larijani for his "subservience" to the country's security establishment. 02/21/18

US turns focus to Asia over Iran trade after milking European banks - US authorities say they are turning their focus to Asia to strangle financial transactions with Iran after closing off money flows through European banks. The shift underscores the current US administration's disdain for a landmark nuclear deal which should have paved the way for Iran's reconnection to the international banking system. 02/21/18

U.S. sanctions have turned Iranian airplanes into 'flying coffins' - The deaths of 65 passengers and crew aboard an Iranian commercial flight that crashed on Sunday are the latest in Iran's longstanding ordeal over the safety of its airplanes -- referred to by some Iranians as "flying coffins." -Elham Khatami, Think Progress 02/21/18

Five Iranian Security Officers And One protester Said Killed, 300 Arrests At Sufi Protest In Tehran - Five security officers have been killed and 300 people arrested amid clashes between law enforcement authorities and Sufi Muslim protesters in Tehran, police say. Members of the Gonabadi Sufi order, who are known as dervishes, said that at least one of their number was killed by security forces after clashes broke out during their protest in northern Tehran on February 19. 02/20/18

Iran plane crash: Wreckage, bodies found - Search and rescue teams finally managed to find the wreckage of a plane that crashed into the Dena mountain range, southwestern Iran, on Sunday, recovering bodies of some of the victims, ISNA news agency reported. The ATR aircraft with 66 passengers and crew on board went missing and due to bad weather conditions search for finding the wreckage of the plane continued for three days. 02/20/18

Iran's Suppression of December 2017 Unrest Marked by Brutal Violations of Law - Silencing the Streets, Deaths in Prison: The December 2017 Crackdown in Iran, which is based on extensive interviews with released detainees, the families and attorneys of detainees, and journalists and human rights defenders inside Iran, provides a detailed look at the mass arrests, systematic denial of counsel, campaign of intimidation against detainees and their families, and ill treatment and deaths inside the prisons that characterized the state response to the week-long unrest. 02/20/18

Loneliness inspires "Doomed Bloom" photo collection by Iranian actress Niki Karimi - Actress/director Niki Karimi has said that "a feeling of loneliness in a gloomy and unsafe world" has inspired her latest photo collection "Doomed Bloom" that is currently on display at a Tehran gallery. "This collection reflects the concerns I have had over the past few years and also illustrates the sad events my generation has experienced over these years," she said at the opening ceremony of her exhibition at Etemad Gallery on Friday. 02/20/18

US aviation sanctions taking toll on Iranian civilians - The Sunday crash of an Iranian ATR 72 passenger plane in central Iran during a flight from Tehran to the southwestern city of Yasuj, which claimed the lives of 66 people, has once again brought into the limelight the issue of unilateral US sanctions and their deleterious effect on Iran's transportation sector, especially the country's civil aviation fleet. -Press TV 02/20/18

Kavous Seyed-Emami's Family Lawyers Issue Statement Countering Smear Campaign Aired on Iran's State TV - Two lawyers representing the family of recently deceased Kavous Seyed-Emami have issued a statement countering the claims made in a short film that was aired on a state-funded TV program in Iran that accused Seyed-Emami of engaging in espionage. The film was aired on February 13, 2018, the day Seyed-Emami was buried. 02/20/18

What Trump needs to know about Iranians - Ever since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, the implicit goal of US strategy toward Tehran has with rare exception been to subvert the Iranian political system. Under President Donald Trump, regime change has been adopted as official policy. Trump's approach has been twofold: to increase sanctions and other pressures to weaken Iran while countering its defensive capabilities and regional influence, and to support Iranians who seek to overthrow the Islamic Republic. -Seyed Hossein Mousavian, Al Monitor 02/20/18

Iran Rescue Teams 'Find Crash Site' - Iranian search and rescue teams have reached the site of the plane crash that authorities say killed all 65 people on board, Iran's Press TV reported on February 19. State television said helicopters were now able to take part in the search for Aseman Airlines flight EP3704 after the weather improved following blizzard conditions that had hampered search efforts on February 18. 02/19/18

Shi'ite Shrine At Persepolis Sparks Row Over Iran's Heritage - With more than 10,000 religious shrines dotting Iran to mark where descendants of Shi'ite Islam's most revered imams are said to have been buried, many of them go unnoticed. But one of these so-called imamzadeh sanctums recently caught the eye of a passerby who, in a video, questioned its proximity to a globally recognized legacy of Iran's pre-Islamic past, the ruins of Persepolis. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 02/19/18

Iran denies 'hegemon' plans, denounces Saudi and Israel - Iran deflected accusations by Saudi Arabia and Israel that it was destabilising the Middle East, calling the two "US client states" who were trying to gloss over their "poor choices" and "strategic blunders". Saudi Arabia's Foreign Minister Adel Al Jubeir joined Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu in blaming Iran for rising regional tensions, at the Munich Security Conference on Sunday. -Al Jazeera 02/19/18

Louvre blockbuster show heads to Iran in major move of cultural diplomacy - Exhibition of 50 Greek, Roman and Persian artefacts is "first large-scale exhibition by a major Western museum in Iran" -Art Newspaper 02/19/18

Neocons Call For War Against Iran In Syria After Israeli Strikes - The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) is a little known but highly influential hawkish think tank in Washington that has made a name for itself over the past few years by opposing the Iran nuclear deal and its subsequent (and current) efforts to derail it. Aside from its long tradition of opposing negotiations with Iran, FDD has also been known as a safe space for its staff--chief among them CEO Mark Dubowitz--to call for war against Iran and/or regime change. -Ben Armbruster 02/17/18

Iran's President Rouhani and India's Prime Minister Modi express readiness to expand ties in all areas - President Hassan Rouhani of Iran and Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India have expressed readiness to expand relations between their countries in all areas. President Rouhani and Prime Minister Modi expressed their respective countries' preparedness for the enhancement of the relations at the Indian prime minister's Hyderabad House in the Indian capital on Saturday. 02/17/18

Another Iranian Woman Arrested In Tehran For Protesting Compulsory Veiling - A woman has been arrested in Iran after peacefully protesting against compulsory veiling, the latest such incident in recent months. Video uploaded to YouTube on February 15 shows a woman standing on a concrete block above a crowd on Tehran's Enghelab (Revolution) street, waving her head scarf in protest. 02/17/18

Iranian Authorities Arrest Lawyer Who Exposed Death of Protester in Police Custody - Attorney Mohammad Najafi has been held in detention in the Iranian city of Arak since January 15, and is facing eight charges for exposing the death of a young man who died in police custody after being arrested during the recent protests in Iran. Najafi's own attorney has also been threatened with arrest, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 02/17/18

Royal Portraits From 19th-Century Iran Will Go on View at the Smithsonian's Freer|Sackler in Washington, DC - Kings and noblemen of Iran's Qajar dynasty (1779-1925) commissioned self-portraits to convey their power and splendor. Such imagery proliferated as monumental oil paintings, photographs or as intimately scaled lacquer objects and uniquely combined traditional Persian artistic conventions with European modes of representation. "The Prince and the Shah: Royal Portraits from Qajar Iran" offers a rare glimpse into the development and dissemination of royal and aristocratic portraiture in the 19th century and early 20th century in Iran at a time when the country underwent major political, societal and cultural changes. 02/17/18

EU ready to negotiate Iran's joining Southern Gas Corridor initiative - European Commission Vice-President for Energy Union Maros Sefcovic said EU is ready to discuss Iran's joining to the Southern Gas Corridor (SGC) with all partners of the project, IRNA reported on Thursday. The Southern Gas Corridor is an initiative of the European Commission for the natural gas supply from Caspian and Middle Eastern regions to Europe. 02/17/18

Iran Takes Measures To Combat Rial's Fall To Record Lows - Iran's central bank announced measures to combat the rial's fall to record lows one day after police cracked down on foreign exchange dealers on the streets of Tehran. The central bank's announcement on February 15 that it will allow an increase in the interest rates paid on bank deposits came after the Iranian currency plummeted to a record low of 48,400 to the dollar earlier in the week. 02/16/18

Muslim Ban Plaintiffs Celebrate IAAB v. Trump Ruling: We Continue On Together - Today (February 15, 2018), the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit in Richmond, Va., upheld the Maryland district court's order blocking implementation of the Muslim Ban in three consolidated cases, Iranian Alliances Across Borders v. Trump, IRAP v Trump, and Zakzok v Trump. This ruling is a significant victory for the many individuals and families whose lives are still hanging in the balance. 02/16/18

Environmentalists Detained in Iran Denied Legal Counsel Weeks After Arrests - Environmental activists who were detained at the same time as Kavous Seyed-Emami-who recently died in custody-are being denied access to legal counsel, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "We are simple, ordinary people. We are not political. But unfortunately, the authorities are not letting lawyers get involved," a source who requested anonymity for fear of state reprisals for speaking to the media told CHRI on February 14, 2018. 02/16/18

Takfiri groups, a creation of West to divide Muslims, says Iran's President Rouhani during India visit - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the West has created Takfiri outfits that have nothing to do with the holy faith of Islam in a bid to sow discord among Muslims. Rouhnai made the remarks in a meeting with a group of elites, religious clerics and leaders of the Muslim community in the Indian city of Hyderabad on Thursday. 02/16/18

Expanding regional rivalries: Saudi Arabia and Iran battle it out in Azerbaijan - It's the pot calling the kettle black. As Saudi Arabia accuses Iran of seeking to encircle it with its support for Houthi rebels in Yemen as well as Qatar, the kingdom and the Islamic republic are extending their bitter rivalry beyond the Middle East into the Caucasus. The two countries' latest battleground is oil-rich Azerbaijan, an authoritarian, majority Shia Muslim but secular former Soviet republic on Iran's northern border with a substantial ethnic population in Iran itself. -James M. Dorsey 02/16/18

Foreign experts to help protect Persepolis, ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire, against lichens - Separate teams of Italian and Spanish experts will join hands with Iranian counterparts to cope with spreading lichens in Persepolis, a World Heritage site in southern Iran. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BC). It is situated 60 km northeast of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province, Iran. The earliest remains of Persepolis date back to 515 BC. It exemplifies the Achaemenid style of architecture. UNESCO declared the ruins of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979. 02/16/18

Mother of Ailing Hunger Striker Atena Daemi Assaulted in Front of Tehran's Evin Prison - Masoumeh Nemati, the mother of imprisoned civil rights activist Atena Daemi, was attacked in front of Evin Prison in Tehran on February 13, 2018, after she tried to inquire about her daughter's hunger strike. "Atena and Golrokh Iraee [Ebrahimi], who are on a dry hunger strike, are in serious condition. Instead of answering our questions, they beat us up and interrogated us today," Nemati said in an interview with the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 02/16/18

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Detained Opposition Leaders - The U.S. State Department late on February 15 called on Iran to release three opposition leaders who have been under house arrest for seven years. The statement came on the seventh anniversary of the detention of 2009 Iranian presidential candidates Mehdi Karrubi and Mir Hossein Musavi, as well as Musavi's wife and women's rights advocate Zahra Rahnavard. 02/16/18

Israel was about to get 'a lot more violent' with Syria after losing an F-16 -- and then Putin stepped in - A simmering conflict between Israel and Iran in Syria could have erupted into another regional war were it not for the intervention of Russian President Vladimir Putin, according to an Israeli investigative journalist. -Business Insider 02/16/18

Tehran's Homegrown Critics Double Down On Rohani's Referendum Challenge - A referendum proposed by President Hassan Rohani to heal Iran's divisions has been attacked by his hard-line opponents but provided an opening for establishment critics to go a step further. More than a dozen Iranian activists and intellectuals from inside the country and abroad quickly seized on the president's tentative calls this week for the plebiscite, to ask for a UN-backed referendum in Iran that would allow for a transition to a new form of government. 02/15/18

Son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, Iranian-Canadian Who Died At Tehran's Evin Prison, Reveals Threats Against Family - The son of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian academic and environmentalist who died under interrogation in Evin Prison in early February 2018, has broken his family's silence on the case and issued a statement on his personal blog. In it, Ramin Seyed-Emami said a film of his father's last hours in his cell does not show him committing the act of suicide, and that the family will be using "every legal channel" to launch an independent investigation. 02/15/18

Iran Cracks Down On Currency Traders Amid Steep Fall In Rial - Iranian authorities have arrested dozens of money changers in Tehran amid a steep decline in the Iranian currency that has sent the rial to a record low against the U.S. dollar. A video by state broadcaster IRINN on February 14 showed dozens of currency hawkers who usually are stationed across the street from the British Embassy in central Tehran being rounded up by police. 02/15/18

Lawyer: IRGC Film of Seyed-Emami's Prison Cell Does Not Show Act of Suicide - A lawyer representing the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died under interrogation in Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, said a film of the detainee's last living hours does not show him committing suicide. Payam Dorafshan also told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that he and another lawyer hired by the family are investigating the case to determine the cause of death and reason Seyed-Emami was visibly agitated before he died. 02/15/18

'You don't sound like an American,' TV hosts tell US-Iranian blogger critical of Washington - An Iranian-American fashion blogger was told on US television that she didn't "sound like an American" after slamming Washington's Middle East policy when the morning show hosts decided to grill her on Iran's nuclear weapons. -RT 02/15/18

Indian investments in Iran on top of President Rouhani's visit - Diplomats in New Delhi say Iran's President Hassan Rouhani will try to encourage Indian businesses to invest "billions of dollars" in the Islamic Republic during his three-day visit which will start on Thursday. Top on the agenda of Rouhani's visit would be the completion of Iran's Chabahar port by India as well as discussions over a potential deal for Indian companies to develop an offshore gas field in Iran. 02/15/18

Sanctions: A Substitute For Serious Foreign Policy - In recent times, the United States has increasingly resorted to economic and other sanctions to try getting countries, with governments often referred to as "rogue regimes," to change their behavior. Today, Iran, Russia, and North Korea have been notable targets. But are sanctions genuinely a useful tool of policy--that is, do they work? And, if that proposition is at best debatable, why does the United States deploy them so often? -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 02/15/18

Iran: Dusty Khuzestan still in tight spot, out of breath - Once again the old story of recurrent sand and dust storms in the southwestern province of Khuzestan is going around. For some years now elevated levels of PM 2.5 fine particles, tens of times above the standard average, is the new normal for the province. 02/15/18

Neoliberalism and Iran's protest movement - On the 1st of January, and the fifth day of protests in Iran, President Rouhani decided to pursue a course that the security and military officials had pursued before him. While speaking of the importance of attention to economic and political realities and the people's right to protest, Rouhani overlooked the true reality of the situation when he proclaimed: "There is a minority, a tiny group, who would come in and do something: to chant slogans against the law and the will of the people, to insult the sanctities and values of the revolution, and to destroy public property. Our country will round them up good." -Amin Bozorgian, Open Democracy 02/15/18

MP: "More Details Necessary" To Determine Cause of Iranian-Canadian's Death in Custody - Iran's deputy parliamentary speaker has stated that, based on a video produced by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), it's not clear whether Iranian-Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami committed suicide in Tehran's Evin Prison on February 9, 2018, as officials have claimed. Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi told reporters on February 13 than an autopsy was conducted on Seyed-Emami's body before it was delivered to the family on February 13, but no medical examiner's report has been released to the public. Seyed-Emami was buried on in Emameh Cemetery near Tehran on February 13. 02/14/18

PM 2.5 level 'beyond hazardous' as another dust storm hits southwestern Iran - The recent sand and dust storms have increased the PM 2.5 fine particles concentration to a 'beyond hazardous' level in the southwestern city of Ahwaz, Khuzestan province, on Tuesday. According to Khuzestan provincial department of environment the fine dust concentration has jumped to 60 times above the recommended limits once again over the past months. 02/14/18

Some University Students Still Detained a Month After Iran's Protests Despite Officials' Claims - Contrary to Iranian official's claims that all the university students who were detained in connection with Iran's December 2017 protests have been released, some remain in custody without access to legal counsel. "It is not correct to say that all of them have been freed," a Tehran University student activist who asked not to be identified told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 9, 2018. "At least five students are still in detention and they don't have a lawyer." 02/14/18

Revolution anniversary: 39 years of news control and censorship in Iran - On the 39th anniversary of the Iranian revolution, Reporters Without Borders (RSF) reiterates its condemnation of the regime's harassment of journalists and citizen-journalists. Thirty-nine years after the revolution, as young men and women protest in the streets, the Islamic Republic is trying to reinforce its news control both at home and internationally. 02/14/18

Iranian intellectuals call for referendum amid political unrest - A group of prominent Iranian intellectuals have said they have lost hope that the Islamic Republic can reform, and have called for a referendum to establish whether the ruling establishment is still backed by a majority. A day after Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, touted the idea of holding a referendum as a means to heal Iran's deepening political divisions, 15 figures - including some based in Iran - said leaders had failed to deliver on republican ideals. -Guardian 02/14/18

How do Iran's 'corrupt networks' operate? - On Jan. 28, at an event celebrating 50 years of capital markets in Iran, the head of the Central Bank of Iran, Valiollah Seif, publicly stated, "The formidable power of illegal stakeholders on Iran's economy has rendered reforming the economy difficult." These illegal stakeholders, who have also been referred to as shady interest groups, are most accurately described as "corrupt networks." -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 02/14/18

Iran's female skier blazes a trail to Pyeongchang - Getting a spot to compete in the 23rd Olympic Games in South Korea was no easy feat for the 26-year-old athlete Samaneh Bayrami Baher, who is the only female member of the country's national cross-country skiing team. As a child, Samaneh fell in love with swimming, competing and winning three international events. She also trained for competitive cycling. -Al Jazeera 02/14/18

Renault's investment in Iran to hit 800 million Euros - French automaker Renault is going to expand activities in Iran, boosting its total investments in the country to 800 million Euros, IRNA reported quoting the company's director for MENA region. Speaking at the 5th edition of Iran's Automotive Industry International Conference in Tehran on Tuesday, Pascal Felten noted that with the new round of cooperation between Iran and Renault beginning, the company will create 10 times more job opportunities in the country. 02/14/18

Film Review: Tehran Taboo - The fascinating animated drama Tehran Taboo doesn't dismiss outright the reality that many residents of the Iranian city might enjoy happily devout or mundane lives, going about their business by the strict codes and regulations of the Islamic Republic. However, this film, written and directed by Ali Soozandeh, is wholly disinterested in those who are leading devoutly moral lives. -Film Journal 02/14/18

Mother Denies Espionage Charges Against Son Detained in Crackdown on Environmental NGO in Iran - The mother of Sam Rajabi, who was arrested in a state-led crackdown on non-governmental organizations (NGOs) in Iran including the one managed by Kavous Seyed-Emami, who died in custody, said her son has been focused on his career and would never betray his country. 02/13/18

Iranian airlines examining Russian Sukhoi superjet for possible purchase - A Russian Sukhoi Superjet 100 landed on Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Monday morning and was examined by Iranian aviation experts deciding about its future purchase, Tasnim news agency reported. "The Russian airplane maker asked Iran to let its aircraft land on Mehrabad on its way back from Singapore Air Show 2018," the Secretariat of Association of Iranian Airlines Maghsoud Asadi Samani told Tasnim on the sidelines of the superjet's examination. 02/13/18

Book Review: The Gardens of Consolation by Author Parisa Reza - The "Gardens of Consolation" is a poignant family tale of love, survival and shattered dreams set against the backdrop of a nation's struggle for independence. Seen through the eyes of one rural family, the Aminis, this novel is a prequal to a saga which spans over a century. -Darius Kadivar 02/13/18

Pollsters Arrested While Conducting Survey Showing Majority of Iranians Dissatisfied With Domestic Affairs - Several pollsters who were gauging views about Iran's December 2017 protests have been arrested, according to Mohammad Aghasi, the head of the Iranian Students Polling Agency (ISPA). "It was difficult to conduct polls about the recent protests due to the arrests of some of the researchers in a number of cities," said Aghasi at a conference in Tehran on February 7, 2018. "Usually, we do the polls in two days but this time it took longer because of some of these difficulties." 02/13/18

Female Iranian MPs Demand Action on Stalled Bill Aiming to Preventing Child Abuse - Some Iranian female lawmakers have called for immediate deliberations on a bill for the protection of children to prevent future cases of child abuse in Iran. "The increase in incidents of child abuse is not becoming of the Islamic Republic. We cannot deal with child abuse with our current laws," said Member of Parliament (MP) Masoumeh Aghapour Alishahi, a member of the Women's Faction. 02/13/18

Iran says seeking co-op with UN on human rights - Mohammad Javad Larijani, secretary of the High Council for Human Rights Mohammad in Iran, has said that Iran is seeking close cooperation with the United Nations on issues related to human rights. Larijani made the remarks in a message read to a conference on Human Rights Achievements in the Islamic Republic of Iran. 02/13/18

Clear Signs of State Cover-Up of Death of Iranian-Canadian Academic at Evin Prison in Tehran - The family of the Iranian-Canadian academic, Kavous Seyed-Emami, whose death in custody in Iran was announced on February 9, is under intense pressure to immediately bury Seyed-Emami in a private funeral-without receiving any independent and medically corroborated information on the cause of his death-and to remain silent regarding the death. 02/12/18

Iran beats Australia to finish third at 2018 Men's Indoor Hockey World Cup - The Iran men's national field hockey team has defeated the Australian squad at the 2018 Men's Indoor Hockey World Cup in Germany to claim the third place overall at the end of the prestigious international tournament. On Sunday, the Iranian outfit thrashed Australia 5-0 in the bronze medal game, which was staged at the multi-purpose Max-Schmeling-Halle arena in the German capital city of Berlin. 02/12/18

Iranian War Movie "The Lost Strait" Named Best at Fajr Film Festival - "The Lost Strait", a drama produced by Saeid Malekan on an epic battle by Iranian combatants during the last days of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, was crowned best at the 36th Fajr Film Festival on Sunday night. The film's director Bahram Tavakkoli and Ebrahim Hatamikia, whose Daesh drama "At Damascus Time" premiered at the festival, shared the Crystal Simorgh for best director during the closing ceremony of the event that was organized at Tehran's Milad Tower. 02/12/18

'Not Believable': Friends Of Iranian-Canadian Activist Discount 'Suicide' - Academics in Iran and rights activists are calling for a serious and transparent investigation into the death of Iranian-Canadian academic and environmental activist Kavous Seyed-Emami in prison. Four academic societies related to political science, sociology, peace studies, and cultural studies made the call in an open letter to President Hassan Rohani published on February 12. 02/12/18

How American Media Spin-Doctored the Iranian Protests - Barely a month ago, Iranians were amassing in the streets to protest against their government. Their core grievances, according to Western media and politicos, were the economy, foreign policy, expansionism, and human rights. Today, the protests are over. But according to a recent survey by the Center for International and Security Studies at Maryland (based at the University of Maryland) and IranPoll, only one of those grievances actually provided the spark: the economy. -Sharmine Narwani, American Conservative 02/12/18

Thousands of Undocumented Iranians Denied Affordable Kerosene In Winter Months - Tens of thousands of people living in poverty in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan Province are being denied heating oil in the cold winter months because they lack identification papers, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. "I have a birth certificate but my husband and kids don't and so we don't get [state] coupons to buy kerosene and we cannot afford to buy it [on the black market]," Gol Bibi, a resident of the province's capital city of Zahedan, told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on February 6, 2018. 02/12/18

Iran crowned AFC futsal champion for the 12th time - Iran eased past Japan 4-0 in the AFC Futsal Championship final and emerged winners for the 12th time. On Sunday at the Xinzhuang Gymnasium in Taipei, Ali Asghar Hassanzadeh gave Iran the lead in the first half, and further goals from Farhad Tavakoli, Hossein Tayebi and Hassanzadeh again secured them a second consecutive title. 02/11/18

"Iranian Women's Movement Museum" inauguration: "From Evin With Love" - In light of International Women's Day, the exhibition "From Evin, With Love" will open on March 9, 2018 in The Hague, Netherlands, presenting the handicrafts of Imprisoned Iranian women activists. The exhibition will run through April 6, 2018 and will feature a number of prominent Iranian and foreign speakers as well as a performance by Nasrin Hobby & Ensemble. 02/9/18

Architecture in medieval Persian painting: Fact or Fantasy? - How did Persian painters tackle both the depiction of architecture and the actual process of construction? Several scholars have studied the first topic, but very few have investigated the second. In neither case is the term "realism" appropriate, but the conventions for depicting architecture in Persian painting are a fascinating study in themselves, while close analysis of three later medieval paintings of workmen on building sites reveals many surprises. The lecture (by Professor Robert Hillenbrand) will show how comfortably Persian painters operated within what to a Western eye might seem like constricting conventions. ​ 02/9/18

Iranian Says Secure Nuclear Deal Before Talks On 'Other Issues' - A senior Iranian official says the West must ensure that the 2015 nuclear deal is a success before his country can begin to discuss other issues affecting the Middle East region. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi told a conference in Paris on February 8 that the key to future negotiations on matters such as Tehran's regional activities and its missile program is to honor the terms of the nuclear accord, from which the United States has threatened to withdraw. 02/9/18

UK Resident Detained in Iran by IRGC For More Than a Year Without Charge or Access to Counsel - Mohammad Reza Hashemi-Nabi, a permanent resident of the UK, has been held in solitary confinement in Iran's Evin Prison for more than a year without access to a lawyer, his mother informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Hashemi-Nabi, 47, was arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) at Tehran's Imam Khomeini International Airport on December 23, 2016, after arriving there from London. 02/9/18

Paris to host Euromoney Iran Conference 2018 - Co-hosted by Central Bank of Iran (CBI), the second round of Euromoney Iran Conference will kick off in the France's capital on Thursday, IRNA reported. Heading a delegation comprised of CBI and Finance Ministry's scholars and experts, Iranian Deputy Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaie will attend this year's event. 02/8/18

Iran Returns Iranian-American Baquer Namazi To Prison Against Advice Of Medical Examiner - An Iranian-American man imprisoned in Iran, Baquer Namazi, has been returned to prison after a brief release due to health concerns. Lawyer Jared Genser said in a statement that the decision to return his 81-year-old client to Tehran's Evin prison despite the advice of the Iranian government's own medical examiner is "tantamount to a death sentence." 02/7/18

Imprisoned Iranian-American Art Dealer Accuses IRGC of Judicial Interference - In a new letter from Evin Prison, Iranian-American art dealer Karan Vafadari has accused Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) of pressuring the judiciary to impose heavy sentences on him and his wife, Afarin Neyssari. Vafadari's sister, Kateh Vafadari told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on February 5, 2018, that her brother was arrested "a few days after he got a court order to force the IRGC to vacate one of our ancestral buildings." 02/7/18

Why Iran Is Not A Mideast Hegemon - For many observers, Iran emerged as the major winner of Middle East developments in 2017. They saw a "new superpower" in the region now securing military victories "outside its own borders." Although the dynamic in places like Syria, Qatar, Iraq, Lebanon, and Yemen may have turned in Tehran's favor, a closer look reveals that all of the 2017 successes bring a set of 2018 challenges. Observers should pay much more attention to these challenges in order to correct their exaggerated views of Iran. -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog 02/7/18

Poll: Pessimism On The Rise Among Iranians - New findings from an IranPoll/University of Maryland survey, conducted after the protests that struck several Iranian cities last month, find that the Iranian people are increasingly pessimistic about the state of Iran's economy and its relationship with the West. -Derek Davison, LobeLog 02/5/18

Iranian Police Arrest 29 Women Protesting Against Veiling Law - Iranian police say they arrested 29 women who removed their head scarves in a growing protest against a law requiring women to wear the Islamic veils in public. The Tasnim news agency reported on February 1 that police claimed the women had been "tricked" into removing their head scarves by a propaganda campaign being conducted by Iranians living abroad. It was not immediately clear if all the arrests were in the capital, Tehran. 02/2/18

PHOTOS: Zoroastrians celebrate annual feast of Sadeh in Yazd - The Zoroastrians marked Sadeh, an ancient feast celebrating the creation of fire, in Yazd, Iran this week. The feast is marked on the tenth day of the eleventh month of Iranian calendar annually. Sadeh has been observed since the days when Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in the powerful Persian empire. 02/2/18

"Girls of Revolution St" Protest Ignites Debate on Iran's Compulsory Hijab - Several women protested against Iran's compulsory hijab law in the streets of Tehran and Isfahan on January 29 and 30, 2018, by publicly removing their headscarves and waving them like flags while standing on a platform. The police detained at least one of the peaceful protesters, Narges Hosseini, who can't afford to post her bail amount, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 02/1/18

Iranian-American Zoroastrian Denounces 27-Year "Unjust" Prison Sentence in Letter From Prison - In a letter from Evin Prison obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), Iranian-American dual national Karan Vafadari has denounced the "unjust and tyrannical" 27-year prison sentence he was issued in Tehran along with his Iranian wife, Afarin Neyssari, who was sentenced to 16 years in prison. 01/31/18

Life in the mountains: Skiing in Iran - Iran has long been an international destination for avid powder chasers during winter, while - in total contrast - its arid and semi-arid climate reaches sweltering levels in summer. Maybe not the first that comes to mind, snow-capped mountains above Tehran are home to some of the world's best ski resorts where powder hounds can enjoy famous Iranian hospitality. 01/31/18

Time To Rethink Iran's Strategy - Let's get real for a moment: How would a peaceful Middle East and a less confrontational Iran serve Israel's purpose and, by extension, these days that of the Saud clan and, by default, the presumed interest of the Unites States; who are we kidding? America's default position in Middle East affairs, now even more so than before under the leadership of a clueless leader, has been to follow the Zionist's moneys and political influence rather than what might truly be America's own legitimate and realistic interests. -Kambiz Zarrabi 01/20/18

Killing The Iran Nuclear Agreement With A Thousand Cuts - Don't be either fooled or relieved by President Trump's waiving, for now, of nuclear sanctions on Iran, and thus his forgoing of an explicit withdrawal from the Iran nuclear agreement. Trump still is determined to destroy the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), though not necessarily in the way he threatens, or in a way some have feared. He is set on destroying the JCPOA partly because of the same guiding principle, if it can be called that, steering so much of his presidency, which is to tear down any significant accomplishment of his predecessor... -Paul Pillar 01/14/18

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last updated on Fri Feb 23 14:06:26 -05 2018