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August 21 2019
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Let the Swords Encircle Me: Iran--A Journey Behind the Headlines


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Parau: "Everest of all caves" in western Iran

- Photos show rock climbers rappelling through Iran's Parau Cave, locally renowned as "Everest of all caves". Looking for adventure? This vertical limestone cave, which is one of natural attractions of Kermanshah province in the Zagros Mountains, offers a wild and challenging expedition for experienced rock climbers! 8/21/19

Either security for everybody or insecurity for everybody, Iranian FM warns

- The top Iranian diplomat says "security is a common global commodity," that either exists for everybody or no one. Speaking at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) during a visit to Sweden, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif made the comments Wednesday amid the US military presence in the Persian Gulf. -Press TV 8/21/19

Iran sanctions threaten the lives of young cancer patients

- But there's another battlefield in the sanctions war: a children's hospital. Since 1991, Mahek, a charity hospital in Tehran that offers free health care, has cared for nearly 30,000 children. But in the last year, vital drugs have been running out. -CBS 8/21/19

US and Iran, short memories

- Western media have demonised Iran for 40 years, especially in the US. A selective memory of recent history greatly helps the tone and content of that demonisation. -Serge Halimi & Pierre Rimbert, Le Monde diplomatique 8/21/19

Six-Year Prison Sentence Upheld Against Iranian Journalist Who Was Denied Right to Fair Trial

- An Appeals Court in Tehran has upheld a six-year prison sentence against political journalist Hamed Aynehvand without holding a hearing, his lawyer, Hossein Bayat, informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on August 13, 2019. 8/21/19

Aras Amiri: British Council worker jailed in Iran a 'bargaining chip'

- A British Council worker jailed for 10 years in Iran for spying is being used as a "bargaining chip" by Iran's government, her fiance has said. Aras Amiri, 33, an Iranian citizen who lives in London, was held in March 2018 on a visit to her unwell grandmother. -BBC 8/21/19

US praises sanctions for killing Iran's economy, then blames Tehran for people's suffering

- The US State Department can't seem to make up its mind about the cause of Iran's economic woes, claiming Tehran's "Marxist economy" is to blame even as it celebrates the devastation US sanctions have wrought on the country. -RT 8/21/19

The Transnational Trump And The Muddying Of The Water's Edge

- The recent episode in which President Trump and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu joined forces to stop a visit to Israel by two members of the U.S. Congress has many disturbing aspects. The episode represented, of course, yet another effort to silence any criticism of Israeli policies toward Palestinians and the Occupied Territories, rather than having a full and open discussion of the issues involved. -Paul R. Pillar , LobeLog 8/21/19

Sanctions hindering pharma raw materials import: Iranian Red Crescent

- Problems in transferring money from foreign banks and using foreign exchange has been hindering the import of pharmaceutical raw materials into the country for a long time, announced the director of medical supply department at the Iranian Red Crescent Society (IRCS). 8/20/19

Iranian Charity Organization Hamiyar launches ensemble with childhood cancer survivors

- Iranian charity organization Hamiyar, based in the city of Arak, provides support to children suffering from cancer as well as their families. Hamiyar held a concert in their headquarters in Arak on August 16, 2019 where Avaye Hamiyar Ensemble, composed of 23 childhood cancer survivors and their relatives, performed. This ensemble has been established by the medical center for children with cancer to keep their spirits up during treatment. 8/20/19

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Darband Fortress documentary [Crowdfunding Campaign]

Iran Cracks Down on Instagram Celebrities as It Tightens Noose on Freedom of Speech and Expression - Investigations by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) indicate that dozens of Iranians with large followings on Instagram-including athletes, fashion models and actors-were summoned by security officials in 2019 and in some cases charged with crimes for the content of their posts. 8/20/19

Iran in reverse brain drain as top students come home in rising numbers: Official - A senior Iranian official says the government has managed to reverse a trend of brain drain that has harmed the country's aspirations for scientific and economic development. Sorena Sattari, Iranian deputy president for science and technology, said on Monday that students from top universities around the world were returning home in quite unprecedented numbers, adding that a total of 130 students graduated from 100 top-ranked universities of the world had returned to Iran between late March and late July. -Press TV 8/20/19

Top Iranian official: We should never have signed Obama-era nuclear deal - A top Iranian official and close adviser to Iran's supreme leader says his country should never have signed the international nuclear deal that has now been renounced by President Donald Trump. In an interview with Lester Holt of NBC News, the official, Ali Shamkhani, who rarely speaks to the Western press, said that there were people in Iran who felt that signing the 2015 nuclear pact, known as the JCPOA, was a mistake. -NBC 8/20/19

The Dogs Of War That Have Not Barked - In May, President Donald J. Trump rolled out his policy of "maximum pressure" designed to force Tehran to concede to far-reaching demands. He tightened U.S. sanctions against Iran considerably and ordered the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier and numerous other military units deployed to (or toward) the Persian Gulf. Then -especially after Iran shot down a large U.S. Navy drone in late June- the world braced for a showdown. It never came. -Helena Cobban, LobeLog 8/20/19

Iranians Protest State's Brutal Killing Of Stray Dogs - Dozens of animal rights activists protested in the Iranian capital over the weekend against the abuse and killings of stray dogs by the municipality. The protests were held outside Tehran's city hall after a video emerged online showing the gruesome killings of stray dogs, including puppies, with injections that made them whine and cry in pain before dying. -RFE/RL 8/20/19

Do Americans Want War With Iran? - As tensions have escalated once again between Washington and Tehran, most Americans tell Gallup they want to see their country rely more on economic and diplomatic efforts to stop Iran's nuclear program, rather than take military action. There is broad consensus in these views among supporters of both major political parties. 8/20/19

Iran's Auto Industry In Crisis Following Arrest Of Senior Executives - Iran's automotive industry - the biggest in the Middle East and one of the 20 largest in the world - has become mired in crisis, amid allegations of corruption, the arrest of senior executives and the loss of international partners due to sanctions. -Dominic Dudley, Forbes 8/20/19

Iranian documentary "Finding Farideh" to represent Iran at Oscars - Iranian documentary "Finding Farideh" has been selected as Iran's submission to the 92nd Academy Awards in the best foreign-language film category. A committee of nine cineastes picked the film on Saturday from a shortlist of 10 films including "Qasre Shirin" directed by Reza Mirkarimi, "Just 6.5" by Saeid Rustai, "Sheeple" by Hooman Seyyedi, "Lovely Trash" by Mohsen Amiryusefi, "The Warden" by Nima Javidi and "When the Moon Was Full" by Narges Abyar. 8/19/19

ICE Showcases the Iranian Female Composers Association at Mostly Mozart - The Iranian Female Composers Association was founded in 2017 by Niloufar Nourbakhsh, Anahita Abbasi, and Aida Shirazi as a global platform to support, promote, and celebrate Iranian women composers. -I Care If You Listen 8/19/19

Iranian teams win 27 prizes at FIRA RoboWorld Cup 2019 - Iranian robotic teams won a total of 27 awards at the Federation of International Robot Sports Association (FIRA) World Cup, FIRA 2019, which was held from August 11 to 16 in Changwon, South Korea, Mehr reported on Saturday. 8/19/19

Iran-operated tanker Adrian Darya leaves anchorage at Gibraltar - The Iran-operated Adrian Darya 1 supertanker, which was recently released by the government of Gibraltar one month after being seized by British marines, has finally left anchorage at the Strait of Gibraltar, slowly moving toward its new destination. 8/19/19

Arrests, Prison Sentences Fail to Stem Growing Public Opposition to Iran's Mandatory Hijab Law - Mounting arrests and prison sentences have not enabled Iran's government to achieve broad public compliance with the country's mandatory hijab law, or stem growing protests against it. At least 12 people have been issued prison sentences ranging from six months to 33 years for publicly removing their headscarves and other public acts of civil disobedience against compulsory hijab since January 2018, and 32 have been arrested for such acts, according to research by the Center for Human Rights in Iran. -CHRI 8/19/19

The 14 Defiant Women Who Want To Change The Islamic Republic Of Iran - Iranian human rights lawyer Guity Pourfazel wants to see change in her country and believes Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei should step down and the ruling clerical establishment be replaced with a democratic system. Pourfazel is one of 14 women activists in Iran who have publicly called for Khamenei to resign and for a new political system to be installed that is framed by a new constitution that would secure dignity and equal rights for women. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 8/19/19

Images show Iran satellite launch looms despite US criticism - Iran appears to be preparing another satellite launch after twice failing this year to put one in orbit, despite U.S. accusations that the Islamic Republic's program helps it develop ballistic missiles. -AP 8/19/19

How secret Israeli attacks in Iraq are driving Trump's anti-Iran campaign - President Trump's policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran, notes former CIA analyst Paul Pillar, is more obsession than strategy, and a not-so-mysterious explosion on the outskirts of Baghdad Monday shows why. Iraqi political analysts are blaming the attack on Israel, saying it follows two attacks earlier this month on facilities of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq. -Fefferson Morley, Salon 8/19/19

"Why Should We Be Silent?": Colleagues Condemn Iranian Photographer's Unjust Detention - Several members of Iran's film industry have spoken out against the detention of Nooshin Jafari, a film and theater photographer, who has been detained at an undisclosed location in Tehran since August 4, 2019. The authorities have meanwhile refused to provide information about her to her family since she was arrested, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI 8/16/19

U.S. Sanctions Are Killing Cancer Patients in Iran - Washington claims that maximum pressure won't stop the supply of medicine and other humanitarian necessities, but banking sanctions are driving up import prices, blocking supply chains, and creating deadly drug shortages. -Abbas Kebriaeezadeh, Foreign Policy 8/16/19

Startups to help Iran National Library and Archives - The Iran National Library and Archives (INLA) plans to introduce digital library technologies and startups active in this field in the near future. The INLA, as the biggest database in Iran, held a one-week entrepreneurship event, during which it called entrepreneurs and startup owners and Artificial Intelligence (AI) experts to use the INLA resources for emerging businesses and also meet the needs of the library. 8/16/19

Absolute Amateur Hour': Team Trump Mangles Messages to Iran - The Trump administration keeps sending conflicting and contradictory messages to Iran about its terms for new negotiations, multiple U.S and European officials tell The Daily Beast. And the ensuing chaos has vexed the president, complicated diplomatic efforts for American allies abroad, and utterly baffled policymakers at home. -Daily Beast 8/16/19

A Few Questions For NY Public Radio's New CEO, Goli Sheikholeslami - Five months after New York Public Radio's president and CEO stepped down, the company's board has announced a new leader: Goli Sheikholeslami. Sheikholeslami is currently the CEO of Chicago Public Media and its radio station, WBEZ, where the annual budget has grown from $19 million to $31 million during her five-year tenure. -Gothamist 8/16/19

Is Putin Really Gaining A Stranglehold Over The Gulf? - An article by Simon Watkins, entitled "Russia Gains Stranglehold Over Persian Gulf" and published by Oil on August 4, raises the concern that Russian-Iranian cooperation is turning into a genuine military alliance. In the article, Watkins reported that "senior sources close to the Iranian regime" told him about several ways in which Russian-Iranian military and economic cooperation are set to increase. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog 8/16/19

Shared Afghanistan interests create opening for U.S.-Iran back channel - sources - Western intermediaries are trying to persuade arch foes Iran and the United States to cooperate on bolstering security in Afghanistan as U.S. President Donald Trump seeks to extract America from its longest war, according to three source familiar with the efforts. -Reuters 8/16/19

Here Are Five Lies About Iran That We Need to Refute to Stop Another Illegal War - The Trump administration's lies on the topic of Iran are now beyond parody. There is, however, nothing funny about them. U.S. government lies can have deadly consequences: Never forget that hundreds of thousands of innocent Iraqi men, women, and children, not to mention more than 4,400 U.S. military personnel, are dead today because of the sheer volume of falsehoods told by the George W. Bush administration. -Mehdi Hasan, Intercept 8/15/19

Iranian Superstar Banned From State TV For What Could Prove To Be Suppression Of Dissent - An award-winning Iranian movie superstar has been banned from appearing on the Islamic Republic's monopolized TV networks, apparently for protesting the arrest of a female photojournalist. Hanieh Tavassoli and several other famous actors have made public statements condemning the detention of Noushin Jafari, who is a photojournalist focusing on movie stars and celebrities. -Radio Farda 8/15/19

He's Why Iran Is Feuding With Stanford - As manager of the Stanford Iran 2040 Project, Pooya Azadi makes a point of tracking Iran's economic, environmental and social trends. Recently, he found himself at the center of them. In a May 29 speech, Iranian Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei accused Azadi's research group of "questioning the scientific achievements of the country" and undermining Iran's "important academic projects." Overnight, Khamenei launched Azadi to the front pages of Iran's state media. -Austin Bodetti, OZY 8/15/19

Iranians hit hard by U.S. sanctions, and worried about war - In the local market in Bandar Abbas, a town right on Iran's coast in the Strait of Hormuz, people are really feeling the pinch. So have millions of other Iranians in the year since President Trump began re-imposing what his administration calls "the toughest ever" sanctions on Iran. -CBS News 8/15/19

Amid Iran Crisis, U.S. Offers Big Military Aid Boost To Azerbaijan - As the U.S. has ratcheted up diplomatic and military pressure on Iran, it has been quietly offering neighboring Azerbaijan more than $100 million in military aid. The money appears aimed at countering threats from Tehran. -Joshua Kucera, LobeLog 8/15/19

Iran crypto developers launch platform for flood-victim aid - Platform for receiving aid donations in cryptocurrencies developed in response to US sanctions impeding relief efforts. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 8/15/19

How Voice of America Persian Became a Trump Administration PR Machine - As an Iranian American journalist covering the Iran-U.S. relationship, Negar Mortazavi is accustomed to receiving vitriol on social media. Still, she found it unusual when she saw on Twitter that someone had called her a "treasonous criminal" and "a spy and an enemy of the people." ... What made the tweets unusual was that the person targeting her was Ali Javanmardi. Javanmardi is a prominent television journalist at the Voice of America Persian, the U.S.-owned network broadcasting to Iranians -- which means that he works for the U.S. government. -Jordan Michael Smith, Intercept 8/14/19

British-Iranian Scholar Kameel Ahmady Arrested In Tehran On Unspecified Charges - The wife of British-Iranian anthropologist Kameel Ahmady says her husband has been arrested at his home in Iran on unknown charges. Shafagh Rahmani told RFE/RL's Radio Farda on August 14 that her husband was arrested on August 11, and that authorities told her he faces "unspecified charges in connection with his activities." 8/14/19

Party Leader's Comments Signals Serious Rift In Iran's Reform Camp - Iran's reformist political faction seems to have split as one of the groups constituting its backbone has officially pulled out of the lose-knit political force. After remarks by the leader of the centrist Executives of Construction Party, Iranian media reported Tuesday August 13 that the group has all but officially split from the reformist camp. -Radio Farda 8/14/19

Female Plaintiff's Battle to Get a Motorcycle License Exposes Arbitrary Restrictions on Women in Iran - In response to a complaint by a woman from the city of Isfahan, Branch 1 of Iran's Administrative Justice Court ruled that the traffic police's refusal to issue motorcycle driving licenses to women is unlawful. However, due to Article 60 of the Administrative Justice Court's Organizational and Regulatory Procedures Law, the ruling, which could be reversed, only applies to the individual plaintiff and not all women in the country. -CHRI 8/14/19

The Wisdom Of The UAE's Retrenchment - Mohammed bin Zayed (MbZ), crown prince of Abu Dhabi and the de facto chief executive of the United Arab Emirates (UAE), evidently has determined that his principal regional policies have not been working well and require a fundamental redirection. He is withdrawing his country from participation in the war in Yemen and trying to tone down confrontation with Iran. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 8/14/19

IAEA chief's death could spell the end of the Iran nuclear deal - With the recent death of the head of the IAEA, Netanyahu is finding renewed opportunity to bring the 'atomic archives' back to center stage and further sabotage the Iran nuclear deal. This is a grave strategic mistake. -Shemuel Meir, 972 Magazine 8/14/19

Iran's Leader urges resistance against Saudi-UAE bid to split Yemen - Ayatollah Khamenei made the comments in a meeting in Tehran on Tuesday with a visiting delegation from Yemen's Houthi Ansarullah movement, led by its spokesman Mohammed Abdul-Salam. -Press TV 8/14/19

China Prepares Its "Nuclear Option" In Trade War - As the trade war with the U.S. continues to escalate, China has re-engaged with Iran on three key projects and is weighing the use of what both Washington and Beijing term the 'nuclear option', a senior oil and gas industry source who works closely with Iran's Petroleum Ministry told last week. -Simon Watkins, 8/14/19

Persian lions at Tehran zoo tie the knot! - A male Persian lion, born 6 years ago, was sent to Tehran Zoological Garden from Britain's Bristol Zoo on May 1, under a population management program aiming at endangered species reproduction by the European Association of Zoos and Aquaria (EAZA). A female lion of the same subspecies from Ireland also sent to Iran to accompany the male lion through the conservation program. 8/13/19

Dozens hospitalized as sand and dust storms haunt southeastern Iran - Severe sand and dust storms (SDSs) has left 127 patients hospitalized due to respiratory problems in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan, head of provincial disaster mitigation and management organization has said. 8/13/19

Could Russia Get Its Persian Gulf Port? - Russian activities in the Persian Gulf have not been limited to diplomacy and making reasonable-sounding proposals for collective security. Parallel with diplomacy, Moscow has taken more concrete measures to insert itself into Persian Gulf affairs and to carve out a place for itself in the region and a role in future decisions regarding regional security together with other great powers, notably the United States and the European Union, -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 8/13/19

Maryam Shojaei helps Iran's female football fans carry fight for admission - Shojaei, who is the sister of the Iran national team captain, Masoud Shojaei, is one of an increasing number of women campaigning for entry: some have attempted to sneak into matches disguised as men, female sports photographers have had to scale buildings nearby just to do their jobs, and others have suffered brutal arrests and detention. -Suzanne Wrack, Guardian 8/13/19

Iran's Zarif: 'We are not seeking war' - As the United States maintains its "maximum pressure" campaign against Iran, tension is on the rise in the Persian Gulf, raising concerns over a full-blown military escalation. "We believe that the best the US can do for the protection of maritime navigation is to just leave people alone; don't interfere," Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told Al Jazeera. "This is basically a hostile act against Iran and I do not believe it will have any impact other than insecurity." -Al-Jazeera 8/13/19

The once flourishing Iranian community in Dubai faces pressure amid Persian Gulf tensions - Dubai's government does not release the number of Iranians living in the city, but according to informal estimates, it's as many as 600,000. Many Iranians in Dubai say, however, there has been an exodus, with large numbers of their friends and family members already gone. Those who remain often say they, too, think about leaving unless the economic pressure eases. -Adam Taylor, Washington Post 8/13/19

Crowdfunding Campaign: First Documentary on Persian Fortress DARBAND in Russia - The Sasanian Fortress in Darband was built in the 6th century AD to protect the Persian Empire from invasion by nomadic peoples to the north. The defensive structures remained in continuous use by the succeeding Persian, Arab and Turkish forces until the Russian invasion in the 19th century. 8/12/19

Thousands In Iran Sign Petition To End House Arrest Of Opposition Leaders - In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, 8,700 Iranian citizens have called for lifting the house arrest of Iran's Green Movement leaders, confined to their homes since 2011 without trial. Twice speaker of Majles (Islamic Republic's parliament), mid-ranking cleric Mehdi Karroubi, ex-Prime minister Mir Hossein Mousavi and his wife Zahra Rahnavard have been under house arrest since February 2011. 8/12/19

The Five Caspian Sea Littoral States Ink Economic Cooperation Deal - Iran and four other Caspian Sea countries have signed an agreement on economic cooperation in Turkmenistan's capital. Senior officials from Iran, Turkmenistan, Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan, and Russia signed the deal during the First Caspian Economic Forum in Bishkek on Monday, according to Fars News. -Press TV 8/12/19

Disability Rights Activists Urge Apple to Allow Persian Speakers to Access VoiceOver Screen Reader - More than 1,300 people had signed a petition as of August 9, 2019, by Persian-speaking disability rights activists calling on Apple to make its VoiceOver technology available to Persian-speaking users. "Excluding a number of people with disabilities from using new technologies is against the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities and the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990... which emphasize identifying and eliminating barriers to access to information, communications and electronic services," said the petition. -CHRI 8/12/19

We asked Canadian politicians why they engaged with a 'cult'-like group from Iran - The fact that current and former Canadian politicians attend MEK events is deeply problematic, argues Stephanie Carvin, who worked as a national security analyst with the government of Canada at the time the MEK was a listed terrorist entity. Politicians attending MEK events "help create the illusion of legitimacy," said Carvin -Shenaz Kermalli, National Observer 8/12/19

The UAE's ambitions backfire as it finds itself on the front line of U.S.-Iran tensions - One of America's staunchest allies in the Middle East and a driving force behind President Trump's hard-line approach to Iran is breaking ranks with Washington, calling into question how reliable an ally it would be in the event of a war between the United States and Iran. -Liz Sly, Washington Post 8/12/19

Iran is taking steps to combat sexual harassment in the workplace - It's difficult to combat a subject that's so taboo, discussion of it is off-limits. But the silence that has long surrounded sexual harassment and abuse of power in the Iranian workplace is finally being broken. For the first time, an Iranian government agency publishes guidelines to counter sexual harassment and abuse of power. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 8/12/19

Detained Iranian Conservationists Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani on Hunger Strike - Niloufar Bayani and Sepideh Kashani, two of the eight wildlife conservationists detained in Iran since January 2018, began a hunger strike on August 3, 2019, a source with knowledge of their cases told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "After more than 560 days in detention, the people accused in this case, and their families, are still unaware of the alleged crimes they committed and they continue to be denied transfers to public wards in prison despite the completion of the preliminary investigations," said the source who spoke to CHRI on the condition of anonymity on August 8, 2019. -CHRI 8/11/19

How Filmmaker Ali Afshar is helping to make the entertainment industry more diverse and representative of the US population - I'd suggest to all filmmakers to make films that help to increase diversity while working to bring people together; Films that showcase the strength of the American Dream. Often many people here in the states take too many things for granted, however, others that are looking in from the outside are able to see the potential the U.S. has. -Authority Magazine, Thrive Global 8/11/19

U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals in Manhattan overturns ruling to seize Iran-linked building in New York - A US federal appeals court has overturned a 2017 verdict that allowed the seizure of an Iran-linked skyscraper in New York City. In June, 2017, a US court verdict allowed the government to seize the midtown Manhattan office tower owned largely by a charity organization, the Alavi Foundation. -Press TV 8/11/19

Declaring A State Of War Against Iranian Dissidents - Once again, we are at a state of war, and we have an unfinished job of exterminating the dissidents, all at once. This is the essence of a recently broadcast Mosalas magazine interview with Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran's former Minister of Justice. It has had a chilling effect on Iranian activists, particularly those in prison, at a time when the nation is worried about how far the current tensions between Iran and the United States will escalate. -Shadi Sadr, LobeLog 8/11/19

The White House Once Labeled Them Terrorists. Now They're Being Called Iran's Next Government - With high-profile supporters like John Bolton and Rudy Giuliani, the Mujahedeen Khalq - or MEK - is being touted as a viable alternative to the ayatollahs. But many question these Iranian dissidents' intentions for their homeland. -Jonathan Harounoff, Haaretz 8/11/19

It's Time For An Iran-U.S. Military De-Confliction Line - Iran's Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has explicitly denounced the intention of war with United States. U.S President Donald Trump also says he "doesn't want to go to war." Open conflict therefore seems not to be a strategic choice, neither in Tehran nor in Washington. However, both leaders perceive their current escalatory policies as a success. -Kayhan Barzegar and Abdolrasol Divsallar, LobeLog 8/11/19

Prominent Writer in Iran Sentenced To Prison, Female Journalist Arrested - An Appeals Court has upheld an eight-month sentence for a renowned Iranian author, poet, and member of Iran Writers Association (IWA). "The verdict against the Iranian poet and writer, Nima Saffar, is unfair," IWA said in a statement Wednesday, August 7, adding, "The ruling, as well as all other similar decisions, should be repealed." 8/9/19

Rising Star Vida Ghaffari: "It's important to have gratitude to be able to follow such a great path" - As a part of my series about pop culture's rising stars, I had the distinct pleasure of interviewing Vida Ghaffari. Multi award-winning Iranian-American actress Vida Ghaffari (daughter of esteemed NASA scientist, mathematician, and professor Abolghassem Ghaffari and artist and art teacher Mitra Ghaffari) was born and raised in the Washington DC metropolitan area. -Yitzi Weiner, Thrive Global 8/9/19

Two food writers eat at all the Persian restaurants in SoCal (OK, 18 of them) - Cookbook author Anissa Helou joined Los Angeles Times restaurant critic Bill Addison on a 2-day quest to eat at as many of the Persian restaurants in the Los Angeles metropolitan area as they could. -Bill Addison, Los Angeles Times 8/9/19

How History Shapes Strategic Thinking: The Iranian Case - It is almost impossible to decouple the behavior of international players from their historical experiences. From this perspective, history does not belong to the past but to the future. It is a compass that helps anticipate the future policy directions that countries can be expected to take. Within that understanding, three events have basically formed Iranian strategic thinking during the last seventy years and will continue to shape Iran's foreign policy behavior for the foreseeable future. -Mohammad H. Pirkouhi, LobeLog 8/9/19

Kayhan Kalhor Receives WOMEX 19 Artist Award - For the mastery and virtuosity of the kamancheh, for the ceaseless innovation and collaboration to create exciting new musical languages and for bringing the Persian classical music tradition to the ears of people all over the world, Piranha Arts, the organisers of WOMEX, are delighted to present the WOMEX Artist Award 2019 to Kayhan Kalhor (Iran/USA). 8/9/19

U.S. Sanctions Turn Iran's Oil Industry Into Spy vs. Spy - They change offices every few months and store documents only in hard copy. They scan their businesses for covert listening devices and divert all office calls to their cellphones. They know they are under surveillance, and assume their electronics are hacked. They are not spies or jewel thieves but Iran's oil traders, and they are suddenly in the cross hairs of international intrigue and espionage. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 8/9/19

Iran And Its Neighbors Face 'Extraordinary Water Crisis' - Report - The World Resources Institute's (WRI) latest report says that Iran, along with Israel, Lebanon, and Qatar, are struggling with an "extraordinary water crisis." The three are among the most water-stressed countries, according to the new data, consuming an average of 80% of their available water resources every year. -Radio Farda 8/8/19

More Iranians Forced to Rely on Unsafe Online Hosting After Blocked by Amazon - Amazon has become the latest major American technology company to block Iranians from accessing its products and services due to U.S. government sanctions that prohibit companies from providing products or services to people based in Iran. -CHRI 8/8/19

Iran's low birth rate unprecedented over past three decades - Iran's birth rate has been declining since last year up to now, which was unprecedented over the past three decades, head of committee on population studies affiliated to the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution has stated. The number of births registered during the first three months of this year (starting on March 19), has declined by 13 percent compared to same period last year, he regretted. -Tehran Times 8/8/19

Abu Dhabi Can't Afford To Keep Iran Out Of Dubai - As the world teeters on the edge of another financial crisis, few places are being gripped by anxiety like Dubai. Every week a new headline portends the coming crisis in the city of skyscrapers. Dubai villa prices are at their lowest level in a decade, down 24 percent in just one year. A slump in tourism has seen Dubai hotels hit their lowest occupancy rate since the 2008 financial crisis, even as the country gears up to host the Expo 2020 next year. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog 8/8/19

mohammad hassan forouzanfar brings contemporary architecture to ancient iran - for his latest project, designer mohammad hassan forouzanfar has created a series of photomontages that fuse icons of contemporary architecture with ancient sites in iran. similarly to his previous projects, which have included introducing skyscrapers to iranian villages, 'retrofuturism' considers how to restore the historic buildings with additions from world renowned architects such as zaha hadid, daniel liebskind and norman foster. -designboom 8/8/19

This Iranian War Vet Has Some Advice for Trump: Don't Play Checkers with the Grandmasters of Chess - Dear President Trump, In a recent Tweet, you claimed that "Iranians never won a war, but never lost a negotiation." As a world citizen and a veteran of the 1980-1988 Iran-Iraq war, I have firsthand experience with the bitterness of war, and I have a few suggestions and responses for you. First, I would advise you against using the words win and winning to describe war, especially from a US perspective. -Habib Ahmadzadeh 8/7/19

Which "Gulf" Do They Mean? - If you've ever wondered how historical realities can be sacrificed and manipulated in the service of myopic political goals, there is a great example for you to follow in your daily roundup of international news offered by the mainstream media. While reading through coverage of current Middle Eastern affairs in international newspapers, magazines, and news websites, it's very common for readers to come across the words "the Gulf." -Kourosh Ziabari 8/7/19

Middle East Expert Vali Nasr: 'The U.S. Has To Get a Sense of Iran's Security Interests' - In an interview, Middle East expert and former White House adviser Vali Nasr warns of the danger of a new war in the region and calls on Europeans to oppose Washington's Iran policy. -Rene Pfister, Spiegel 8/7/19

Interview with Iranian percussionist Habib Meftah: Analogue "electrofolk" from southern Iran - Percussionist Habib Meftah has made an international name for himself with clubbable, acoustically altered folk music. But he also works with dancers and musicians from other genres. His versatility is based on the traditional musical culture of his southern Iranian origins. -Bernd G. Schmitz, Qantara 8/7/19

U.S.-Iran Relations ... Waiting For The Adults: Then And Now - Marx tells us that history happens first as tragedy and then as farce. He was predicting what has occurred between the U.S. and Iran-first forty years ago and then today-when the children take over and the adults choose to disappear. -John Limbert 8/6/19

The ancient art of making ships in southern Iran - Maritime trade, shipping and shipbuilding have long been practiced in Iran. There have been many small or big shipyards across the northern coasts of the Persian Gulf. If you are planning to travel to the southernmost parts of the country, we suggest to visit the Persian Gulf in trace of seeing the process of crafting and sailing traditional Lenj boats, which has passed down from father to son. The hand-built vessels are used for sea journeys, trading, fishing and pearl diving. -Afshin Majlesi, Tehran Times 8/6/19

Blood Money Paid for a Woman in Iran Is Still Half That Paid for a Man, Despite New Ruling - Following news in Iran on July 2, 2019, declaring equality between men and women in blood money (financial compensation paid to the family of someone who has been killed or to the victim who has been injured), many people incorrectly assumed that the existing discriminatory law, which assigns blood money ("diya") to a woman victim at half the amount of that of a man, had been abolished. -CHRI 8/6/19

How Do I Tell My Friends About My Amazing Trip to Iran? - There is nothing like traveling to another country to expand one's preconceived notions and find those notions had more to do with ignorance than fact. This is what happened to me when I traveled to Iran in October of 2017. -Pam Perkins, GvWire 8/6/19

Hanapp: Iranian app improves quality of life for the hearing impaired - Hanapp, a new application designed by an Iranian startup, improves quality of life for people with hearing loss and significantly helps them better communicate with others, IRNA reported on Friday. According to Alireza Abadian, the technical manager of the startup, 'hanapp' has been designed by using artificial intelligence. The application has a variety of components that help the people with hearing impairment to do their daily chores and have easier lives. 8/5/19

Smart Hives Developed by Researchers at Tehran's Sharif University of Technology Increase Efficiency of Beehives - Researchers at Sharif University of Technology have developed smart hives for better beekeeping. The Nove startup team, led by Dr. Amin Rezaiezadeh, Assistant Professor of Electrical Engineering at Sharif University of Technology, and Dr. Mehdi Shahrdad, Assistant Professor of Electronics Research Institute of Academic Center for Education, Culture and Research, has developed a smart beehive, Kando 1+ benefiting from IoT 8/5/19

PHOTOS: The Brain Bank of Iran - Brain Bank of Iran is operating under the strict supervision of Iran University of Medical Sciences (IUMS) in Tehran and is tasked with conducting human researches in the field of nervous system diseases. This equipped center plays a leading role in the field of offering quality research & development (R&D) services to promote technical knowhow and knowledge on nervous system diseases. -Maryam Kamyab 8/2/19

Persian leopard captured alive in NE Iran and treated for injuries - A Persian leopard has been captured alive in Razavi Khorasan Province, northeast of Iran. The Managing Director of Environment Department of Razavi Khorasan, Touraj Hemmati, said on Sunday that following a series of attacks by a leopard on the herd dogs in a village located on the edge of Tandoureh Protected Area in the north east of Iran, a rescue team was sent to the area to capture the leopard alive to treat him due to the wounds on his body and tooth infection. 8/2/19

Coalition of Foreign Policy Experts Outline 8 Recommendations to Deescalate Tensions with Iran - Today, an expert group of foreign policy practitioners published a letter underscoring the dangerous new phase that has put the U.S and Iran on the path toward war. The signatories include prominent academics, such as John Mearsheimer, Stephen Walt, and Andrew Bacevich; foreign policy analyst Rula Jebreal; former Member of Congress John F. Tierney; former ambassadors and diplomats, such as Thomas Pickering, Francois Nicoullaud, and Peter Jenkins; national security expert Edward Price; and Iran experts such as Jamal Abdi, Dina Esfandiary, and Farideh Farhi. 7/31/19

Economic Sanctions Will Kill Tens Of Thousands Of Innocent Iranians - The illegal economic sanctions that the Trump administration has imposed on Iran are ruining its economy by increasing the inflation rate--from nine percent before the sanctions to 35-40 percent today--as well as unemployment, and forcing countless numbers of small businesses to close. -Muhammad Sahimi, LobeLog 7/31/19

My Iran Exhibition at Smithsonian in Washington, DC: Six Women Photographers - The artists featured in My Iran: Six Women Photographers explore the complexities of life within and outside their home country. From the dynamism of the street to the quiet corners of distant memories, the works highlight various ways in which artists use photography to respond to personal and political realities. 7/30/19

FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship 2019: Yali, Esfandiar lead Iran to historic first title - Porya Yali and captain Amirhossein Esfandiar led Iran in their 3-2 (17-25, 25-17, 25-23, 22-25, 15-12) triumph against Italy to capture their first FIVB Volleyball Men's U21 World Championship title. 7/29/19

Iranian startups come to light with No-Afarin scheme - The No-Afarin scheme, developed by Iran's Information and Communication Technology Ministry to support startups, was introduced during a ceremony on Wednesday July 17, 2019. With the slogan, 'Smart Iran, brighter future', the scheme is a part of the digital economy development document and aims to create 68,000 job opportunities. -Setareh Behroozi, Tehran Times 7/23/19

Joint Statement: House Reins In Trump on Iran - CREDO, Foreign Policy for America, J Street, NIAC Action, and Win Without War issued the following joint statement regarding the House vote passing the Khanna-Gaetz amendment to block any funds for an unauthorized war with Iran -Win Without War 7/12/19

Open Letter by academics and civil society activists to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on significance of return to JCPOA - Hon. Secretary General, You are well aware that in 2015 with the support of all permanent members of the UNSC (China, France, Russia, UK, and US) plus Germany and Iran, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was drafted, upon which UNSC issued Resolution 2231, replacing all previous UNSC resolutions targeting Iran's nuclear program. 7/3/19

Middle East scholars: An American attack on Iran would be an unmitigated disaster for the US, Iran, and the world - We, the undersigned scholars of the Middle East and North Africa and broader Muslim world, call on President Trump immediately to pull back from the brink of a war with the Islamic Republic of Iran. It is clear to us that the human, diplomatic, legal, political, and economic costs to both countries, the Persian Gulf and larger Middle East, the global economy and the global system of international humanitarian law of a US attack would be even more devastating than was the US invasion of Iraq sixteen years ago. -Mondoweiss 6/26/19

200 Iranian Activists Call For Unconditional Talks With U.S. - In a statement on Sunday, June 9, more than 200 civil and political activists living in and outside of Iran called for unconditional talks between Iran and the U.S. Referencing the Iranian people's desire for detente with forces around the region and world at large, 225 signatories to the statement called for the public and civil and political activists to urge the Iranian and American administrations to hold talks. -Radio Farda 6/11/19

170+ Iranian Women Activists Condemn Sanctions and Threats of War - We a group of Iranian women's movement activists and women's rights defenders strongly condemn US efforts to stoke yet another war in the Middle East, this time against Iran. The Trump administration's maximum pressure campaign, its bellicose posturing and sanctions, hurt the Iranian people most, especially women, children, minorities, refugees, the chronically ill and those with disabilities. 5/30/19

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last updated on Wed Aug 21 12:36:49 EDT 2019