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May 22 2018
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Iranian Officials Call For Unblocking Twitter

- Six Iranian ministers and two lawmakers, all members of the state committee in charge of blocking websites, have issued an open letter to the country's prosecutor calling for the unblocking of Twitter. The letter was issued in response to "the growing public demands for unfiltering Twitter to allow the activity of the youth and media in [it]," the government website reported. 5/22/18

The JCPOA, The NAM, The NNWS, The USA, And The NPT

- Someone asked me last week how President Donald Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the July 2015 nuclear deal with Iran would affect the nuclear non-proliferation regime centered on the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT). One way of approaching the question is to try to imagine what impression the president's decision will have made on the bulk of NPT parties: the Non-Nuclear Weapon States (NNWS) who are members of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM). -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 5/22/18

Commander Says Iran's People Will Respond To Pompeo's Threats With A Punch In The Mouth

- A senior Iranian military commander poured scorn on U.S. threats to tighten sanctions on Tuesday, saying the Islamic Republic's people would respond by punching U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in the mouth. -Reuters 5/22/18

Iran's Telegram Users Back on the Rise Three Weeks After State Banned the App

- Three weeks after Iran banned the widely used Telegram messaging app, the telecommunications minister posted a chart online showing that the number of Iranian users had begun rising to pre-ban levels. The posting marks the first time an Iranian official has presented figures implicitly confirming the failure of state censorship policies. 5/22/18

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An Artist Considers the Absurdity of Ending the Iran Nuclear Deal

- Nothing surprises the Iranian-American artist Sheida Soleimani anymore, whose latest body of work lampoons the leaders of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. -Hyperallergic 5/22/18

Iranian Factory Workers Resume Blockade of Key Railway Line

- Iranian factory workers have resumed a blockade of the country's main north-south railway line as part of a protest against labor conditions in a western Iranian city. Iranian social media users said the workers of the HEPCO industrial complex in Arak blocked the railway line that runs along its perimeter on Monday. The HEPCO workers had removed the barricades five days earlier while also warning they would be reinstated if authorities did not accept their demands. 5/22/18

Eleven Killed, Hundreds Sick In Iran After Mushroom Poisoning

- More than 800 people have been poisoned after eating toxic wild mushrooms across western Iran, local media report. A Health Ministry official said on May 21 that that the effects of the fungi had killed 11 people so far, Tasnim news agency reported. 5/22/18

The Myth of a Better Deal

- From imaginary weapons of mass destruction to fantastical currency unions, "magical thinking" in foreign policy leads to nothing but catastrophe. Let's not do the same with Iran. -Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy 5/22/18

Fire And Folly: What Trump's Violation Of The Nuclear Deal Means For Iran

- Instagram took an unexpected turn earlier this month when the office of the Iranian Supreme Leader released a picture of Ali Khamenei flipping through Fire and Fury while on a visit to the Tehran International Book Fair, proof that reality circa 2018 continues to be stranger than fiction. -Shervin Malekzadeh, LobeLog 5/22/18

Despite Fatwa, Transgender People in Iran Face Harassment

- Of Iran's 80 million people, estimates suggest under 50,000 are transgender, meaning their gender identity does not match the sex or gender they were identified as having at birth. Like in other parts of the world, they can face harassment. -AP 5/22/18

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AFC Women's Futsal Championship Final: JAPAN VS IRAN

Kazakhstan's Yeslyamova, Iran's Panahi Among Winners At Cannes Film Festival - At the awards ceremony on May 19, the prize for best screenplay was split between Iranian filmmaker Jafar Panahi's script for Three Faces and Italian director Alice Rohrwacher's Happy as Lazzaro. The film by Panahi, who is banned from leaving Iran, premiered to a standing ovation at the festival where it was screened on May 12. 5/21/18

Yupa: Iran national football teams' mascot unveiled - Yupa, the mascot of the Iranian national football teams, was unveiled ahead of the friendly match between Iran and Uzbekistan. The word 'Yupa' is derived from the Persian word 'Yuzpalang' means cheetah and 'Tizpa' means fast. Yupa has put a Pahlavani wristband on its right hand which is an Iranian symbol and has worn a captain's armband on its left arm. 5/21/18

Iran: EU Not Doing Enough to Support Nuclear Deal - Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif said Sunday that Europe's political support to save the 2015 international nuclear accord after the U.S. withdrawal was not sufficient if too many European companies end their investments in Iran. "The cascade of decisions by EU companies to end their activities in Iran makes things much more complicated," Zarif said after meeting with European Union energy commissioner Miguel Arias Canete. 5/21/18

Iranian MP Accuses Khamenei's Representative of Fueling Unrest in Kazeroon - While clashes between riot police and angry demonstrators continue in the Southwestern city of Kazeroon near Shiraz, local officials blame each other for the unrest that has claimed at least two lives according to official figures. Vehemently defending the plan to divide the ancient city of Kazeroon, its representative to parliament has accused the local Friday Prayer leader of "provoking people to rebellion." -Radio Farda 5/21/18

Rival Camps In Iran Point Fingers Over JCPOA Failure - The saber-rattling over the decision by U.S. President Donald Trump to pull out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), or Iran's nuclear deal with world powers, has intensified between the two rival camps in Iran. -Radio Farda 5/21/18

Mike Pompeo Promises To 'Crush' Iran And Achieve A Better Deal - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday presented a lengthy list of grievances against the Iranian government and vowed to forge a new, better nuclear agreement -- but he offered few details on how the United States would accomplish that goal without support from European allies, Russia or China. -Huffington Post 5/21/18

Three Million Iranians Have Organ Donor Cards - Some three million Iranians have organ donor cards and some 10 percent have signed online consent forms for organ donation, Farahnaz Sadeq-Beigi, head of organ procurement program in Masih Daneshvari Hospital, a national research institute for tuberculosis and lung diseases, has said. 5/21/18

EU Vows To Stick To Iran Nuclear Deal If Tehran Complies - The European Union will remain committed to the Iran nuclear deal as long as Tehran continues to adhere to the landmark 2015 accord easing sanctions in exchange for curbs on its atomic program, the EU's top energy official said on May 19. 5/19/18

EU to make direct oil payments to Iran to bypass US sanctions - A plan by the European Union to make direct oil payments to Iran after the US re-imposes sanctions against the country is seen to risk the start of a trade war between Europe and the United States. The plan - which was unveiled on Friday - envisages Euro payments to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) for oil purchased by EU member states. It would be part of a package of measures adopted by the EU to save the 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran after US President Donald Trump said he would take America out of it. 5/19/18

Iran's President Rohani Calls On Muslim World To Cut Ties With Israel, Curb Ties With U.S. - At a summit of Muslim countries convened by Turkey in Istanbul on May 18, Rohani said "if Israel faces a united front of Islamic nations, it will never be able to continue its crimes," Rohani said. He said a "new and young generation of Palestinians is aware of their rights and has no intention to withdraw or compromise." It was a rare show of unity between Shi'a-ruled Iran and Sunni-led Saudi Arabia and other Middle Eastern nations 5/19/18

Pompeo Asks U.S. Allies' To Help Push Iran Back To Negotiation Table - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is preparing a "diplomatic road map" on Iran that will call for European and other allies to help force Tehran back to the negotiating table after President Donald Trump pulled out of the 2015 nuclear deal, a U.S. official says. 5/19/18

Obsession With Iran Destabilizes The Middle East - The Trump administration has used rolling back Iran's "malign" influence in the Middle East as a mantra to justify its aggressive approach to the country. The US withdrawal from the nuclear agreement, known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), is couched in the language of denying Iran benefits it allegedly uses for "destabilizing activities in the region." -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 5/19/18

Video of Assault on Iranian Dog Walker Draws Outrage - A video clip filmed by Iranian man who says another man punched him for walking a dog in Tehran in violation of Islamist rules has sparked outrage from Iranian social media users. The man who shot the phone video sent it to Masih Alinejad, the freelance host of VOA Persian's Tablet program, Thursday and said the incident happened earlier in the day in Tehran's Ab-o-Atash park. -Michael Lipin, VOA 5/19/18

Did Trump Galvanize Europe Over The Iran Deal? - When Donald Trump decided to violate the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) all eyes fell on Europe. Would the European Union be able to salvage the deal and create the political space for Iran to maintain its commitments under it? -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog 5/19/18

NYC's Premier Farsi Funk Band, Mitra Sumara, Announces New Album TAHDIG - Mitra Sumara, New York City's only Farsi Funk group, is proud to announce their debut album Tahdig, set for release on June 8, 2018 on Persian Cardinal Recordings. This international party band revives the vibrant Persian pop and funk music silenced by the Iranian Revolution. The popular music of Iran in the 60s and 70s combined disco, funk, and Latin beats with Middle Eastern melodies and poetic lyrics. Mitra Sumara interprets hits by Iran's beloved singers such as Googoosh, Soli, Leila Forouhar, and remakes intoxicating Southern Iranian Bandari beat tunes. 5/18/18

Iran Signs Oil Deal With British Group, First Since U.S. Resumed Sanctions - Iran has signed an agreement with a British consortium to develop an oil field, in the first such deal with a Western firm since Washington announced it would exit the nuclear deal and reimpose sanctions on Iran. The National Iranian South Oil Company signed an agreement with the London-based Pergas consortium to produce 655 million barrels of oil from the Keranj field in southwestern Iran in the next 10 years, Iran's Oil Ministry said on May 17 through its Shana news service. 5/18/18

Local Police in South Iran Accused of Killing Two Protesters - At least two people are suspected to have been killed and several wounded after police in the south-western Iranian city of Kazeroon opened fire on a crowd in front of a police station where their relatives were detained for protesting the planned partition of the city, a resident told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 17, 2018. 5/18/18

President Trump And Iran Have Set Europe A Stiff Challenge - President Trump's decision to pull the United States out of the July 2015 nuclear agreement with Iran had been predictable for nearly four months. On 12 January he had set conditions for remaining a party to the deal that were bound to be unacceptable to Iran. He had also bared his (characteristic) belief that he could get a better deal by scrapping the JCPOA and subjecting Iran to crippling sanctions. Less predictable was Iran's response to the decision. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 5/18/18

Iranian Canadian's Widow Maryam Mombeini Hospitalized Two Months After Being Banned From Leaving Iran - The wife of an Iranian Canadian academic who died in Iranian custody under suspicious circumstances in February 2018 was hospitalized for three days after exhibiting symptoms of a nervous breakdown. "My mother had been in Pars Hospital for three days because of stress and psychological pressures caused by loneliness, depression and stress," Mehran Seyed-Emami told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 16, 2018. 5/18/18

Hamstrung By The U.S., Iran Tilts East For Trade Opportunities - Facing renewed economic sanctions from the United States and the possible knock-on collapse of its business dealings with Europe, Iran is looking to Russia and China to expand trade. And Moscow and Beijing, embroiled in their own economic disputes with Washington, are well-positioned to oblige. -Frud Bezhan, RFE/RL 5/18/18

Thus Begins The Bolton Administration - For a man with a reputation for venting spleen and flying off the handle, John Bolton bided his time before finally rising to the position of power he now occupies. The former U.S. ambassador to the UN spent much of the last decade consolidating his political base through stints at right-wing institutes like the American Enterprise Institute, media appearances on Fox, and the occasional reckless op-ed. -John Feffer, LobeLog 5/18/18

They Want War With Iran, They're Settling For Economic War - On Tuesday, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned Valiollah Seif, governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) as a "Specially Designated Global Terrorist," accusing him of moving " millions of dollars on behalf of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps-Qods Force (IRGC-QF) to Hezbollah." OFAC's move opened a new front in the Trump administration's accelerating conflict with Iran. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj 5/17/18

With $1 million gift from Farhang Foundation, UCLA plans to create new minor in Iranian music - The UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music will begin the process of establishing an academic minor in Iranian music with a generous $1 million gift from Farhang Foundation. A signing ceremony on April 27 at UCLA commemorated the gift. 5/17/18

Iran: Little Progress to Show UN on Disability Rights - Iran is facing a looming deadline to present its response to the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (CRPD) a year after the UN body gave the Iranian government three recommendations for upholding and protecting the rights of the country's disabilities community. 5/17/18

EU's Tusk Hits Out At Trump's 'Capricious' Policies Amid Iran Split, Trade Dispute - European Council President Donald Tusk has slammed "the capricious assertiveness" of the United States under President Donald Trump, who he said has "rid Europe of all illusions." Tusk made the comments on May 16 in Bulgaria's capital, Sofia, before an EU summit where the U.S. decision to abandon the Iran nuclear deal and the threat to impose tariffs on aluminium and steel products will be discussed. 5/17/18

Violent Protest 'Leaves At Least One Dead' In Kazeroon, Southern Iran - A violent protest in the city of Kazeroon in southwestern Iran has left at least one person dead and six others injured, Iranian media report. Esmail Tabadar, the governor of the province of Fars, where Kazeroon is located, confirmed the death of one protester in a May 17 interview with the semiofficial ISNA news agency. 5/17/18

Iranian Starts Blocking Internet Filtering Circumvention Tools - Iran's Information and Communication Technology Minister announced that based on an order issued by the Supreme Council of Cyberspace, his ministry has started blocking anti-filtering programs or internet filtering circumvention tools, as they are known. 5/17/18

EU Hardens Against Trump With United Stand on Trade and Iran - European Union leaders presented a determined front to stand up to U.S. President Donald Trump's threats to penalize EU businesses and scupper the Iran nuclear deal. As the bloc paved the way for retaliation, its 28 leaders meeting in the Bulgarian capital Sofia made a rare demonstration of unity in the face of what EU President Donald Tusk called the "capricious assertiveness" of the Trump administration. -Bloomberg 5/17/18

Instead Of Adding Onto Iran Sanctions, Europe Should Prevent Disaster - President Trump's decision last week to withdraw the United States from the 2015 Iran nuclear deal confirmed the worst fears of European leaders, who had pleaded to the president not to scrap the laboriously negotiated arms control agreement. -Sina Azodi and Tytti Erasto, LobeLog 5/17/18

Battle For Iranian Oil Industry Takes Shape, As Some Europeans Pull Out While Others Move In - Just as French oil major Total announced it was likely to pull out of Iran, a UK-based consortium has signed a deal which could pave the way for a ten-year commitment to the country. -Dominic Dudley, Forbes 5/17/18

After The Iran Deal Pullout: Whose Plan B? - Much has been written about what comes next after the US withdrawal from the Iran Nuclear agreement, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). So far, this is guesswork. As many have observed, the administration itself has divulged no strategy going forward, probably because there is none. -Dan Sisken, LobeLog 5/17/18

New US Sanctions Will Make Iranians Sicker - Sanctions against Iran are almost as old as I am. I was born in early 1980, and international sanctions against Iran began during the Iran-Iraq war of the 1980s as most global and regional powers supported Iraqi President Saddam Hussein in his invasion of the country. My father was injured and exposed to chemical weapons during that war, and as a result suffered from Parkinson's disease later in life. -Fariba Pajooh 5/16/18

EU's Tough Choice: Analysts Say Staying In Iran Deal Is An Option If... - European officials eager to salvage 2-year-old nuclear curbs on Iran are said to be exploring ways to ensure Tehran's continued participation following the U.S. decision to abandon the so-called Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA), under which Tehran limited sensitive nuclear activities in exchange for sanctions relief. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 5/16/18

US Blacklisting Of Iran's Central Bank Chief Meant To Derail Nuclear Deal Talks: Tehran - Tehran has strongly condemned Washington for imposing sanctions on the Central Bank of Iran's chief over a week after the US withdrawal from the 2015 nuclear deal, saying such moves are meant to derail the ongoing negotiations to save the now six-party agreement. 5/16/18

Iran Deal: Will Europe Rise To The Occasion? - This week will see a flurry of activity in the European Union designed to save the nuclear deal with Iran, otherwise known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). After President Donald Trump announced the U.S. withdrawal from the agreement, all eyes are now on Europe: will it be able to deliver enough incentives to Iran to continue being part of the deal? -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 5/16/18

European Leaders To Discuss Ways To Shield Firms From U.S. Sanctions On Iran - European Union leaders at a summit in Sofia are expected to discuss measures that the bloc might take to shield European companies from renewed U.S. sanctions on Iran. EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said on May 15 that European commissioners will first discuss whether the EU's 1990s-era sanctions-blocking measures can be used to protect European business interests in Iran before leaders at the summit take up the matter. 5/16/18

"You Know What Your Problem Is:" Young Man Expelled From Iranian University For His Baha'i Faith - A young man has been expelled from the University of Gilan in northern Iran because of his Baha'i faith in another example of Iranian universities discriminating against students for their religious beliefs without consequences. 5/16/18

Merkel: Germany Remains Committed To Iran Nuclear Deal - Canceling a nuclear agreement between world powers and Iran would be wrong, German Chancellor Angela Merkel has said, adding that the U.S. withdrawal from the deal was among several pieces of "troubling news" that had occurred recently. 5/16/18

Selling Planes To Iran Could Have Saved Lives. Exiting The Nuclear Deal Will Make That Harder. - On a Sunday morning in February, a twin-engine turboprop passenger plane crashed in Iran's Zagros Mountains. All 65 passengers and crew members were killed. The plane, an ATR 72, had been flying for nearly 25 years, about 10 years longer than the average U.S. aircraft is kept in service. -Jessica Schulberg, Huffington Post 5/16/18

European firms jump the gun on Iran sanctions - Global companies have begun to take stock of how President Donald Trump's decision to exit the 2015 nuclear deal with Tehran is going to affect overall business with Iran. -Press TV 5/16/18

Iraqi Kurds look to open new chapter with Iran - Iraqi Kurds are opening a new chapter in their relations with Iran, seven months after Tehran sided with Baghdad in crushing their ambition for independence following a 2017 referendum in which nearly 93% of Kurds opted to secede from Iraq. -Fazel Hawramy, Al Monitor 5/16/18

The Danger Of Process-Free Foreign Policy - The disturbing parallels between Donald Trump's policy toward Iran and the run-up to the disastrous U.S. offensive war against Iraq keep piling up. There is a drumbeat of belligerent rhetoric, with no limit to what the targeted country gets accused of doing. There is a highly selective, tendentious public use of intelligence, including presentations either to the United Nations or from an ambassador to the United Nations. There are even some of the same people, including John Bolton, who still says that the Iraq War was a good thing, who has made no secret of welcoming a war with Iran, and who today is Trump's national security advisor. -Paul Pillar 5/15/18

Iran's Zarif Hails 'Constructive Meeting' With EU On Nuclear Deal - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif hailed as "very good and constructive" the meeting he had on May 15 in Brussels with the European Union's foreign policy chief, Federica Mogherini. Zarif was in Brussels on the final stop of a global tour aimed at rallying support for a landmark 2015 nuclear between Tehran and six world powers in the wake of Washington's withdrawal from the deal. 5/15/18

Enraged Workers Block Iran's North-South Railway - Workers from the Hepco industrial complex in the central city of Arak blocked and disrupted the Iran North-South railway for several hours on May 14, demanding overdue wages and protesting conditions at their factory. Hundreds of Hepco workers have not been paid for three months, state-run news agencies ILNA and IRNA reported. -Radio Farda 5/15/18

Iran: Baha'i Leader's 10-Year Prison Sentence Extended Despite Judicial Ruling That He Is Too Ill to Be Incarcerated - Afif Naeimi, the seventh and last imprisoned member of Baha'i leaders in Iran known as the Yaran, returned to Rajaee Shahr Prison near Tehran on April 23, 2018, at the end of his medical leave despite suffering from life-threatening ailments. His wife Shahla Khalaji informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on May 1 that the judiciary's own medical experts had ruled that the 57-year-old is too ill to be incarcerated. 5/15/18

Iran's Central Bank Sets Strict Limits On Cash Leaving Country Amid Currency Crisis - A new directive issued by the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) has set strict limits on the amount of foreign cash travelers can take with them out of the country amid a deepening currency crisis. According to the new directive published on CBI's website May 13, travelers leaving Iran by air are only allowed to carry 5000 euros ($5,980) or its equivalent in other foreign currencies. This is half the amount of foreign currency travelers could take with them before the new directive was issued. 5/15/18

What's Next? The Human Impact of the JCPOA Fallout - On a call with my cousin who lives in Tehran, we agonized over the aftermath of President Trump's devastating decision to pull the U.S. out of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The lead up to Tuesday's abrupt pull out prompted steep price hikes caused by the plummeting value of the Iranian currency. -Leila Austin, Medium 5/15/18

Ivanka Trump Opens U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem During Israeli Massacre of Palestinians in Gaza - IN A GRAPHIC demonstration of disregard for the lives and rights of Palestinians, a smiling Ivanka Trump welcomed Israeli dignitaries to the new U.S. Embassy in Jerusalem on Monday, while, just 60 miles away in Gaza, Israel's armed forces shot hundreds of Palestinian protesters, killing at least 60. -Robert Mackey, The Intercept 5/15/18

Trump's Sanctions Will Hurt Iran, But How Much? - After Trump made his decision, the burden of preserving the JCPOA without U.S. participation seems to have fallen to Europe. Already European leaders have engaged in a flurry of activity to entice Iran to remain party to the JCPOA despite the resumption of U.S. sanctions. -Derek Davison, LobeLog 5/15/18

Is GOP Mideast Policy "Bought And Paid For" By Likudist Republican Group? - Mega-billionaire and the Trump campaign's single biggest donor Sheldon Adelson has pledged to contribute $30 million to the Congressional Leadership Fund (CLF) Super PAC to defend the Republican majority in the House of Representatives in the 2018 election cycle. Having already influenced Trump's policy on the Middle East, what more does Adelson expect to receive in return for his investment? -Jim Lobe and Eli Clifton, LobeLog 5/15/18

Media Debate Best Way to Dominate Iran - The debate in the New York Times and Washington Post over President Donald Trump's decision to withdraw from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), better known as the Iran deal, revolves around which tactics America should use to dominate Iran. -Gregory Shupak, FAIR 5/15/18

U.S. Security Adviser John Bolton: Washington Not Pushing Iran 'Regime Change' - White House national security adviser John Bolton says "regime change" in Iran is not currently part of the administration's policy, despite his past suggestions that the United States should push for a new government in Tehran. 5/14/18

Shaparak Shajarizadeh Twice Arrested For Allegedly Removing Her Headscarf in Public in Iran - Shaparak Shajarizadeh has been arrested again for allegedly allowing her hair to show in public in Iran. Her lawyer, prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh, called the ongoing arrests of Iranian women for allegedly violating the country's compulsory hijab rule a "manifestation of violence against women." 5/14/18

Tehran City Council Elects New Reformist Mayor - Tehran City Council members elected Mohammad Ali Afshani as the new mayor of the Iranian capital May 13, after his predecessor resigned last month amid controversy. Afshani won by 19 votes, while his main challenger, Acting Mayor Sami'ollah Hossaini Makaram, garnered only one vote. 5/14/18

Despite Facing Prison, Iranian Rights Lawyer Mohammad Najafi Still Seeking Justice For Deceased Detainee - Mohammad Najafi, a human rights lawyer facing years behind bars in Iran for publicly arguing that local police tried to conceal the cause of a detainee's death, says he is determined to continue seeking justice for the victim. "I will follow up on Vahid Heydari's case within the framework of the law and if his family wants me to represent them, I will do so and defend their rights to the fullest without the slightest hesitation," Najafi told the Center for Human Rights in Iran on May 6, 2018. 5/14/18

Israeli Forces Kill Dozens Of Palestinians As Protests Intensify Over U.S. Embassy In Jerusalem - Israeli troops killed dozens of Palestinians who were taking part in mass protests on the Gaza border on Monday as the United States opened its embassy to Israel in Jerusalem. On the Gaza border, at least 41 Palestinians were killed by Israeli gunfire in the latest in a round of protests dubbed the "Great March of Return", health officials said. -Reuters 5/14/18

Out of Iran deal, into war? Either way, Netanyahu's popularity soars - Netanyahu appears to have inoculated himself against looming corruption charges due to the dramatic developments on the security front. As war with Iran looms, why does the old formula work so well? -Dahlia Scheindlin, 972 Magazine 5/14/18

Saudi Arabia Versus Iran On The Football Pitch - Saudi Arabia's bitter rivalry with Iran has spilled onto Asian soccer pitches with the newly created South West Asian Football Federation (SWAFF) reflecting the kingdom's bid for regional hegemony, including domination of soccer. -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog 5/14/18

With Demise of Nuclear Deal, Iran's Foes See an Opportunity. Others See Risk of War - Even as Mr. Trump scrapped American participation in the nuclear deal, Iranian-backed political parties were contesting parliamentary elections in Lebanon and Iraq, and Iranian-aligned rebels in Yemen were firing ballistic missiles at the Saudi capital, Riyadh. -Ben Hubbard, New York Times 5/14/18

AFC Women's Futsal Championship: Iran champions again! - The Iran women's national futsal team has vigorously ended its campaign at the 2018 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Futsal Championship, and defended its title as the champion of the continental tournament. The Iranian sportswomen defeated the Japanese outfit 5-2 in the final showdown of the event at Indoor Stadium Huamark in the Thai capital city of Bangkok. 5/13/18

Banned Iranian Director Jafar Panahi Gets Standing Ovation At Cannes Film Festival - A new film by Iranian director Jafar Panahi, who is banned from leaving Iran, has premiered to a standing ovation at the Cannes Film Festival. Panahi's children and the cast of his film Three Faces were welcomed with thunderous applause as they arrived for the gala screening late on May 12, where one seat was left symbolically empty for the dissident director. 5/13/18

Europeans Move To Protect Firms From Renewed U.S. Sanctions On Iran - European nations are moving to protect their companies from a resumption of stiff U.S. sanctions on firms doing business in Iran, in a critical part of their bid to keep the Iranian nuclear deal alive and ensure it continues to benefit Iran's economy. 5/13/18

Iranian Teachers Jailed, Shackled After Peaceful Protest - Iranian human rights activists say several teachers arrested for staging a protest in Tehran have been sent to the city's Evin prison, known for its jailing of political dissidents under harsh conditions. The activists said the teachers were jailed at Evin after participating in a peaceful demonstration Thursday outside the Iranian government's planning and budget office building in Tehran. -Michael Lipin, VOA 5/13/18

President Rouhani Orders Talks With JCPOA Partners To 'Guarantee' Iran's Interests - Iran's president Hassan Rouhani has assigned his foreign minister to review the future of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), through direct talks with his British, Chinese, French, German and Russian counterparts. 5/13/18

Iran Deal: When The Tumult And The Shouting Dies - Shakespeare said that "old men forget." And so, it seems, do societies. Fifteen years ago, a US administration, from the president through his top aides, lied the nation into invading Iraq, and the region and the world still suffer the consequences. Thousands of Americans died along with hundreds of thousands of local peoples in Iraq, Yemen, Syria, and elsewhere as a direct consequence. The financial cost to the United States has been measured in the trillions. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 5/13/18

Iranian Court Sentences Eight To Death Over IS Attacks - An Iranian court has sentenced eight men to death in connection with terrorist attacks by the Islamic State (IS) extremist group that killed 18 people at the parliament and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini's mausoleum. The sentences were issued on May 13 by the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. 5/13/18

How The Saudis Took Donald Trump For A Ride - It's another Trump affair -- this time without the allegations of sexual harassment (and worse), the charges and counter-charges, the lawsuits, and all the rest. So it hasn't gotten the sort of headlines that Stormy Daniels has garnered, but when it comes to influence, American foreign policy, and issues of peace and war, it couldn't matter more or be a bigger story (or have more money or lobbyists involved in it). -Ben Freeman and William D. Hartung, LobeLog 5/13/18

WHY OPT FOR PEACE WHEN MAYHEM AND WAR SERVE US SO WELL? Instability and War Make for Good Business! - So, the President has officially pulled the United States out of the Iran Nuclear deal, just as he had promised to do during his campaign for presidency. Trump, just as the crowd of his diehard supporters, has no clue about diplomacy, global affairs or even a clear picture of world geography, but he has been and continues to behave as a cut-throat, anything-goes, businessman. -Kambiz Zarrabi 5/11/18

Six Lawyers in Iran File Petition Challenging Ban on Popular Telegram App - Six Iranian lawyers have presented a legal challenge to a recent judicial order blocking access in Iran to the widely used Telegram messaging and social media app, Telegram. On May 7, 2018, attorneys Payam Derafshan, Arash Keykhosravi, Abouzar Nasrollahi, Saeed Dehghan, Javad Parsa and Mohammad Moghimi filed a petition at the Court for Government Employees in Tehran to overturn the judicial order, which was issued by Assistant Prosecutor Bijan Ghasemzadeh on May 1. 5/11/18

Narrative On Iran Defective At Its Core - President Trump's withdrawal from the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) comes as the culmination of years of flawed conversations about Iran's involvement in the Middle East. Yesterday, he stated that the deal was "defective at its core." In reality, the actual core defect lies in the political narrative on Iran in the United States, which predictably has resulted in the failure of the nuclear deal. -Firoozeh Kashani-Sabet, LobeLog 5/11/18

Traders Look To Replace Iranian Crude Oil As Sanctions Loom Again - Buyers of Iran's crude oil are winding down their business with the Islamic Republic after U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to pull out of the nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and reimpose sanctions. 5/11/18

Merkel Says U.S. Pullout From Iran Nuke Deal Undermines 'Global Order' - German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on May 11 that the U.S. decision to withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal undermines confidence in the global order. Merkel said the deal to curb Iran's nuclear program in return for the lifting of sanctions was far from perfect, but stressed it should not be "unilaterally terminated" since it had been approved by the UN Security Council. 5/11/18

The eyes of Iran and its children: ordinary lives, Iranian sanctions and Donald Trump's rejection of the nuclear deal - On Tuesday night, I was on the plane coming back from giving a talk, when Donald Trump announced his rejection of the Iran nuclear deal. The subject of the talk, ironically, was the economic sanctions and the ordinary suffering of Iranians. -Sara Tafakori, Open Democracy 5/11/18

Israel has no real desire for armed conflict with Iran, but Trump might stumble into war against Tehran - There is likely to be further well-hidden reason why leaders in Israel and Saudi Arabia may hesitate a little at becoming involved in an escalating confrontation with Iran that could lead to war. They are delighted that they have an administration in Washington that is singing their tune. Their most propagandist claims are being echoed by the president. But it should also occur to them that Mr Trump, though for the moment entirely in their corner, is mercurial, unpredictable and even mentally unstable. -Patrick Cockburn, Independent 5/11/18

My Iranian Family Was Helpless While My Uncle Died. Thanks To Trump, It Could Happen Again. - The minute I found out that Trump had scrapped the Iran deal, I thought of my uncle. Like most of my mom's family, my uncle lived in Iran. He was happy, sociable, a humanitarian. He was a loving husband and father to three children. As an owner of a fish farm in northern Iran, he was a businessman who shared his wealth with people in the community. In 2012, sanctions were imposed on the Central Bank of Iran -- and then things took a turn for the worse. -Donna Farvard, Bustle 5/11/18

It's No Wonder Iranians Hate America - "Everyone wants to go to Baghdad. Real men want to go to Tehran." So a senior British official was quoted as saying to Newsweek in 2002, witnessing the competitive bellicosity in the Bush administration's run-up to the war in Iraq. This week President Donald Trump asserted his claim to be a real man as he tore up the nuclear deal with Iran. -Pankaj Mishra, Bloomberg 5/11/18

How Iran Should Respond To Trump's Withdrawal From Iran Nuclear Deal - The day that everyone was dreading arrived yesterday when President Trump announced that the United States will no longer adhere to the Iran nuclear deal (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA). Before and after his announcement various commentators have discussed the implications of his decision for America's position in the world, its relations with Europe and the risks of greater turmoil in the Middle East. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 5/10/18

800 Iranian Environmentalists Call on President Rouhani to Uphold the Rights of Detained Colleagues - President Hassan Rouhani has not responded to a letter by 800 Iranian environmentalists demanding clarification on the "fate" of fellow environments who have been detained in Iran with extremely limited access to counsel for the past three to four months. "As you are aware, it has been close to 90 days since 13 environmental experts and wildlife activists were detained by security agencies in Iran amidst the broadcast and publication of several unsubstantiated and questionable television and newspaper reports," said the environmentalists in a letter sent to the president on April 2, 2018. 5/10/18

After Trump's Iran Decision: Time For Europe To Step Up - Despite months of E3-US negotiations to avert an unnecessary crisis over the Iran nuclear deal, President Trump has declared a hard exit from the nuclear agreement. The decision demonstrates that the US has decided that confrontation with Iran is both necessary and inevitable, regardless of what European allies think. -Ellie Geranmayeh, LobeLog 5/10/18

China Reassures Tehran On Honoring Nuclear Deal, Buying Iranian Oil - China has said that it remains committed to Iran's nuclear deal with world powers and assured Tehran that it will continue buying nearly one-third of Iranian oil exports. "We express regret over this decision made by the United States," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said. He said that China wanted to "ensure the integrity and sanctity" of a pact that Beijing believes was important for curbing nuclear proliferation and promoting stability in the Middle East. 5/10/18

Political Figures Object To The Burning Of US Flag At Iran's Parliament - Outspoken MP Ali Motahari and a number of other Iranian political figures have criticized setting fire to a picture of the US flag and a copy of the nuclear agreement (JCPOA) at the Majles session on Wednesday May 9, the morning after US President Donald Trump announced the United States' pullout from the nuclear deal with Iran. 5/10/18

When Trump Gives You Lemons: Iran Reformists Try To Pivot After U.S. Spurns Nuclear Deal - Some Iranian advocates of domestic reform are responding to U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to renounce the 2015 nuclear deal and reinstate tough sanctions by urging the government in Tehran to improve the human rights situation and give the public freer rein. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 5/10/18

Hold The Deal-Killers Accountable - At least President Trump's statement today about Iran made clear exactly what step he was taking: an outright material breach of U.S. obligations under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the multilateral agreement that restricts Iran's nuclear activities. Trump said that he will pile new sanctions on Iran, contrary to the commitment that was the U.S. side of the bargain that the JCPOA embodies and the United Nations Security Council has endorsed, even though Iran has scrupulously observed its side of the bargain. -Paul Pillar 5/9/18

"Roots and Stones", a gift from Tony Cragg, unveiled at Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art - "Roots and Stones", a huge abstract marble sculpture donated by British artist Tony Cragg, was unveiled in the courtyard of the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art on Sunday April 29, 2018. The ceremony was attended by the Turner Prize-winner Cragg and a number of cultural officials and Iranian artists. 4/29/18

Announcing The 10th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival - Calling on filmmakers worldwide to submit short films visualizing some aspect of Iranian art, culture, and heritage, Farhang Foundation's Annual online Short Film Festival offers contestants the opportunity to compete for prestigious recognition and a $10,000 (first prize), $5,000 (second prize), and $3,000 (third prize). 4/27/18

18 Wetlands Totally Drained In Iran: Deputy Environment Chief - Some 18 wetlands in Iran are completely dried up and some 24 are in critical condition, deputy chief of the Department of Environment, Masoud Tajrishi, has said. Tajrishi highlighted that the wetlands in Iran are not in a good condition and if the current trend of low precipitation continues the wetlands will turn to hotspots for sand and dust storms. 4/22/18

500 European MPs Urge U.S. To Support Iran Nuclear Deal - Hundreds of lawmakers from Germany, France, and Britain have called on their counterparts in the U.S. Congress to support the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and six world powers, calling it a "major diplomatic breakthrough." 4/20/18

The Iranian American Women Foundation Launches New Los Angeles Chapter and Presents 16th IAWF Women's Leadership Conference on April 29, 2018, in Los Angeles - The Iranian American Women Foundation (IAWF)-the only non-profit organization providing networking and mentorship services to women of Iranian descent across all professional industries-launches its Los Angeles Chapter and also presents the 16th IAWF Women's Leadership Conference in Los Angeles on April 29, 2018. Azita Raji, the first female U.S. ambassador to Sweden, and the first Iranian-born American to serve as a U.S. ambassador, will keynote the event. 4/12/18

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last updated on Tue May 22 12:24:37 EDT 2018