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December 13 2017
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Proposed Higher Departure Fees Angers Iranians

- A new revenue generating measure in President Hassan Rouhani's proposed budget has led to public outcry and mocking of the government in Iran. "Exit fees" from the country are set to rise many fold, if the new budget is passed in the coming months. 12/12/17

Women's share of Iran's budget bill increases by 30%

- The proposed national budget bill for the next Iranian calendar year 1397, starting on March 21, 2018, has allocated 210 billion rials ($5.25 million) for women's affairs, an increase of 30 percent year on year. President Hassan Rouhani presented the administration's draft of the national budget bill for the next year to the Majlis (Iranian parliament) on Sunday. 12/12/17

Iran's Supreme Court Upholds Swedish Resident Ahmedreza Djalali's Death Sentence

- Iran's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence issued against Iranian-born Swedish resident Ahmadreza Djalali, who has been imprisoned in Tehran since April 2016 after being arrested by the Intelligence Ministry. Djalali's wife, Vida Mehran-nia, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that her husband's main lawyer was told the Supreme Court's decision in court on December 5, 2017, but he was denied a physical copy of the ruling. 12/12/17

Iran's Security Forces Block Annual Ceremony to Commemorate "Chain Murders" Victims

- Security forces prevented a gathering near Tehran marking the 19th anniversary of a series of murders and disappearances by the Intelligence Ministry of dissidents in the 1990s known as the "chain murders." The Writers Association of Iran (WAI) issued a statement on December 7, 2017, hours after many of its members and supporters were prevented from entering Imamzadeh Taher Cemetery in Karaj by a prosecutor's order. 12/12/17

The Logic Behind Iran's Regional Posture

- On December 3, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei convened Iran's top military brass. Iranian media circulated one key sentence of his remarks on the front pages of newspapers: "Today, the armed forces are in need of the best human resources...to save the nation from vulnerability against the enemy." -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog 12/12/17

IRAN: Persons with disability awaiting better living conditions

- The bill on rights of persons with disabilities, which is being discussed by the Majlis [Iranian Parliament], has raised hopes among the disabled for better living conditions. People with disabilities have a wide range of problems such as finding jobs or living in cities which have not been developed to be accessible for disabled people. 12/12/17

Iran's Saipa has exported $1.2 billion in cars: Official

- Iran's Saipa Group says it has exported 230,000 vehicles worth 1.2 billion in recent years as the automaker plans to expand sales with new designs and competitive products. The company exports vehicles to about 40 markets, deputy head for exports and international affairs of the group Mohsen Dastkhosh said on Friday. 12/12/17

UN experts do not confirm Iran link to Yemen missiles: Report

- UN experts, who examined the debris from missiles fired from Yemen at Saudi Arabia earlier in the year, have not confirmed that the projectiles were "Iranian-made" as claimed by the Riyadh regime and the US. The missiles were fired by Yemeni Houthi fighters at the Saudi capital on July 22 and November 4 in retaliation for Riyadh's deadly raids against the country. 12/12/17

Ahmadinejad moves to target influential Iranian political family

- Once again, Iran's former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has made headlines following his controversial remarks targeting judiciary chief Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani and his brother, parliament Speaker Ali Larijani. The war of words illustrates yet again Ahmadinejad's typical strategy, which is to attack influential political families to gain more popularity with the public. -Saeid Jafari, Al Monitor 12/12/17

Johnson Meets President Rohani, Discusses Case Of Jailed Iranian-British Woman

- Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson met with Iranian President Hassan Rohani in Tehran on December 10 as he continued efforts to gain the release of a jailed Iranian-British woman. A spokesman for the British Foreign Office said Johnson and Rohani "spoke forthrightly" on several issues, including the case of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, according to the BBC. 12/11/17

Featured Video


This Iran-backed militia helped save Iraq from ISIS. Now Washington wants them to disband

Online exhibit "Collapse" raising funds for Kermanshah quake victims - Iranian painter and graphic designer Behzad Shishegaran has launched an online exhibition entitled "Collapse" on Instagram, Telegram and Facebook to raise funds for the victims of the devastating earthquake that hit Kermanshah region in western Iran last month. 12/11/17

Nine Iranian mountain climbers killed by avalanche - Nine Iranian climbers were fatally buried by an avalanche on Oshtoran Kooh Mountain, in the country's west on Friday. The climbers were among a group of 15 men and women from the city of Mashhad and a local guide who were trapped by the avalanche on Thursday. 12/11/17

Iran Sentences Fugitive Ex-Bank Chief Mahmud Reza Khavari To Prison In Absentia - Iran's judiciary says the former head of the country's largest state-controlled bank who fled to Canada amid a massive embezzlement case has been handed a lengthy prison sentence in absentia. Khavari, who obtained Canadian citizenship in 2005, joined his family there in 2011 in the wake of the $2.6 billion fraud scandal, described as the largest-ever such case in Iran. 12/11/17

IRGC Commander Turned Musician Says He Was Banned From Producing Music by the Intelligence Ministry - Iranian singer and songwriter Hossein Zaman, a former Revolutionary Guards commander who has been banned from producing or performing music for more than 15 years, says the ban was put in place because Iran's Intelligence Ministry wants to intimidate him into refraining from expressing his political views. 12/11/17

German electronic band to give first Western pop concert in Iran in 39 years - German electronic musician Christopher von Deylen and his band Schiller will become the first pop group to perform in Iran's capital, Tehran, since the 1979 Islamic Revolution. -Deutsche Welle 12/11/17

Trump's Jerusalem Decision: A Fatal And Fateful Blow - President Donald Trump's decision to formally recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital was irresponsible and dangerous for more reasons than I can count. Let me outline just a few of the principle concerns: -James J. Zogby, LobeLog 12/11/17

Middle East War: Iran's Allies Are Secretly Launching Missiles at Saudi Arabia as Tehran Takes Control in the Battle for Dominance - Tehran exerts enormous influence on an expanse that stretches from Lebanon on the Mediterranean Sea, over the Levantine steppe of Syria and Iraq and down to Yemen. That influence stemmed from Iran's creation of powerful Shiite proxies in key countries in the region, which Tehran had been able to mobilize to its advantage--and to Saudi Arabia's chagrin... -Newsweek 12/11/17

World Powers Warn Iran, Saudi Arabia Not To Meddle In Lebanon - World powers are pushing Saudi Arabia and Iran to stop interfering in Lebanon's politics while urging Iranian ally Hizballah to rein in its military activities in neighboring states. The International Lebanon Support Group, a body that includes the five permanent members of the UN Security Council -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States -- met in Paris on December 8 with Lebanese Prime Minister Saad al-Hariri in an effort to help him shore up the nation's shaky governing coalition. 12/9/17

Iran's Student Movement Faces Roadblocks Under Rouhani Despite Election Campaign Promises - Protests were held at several Iranian universities on December 7, 2017, on the occasion of Student Day. One activist told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that President Hassan Rouhani has failed to uphold his election campaign promise to end the securitization of university campuses. 12/9/17

Iran's Culture Minister Says He's Trying to "Transform" Conservative Clerics' Views on Music - Before musicians can perform concerts in Iran without the threat of the authorities suddenly canceling them, someone has to convince conservative Shia Muslim clerics that music is not un-Islamic. "Some of the things that have happened to these artists is because of the views expressed by some religious leaders," said Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Abbas Salehi in an interview 12/9/17

Iran Foreign Minister, Britain Foreign Secretary discuss JCPOA, economic ties in Tehran - Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Britain's Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson have held talks in the Iranian capital about a landmark nuclear agreement reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries more than two years ago. 12/9/17

2017 Freestyle World Wrestling Clubs Cup in Tehran: Iran's Easy Pipe Kashan defeats USA's Titan Mercury to win title - Easy Pipe Kashan of Iran claimed the title of the 2017 Freestyle World Wrestling Clubs Cup held in Tehran on Dec. 7-8. The Iranian team defeated defending champion Titan Mercury from the U.S. 6-4 in the final match. 12/9/17

Europe And Iran's Threat Perception - At the end of November, a delegation of senior European lawmakers visited Iran. The delegation was chaired by Janusz Lewandowski from Poland, a former EU commissioner, representing the center-right European People's Party, the largest bloc in the European Parliament (EP). It also included long-standing advocates of engagement with Iran... -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 12/9/17

Iran's Siamand Rahman clinches gold at 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships - Iranian Paralympic powerlifter Siamand Rahman has produced a magnificent display of strength and prowess at the 2017 World Para Powerlifting Championships in Mexico, and been awarded the top honor. On Thursday and the sixth day of the contests in Mexico City, the men's over 107-kilogram weight category saw a battle between the 29-year-old Iranian sportsman, his compatriot Mansour Pourmirzaei and Jordan's Jamil Elshebli. 12/8/17

Two Iranian Officials Publicly Break Rank and Discuss Discriminatory Policies Against Baha'is - Iranian officials are beginning to broach the previously taboo topic of religious discrimination in Iran. On the same day, two government officials publicly discussed discriminatory policies against Baha'is, one of Iran's most severely persecuted minority faiths. 12/8/17

U.K. Foreign Secretary To Visit Iran To Press For Release Of Jailed Briton - Britain says Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson will travel to Iran on December 9 to meet with his Iranian counterpart and lobby for the release of an Iranian-British woman jailed in Tehran. Johnson's office did not identify jailed aid worker Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe by name in its December 8 statement but said that he would press for the release of dual nationals being held in Iran when he meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran. 12/8/17

Why is Iranian rial suddenly weakening? - A recent devaluation of the rial on the so-called free market in Iran has raised concerns that the country's economy will experience another collapse of the value of its national currency similar to what happened in 2012. The free market rate of the US dollar surpassed the psychological mark of 40,000 rials in early October. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor 12/8/17

IRAN: Rouhani Admin's New "Fair Usage" Internet Price Rates Violate Net Neutrality - Seven months into President Hassan Rouhani's second term, his Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi has introduced a new pricing scheme for internet usage that violates net neutrality while improving state censorship capabilities. 12/8/17

Seventy Percent of Americans Know the Iran Nuclear Deal is Working for Them - Last week, Brookings released a report on the results of a public opinion poll that covered Middle East policy and attitudes toward Iran. In particular, the respondents indicated dramatic support for the Iran nuclear deal's national security benefits -Kathryn Grant, Diplomacy Works 12/8/17

US considers how to curtail Iran's 'malign influence' - Even as the Pentagon remains focused on deterring North Korea and fighting ISIS, multiple US officials tell CNN that Defense Secretary James Mattis is asking planners to think about what action to take on Iran. Discussions are taking place on how to use the US military to deter and contain Iranian activities in neighboring countries, short of a direct conflict. -CNN 12/8/17

Iran's national weightlifting team wins world championship title in Anaheim, California - Iran's men weightlifting national team has clinched its first ever world champion title, after collecting a total of 509 points at the 2017 World Weightlifting Championships in the United States. The competitions were held in Anaheim, California, from November 28 to December 5. 12/7/17

Iranian University Shuts Down After Student Strike - Student protests in Iran this week were propelled by different grievances and demands. Some were concrete issues related to financial issues and others were the result of constant pressures and interference by security organs in universities. One hotspot has been the Petroleum Industry University (Sana'ate Naft), where student protests began even earlier. 12/7/17

U.S., Iran Need To Engage In Substantive Negotiations On Regional Issues - Still, it would be dangerous to conclude that there is fundamentally no space for compromise. The Iran nuclear agreement was one such compromise. It still holds, though tenuously. The Trump administration is using "regional issues" as one strategy to undermine the agreement. Although Iran won't agree to folding such issues into a renegotiation of the JCPOA, at some point Iran, Israel, and the United States must address their conflicting interests in the region, ideally before the current regional proxy conflict in Syria expands into a Third World War. -Thomas Buonomo, LobeLog 12/7/17

Iran: Reformist MPs Call on Science Ministry to Allow "Starred" Student Activists to Attend University - Students accused of engaging in peaceful activism continue to be banned from attending university in Iran despite President Hassan Rouhani's election campaign promise that he would lift the ban. On November 30, 2017, the reformist newspaper Jame-e Farda reported that between 150 and 200 graduate and PhD-level students were blocked from enrolling in Iranian universities in the current academic year because they had "stars" on their records. However, the actual number is likely much higher. 12/7/17

An Exhibition By Iranian Artist Farhad Moshiri Might Be All We Have Left Of Winter In 100 Years - When I saw the canvasses in Snow Forest, an exhibition of hand-embroidered canvasses by Fahrad Moshiri at Perrotin New York, I was immediately reminded of the woods that surround my parents' house in Chappaqua. Throughout my childhood, we spent every weekend morning hiking in those woods. -Brienne Walsh, Forbes 12/7/17

Chovgan added as Iran's intangible cultural heritage to UNESCO lists - The sporting team game of chovgan, which is played on horseback and recognized as a version of the modern polo game, has been added to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) Intangible Cultural Heritage Lists. 12/7/17

Outside-In Won't Resolve The Israeli-Palestinian Conflict - All three participants in the triangle are making their maneuvers to the drumbeat of Iran, Iran, Iran as a constant preoccupation and rationalization. For Netanyahu, the drumbeat continues to serve as an all-purpose distraction and blame-shifter. MbS has made opposition to Iran his rallying cry in trying to justify operations such as the calamity in Yemen and the attempts to strong-arm smaller states such as Qatar and Lebanon. And of course, anti-Iranism has been the one loud and consistent theme in a Trump Middle East policy in which many observers have a hard time discerning a clear strategy. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 12/7/17

Teen behind viral 'Angelina Jolie' plastic surgery photos reveals she lied - A young woman who shocked the internet with her shocking appearance - which she claimed was the result of botched plastic surgery to look like Angelina Jolie - has finally come clean: it was a hoax. Sahar Tabar claimed to have gone under the knife more than 50 times in a bid to look like the smouldering A-lister, with results that looked more harrowing than Hollywood. -Independent 12/7/17

Iranian weightlifter Saeid Alihosseini wins silver at World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California - Georgian Lasha Talakhadze won the men's super-heavyweights with a total of 477kg, improving his own world record by 4kg. He also broke his own snatch world record by 3kg when he lifted 220kg. Iranians Saeid Alihosseini and Behdad Salimi were second and third with totals of 454kg and 453kg respectively. 12/6/17

Lavrov Says 'Key Issues' Regarding Caspian Sea Legal Status Solved - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said the five Caspian states have agreed on "all the outstanding key issues" regarding the legal status of the Caspian Sea. Lavrov made the announcement in Moscow on December 5 after meeting with his counterparts from Azerbaijan, Iran, Kazakhstan, and Turkmenistan. 12/6/17

Middle East on Edge Ahead of Possible Change to US Policy on Jerusalem - Criticism of President Donald Trump's reported plan to recognize Jerusalem as Israel's capital is pouring in from across the Middle East, Europe and around the world. One of the strongest statements of opposition to such a plan came from key NATO ally Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan Tuesday. -Cindy Saine, VOA 12/6/17

Erdogan Says U.S. Trying To 'Blackmail' Turkey With Iran Sanctions Case - Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has called the New York trial of a Turkish banker accused of conspiring to help Iran evade U.S. sanctions "blackmail" and a "blemish" on his country. His comments in Ankara on December 5 came as the trial of Halkbank executive Mehmet Hakan Atilla continued with a fifth day of testimony by the U.S. government's star witness and alleged mastermind of the scheme to evade sanctions. 12/6/17

Melissa Shoshahi + Friends! Comedy Benefit Show for Puerto Rico - December 7 in Los Angeles: Come join us in a night of peace through laughter as Melissa Shoshahi records her first album and helps raise money for those affected by Hurricane Maria in Puerto Rico. 12/6/17

The real reason Iranian media is fixated on Zarrab case - Turkish-Iranian business tycoon Reza Zarrab's testimony in a US court has received extensive coverage in Iranian media; however, this coverage doesn't stem from his real charge in the United States, which is bypassing the sanctions against Tehran, but rather because he has been linked to a controversial billionaire tycoon who is now in jail in Iran: Babak Zanjani. -Rohollah Faghihi, Al-Monitor 12/6/17

Ali Hashemi wins another gold for Iran at World Weightlifting Championships in Anaheim, California - Ali Hashemi bagged another gold for Iran at the 2017 International Weightlifting Federation (IWF) World Championships at the Anaheim Convention Center early Tuesday. In the men's 105 kilogram class, Hashemi finished on 404kg ahead of Arturs Plesnieks of Latvia, who lifted 402kg, and Uzbek Ivan Efremov - who had beaten Hashemi in September the last time they met - on 399kg. 12/5/17

U.S. High Court Wary Of Seizing Ancient Relics To Pay $71 Million Iran Judgment - U.S. Supreme Court justices have expressed skepticism over a lawsuit that seeks the seizure of ancient Persian museum relics to pay for a $71.5 million U.S. court judgment against Iran for its alleged role in a suicide bombing. The plaintiffs in the case before the Supreme Court want to seize ancient Persian artifacts held at the University of Chicago's Oriental Institute, which have been on loan from Iran since 1937, as well as relics held by Chicago's Field Museum of Natural History. 12/5/17

Supreme Court Allows Trump Travel Ban to Take Effect - The Supreme Court on Monday allowed the third version of the Trump administration's travel ban to go into effect while legal challenges against it continue. The decision was a victory for the administration after its mixed success before the court over the summer, when justices considered and eventually dismissed disputes over the second version. -New York Times 12/5/17

Three Activists Sentenced to Prison in Trial "Directed" by Iran's Intelligence Ministry - Political prisoners Majid Assadi, Payam Shakiba, and Mohammad Banazadeh were sentenced to prison and exile after the Intelligence Ministry pressured the court, a family member of one of the prisoners told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 12/5/17

Iran-made rotavirus, rabies vaccines to hit market by 2019 - Domestically manufactured rotavirus and rabies vaccines will enter Iranian market by 2019, Head of Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI) announced Monday. According to Head of Pasteur Institute of Iran (IPI), Dr. Houman Kaghazian, the manufacture of rabies vaccine went underway at Pasteur Institute five years ago, and will be ready to enter the Iranian market in two years' time. 12/5/17

Tallinn Film Review: 'Asphyxia' - Fereydoun Jeyrani's elegant black-and-white thriller refracts Iranian gender politics through the prism of a twisty Hitchcockian noir. -Jessica Kiang, Variety 12/5/17

Europe Scolds Trump on Iran, Jerusalem in Tillerson Meeting - A joint press conference by the European Union's foreign-policy chief and the U.S. Secretary of State descended into a thinly veiled exchange of rebukes, adding to signs of increased strain in the world's most powerful alliance. -Bloomberg 12/5/17

Iranian Weightlifter Wins World Title, Breaks Records in Anaheim, California - Iranian weightlifter Sohrab Moradi broke two world records to win the 94-kilogram class at the World Championships in Anaheim, California, on December 3. Moradi, who won gold at the 2016 Rio Olympics, scored an easy victory over Lithuania's Aurimas Didzbalis by 29 kilograms. 12/4/17

Iran Opens Extension Of Key Chahbahar Port In Gulf Of Oman - Iran has officially opened an extension of its southeastern port of Chabahar, which Tehran hopes will become a key transit hub for land-locked Afghanistan and Central Asia. State TV said President Hassan Rohani attended the inauguration on December 3 along with dignitaries from India, Qatar, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and other countries. 12/4/17

CIA Chief Sends Letter To Iran's General Soleimani Over Threats To U.S. Forces In Iraq - The director of the CIA says he sent a letter to a top Iranian general warning him that Washington will hold Tehran responsible for any attacks on U.S. interests by Iran-backed forces in Iraq. Director Mike Pompeo on December 2 told a defense forum in Simi Valley, California, that the letter to Major General Qassem Soleimani was never opened but that he wanted to send it because Soleimani had indicated his forces might threaten U.S. interests in Iraq. 12/4/17

Iran's 'Devoted Countryman' dies at 86 - Villager Riz Ali Khajavi who saved the lives of passengers of a train in 1962 when a landslide brought down rocks from overlooking mountain on a railroad, died at 86. Known as a national hero whose sacrifice story is being taught in Iranian schools, Riz Ali Khajavi was admitted to Imam Reza Hospital due to a severe pulmonary complication 20 days ago and died later on Saturday at 86. 12/4/17

Sharif University's Mannequin Robot Among Top Eight In ICSR 2017 - Director of the Center of Excellence in Design, Robotics, and Automation of Sharif University of Technology Ali Meghdari said "22 countries attended the 9th International Conference on Social Robotics which was held last week in Tsukuba, Japan. ROMA robot mannequin of Sharif University of technology ranked among the top eight robot designs and received memorial award." 12/4/17

Iran acquires technology to produce nuclear batteries: AEOI advisor - Iran has acquired the technology to produce nuclear batteries to be used in health and industrial sectors, an advisor to head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) says. Asghar Zare'an, who is an advisor to Ali Akbar Salehi, said on Sunday that Iran was the fifth country mastering the technology to produce nuclear batteries after the United States, Russia, France and Britain. 12/4/17

US pressuring countries to stop buying Iran heavy water: Iranian MP - A senior Iranian parliamentarian says the Islamic Republic is in talks with a number of countries to sell its surplus heavy water, a nuclear byproduct, after the US decided to halt its purchases. Tehran has to sell its surplus heavy water under the 2015 nuclear agreement with world countries which requires that the inventory not exceed 130 tonnes. 12/4/17

Tehran Earthquake Preparedness 'Woefully Low, Unacceptable': Official Warns - Earthquake preparedness in the city of Tehran is woefully 'low' and 'unacceptable', Ismail Najjar, head of the state-run National Disaster Management Organization said on Thursday. Tehran is perched between no less than three major fault-lines. The Mosha, the Tehran, and the Rey fault lines are each on their own enough to bring down a city if they get active. 12/2/17

A Small Group In Iran Owes Banks Billion Of Dollars In Bad Debts - A few hundred people in Iran have borrowed billions of dollars from the country's financial institutions and refuse to meet their obligations toward the lending institutions. Now, a current and a former member of the Iranian Parliament have taken the issue in their own hands and are trying to force the delinquent debtors to pay their bills. 12/2/17

Italy stresses EU's commitment to Iran nuclear deal - Italian Foreign Minister Alfano Angelino says the EU believes all the signatories to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, officially called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), should remain committed to the agreement. Angelino said in a meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Rome on Thursday that the EU has a completely positive view about the JCPOA and underlines the need for all sides to remain committed to it. 12/2/17

Iranian Broadcast Censors World Cup Program Over Host's Clothing - Portions of the 2018 World Cup draw broadcast were censored in Iran because authorities decided co-host Maria Komandnaya's clothing was too revealing. Iranian state broadcaster IRIB on December 1 blocked the first part of the show from the Kremlin Palace in Moscow that featured Komandnaya, a Russian sports journalist, and former England soccer star Gary Lineker. 12/2/17

Tehran Prosecutor Sentenced to Prison for Protestor's Death Denies Responsibility - Former Tehran Prosecutor Saeed Mortazavi, the only official who has been held accountable for the death of a protestor who was tortured in the Kahrizak Detention Center in 2009, has publicly objected to his two-year prison sentence. Mortazavi, who has been implicated in rights violation cases throughout his career, also accused the Appeals Court judge who issued the sentence of being an accessory to murder in an unrelated case. 12/2/17

U.S. firms "main losers" of sanctions: Iran's Oil Minister - Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said U.S. energy firms are the main losers from the sanctions placed against his country. Speaking at the 173 OPEC meeting in Vienna on Thursday, Zanganeh called U.S.'s policy confusing and self-defeating, CNBC reported. 12/2/17

Cotton, Pompeo And Trump Are A Recipe For War With Iran - As bad as the Trump administration has been, it can always get worse. And that is precisely what will happen if the Trump administration follows through with a reported plan to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and nominate Tom Cotton to take Pompeo's old position. -Trita Parsi 12/2/17

Moderately Strong Quakes Hit Eastern Iran Near Kerman; Damage Reported - Two moderately strong earthquakes hit eastern Iran in quick succession early on December 1. The U.S. Geological Survey said the first, a relatively strong magnitude 6.0 tremor, struck at a shallow depth close to the city of Kerman, which has a population of more than 821,000. 12/1/17

Misusing Intelligence To Sell Conflict With Iran - Although nobody knows exactly where Donald Trump intends to go with his campaign of seeking confrontation with Iran, his administration already has provided disconcerting parallels with the techniques an earlier U.S. administration used in selling its launching of a war against Iraq. Among these techniques is the cherry-picking of intelligence not to inform policy-making or to enlighten the public but instead to inculcate false perceptions among the public and thereby to muster support for a policy already chosen. -Paul Pillar 12/1/17

Iran placed in tough group in 2018 World Cup - Iran national football team, known as Team Melli, have been drawn in Group B of the 2018 World Cup. Carlos Queiroz's team will play powerhouse Spain, Portugal and Morocco in Russia. 12/1/17

Fit To Be Tied: Thai Coach 'Upset' He Had To Wear Head Scarf At Iranian Tournament - In Iran, it's more often women disguising themselves as men to sneak into sporting events, where they are banned. But in a reversal of sorts, the male coach of the Thai women's national kabaddi team wore a head scarf to the Asian Kabaddi Championship in the Iranian city of Horgan on November 26 to evade a ban on men attending women's sporting events. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL 12/1/17

Iran's Parliament Should Pass Pending Disability Rights Bill - New legislation currently pending in the Iranian parliament will, if passed, strengthen the basic rights of Iran's persons with disabilities community. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) marks the upcoming International Day of Persons with Disabilities, December 3, by urging Iranian lawmakers to pass this vital legislation. 12/1/17

Iranian Envoy Says U.S. Won't Succeed In Pushing Iran Out Of Syria - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says U.S. efforts to push Iranian military advisers and fighters out of Syria as part of a deal to end the war-torn country's six-year civil war will not succeed. "The aim of the U.S. administration is to get Iran out of Syria," Zarif said on November 30 at a conference in Rome. "The U.S. and Russia cannot decide for Iran. We are there at the request of the Syrian government," Zarif said. "It's our region. It's the Persian Gulf, not the Gulf of Mexico. We are going nowhere." 12/1/17

Did Trump Greenlight Neoconservative Takeover Of State Dept. And CIA? - Donald Trump is likely to replace Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with CIA Director Mike Pompeo and choose Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) to take over the intelligence agency, according to "senior administration officials" who spoke to The New York Times. That move would mark an elevation of two neoconservative Iran hawks to the most influential positions in national intelligence gathering and diplomacy. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog 12/1/17

Halt to heavy water purchase from Iran is a U.S. problem: Salehi - Ali Akbar Salehi, director of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said on Friday that it is the Trump administration's problem for halting purchase of heavy water from Iran. Washington Free Beacon reported on Thursday that The Trump administration has put a stop to U.S. purchases of nuclear materials from Iran, a policy that first began under the Obama administration. 12/1/17

Poll: Middle Easterners Want Good Relations With U.S., Russia - A new survey from Zogby Research Services (ZRS) finds that large majorities across the Middle East want their governments to get along with both the United States and Russia, despite their hostility toward both countries' involvement in regional conflicts. Large majorities in nearly every country surveyed--Egypt, Iran, Iraq, Jordan, Lebanon, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and the United Arab Emirates--said that it was important for their countries to have good relations with both countries. -Derek Davison, LobeLog 12/1/17

The Conference that Challenged Trump's Travel Ban - We are pleased to announce the return of the IAAB Conference in 2018! In partnership with the Hagop Kevorkian Center at New York University, IAAB's International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora will be held April 21-22, 2018 at New York University School of Law. 11/30/17

Iran urges immediate probe into US police killing of young Iranian-American man - Iran's Interests Section in Washington has called for an immediate investigation into the recent suspicious killing of a young Iranian man by US police, who have failed to provide justifiable reason for the fatal shooting. The United States Park Police officers shot Iranian-American man Bijan C. Ghaisar three times in the head in the state of Virginia on the evening of November 17. The police alleged that the 25-year-old man had been involved in a hit-and-run accident. He died Monday night after 10 days on life support. 11/30/17

After Fiery Speech, Iran Censors Ahmadinejad-Related Online Searches - Websites affiliated with former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad were blocked in Iran and the country's most widely used state-approved video-sharing site barred users from accessing Ahmadinejad-related content after the politician criticized state officials in a recent speech. Ahmadinejad was censored from the internet in Iran after he delivered a speech at the Shah Abdol Azim Mosque in southern Tehran criticizing state officials. 11/30/17

Turkey's Love Affair with Saudi Arabia On the Rocks - A deal signed by Turkish and Iranian ministers Sunday to enhance efforts to break Saudi Arabian trade sanctions against Qatar, is only the latest move by Ankara against Riyadh. The two once close allies are increasingly finding themselves on opposing sides in the region. "There is this fear [by Turkey] an axis is developing between Saudi Arabia, [the United States], and Israel in the region definitely," said Haldun Solmazturk, head of 21st Century Turkey Institute, an Ankara based research organization. -Dorian Jones, VOA 11/30/17

Why an expert thinks we're as close to war with Iran as we've been in 25 years - Donald Trump has made a habit of bashing Iran. In an October speech, he called Iran a "dictatorship" of "murderous" leaders, accusing them of spreading "death, destruction, and chaos all over the globe." He also decertified the Iran nuclear deal, calling it "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States ever entered into." And as a final insult to Iranians, Trump recently referred to the Persian Gulf as the "Arabian Gulf," a needless gaffe that state TV in Iran quickly exploited. -Vox 11/30/17

Iranian Political Prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison Slapped With New Charges for Engaging in Peaceful Protest - Three prisoners in Iran's Rajaee Shahr Prison are facing new charges for participating in a mass protest at the prison in August 2017. In late October 2017, the Revolutionary Court in Evin Prison in Tehran charged Christian convert Ebrahim Firoozi, and political activists Saeed Shirzad and Amir Ghaziani with "disturbing order" and "insulting the supreme leader and other officials." 11/29/17

What U.S. Enmity Has Wrought In Iran - An important consequence of the unrelenting, unqualified hostility toward Iran that Donald Trump has made a centerpiece of his foreign policy is described in an article by Thomas Erdbrink of The New York Times about the impact of that policy on the Iranian public. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 11/29/17

Iranian, Italian orchestras to take "Divine Martyrs" to Rome church - The Tehran Symphony Orchestra choir and Italy's World Youth Orchestra will perform "Where Art Thou, Divine Martyrs" composed by Hushang Kamkar, at the Basilica di Santa Maria Maggiore in Rome on December 3. The joint concert is scheduled to be repeated in Tehran on December 6, Iran's Rudaki Foundation announced in a press release on Monday. 11/28/17

China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran seal deal to boost rail traffic - China, Kazakhstan, Turkmenistan and Iran have signed an agreement to increase the volume of cargoes shipped through the four countries to international markets by rail. The agreement was reached after a meeting between the representatives of the countries in the Kazakh city of Astana, according to a statement by Kazakhstan's railways KTZ. 11/28/17

The colonial roots of Trump's discourse on Iran - Trump has given a few speeches about the Iran deal. He is yet to come up with any substantial argument against it. He throws in talking points and threadbare clichés about Iran, without saying anything new. Most likely without realizing it, Trump is in fact yet another figure in the long line of imperial leaders who have tapped into a certain image of Iran, without caring whether it bears any resemblance to its reality. -Amir Ahmadi Arian, Open Democracy 11/28/17

Russia, Turkey, Iran Meet In Sochi - There has been extensive diplomacy across the Middle East in recent months. Russian President Vladimir Putin visited Turkey and Iran. Saudi Arabian King Salman made a historic visit to Moscow. Turkish President Recep Tayip Erdogan visited Russia and then returned on November 22 for the trilateral Russia-Turkey-Iran summit on Syria in Sochi. -Alexey Khlebnikov, LobeLog 11/28/17

War In The Middle East--Again? - Fast forward to 2017. The enemy is not Iraq but Iran. A similar public case is being built about Tehran's aggressive intentions, its threats to its neighbors, and its poor human-rights record. Although Iran has been effectively disarmed in terms of a possible nuclear-weapons program, the Trump administration has castigated its other behavior from one end of the Middle East to the other. Will there be war? -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 11/24/17

Iran, EU hold high-level talks in Tehran amid Trump's threats - Iran and the EU have started their third round of high-level talks following the 2016 implementation of a nuclear deal between the Islamic Republic and world countries. Helga Schmid, the EU's deputy political director, met Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi in Tehran Monday to discuss issues of mutual interest, the state news agency IRNA reported. 11/20/17

MbS: Pride Cometh Before The Fall? - Until only a few months ago, Saudi Arabia's conduct of its domestic and foreign policies was largely characterized by a good deal of caution, a lack of bombast, and a respect for established traditions. One area where the role of tradition, and respect for rank and precedence, was particularly important was the issue of succession in the royal family. Until recently, everyone inside and outside the kingdom was quite certain that once the reigning monarch died or was incapacitated, the next in line would follow and no one would challenge the established order of succession. -Shireen T. Hunter 11/18/17

Flying girl of Iran, Fatemeh Akrami, hopes to increase female skydivers - Fatemeh Akrami, the only female skydiver in Iran, hopes to instruct skydiving to as many interested girls as possible. "My goal is to become a skydiving instructor for Iranian girls," Akrami, 24, said in an interview with the Tehran Times. "I am an Iranian girl and my responsibility is to boost the number of female skydivers in the country", she stated. -Naghmeh Mizanian 11/16/17

U.S. Court Allows Ban On Some Travelers From Iran, Other Countries To Take U.S. President Donald Trump signing his original executive order on travel - A U.S. appeals court is allowing President Donald Trump's latest executive order barring certain travelers from Iran and five other predominantly Muslim countries to take effect. The ruling on November 13 upholds the part of Trump's September 24 order which bars entry by people from Iran and the other countries if they do not have close connections in the United States. 11/14/17

Iran-EU Agri-Food Business Forum held in Tehran: Bright future for Iran-EU economic co-op - Phil Hogan, European Union commissioner for agriculture and rural development, has predicted a bright future for economic cooperation between Iran and the European Union, particularly in food and agriculture sectors. "We seek to tighten bilateral ties between Iran and the EU which secures interests of both sides," he said. Hogan, leading a 70-member delegation from 40 European companies to Tehran, made the remarks addressing the Iran-EU Agri-Food Business Forum at the place of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture (TCCIMA) on Saturday. 11/13/17

UCLA receives $1 million for Elahe Omidyar Mir-Djalali postdoctoral fellowship in Iranian linguistics - Adonation of $1 million from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute will establish the Elahe Omidyar Mir-Djalali Postdoctoral Fellowship in Iranian Linguistics in the UCLA Department of Linguistics, one of the nation's top-ranked linguistics departments. 11/7/17

Endangered Persian Leopard "Arezoo" Released Back To Wild in Roudsar - A Persian leopard that had been severely injured by getting caught in snare in February was fully recovered and released back to wild on Sunday. On February 5, Arezoo which is named after her habitat in Roudsar, northern Gilan province, was found while suffering from serious damages by getting caught in snare. 11/7/17

Photos: Khartouran wildlife refuge home to 60 endangered Asiatic cheetahs - Khar Turan National Park or Touran Wildlife Refuge is an Iranian National Park in Semnan province, southeast of Shahrud. The place is home to one of the largest populations of the critically endangered Asiatic cheetahs. Currently there are about 60 collars in the world, all of which are living in Iran. 11/6/17

Photos: Sculptor Parviz Tanavoli and students reunite at Tehran's Boom gallery - A collection of 21 works by prominent sculptor Parviz Tanavoli as well as works by four of his students from the Niavaran Atelier are on view at Tehran's Boom Gallery in an exhibit titled "Parviz Tanavoli and the Niavaran Atelier". 11/6/17

A need for national, regional, international cooperation to save Caspian seal - There is a great need for national, regional and international cooperation to conserve the Caspian seal, an environment official has said. Caspian seals are only found in the Caspian Sea. Unfortunately the seals which are the sole marine mammals inhabiting the Caspian Sea have fallen into a drastic decline, Parvin Farshchi, deputy head of the department of environment for marine affairs, said in an exclusive interview with the Tehran Times. -Maryam Qarehgozlou 11/3/17

Do Americans Want to Renegotiate the Nuclear Deal with Iran? - A recent article in The Hill claimed that "a strong majority of voters-including most Democrats" want the United States to renegotiate the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran. The results it cites are at odds with many other polls. For example, a CNN survey done the same week found that 67 percent of Americans did not think that the United States should withdraw from the nuclear deal, while only 27 percent thought that it should. -Nancy W. Gallagher 11/1/17

Iranian-American Organizations and Individual Plaintiffs File Supplement to Lawsuit Challenging Trump's Travel Ban 3.0 - Three prominent Iranian-American organizations and 16 individuals have filed legal papers challenging President Trump's October 24th Executive Order, which they argue targets refugees from Iran and 10 other African and Middle Eastern countries. The papers are a supplement to the Motion for Preliminary Injunction the groups filed earlier this month against the Trump Administration's Travel Ban 3.0. 10/27/17

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Iranian-American

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Politics

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Environment

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Entertainment

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last updated on Tue Dec 12 11:04:58 -05 2017