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Effort To Force Trump To Seek Congressional War Approval For Iran Fails

- An effort to force the Trump administration to seek congressional approval before taking military action against Iran has failed after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee turned down the bipartisan proposal tabled by Democratic senators Chris Murphy and Tom Udall. -Radio Farda 5/24/19

Chabahar Port: U.S. geopolitical interests offer Iran sanctions loophole amid mounting tension

- The Indian-backed Iranian port of Chabahar has emerged as a major loophole in a tightening military and economic noose and ever harsher U.S. sanctions that President Donald J. Trump, reluctant to be sucked into yet another war, sees as the best way to either force Tehran to its knees or achieve regime change. 5/24/19

U.S. Lawmakers Set Against Plans To Sell Offensive Arms To Saudi Arabia

- Democratic Senator Chris Murphy has warned of a White House plan to sell arms to Saudi Arabia in spite of a ban by Congress. "I am hearing that Trump may use an obscure loophole in the Arms Control Act and notice a major new sale of bombs to Saudi Arabia (the ones they drop in Yemen) in a way that would prevent Congress from objecting. Could happen this week," Murphy tweeted on Wednesday 22 May. -RFE 5/24/19

US 'Laid Traps' for Iranian Academics by Issuing Visas, Arresting Upon Arrival

- Iranian Minister of Science, Research and Technology Mansour Gholami blasted the US Wednesday, saying Washington was "trapping Iranian scientists" by issuing them visas and then arresting them upon arrival. That's what happened to reknowned stem cell researcher Masoud Soleimani last October. -Sputnik 5/24/19

Russia Slams U.S. 'Warmongering' in Iran as Rouhani Vows No Surrender 'Even If Our Land Is Bombed'

- President Donald Trump may now be talking down the chances of open conflict with Iran, but Russia has continued to lambast the U.S. for what it considers inflammatory and belligerent foreign policy designed to justify a war with Tehran. Speaking to reporters on Thursday, Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said the White House was intentionally provoking the Iranians, hoping to pressure them into retaliation that would provide a casus belli for a military strike. -Newsweek 5/24/19

LocalBitcoins Bans Bitcoin Buying in Iran in Blow to Rising Crypto Commerce

- LocalBitcoins has officially shut off service for Iran-based users, a move that follows weeks of rising rial trading volumes on the platform. The Helsinki-based peer-to-peer exchange has not explicitly said why Iranians are suddenly being cut off from its service, though U.S. sanctions are almost certainly the cause. -Maziar Motamedi, Coindesk 5/24/19

Iran police arrest 30 at private yoga class

- Thirty people taking part in a yoga session have been arrested during a private class in Iran, reports suggest, causing a buzz across the country's social media. They were detained at a private residence in the northern city of Gorgan, where they were apparently taking part in a mixed class. -BBC 5/24/19

62 Organizations Tell Congress: Halt a March to War with Iran

- We write to request that Congress take urgent action to halt a march to war with Iran. The Trump administration, spurred on by National Security Advisor John Bolton, has moved the U.S. into a war posture. Over the last few weeks, Bolton pushed through unprecedented sanctions and escalated the war of words intended to provoke retaliation from the Iranians. Now, Bolton has used a routine carrier deployment to the Middle East to threaten Iran with "unrelenting force" and has overseen the revision of war plans that would send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran takes his bait. 5/23/19

Tehran exhibit hosts retrospective of veteran locksmith Hossein Shams

- Tens of traditional-looking locks by Hossein Shams were exhibited at the headquarters of the Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization in Tehran as a retrospective of the 71-year-old Iranian locksmith. Works by Shams, who has 62 years of experience in this field, have been put on show at 52 national or international exhibitions, CHTN reported on Tuesday. -Tehran Times 5/23/19

There will be no talks with U.S. as long as it keeps mistreating Iran: National Security Council's spokesman

- Iran's top security body says the Islamic Republic will not hold any talks with the US as long as Washington sticks to its hostile approach in dealing with the Iranian nation. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC)'s spokesman Keivan Khosravi said on Thursday that Tehran will not engage in any negotiations with this US "as long as there is no change in such behavior, the country's rights are not respected" and practical measures are not taken instead of mere rhetoric. "There will be no negotiations at all," he emphasized. -Press TV 5/23/19

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U.S.-Iran Relationship Status: It's Complicated

Seven to Face Trial in Iran in Connection with Labor Protests - After months of unlawful prosecution in connection with workers' rights protests in southwestern Iran, five journalists and two labor activists are due to go on trial at Branch 15 of the revolutionary court in Tehran presided by Judge Abolqasem Salavati, a source with knowledge of their cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 20, 2019. -CHRI 5/23/19

Does The Soviet Regime-Change Analogy Apply To Iran? - Among regime-change advocates, it's long been de rigeur to invoke the way the President Ronald Reagan dealt with the Soviet Union as a template for hastening the demise of the Islamic Republic. According to this view, Reagan, armed with moral clarity, almost single-handedly defeated the USSR. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 5/23/19

War With Iran: The Pretext Of Proxies - The prospect of war between the United States and Iran is more likely than it has been in decades, with the pretext for justifying a U.S. military strike or invasion already in place. In recent weeks, leading Iran hawks in the Trump administration have presented a framework to assign culpability to Iran in any future attack. -Kevin L. Schwartz, LobeLog 5/23/19

US grants sanctions waiver for Iraq to import energy from Iran: Official - The US envoy to Baghdad says Washington has exempted Baghdad from some of its unilateral anti-Iran sanctions, allowing Iraq to continue importing energy from Iran. US charge d'affaires Joey Hood told reporters on Wednesday Baghdad can now buy energy from Iran, a report by Al-Alam news network said. The waiver will allow Iraq to continue buying gas and electricity from Iran. -Press TV 5/23/19

Iran's University Admissions: Barrier To Corruption - The unfolding university admissions scandal here in the United States has been an education in American exceptionalism. That the standard of entry to higher education might include the ability to play squash or ride a show horse proves difficult to explain to much of the rest of the world, where high-stakes standardized testing reigns as the sole gatekeeper to college, invested with absolute authority to sort populations based on merit and academic "ability." -Shervin Malekzadeh, LobeLog 5/23/19

Supreme leader criticises Iran's politicians amid US tensions - Iran's supreme leader publicly chastised the country's president and foreign minister on Wednesday, saying he disagreed with the implementation of the 2015 nuclear deal they negotiated with world powers. The extraordinary comments by Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the first time he's criticised both politicians by name, came amid tensions with the United States a year after Washington's withdrawal from the accord. -Al-Jazeera 5/23/19

Lessons From The Gulf Of Tonkin Incident: The Iran Script - Disturbing similarities between the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003 and the Trump administration's bellicosity toward Iran keep accumulating. They include war-selling rhetoric seemingly derived from the same script. But in some respects, the more striking parallel to the present occurred over half a century ago, beyond the living memory of most Americans. The time was August 1964, and the place was the dark nighttime waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 5/22/19

Iran's Central Bank: Forex Reserves Remain Ample - Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Abdolnaser Hemmati says the country's foreign exchange reserves are robust despite tightening US sanctions which seek to stem the Islamic Republic's hard currency stream. Last month, the United States demanded that buyers of Iranian oil stop purchases or face sanctions. The US reimposed sanctions in November on exports of Iranian oil after President Donald Trump last spring pulled out of a 2015 nuclear deal. -Press TV 5/22/19

Congress: Support Legislation to prevent war with Iran! - Sign our petition and contact Congress to cosponsor H.R. 2354 and S.1039: Prevention of an Unconstitutional War with Iran Act to assert congressional war powers -Codepink 5/22/19

Iranian Minister's Son-In-Law Accused Of Embezzling $50 million - Mohammad Hadi Razavi - the son-in-law of Iran's labor minister, Mohammad Shariatmadari - has been charged with embezzlement and "disruption of the economy" after receiving 2.11 trillion rials (around $51m) in loans from banks, which he has failed to pay back. 5/22/19

The Real Reason Iran's Hardliners Don't Want To Talk To America - Recently, President Donald Trump gave Iran's leaders a telephone number, saying that he is waiting to talk to them. Observers and analysts in both Tehran and Washington dismissed this gesture as meaningless. Given the background of U.S.-Iran relations under Trump, especially American withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the imposition of harsher sanctions on Iran, Tehran's reactions and observers' skepticism are not surprising. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 5/22/19

Roger Sedarat: Hafez and Saadi's Substantial Impact on the 19th Century U.S. Literary Tradition - Roger Sedarat is an Iranian-American poet, translator, and scholar. He is an Associate Professor in the English Department at Queens College, City University of New York, ​ where he recently received the 2019 Award for Outstanding Professor. He is the author of four poetry collections -Jahandad Memarian, IACP 5/22/19

Trump's "Genocidal" Tweets Against Iran Come With a Price - Donald Trump threatened to wipe Iran off the map in a moment of yet-to-be-explained Twitter-rage Sunday night. "If Iran wants to fight, that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again!" he wrote. After a few days of apparent de-escalation between the US and Iran, Trump managed to once again fuel fears of an impending war. -Trita Parsi, Truthout 5/22/19

Iranians tense and apprehensive as whispers of war spread - Iranian and U.S. leaders have reassured their nations that they do not seek war. But among ordinary Iranians who already face hardship from tightening sanctions, nerves are being strained by worry that the situation could slip out of control. -Bozorgmehr Sharafedin, Reuters 5/22/19

A US War on Iran Would be Evil, Stupid, and Self-Damaging - "If Iran wants to fight," US president Donald Trump tweeted on May 19, "that will be the official end of Iran. Never threaten the United States again." The "threat" Trump appears to be responding to is a statement from Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif that "[w]e are certain ... there will not be a war since neither we want a war nor does anyone have the illusion that they can confront Iran in the region." -Thomas L. Knapp, Counterpunch 5/22/19

Iranian medical academy writes to UN about 'unjust' U.S. sanctions - The Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran has written to the UN to complain about the illegal sanctions imposed by the US against the Iranian nation, saying the restrictive measures have adversely affected the medical treatment of Iranian patients. 5/21/19

Six million Iranians hold organ donation cards - Six million Iranians hold organ donation cards, said Ali Nobakht, member of the health committee of the parliament (Majlis), adding although the number has increased over the past years, but there is still more work to be done. Thanks to infrastructure provided, today 70 percent of Iranians can register for organ donation cards, he added, ISNA reported on Monday. He made the remarks during an event held on the occasion of the National Day of Organ Donation, which was celebrated on May 20 at the Shahid Beheshti University. 5/21/19

Democrats Running For President Are Waking Up To The Danger Of War With Iran - IN A SIGN of growing Democratic concern that U.S.-Iran tensions could escalate to all-out war, four of the seven senators running for the 2020 Democratic presidential nomination have signed onto a bill that would prohibit the U.S. military from spending money to attack Iran. -Intercept 5/21/19

Iran says doesn't approve of talks under status quo - President Hassan Rouhani says despite championing dialog, he absolutely rules out the possibility of such engagement with the United States under the current circumstances. "I, myself, am in favor of negotiation and diplomacy, but do not approve of it under the current circumstances at all," the president said on Monday -Press TV 5/21/19

Katayoun Khosrowyar: Meet the Iranian-American athlete leading a football revolution - She grew up playing soccer in Oklahoma. Now she's head coach of Iran's under-19 national women's team. Katayoun Khosrowyar speaks to Negar Mortazavi about putting her university scholarship and lifestyle aside for the sake of the beautiful game -Independent 5/21/19

Do Iranian 'Threats' Signal Organized U.S.-Israel Subterfuge? - President Donald Trump's national security team has been leaking "intelligence" about Iranian threats for a week now in an attempt to justify escalating tensions, including moving American air attack assets to the Persian Gulf. But a closer look suggests that National Security Advisor John Bolton and other senior officials are trying to pull off an intelligence deception comparable to the fraudulent pretense for war in Iraq. There's also credible evidence that Israel could be playing a key role in this subterfuge. -Gareth Porter, American Conservative 5/21/19

Misreading The 1953 Coup - On May 8, the Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) invited U.S. Special Representative Brian Hook to an event commemorating one year of the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran. During the event, Hook briefly touched on the overthrow of Mohammed Mossadegh in the infamous coup of August 1953. "Mossadegh was overthrown by the religious establishment, the military, and the political leaders," said Hook. -Gregory Brew, LobeLog 5/21/19

Why Tiny Qatar May Be Our Greatest Hope in the Iran Crisis - America's 18-year war on terrorism just got complicated--or, perhaps, it just got more complicated. At the center of the complication is the tiny state of Qatar, the Persian Gulf emirate that hosts the sprawling al-Udeid Air Base, U.S. Central Command's forward headquarters for the region and home of the Air Force's 379th Air Expeditionary Wing, America's most vital overseas air command. -Mark Perry, American Conservative 5/21/19

To defuse this crisis the US must start talking to Iran - Once again Iran is the focus of attention for Washington's foreign policy hawks -- and by extension for the rest of us. Donald Trump says he doesn't want a war with Iran, but his national security adviser, John Bolton, has despatched warships and bombers to the region while the US secretary of state Mike Pompeo has been sharing worrying intelligence about Iranian intentions with close allies and congressional leaders. -Peter Westmacott, Guardian 5/21/19

Leading Iranian stem cell scientist behind bars in U.S. for 7 months without trial - Top Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani has been behind bars in the United States without trial for the past seven months. Back in October last year, Soleimani, a professor and biomedical researcher at the Tarbiat Modares University (TMU) in Tehran, was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) upon his arrival in the US. -Press TV 5/20/19

Dealing With Iran: Today's Yellow Journalism? - At long last, the U.S. mainstream media (print division), much of Congress, and the Washington think-tank commentariat are waking up to the prospect of a war with Iran and not liking what they see. Iran as a problem? Yes. But worth yet another Middle East war? No thanks. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 5/20/19

Bolton's Dream of War With Iran is a Global Nightmare - President Donald Trump campaigned as an isolationist, criticizing foreign military entanglements...Despite his rhetoric, Trump's every move in the Middle East now seems committed to conflict and potentially to war with Iran. John Bolton is clearly at the vanguard, with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo backing him up. -Amy Goodman & Denis Moynihan, Democracy Now 5/20/19

Iran hits back at Trump for tweeting 'genocidal taunts' - The Iranian foreign minister, Javad Zarif, has hit back at Donald Trump's "genocidal taunts" after a strongly worded warning from Trump that Tehran should not think of attacking the US... On Sunday Trump warned Iran not to threaten the US or else it would face its "official end" -Guardian 5/20/19

Old grudges, new weapons... is the US on the brink of war with Iran? - While American hawks talk up an 'imminent' threat from Tehran with no hard evidence, echoing the start of the Iraq conflict, hardliners are in the ascendant in Iran -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 5/20/19

Iran: Release Political Prisoner Maryam Akbari-Monfared - Iran must end the cruel and unlawful imprisonment of Maryam Akbari-Monfared, who has already served nearly ten years on baseless charges and should have been eligible for release last year, and free her immediately, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and Justice for Iran (JFI) said in a joint statement today. -CHRI 5/20/19

A Shady Facebook Campaign Is Stoking the Iran-U.S. Conflict - As U.S. policymakers weigh responses to increasing Iranian aggression in the Persian Gulf, a German national based in a small neighborhood of northwest London is quietly financing an ad campaign designed to stoke a more forceful U.S. policy toward Tehran. -Lachlan Markay, Daily Beast 5/20/19

IRGC chief: Iran not after war, but not afraid of one either - The chief commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says Iran does not seek war but is not afraid of one either. Making a speech on Sunday, Major General Hossein Salami said that Iran was currently facing a threat close to its territory and thus the IRGC had operationalized its resources against that threat. -Press TV 5/20/19

Where Does Iran Fit in a World Defined by Great Power Competition? - A U.S. strategy to either coerce Iran to the negotiating table or trigger an uprising against the Iranian government is not only fraught with faulty assumptions, but it also threatens to undermine the United States in an escalating great power competition with China and Russia and tip the global economy into recession. -Reva Goujon, Stratfor 5/20/19

Harsh Prison Terms for Three Iranian Authors Who Dared to Criticize the State - In a glaring repudiation of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful dissent, the Iranian judiciary sentenced three prominent members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) to six years in prison each on May 15, 2019. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) joins the IWA in forcefully condemning these unjust and unlawful sentences against Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan. -CHRI 5/18/19

Four Simple Steps the U.S. Media Could Take to Prevent a Trump War With Iran - HERE WE GO again. Sixteen years after the U.S. media helped the Bush administration spread myths and lies about the threat posed by Iraq to the United States and its allies, the Trump administration is spreading similar myths and lies about the threat posed by Iran. The 64,000-rial question, therefore, is whether or not journalists have learned any lessons whatsoever from the Iraqi WMD debacle of 2003. -Mehdi Hasan, Intercept 5/18/19

Iran Notes - Relentless media coverage of Iran is almost always negative. The breathless overpaid network anchors intone in somber tones: Iran denies, Iran refuses, Iran turns down, Iran won't accept, etc. Iran is a pinata for the regime in Washington. It is blamed for everything from measles to arthritis to acne. I don't use the word administration for the rulers in Washington but rather regime. -David Barsamian, CounterPunch 5/18/19

Second Women's Charity Group Member Who Assisted Iran's Flood Victims Is Arrested - A second senior member of the charity group Voice of Iranian Women (VIW), which has been involved in aid and rescue operations during the recent devastating floods in southwestern Iran, has been arrested for unknown reasons. Nahid Shaghaghi, who has also worked to combat violence against women, was taken away by security agents on May 15, 2018. -CHRI 5/18/19

Foreign Minister Zarif says there will be no war in the region - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has expressed confidence that no war would break out in the Middle East amid rising tensions between Iran and the United States. "As Leader of the Islamic Revolution has also announced, we are certain that no war will break out because neither we want a war, nor has anyone the idea or illusion that it can confront Iran in the region" -Press TV 5/18/19

Will The U.S Pressures Bring Iran To The Negotiating Table? - It didn't require a crystal ball to predict that some false-flag incident might escalate tensions in the current display of hostilities between Iran and the United States or its regional allies. That was why in the final paragraph in my previous article I cautioned Iran to "...create closer dialog with the Arab counterparts to watch out for deliberate accidents that might ignite the powder keg and destroy both nations." Well, the incident happened the day after my post on Payvand, as it was obvious something like that would take place sooner or later, and likely would be repeated in days or weeks to come. -Kam Zarrabi 5/17/19

What Makes Iran Look Like An Immediate Threat - The current crisis atmosphere in U.S.-Iranian relations, in which the risk of open warfare appears greater than it has been in years, is solely and unequivocally due to the policies and actions of the Trump administration. To point this out does not mean that actions of the Iranian regime have not come to be part of the crisis atmosphere as well. It instead means that such an atmosphere would never have existed in the first place if the administration had not turned its obsession with Iran into the relentless campaign of hostility that has become one of the single most prominent threads of the administration's foreign policy. -Paul R. Pillar 5/17/19

In Beijing, Iranian FM Zarif Calls For 'Concrete Action' To Salvage Nuclear Deal - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has urged China, Russia, and other "partners" to take "concrete action" to safeguard a nuclear deal that the United States exited a year ago. Zarif made the call on May 17 upon arriving in Beijing where he held talks with his Chinese counterpart, Wang Yi. -RFE/RL 5/17/19

US-Iran tensions are escalating at an alarming rate, thanks to well-rehearsed gun diplomacy - A threat based on intelligence reports; deployment of an aircraft carrier strike group and B-52 bombers to the Middle East with reports of ground troops to follow; a dramatic rise in diplomatic tensions and warnings of retribution from Washington. All this as the Iran crisis escalates may well seem like a reprise of what unfolded before the disastrous last Iraq war. -Kim Sengupta, Independent 5/17/19

Bleeding John Bolton Stumbles Into Capitol Building Claiming That Iran Shot Him - Bursting through the Congressional chamber doors while moaning and clutching his shoulder, John Bolton reportedly stumbled into the Capitol building Friday claiming that he'd been shot by Iran. "Help, help, I've just been attacked by a large Middle Eastern country around 636,000 square miles in size," said the national security advisor, telling those assembled that he'd just been minding his own business when an aggressive Islamic Republic had thrown him on the ground and shot him with a long-range missile. -Satire by Onion 5/17/19

They Might Not Have F-35s, But Iran's Air Force Can Certainly Fight - In fact, Iranian Minister of Defense Amir Hatami was involved heavily in the showcase reveals of both fighters, apparently dead-set on showing the Iranian people that they, too, can produce a means to defend their country. -National Interest 5/17/19

Russia And The Iran Crisis - As tensions ratchet up between Washington and Tehran, Moscow has adopted a more measured approach. Putin, along with many of Washington's Western allies, has criticized the Trump administration's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement reached during the Obama years. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog 5/17/19

Tehran urges US to declassify its 'intelligence' on Iran threat in Iraq - Iran's ambassador to the UN has called on the US government to declassify its alleged intelligence on "Iranian threat" in Iraq, saying Tehran is confident the claim is "fake". "If they have credible evidence and information, why don't they declassify them and make it known to the American people and to the people of the world?" Iranian Ambassador to the UN Majid Takht-Ravanchi said. -Press TV 5/17/19

Pompeo and Bolton tensions escalate as Iran debate intensifies - Rising tensions between the U.S. and Iran are also magnifying strains among President Donald Trump's top foreign policy advisers: Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and national security adviser John Bolton. 5/17/19

Reformist Magazine Suspended After Advocating Diplomacy to Ease US-Iran Tensions - Tehran's Culture and Media Court suspended the reformist weekly magazine "Seda" (The Voice) on May 11, 2019, hours after it had published an article about the possibility of a war with the United States. "The suspension of Seda magazine and the arrest of one of its reporters are causes for concern," tweeted prominent reformist Member of Parliament Fatemeh Saeidi. "This is the wrong way to overcome these difficult times." -CHRI 5/16/19

Together, We Can Stop War - As members and friends of the Iranian-American community, we are deeply concerned that the Trump administration may be headed towards starting a devastating war with Iran. Recent dangerous escalations--including Iraq war architect and current National Security Advisor John Bolton's threat to use "unrelenting force" against Iran--should sound the alarm for all those who remember the propaganda campaign that preceded the 2003 invasion of Iraq. -NIAC 5/16/19

Trump's irritation with top aides grows over Iran strategy - President Donald Trump has become irritated at an emerging impression his hawkish national security advisers are marching him closer to war with Iran despite his isolationist tendencies, according to people familiar with the matter. Instead, Trump is signaling his intent to speak with the Iranians as tensions rise in the Persian Gulf, and his national security team has taken steps they hope could facilitate a new diplomatic opening. -CNN 5/16/19

Isfahan Prosecutor Bans "Sinful Act" of Women Riding Bicycles - Citing domestic Islamic religious decrees and common law, Isfahan city prosecutor Ali Isfahani announced on May 14, 2019, a ban on female bicyclists. "Based on fatwas by religious scholars as well as the law, bicycling by women in public spaces is a sinful act," Isfahani told the state-funded Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA). 5/16/19

The Hidden Sources of Iranian Strength - What Americans don't understand is that the groups that we support in the region are not our mercenaries," Ali, a high-ranking member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), said when I recently asked him about one of the stated goals of the Trump administration's sanctions against Iran: to curtail the country's ability to financially support militias in the region.-Narges Bajoghli, FP 5/16/19

People Aren't Buying the American War Machine's Pitch for War With Iran - If national security advisor John Bolton is Ahab, war with Iran has long been his Moby Dick. Now, Bolton's dream of a new, disastrous conflict feels closer than ever to becoming reality. It all started when Trump decided to pull out of the Iran nuclear deal last year. -Sophie Weiner, Splinter 5/16/19

'Neither talks nor war,' Khamenei says of US-Iran tensions - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Iran will force the United States to retreat by "resistance," which he described as the only option against unrelenting US pressure. During a meeting with the country's top political elites, including President Hassan Rouhani and parliamentary speaker Ali Larijani, Khamenei​ dismissed the possibility that the United States and Iran would go to war, stating that the Americans understand that any such conflict will not serve their interests. -Al-Monitor 5/16/19

With Bolton whispering in Trump's ear, war with Iran is no longer unthinkable - Antiwar activists must do everything they can to prevent it, and that includes pressuring US allies... It was a deception that would lead to millions of civilian deaths, and the deaths of nearly 60,000 US soldiers. In August 1964 President Lyndon B Johnson solemnly declared that, after two apparent North Vietnamese attacks on US navy destroyers in the Gulf of Tonkin, military action would take place. -Owen Jones, Guardian 5/16/19

Iran's Risky Nuclear Gambit Fueled by Trump's Enrichment Curbs - The economic pain inflicted by President Donald Trump's sanctions on Iranian oil exports was widely blamed for prompting Tehran's threat last week to gradually roll back its compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. But it was a U.S. decision in early May to revoke two waivers critical to the Islamic Republic's enrichment activities that left it with a stark choice... -Ladane Nasseri, Bloomberg 5/16/19

Deep skepticism among U.S. allies and lawmakers on Iran threat - American lawmakers on both sides of the aisle have called for caution -- and details -- over U.S. officials assertions of a newly-elevated threat from Iran in the Middle East. CBS News senior national security correspondent David Martin reported Thursday that U.S. military officials insist they have pictures of Iranian boats carrying short-range ballistic missiles at the country's port of Chabahar, apparently waiting to be moved into position to strike targets on land. -CBS News 5/16/19

Marc Wilmots named coach of Iran national football team - Belgian coach Marc Wilmots has been named as new head coach of Iran national football team, Mehdi Taj, the president of the Football Federation of Islamic Republic of Iran (FFIRI), said. The 50-year-old coach will take charge of Team Melli until the 2022 FIFA World Cup. 5/15/19

British Council Employee Aras Amiri Jailed for Refusing to Spy, Says Cousin - The UK-based British Council employee Aras Amiri was jailed in Iran for refusing to spy for the country's Intelligence Ministry, her cousin, Mohsen Omrani, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 14, 2019. "They made a proposal to Aras to become an agent for the Islamic Republic in the UK and give them information about the British Council," he said. -CHRI 5/15/19

No increased Iran threat in Syria or Iraq, top British officer says, contradicting US - The top British general in the US-led coalition against Isis has said there is no increased threat from Iranian-backed forces in Iraq or Syria, directly contradicting US assertions used to justify a military buildup in the region. Hours later however, his assessment was disowned by US Central Command in an extraordinary rebuke of an allied senior officer. -Julian Borger, Guardian 5/15/19

Pompeo Gets Cold-Shouldered On Iran In Brussels - Amid worrying signs of the United States escalating its "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo paid an impromptu visit to Brussels on May 13. Taking advantage of an ordinary meeting of EU 28 foreign ministers and High Representative for Foreign Policy Federica Mogherini that day, Pompeo sought a show of unity of Western allies regarding Iran. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 5/15/19

Why the WhatsApp spies may have eyes on Iran - Time to join some dots. The WhatsApp hack, "sabotaged" oil tankers, the push in the US to proscribe the Muslim Brotherhood and "plans" to deploy American troops to Persian Gulf are all strands of the same story. At its heart is the struggle between Israel, Saudi Arabia and Iran. -Paul Danahar, BBC 5/15/19

Europe is Powerless in Growing Conflict Between the US and Iran - The EU's real status - well behind the US, Russia and China - has just been demonstrated by its inability to protect Iran from US sanctions following President Trump's withdrawal from the Iran nuclear deal of 2015. A year ago, Angela Merkel and Emmanuel Macron made humiliating visits to Washington to plead vainly with Trump to stay with the agreement, but were rebuffed. -Patrick Cockburn, Counterpunch 5/15/19

Iranians Will Tolerate Hardship but Not Capitulation - On the one-year anniversary of the U.S. withdrawal from the landmark nuclear deal, Iran announced that it would cease to implement some of its commitments under the accord. Because the United States has banned Iran from exporting heavy water and low enriched uranium (LEU), Iran will henceforth stop adhering to the accord's limits on accumulating these materials: 130 metric tons in the case of heavy water and 300 kilograms of LEU. -Mahsa Rouhi, Foreign Policy 5/15/19

Interview with Ashk Dahlen, author of The Persian Empire - Ashk Dahlen was born in Tehran in 1972 and has lived most of his life in Sweden. He is Associate Professor in Iranian Languages at Uppsala University and his field of study covers Persian literature, Iranian history of religion and philosophy. Ashk Dahlen is the author of several books and articles on Iranian history and among his recent publications is Antikens Persien (in Swedish). 5/14/19

Paramilitary Force Attacks Tehran University Protest Against Hijab Enforcement Units - Members of Iran's paramilitary Basij force violently attacked several students at a peaceful protest at the University of Tehran on May 13, 2019. The demonstrators had gathered to protest the increased presence of so-called "guidance" units charged by the government to enforce strict observance of Iran's compulsory hijab law at the campus. -CHRI 5/14/19

Iran Parliament allows Iranian mothers to pass citizenship to children - Lawmakers overwhelmingly ratified details of a bill today which allows Iranian mothers to pass on citizenship to their children. The bill was approved in Monday's open session of the Parliament by 170 votes in favor, 21 votes against, and 4 abstentions out of 213 MPs in attendance. 5/14/19

Interview with Literary Figure Alireza Behnam on Censorship - State censorship of the publishing industry in Iran is intensifying and increasingly arbitrary, causing book publishers in Iran to become more cautious than ever, according to Alireza Behnam, a journalist, poet and translator. State authorities now frequently ban books after they have already been published with permission from the Culture and Islamic Guidance Ministry, Behnam noted. -CHRI 5/14/19

Iranian-American organizations campaign against U.S. war with Iran - Iranian-American organizations are actively campaigning against a U.S. war with Iran encouraging members of community to write to their members of Congress urging them to support the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act. 5/13/19

60 days to save the JCPOA - Europe and Iran both want to save the nuclear deal. But each side needs to fully understand the other's point of view if they are to avoid dangerous miscalculations. -Ellie Geranmayeh, European Council on Foreign Relations 5/13/19

For Iranians, The War Has Already Begun - Not a day goes by without the Trump administration imposing a new challenge on us, the Iranian people. Those who think that the travel ban has been the hardest obstacle for Iranians need to catch up with latest foreign policy developments. Encouraged by Donald Trump's foreign policy advisors, the Iranian people today face an increasing risk of military attack by the United States. -Elham Pourtaher, LobeLog 5/13/19

The Looming War And Tehran's Ostrich Politics - Last week, tensions between Iran and the United States reached even more alarming levels. First, Iran's Supreme Leader admonished Iranians that since the enemy-read America-is in war mode, Iran, too, should prepare for war (Arayesh Jangi Begirad). Then there was the news of the U.S. aircraft carrier Abraham Lincoln going to the Middle East, ostensibly because of threats posed by Iran. According to some reports, this move was triggered by intelligence that Iran was moving missiles to the Persian Gulf. -Shireen T. Hunter 5/11/19

New U.S. Sanctions On Iran Metals Target Jobs, Not Government Revenue - The Trump administration has announced a new wave of sanctions on Iran's steel, aluminum and copper industries. A statement from President Trump declares, "Today's action targets Iran's revenue from the export of industrial metals-10 percent of its export economy-and puts other nations on notice that allowing Iranian steel and other metals into your ports will no longer be tolerated." -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj 5/10/19

Translating the Legacy of Ahmad Shamlou, One of Iran's Greatest Poets - Niloufar Talebi's Self-Portrait in Bloom, a hybrid memoir of prose and poetry with some photos thrown in, delves into the author's childhood in Tehran, the Iranian revolution, and her move to the United States as a teenager. But most compelling of all is her underlying journey to becoming a translator and multi-disciplinary artist through her love of the influential poet Ahmad Shamlou, considered the father of modern Iranian poetry. -Emily Wilson, Hyperallergic 5/9/19

22 European Security Experts Call On US To Rejoin Iran Deal - A European Joint Call on the US to Reconsider its Approach to the JCPOA: One year ago, on 8 May 2018, President Donald Trump announced that the United States would cease compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the nuclear agreement struck in July 2015 by the United States and Iran, along with China, France, Germany, Russia, the United Kingdom and the European Union. -LobeLog 5/9/19

Bolton Vs. Zarif On MEK - When Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif took to the airwaves during his visit to the UN in New York, particularly for an interview with Fox News, a frisson of surprised anticipation swept the American political polity. How was it possible that Iran, the pariah nation, not only had the audacity to enter the lion's den, but from there to lecture the lion on its dirty behavior! -Massoud Khodabandeh, LobeLog 5/3/19

Return To Motherland: Asiatic lion returns to Iran after 80 years - Tehran Zoological Garden, also known as Eram Zoo, will be home to Asiatic lion, which was extinct in the country for almost 80 years, a veterinarian at Eram Zoo has said. According to Iman Memarian the last remaining Asiatic lion was sighted about 80 years ago in Iran. He went on to explain that before and after the Islamic Revolution (1979) Iran made attempts to bring back Asiatic lion to Iran, but Indians did not cooperate. 5/2/19

Venice Biennial Exhibits Works Of Iranian Artist Reza Lavassani - Italy's Venice Biennial has opened its doors to a new, selected artwork by 57-year-old Iranian contemporary artist Reza Lavassani. Tehran-born and based, Lavassani practices on various media. He began working on the installation Life in 2012 and worked on the piece for more than three years. Through a deliberate choice of papier-mache, the artist underlines the literal and symbolic significance of recycling. The piece is a lyric narrative of life's splendor and glory and an emblematic visualization of the passage of time. 5/2/19

Banned Works at Tehran Book Fair Highlight Iran's Corrosive Censorship Policies - Several books by dissident authors in Iran were banned from the 32nd Tehran International Book Fair by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. They include the late Kourosh Asadi's novel, Kucheye Abrhaye Gom Shodeh; Kayhan Khanjani's novel, Bande Mahkoumin; E'dam va Qesas by civil rights columnist Emad Baghi; Dine Dowlati va Dowlate Dini by Mohammad Ghouchani; Roshanfekri Dini va Chaleshhaye Jadid by Iran's late Foreign Minister Mohammad Yazdi; and Faqihan va Enghelabe Iran by Hadi Tabatabaie. -CHRI 5/1/19

Iran pioneer in stem cell knowledge, technology: Royan Institute's Director - Iran is one of the most pioneering countries in the world and the second country in the region based on stem cell knowledge and technology, Hossein Baharvand, director of Royan Institute for stem cell biology and technology, has said. Baharvand is a distinguished professor of stem cells and developmental biology at Royan Institute. -Maryam Qarehgozlou, Tehran Times 4/30/19

Husband Of Imprisoned Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Rejects Iran's Judiciary's Accusation of "Exaggerating" Her Heavy Sentence - Imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan, has rejected Iranian Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Esmaili's claim that the magnitude of the sentence against her has been exaggerated. "They are playing games," Esmaili said at a press conference in Tehran on April 23, referring to the outcry over the harsh punishment against Sotoudeh for her defense of peaceful activists and her opposition to the mandatory hijab. -CHRI 4/29/19

Winners Of 2019 Fajr International Film Festival Announced - The Fajr International Film Festival announced the full lineup of winners at Tehran's Vahdat Hall for their 37th year of celebrating independent, art house, alternate, fiction, documentary and animation films from across the globe. Iranian and international officials, dignitaries, filmmakers and guests attended the closing ceremony on Thursday, April 25. 4/26/19

Iran Celebrates National Day Of Poet Sadi - Persian literature aficionados and literati from across Iran came together at the mausoleum of Persian poet Sadi in Shiraz on Sunday to celebrate Sadi National Day. Sheikh Muslih od-Din Sadi Shirazi (Born 1184 CE, Died 1283/1291 CE) was one of the major Persian poets of the medieval period. He is not only famous in Persian-speaking countries, but he has also been quoted in western sources. 4/22/19

Iranian sculptor Masoud Akhavanjam presents two new sculptures in the Giardini Marinaressa alongside 2019 Venice Biennale - Iranian sculptor Masoud Akhavanjam will exhibit two large scale, stainless steel sculptures, as part of the GAA Foundation's PERSONAL STRUCTURES - open borders exhibition, in the context of the 2019 Venice Biennale. The sculptures, Dilemma of Man and Metamorphosis will be exhibited publicly in Venice's waterfront park, Giardini Marinaressa from 5 May to 29 November 2019. Akhavanjam's industrial yet delicate forms draw on philosophy, contemporary socio-political issues and Persian mythology, so that within each work a didactic tale is contained. Both works contain three visible figures, melded seemingly effortlessly into each other. 4/20/19

Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, A World Heritage Site, Unaffected By Flooding - Shushtar Historical Hydraulic System, a UNESCO-registered ensemble in southwest Iran which is known as a 'masterpiece of creative genius', has not been affected by flash floods and heavy rainfall that stroke almost all of the country in the past weeks. The ensemble comprises bridges, weirs, tunnels, canals and a series of ancient watermills powered by human-made waterfalls. It is named after an ancient city of the same name with its history dating back to the time of Darius the Great, the Achaemenid king. 4/16/19

The Iran Hawks' Creepy Embrace of the MEK - It is rather incredible that so many former government officials and retired officers have embraced a totalitarian cult as the "alternative" to another country's government, but it has been going on for the better part of a decade now. All of the MEK's American boosters have proven that they have such extraordinary bad judgment that they should have no business talking about Iran policy, and their continued advocacy on behalf of this awful organization is proof of how easily corrupted our foreign policy debates are. -Daniel Larison, American Conservative 4/12/19

1,000 Years of Literary Tradition in Rare Persian-Language Manuscripts Now Online at Library of Congress - In celebration of the Persian New Year, also known as Norooz, the Library of Congress has digitized and made available online for the first time the Rare Persian-Language Manuscript Collection, which sheds light on scientific, religious, philosophical and literary topics that are highly valued in the Persian speaking lands. 4/4/19

PHOTOS: Authentic Iranian Architecture And Culture In Kashan - Only three hours from the capital Tehran, the central city of Kashan in Isfahan province can definitely be deemed as a marvelous get-away for many urbanites who yearn for the authenticity of traditional Iranian culture and architecture. Travelers to Kashan can visit numerous historical houses from the 18th and 19th centuries that illustrate the finest examples of architecture from the Qajar era. -Behnam Yousefi, MNA 03/24/19

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last updated on Fri May 24 11:58:25 EDT 2019