Mordad 16 1399 - August 06 2020
Iran's daily gas exports hit new record high

Iran's daily natural gas exports hit a record high of 79 million cubic meters (mcm) during the Iranian calendar month of Tir (June 21-July 21), Head of National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC)'s Dispatching Department said. "Iran's gas exports to other countries had never reached 70 million cubic meters per day, but in Tir a new record was set and [the exports] reached 79 million cubic meters per day," Shana quoted Mohammadreza Jolaei as saying. 8/6/20

Iranian-American painter Behnaz Sohrabian showing her work this month at Edmond Fine Arts Institute

Behnaz Sohrabian's goal is to communicate with people through her paintings. "I think I want to say something through these compositions, through these lines and visual elements. Even when I choose the title, I try to choose a good title that is a match or suitable for the painting, for the composition, for the concept," she said in a spring interview. -Oklahoman 8/6/20

Pompeo: US to call UN vote on Iran arms embargo extension

The Trump administration will press ahead with efforts to extend a United Nations arms embargo on Iran despite widespread opposition to such a move at the world body, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday. The decision sets the stage for a potential crisis at the U.N. Security Council amid rising tensions in the Middle East. -AP 8/6/20

Love, floss, and La Jolla - married dentists from Iran forge successful practices

husband-and-wife Ali and Nikou Rahbar Fakhimi, both Iranian immigrants, who found each other - and new careers - practicing dentistry after coming to the United States. Surprisingly enough, Dr. Ali Fakhimi, DMD, did not start in dental science. He worked for his father, a successful real estate developer. Now after running a 20-year practice, Soft Touch Dental at 3735 Clairemont Mesa Blvd., Fakhimi has forged a national reputation as a "comprehensive dentist." -San Diego News 8/6/20

Iran's Health Ministry Refutes BBC Reports of COVID-19 Underestimations in Country

BBC Persian recently published data on COVID-19 statistics in Iran citing anonymous sources, stating the death toll there is three times higher than the official figures: 42,000 versus the 14,405 in official Iranian Health Ministry reports. The number of those infected in official statements has allegedly been halved: 278,000 instead of 451,000. Kianush Jahanpur, head of the Public Relations and Information Centre of the Ministry of Health and Medical Education of the Islamic Republic of Iran, speaking to Sputnik, has dispelled BBC reports -Sputnik 8/6/20

Prosecutor Denies Ban On Women's Cycling In Iranian City

The prosecutor in the northeastern Iranian province of Khorasan Razavi has denied that women in the provincial capital, Mashhad, have been banned from cycling. Prosecutor Mohammad Hossein Doroody was quoted on August 5 by the semiofficial ISNA news agency as saying that the judiciary had not issued any ban in this regard. -RFE/RL 8/6/20

Iran's medicinal plants exports fetches $500m annually

Iran earns some $500 million annually by exporting medicinal herbs, an official with the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology said. About $350 million of the revenue is related to saffron and the rest is related to other medicinal herbs, IRNA quoted Mohammad Hassan Asareh as saying on Wednesday. 8/5/20

'Sunless Shadows' Review: A Harsh Look at Iranian Women in Prison

Mehrdad Oskouei's documentary brings empathy to a tough subject: women and girls convicted of murdering male family members. -Kristen Yoonsoo Kim, New York Times 8/5/20

Iranian Metal Band Arsames Face 15 Years in Prison for Playing "Satanic" Music

Yet another Iranian band faces prison time for playing heavy metal. Death metal act Arsames were reportedly arrested last month and charged with "15 years in jail for being in a satanic metal band and being against the Islamic government," according to official government documents. -Consequence of Sound 8/5/20

ONE Championship signs former Greco-Roman champ Amir Aliakbari

"My name is Amir Aliakbari," Aliakbari said in a statement provided to ESPN. "This is the real Iron Sheik, the pride of Iran. USA have one guy named Iron Sheik but he's a fake -- fake wrestler. I'm glad to sign with ONE Championship, I'm going to invade their heavyweight division, and fight Brandon Vera. When I'm finished with him they're not going to recognize him because I will disfigure his face. I believe I'm the best heavyweight in the world today. I'm unstoppable. I'm coming to ONE Championship and I'm bringing the entire Persian army with me -- no one is safe." -ESPN 8/5/20

Iranian hacker group becomes first known APT to weaponize DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH)

An Iranian hacking group known as Oilrig has become the first publicly known threat actor to incorporate the DNS-over-HTTPS (DoH) protocol in its attacks. Speaking in a webinar last week, Vincente Diaz, a malware analyst for antivirus maker Kaspersky, said the change happened in May this year when Oilrig added a new tool to its hacking arsenal. -Catalin Cimpanu, ZDNet 8/5/20

Australia: British-Australian woman in Iran prison 'is well'

Australia's ambassador to Iran has visited a British-Australian academic who was convicted of espionage before being moved recently to a notorious Iranian prison, and found that she "is well," Australia's government said Tuesday. Kylie Moore-Gilbert was a Melbourne University lecturer on Middle Eastern studies when she was sent to Tehran's Evin Prison in September 2018 and sentenced to 10 years. -AP 8/5/20

Not cashing in: virus hits Iraq's Iran-US money trade

In Iraq's Kurdistan region and at the country's Muslim Shiite holy sites, trading US dollars for rials from Iran was once big business. But the money exchange trade has been hard hit by lockdown restrictions to stop the spread of COVID-19, and by deep economic woes in both countries. Traders in Sulaimaniyah, the second city of Iraqi Kurdistan and close to the border with Iran, have seen dramatic changes. -AFP 8/5/20

Photos: Golestan hosting online marriage festival of Iranian tribes

The second national marriage festival of Iranian tribes opened online in northern Golestan province on Monday. The two-day festival covers traditional rituals of tribal marriage, traditional tribal music, stand-up comedy, and various cultural programs, IRNA reported. 8/4/20

First Person: Turning 'apathetic people into climate activists'; a young person's view

An 18-year-old environmental campaigner from the United States has told UN News how she wants to "turn apathetic people into climate activists". Sophia Kianni, whose family originally comes from Iran, is one of seven young people from across the world who have been selected to participate in the UN Secretary-General's Youth Advisory Group on Climate Change. The group which was launched at the end of the July aims to engage young people in "an open and transparent dialogue" about climate issues. -UN News 8/4/20

Group Calligraphy Painting Exhibit at Negar Gallery in Tehran

Curated by Hassan Mehrabani, a group Calligraphy painting exhibition by 12 Iranian artists, titled "Selected", is underway in Negar Gallery. The show will be running until 4 Agust. -Honar Online 8/4/20

How Iran's Virus Fight Is Tied to Struggle With U.S.

Iran was among the earliest countries to suffer a major Covid-19 outbreak, and was also one of the first to suffer a resurgence. It drew scrutiny for scenes of pilgrims licking holy shrines, questionable death figures and a belated government response that saw a slew of top officials contract the disease. As the virus spread, though, governments elsewhere also proved slow to grasp the threat and other leaders fell ill or were exposed to the virus. Yet the Islamic Republic remains unique in one way: It's dealing with the pandemic while under some of the most damaging sanctions in history, and is trying to leverage the crisis to get them lifted. -Marc Champion and Golnar Motevalli, Washington Post 8/4/20

Iran women's podcast gives voice to victims of abuse

Maryam's voice trembles as she tells what happened when her husband attacked her in public. "People's reaction was like it was normal to see a man beating his wife. There's no law, there are no safe houses, and even the police can't do much. Some families also act like they're so modern and they say, 'Oh it's a private matter'." Her story is a rarely heard one in her home country of Iran, but since the creation of a new podcast, many more women like her are coming forward to share unflinching accounts of their experience of domestic violence. -BBC 8/4/20

Family tells AP: Iran abducted California man while in Dubai

A California-based member of an Iranian militant opposition group in exile was abducted by Iran while staying in Dubai, his family said Tuesday. The suspected cross-border abduction of Jamshid Sharmahd appears corroborated by mobile phone location data, shared by his family with The Associated Press, that suggests he was taken to neighboring Oman before heading to Iran. -AP 8/4/20

MI6, the coup in Iran that changed the Middle East, and the cover-up

The hidden role of a British secret service officer who led the coup that permanently altered the Middle East is to be revealed for the first time since an Observer news story was suppressed in 1985. The report, headlined "How MI6 and CIA joined forces to plot Iran coup", appeared in the 26 May edition but was swiftly quashed. It exposed the fact that an MI6 man, Norman Darbyshire, had run a covert and violent operation to reinstate the Shah of Iran as ruler of the country in 1953. Yet just a few days after the newspaper came out, all fresh evidence of this British operation and of Darbyshire's identity disappeared from public debate. -Vanessa Thorpe, Guardian 8/3/20

The Quincy Institute's Middle East report and the hopes of a new Iran nuclear deal

Momentum is building around Joe Biden's presidential campaign, as polling indicates he is leading President Trump. The campaign has recently rolled out a series of ambitious policy plans related to housing, energy, taxes, and foreign policy. Observers have begun to speculate whether Biden will rival Franklin Delano Roosevelt as the most progressive president in U.S. history. So when the Quincy Institute's plan for U.S. policy in the Middle East dropped on July 17, the timing was fairly momentous. -Gregory Brew, Responsible Statecraft 8/3/20

Coronavirus: Iran cover-up of deaths revealed by data leak

The number of deaths from coronavirus in Iran is nearly triple what Iran's government claims, a BBC Persian service investigation has found. The government's own records appear to show almost 42,000 people died with Covid-19 symptoms up to 20 July, versus 14,405 reported by its health ministry. The number of people known to be infected is also almost double official figures: 451,024 as opposed to 278,827. -BBC 8/3/20

Call me Iranian

I can't tell you the exact moment when I went from calling myself "Iranian" to "Persian." I know that it happened post 9/11 and that the decision was made when I went to a predominantly white middle school... I asked an older student I had been paired up with for peer- advising about this. She was the only other Iranian girl at the school and, in retrospect, that was probably the only reason we had been paired up, since we had very little else in common. "Stop saying 'Iranian,'" she advised me. "Say you're Persian. It makes a difference." -Nedda Sarshar, This 8/3/20

Iran says it detains leader of California-based exile group

Iran on Saturday said it detained an Iranian-American leader of a little-known California-based militant opposition group for allegedly planning a 2008 attack on a mosque that killed 14 people and wounded over 200 others. Iran's Intelligence Ministry also alleged Jamshid Sharmahd of the Kingdom Assembly of Iran planned other attacks around the Islamic Republic amid heightened tensions between Tehran and the U.S. over its collapsing 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. -AP 8/3/20

Iran's stock market hits record high amid battered economy

The Tehran Stock Exchange closed at a record high on Sunday, crossing 2 million points for the first time, even as U.S. sanctions, unemployment, inflation and low oil prices batter the Iranian economy. The exchange's website showed it closed at 2,011,492 points, up some 50,000 points from Saturday. Government authorities also offered additional shares of state-owned companies onto the market Sunday. -AP 8/3/20

To Weep Or Not To Weep: Iran Debates Holding Muharram During Pandemic

Despite an upsurge in coronavirus infections in Iran and a ban on weddings and large funerals, the country's famed gatherings of mourners during the Shi'ite month of Muharram will be held. The controversial decision was announced earlier this week by Iranian President Hassan Rohani amid speculation he would bend under pressure from hard-liners who oppose any limits on religious ceremonies or closing shrines due to the pandemic. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/3/20

In rare talks, Iran and UAE foreign ministers discuss COVID-19

The foreign ministers of longstanding regional foes Iran and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) have held rare talks on several bilateral and regional issues, including the outbreak of coronavirus in the Middle East. In a video call on Sunday, Sheikh Abdullah bin Zayed al-Nahyan told his Iranian counterpart that strengthening bilateral cooperation was important in tackling COVID-19, according to WAM, the Emirati, state news agency. -Al Jazeera 8/3/20

UN's Bachelet alarmed by threats against prominent Iranian NGO

The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Michelle Bachelet, said today she was alarmed by the Iranian Government's increased pressure on a prominent civil society group working on poverty and social protection, and the arrest of its founding member. Iranian authorities have pressured Imam Ali Popular Students' Relief Society (IAPSRS) to change its structure, in what appears to be an attempt to close down the organisation. 7/31/20

Iran COVID-19 update, July 31: 2,674 new cases, 197 deaths

The novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has infected 2,674 people and claimed 197 lives in Iran in the past 24 hours, a senior health official said. Iran's Health Ministry Spokesperson Sima Lari made the announcement on Friday, saying that the number of total coronavirus cases in the country has so far reached 304,204 with the death toll standing at 16,766. 7/31/20

Iranian and Turkish women join black-and-white Instagram challenge

Iranian Instagram feeds have been overrun with black-and-white photos of women joining an international online campaign against gender-based violence, using the hashtags #WomenSupportWomen and #ChallengeAccepted. The campaign follows an outcry against a number of high-profile "honor killings" in Iran over the last two months. -ABC News 7/31/20

Photos: Afrand Gallery Shows Artworks by Mohammad-Bagher Ziaei

Curated by Semia Sighali, a virtual art exhibition by Mohammad-Bagher Ziaei, titled Be Healthy, was underway in Afrand Gallery in Tehran until 10 August. Ziaei has used organic materials and colors for his paintings. 7/31/20

Iran: Leaked official letters reveal state denial of COVID-19 crisis in prisons

The organization reviewed copies of four letters signed by officials at Iran's Prisons Organization, which operates under the supervision of the judiciary, to the Ministry of Health, raising the alarm over serious shortages of protective equipment, disinfectant products, and essential medical devices. The Ministry of Health failed to respond, and Iran's prisons remain catastrophically unequipped for outbreaks. -Amnesty International 7/31/20

Supreme leader says Iran won't negotiate with US

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Friday his country will not negotiate with the United States because America would only use talks for propaganda purposes. The Trump administration has said it is willing to talk with Iran "with no preconditions," but that the U.S. will continue its campaign of pressure against the Islamic Republic. -AP 7/31/20

US frowns upon Iranian supermarket in Venezuela's capital

U.S. officials frowned upon the opening of an Iranian supermarket in Venezuela's capital, saying Thursday that any presence of Iran in the Western Hemisphere is "not something we look very favorably on." The new Megasis supermarket, in the east of Caracas, was launched Wednesday amid a tightening of the coronavirus quarantine. -AP 7/31/20

Photos: Naqsh-e Jahan Square, Isfahan

In the hot days of summer and difficulties caused by the coronavirus, people of Isfahan visit Naqsh-e Jahan Square in the evening in order to have fun and get some rest. Although the dangers of the new coronavirus still threaten people, the peaceful atmosphere of Naqsh-e Jahan Square attracts them to visit there. -Morteza Zangane, ISNA 7/30/20

Iran struggles to buy food in a world wary of touching its money

Iran, creaking under the impact of U.S. sanctions, a collapse in oil sales and a severe COVID-19 epidemic, is scrambling to buy food and medicine to avoid a supply crunch. But it's a struggle. Despite such supplies being exempt from sanctions, banks and governments are reluctant to transfer or take Iranian money because they fear unwittingly breaching the complex U.S. restrictions, according to five trade and finance sources. -Reuters 7/30/20

Iranian Communities Should Stand With Black Lives Matter

As federal police pour into U.S. cities, the Trump administration's crackdown on racial justice protests has taken its most authoritarian turn yet. At the same time, during a global pandemic, the Trump administration has continued to ratchet up devastating sanctions on Iran, while edging toward more overt military confrontation. Iranian-Black Solidarity is a must now more than ever. -Niloofar Adnani, FPIF 7/30/20

Iranian Workers Strike Amid Worsening Economy, Deadly Coronavirus Crisis

Amid crushing economic conditions, demonstrations and strikes by workers have sprung up in Iran recently over unpaid wages and poor working conditions. Factory and city employees, coal miners, as well as health-care workers are among those who have been protesting in Iran in recent weeks. -RFE 7/30/20

International Tiger Day: Silent roar of Caspian tiger is regrettable

Tiger is an endangered species whose surviving population in natural habitats is less than 4,000 individuals, and preventing them from extinction and preserving its habitat is one of the greatest concerns of the international community for the protection of biodiversity. Therefore, July 28 is designated as International Tiger Day to further emphasize the importance of protecting this valuable species because experts believe that if this remarkable animal could not be saved from extinction, what hope could there be for rescuing more unknown species? -Faranak Bakhtiari 7/29/20

Iran's Judiciary Has Blocked Prominent Jailed Lawyer's Bank Account, Husband Says

Iran's judiciary has blocked the bank account of prominent imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh in a move aimed at adding pressure on her and her family. Sotoudeh, the co-winner of the European Parliament's 2012 Sakharov Prize for Freedom of Thought, was sentenced last year to 38 years in prison over her defense of political prisoners 7/29/20

Iran launches underground ballistic missiles during exercise

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched underground ballistic missiles as part of an exercise involving a mock-up aircraft carrier in the Strait of Hormuz, state television reported Wednesday. It was the latest barrage in a drill that the previous day saw two American bases temporarily go on alert over the launches. -AP 7/29/20

Iran: UNSC, ICAO must break silence on US aerial terrorism

President Hassan Rouhani has denounced the US harassment of an Iranian civilian flight over Syria as an act of "aerial terrorism," calling on the UN Security Council, the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) and regional states to break their silence on Washington's "dangerous mischiefs." On Thursday, two US F-15 warplanes conducted a dangerous maneuvering close to Mahan Air's Flight 1152 that had taken off from Tehran and was heading to Beirut. -Press TV 7/29/20

British embassy in Tehran resumes processing visas

The British embassy in Tehran in a Twitter message late on Monday announced it has resumed processing visas for Iranian applicants. "We are pleased to announce that the Tehran Visa Application Center reopened yesterday (Sunday) to provide British visa services. Visa applicants now need compliance with health protocols to keep themselves and the visa application staff healthy," the message read. 7/29/20

Iran missiles target fake carrier as US bases go on alert

Iran's paramilitary Revolutionary Guard launched missiles Tuesday targeting a mock aircraft carrier in the strategic Strait of Hormuz, a drill that included such a barrage of fire the U.S. military temporarily put two regional bases in the Mideast on alert amid tensions between the two countries. 7/29/20

Iran produces anti-coronavirus medicine "Tocilizumab"

The drug "Tocilizumab", confirmed to be effective in the coronavirus treatment, has been produced in Iran and will be distributed in hospitals in the next two weeks, IRNA reported on Monday. In addition to Remdesivir, Tocilizumab has been approved by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration to help partially improve COVID-19, Heydar Mohammadi, an official with Food and Drug Administration said. 7/28/20

The Beginning of the U.S.-Iran Hot War?

In the face of overt aggression from the Trump administration, Iran has alternated between restraint and careful counter-escalation. As the Iranian economy has come under a brutal chokehold, Iran has responded in calibrated fashion to demonstrate the costs of maximum pressure while isolating the U.S. internationally and keeping the nuclear deal alive. -Sina Toossi, Juan Cole 7/28/20

Booming stock market in Iran is a national security project

Against this gloomy backdrop, something bizarre is happening. The benchmark Tehran Stock Market index (TEDPIX) is booming. It has surged seven-fold during the past year. In the spring of this year stock prices increased 1.6 percent per day on average. One may ask how that might help the Iranian population? -Shahir Shahidsaless, Atlantic Council 7/28/20

A China-Iran partnership would make China the Middle East arbiter

If President Obama succeeded in bringing Israel and the Gulf Arabs closer together in the face of their common Iranian enemy, President Trump is on the verge of successfully bringing China and Iran together in the face of their own common enemy - the United States. As has been widely reported, the Iranian parliament is reviewing a 25-year agreement between Tehran and Beijing that, if approved, would provide for $400 billion in Chinese investment, the discounted supply of Iranian oil, and joint military and technological cooperation. -Dov S. Zakheim, The Hill 7/28/20

Ancient human skeleton, possibly Parthian woman, unearthed in Isfahan

The remains of an ancient person, believed to date back to the Parthian era (247 BC - 224 CE), has been discovered during an archaeological season which is underway at Tepe Ashraf, the sole archaeological hill in Isfahan, central Iran. Though the gender of the skeleton has not been determined yet, it is likely that it belonged to a Parthian woman based on specifications of its burial site, IRNA quoted senior archaeologist Alireza Jafari-Zand as saying on Saturday. 7/27/20

First Swiss deal with Iran via humanitarian channel has gone through: Swiss government

A Swiss pharmaceutical company has completed the first transaction under a new humanitarian trade channel with Iran, the government in Bern said on Monday. The Swiss Humanitarian Trade Arrangement (SHTA) channel to bring food and medicine to Iran started trial operations in January, helping supply Swiss goods to the struggling population without tripping over U.S. sanctions. -Reuters 7/27/20

Will Foreign Investment Return to Iran's Automotive Sector?

Iran produced just 770,000 automobiles in 2019, down from 1,418,550 just two years prior. The re-imposition of U.S. secondary sanctions interrupted new investment in Iran's automotive sector, particularly by European automakers such as Renault, Peugeot, and Volkswagen. -Hassan Karimi Sanjari, Bourse & Bazaar 7/27/20

How will Iran respond to renewed conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia?

Conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the disputed region of Nagorno-Karabakh has been longstanding. The last time the two states clashed and exchanged fire was a set of skirmishes in 2016, which lasted for four days. Now, the conflict has heated up again, but in different way. This time, the clashes are taking place outside the disputed district of Nagorno-Karabakh and have spilled over to the territory of Armenia. -Saeid Jafari, Responsible Statecraft 7/27/20

It is time for the US to pursue a new path in the Middle East

Why, after three decades of heavy U.S. military intervention in the Middle East, is the region more insecure and unstable than before? That is the question motivating a new report by the Quincy Institute for Responsible Statecraft, "A New U.S. Paradigm for the Middle East: Ending America's Misguided Policy of Domination." Currently the U.S. has 55,000 troops spread across 53 bases and shared military installations, and engaged in direct combat in at least three countries while waging proxy war in others. -Sara Bakhtiar, Responsible Statecraft 7/27/20

Strange Bedfellows: Iran's Ex-President Woos Saudi Crown Prince as Pen Pal

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, known in the West for his Holocaust denial and disputed re-election in 2009, writes a warm letter to Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, calling him a man of peace. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 7/27/20

Passengers injured as US fighter jet comes close to Iranian plane

Several passengers on an Iranian airline have been injured over Syria after the pilot changed altitude to avoid collision with a US fighter jet, according to Iranian media, but the United States military said its F-15 kept a safe distance. -Al Jazeera 7/24/20

Iran, sanctions, and the COVID-19 pandemic

This week, Iran announced its highest single-day death toll from COVID-19 since the start of the outbreak in February. The uptick in cases and deaths is the result of a new wave of infections that began May 3rd, two weeks after the gradual easing of the country's partial lockdown in mid-April. Coincident with the upsurge has been a drop of 13% this past month in the value of Iran's currency, reflecting not only the economic impact of the virus, but a disinclination by exporters to repatriate their foreign currency. -Roxane Farmanfarmaian, ELN 7/24/20

Sardar Azmoun wins RPL Golden Boot

Zenit striker Sardar Azmoun ended the 2019-20 Russian Premier League (RPL) season as top scorer. He scored a goal in the 2-1 win against Rostov Wednesday night. Both Azmoun and teammate Artem Dzyuba played 28 games, with both forwards scoring 17 goals, but the Iranian was ahead of the Russian striker by virtue of fewer goals from the penalty spot. 7/24/20

Iranian foreign minister's visit aggravates Iraqi-Saudi rapprochement

All the details were carefully planned for Iraqi Prime Minister Mustafa al-Kadhimi's first foreign tour since taking office. Saudi Arabia, strongly supported by the United States, was selected as the first destination for the untested Iraqi leader, who is facing insurmountable challenges on the home front...The Iranians, who want to aggravate the Iraq-Saudi rapprochement, sent their Foreign Minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, to Baghdad two days prior to Kadhimi's travel to Riyadh... -Abbas Kadhim, Atlantic Council 7/24/20

Mysterious events in Iran raise questions about Trump strategy

While US news feeds are dominated by unspeakable tragedies and trivial Trump pursuits, a series of events unfolding in Iran warrants close attention. Over the last few weeks, as the world has grappled with the Covid-19 pandemic, multiple explosions and fires have occurred at Iranian nuclear military and industrial facilities. Alleged cyberattacks have targeted other sites in Iran - including a port - and standoffs with Iran are happening in other theaters, including at sea. -Sam Vinograd, CNN 7/24/20

138 healthcare workers in Iran lose lives to COVID-19

COVID-19 pandemic has taken the lives of 138 healthcare workers so far in Iran, most of whom were doctors and physicians, Hossein Kermanpour, the director of public relations of Medical Council, has announced. The healthcare workers who lost their lives in the fight against coronavirus are called martyrs of health. 7/23/20

Iran urged to release rights activist with COVID-19 symptoms 'before it is too late'

A group of independent UN human rights experts has called for Iran to urgently release an activist who reportedly is ill with COVID-19 symptoms "before it is too late". They said Narges Mohammadi appears to have contracted the virus in Zanjan Prison, located in the capital, Tehran, where she is serving a 16-year sentence stemming from her work on human rights. 7/23/20

How a hawkish Washington 'think tank' is promoting ethnic strife in Iran

As Iran is riled by a series of incidents, of which some bear all the hallmarks of a novel, and audacious, sabotage campaign, traditional forms of pressure on the country persist. Among those are attempts to promote ethnic strife in a society where various minority groups account for almost half of the population. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 7/23/20

The JCPOA at 5: How the U.S. squandered an unprecedented diplomatic opening with Iran

Why are governments willing to invest more time in sanctions and war than they do in diplomacy? I pondered this question as the five-year anniversary of the signing of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or Iran nuclear deal, passed last week. What would relations between the United States and Iran look like had diplomacy been given its due, and the Iran deal honoured for longer? -Mahsa Rouhi, Responsible Statecraft 7/23/20

History repeats itself in Iran's currency exchange market

The Iranian rial continues to lose value against foreign currency, as exporters face high costs due to sanctions and the government continues a policy of forcing them to accept low exchange rates. -Ali Dadpay, Al Monitor 7/23/20

World Artists Welcoming Iran's First International Online Student Puppet Festival

The first 'virtual International puppet theatre festival' started its work on 9th May 2020 by enrolling participants' works on Instagram page of the festival: "We have corresponded with most Iranian students and universities around the world, and fortunately, we have received a great response. So far, more than 30 plays have been submitted to the festival from about 12 countries." 7/22/20

Sadaf Khadem: 'The problem is boxing, not the hijab - in Iran they say men only'

The 25-year-old is forging a growing reputation in France and dreams of Olympic gold but laments her exile from Iran, where the idea of a woman boxing is frowned upon. Sadaf Khadem came from the mountains and underground gyms of Tehran to Royan, a seaside town in south-west France, so that she could have the freedom to fight. She came alone. In the salty air of Royan, she respectfully replaced the hijab with a blue headguard and gumshield. Khadem had already pulled on a vest and shorts and boxing boots. -Donald McRae, Guardian 7/22/20

When China Met Iran

Leaked news this month that China and Iran had come to the verge of signing a 25-year trade and military partnership agreement struck like a geopolitical storm in Washington - a rising rival of America and a longtime foe joining forces to threaten the United States's predominant position in the Middle East. The agreement ambitiously promises to bring a huge Chinese presence into Iran's economic development, in exchange for a regular supply of heavily discounted Iranian oil. -Michael Singh, New York Times 7/22/20

THE FAIRIES: An opera banned in Tehran is released in Amsterdam

The Persian Dutch Network presents a recording which has been banned in Tehran for three decades: an opera based on a famous poem by Ahmad Shamlu, known as the 'Poet of Freedom' in Persia (Iran) Shamlu was an outspoken advocate for freedom of speech in his homeland, which caused serious restrictions to his activities, imposed by both the monarchy and the Islamic regime. Shamlu was given a Freedom of Expression award by Human Rights Watch in 1991. His poems have been translated into various languages. 7/21/20

Afghanistan sends first transit consignment to China via Iran's Chabahar Port

Afghanistan's first transit goods to China via Iran's southeastern Chabahar Port was shipped, the director-general of Ports and Maritime Department of Sistan-Baluchestan Province, where Chabahar lies, announced on Sunday. Behrouz Aghaei said the shipment was carried out through Shahid Beheshti Port in Chabahar 7/21/20

Iraq's new premier visits Iran, his first visit abroad

Iraq's new prime minister was in Iran on Tuesday, his first official visit abroad since taking office more than two months ago, Iranian media reported. State television showed footage of Mustafa al-Kadhimi landing at Tehran's Mehrabad airport. The TV said al-Khadhimi would meet top Iranian leaders, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani. 7/21/20

Iran stays execution of anti-government protesters on death row

Iran's supreme court has agreed to suspend the executions of three men on death row for their participation in anti-government protests in November, whose sentences sparked an online outcry last week. Lawyers for the men - Saeed Tamjidi, 26, Mohammad Rajabi, 28, and Amirhossein Moradi, 26 - said in a statement on Sunday the country's supreme court had agreed to examine the men's application for a retrial. -Guardian 7/20/20

Commentary: Trump's epic fail: His gambit with Iran drives Tehran toward China

In May 2018, President Donald Trump announced his decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal because it was "defective at its core." But if Tehran were willing to negotiate a better agreement, he would be "ready, willing and able" to join them. Last week, Iran announced that it was ready for a new deal. Unfortunately, that deal would be with China, rather than the United States. -Ivo Daalder, Chicago Tribune 7/20/20

Between the Lines: Seeking solace in the work of the thirteenth-century Persian poet Hafez

"I wouldn't wish being Iranian on my worst enemy," my friend Marjan posted on Instagram in mid-January. Like many Iranians, Marjan is stuck in visa limbo. An economics professor in New York, she traveled to Iran in August of last year, and by the time her return visa was finally issued, coronavirus restrictions meant she was stuck in Iran. But her post was about more than just travel frustrations. -Nilo Tabrizy, Guernica 7/20/20

Iran's First 'Gallery Alley' Opens in Qavam Orangery of Shiraz

The first "gallery alley" of Iran has been opened in the historical passage of Qavam Orangery, Shiraz. Sponsored by Shiraz municipality, the gallery alley includes murals by Iranian artists like Adel Yazdi, the painter and sculpture. These murals have turned the alley into a gallery -IFP 7/20/20

Newly unearthed workshops may push back history of Isfahan by millennia

Archaeologists have unearthed the ruins of two workshops, estimated to date from the Parthian era (247 BC - 224 CE), in Isfahan in a significant discovery that may push back the history of the central Iranian city in time by millennia. 7/17/20

A pragmatic partnership: Why China and Iran try to collaborate

Iran's rumoured talks with China on a partnership agreement could have significant economic benefits and provide it with valuable geopolitical bargaining chips. -Ellie Geranmayeh, ECFR 7/17/20

Mud volcanos of Golestan, Iran

A mud volcano is a landform, consisting of one or several volcanic craters, that continuously erupts a mud-like substance. Some experts think that mud volcanos are related to volcanic activities, but most scientists believe that the phenomenon emerges as a result of a non-volcanic activity. These photos have been taken from a mud volcano located in Golestan Province of Iran. -Mohammad Ghajar, ISNA 7/17/20

The undeclared war against Iran

A series of violent attacks, involving explosions and fires, has been hitting Iran. The incidents have been too frequent and intense to be random accidents. They are part of an organized effort. Caution is always advisable in attributing responsibility for such unclaimed acts, especially for all of us outside the government channels that possibly have better information about what is going on. But circumstances point strongly, as some mainstream press reporting reflects, to either or both of two suspects: the Netanyahu government in Israel, and the Trump administration in the United States. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 7/16/20

To understand the China-Iran deal, forget the hype and look at the context

The news of a 25-year comprehensive cooperation agreement secretly signed between the Iranian government and China has been the hot topic of the last few weeks, generating a considerable amount of speculation, exaggeration, and politically biased interpretation. In reality, the accord does not seem to have the potential to revolutionize the path of China-Iran relations, which has been quite consistent since 1979. -Jacopo Scita, Responsible Statecraft 7/16/20

Yara Shahidi Has Been Preparing For This Moment Since Birth

"A lot of the work that I'm hoping to do is about pointing people toward the organizers and the people on the front lines of this (Black Lives Matter) movement." -Kaitlyn Greenidge, Elle 7/16/20

50 Inspiring Iranian Women, a book beautifully illustrated by Roshi Rouzbehani

Within just 12 hours of launching her Kickstarter campaign to bring her book to life celebrating 50 remarkable Iranian women, London-based illustrator Roshi Rouzbehani more than reached her target. The illustrated biography pays tribute to Iranian women who have played significant roles in art, science, sport, education and philanthropy. -Katy Cowan, Creative Boom 7/15/20

Documentary "Lift-up" to chronicle life story of Iran's history-making woman weightlifter

Iranian filmmaker Reza Surani is making the documentary "Lift-up" about the life story of Pupak Basami, who is the first woman from post-revolution Iran to compete in an international weightlifting tournament. Basami wrote her name into the history books as the first Iranian woman who participated in the Asian Weightlifting Championships in April 2019. 7/14/20

Sabotage, sanctions and the bullying of Iran is bound to backfire on the west

t now seems fairly certain that Israel or its agents blew up Iran's main nuclear fuel enrichment facility at Natanz on 2 July. A "Middle Eastern intelligence official" who told two American newspapers that Israel was behind the explosion was identified in Israeli media reports last week as Yossi Cohen, head of the Mossad spy agency and a close confidant of prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu. -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 7/13/20

Defying U.S., China and Iran Near Trade and Military Partnership

Iran and China have quietly drafted a sweeping economic and security partnership that would clear the way for billions of dollars of Chinese investments in energy and other sectors, undercutting the Trump administration's efforts to isolate the Iranian government because of its nuclear and military ambitions. -New York Times 7/13/20

Photos: Reza Abad desert, a tourist resort in northeastern Iran

Reza Abad desert, located 70 kilometres from the city of Shahroud in Iran's Semnan province, is among the most beautiful desert areas in central and eastern Iran. The nomadic town of Reza Abad is located next to the desert. -Amin Rahmani 7/10/20

Iran is beautiful: Lar National Park in photos

Mount Damavand is not considered a simple mountain for Iranians. Being the highest peak in Iran with the height of 5,671 meters, is not all the greatness of Mount Damvand among Iranians because the Mount has a special place among Iranian mythology and culture and is the symbol of endurance and invincibility. Lar National Park, located in the foothills of Mount Damavand in Mazandaran Province, is a nature reserve which boasts different plant and animal species as well as glorious weather and impressive scenery. -Pouria Pakizeh 7/9/20

Photos: Oldest settlement in Iranian Plateau

Archaeologists uncovered 21 historical sites in Sadrabad Village located in Zarandieh County of Markazi Province nearly a month ago in what is called the 'most extensive' systematic field research so far conducted in the central Iranian plateau. -Hadi Zand 7/8/20

Mount Damavand Day: The iconic mountain is grappling with environmental issues

Mount Damavand, the highest peak in Iran, is located northeastern Tehran, but today, it is facing many environmental problems and challenges. Environmental enthusiasts believe that with the inclusion of Damavand National Day in the official calendar of the country, more attention should be paid to this unique natural phenomenon, while unfortunately no action has been taken so far. -Faranak Bakhtiari 7/7/20

Composer Loris Tjeknavorian creates "memorable" piece in home quarantine

Loris Tjeknavorian, the 82-year-old Iranian composer, has said that he has created one of the most memorable pieces of his life during the home quarantine. Speaking to Mizan on Tuesday, he said, "I have worked on a special piece over the past four months for which I have not selected a name as yet, but it is the outcome of contemplation and mediation during the home quarantine. I believe it will be one of the most memorable works of my professional life." 6/25/20

PHOTOS: Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake in Qom, Iran turns red

Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake is located in Qom Province of Iran. Because of heavy rainfalls, more tributaries fed the Lake in spring and as a result, the water level of Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake increased. The rapid growth of algae in the Lake that react with the evaporation of water, turned Howz-e Soltan Salt Lake red. The algae produce beta carotene during the reaction so that the water of the Lake turns red. -Ahmad Zohrabi 6/23/20

PHOTOS: Eye-catching beauty of Lar National Park in Mazandaran, Iran

Lar National Park is a protected area in Mazandaran Province and Tehran Province, in northern Iran. The 30,000-hectare park which is in the Central Alborz mountain range, at the foot of Mount Damavand has stunning beauty in late spring and early summer. 6/23/20

Important message from the Chair and CEO of Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation

Your generous support has meant that PKCF has been able to do the following. Food and Sanitation Packages, Iran: Our representatives in Iran are distributing monthly packages of essential food and sanitary items to families below the poverty line across five provinces. To date our packages have reached 642 families. Oxygen Producing Unit for Talaghani Hospital, Tehran: In collaboration with Nikan Mammut Charity, our NGO partner in Iran, we purchased an Oxygen Production Unit for Taleghani Hospital, a key COVID-19 treatment centre in Tehran... 6/19/20

Photos: Pink-colored Maharloo Lake in Shiraz, Iran

Maharloo Lake with an area of 600 sq. km is situated on the outskirts of Shiraz, southern Iran, and is a perfect stopover for tourists and nature lovers. Duo to high evaporation rate, the lake's bed has been covered by salt. The color of Maharloo Lake turns pink because of the activity of special algae. The algae grow rapidly in the salty water and cover the surface of the Lake. -Mohammadreza Dehdari 6/17/20

The doves and hawks are here to stay: Time for the E3 to show bold leadership on Iran

This week, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will convene its Board of Governors virtually for the first time in its history. In the weeks leading up to the meeting, much attention has been given to the Agency's outstanding request to visit two sites in Iran where there may have been undeclared nuclear activity, suspected to have occurred in 2003. These requests are based on the Israeli-obtained "atomic archive" which Mossad allegedly stole from a warehouse outside of Tehran in early 2018. -Sahil Shah, European Leadership Network 6/17/20

Iran's 'butterfly children' impacted by sanctions and corruption

Described by US dermatologists as "the most painful disease you've never heard of," EB is caused by a genetic mutation and occurs in every 1 in 30,000 to 50,000 live births globally. Characterised by extreme fragility of the skin and mechanically induced blistering, EB patients are often referred to as 'butterfly children' because their skin appears as delicate as that of a butterfly wing. There is no cure. -Shenaz Kermalli, Atlantic Council 6/10/20

Photos: Aladaghlar (Rainbow) Mountains in Iran

If you are looking for a natural place to be amazed, you should take a trip to Zanjan Province in Iran and see the colorful Aladaghlar Mountains. ''Ala'' in Azeri Turkish language means colorful and ''Dag'' means mountain. The Aladaglar rainbow mountains and hills are tucked into the northwest of Iran, 25 kilometers in the northeast of Tabriz between Ahar and Khajeh. Along the road of Ahar-Tabriz, the landscape begins to switch step by step. -Amin Rahmani 6/3/20

Bani Adam (Children of Adam): World musicians release solidarity music video during pandemic

A music video inspired by Persian poet Sadi's famous poem "The Sons of Adam Are Limbs of Each Other" has been released with the voice of Iranian vocalist Alireza Qorbani in collaboration with several Italian singers and overseas musicians during the pandemic. The music video has been released to promote the message of peace and friendship, the Italian theater and cinema actress Pamela Villoresi has said in an introduction to the music video. 5/20/20

70+ Groups Demand Trump Immediately End US Sanctions Against Iran, Venezuela, Cuba, and Others During Covid-19 Crisis

Over 70 civil society groups representing more than 40 million people called on President Donald Trump Thursday to issue immediate sanctions relief for numerous countries-including Iran, Syria, Venezuela, Cuba, and North Korea-for at least the duration of the coronavirus crisis which threatens to kill thousands in the hard-hit countries. The "urgent appeal" came in the form of an open letter sent by the groups to Trump, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and Secretary of the Treasury Steve Mnuchin calling for curtailing the sanctions regime for the duration of the pandemic. -Common Dreams 04/24/20

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last updated on Thu Aug 6 11:52:06 EDT 2020