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June 16 2019
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FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019: Iran celebrate victory against Canada

- Iran's national volleyball team have kicked off week three of the 2019 FIVB Nations League with a straight-sets win over Canada, in front of the home crowd in the northwestern Iranian city of Urmia. 6/15/19

The Maximum Pressure Campaign Presses Toward War

- The statement by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on the latest incident involving tankers in the Gulf of Oman is questionable on multiple counts, beginning with his immediate, semi-automatic attribution of responsibility to Iran. The origin of the fires and explosions on the tankers is still undetermined, grainy videos notwithstanding. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 6/15/19

Trump's maximum pressure train hits buffers with Abe's doomed Iran mission

- Shinzo Abe's trip to Tehran this week turned out to be one of the more ill-fated mediation efforts of recent times. What was billed as a grand gesture - the first Japanese leader to visit Iran in four decades - ended in humiliation, with split-screen television pictures showing Abe being told off by a stern supreme leader, while a thick plume of smoke rose from a burning Japanese tanker in the Gulf of Oman. -Julian Borger, Guardian 6/15/19

Trump blames Iran for the tanker attacks. But let's be skeptical of his administration's pro-war bluster.

- The Trump administration was quick to point fingers at Iran after explosions on two oil tankers from Japan and Norway in the Gulf of Oman. Undoubtedly, Iran is a plausible suspect... But, if anything, the speed in which the Trump administration officially blamed Iran should give us pause, given John Bolton's long history of fabricating intelligence in favor of war. -Trita Parsi, CNBC 6/15/19

President Xi: China to promote ties with Iran no matter what

- Chinese President Xi Jinping says Beijing will continue to promote steady development of ties with Tehran no matter how the situation changes. He made the remarks on Friday during a meeting with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization summit underway in the Kyrgyz capital of Bishkek, the official Xinhua news agency said. -Press TV 6/14/19

An unprecendented win for the Iranian-American Community

- On Tuesday night, NIAC Action endorsee Parisa Dehghani-Tafti won her election in a highly contested race for Commonwealth Attorney of Arlington County and the City of Falls Church, unseating the long-time incumbent prosecutor. -NIAC Action 6/14/19

Rouhani tells SCO summit: US poses 'serious threat' to world

- Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says the Trump administration is a serious threat to the stability of the Middle East and the world, urging the international community to stand up to US unilateralism. "For the past two years, the US government has used its economic, financial and military power through an aggressive approach to disrupt all international structures and regulations," Rouhani said Friday. -Press TV 6/14/19

Japanese tanker owner contradicts U.S. officials over explosives used in Gulf of Oman attack

- The Japanese owner of a tanker attacked in the Gulf of Oman claimed Friday that it was struck by a flying projectile, contradicting reports by U.S. officials and the military on the source of the blast. -CNBC 6/14/19

Iran's Frail Banking Sector Poses a Threat From Within

- Since the 1979 Islamic Revolution, Iran's banking sector has languished as Tehran has politicized its central bank and monetary policy far more than almost any other country in the world. U.S. sanctions are putting tremendous pressure on Iran's extremely fragile financial system by sending Iran into a period of stagnant economic growth accompanied by high inflation. -Stratfor 6/14/19

Iran says US has no 'shred of factual or circumstantial evidence' that Tehran attacked oil tankers

- Iran denies it was responsible for the attacks on two oil tankers in the Middle East, as Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Friday said on Twitter that the U.S. was jumping "to make allegations" against Tehran. -CNBC 6/14/19

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What does the Trump administration want from Iran? - The showdown in the Persian Gulf is not like the U.S. and the Soviet Union incrementally adjusting the balance of power, as they did during the Cold War. Mixed signals, bad timing and this kind of uncalibrated brinksmanship is how World War I began and spiraled out of control. It has brought the U.S. closer to the next Middle East war. -Noah Weisbord, The Conversation 6/14/19

Iran's Supreme Leader to Japan's Prime Minister: Trump not worthy of exchanging messages with - Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei dismisses US President Donald Trump as a person not worthy of a response or a message, stressing that negotiations with Washington cannot help solve any problem. Ayatollah Khamenei made the remarks in a Thursday meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, who told the Leader he was carrying a message from the US president. 6/13/19

Tanker Crews Rescued Safely By Iran After Reported Attacks In Gulf Of Oman - Dozens of crewmembers have been rescued after two tankers transporting petroleum products were reportedly attacked and caught fire in the Gulf of Oman. The June 13 incidents come a month after attacks on four tankers off the nearby United Arab Emirates increased tensions between Tehran and Washington and U.S. allies in the Persian Gulf. 6/13/19

Japan's Abe On Tehran Mission To Help Ease U.S.-Iran Tensions - Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe says a military conflict should be avoided at all costs amid rising tensions between the United States and Iran. Abe spoke in Tehran on June 11 following talks with Iranian President Hassan Rohani, who praised his meeting with the Japanese prime minister as successful and said that the two had discussed economic ties and the 2015 nuclear deal with major world powers. -RFE/RL 6/13/19

Warnings of Effort to 'Maneuver the US Into a War' as Trump Officials Rush to Blame Iran for Attacks on Gulf Tankers - "These attacks are yet another warning sign that Trump and his team are leaning into a disastrous war in the Middle East." -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 6/13/19

More than 1 million people join global campaign to demand Iranian government release Nasrin Sotoudeh - More than a million people in more than 200 countries and territories across the globe have come together to express their outrage at the sentencing of prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh to 38 years and six months in prison and 148 lashes after two grossly unfair trials, Amnesty International announced today, as signatures demanding her release were handed in to Iranian embassies around the world. -Amnesty International 6/13/19

Why Bullying Isn't Working In Foreign Policy - Seemingly endless threats, insults, punishment, and attempts at coercion have been a leading feature of Donald Trump's foreign policy. The pervasive bullying so far has not been matched by a comparable degree of positive results, as many have noticed. North Korea's nuclear arsenal is no smaller than it was when Trump took office. The trade war with China is escalating rather than being resolved. Policy toward Iran is a multifaceted failure. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 6/13/19

Iranians boycott ride-hailing app after hijab controversy - A move to boycott a popular Iranian ride-hailing application has gained momentum among social media users in the country after a controversy over a female passenger's hijab, a headscarf worn by many Muslim women who feel it is part of their religion. It all began last week when the woman was asked by a driver of the Snapp app to put on the headscarf that had fallen off her head, according to Tasnim News Agency. -Saeed Jalili, Al Jazeera 6/13/19

Iran Has Little to Gain From Oman Tanker Attacks - Two oil tankers have been damaged in a suspected attack in the waters between the United Arab Emirates and Iran as they were leaving the Persian Gulf. This is the second incident in four weeks, and raises the question of who gains what from them. Fingers will certainly be pointed at Iran as the mastermind behind these events. But the potential benefits to the Persian Gulf nation are outweighed by the risks. And even if Tehran isn't responsible, it will still suffer the consequences. -Julian Lee, Bloomberg 6/13/19

Japan's Prime Minister Abe arrives in Tehran on historic visit - Japan's Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has arrived in Iran on a first visit by a Japanese premier to Tehran in more than 40 years, with a plan to help ease tensions between the Islamic Republic and the United States. Prime Minister Abe arrived in Tehran on Wednesday morning. -Press TV 6/12/19

Can Mediation Efforts Between US And Iran Succeed? - The visit of the German foreign minister was not a resounding success, to say the least. First, prior to coming to Tehran, he visited some Arab states, including Jordan and the UAE, demonstrating where Germany's priorities were. Second, his tone during his talks, according to Iranian news outlets, was arrogant and hectoring. -Shireen T. Hunter 6/12/19

Detained Iranian Journalist Denied Hospitalization Despite Worsening Symptoms - Imprisoned journalist Sanaz Allahyari has been denied hospitalization despite suffering from worsening health problems in Tehran's Evin Prison, a source close to her family told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on June 10, 2019. "Sanaz's condition is very worrying," said the source who also told CHRI that her family was not allowed to submit a letter about her case to Parliament. -CHRI 6/12/19

Outrage on Capitol Hill over 'completely unacceptable' US-funded scheme to shape Iran debate - United States officials say they are outraged by a government-funded troll campaign that has targeted American citizens critical of the administration's hardline Iran policy and accused critics of being loyal to the Tehran regime. -Negar Mortazavi & Borzou Daragahi, Independent 6/12/19

Political Prisoner Stabbed to Death in Tehran Penitentiary Three Months After Protesting Unsafe Conditions - Political prisoner Alireza Shirmohammadali was stabbed to death in the Greater Tehran Central Penitentiary (GTCP) after he was unlawfully kept in a ward that holds inmates convicted of dangerous crimes, his lawyer informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 6/12/19

Why does the U.S. need trolls to make its Iran case? - This weekend, a new wrinkle was added to the ongoing saga about the information war over Iran policy: the stunning revelation that an online persona that was cited by the Trump administration to justify leaving the Iran nuclear deal is likely not a real person, after all. -Jason Rezaian, Washington Post 6/12/19

Female Lawmaker Vows To Take A Gavel To Iran's Political Glass Ceiling - Iranian lawmaker Parvaneh Salahshuri, a sociologist, says that when she decided to apply for one of a handful of influential posts in parliament, she realized she didn't have a chance. The reason, as the 55-year-old reformist sees it, is that she's a woman. "The lawmakers saw it as a man's position and they wouldn't accept the presence of a woman," Salahshuri told the news site on June 7. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 6/12/19

U.S. Welcomes Iran's Release Of Lebanese National, Eyes U.S. Detainees - The United States has welcomed Iran's decision to free a Lebanese national imprisoned on charges of spying for Washington, saying it hoped it would lead to the release of other Americans being held by Tehran. The State Department on June 11 said Washington was "very pleased" by the release of Nizar Zakka and it praised Lebanon's role in ending his "unlawful imprisonment." "We hope that Mr. Zakka's release is a positive sign for American detainees in Iran," a State Department spokesman said. -RFE/RL 6/12/19

Iran scrambles to lift petrochemical sales as sanctions hammer oil - Iran has been racing to step up exports of petrochemicals and tap new markets to compensate for sliding oil sales, Iranian and international industry sources said, but now risks losing that crucial revenue as Washington tightens the screw on sanctions. -Reuters 6/12/19

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

Europe must resist US economic terrorism against Iran: President Rouhani - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani says European countries must resist the United States' economic terrorism against the Iranian nation and live up to their obligations as per a nuclear deal signed between Tehran and six world powers in 2015. Rouhani made the remarks in Tehran on Monday afternoon in a meeting with the visiting German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas. -Press TV 6/11/19

Art museum presents the first U.S. exhibition for Iranian artist - The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art (at University of Oregon) is presenting the first United States exhibition by Iranian artist Naeemeh Naeemaei from June 15 to Dec. 31. The exhibition features work from two series, "Dreams Before Extinction" and "Under the Earth, Over the Moon." -AroundTheO 6/11/19

Persian adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba explores themes of jealousy and sexual tension in a time of mourning - June 12 & 16 at Vancouver's Firehall Arts Centre: In the Firehall Arts Centre's version of a classic play by Frederico Garcia Lorca, the action moves from a rural Spanish town to a village in Iran. Toufan Mehrdadian's Farsi adaptation of The House of Bernarda Alba features repression, jealousy, love, and sexual tension taking place in the home of a bereaved Iranian widow, Ehteram Sadat. -Aria Nasimi, Straight 6/11/19

US mulls new sanctions to kill Iran-EU trade vehicle - The Trump administration is now weighing sanctions on Iran's counterpart to the European special-purpose vehicle for humanitarian trade, Bloomberg says. The financial news provider quoted a senior administration official as saying that the latest measures will target the Special Trade and Finance Institute, which Iran set up to correspond to Europe's INSTEX in bypassing sanctions. -Press TV 6/11/19

Trump leaves Congress in dark on Mideast deployment to counter Iran - The Donald Trump administration has yet to inform Congress on how long it will keep troops, a carrier group, bombers and missile defense batteries in the Middle East that were recently sent to the region to counter threats from Iranian-backed proxy groups, the chairman of the House Armed Services Committee said today. -Jack Detsch, Al Monitor 6/11/19

On Lebanese-Israeli Border, US And Iran Are Negotiating - On May 13, while The New York Times reported that the White House was reviewing military plans to attack Iran, a plane carrying the State Department's Acting Assistant Secretary for Near Eastern Affairs David Satterfield quietly landed in Beirut on an unannounced trip. -Joe Macaron, LobeLog 6/11/19

FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019: Iran defeat Japan in three sets - Iran continued their strong run in the 2019 men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League with a victory against pool hosts Japan on Sunday. Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani: "As I expected, it was a tough game with Japan. We managed to stay focused during the game, which was the key to this great victory. It was a good finale of the VNL in Tokyo." -FIVB 6/10/19

System to circumvent US sanctions on Iran ready soon: German FM - A European payment system designed to circumvent US sanctions on Iran will be ready soon, Germany announced on Monday. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran as part of European efforts to salvage the historic JCPOA nuclear pact and defuse rising US-Iranian tension. -Al Jazeera 6/10/19

An Iranian Activist Wrote Dozens of Articles for Right-Wing Outlets. But Is He a Real Person? - IN 2018, PRESIDENT Donald Trump was seeking to jettison the landmark nuclear deal that his predecessor had signed with Iran in 2015, and he was looking for ways to win over a skeptical press. The White House claimed that the nuclear deal had allowed Iran to increase its military budget, and Washington Post reporters Salvador Rizzo and Meg Kelly asked for a source. In response, the White House passed along an article published in Forbes by a writer named Heshmat Alavi. -Murtaza Hussain, Intercept 6/10/19

Iran's Haft Tappeh Workers Send Written Appeal to International Labor Organization - A group of Haft Tappeh sugar mill workers in the city of Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province, have submitted an official complaint to the International Labor Organization (ILO) about the ongoing suppression of protests there and detentions of peaceful demonstrators and journalists covering the protests. -CHRI 6/10/19

EU3: De-Facto Enforcer Of U.S. Sanctions Against Iran? - The situation around Iran, which only seemed to be moving inexorably toward a crisis, recently took a slightly more hopeful turn. Multiple international efforts to facilitate de-escalation between the United States and Iran, in addition to both sides' unwillingness to sleepwalk into war, helped to lower the tensions... -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 6/10/19

As an Iranian American journalist in exile, I'm used to online attacks. But I didn't expect the State Department to fund them - The Iran Disinformation Project, funded by US taxpayer dollars, repeatedly used its social media accounts to attempt to discredit me. And I wasn't their only target -Negar Mortazavi, Independent 6/10/19

8 unbelievable facts about Iran's economy - Iran's economy has had a turbulent decade. In 2016, Iran was on the rise economically, but since 2018, United States sanctions have sent the Middle Eastern nation in a downward spiral. The sanctions had previously been lifted under the 2015 nuclear deal between the two countries. Now, experts predict that Iran will face a shrinking economy, ballooning inflation, and a significant budget deficit. -Business Insider 6/10/19

The US is Waging a Quiet Scientific War Against Iran - Not so long ago, scientists were true diplomats of pacifism, but today they became a favorite target to decelerate the national progress and discourage future generations of scientists. -Ivan Kesic, MPN News 6/7/19

Iran, under U.S. sanctions, a perfect travel destination for tourists - There has been a rise in the arrival of foreign tourists to Iran as well as internal tourism by Iranians themselves after the unilateral US sanctions devalued the national currency rial, making a trans-Iranian journey very cost-effective and relatively cheap for world travelers. 6/7/19

FIVB Volleyball Nations League 2019: A tough match for both teams, Iran and Brazil - Brazil defeated Iran in five sets in their first match in Tokyo in week 2 of the 2019 men's FIVB Volleyball Nations League on Friday. Iran captain Mir Saeid Marouflakrani said: "I would like to say congratulations to the Brazil team first. These full sets were very tough and I am disappointed and not satisfied with this result but there was lots to learn from such a big team. Looking back, there were good plays too. We will do our best tomorrow as well." -FIVB 6/7/19

German Foreign Minister to travel to Iran next week to discuss JCPOA - Germany's Foreign Ministry says the country's top diplomat Heiko Maas is to travel to Tehran next week to address ways to save the 2015 nuclear agreement between Iran and six world powers. The ministry spokeswoman, Maria Adebahr, made the announcement during a news conference in Berlin on Thursday, adding that Maas will be in Tehran on Monday and he plans to meet his Iranian counterpart Mohammed Javad Zarif. -Press TV 6/7/19

Iranian Poet Once Praised By Supreme Leader Lands In IRGC Custody - In the summer of 2010, poet Hossein Jannati was basking in the adulation of the supreme leader. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, a self-professed poetry lover who also has the final say in politics and religion in Iran, was publicly reciting Jannati's "very fine" verses and using his powerful media team to share that poetry. But less than a decade later, 39-year-old Jannati has run afoul of Khamenei's censorship and security apparatus, reportedly charged with "spreading propaganda" against the establishment. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 6/7/19

Iranian MPs, Media Challenge President Rohani's Call For More Power - Iranian President Hassan Rohani's chief of staff, Mahmoud Vaezi, has defended Rohani's call for more power while critics continue to voice their opposition to Rohani's expanding authority. The Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) quoted Vaezi on June 7 as having said that Rohani needs more power in order "to make decisions about problems quickly." -Radio Farda 6/7/19

Russia And China Voice Support For Iran After Xi Visit To Kremlin - Russian President Vladimir Putin on Wednesday hosted Chinese leader Xi Jinping for Kremlin talks that reflected increasingly close ties between the two countries that were communist rivals during the Cold War. At the conclusion of the meetings a joint statement by Russia and China voiced support for Iran and commended Iran's implementation of the requirements of the Joint Comprehensive plan of Action (JCPOA) or Iran's nuclear agreement with world powers, reported Russia's Interfax news agency. -Radio Farda 6/6/19

Controversial State Department Program Backing Trump's Iran Policy Draws Congressional Scrutiny - House Democrats are investigating the State Department's use of a program originally set up to counter terrorist disinformation so the Trump administration could fund attacks on critics of the president's Iran policy. -Dan Friedman, Mother Jones 6/6/19

Russia 'In Talks With Europeans' To Be Included In Iran Trade Mechanism - A Russian diplomat has said that Moscow is in talks with Europeans to be included in the trade mechanism created by three EU members to ease sanctions pressures on Iran. The Russian Permanent Representative to the European Union Vladimir Chizov told Interfax news agency that Russia is holding talks with European countries on being included in the INSTEX trade mechanism with Iran. -Radio Farda 6/6/19

"Your Pens Should Be Broken": Iranian Journalist Jailed for Social Media Posts - Charged with national security crimes for his social media posts, journalist Masoud Kazemi has been sentenced to 4.5 years in prison, of which he must serve two years (subject to appeal), his lawyer announced on June 2, 2019. 6/6/19

The Suspicious Twitter Network Trolling for Regime Change in Iran - As the Trump administration has ramped up economic sanctions against Iran and aimed increasingly threatening rhetoric at the country, an influence network has popped up on Twitter pushing similar messages. Networks comprising over four hundred Twitter accounts composed of likely bots along with real accounts and "cyborg" accounts have consistently released messaging opposing the Iranian government. -Ali Breland, Mother Jones 6/6/19

America's Standard Of "Normal Nation" In The Middle East - On June 2, 2019, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated that the United States would be willing to engage with Iran as long as "the Iranians...behave like a normal nation." Aside from the condescension of talking to Iranians as if they are children who need to "behave," Pompeo's remark begs the question as to what it means to act like a "normal nation." -Pouya Alimagham, LobeLog 6/6/19

Zarif: Mossad fabricating intel to blame Iran for Fujairah false flag - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has dismissed as a "fabricated" claim by Israeli spy agency Mossad that Iran was behind the recent attacks near the Emirati port of al-Fujairah, saying he had warned about such false flag attacks in the region. -Press TV 6/6/19

Trump's hard-line approach to Iran is a 'strategic mistake,' former US energy secretary says - The increasingly hard-line approach taken by U.S. President Donald Trump's administration toward Iran is a "strategic mistake," former U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest J. Moniz said Thursday. Moniz, who was at the Ecosperity Conference in Singapore, said Washington's hardening approach risks provoking Iran not to comply with the 2015 nuclear agreement. -CNBC 6/6/19

Iran's Khamenei Speaks Softly About Trump, Lashes Out At Saudi Arabia, Bahrain - An unprecedented change of tone about U.S. President Donald Trump turned out to be the highlight of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's speech on the 30th anniversary of his predecessor's death on Tuesday June 4. -Radio Farda 6/5/19

Iran: Three Rights Lawyers Sentenced to Lengthy Jail Terms in Less Than a Year - Amirsalar Davoudi has become the third known defense attorney to be sent to prison in Iran for his peaceful activities in less than a year. Prominent imprisoned defense attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, whose imprisonment made international headlines, stated in March 2019 that she would not appeal her own lengthy prison sentence in protest against Iran's justice system. In addition to Davoudi and Sotoudeh, Mohammad Najafi is currently serving a three-year prison sentence and facing a total of 19 years behind bars. -CHRI 6/5/19

Persepolis Football Team Wins Iran's Hazfi Cup - Persepolis football team won Iran's Hazfi Cup for the sixth time in Ahvaz's Foolad Arena on Sunday. Persepolis edged past Iran's Second Division outfit Damash Gilan 1-0, thanks to Ali Alipour's 22nd minute goal from a wonderful free-kick. 6/5/19

Shiraz City Councilman Begins Serving One-Year Prison Sentence for Advocating Religious Tolerance - A few hours ago agents came to our house and took away my husband Mehdi Hajati to enforce a one-year prison sentence," Hajati's wife Zohreh Rastegari tweeted on June 2, 2019. A member of the Shiraz City Council, Hajati had been arrested in October 2018 and held for 10 days for seeking the release of two local Baha'is who had been arrested for practicing their faith, which is severely persecuted by the Iranian government. -CHRI 6/5/19

US Sanctions Are Causing Medicine Shortages, According to Iranians - The re-imposition of US sanctions since President Donald Trump abandoned the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in May 2018 has had a devastating effect on the Iranian economy and has especially impacted the lives of those who struggle to provide medicine for themselves and their families. -Tahereh Hadian-Jazy, Atlantic Council 6/5/19

Donald Trump says US is not seeking war with Iran - Donald Trump has told British officials he is not seeking a military confrontation with Iran and is instead aiming for direct talks with Tehran over his plan to negotiate and broaden the country's nuclear deal. Despite the assurances, British officials remain nervous the US president may have only 30 days before Iran takes irreversible steps to forgo the agreement. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 6/5/19

What Is Russia's Game In U.S.-Iran Standoff? - During his visit to Japan last month, President Donald Trump suggested some softening of American position regarding Iran and indicated that the United States welcomed Prime Minister Shinzo Abe's mediation between Tehran and Washington. Soon after, Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergey Rybakov paid a visit to Tehran on May 29. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 6/5/19

Iranian Caravanserais And Time Travel To Forgotten Ages - For many travelers to Iran, staying in or even visiting a centuries-old caravanserai, can be a wide experience; they have an opportunity to feel the past, a time travel back into a forgotten age!. Such roadside inns were originally built in various epochs along ancient caravan routes in the Muslim world to shelter people, their goods and animals. The former Silk Roads may be the most famous example dotted by caravanserais. -Afshin Majlesi, Tehran Times 6/4/19

Iran Lawmaker Blames U.S. Sanctions For Shortage Of Medical Devices - Iran continues to face serious problems with the import of medicines and medical equipment as a result of sanctions imposed by the U.S., according to Behrouz Bonyadi, a lawmaker who sits on the parliamentary health and treatment commission in Tehran Sanctions "have definitely affected transactions for medicine and foodstuff," he told the Iranian Labor News Agency (ILNA) on Sunday, June 2. -Radio Farda 6/4/19

How feasible is Khamenei's economic doctrine for Iran? - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has laid out his vision for how the country's economy needs to be reformed in order to resist sanctions. His extensive policy speech on May 14 was more detailed than previous ones and also included admissions about the existence of "maladies" and the need for significant structural reforms. But what needs to be undertaken to achieve the goals outlined in Khamenei's core statements? -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 6/4/19

So Much for "Maximum Pressure" - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo pulled a head-spinning switcheroo over the weekend, telling reporters that the Trump administration is ready to hold talks with Iran with "no preconditions." On the one hand, this is a welcome development. -Fred Kaplan, Slate 6/4/19

My Pentagon Regret: As the U.S. Rattles Its Sabers at Tehran, Echoes of Sabers Past - Earlier this month, the USS Abraham Lincoln carrier strike group -- the massive aircraft carrier itself with its dozens of warplanes and thousands of sailors and marines, a guided missile cruiser, and four destroyers -- suddenly began to make its way from the Mediterranean Sea into the Persian Gulf, heading for the waters off Iran. Pentagon sources spoke of ominous but unspecified threats. The U.S. military moved into a showy state of readiness, with reports that a force of up to 120,000 troops might be mobilized and sent to the Middle East for a possible future war with Iran. -James Carroll, TomDispatch 6/4/19

Six places to visit in Hamedan, Iran - The west central Iranian city of Hamedan, never falls short of offering cultural heritage sites to its visitors. Scenic natural landscapes, traditional restaurants, public gardens and colorful outdoor markets and more importantly, its hospitable people make for an unexpected slice of the city. -Tehran Times 6/4/19

Why We Proudly Quisle And You Don't - What does it mean when you say someone has quisled? And to whom do you refer as a "quisling"? It is little wonder that you, the western reader of this piece, have not heard of a phenomenon such as Vidkun Quisling for decades. He was a Norwegian politician who collaborated with the Nazis in invading Norway during World War II, and his surname has been used as a synonym for traitor ever since. -Sepideh Jodeyri, LobeLog 6/3/19

PERSEPOLIS - The magnificent ruins of Persepolis, or Parsa, lie at the foot of the Kuh-i-Rahmat mountain, roughly 650 kilometres south of the capital city of Tehran, and 70 kilometres northeast of Shiraz in the Fars region of southwestern Iran. Founded around 518 BC by Darius I (the Great), the site served as the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire and was intended and designed to display the splendour and majesty of an empire that stretched from Greece to India. -Following Hadrian Photography 6/3/19

FDD Aligned With State Department To Attack Supporters Of Iran Diplomacy - FDD pushes for military confrontation with Iran and has received funding from some of Trump and the GOP's biggest campaign megadonors. While simultaneously denying their support for a war with Iran, FDD's scholars have repeatedly urged U.S. military action against the Islamic Republic. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog 6/3/19

US must get back to normal conditions: Rouhani - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani says the Islamic Republic can sit at the negotiating table to solve any issues if the enemy returns to "normal conditions" and realizes it had taken a wrong approach. His comments came shortly after US Secretary of State Mike Pomope backed off from the 12-point list of "basic requirements" he had put forth as a prerequisite for a new deal with Iran, and said on Sunday that Washington was prepared for unconditional talks. -Press TV 6/3/19

Pentagon's phony Iran "evidence": New rationale for U.S. intervention? - Last week a senior Pentagon official accused Iran of having sabotaged four oil tankers in the Gulf of Oman on May 12 and of firing a rocket into Baghdad's Green Zone on May 19. Iran executed these events, he said, either directly or through regional "proxies." But instead of creating sensational headlines, the briefing by Vice Adm. Michael Gilday, the director of the Joint Staff, was a flop, because it was clear to reporters covering it that he could not cite a single fact to back it up. -Gareth Porter, Salon 6/3/19

Trump's policy towards Iran alienated U.S. from key allies: Sen. Feinstein - In an interview with Tehran Times, U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein said that the unilateral policy of the Trump administration against Iran has alienated the country from its key allies. Recently, U.S. based "Politico" reported on Iranian Foreign Minister M.J. Zarif's meeting with Dianne Feinstein, the well-known American Democrat Senator during his recent visit to New York. -Tehran Times 6/3/19

Is The U.S. State Department Funding Attacks On Iranian Activists Abroad? - Considerable evidence emerged late this week connecting the U.S. State Department to a Twitter account that has engaged in online attacks against human rights organizations, Iranian-American activists, journalists, and others advocating against the escalation of tensions between the United States and Iran. The revelation is raising questions about whether the Trump administration is using federal funds to propagandize in favor of a potential Iran war. -Derek Davison 6/1/19

Meet the illustrator of The Phoenix of Persia! - We interviewed Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif, illustrator of the gorgeous new picture book The Phoenix of Persia! Find out what he had to say! -Tiny Owl 6/1/19

Can Iran's Outreach To The Persian Gulf Arab States Succeed? - Over the past several weeks, as tensions have escalated with the United States, Iran's diplomacy has gone into high gear, especially at the regional level. In the last month or so, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif has visited India, Pakistan, Turkmenistan, Iraq, and Japan. Meanwhile, his deputy Abbas Araghchi has visited Kuwait, Oman, and Qatar. With the possible exception of Japan, their trips to Gulf states have been the most important of these visits. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 6/1/19

How Mainstream U.S. Media Is Failing Us On Trump And Bolton's March To War With Iran - The Trump administration and its allies are slow-walking the United States into war with Iran, and, with a few notable exceptions, mainstream U.S. media is helping them. Much of this assistance has been overt. Just like during the run-up to the Iraq war, outlets like CNN, NBC, and the New York Times have in recent weeks simply parroted without scrutiny claims from Bolton and other administration officials of a dire Iranian threat based on intelligence no one has seen. -Ben Armbruster , LobeLog 6/1/19

American Militarism, Its Agents, And Its Next Target: Iran - A dangerous, insidious public relations campaign has begun to prepare Western public opinion for economic and military intervention in Iran. This campaign has already brought the USS Abraham Lincoln aircraft carrier, a Patriot missile defense battery, and a bomber task force to the Persian Gulf. -Shaahed Pooyandeh and Setareh Shohadaei, LobeLog 5/31/19

'I wouldn't be the refugee, I'd be the girl who kicked ass': how taekwondo made me - When she arrived in the US as a 10-year-old refugee, Dina Nayeri found it hard to fit in. But that all changed when she hatched a plan to get into Harvard - by becoming a taekwondo champion -Guardian 5/31/19

How US Sanctions Hinder Iranians' Access to Medicine - The United States has over the past four decades imposed a wide range of economic sanctions to punish Iran for a number of undesired policies. While Trump administration officials continue to insist that food and medicine are exempt from US sanctions, and that sanctions do not hurt the Iranian people, evidence suggests that unilateral sanctions are collectively punishing the Iranian population by denying them adequate and reliable access to medicine. -Sina Azodi, Atlantic Council 5/31/19

Israeli 'intelligence' is fostering US bellicosity toward Iran -- but 'quietly - As the U.S. risks a major conflict with Iran, many have pointed out that the U.S. intelligence on alleged Iranian attacks is reminiscent of the faulty intelligence leading up to the Iraq war. And several mainstream sources have said that Israel is behind some of that intelligence. Because, as even the New York Times says, "The gathering clouds seemed of a piece with Mr. Netanyahu's agenda." -Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 5/31/19

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

U.S. Displays Lack Of Understanding Of Iranian Politics And Society By Designating IRGC - Trump is making a strategic mistake with significant consequences for Iran-West/US relations. The Guard has much domestic support in Iran due to its role in rebuilding the nation after its costly war with Iraq. Without the Revolutionary Guards, an indispensable part of the official army, Iran could not have defeated Saddam's invasion (1980-1988). Conservative estimates place casualties of Saddam's "imposed war" at around 1 million for Iran. -Younes Mahmoudieh 5/30/19

Iranian-American ready to represent Iran at US CrossFit Games amid political tension - Californian Payam Saljoughian will become the first athlete to officially represent Iran at the CrossFit Games As a dual citizen, the lawyer said living in the US allows him to avoid most of the politics that comes with the strained relationship between the two countries. -SCMP 5/30/19

Iran patients feel brunt of US sanctions with their skin - Ordinary Iranians are struggling to keep up with soaring prices of essential goods because of US sanctions, but a group of patients feel the excruciating pain of the inhuman restrictions literally with their skin. -Press TV 5/29/19

Play in London: WELCOME TO IRAN - Ava is a twenty-something Londoner. Following the death of her estranged father, she journeys to Iran in search of his past and her extended family. Exploring the rich culture and thriving art scene of this oft misunderstood country, Ava is swept into a world of raves, raids and illicit love, all whilst negotiating family politics, Tehran traffic and the morality police. 5/29/19

Arms Manufacturers Tell Investors That Iran Tension Fuels Business - DEFENSE EXECUTIVES FROM around the country crowded into Goldman Sachs' glimmering tower in downtown Manhattan in mid-May, eager to present before a conference of bankers and financial analysts. While much of the world was on edge over simmering tension in the Middle East, as the U.S. and its allies have stoked tensions with Iran, the businessmen at the conference talked of opportunity. -Lee Fang, Intercept 5/29/19

SANCTIONS: Iran Medical Professionals Report Shortage, High Prices Of Imported Equipment - Medical professionals in Iran say prices of imported medical equipment have risen 4 to 5 times in the last few months, Mehr news agency reported on Monday May 27. Vahid Karimi, the secretary of Iranian Radiology Association told Mehr that the price of laboratory equipment have risen up to five fold. The Iranian currency has depreciated more than fourfold in the last 18 months against major currencies, mainly due to U.S. sanctions. 5/27/19

Three Persian leopards, one cheetah spotted in Semnan, Iran - Three Persian leopards and an Asiatic cheetah have been spotted in Khar Turan National Park of Shahroud, Semnan province, a senior official at the Department of Environment (DOE) said. Amir Abdoos, director of Semnan's DOE office, said the three mature leopards were spotted by the trap cameras while approaching the protected zones in search of water. -Mehr 5/27/19

62 Organizations Tell Congress: Halt a March to War with Iran - We write to request that Congress take urgent action to halt a march to war with Iran. The Trump administration, spurred on by National Security Advisor John Bolton, has moved the U.S. into a war posture. Over the last few weeks, Bolton pushed through unprecedented sanctions and escalated the war of words intended to provoke retaliation from the Iranians. Now, Bolton has used a routine carrier deployment to the Middle East to threaten Iran with "unrelenting force" and has overseen the revision of war plans that would send 120,000 troops to the Middle East if Iran takes his bait. 5/23/19

Lessons From The Gulf Of Tonkin Incident: The Iran Script - Disturbing similarities between the run-up to the Iraq War of 2003 and the Trump administration's bellicosity toward Iran keep accumulating. They include war-selling rhetoric seemingly derived from the same script. But in some respects, the more striking parallel to the present occurred over half a century ago, beyond the living memory of most Americans. The time was August 1964, and the place was the dark nighttime waters of the Gulf of Tonkin. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 5/22/19

Do Iranian 'Threats' Signal Organized U.S.-Israel Subterfuge? - President Donald Trump's national security team has been leaking "intelligence" about Iranian threats for a week now in an attempt to justify escalating tensions, including moving American air attack assets to the Persian Gulf. But a closer look suggests that National Security Advisor John Bolton and other senior officials are trying to pull off an intelligence deception comparable to the fraudulent pretense for war in Iraq. There's also credible evidence that Israel could be playing a key role in this subterfuge. -Gareth Porter, American Conservative 5/21/19

Leading Iranian stem cell scientist behind bars in U.S. for 7 months without trial - Top Iranian stem cell scientist Dr. Masoud Soleimani has been behind bars in the United States without trial for the past seven months. Back in October last year, Soleimani, a professor and biomedical researcher at the Tarbiat Modares University (TMU) in Tehran, was arrested by the US Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) upon his arrival in the US. -Press TV 5/20/19

Harsh Prison Terms for Three Iranian Authors Who Dared to Criticize the State - In a glaring repudiation of freedom of expression and the right to peaceful dissent, the Iranian judiciary sentenced three prominent members of the Iranian Writers Association (IWA) to six years in prison each on May 15, 2019. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) joins the IWA in forcefully condemning these unjust and unlawful sentences against Baktash Abtin, Reza Khandan Mahabadi, and Keyvan Bajan. -CHRI 5/18/19

Interview with Ashk Dahlen, author of The Persian Empire - Ashk Dahlen was born in Tehran in 1972 and has lived most of his life in Sweden. He is Associate Professor in Iranian Languages at Uppsala University and his field of study covers Persian literature, Iranian history of religion and philosophy. Ashk Dahlen is the author of several books and articles on Iranian history and among his recent publications is Antikens Persien (in Swedish). 5/14/19

Iranian-American organizations campaign against U.S. war with Iran - Iranian-American organizations are actively campaigning against a U.S. war with Iran encouraging members of community to write to their members of Congress urging them to support the Prevention of Unconstitutional War with Iran Act. 5/13/19

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last updated on Sat Jun 15 09:59:39 EDT 2019