Mordad 9 1400 - July 31 2021
Why Traveling Off The Beaten Track In Iran Is So Rewarding

Iran is an incredible country to explore. It is an ancient land bursting with time-honored civilizations, deep history, and rich culture. Regardless of the tense political situation, Iranians love to see tourists in their country and they are some of the most hospitable you will ever find in the world. -Aaron Spray, The Travel 7/30/21

Iran crowned Continental Futsal Championship winners

Iran defeated Thailand 5-1 on Friday to win the Continental Futsal Championship. Alireza Rafieipour and Behzad Azimi each scored two goals and Farhad Tavakoli also scored a goal against the hosts in the final. 7/30/21

Iran: Deadly Repression of Khuzestan Protests

The rising death toll and mass arrests raise grave concerns about the Iranian authorities' response to recent protests in Khuzestan and other provinces, Human Rights Watch said today. The authorities should immediately and unconditionally release peaceful protesters, provide information about deaths, and allow an independent international investigation into security agencies' alleged use of lethal force. All those responsible for abuses should be held to account. -HRW 7/30/21

Middle East: A drug addict in the family

The opening of Majed Neisi's film shows his seven brothers and his sister laughing and dancing at his cousin's wedding in Ahvaz in south-west Iran. But this is just the public face of a family in crisis. His elder brother Mohammad had become a heroin addict who would vanish for weeks at a time. After the party, he disappeared and nobody would talk about him. -Helen Fitzwilliam, Chatham House 7/30/21

Photos: Only wetland in Alborz drying up

Salehiyeh is the only wetland in Alborz Province of Iran. The wetland is fed by surface waters in Qazvin and Alborz provinces, but it is drying up due to drought and intense summer heat. Before drought and when there was high rainfall in the region, Salehiyeh Wetland was home to 120 bird species, including migratory birds. -Masoumeh Aliakbar, ISNA 7/30/21

Iran just got trickier

The election of conservative Ebrahim Raisi as president of Iran has driven home a harsh fact for the international community: the Islamic Republic will not be undergoing its long hoped for transformational reform in the near future. Raisi's presidency, beginning with his inauguration on August 5, 2021, solidifies conservative control over Iran's elected institutions as well as those unelected organizations under the purview of Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. -Sanam Vakil, Chatham House 7/30/21

Photos: Longest tunnel in West Asia on verge of inauguration

The "East Alborz" tunnel that is said to be the longest in West Asia is going to be inaugurated later today by outgoing President Hassan Rouhani. The tunnel connects Alborz province with the northern provinces. -Maryam Kamyab, Mehr 7/30/21

The grapes of Khuzestan's wrath

After decades of poor environmental governance and mismanagement of water resources in Iran's southwestern Khuzestan province, it's not surprising that people have taken to the streets once again since July 15, prompting a violent crackdown by security forces and near total internet shutdown. But how did it get to this point? -Nasser Karami, Atlantic Council 7/30/21

Ship tied to Israeli billionaire attacked off Oman, 2 killed

An oil tanker linked to an Israeli billionaire reportedly came under attack off the coast of Oman in the Arabian Sea, authorities said Friday, an assault that killed two crew members. The attack Thursday night targeted Liberian-flagged oil tanker Mercer Street just northeast of the Omani island of Masirah. The location is over 300 kilometers (185 miles) southeast of Oman's capital, Muscat. -AP 7/30/21

'We wish that was real life': USA and Iran unite on Tokyo basketball court

It was not so much the Great Satan. More the Great Love In. And over two enjoyable hours at the Saitama Super Arena, the basketball teams of the United States and Islamic Republic of Iran gave a salutary lesson in harmony, decency and class to many of their political leaders over the past 42 years. -Sean Ingle, Guardian 7/29/21

Iranian Battles Iranian Refugee At The Tokyo Olympics

It was a bittersweet moment for many Iranians. Kimia Alizadeh, an Iranian taekwondo fighter, beat her opponent, also from Iran, at the Summer Olympics in Tokyo. Alizadeh, who emigrated to Europe in 2020 after criticizing the oppression of women in the Islamic republic, represented the Refugee Team while her opponent and former teammate, Nahid Kiayani, was fighting for their home country of Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 7/29/21

Blinken says Iran negotiating process cannot go on indefinitely

"We are committed to diplomacy, but this process cannot go on indefinitely. At some point the gains achieved by the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) cannot be fully recovered by a return to the JCPOA if Iran continues the activities that it's undertaken with regard to its nuclear program," he said, addressing a news conference in Kuwait. -Reuters 7/29/21

Is Iran on the verge of sparking a water war?

Years of mismanagement has left Iran facing "irreversible" water shortages that threaten to trigger conflict across the Middle East and North Africa, an exiled former minister has warned. Kaveh Madani, a scientist who served as deputy environment minister, told The Times that Iran was "water bankrupt" - when consumption is greater than renewable water availability - as reservoirs, rivers and groundwater begin to run dry. -The Week, UK 7/29/21

The Fairies: An English Opera Setting of Persian Poetry by Ahmad Shamlu

Sheida Gharachedaghi completed the opera in 1989. It was immediately banned in Iran, but premiered and recorded later that year in Toronto. It's a surprise, then, to discover that the work has so little to do with the tradition of Persian music. - Christopher Ballantine, OPERA Magazine 7/29/21

Iran opens first ion therapy center in West Asia

Iran inaugurated on Tuesday an advanced ion therapy center for the first time in West Asia, which will provide definitive treatment for all types of cancer by the next year. With the aim of definite treatment of cancer using radiation with a synchrotron system, the center was designed in 2016 and its construction started in 2019. 7/29/21

Tazminchi: a Platform for Enabling Trade on Social Networks

The Iranian startup Tazminchi started operations with Hossein Moradi's idea and investment from the No-avaran Javid accelerator. Hossein Moradi, the founder of Tazminchi and CEO of the Javid Group, was born in 1982. He completed his bachelor's in agricultural engineering at Islamic Azad University and is an MBA graduate of the Sharif University of Technology. -Techrasa 7/29/21

Iranian-backed militias in Iraq divided over US decision to 'withdraw' troops

Powerful Shia political and militia leaders in Iraq are divided over Joe Biden's promise to end a US combat mission in Iraq, amid reports Iran's top general has paid a secret visit to the country to discuss the plan. Iran-backed militias in Iraq have stepped up attacks on US forces in the country, piling pressure on Iraqi prime minister Mustafa Kadhimi to secure a withdrawal agreement during meetings in Washington this week. -Bel Trew, Independent 7/29/21

Basketball diplomacy: US, Iran meet on court at Tokyo Games

The Americans applauded the Iranian national anthem. The Iranians applauded the U.S. anthem. There were a few handshakes before, plenty more handshakes after, and words of sportsmanship between the sides throughout the game. For two hours, it was basketball diplomacy. -Tim Reynolds, AP 7/28/21

Canada cruises past Iran for 1st men's volleyball victory in Tokyo

Canada's men's volleyball team picked up an easy 3-0 (25-16, 25-20, 25-22) victory over Iran, keeping its playoff hopes alive with its first win of the Olympics on Wednesday in Tokyo. Despite Iran entering with momentum, the Canadians maintained control of the match from start to finish. -CBC 7/28/21

Unveiling of latest Iranian Mural in Southern California

Farhang Foundation is proud to announce the official unveiling of its third winning mural design as part of its Iranian Mural Design Competition in collaboration with Beautify Earth. The competition invited artists to submit design concepts that conceptualize different and unique aspects of Iranian culture. 7/28/21

Iranian photographer Mehdi Kazemi wins Silver Medal at Danube Digital Circuit

Iranian photographer Mehdi Kazemi Bumeh has won Salon Silver Medal at the 1st Danube Digital Circuit in Russia. He garnered the honor in the C Open Color category of the exhibition for his photo "Man with a White Beard". Mehdi Parsaian, another Iranian photographer, also won an honorable mention for his photo "Peak of Light" in this section. -Tehran Times 7/28/21

Congress, Stop Trying to Sabotage Diplomacy with Iran

With the Iranian election done, the jockeying resumes for negotiating leverage over a potential return to mutual compliance with the Iran nuclear deal among the parties in the Vienna talks. With that jockeying comes a renewed interest on the part of Congress to inject itself into the work of America's diplomats. -Louie Reckford, Just Security 7/28/21

Iran's supreme leader criticizes US as nuclear talks stalled

Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday called the U.S. "stubborn" in stalled nuclear talks in Vienna for discussing Tehran's missiles and regional influence, likely signaling more trouble ahead for the negotiations. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's remarks come as his hard-line protege, President-elect Ebrahim Raisi, is poised to be sworn in next week as the head of the country's civilian government. -AP 7/28/21

These Are the Jets Iran Would Use to Fight the U.S.

After 40 years of sanctions and arms embargoes, Iran's air force has slowly become an eclectic mishmash of aging platforms sourced through various channels. If war were to break out between Iran and the United States today, U.S. pilots would find themselves squaring off with Iranian pilots in a swarm of old American, Soviet, and Chinese jets. Some of these planes, like the Northrop F-5 Tiger II, have seen update efforts over the years. Others, however, are thought to be barely sky-worthy. -Sofrep 7/28/21

Freedom-flavoured silver medal for Iranian-born judoka competing for Mongolia

Saeid Mollaei, an Iranian-born judoka now competing for Mongolia, has won the silver medal for his sport at the Tokyo Games. Mollaei left his country and became a naturalised Mongolian citizen after Iran effectively prohibited him from facing an Israeli opponent in 2019. -France 24 7/28/21

Sweden prosecutes Iranian man for 1980s war crimes at prison

Swedish public prosecutors said Tuesday they have charged an Iranian citizen with committing grave war crimes during the final phase of the Iran-Iraq war in the 1980s. The Swedish Prosecution Authority said the suspect worked in July-August 1988 as an assistant to the deputy prosecutor in the Gohardasht prison outside the Iranian city of Karaj and allegedly took part in severe atrocities there. -AP 7/28/21

Iran hits new COVID infection record for 2nd straight day

Iran recorded over 34,900 new coronavirus infections on Tuesday, setting the nation's single-day record for cases as vaccinations lag, public complacency deepens and the country's outbreak spirals further out of control. The previous record of 31,814 infections had been set only a day earlier, providing a sense of how quickly Iran's latest surge, fueled by the contagious delta variant, is mounting. -AP 7/27/21

Iran: Drought, water shortages spark protests

People in Iran's southwestern Khuzestan province are desperate. Suffering from drought and water shortages since March, they've taken to the streets in the last couple of weeks to express their anger with the government and its poor management of water resources. According to official sources, at least four men, including one policeman, have died in the protests. Authorities claim they were shot by "unknown rioters" in order to stir up trouble. -DW 7/27/21

Mehdi Hasan Asks Why US Still Sanctioning Iran as Covid Cases Surge

MSNBC anchor Mehdi Hasan asked why the United States continues to sanction Iran despite a surge in coronavirus cases in the country. As of Sunday, the seven-day average of coronavirus cases in Iran is 24,024, according to the Johns Hopkins University Center for Systems Science and Engineering. During The Mehdi Hasan Show on Sunday the host asked U.S. Special Representative for Iran Robert Malley about "the humanitarian situation in Iran." -Mediaite 7/27/21

A water crisis is creating nightmare conditions across the Middle East

That the wars of the future will be fought over water rather than oil is an adage that feels like an increasingly terrifyingly reality as every year goes by. Especially across the Middle East and North Africa, regions that are on the frontline of the world's climate crises. This year in particular, water has been become a worryingly scarce resource as wars, crumbling infrastructure and, in some instances, unprecedented economic collapse, have led to rolling power outrages that have become disastrous when coupled with record high temperatures. -Bel Trew, Independent 7/27/21

Under pressure, Iranian MPs postpone internet restriction bill

Iran's parliament has suspended its review of a highly controversial bill that a minister, citizens and businesses say will only lead to more internet restrictions in the country. The bill, first proposed three years ago, is titled "Protecting Users in Cyberspace and Organising Social Media" but critics say it is aimed at introducing more controls in a country where most prominent global services are already banned. -Al Jazeera 7/27/21

Opening new oil export pipeline, Iran takes new step toward energy independence

Goreh-Jask pipeline project provides Iran with an alternative route for the country's crude oil exports that are currently carried out through the Strait of Hormuz. The pipeline will open a new gate for Iranian oil to the Indian Ocean by transferring it from Goreh in southwestern Bushehr Province to Jask on the shores of Oman Gulf. -Ebrahim Fallahi, Tehran Times 7/27/21

How US military pullback in Iraq could benefit Iran

First Afghanistan, now Iraq. As Iraq's prime minister visits the White House for talks with President Joe Biden, an announcement has been made that all remaining US combat troops will be out of Iraq by the end of this year as part of an ongoing "US-Iraq Strategic Dialogue". -Frank Gardner, BBC 7/27/21

Iran claims arrest of spy group linked to Israel's Mossad

Iran's state TV reported on Tuesday that authorities arrested members of a group linked to Israel's Mossad intelligence agency amid ongoing protests over water shortages in the country's southwest. The report said "a network of spy agents, with a large amount of weapons and ammunition" was arrested after sneaking into Iran from across its western border. -AP 7/27/21

Iran: Angry Khuzestan residents rise against decades of neglect

For a week now, the province has been in the spotlight in Iran. On the evening of 15 July, people took to the streets in a number of cities in the province, including Ahvaz, Abadan, Hamidiyeh and Shadegan, Khorramshahr and Mahshahr, to protest against the lack of water and frequent power outages. The protesters chanted slogans such as "The river is thirsty," "I am thirsty," and "We give our lives and blood to the Karun"... -MEE 7/26/21

Kimia Alizadeh: Iranian defector from Olympic Refugee Team stuns two-time Olympic taekwondo champion

An Iranian taekwondo athlete competing for the Refugee Olympic Team made her mark at Tokyo 2020 after she defeated two-time Olympic gold medalist Jade Jones. Kimia Alizadeh beat Team Great Britain's Jones 16-12 on Sunday in the women's -57kg taekwondo round of 16. She then overcame China's Lijun Zhou in the quarterfinals before losing to Turkey's Hatice Kubra Ilgun in the bronze medal match. -CNN 7/26/21

Iran hails Guards nurse's golden shot in Tokyo

Iran on Sunday celebrated 41-year-old Javad Foroughi, a Republican Guards hospital nurse, who won gold in the 10m air pistol to become the Islamic republic's oldest and newest Olympic champion. Foroughi, who survived Covid-19 in the Middle East's worst-hit country, on Saturday became Iran's first medal winner in any shooting event at the Olympics. -AFP 7/26/21

In His Own Words: Iranian Musician Mehdi Rajabian On Why He Is Willing To Risk Jail For His New Album, 'Coup Of Gods'

Mehdi Rajabian is a musician. And like most musicians he feels the need to create music so strongly he can't do anything else. The difference between Rajabian and musicians in the U.S. or the U.K. or most other places around the globe is that Rajabian, an Iranian musician, is risking imprisonment to share his art. As he says in his self-penned essay, "We are proving that no power can stop making music, even if it means my life, or going back to jail." -Forbes 7/26/21

High stakes: How sanctions relief could impact EU-Iran trade

The new Iranian administration may agree on a revised JCPOA with the U.S. But if the economic benefits are paltry, political support will drain away. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Responsible Statecraft 7/26/21

Iranian rower Malaei steals the show

Iranian rower Nazanin Malaei advanced to the semifinals round of the women's single sculls at the 2020 Olympic Games. She caused something of a surprise by pushing into third to qualify for the semis. -Tehran Times 7/26/21

Race and ethnicity: Shining a spotlight on Iran's Black community

Iran is home to a colourful array of ethnicities: Persians, Arabs, Azeris, Kurds, Baluchis, Lurs and a group that's less talked about: the Black African community. While we have no verified figures, according to some reports, there are more than tens of thousands of Black Iranians living in a number of cities. -Sanam Shantyaei, France24 7/26/21

Iraqi militias grow in power as Iran's military strongman proves too weak

On a baking early summer evening last month, Iran's man in Iraq sat down in Baghdad with a group of militiamen to try to bring calm to the capital's foreboding streets. Assembled in a room were leaders of the most feared militias in the land, men who had days before taken over a checkpoint leading to the seat of power, and were planning a military parade of their own through the Iraqi capital. -Martin Chulov, Guardian 7/26/21

Qatar's foreign minister visits Iran to meet top officials

Qatar's foreign minister Sheikh Mohammad bin Abdulrahman Al Thani travelled to Tehran for an unannounced visit and met top officials, days after visiting Washington, Iran's state news agency reported. IRNA said that Al Thani, who is also Qatar's deputy prime minister, met president-elect Ebrahim Raisi on Sunday and the two discussed bilateral relations. -Al Jazeera 7/26/21

Israeli coach of Czech basketball team, Iran counterpart shake hands at Olympics

The Israeli coach of the Czech Republic's national men's basketball team shook hands with his Iranian counterpart, Mehran Shahintab, during the Olympics tournament Sunday, in a rare exchange between members of the hostile nations. "I shook his hand before the game started, and at the end, we also talked a bit about basketball," Ronen Ginzburg told the Ynet news site. -Times of Israel 7/26/21

Russia marks Navy's 325th anniversary, Iranian ship joins in

ia marked the 325th anniversary of the founding of its navy with ship parades at major ports on Sunday. Russian President Vladimir Putin attended the main parade of more than 50 vessels in St. Petersburg, which included ships from the navies of Iran, Pakistan and India. -AP 7/26/21

EXCLUSIVE: Watch The Opening From 'Juliet & The King,' A Hand-Drawn Feature From Iran's Hoorakhsh Studios

A couple of years ago, The Last Fiction became the first Iranian animated feature to qualify for an Oscar. Having successfully made its mark overseas, the studio behind the film, Tehran's Hoorakhsh Studios, is launching into its next project: the family comedy Juliet & the King. -Cartoon Brew 7/23/21

Persian Treasure of Dagestan National Museum

Dagestan National Museum, in the Russian Federation, holds a collection of Persian artefacts and manuscripts which is little known elsewhere. One of the important documents in this museum is a royal Persian order [farman/firman], over 300 years old, from the Safavid king Sultan Husayn to the ruler of Derbent. At that time Derbent was part of the Persian Empire. It was conquered by Russia in 1813, following the Treaty of Golestan and now is part of the Autonomous Republic of Dagestan. -Pejman Akbarzadeh 7/23/21

Iran accused of using unlawful force in water protest crackdown

Iran is using unlawful and excessive force in a crackdown against protests over water shortages in its oil-rich but arid southwestern Khuzestan province, according to international rights groups. Amnesty International said it had confirmed the deaths of at least eight protesters and bystanders, including a teenage boy, after the authorities used live ammunition to quell the protests. -Guardian 7/23/21

Iran look to improve position on medals table at Tokyo

With top-notch Paralympic and World champions in their ranks, Team I.R. Iran would be looking to improve their position on the medal standings as they prepare to field one of their biggest delegations at the Paralympic Games in Tokyo. 7/23/21

The phoniness of opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement

The negotiations, currently in hiatus, to restore compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action - known familiarly as the Iran nuclear deal - have elicited opposition arguments that are stale and dated. Many of those arguments not only suffer from a deficiency of logic but also ignore what is now a substantial empirical record of what happens with and without the JCPOA. That record constitutes what social scientists would call a natural experiment. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 7/23/21

Former presidents condemn crackdown on protests

Two former Iranian presidents, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, lambasted the brutality of the anti-riot forces in cracking down on demonstrations against water shortage in Iran's Khuzestan province. The protests in the southeastern oil-rich province began on 16 July in Ahwaz, the provincial capital, before spreading to other cities. According to officials, two civilians and one policeman were killed during the week-long unrest. -MEE 7/23/21

Ahmadinejad accuses 'ring' in Iran intelligence of espionage

Former Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad accused a "corrupt ring" inside Iran's intelligence apparatus of maintaining "a systematic link" with foreign espionage agencies. "They have to brace for trials," Ahmadinejad, who served as head of state from 2005-2013, warned the group, without naming its members. -Al Monitor 7/23/21

Iran planning to build 'Maryam Mirzakhani' supercomputer

According to an official with the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, plans are underway to build a supercomputer in memory of prominent Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani. According to Ehsan Aryanian, manager of IT platforms at ICT Research Institute, initial calls for researching and designing 'Maryam Supercomputer' have been made. 7/22/21

Iran Releases Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh For Five-Day Health Treatment Leave

Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose health has "seriously deteriorated" since her arrest three years ago, has been granted a five-day treatment leave from prison. Sotoudeh will undergo various medical examinations, according to a post her husband, Reza Khandan, wrote on his Facebook page, "Nasrin has come home on treatment leave for five days," he wrote in the post 7/22/21

Iran opens oil terminal to bypass strategic Strait of Hormuz

Outgoing President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran opened its first oil terminal in the Gulf of Oman, a move that will allow it to avoid using the Strait of Hormuz shipping route that has been a focus of regional tension for decades. "This is a strategic move and an important step for Iran. It will secure the continuation of our oil exports," Rouhani said in a televised speech on Thursday. -Al Jazeera 7/22/21

No Clean Hands: The Interventions of Middle Eastern Powers, 2010-2020

Instability in the Middle East has often been blamed on a single expansionist U.S. opponent, whether that be Libya, Iraq, or Iran. However, a qualitative and quantitative view of the region's conflicts over the past 10 years shows several states to be interventionist to roughly the same degree, contradicting the argument that regional instability is primarily caused by a single "malign actor." -Matthew Petti and Trita Parsi, Quincy Institute 7/22/21

Weights Not Burdens: The Status of Women in Sports in Iran

For women in sports, overcoming social stigma is as much a part of the game as any technique to be mastered. "She who lifts weights is no woman," said veteran Iranian actor Dariush Arjmand in a televised interview in May. To Arjmand, female weightlifters are unworthy of motherhood and can not be considered real women as their weightlifting puts their femininity in danger. -Tara Jamali, Ms 7/21/21

Photos: Gavkhouni Wetland in Iran amid drought

Before losing lots of water due to severe drought, Gavkhouni Wetland, located in Isfahan and Yazd Provinces, was the source of life for the wildlife in the Iranian Plateau for thousands of years. The last time that the water level in the wetland reached capacity was in 1993, but after that Gavkhouni gradually lost water. -Fatemeh Sadeghzadeh 7/21/21

Europe's self-inflicted irrelevance on the Iran nuclear deal

The European signatories of the 2015 JCPOA, Britain, France and Germany, known as the E3, issued a statement on July 6 in which they responded to the IAEA's latest report on Iran's enrichment activities. While, on the face of it, the statement looks like just another expression of "grave concern," its timing makes it different. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 7/21/21

The International community must save Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali before it's too late

We, the undersigned organizations, call on the European Union, European state governments, and the United States government to act immediately to secure the release of Dr. Ahmadreza Djalali, an internationally recognized scholar of disaster medicine wrongfully sentenced to death and in dire need of medical care. -International Observatory of Human Rights 7/21/21

Trump Administration knew Soleimani killing risked war with Iran

The Trump administration acknowledged that assassinating Iranian Gen. Qassem Soleimani in January 2020 could have escalated into war with Tehran, a newly declassified memo shows. Last week, the Biden administration released a heavily-redacted version of the legal justification for killing Soleimani, in response to a lawsuit filed by the civil liberties organization Protect Democracy. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 7/21/21

Iran launches matchmaking app as fertility rates fall

Iran, facing a fall in fertility rates, has launched a state-approved matchmaking app to promote marriages in the Islamic country which restricts contact between unrelated men and women. Hamdam (Companion), developed by a state-affiliated Islamic cultural body, requires users to verify their identity and carries out psychological compatibility tests and gives advice for young singles seeking a marriage partner. -Reuters 7/21/21

Damavand volcano activities: The hazards and opportunities

On the first day of summer 2021, an amateur video went viral on social media showing steam coming out of the summit of Damavand volcano. The narration in that video had expressed concern about the possibility and signs of the activation of the Damavand volcano. At the end of that short video, it is stated that "we hope that Damavand volcano will not be activated because it will have dire consequences." -Prof Mehdi Zare, Tehran Times 7/20/21

Iran's daily new coronavirus infections hit another high

Iran on Tuesday broke another record in the country's daily new coronavirus cases, even as Tehran and its surroundings went into lockdown, a week-long measure imposed amid another surge in the pandemic. The country's health ministry announced 27,444 new cases and 250 deaths over the past day, bringing the overall death toll to 87,624 from among more than 3.5 million confirmed cases in the pandemic. -AP 7/20/21

Surprise: no one 'bad guy' responsible for violence in the Middle East

Americans love a good-guy, bad-guy story - especially in the Middle East. In the 1980s, Muammar Ghaddafi was "the mad dog of the Middle East." Two decades later, overthrowing Saddam Hussein was supposed to be a death blow to the "Axis of Evil." Around the same time, Syria became a "rogue nation" that exports "killers." Throughout this whole time, Iran has remained the "evil hand" behind all of the instability in the region. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 7/20/21

IRAN: Quake shakes historical sites in Bushehr, no reports of damage

On Monday, a 4.2 magnitude earthquake struck Bandar-e Kangan in Bushehr, however, it caused no damage to historical sites across the southwestern province. Based on field visits by experts of the province's Cultural Heritage, Tourism, and Handicrafts Department, no serious damage to historical relics and monuments has been reported, the deputy provincial tourism chief has announced. -Tehran Times 7/20/21

Iran and Israel's Naval War Is Expanding

Early this month, one Iranian and one Israeli tweet created a storm in the already troubled waters of the Mediterranean Sea. On June 26, the Iranian Embassy in Lebanon wrote a vaguely worded tweet with a picture of an Iranian ship and said that Iran did not need America's approval to send fuel to Lebanon. The tweet implied the ship carried fuel and was headed to Lebanon. -Anchal Vohra, Foreign Policy 7/20/21

Report: US Mulls New Sanctions on Iran's Oil Sales to China

According to a report from The Wall Street Journal, the Biden administration is considering fresh sanctions on Iran that target the Islamic Republic's oil sales to China as a way to ramp up the pressure on Tehran. Citing unnamed US officials and people "familiar with the matter," the report said the US is considering options to either pressure Iran to keep negotiating on the nuclear deal or "punish" Iran if the talks fail. One of those options is sanctioning oil sales to China. 7/20/21

Armenia becomes vaccine tourism hot spot for Iranians

Iranians facing a shortage of COVID-19 vaccines at home are travelling to neighbouring Armenia as tourists in growing numbers to get inoculated there for free, according to data from Armenia's tourism board. Armenia has approved three vaccines against COVID-19 - Russia's Sputnik V, China's CoronaVac and AstraZeneca's vaccine and initially offered all of them free to foreign visitors. -Reuters 7/20/21

Iran imposes week-long lockdown of Tehran as virus surges

Iran on Monday imposed a week-long lockdown on the capital, Tehran, and the surrounding region as the country struggles with another surge in the coronavirus pandemic, state media reported. The lockdown - the nation's fifth so far - will begin on Tuesday and last until next Monday. All bazars, market places and public offices will close, as well as movie theaters, gyms and restaurants in both Tehran province and the neighboring province of Alborz. -AP 7/19/21

"A Hero" takes home the Grand Prix for Cannes 2021

The Grand prix was Jointly awarded to Asghar Farhadi "A Hero" and Juho Kuosmanen for "Compartment No. 6" - The 74th annual Cannes Film Festival took place from 6 to 17 July 2021. The 2021 Cannes Festival Jury helmed by Spike Lee announced its list of winning films and filmmakers from the competition. 7/19/21

IRAN: Flood hits 10 provinces, leaving 6 dead, 2 missing

Torrential rain has triggered flooding in 10 provinces across the country, leaving six dead and two missing so far, Mehdi Valipour, head of Relief and Rescue Organization affiliated to the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS), has stated. Some 30 cities in 10 provinces of East Azerbaijan, West Azerbaijan, Alborz, Kerman, Fars, Sistan and Baluchestan, Semnan, Mazandaran, Hormozgan and Kurdistan were affected by floods and inundations in the last four days. -Tehran Times 7/19/21

Photos: Traditional wedding ceremony in Sar Agha Seyed village, Iran

The wedding ceremony is held in Sar Agha Seyed village of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran with special rituals. This ceremony lasts for several days. Almost all of the villagers are invited to the wedding ceremony. -Zahra Mirzafarjouyan, Mehr 7/19/21

Ending forever wars must include economic warfare

Ending endless war has become an ever-present catchphrase, employed by Republicans and Democrats alike, to appeal to the majority of Americans who wish to see an end to ineffective U.S. wars and adventurism across the world, and better use of their hard-earned tax dollars. But, while we may think of war to mean military incursions, bombs and fighting, there is an aspect to U.S. warfare that is too-often absent from the discussion: economic warfare. -Assal Rad, Responsible Statecraft 7/19/21

Biden administration rips Iran over delay in prisoner exchange talks

A spokesman for the State Department slammed Iran in response to claims that the U.S. and UK were linking a humanitarian exchange with the Iran Nuclear Deal, calling the allegations "outrageous." Iran's deputy foreign minister, in a tweet on Saturday, accused the U.S. and British governments of holding a proposed prisoner swap "hostage" over negotiations for the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). -The Hill 7/19/21

How Tuti-nama, an animal fable commissioned by Akbar, sheds light on the art, clothing, culture and people of its time

The paintings of the Tuti-nama depict scenes from the 52 stories told on successive nights by a pet parrot to beguile Khujasta, the wife of his owner, through the night so that she would be too enthralled to leave home to meet her lover and succumb to an adulterous affair. -Firstpost 7/19/21

Hoda Afshar's Beautiful Portrait of the Islands of the Persian Gulf

In her MACK-published book Speak the Wind, the Iranian-born, Melbourne-based photographer captures the landscapes, people and rituals of the islands in the Strait of Hormuz -AnOther 7/16/21

12th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival

We welcome filmmakers to submit short films for competition that visualize some aspect of Iranian arts, crafts, cuisine, culture, geography, literature and history. All entries will be judged for creativity, quality, and originality and will compete for a chance to win monetary prizes 7/16/21

33 years after getting demolished by the US, Iran's navy is flexing its new muscles

Thirty-three years ago, the US inflicted a devastating defeat on the Iranian navy. Since then, Iran has rebuilt and modernized its fleet, equipping it for operations on the high seas. Its progress was visible in June, when two Iranian warships sailed into the Atlantic for the first time. -Business Insider 7/16/21

Iran's 'Wind girl' at the Olympics

Farzaneh Fasihi is an Iranian sprinter. She represented her country at more than 10 competitions both outdoor and indoor Asian Athletics Championships. Fasihi is the Iranian record holder of the 60 metres indoor with 7.25 seconds. She is the ninth Iranian female athlete to qualify for Olympics, signaling a change in the way Tehran perceives women in sports. -WION 7/15/21

DNA from 1,600-year-old Iranian sheep mummy brings history to life

A team of geneticists and archeologists from Ireland, France, Iran, Germany, and Austria has sequenced the DNA from a 1,600-year-old sheep mummy from an ancient Iranian salt mine, Chehrābād. This remarkable specimen has revealed sheep husbandry practices of the ancient Near East, as well as underlining how natural mummification can affect DNA degradation. 7/14/21

Iranian astronomers fear their ambitious observatory could become a 'Third World telescope'

For Sepehr Arbabi, the ceremony last week to inaugurate the Iranian National Observatory (INO) on a mountaintop in central Iran should have been a proud moment. The astrophysicist spent 13 years surmounting obstacles to help put the world-class optical telescope on a sound technical footing, including obtaining its primary mirror from Germany. "I felt this was like my baby, my child," says Arbabi, who left the project 5 years ago and is now at the University of Wurzburg. -Richard Stone, Science 7/13/21

Conservationist Fights for Persian Leopards in Iraqi Kurdistan

Hana Raza is determined to overcome conflict- and gender-related obstacles to establish a network of protected areas for the endangered big cats. After the Iran-Iraq War, which severely degraded Iraqi nature, Persian leopards were thought to be locally extinct. The war left the country with mountains covered with millions of landmines and many species with vastly depleted numbers. So nobody expected this endangered species to remain in the Zagros Mountains of Iraqi Kurdistan. Veronika Perkova, Earth Island Journal 7/13/21

Water inflow into Iranian dams declines 47% yr/yr

Water inflow into the Iranian dams from the beginning of the current water year (late September 2020) up to July 9, has decreased by 47 percent compared to the previous year's same period, according to the Iran Water Resources Management Company's data. 7/12/21

Improving Iran's ailing economy will be Raisi's priority

Since the establishment of the Islamic Republic of Iran, the art of economic management has never been the strongest side of the country's leaders. Iranian politicians, and especially those from conservative circles, always believed Iran's stability and survival to be primarily dependent on political and ideological factors. Thus, they have been reluctant to focus their efforts, and political rhetoric, on economic recovery and development beyond the minimally needed level. -Nikolay Kozhanov, Al-Jazeera 7/12/21

Cybercriminals troll Iran's leader, cause railway network 'chaos'

Iran's railway service and network dissolved into what state media called "unprecedented chaos" due to an alleged cyberattack. -ZDNet 7/12/21

Armed Afghan women take to streets in show of defiance against Taliban

Women have taken up guns in northern and central Afghanistan, marching in the streets in their hundreds and sharing pictures of themselves with assault rifles on social media, in a show of defiance as the Taliban make sweeping gains nationwide. One of the biggest demonstrations was in central Ghor province, where hundreds of women turned out at the weekend, waving guns and chanting anti-Taliban slogans. -Guardian 7/9/21

Iran denies 'US sabotage' against homemade vaccine project

Iran's health officials dismissed several statements about a "US sabotage attack" or halts in the country's indigenous vaccine projects. "The production line of COV-Iran Barakat is operating with full capacity," read a statement issued by the state-funded Shifapharmed Industrial Group, which is involved in the production of one in a long list of vaccines Iran says it has developed to immunize its population against multiple variants of the coronavirus. -Al-Monitor 7/9/21

Philanthropists donate $1.4b to construct schools nationwide in Iran

School building benefactors have allocated $1.4 billion to construct educational spaces over the past four years. Over the past year, some 50 percent of the country's schools have been constructed either entirely charitable or in partnership with the government and charities 7/8/21

'I Felt in Between Places': Iranian Artist Arghavan Khosravi on Studying Art in the U.S., and Why She Paints Preoccupied Women

The U.S.-based Iranian painter Arghavan Khosravi's sculptural, multi-paneled paintings capture the claustrophobia and disorientation of being split between worlds. In her critically acclaimed recent show, "In Between Places" at New York's Rachel Uffner gallery women assume agency as they move through their daily lives, all the while preoccupied with looming concerns, represented by depictions such as a ball and chain... -Artnet 7/8/21

The Imagination of Ancient Empire of Iran: Philosophical Poetry of Omar Khayyam and Legendary Voice of Amir Hossein Nouri

Nowadays, there is less of a name and recognition for the role of Iranians in world culture and art. Contrary to popular belief, Iran has a high level of cultural diversity. Although located in the Middle East, it is a country with four seasons. Beautiful with an ancient history, which had one of the great empires of the world. The country which originated with the first human rights document by Cyrus the Great in 538 BC, as well as the source of the threefold slogan of Zoroaster with the mantra of "Good speech, a good deed and good thought." -Music Times 7/8/21

Photos: Severe water shortage in Golestan, Iran

People living in Golestan Province suffer from severe water shortages. These photographs show different neighborhoods of the province in which people struggle to get drinking water. Currently, people get drinking water using two water tanks available in the morning and evening. -Hadise Pasandi, ISNA 7/6/21

Shahrzad Mozafar: Iran's female futsal trailblazer who defied the odds

To her parents, it was no great surprise. When Shahrzad Mozafar was not kicking a ball with her sisters in their sun-baked family garden nestled in a parched neighbourhood in Khuzestan province, Iran, she was usually inside, dreaming about the love of her life. Football. An avid viewer of games on television - "I loved to be a coach since I was a kid" - on one occasion she indulged her fantasies by commentating on an imaginary match, capturing every word of dramatic monologue on a cassette tape. -Jamie Fahey, Guardian 7/5/21

Unstoppable Nahid Biyarjomandi driven by "heavy responsibility" to empower women in rugby around the world

World Rugby spoke to the World Rugby Women's Executive Leadership Scholarship recipient and Asia Rugby Executive Committee member about an exciting year, in which she has also given birth to her first child. Nahid Biyarjomandi had already achieved more than most would hope to in a lifetime when she was chosen as one of 15 'Unstoppable' women in rugby two years ago. 7/5/21

Iran's Sareh Javanmardi highlights anxiety and stress are not to be ignored

Iran's Sareh Javanmardi is honest about what could hinder her performance. With the Tokyo 2020 Paralympics nearing, the pressure is rising and so is the anxiety and stress. Rather than hide, the multi-Paralympic and world champion brings her achilles heel to light. Especially in shooting Para sport, where one mental lapse can cost an athlete everything, knowing how to handle such anxieties and stress is important for the Iranian. 6/30/21

Submissions For Art Iran Curatorial Competition

Farhang Foundation and the Craft Contemporary announce a call for submissions for the Art Iran Curatorial Competition. The call is for curators and other arts professionals with experience in developing highly focused group exhibitions preferably centered on Middle Eastern art and culture. 6/25/21

How a Pair of Architects Are Remaking the Future for the Homeless

Iranian sisters Gisue Hariri and Mojgan Hariri are using their extraordinary talents for the sake of refugees and the unhoused. For Gisue Hariri and Mojgan Hariri, the meaning of home has always been integral to their practice as family and architects. The sisters came to the United States from Iran to study architecture at Cornell. -Abigail Glasgow, Architectural Digest 6/24/21

These Iranian Fisherwomen Are Trying to Make History

Every day at dawn, fisherwomen from the tiny island of Hengam in Iran nudge their daughters into small boats. The currents are often overwhelmingly strong, but for these women, braving rough waves isn't just about finding their catch of the day. It's how mothers groom their daughters to face life in the community. Hengam is one of the only islands in Iran where women set out to sea without men. -VICE 6/23/21

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last updated on Fri Jul 30 12:26:56 EDT 2021