Payvand Iran News... Azar 27 1397
December 18 2018
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Bijan Kian, An American-Iranian Partner Of Ex-Trump Aide Flynn, Indicted Over Gulen Plot

- An American-Iranian and a Turkish man, two partners of President Donald Trump's former national security advisor Michael Flynn were indicted Monday over an Ankara-backed scheme to remove Turkish dissident cleric Fethullah Gulen from the United States. -Radio Farda 12/18/18

Fertile Soil Being Smuggled Out Of Iran On Large Scale

- For the first time, an Iranian environmental official has admitted that fertile soil from farms and pastures is being smuggled abroad. The director-general of the Department of Environment's (DoE) Office of Water and Soil in Iran, Ali Moridi however insists that the smuggling is relatively controlled. -Radio Farda 12/18/18

Tehran's Stock Market Falls Again As Exports Suffer

- Tehran's stock market experienced another bad day on Monday as it declined 1.2 percent, after weeks of steep falls. Compared to same day last month, the market has declined 13 percent and compared with to beginning of September 18 percent. -Radio Farda 12/18/18

Why Did Telegram Warn Users That Iranian Versions of the Telegram App - Talaeii and Hotgram - Are "Unsafe"?

- In response to a rising chorus of concerns by internet security experts, Telegram, the widely used instant messaging app, has issued a warning to users of the Iranian-made versions of Telegram (known as "client apps"), Telegram Talaeii and Hotgram, which reportedly have 30 million users between them, that the apps are "unsafe." -CHRI 12/18/18

Europe's Extreme Right Is In Bed With MEK

- The December 2 regional elections in Andalucia, Spain's largest region, saw a noisy irruption of Vox, a hitherto marginal extreme right party, into Spanish political life... What is less known is that Vox's emergence is intimately linked to Mojaheddeen-e Khalk (MEK), an exiled Iranian cult bitterly opposed to the current government of Iran. MEK was on European Union's terrorist list until 2009 and on the U.S. terrorist list until 2012. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 12/18/18

New look at ancient Persian epic poem could rewrite history

- It's a little-known story that could change the way we see our history. Recently, historians took a second look an old Persian epic written around 500 AD and realized that, at the center of the tale, was the unusual story of a Persian prince marrying a Korean princess. -Mark Oliver, SOTT 12/18/18

Dispelling Myths About Iran, Trump's Bogeyman

- Medea Benjamin, CODEPINK co-founder, discusses myths and misconceptions about Iran and the Donald Trump administration's dismantling of the nuclear agreement. She also talks about her book "Inside Iran: The Real History and Politics of the Islamic Republic of Iran" -Real News Network 12/18/18

Iranian Missiles: Hypocrisy And Paradox

- It is hard to know why Britain's Foreign Secretary, Jeremy Hunt, claimed, in a statement on December 5, that Iran's testing of a medium-range missile on December 1 demonstrated that Iran's missile-related activities "go beyond what can be justified for national defence". -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 12/18/18

Russia, Iran and Turkey Seek Deal on New Syria Constitutional Body

- Russia, Iran and Turkey are close to agreement on composition of a Syrian constitutional committee that could pave the way for drafting a new charter followed by elections, diplomats said Monday. 12/18/18

Thousands of Achaemenid-era clay tablets to be sent back to Iran from Chicago

- Over 11,000 flawless [Achaemenid-era] clay tablets and a large number of fragments of their kind will be back home, Iran tourism chief said on Wednesday. "Of the cited number, 1784 clay tablets have been endorsed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury in order to be shipped to Iran, in the first stage," Ali-Asghar Mounesan said, CHTN reported. -Tehran Times 12/17/18

Featured Video

Iran: Forest ranger saves lizard with mouth-to-mouth resuscitation

Iran's Oil Minister Joins Twitter, Reigniting Calls for All Iranians to Be Allowed to Use Social Network - Iranians from across the political spectrum responded to the new presence on Twitter by Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh by urging the government to lift the nine-year ban on the social media network. "I have joined Twitter in order to establish a more dynamic and effective communication with domestic and foreign audiences," Zanganeh wrote in his first tweet on December 12, 2018. -CHRI 12/17/18

Security Forces Arrest 28 Steel Workers In Ahvaz, Iran - Reports from Iran say that at 2:00 am on Monday security forces arrested thirteen workers of a steel factory in their homes and while onlookers protested, they arrested two more people. 12/17/18

Iranian FM Zarif's Legal Prosecution Cancelled As MPs Give Him Support - Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission has rejected a proposal to take Foreign Minister Javad Zarif's case to the Judiciary for his recent comments on massive money laundering operations by some institutions in Iran. 12/17/18

Tehran conference exploring an "Iran in Transition" - Political and social developments of Iran in the early 19th-century is being addressed in a two-day conference, which on Monday opened at the University of Tehran. Titled "L'Iran en transition: de la revolution constitutionnelle a la fin de l'ere qajare," the event is explores the Persian Constitutional Revolution, also known as the Constitutional Revolution of Iran, that took place between 1905 and 1911. 12/17/18

Iran will never talk to anybody who sets conditions for it: FM Zarif - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has strongly dismissed the possibility of holding negotiations with the United States after Washington set conditions for talks with Tehran, saying the Islamic Republic will never talk to those who set conditions for it. -Press TV 12/17/18

Chabahar port, Iran's wining card in trade with South Asia, CIS - In southeastern Iran, on the Gulf of Oman, there is a port city called Chabahar which is the home for Iran's only oceanic port. Due to its strategic geographical positioning, Chabahar port holds a great significance for Iran both politically and economically. -Ebrahim Fallahi, Tehran Times 12/17/18

Media In Iran Report Country's Currency Rial Rising Again - Iranian news agencies report that the value of the national currency rial has further increased against major currencies, and is now trading below the 100,000 rial to the dollar threshold. However, a website, apparently operating outside Iran and specializing in reporting currency rates, shows the rial trading just above the 100,000 mark. -Radio Farda 12/16/18

Europeans lead travelers to Shahdad desert in Kerman, Iran - Europeans have constituted the highest number of arrivals in Iran's Shahdad desert since the beginning of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21), ISNA reported. Shahdad - a major part of the Lut desert in southeastern Kerman province - is home to massive sand pyramids created by wind and water. The "Lut" plain is a natural landscape of Iran which is a UNESCO registered site. -Tehran Times 12/16/18

Which countries do Iranians visit the most? - Which countries did Iranians travel to the most during the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year started on March 21? Are they mostly the neighbors to the north, west, east and south? Western and European ones? The answer is an amalgam of all of the above, but Iraq holds a greater share than any other country. -Tehran Times 12/16/18

Iranian FM Zarif Calls Khamenei's 'Look To East' Policy 'Meaningless' - Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has questioned Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's "Eastern" policy and ruled it out as "meaningless" in unprecedented and provocative comments he made during a speech in Tehran on Friday December 14. -Radio Farda 12/16/18

European Parliament Calls on Iran to "Unconditionally" Release Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh - Adding its voice to an increasingly international call, the European Parliament has overwhelmingly passed a motion urging the Iranian authorities to "immediately and unconditionally release" prominent human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh. -CHRI 12/16/18

US sanctions hurt ordinary Iranians, don't change Iran's policy: FM Zarif - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has once again reiterated the ineffectiveness of US sanctions with regard to causing any change in the Islamic Republic's policies, saying that they only hurt "ordinary Iranians." -Press TV 12/16/18

House Condemns Iran's Persecution of Baha'i Minority - U.S. Republican Congresswoman Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and Democratic Congressman Ted Deutch introduced the resolution condemning Iran's treatment of Baha'is in April 2017. -Michael Lipin, VOA 12/16/18

IRAN: President Rouhani Order For More Women In Top Posts 'Ignored' - A member of the women's faction in the Iranian Parliament says only 17 percent of managerial positions in Iran are held by women and that President Hassan Rouhani's order to appoint women to 30 percent of managerial posts has been ignored. -Radio Farda 12/14/18

Activists Condemn Rouhani Government's Minimal Proposed Funding For Disability Rights in Iran - Advocates for the rights of people with disabilities in Iran have condemned the minimal budgetary allocation proposed by the government of President Hassan Rouhani to implement the country's Law for the Protection of the Rights of Disabled Persons. -CHRI 12/14/18

Iran Set to Execute Third Individual Sentenced by "Corruption Court" For Alleged Economic Crimes - Iran's Supreme Court has upheld the death sentence issued against Hamid Bagheri by the country's new "corruption courts" system and handed it down for enforcement, the Chief Prosecutor of Tehran Province Gholam-Hossein Esmaili announced December 11, 2018. -CHRI 12/14/18

Iran Must Address Crisis of Unpaid Wages, Not Prosecute People Who Demand Their Pay - In yet another ruling punishing workers for peacefully demanding payment for work done, fifteen petrochemical workers in Ilam, southwest Iran, have been issued prison and flogging sentences for protesting unpaid wages and the firing of their colleagues who demanded payment. -CHRI 12/14/18

Welcome to the Persian sound laboratory - Mehdi "Peter" Pirhosseinlou lives and works as an artist in Tehran. He regularly organises concerts and festivals in Iran with the artist collective "House No. 4", which he founded. "Gate of Tehran" is an electronic sound spectacle currently showcasing in Berlin. Interview by Laura Overmeyer -Qantara,de 12/14/18

With sanctions reimposed, some Iranian American businesses say they're back at square one - The U.S. placed an embargo on Iranian goods in 2010. When it was lifted in 2015, Iranian American business owners felt a surge of hope and anticipated that the end of the ban would reinvigorate a commercial lifeline that had gone dry. Aside from rugs, merchants looked to import other, lesser-known products such as saffron, caviar and pistachios. -Sarah Parvini, LA Times 12/14/18

Europe Loses If The Iran Deal Collapses - Iran is not the only loser if the Iran nuclear deal (the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action or JCPOA) collapses. A collapse may be near given the U.S. exit from the deal, and U.S. sanctions not only affect American banks and companies but also prevent Europeans from trading with Iran. -Tarja Cronberg, LobeLog 12/14/18

Trump's anti-Iran push boosts a royal outcast - Reza Pahlavi, the former Shah's son, will make a rare public appearance in Washington Friday amid pro-monarchy nostalgia in his home country. -Nahal Toosi, Politico 12/14/18

Will India Help Iran Avert Sanctions-Related Medical Crisis? - U.S. officials have said repeatedly that the sanctions are designed to target the Iranian "regime," and it has even issued a waiver for humanitarian goods. But in action, by imposing sanctions on Iranian bank transactions, the United States is effectively blocking the only way to buy medicine for Iranian patients. -Aveek Sen, Mojtaba Mousavi, and Udayan Tandan, Lobe Log 12/14/18

Political Prisoner on Hunger Strike in Iran Has Died, Another in Grave Danger - The political prisoner Vahid Sayyadi-Nasiri, on hunger strike since October 13, 2018 to protest the denial of his right to counsel and inhumane prison conditions at Iran's Langroud Prison in Qom where he was being held, has died at the Shahid Beheshti Hospital in Qom. -CHRI 12/13/18

PHOTOS: The 6th Biennale of Urban Sculptures Exhibition in Tehran - The sixth Biennale of Urban Sculptures Exhibition is underway at Saba Cultural and Art Institute in the Iranian capital Tehran until 26 December. -Mehran Riazi, Mehr 12/13/18

U.S. Wants UN To Reimpose Ballistic-Missile Restrictions On Iran, Says Pompeo - U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has told the UN Security Council that Washington would seek to work with the 15-member body to reimpose ballistic-missile restrictions on Iran. In his December 12 address to the council meeting on Iran, Pompeo also said a UN arms embargo on Tehran should not be lifted in 2020. -RFE/RL 12/13/18

Iranian Political Prisoner Saeed Shirzad Could Lose Kidney From Lack of Proper Medical Care - Iranian political prisoner Saeed Shirzad could lose a kidney if Iranian authorities continue to refuse to hospitalize him outside of Rajaee Shahr Prison where he has been held for the past three years, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has been informed. -CHRI 12/13/18

Special Envoy Hints U.S. Could Revoke Visas Of Iranian Officials' Kin - Washington's special envoy for Iran says the U.S. administration is looking into the visas of relatives of Iranian officials who are residing in the United States with an eye to possible action to expose hypocrisy within the ranks of Iran's government. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 12/13/18

Iran's Currency Rial Rises As Government Said To Be Manipulating The Market - The Iranian currency rose for the fifth consecutive day on Wednesday December 12, briefly crossing the landmark 100,000 rial per one US dollar for an hour. Although the new rate is nearly half the rate compared to September, it is still almost three times higher compared to same time last year. In September, the rial had reached a low of 180,000 to the dollar. -Radio Farda 12/13/18

Europe: 'Working twenty-four seven' to set up Iran payment channel - Europe is "working twenty-four seven" to launch the Special Vehicle Purpose (SPV), a payment mechanism aimed at facilitating business with Iran in the face of US sanctions, an official says. -Press TV 12/13/18

Iranian-Indian Energy Relations Under Sanctions - Since it has huge oil and gas reserves and is geographically quite close, Iran is ideally placed to provide energy to India, and thus the country is Iran's second largest oil market after China. Even at the height of the U.S. sanctions on Iran's energy sector, India continued to import oil from the country. -Omid Shokri Kalehsar, LobeLog 12/13/18

Pak Charkh (Clean Wheel): Bike-sharing scheme gets underway in Tehran - Bike-sharing scheme, proposed by an Iranian startup through a system based on Internet of Things (IoT), has started to be implemented in the capital, YJC reported on Wednesday. Some 500 bikes are currently provided for use in district 2 of the city, the head of board of directors of Pak Charkh Iranian Company, Hossein Qasemi, announced. (Pak Charkh is Persian for Clean Wheel) 12/12/18

More People Fell Under Poverty Line As Iran's Currency Lost Value - Parliament Research Center of the Iranian legislature says that eleven percent more people have fallen below poverty line in the Tehran region, as the national currency rial has lost value. -Radio Farda 12/12/18

US, EU exports to Iran soar despite sanctions - The US and Europe diverge on the need to uphold a landmark nuclear deal with Iran, but their trade path has taken a curiously similar trajectory since Washington reimposed sanctions on Tehran in August. While Iran's exports to the United States almost reached zero in October, its imports from the country grew, a month after the first round of the sanctions was imposed, new data has shown. Meanwhile, German exports to the Islamic Republic soared during the period. -Press TV 12/12/18

Labor Activists Detained, Released As Strikes And Protests Continue In Iran - Five labor and civil rights activists detained by the Iranian security forces have been released, the Syndicate of Workers of Tehran and Suburbs Bus Company (SWTSBC) announced on December 11, hours after reporting their detainment. -Radio Farda 12/12/18

Saving Zainab - Zainab Mughal, a 2-year-old girl in Florida who needs rare blood and bone marrow to survive her fight against cancer, needs our community's help. -NIAC Action 12/12/18

PAAIA Provides Grants to Iranian Students - Since late 2017, the value of the Iranian Rial has dropped over 75%. This has severely impacted Iranian students studying in the United States, forcing many to drop out and return to Iran without a degree. In response, PAAIA has secured limited funding to provide grants to Iranian nationals studying in the U.S. 12/12/18

China steady on Iran oilfields, to ditch South Pars project: Report - China National Petroleum Corp (CNPC) has decided to continue investing in two major Iranian oilfields but suspend investment in the South Pars natural gas project, Reuters claimed on Wednesday. CNPC convinced the US to continue investing in the North Azadegan and Masjid-i-Suleiman (MIS) oilfields, the news agency quoted two unidentified Chinese sources as saying. -Press TV 12/12/18

Defund Islamophobia Now - Imagine a scenario in which the communal fund of a major U.S. religious or cultural organization gave money to virulently anti-Semitic, neo-Nazi groups. Now imagine what has actually happened: New York's Jewish Communal Fund (JCF) has been financially supporting hate directed toward Muslims. It has funded the work of some of the most virulent purveyors of Islamophobia in the country. -Donna Nevel and Elly Bulkin, LobeLog 12/12/18

PHOTOS: 1st Festival of Iranian Fashion Kickstarts in Tehran - Aseman Art and Culture Center was the venue for the opening ceremony of the first Festival of Iranian Fashion (CIPAL) in Tehran. Artists and fans attended the event on Friday. -Honar Online 12/11/18

Student Activists Educate Iran's President About Political Repression at University Campuses - Four months after 19 university students in Iran were issued harsh prison sentences for attending protests, the country's president declared that Iran's "universities are the freest in the world." "I don't think there's another country where students can express their opinions and criticisms so freely," President Hassan Rouhani boasted in the city of Semnan on December 5, 2018, during a speech marking Iran's Student Day, which was on December 7.-CHRI 12/11/18

Khomeini's Great-Grandson Fends Off Firestorm Over 'Luxurious' Lifestyle - The great-grandson of the famously ascetic leader of Iran's 1979 revolution*, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, has been forced to defend his seemingly lavish lifestyle. Ahmad Khomeini was responding to the circulation online of a photo showing the 21-year-old cleric at an equestrian club in fashionable sunglasses and a Nike sweatshirt standing next to a young woman in a riding helmet. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 12/11/18

121 Nobel Laureates Urge Khamenei to Free Imprisoned Dual National Ahmadreza Djalali - In an open letter published December 9, 2018, 121 Nobel Laureates have called on Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to ensure that ailing Iranian Swedish dual national Ahmadreza Djalali, a physician and scholar who specializes in disaster medicine, receives the "best possible medical care," is "treated humanely and fairly," and to "allow Dr. Djalali to return home to his wife and children and continue his scholarly work for the benefit of mankind." -CHRI 12/11/18

Iran's President Rouhani Defends Anti-Corruption Bills, Citing Lower Cost Of Living - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has lambasted critics for blocking the government's plan to join international anti-money laundering conventions such as the Financial Action Task Force (FATF). "Without cooperation with foreign banks, the cost of living would be 20 percent higher. Passing FATF bills means costs would decrease 20 percent," Rouhani said -Radio Farda 12/11/18

Iraq tops Iran's foreign tourists list - Some 2 million Iraqi nationals visited Iran during the first seven months of the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21), turning the country into Iran's largest source of tourists, ISNA reported. -Tehran Times 12/11/18

The $3bn art collection hidden in vaults - A new book reveals a collection bought by the wife of the Shah of Iran in the 1970s. Alastair Sooke talks to Farah Pahlavi, who was known as the Jackie Kennedy of the Middle East, about works by the likes of Bacon, Warhol and Picasso stored in the vaults of a Tehran museum. -Alastair Sooke, BBC 12/11/18

Students Tell President Rouhani 'Thunder Of Military Boots' Being Heard Across Iran - In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani more than 500 student activists have condemned the expanding presence of security agencies and "the deepening atmosphere of repression" dominating universities in Iran. The students have also criticized what they say is "competition" between intelligence organs in suppressing Iranian students and others, including teachers, workers, and dervishes across the country. -Radio Farda 12/10/18

Imprisoned Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Mohammad Najafi Slapped With Additional Charges - Imprisoned human rights lawyer Mohammad Najafi appeared at Branch 1 of Iran's Revolutionary Court in Arak, Markazi Province, to face four additional charges that could keep him behind bars for many more years for attempting to peacefully seek justice for a now-deceased client. -CHRI 12/10/18

Iranian director stages puppet show to satisfy children's curiosity about baby making - Director Mohammad Aqebati is staging a puppet show at Tehran's Honar Hall to placate children's natural curiosity about the mystery of baby making. Speaking to the Persian service of MNA, Aqebati said that he has consulted the Rah Society, a non-governmental organization providing safe sex education, to stage the play "Where Do We Come From?". -Tehran Times 12/10/18

EU will launch financial mechanism with Iran by year-end: Mogherini - The European Union will establish a mechanism to facilitate non-dollar transactions with Iran in the near future in an attempt to circumvent sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran, EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini says. -Press TV 12/10/18

Hardline Iranian MP Says Half Of Parliament Bent On Overthrowing Regime - A former commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) and current MP has accused 50% of his colleagues in Majles (Iranian parliament) of seeking the demise of the Iranian regime. -Radio Farda 12/10/18

Iranian MP Says 'American Spies' Visited Iran As Civilian Experts - Members of a "US military group" who visited Iran were "presumably" spies, the chairman of the Public Works Commission of Iran's parliament has said. The group entered Iran to negotiate about obtaining OFAC permits for selling planes to Iran, Mohammad-Reza Rezaei Kouchi asserted, without mentioning any date. -Radio Farda 12/10/18

Of cinema, revolution and love for Iran: In conversation with filmmaker Bahman Farmanara - In an interview, Bahman Farmanara, whose new film 'Tale of the Sea' is screened at the International Film Festival of Kerala, talks about not being indifferent to what's happening in his country, the bans he's got and more. -News Minute 12/10/18

Iranian men & women teams nominated for the World's Best National Futsal Teams - Iran' men's and women's futsal teams have been nominated for the best national team in the world. The Iranian outfits won the AFC Futsal Championship and are vying with eight other teams to win the UMBRO Futsal Award 2018. 12/8/18

Iran Conservatives Bent On Punishing Outspoken MP Mahmoud Sadeghi - Iran's influential Guardian Council (GC) has pressed charges against Tehran's outspoken MP, Mahmoud Sadeghi, who has accused the council of "financial corruption", GC's spokesman disclosed on Friday, December 6. -Radio Farda 12/8/18

U.S. Seeks Extradition Of Chinese Executive In Iran Sanctions Case - U.S. authorities are seeking the extradition of a top executive of China's Huawei Technologies over charges that she misled U.S. banks over the company's business dealings with Iran. No decision was reached after a six-hour bail hearing in a court in Vancouver, Canada, meaning that Meng Wanzhou will spend the weekend in jail. The hearing will resume on December 10. -RFE/RL 12/8/18

Haft Tappeh Labor Activists Beaten at Khuzestan Intelligence Ministry Center, Say Relatives - Detained labor activists Esmail Bakhshi and Sepideh Gholian were beaten during interrogations at the Intelligence Ministry's detention center in the Iranian city of Shush, Khuzestan Province, according to relatives who visited them on December 4, 2018. 12/8/18

Iran's president urges unwavering, all-out battle against terrorism - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has called on all neighboring and regional countries to step up an all-out fight against terrorism and extremism, saying major powers have created and supported terrorist groups. -Press TV 12/8/18

Imprisoned Iranian Activist Reza Khandan Defies Politically Motivated Charges, Demands Public Trial - Detained civil rights activist Reza Khandan refused to appear at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran on December 2, 2018, Mohammad Moghimi, who is trying to represent him, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on December 5. -CHRI 12/7/18

Iranian animation 'Watch Me!' goes to Oxford Film Festival in Ohio, US - Iranian short animated piece 'Watch Me!', directed by Reza Mehranfar, has made it into the screening program of 16th Oxford International Film Festival in Ohio, United States. The short animated piece is about a little boy who lives in fear and anxiety, which has no meaning to others around him and thus, is always ignored. -Mehr 12/7/18

Iran Nuclear Chief Hopes EU Will Deliver 'By The End Of The Year' - Iran's most senior nuclear official expressed hope on December 6 that by the end of the year Europe will deliver on a proposed mechanism to continue trade with Iran and save the nuclear deal. -Radio Farda 12/7/18

The Effects Of U.S. Sanctions On Iran's Natural Gas Projects - Iran holds the second largest natural gas reserves in the world. Despite this advantage, the country controls less than one percent of the world's natural gas market. Nevertheless, Iran is the third largest gas producer and, over the past few years, has focused on increasing its share of the global gas market. -Omid Shokri Kalehsar, LobeLog 12/7/18

Iran Executive Says EU Has Not Renewed Steel Exports Deal - A member of Iran Steel Association says that the European Union has not renewed the agreement to buy Iranian steel, pending the possible launch of a barter arrangement of trade, called Special Purpose Vehicle or SVP. -Radio Farda 12/7/18

Iranian MPs From Caspian Sea Coast Vow To Stop Water Transfer Project - Several MPs from the Mazandaran province on the Caspian Sea in northern Iran have denounced President Hassan Rouhani's recent decision to transfer water from the Caspian Sea to the parched province of Semnan as "unscientific" and "impractical," with irrevocably damaging consequences for the region's ecology and economy. -Radio Farda 12/6/18

Tehran Air Quality Reaches Unhealthy Levels - Tehran's Air Quality Index (AQI), exceeding 150 microgram per cubic meter, has been unhealthy at nine meteorological stations across the city, spokeswoman for Tehran Air Quality Control Company has said. It is anticipated that the pollution level will increase in all parts of the capital within next hours, Fars quoted Leila Nazari as saying on Wednesday. 12/6/18

Deadly car bomb attack hits port city of Chabahar in southeast Iran - A terrorist car bomb explosion has hit near a police post in Iran's southeastern port city of Chabahar, leaving two police officers dead and dozens of other people wounded. Local officials said terrorists attacked the police headquarters in Chabahar, located in the southeastern province of Sistan-and-Baluchestan, with an explosives-laden vehicle on Thursday morning. -Press TV 12/6/18

U.S. Economic Warfare And Iran's Politics Of Muddling Through - It is too early to gauge the overall economic consequences for Iran of the Trump administration' re-imposition of oil-related sanctions. Their full impact will partly depend on the ability of the European Union (EU), China, Russia, India, and other countries to continue buying its oil. -Daniel Brumberg, LobeLog 12/6/18

Iranians Farzaneh Tavasoli, Fatemeh Etedadi nominated for world's best female futsal goalkeeper, player - Iran futsal custodian Farzaneh Tavasoli has been nominated as the Best Female Goalkeeper in the World. Also, Fatemeh Etedadi from Iran along with nine other stars of international women futsal, were nominees for the Best Female Player in the World. 12/5/18

Defending Child Marriage, Policy Maker Says It Saves Girls From Prostitution - A prominent member of the Islamic Republic's Cultural and Social Council for Women is defending child marriage, arguing it protects girls from a life of prostitution and illegal abortions. Fereshteh Rouhafza said told ILNA in an interview published on December 4, that in light of the rapidly growing number of increasingly young girls undergoing illegal abortions and joining the sex trade, "opposition to child marriage is wrong." -Radio Farda 12/5/18

Iran's Revolutionary Guards Have Detained Two Academics Who Held Postings in Australia - Two Iranian demography experts who have held academic postings in Australia have been detained in Iran since being arrested by agents of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) in November 2018, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 12/5/18

Crackdown on Defense Lawyers in Iran: Amirsalar Davoudi Not Heard From Since Arrest - Lawyer and civil rights activist Amirsalar Davoudi has not been heard from since his arrest by the judiciary's security agents on November 20, 2018, a source close to him informed the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on November 28th. 12/5/18

Basketball: Iran book FIBA World Cup ticket - With two games remaining, Iran national basketball team advanced to the 2019 FIBA World Cup. Team Melli defeated the Philippines 78-70 in Group F of the Asian Qualifiers on Monday at the Mall of Asia Arena. 12/4/18

Letter of Concern from the International Community of Conservationists and Scholars - We are an international community of conservation practitioners and scholars. Nine months ago, our colleagues Houman Jowkar, Taher Ghadirian, Sepideh Kashani, Niloufar Bayani, Morad Tahbaz, Amirhossein Khaleghi Hamidi, Sam Radjabi, Abdolreza Kouhpayeh, and Kavous Seyed Emami, were arrested and have since been in prison, with Mr. Seyed Emami regrettably passing away during that period. 12/4/18

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation: Reflection On Achievements, Vision For The Years To Come - This year we mark the 20th anniversary of PKCF, an important milestone made possible by your sustained and generous support over the years. When we founded PKCF we did not imagine that the PKCF family would grow to encompass thousands of supporters and volunteers across the globe, and yet here we are twenty years later with a clear mission and dedicated supporters that have allowed us to execute on our ideals. We would like to take a moment to reflect on our achievements and outline our vision for the years to come. 12/3/18

Open Letter by Six Families of Dual and Foreign Nationals Imprisoned in Iran - An Open Letter to World Leaders, Rights Organizations and Media Outlets: We are the families of political hostages in Iran, and we ask for your urgent action. We come from many countries, with different backgrounds and different perspectives, but we have banded together now to come to you as one voice. We shall remain quiet no longer. -CHRI 12/3/18

Siberian crane 'Omid' returns to Iran, brings hope - While there were growing speculations among environmental lovers as to whether the Siberian crane 'Omid' (literally meaning hope in Persian) will wing his way back to Iran or not, the crane returned to spend the winter in Fereydunkenar, northern province of Mazandaran, once again 10 days ago. -Tehran Times 12/3/18

Iran's Fars province reports sharp rise in number of eco-lodges - Fars province's tourism department general has announced a rapid increase in the number of eco-lodges across the province, CHTN reported on Saturday. "The number of eco-lodges has been jumped from 50 to 80 units in the current Iranian calendar year from a year earlier, which shows 60 percent increase," a provincial tourism official said on Saturday, CHTN reported. -Tehran Times 12/3/18

Iran Sentences Journalist Hengameh Shahidi To 12 Years In Prison - An Iranian revolutionary court has sentenced a journalist to a nearly 13-year prison term over security charges, Iranian media report. Reformist journalist Hengameh Shahidi can appeal the verdict that sentenced her to 12 years and 9 months in jail. She has also been banned from joining political groups, media activity, and leaving the country. 12/2/18

Iran: Does President Trump Have A Case? - The Iranian nuclear problem has been on my mind for the last 15 years, and I am a fan of the diplomatic solution that was found in July 2015, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). So, I am pleased to have this opportunity to explain why I think President Trump's May 8 decision to withdraw the United States from that agreement was unjustified and foolish. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 11/29/18

Iran Airshow 2018: Kish Island, Persian Gulf - The ninth edition of Iran Airshow (Airshow 2018) kicked off in Kish Island, southern Iran, on Tuesday. According to the exhibition's executive secretary Bijan Bankdar, over 115 domestic and foreign exhibitors active in the aviation, aerospace, airlines and other related industries along with university scholars are showcasing a vast range of products, systems and services in the aviation and aerospace fields during this four-day exhibition. 11/27/18

Travel Risk Map puts Iran among "insignificant risk" destinations - The 2019 Travel Risk Map, which shows the risk level around the world, has put Iran among countries with "insignificant risk" when it comes to security. The ranking has taken into account factors such as the robustness of the transport infrastructure, the state of industrial relations, the effectiveness of the security and emergency services and the country's susceptibility to natural disasters. 11/27/18

Officials cite security as data shows drop in US visas granted to Iranian students, - The United States has granted fewer visas to Iranian students over the past months, a trend that is blamed on President Donald Trump's controversial travel ban on Iran and several other Muslim nations. According to the Institute of International Education (IIE), which tracks foreign students in the US, there are around 12,800 Iranians studying in the country, the highest in decades. However, there are signs the figure is taking a nosedive. -Press TV 11/26/18

Third international AIDS conference held in Tehran - Third International Conference and the 7th National AIDS Seminar took place in Tehran from November 21 to 23, ISNA quoted the conference's scientific director as saying. It is estimated that over 66,000 people in Iran have AIDS/HIV but over one third of them don't know they have the disease or deny it. -Tehran Times 11/23/18

Bookkeepers, Mad Mullahs, And The Sources Of Iranian Conduct - The Trump administration's policy of "maximum pressure" on Iran so far shows no sign of inducing any desirable change in Iranian policy. Several reasons underlie this failure. The administration has given the Iranian regime no realistic proposition to which it could say "yes" even if it were so inclined, instead issuing a list of broad and unrealistic demands that would amount to Iran rolling over and playing dead. -Paul Pillar 11/21/18

US economic sanctions restrict Iran's access to medical, health services: IRIMC - The Islamic Republic of Iran Medical Council (IRIMC) says illegal economic sanctions imposed by the United States against Tehran have negative impacts on the country's health sector, calling for an immediate and humanitarian solution to the issue. -Press TV 11/19/18

Over 1,000 Iranian Activists Back Jailed Environmentalists in Letter to Judiciary - More than 1,000 Iranian civil society activists have signed a letter to Iran's judiciary chief urging him to resolve the case of eight environmentalists jailed since January and February on suspicion of being spies. -Michael Lipin, VOA 11/16/18

The MEK And The Bankrupt U.S. Policy On Iran - Among the many indicators of misdirection in the Trump administration's policy toward Iran, one of the clearest is the fondness for the cult-cum-terrorist group known as the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK). National Security Advisor John Bolton and Donald Trump's attorney, Rudy Giuliani, are among the group's most prominent cheerleaders, having been featured speakers at its rallies. They and other shills for the MEK refer to the group as if it represented what it decidedly is not: a democratic alternative to the current Iranian political system. -Paul Pillar 11/13/18

Iranian Celebrities Launch Petition, Condemn U.S. Sanctions Against Iran - A large number of Iranian celebrities has launched #SanctionsTargetMe, a movement that takes aim at the sanctions reimposed by the United States on Iran. The campaign also warns that Iranian people's access to life-saving medication and medical supplies has been seriously jeopardized, said the organizers among them are veteran actors Reza Kianian and Parviz Parastui. 11/10/18

U.S. 2018 Midterm Elections: Iranian American Women Make History - PAAIA congratulates Anna Eskamani, Anna Kaplan, Zahra Karinshak, and Sam Hamadani for making history in the 2018 midterm elections. Of the five Iranian American candidates endorsed by IAPAC, PAAIA's connected political action committee, four were successful in their campaigns. These women have become the first Iranian Americans to be elected to the New York, Georgia, and Florida state legislatures, and the first Iranian American judge to be elected in North Carolina. 11/7/18

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last updated on Tue Dec 18 12:26:24 EST 2018