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September 23 2017
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Iran Needs a National and Realistic Foreign Policy

- The worsening relations between the United States and Iran since the election of Donald Trump reached a fever pitch with the president's speech at the UN General Assembly and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's response to it. President Trump's harsh speech included a range of accusations against Iran. Most of these accusations were either unfounded or only partially true. President Rouhani for his part did not mince words and declared President Trump's speech unworthy of the UNGA. Other Iranian politicians and commentators were much less polite in characterizing Trump's speech. -Shireen T. Hunter 9/23/17

Iran successfully test-fires new ballistic missile

- Iran has unveiled a new ballistic missile during military parades held across the nation to mark the first day of the annual Sacred Defense Week. The missile, named Khorramshahr, was put on display during the military parade in Tehran on Friday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and senior military officials in attendance. 9/23/17

The Art of No Deal

- In the past few weeks, President Trump has given the world an instructive look at his negotiating style, as he lurches dangerously through the international china shop. I'm not talking here about his attempt to intimidate the leader of North Korea or intervene in the quarrel between American allies in the Persian Gulf. Those have not gone well. Let's focus instead on the Iranian nuclear deal, also known by its official initials JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action). -Gary Sick, LobeLog 9/23/17

After Trump's speech at UN, entire G-77 (134 countries) backs Iran deal

- One hundred and thirty four countries, under the banner of the Group of 77 at the United Nations, have voiced support for a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six other countries following a tirade by US President Donald Trump against Iran and the deal at the UN. 9/23/17

Trump Weighs Replacing Temporary Travel Ban With New Restrictions

- U.S. President Donald Trump is considering replacing his temporary travel ban on people from six predominantly Muslim countries with an order targeted at countries that have not satisfied U.S. demands for stringent safeguards against extremists, U.S. officials said. The currently temporary ban on visas for people from Iran, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria, and Yemen is due to expire on September 24. 9/23/17

Veteran Iranian vocalist Nader Golchin dies at 81

- Nader Golchin died at 81 after a long battle with lung cancer at Tehran's Gandhi Hospital on Friday. He was hospitalized for about one month at the medical center, his daughter Nazanin told the Persian service of ISNA. 9/23/17

The long wait for a Persian iPhone keyboard

- Android devices as well as Apple computers have Persian keyboards, but until this week the option wasn't available on Apple phones or iPads. For years Persian speakers used the Arabic keyboard on the iPhone, which was not really ideal for writing quickly or accurately in Persian. There were lots of petitions to Apple, pressing them to add a Persian keyboard to mobile phones. That finally paid off with the latest release. -Sam Farzaneh, BBC 9/23/17

Grasping at Straws

- The Trump Administration and its supporters outside of the U.S. government are laboring mightily to convince the international community that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is a bad deal for the United States. Unfortunately for them, Iranian compliance keeps getting in the way. -Richard Nephew, Arms Control Association 9/23/17

Iran inks banking deals worth 1.5 Billion Euros with Austria and Denmark

- Austria's Oberbank and Denmark's Danske Bank signed deals worth 1 billion Euros and 500 million Euros respectively with Iran on Thursday to be the first European banks to resume banking ties with the country after the lifting of sanctions in January 2016. The first deal was signed in Vienna by Oberbank's CEO and Chairman of the Board Franz Gasselsberger and representatives of 14 Iranian banks, IRNA reported. 9/23/17

Iran's President Rouhani at the UN: The Power of Appearing Reasonable

- In his September 20 speech to the UN General Assembly Iran's President Hassan Rouhani gave a textbook demonstration of the power of appearing to be reasonable. His unstated but clear message was: "They go low, we go high. I am not Donald Trump and do not expect me to operate at his level." Appearing reasonable is a very powerful weapon. Beginning in 2009, President Obama used it to great effect against Iran. He acknowledged the difficult history and mistrust between the two states and kept saying that the United States was seeking a "new beginning" with the Islamic Republic, that the U.S. would open its hand if Iran would unclench its fist. -John Limbert 9/22/17

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Iran: A Skier's Journey

Photos: Iran marks Sacred Defense Week with massive military parades - Iran has unveiled a new ballistic missile during military parades held across the nation to mark the first day of the annual Sacred Defense Week. The missile, named Khorramshahr, was put on display during the military parade in Tehran on Friday, with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and senior military officials in attendance. 9/22/17

Building Confidence in Iran's Intentions, Not Closing All Pathways - The decision to sell the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran (the JCPOA) to the US Congress and public as closing all pathways to Iranian acquisition of nuclear weapons is returning to haunt us. That slogan implied two things: that Iran was intent on acquiring nuclear weapons, and that the United States had succeeded in thwarting that ambition by imposing nuclear restrictions on Iran. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 9/22/17

Iranian Workers in City of Arak, Peacefully Demanding Unpaid Wages, Beaten and Arrested by Anti-Riot Police - Anti-riot police forces stormed peaceful protests by workers at two industrial units in Arak, the capital of Iran's Central Province, on September 19, 2017, and arrested several people, according to information received by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). A labor activist who asked not to be identified for security reasons told CHRI that day that several workers were detained during the protests against the Heavy Equipment Production Company (HEPCO) and the Azarab Industries Company. 9/22/17

Did Trump Just Make Iran More Popular? - On Monday, I sat in One U.N. Plaza, the high-rise hotel across the street from the United Nations, and watched a parade of European diplomats head into meetings with Iran's President, Hassan Rouhani... One by one, the Europeans came to confer with the leader of a country that has been ostracized by the outside world, for decades, as a pariah. No longer. -Robin Wright, New Yorker 9/22/17

Anti-Iran Deal Billionaire Tom Kaplan Lashes Out at Iran - A couple hours before and a few blocks away from where President Donald Trump delivered a speech to the United Nations on Monday, a group of anti-Iran deal advocates held their annual conference at the midtown Manhattan Roosevelt Hotel. Perhaps newly emboldened by the current administration's hostility to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), a billionaire wearing a blue, three-piece suit took the stage and delivered a diatribe, invoking anti-Muslim falsehoods and a series of crude animal metaphors to explain Iran's predatory nature. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog 9/22/17

Bernie Sanders: Saudi Arabia Is "Not an Ally" and the U.S. Should "Rethink" Its Approach to Iran - The senator suggested the United States should consider a pivot toward long-standing adversary Iran and away from traditional ally Saudi Arabia. The latter, he claimed, "has played a very bad role internationally, but we have sided with them time and time and time again, and yet Iran, which just held elections, Iran, whose young people really want to reach out to the West, we are ... continuing to put them down." -Mehdi Hasan, The Intercept 9/22/17

Iran Foreign Minister: If U.S. Wants New Nuclear Concessions, We Do, Too - Iran's foreign minister rejected on Thursday any new negotiation with the United States over extending the length or conditions of the 2015 nuclear accord, saying that Iran would talk about changing the accord only if every concession it made -- including giving up nuclear fuel -- were reconsidered. -New York Times 9/22/17

U.K. Brushes Off Trump on Iran With $720 Million Solar Deal - The U.K. deepened its economic relationship with Iran in a solar deal worth $720 million less than a day after U.S. President called the Persian Gulf nation a "rogue state" and threat to global security. "The fact that the European partners are rushing to Iran, for different industries, auto industries energy industry, shows that they do not believe at all that the failure of JCPOA is an option,'' Hamid Baeidinejad, ambassador of Iran in the U.K., said at the press conference. -Bloomberg 9/22/17

Iranian FM Zarif meets Tillerson, P5+1 representatives over nuclear deal - Representatives from Iran and the six world powers have come together to highlight the necessity of complying with Islamic Republic's nuclear agreement, despite threats by US President Donald Trump to scrap the deal. We raised the issue of Washington's non-compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during the Wednesday meeting, said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. 9/21/17

Sculpture of Maryam Mirzakhani unveiled in Tehran - An sculpture of renowned Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani was unveiled on September 19 at the National Library and Archive of the Islamic Republic of Iran (NLAI) in Tehran. Mirzakhani, 40, fought with cancer for four years and died of breast cancer at a hospital in the U.S. on July 14. The family of the late mathematician, the director of NLAI, Ashraf Boroujerdi, and other cultural and scientific personalities participated in the unveiling ceremony. 9/21/17

Installation of the First Iranian Design Mural in Los Angeles! - Farhang Foundation is proud to announce the first winning design installation of the its Iranian Mural Design Competition in collaboration with Beautify Earth. In 2016, Farhang Foundation joined forces with Beautify Earth to launch an international mural design competition open to artists worldwide. The competition invited artists to submit design concepts that conceptualize different and unique aspects of Iranian culture. The finalist designs would then be installed as public murals throughout the city of Los Angeles as part of the beautification of Los Angeles with Iranian art. 9/21/17

Tillerson Says He Remains Hopeful Iran Will Negotiate Changes In Nuclear Deal - U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson said he is still hopeful that Iran will agree to negotiate changes sought by the United States in the 2015 nuclear deal, despite the Iranian president's rejection of new talks. In a news conference late on September 20 after meeting with other parties to the agreement at the United Nations, Tillerson for a second time singled out the deal's "sunset" clauses, which end restrictions on Iranian nuclear activities, such as uranium enrichment, after 10 years in 2025. The restrictions were imposed in exchange for sanctions relief. 9/21/17

The Minister is Wrong: Using Circumvention Tools to Access Censored Websites in Iran is Legal - Iranian Telecommunications Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi was incorrect when he stated recently that using software to access censored online content in Iran is illegal. Indeed, no such law exists. "Using circumvention tools is illegal," he told the state broadcasting organization, abbreviated as IRIB, on September 14, 2017. "As minister of telecommunications, I have the authority to go online without them, so I don't use circumvention tools," 9/21/17

Ayatollah Khamenei censures Trump's 'ugly' remarks against Iran at UN - Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has censured US President Donald Trump's latest hostile comments against the Iranian nation at the UN as "ugly", "foolish" and "sheer lies." The statements by the US president did not bring any pride to the American nation, said Ayatollah Khamenei. "The American elite should be ashamed of having such a president." 9/21/17

Britain's PM meets Iran's President, urges all parties' commitment to Iran nuclear deal - British Prime Minister Theresa May has strongly backed the 2015 Iranian nuclear agreement, calling on all parties to remain fully committed to the deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). "I explicitly announced at the United Nations that the JCPOA is a very important agreement, and we are determined to continue [implementing] it," May said during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in New York on Wednesday on the sidelines of the 72nd UN General Assembly session 9/21/17

Turkey, Iran, Iraq Warn Of 'Countermeasures' If Kurdish Independence Vote Goes Ahead - Turkey, Iran, and Iraq have threatened unspecified "countermeasures" if Iraq's Kurdish leaders go ahead with a planned referendum on independence. The three countries' foreign ministers met on September 20 on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York, ahead of the nonbinding referendum scheduled for September 25. 9/21/17

Skiing in Iran: 11 videos worth seeing! - Since my first trip to Iran, I scrapped the web looking for anything and everything about skiing in Iran. I found quite a lot of interesting materials. I ended up with a bookmark full of links. Here is my selection of the best videos I've found. Enjoy! -skiofpersia 9/21/17

Trump and Netanyahu Risk Repeating Mistakes of Iraq War with Iran - "There was a remarkable tone deafness in Trump's outreach to the Iranian people. After having imposed on them a Muslim ban, despite the fact that no Iranian national has committed a lethal act of terror in the US, after declaring that Iranians only have themselves to blame when ISIS struck Tehran with terror, and after undermining and threatening to kill the nuclear deal that the Iranian people overwhelmingly support, Trump shockingly believes he can position himself as a friend of ordinary Iranians. But actions speak louder than words, and in all of his acts, he has shown deep animosity towards the people of Iran." -NIAC 9/20/17

Trump's UN speech 'belongs in medieval times': Iran's FM Zarif - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said that US President Donald Trump's UN address is not worth of a reply. "Trump's ignorant hate speech belongs in medieval times - not the 21st century UN - unworthy of a reply," Zarif tweeted on Tuesday. "Fake empathy for Iranians fools no one," he stressed. 9/20/17

Iranian president Rouhani condemns 'ignorant, absurd, hateful' Trump speech - President Rouhani described Trump's speech as "ignorant, absurd and hateful rhetoric" that was "unfit to be heard at the United Nations". He said Iran was waiting for Trump to apologize for the speech and what he described as an insult to the Iranian people. "It would be a great pity if this agreement were to be destroyed by rogue newcomers to the world of politics," Rouhani said. "The world will have lost a great opportunity." -Guardian 9/20/17

President Trump Misguided in UNGA Speech: PAAIA Urges Trump Administration to Continue Implementing the JCPOA - Today, President Trump told the United Nations General Assembly that the Iran Nuclear Agreement - otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) - is "one of the worst and most one-sided transactions the United States has ever entered into, and an embarrassment." -Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) 9/20/17

Producer of "Breath" pleased female filmmaker to represent Iran at Oscars - Mohammad-Hossein Qasemi, the producer of Iran's submission to the 2018 Oscars "Breath", who is also the husband of the film's director Narges Abyar, said on Wednesday that he was pleased Iran has sent a movie by a female filmmaker to the 90th Academy Awards. "Women have a greater potential for making a film and competing at international events," Qasemi told the Persian service of Tasnim. 9/20/17

Iran: Kurdish Activists Detained for Protesting Killing of Border Couriers - Six Kurdish artists and activists are being detained in Dizelabad Prison in Iran's Kermanshah Province for protesting the latest killing by Iranian border guards of "kulbars," the Persian word for border-crossing couriers, a source close to the detainees told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 9/20/17

Iran Summons Award-Winning Filmmaker To Court - Iranian authorities have asked award-winning filmmaker Mohammad Rasoulof to report to the prosecutor's office after confiscating his passport upon arrival in Tehran. Rasoulof's passport was taken away at Tehran's airport on September 15 as he returned from the United States, where he had screened his latest film, A Man Of Integrity (Lerd), at the Telluride film festival. 9/20/17

Washington's Counterproductive 4H Fixation in the Middle East - As the Trump administration projects uncertainty about its plans concerning the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) with Iran, it has redoubled pressure on its European allies to push back against Iran on unrelated issues, such as Iranīs "destabilizing regional activities." The thinking in Washington seems to be that the Europeans are so desperate to keep America committed to the JCPOA that they would go a long way toward acquiescing to US demands on those other issues. This, however, is wishful thinking. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 9/20/17

Trump is conflating Pyongyang with Tehran. The results could be catastrophic - This is the latest gimmick in Trump's desperate efforts to kill the nuclear deal with Iran: by focusing on Tehran's objectionable non-nuclear policies and false claims of the unevenness of the Iran deal, Trump is arguing that sustaining the international accord can no longer be justified since it doesn't address the totality of America's concerns with Iran. -Trita Parsi, Guardian 9/20/17

These Are 40 of the Most Terrifying Words in Donald Trump's U.N. Address - President Donald Trump is poised to make one of the most fateful decisions of his White House tenure. In his speech to the United Nations General Assembly, he lambasted the regime in Iran and, in a deeply misleading reference to the Iran nuclear deal negotiated by his predecessor, he said this of the United States -TIME 9/20/17

Poll: Iranians Want Economic Reform, More Engagement With Europe - A new IranPoll survey conducted in August finds that Iranians generally support globalization, want to see economic reform inside Iran, and want to improve their economic ties with Europe in particular. They are concerned, however, that U.S. pressure will cause European companies to think twice about doing business in Iran. The results show an Iranian public that seems increasingly optimistic about their economic future under the sanctions relief provided by the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA)-at a time when U.S. President Donald Trump is seriously threatening the deal. -Derek Davison 9/19/17

"Women, The Architects Of Peace" congress held in Tehran - An international congress with the theme of "women, the architects of peace" was held here on Sunday on the occasion of the World Peace Day, which is annually marked on September 21. The congress was held with the cooperation of the Institute for Protection of Women's Rights (IPWR), The UNESCO Chair for Human Rights, Peace and Democracy (UNESCO CHRPD) of Shahid Beheshti University, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. 9/19/17

UN Group Says Two Americans, Siamak and Baguer Namazi, Unjustly Held In Iran - A United Nations human rights group has called on Iran to immediately release two Iranian-Americans, Siamak Namazi and his 81-year-old father Baguer Namazi, describing their imprisonment as a violation of international law. The two are serving 10-year prison sentences on spying charges. 9/19/17

Sustaining the Iran Nuclear Deal - 76 senior political, diplomatic and military figures from across Europe: The extension of the sanctions relief to Iran announced by the US administration on 14 September was welcome. But, we remain greatly concerned by reports that the US Administration might unilaterally declare Tehran non-compliant with the 2015 Iran nuclear deal (the "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action") in mid-October at the next US decision point on maintaining sanctions relief. -European Leadership Network 9/19/17

French Leader Raises Possibility Of Reopening Iran Nuclear Negotiations In 2025 - French President Emmanuel Macron in talks with his U.S. and Iranian counterparts has raised the possibility of renegotiating provisions of the 2015 Iran nuclear deal after their scheduled expiration in 2025, French officials said. The possibility was raised in separate one-on-one meetings with U.S. President Donald Trump and Iranian President Hassan Rohani on September 18 on the sidelines of the United Nations General Assembly in New York, the officials said. 9/19/17

Baha'i Leader Released from Prison in Iran After 10 Years; Six Other Baha'i Leaders Remain Behind Bars - The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) welcomes the release of the Baha'i leader, Mahvash Sabet, who was unjustly imprisoned in Iran for 10 years on the sole basis of her religion. CHRI calls for the immediate release of the six other Baha'i leaders, who have all been imprisoned in Iran since 2008, and an end to the state-led persecution of the Baha'i community. 9/19/17

Allow Iranian Entrepreneurs to Sell Their Apps - Whether Iran's ruling regime improves its behavior won't depend on how many of their citizens can use their phones to hail taxis. Yet U.S. sanctions are preventing American technology companies from offering Iranian-made apps in their online stores -- a bad bargain for both U.S. business and policy. -Bloomberg 9/19/17

At $80 an ounce, it's not for everyone. But Iranian caviar is eyeing a comeback in the U.S. - Nasser Meshkin Azarian took a careful nibble, letting the salty, grainy texture roll across his tongue. He smiled and washed it down with a sip of cool water. "I give it an 82 or 83" out of 100, Azarian said. At the retail price of $80 an ounce in Iran, it was an expensive bite. But beluga caviar is for discerning palates. -Los Angeles Times 9/19/17

Kinky 'Fifty shades' sex and porn linked to divorce in Iran - In the privacy of their bedrooms in conservative Iran, Sabah's husband used to burn her breasts with cigarettes during sex, while Sarah was forced to re-enact scenes from the sadomasochist box office hit "Fifty Shades of Grey". The two women are among a rising number of Iranians getting divorced, a trend that some experts attribute to women's growing confidence in speaking out about violent sex and marital rape. -Bahaar Joya, Reuters 9/19/17

President Rouhani speaking in New York: Scrapping nuclear deal with Iran will be clear breach of agreement - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the United States' potential withdrawal from a multilateral nuclear deal with Iran would constitute a clear non-performance of contractual obligations by Washington. Speaking at a meeting of Iranian expatriates in New York, where he is to attend the 72nd session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA)President Rouhani said Iran would give "the due response" to any such violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). 9/18/17

Iran and the Nuclear Sunset Clauses - Opposition to the Iran nuclear agreement, known formally as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), always has been filled with disingenuous arguments. This reflects the fundamental illogic of the opponents' position: if the agreement were to be junked, this would mean removing a panoply of restrictions on Iran and re-opening now-closed avenues to a nuclear weapon for the very country that the opponents constantly contend is a serious threat. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 9/18/17

EU Foreign Policy Chief Mogherini Calls Iran Nuclear Deal 'Good', Robust' - European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini has said that the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, is a "good" and "robust" agreement. "The Iran deal is a good and robust agreement that serves the interests of all parties," she said in a statement to NBC News. "It is not an agreement between two countries - it is a commitment undertaken by the entire international community on one side and Iran on the other, supported by a resolution of the UN Security Council," she said. 9/18/17

Iran implementing nuclear-related commitments under JCPOA: IAEA Chief - The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has once again confirmed that Iran is implementing its commitments under the 2015 landmark nuclear agreement it signed with the P5+1 group of countries. "The nuclear-related commitments undertaken by Iran under the JCPOA are being implemented," IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano said on Monday. 9/18/17

Persian Poetry Day marked in Iran - Iranians have marked the Persian Poetry Day, which is also the anniversary of the passing of renowned Iranian poet Mohammad Hossein Behjat Tabrizi, better known by his pen name, Shahriar. An event was held Monday at the Maqbaratoshoara, or the Tomb of Poets, in the city of Tabriz, in East Azerbaijan Province, where Shahriar is buried. 9/18/17

Italian scholars publish book on Iranian architecture - Three Italian scholars have published their latest research on Iranian architecture in a book titled "Through Iran: Cities, Architecture, Landscapes" (Attraverso l'Iran. Citta, architetture, paesaggi). Manfredi Edizioni in the Italian city Imola is the publisher of the book, which carries materials that Alessandra De Cesaris, Giorgio Di Giorgio and Laura Valeria Ferretti gathered about Iranian architecture during several trips to the country since 2010. 9/18/17

Iran, UN Chief Voice Opposition To Plans For Referendum On Kurdish Independence - Pressure increased against plans by Kurdish leaders in northern Iraq to hold an independence referendum, with the United Nations chief and Iranian leaders adding their voices to opponents of the vote. Iran on September 17 warned that should Iraq's Kurdistan region gain its independence, it would mean an end to all border and security arrangements agreed previously between Tehran and the regional government. 9/18/17

Netanyahu Is Meeting Trump To Push For War With Iran - Today, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu will meet with Donald Trump at the White House and push the U.S. to withdraw from the nuclear accord with Iran. Netanyahu will present an argument that Trump already has come to accept: America's adherence to the nuclear deal cannot solely depend on Iran's compliance with the agreement, but also whether Iran's other policies challenge U.S. national interests. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post 9/18/17

Lack of transparency challenges foreign investment in Iran: Jens Ronnberg - A member of European Central Bank's Executive Board and an auditor in PricewaterhouseCoopers firm says transparency is still the major obstacle to international companies' cooperation with Iran. "We must pay special attention to financial security. Iranian companies must be responsible for risk management and ensure the investors that they have thought out potential risks," he added. 9/18/17

Volleyball World Grand Champions Cup: Iran defeats France to win first world medal - Amir Ghafour excelled in Iran's 3-2 (38-36, 25-23, 22-25, 25-27, 15-11) win over France to finish with a bronze medal in the FIVB Volleyball Men's World Grand Champions Cup at the Osaka Municipal Central Gymnasium on Sunday. Iran's third participation resulted to their best ever finish at the World Grand Champions Cup, after finishing fifth in 2009 and fourth in 2013. Iran also recorded four victories in a single edition for the first time. 9/17/17

Abort the Iran Nuclear Deal and Increase the North Korean Nuclear Threat to the US - US failure to implement fully the nuclear deal with Iran, perhaps even abrogating it while also continuing to isolate the country internationally, guarantees further erosion of Washington's already slim diplomatic opportunity to forestall North Korea's pursuit of a capacity to attack the United States with nuclear weapons. Even though Iran and North Korea are 4,000 miles apart and seem in Washington to be in different policy universes, they are in fact closely linked. -Robert E. Hunter 9/17/17

Females outnumber males by 13% in Iran's 2017 university admissions - As the final results for the Iranian university entrance exam, also known as Konkur, was announced on Saturday, it was revealed that females outnumber males in gaining admission to higher education by 49,062, or 13 percent higher than males. Out of 378,706 participants who were admitted to the universities nationwide 213,884 (56.5%) are females and 164,822 (43.5%) are males 9/17/17

Europe's Likely Response to Trump's Move Against Iran Nuclear Deal - Opponents of the Iran nuclear accord (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA)-both within and outside the U.S. administration-are setting the ground for President Trump not to certify Iran's compliance with the deal in October. In doing so, they contend that European allies would ultimately follow the Trump administration's lead on the issue, force Iran to renegotiate new arrangements, and eventually accept new concessions. -Reza Nasri, LobeLog 9/17/17

No agreement on the Caspian Sea - Recently some of the high-ranking officials in the Caspian Sea littoral states (Iran, Russia, Kazakhstan, Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan) have indicated that the draft convention on the legal regime of the Caspian Sea is finalized and it may be ready for approval by the concerned states during their next summit conference. The reality is that the draft prepared after 50 meetings of the littoral states in the level of deputy foreign ministers contains nothing about the most important in the Caspian Sea: the criteria for division of the seabed and waters of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba 9/17/17

Imprisoned for Producing Music, Yousef Emadi Sentenced to Another Year Behind Bars - An imprisoned Iranian music producer has been sentenced to an additional year in prison on new charges brought by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Yousef Emadi was supposed to be released on parole in 2017 after serving one year for producing underground music without a license. His co-defendants, Mehdi and Hossein Rajabian, were granted parole in June 2017. 9/17/17

"Mississippi Dies Seated" crowned best at Iran's theatrical writers awards - "Mississippi Dies Seated" based on Swiss writer Friedrich Durrenmatt's play "The Marriage of Mr. Mississippi" was named best play of the year at the 16th Celebration of Iran Critic and Theatrical Writers Society on Thursday. 9/15/17

U.S. Extends Iran Nuclear Sanctions Relief, Adds Other Sanctions Over Missile Activity - The United States says it is extending sanctions relief for Iran that was granted under the 2015 nuclear deal, while imposing new penalties on several individuals and entities over the country's ballistic-missile program. The State Department announced on September 14 that it will continue to waive sanctions on Iran as part of the nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers, but that no decision has yet been made on whether to preserve the deal itself. 9/15/17

Trump seeking excuses to undermine the nuclear deal: Iran's Shamkhani - Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani on Friday slammed US President Donald Trump for fabricating excuses vis-a-vis Washington's implementation of its obligations under the nuclear deal, called the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Such an "unconstructive" attitude, which is meant to "actively undermine the international agreement," would further tarnish the US standing in the world, and would certainly be met with Iran's proportionate response, he added. 9/15/17

'Queen of Iran's Skies' Tells Story of Her Paragliding Career - Fatemeh Eftekhari, who has become known as the "Queen of Iran's Skies", is the first Iranian female pilot taking part in international competitions. She has great stories to tell about her success. -IFP 9/15/17

US House votes to block aircraft sales to Iran - The US House of Representatives has voted in favor of new measures that block sales of commercial aircraft to Iran, ignoring some lawmakers' warnings that the hostile move would undermine the 2015 nuclear agreement between the Islamic Republic and the six world powers. 9/14/17

Nuclear Weapons Experts Warn Trump Against Abandoning Iran Deal - WASHINGTON - More than 80 experts on nuclear non-proliferation issues urged the Trump administration Wednesday to not abandon the global agreement reached with Iran to curb Tehran's nuclear weapons development program. 9/14/17

Rouhani's Intelligence Ministry is Keeping Prominent Rights Lawyer Abdolfattah Soltani in Prison, Says Daughter - Abdolfattah Soltani, who spent most of his legal career defending political prisoners before becoming one himself, continues to be denied parole and adequate medical treatment as he enters his seventh year in prison, his daughter told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 9/14/17

US Military Readying a More Aggressive Approach Against Iran - The United States is looking to counter Iranian influence in the Middle East with a more aggressive approach in cyberspace. "They operate almost entirely in what we refer to as the gray zone, that space between normal international competition and armed conflict," the commander of U.S. Central Command, General Joseph Votel, said Wednesday in Washington, calling it "an area ripe for cyberspace operations." -Jeff Seldin, VOA 9/14/17

World Heritage Volunteers help raise awareness of Persian qanats - A cluster of World Heritage Volunteers has spotlighted essentials to conserve and promote Persian qanats, a UNESCO registered heritage that provides exceptional testimony to cultural traditions in desert areas with an arid climate. 9/14/17

Anti-War Organizations Urge Congress to Protect Iran Nuclear Deal, Prevent Backslide to War Under Trump - In a new letter sent to members of the House of Representatives and Senate this morning, anti-war organizations representing tens of millions of Americans are urging Congress to do everything within their power as a co-equal branch of government to prevent Donald Trump from dismantling the Iran nuclear deal and putting the U.S. on a path to war with Iran. 9/13/17

PHOTOS: Mariwan International Street Theater Festival in northwestern Iran - The 12th Mariwan International Street Theater Festival has come to an end, with carnivals of Iranian and international artists marking the closing ceremony of the artistic event in the downtown of the Iranian Kurdish city. The four-day festival wrapped up on Tuesday in the northwestern city of Mariwan which is considered as Iran's capital of street theater. 9/13/17

Iranian VP for Women's Affairs Calls Ban on Females in Sports Stadiums "Discrimination" - Three days after Iranian women were barred from entering a stadium in Tehran to watch an international soccer match, President Hassan Rouhani's top female adviser described the ban as discriminatory. Vice President for Women and Family Affairs Masoumeh Ebtekar was reacting to Syrian women being allowed inside Azadi Stadium during a World Cup qualifier match between Iran and Syria on September 5, while Iranian women, even those holding tickets, were banned from entry. 9/13/17

PHOTOS: Iranian nomads' wedding ceremony, symphony of colors - Various ethnic groups or people of different regions of Iran have their own traditional weddings ceremonies. The Iranian nomads of Bakhtiari tribe celebrate their wedding ceremonies with clothes of diverse and vibrant colors. Photographer Farhad Safari has captured one such wedding for all to enjoy! 9/12/17

The Case Against the Iranian Nuclear Deal Is One Big Lie - There's no reason to trust any of the Trump administration's criticisms of, or plans for replacing, the JCPOA. -Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy 9/12/17

Over 4.9 million foreign travelers visited Iran in 2016: UNWTO - The number of international tourist arrivals to Iran stood at 4.9 million in 2016, falling 5.6 percent from a year earlier and showing the first decline since 2013, according to the latest UNWTO Tourism Highlights report released on August 15. 9/12/17

Pall hangs over U.S.-Iran science ties - WASHINGTON, D.C.-Rising tensions between the U.S. and Iranian governments have frozen most scientific contacts between the two nations, experts reported at a forum here last week. Long at the vanguard of efforts to broker ties between Iranian and U.S. scientists, the U.S. National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine (NAS) has mothballed its highly praised, 16-year-old engagement program -Richard Stone, Science Magazine 9/12/17

Iran abiding by commitments under nuclear deal: IAEA's Amano - Yukiya Amano, chief of the United Nations' International Atomic Energy Agency, reconfirmed on Monday that Iran is honoring its commitments under the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action. Speaking at the seasonal meeting of the IAEA Board of Governors in Vienna, Amano also said the body under his leadership is continuing to "implement the Additional Protocol in Iran". Additional Protocol allows surprise inspection of nuclear sites. 9/11/17

Iran to send human to space by 2025 - While announcing continued studies to send humans to space, the head of Iran's Aerospace Research Institute (ARI) said they may try sending a robot or a live creature before the final stage of sending a human. 9/11/17

Following Apple's footsteps, Google Play drops Iranian apps - Digital service distributor Google Play has followed Apple's lead in removing Iranian apps from its store, citing US sanctions against the Islamic Republic. Companies such as Google and Apple were hosting Iranian apps reportedly under a license issued by former President Barack Obama's administration in 2014 but it is not clear why they have stopped those services now. 9/10/17

Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Announces Its Top Six Finalists That Examine Aspects Of Iranian Culture For 2017 Fest - The Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival is pleased to announce six talented finalists competing for three cash prizes at its ninth annual cinema event. The films will be screened September 30, with the top three winners announced and awarded. The screenings will be followed by an awards ceremony hosted by Iranian American comedian and actress Melissa Shoshahi (FOX, Laugh Factory, Nickelodeon). This red-carpet event is followed by an exclusive cocktail reception in honor of the filmmakers. 9/10/17

PHOTOS: Tehran sculpture biennial opens after six years - The seventh edition of the Tehran Contemporary Sculpture Biennial opened at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) on Tuesday after a six-year hiatus. "Art biennials are the beating hearts of the artists' community in each society," the secretary of the biennial, Kurosh Golnari, said during an opening ceremony, which was attended by TMCA director Ali-Mohammad Zare' and groups artists and art aficionados. 9/8/17

Haley's Dishonest Speech About the Iran Nuclear Agreement - The Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program, is for Donald Trump one more of the Obama administration's achievements to be trashed. It goes alongside the Affordable Care Act, the Paris climate change agreement, and other measures (most recently the "dreamers" program involving children of illegal immigrants) as targets for trashing because fulfilling campaign rhetoric is given higher priority in the current administration than whether a program is achieving its purpose, whether there are any realistic alternatives available, or what the effects of the trashing will be on the well-being of Americans and the interests and credibility of the United States. -Paul Pillar 9/7/17

UN Expert Concerned at Condition of Prisoners on Hunger Strike in Iran - The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the human rights situation in Iran, Asma Jahangir, today expressed her deep concern about the situation of a number of prisoners who have been on prolonged hunger strike to protest against their transfer to a high-security section of Rajai-Shahr prison in Karaj, West of Tehran, and about their treatment while in detention. 9/3/17

PHOTOS: Khazineh Canyon, A Tourist Hub In Western Iran - Darreh Khazineh is a steep canyon located in western Iranian province of Lorestan. Some refer to this natural wonder as Iran's Grand Canyon. People use an elevated suspension bridge that spans Darreh Khazineh over Seymareh River to cross the canyon. The 112-meter-long bridge, with an altitude of more than 85 meters, is said to be the highest in the Middle East. 8/28/17

Gift establishes UCI endowed chair in art history, archaeology of ancient Iran - The University of California, Irvine has received a $1.5 million grant from Roshan Cultural Heritage Institute to establish the Elahe Omidyar Mir-Djalali Presidential Chair in Art History & Archaeology of Ancient Iran. Additional funding was provided by the UC Presidential Match for Endowed Chairs program. The holder of the $2 million chair in the Department of Art History will collaborate with UCI's Samuel M. Jordan Center for Persian Studies & Culture. 8/25/17

PHOTOS: Ruin, village of warps and wefts - Ruin, a village located in North Khorasan province, is home to women who still pursue the traditional arts and crafts of their ancestors, weaving, which began about 400 years ago and is one of the sources of income for the village. About 120 women weavers are currently actively engaged in this industry in Ruin. -Fatemeh Abedi 8/23/17

PHOTOS: Takht-e Soleyman, a 3000-year-old relic - The archaeological site of Takht-e Soleyman (recognized as a World Heritage Site), in north-western Iran, is situated in a valley set in a volcanic mountain region. The site includes the principal Zoroastrian sanctuary partly rebuilt in the Ilkhanid (Mongol) period (13th century) as well as a temple of the Sasanian period (6th and 7th centuries) dedicated to Anahita. The site has important symbolic significance. -Aryan Nasrollahi 8/22/17

Historical Pol-e Khaju Bridge in Isfahan: Architecturally interesting, visually appealing - To experience Isfahan, a vibrant tourist city in central Iran, it is most magical to walk across Pol-e Khaju at sunset when the 17th-century bridge is lit by glorious colors. A total of 23 arches, decorative motifs and tiles, adjoining arcades and an octagonal pavilion embedded right in the middle are amongst main features of the picturesque bridge that spans Zayandeh-Rood, one of the largest rivers in the central Iranian Plateau. 8/22/17

Statement on a Comprehensive Policy to Constrain Iran - On August 8, 2017, a bipartisan group of 47 national security leaders issued a statement recommending a comprehensive Iran policy designed to further U.S. national security interests: "The international agreement with Iran continues to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. No American national security objective would be served by withdrawing from it as long as Iran is meeting the agreement's requirements..." -The Iran Project 8/10/17

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Philanthropy

Sarava (Iranian Venture Capital firm)

Rights

Iranian-American Organizations issue statements on Trump's Muslim ban after Supreme Court decision

General

World Bank forecasts 5.8% GDP growth for Iran in 2016

Iranian-American

The CIA Coup Against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq: Iran 1953 Covert History Quietly Released

Politics

Secretary Tillerson Eschews Iran Diplomacy in Favor of Regime Change

Economy

Iran seeking to develop start-up jobs: Information Minister

Culture

Going their own way

Sports

Iran volleyball team wins title at 2017 Summer Universiade in Taipei

Art

Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video Competition

Literature

The Past, the Present, and the Bridge: Ali Dehbashi's Bukhara Magazine

Travel

New Trump's "Extreme Vetting" Proposal Raises Alarm Bells

Environment

December 4 marks International Cheetah Day: World's fastest land animal is racing against extinction

Entertainment

"The Salesman" by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi wins Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film

Music

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?

Book

A book by Meghan Nuttall Sayres: "Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran"

Event

International Iranian Women's Leadership Conference in London

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last updated on Sat Sep 23 14:59:24 -04 2017