Farvardin 26 1400 - April 15 2021
U.S. says indirect nuclear talks with Iran to resume on Thursday

The United States and Iran will reconvene indirect talks aimed at reviving the 2015 Iranian nuclear deal on Thursday in Vienna, White House press secretary Jen Psaki said. There have been doubts about whether the indirect talks, which began last week, might resume this week following an explosion at Iran's key nuclear site on Sunday, which Tehran blamed on Israel, as well as Iran's decision to enrich uranium to 60%, bringing the fissile material closer to bomb-grade. -Reuters 4/15/21

Mehdi Taremi nets extraordinary Champions League goal to become first Iranian scorer in the quarterfinals

Mehdi Taremi scored a truly spectacular overhead kick on Tuesday to become the first Iranian player to score in the Champions League quarterfinals. The Porto striker delivered his stunning effort in the final moments of his side's 1-0 win over Chelsea but it wasn't enough to overturn the 2-0 deficit from the first leg. -CNN 4/15/21

Iran's supreme leader: Vienna offers 'not worth looking at'

Iran's supreme leader on Wednesday dismissed initial offers at talks in Vienna to save Tehran's tattered nuclear deal as "not worth looking at," attempting to pressure world powers after an attack on the country's main nuclear enrichment site... The talks already have been thrown into disarray by a weekend attack on Iran's main Natanz nuclear enrichment site suspected to have been carried out by Israel. -AP 4/15/21

The Midas List: Top Tech Investors 2021: #15 Pejman Nozad

Nozad left Tehran with his family in the 1980s and eventually landed a job at a rug dealer in Palo Alto, Calif, where he set out to learn the tech industry by way of observation before jumping in. Before long, he was working with the store's owner, helping them set up a venture fund. Today, Nozad is the founding managing partner of Pear VC, which has assembled a nearly $50 billion portfolio. -Forbes 4/15/21

PAAIA Commends Movement on NO BAN Act and Pushes for Prompt House Vote

Today, the House Judiciary Committee held its markup session of the NO BAN Act (H.R.1333) which was reintroduced in the 117th Congress by Representative Judy Chu (D-CA/27th). First introduced in the 116th Congress and previously passed in the U.S. House of Representatives by a bipartisan vote of 233- 183, the NO BAN Act creates accountability mechanisms and safeguards for any administration to undergo before enacting discriminatory policies like the Travel Ban. -PAAIA 4/15/21

The Hawks Who Want War With Iran Are Working Overtime

Last week's cyberattack on an Iranian nuclear facility, reportedly by Israeli intelligence, is the latest gambit from the coalition of Israeli leaders, Christian fundamentalists, and hawkish Washington neocons who want to block a US return to the Iran nuclear agreement. If they're successful, millions of ordinary Iranians suffering under draconian sanctions will pay the price. -Ariel Gold & Medea Benjamin, Jacobin 4/15/21

Denmark charges 3 Iranian separatists with promoting terror

Three members of an Iranian separatist group, the Arab Struggle Movement for the Liberation of Ahwaz, were charged Thursday with financing and promoting terror in Iran with an unnamed Saudi intelligence service. The three, who were arrested in February 2020 in Ringsted, 60 kilometers (40 miles) southwest of Copenhagen, also were charged with illegal intelligence activity. -AP 4/15/21

How Trump's 'maximum pressure' united hardliners and reformers in Iran

That some of the most democratic voices in Iran should harbor suspicions towards engagement with the West, and in particular the United States, should be a matter of profound concern for policymakers hoping to hold future talks with Iran on a whole host of issues, chief amongst them the nuclear dossier. For if skepticism characterizes the attitude among factions traditionally seen as sympathetic to constructive engagement with the West... -Sajjad Safaei, Responsible Statecraft 4/15/21

Entanglements: Lives Lived Under Sanctions

I started to gather news, perceptions, opinions, and reflections about the effects of sanctions on my Iranian interlocutors during the summer of 2015, shortly after Iran and the P5+1 signed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), an agreement on the Iran nuclear program. On the plane over that August, I noted an immediate optical change with regard to this once and often isolated state. For the first time in the two decades that I had been making annual trips to Iran, the plane was full, occupied by non-Iranians, many of them business people seeking to secure ventures in a country ripe for investment potential. -Arzoo Osanloo, SAIS 4/14/21

Atlanta Film Festival picks five films from Iran

Five movies from Iranian filmmakers will be screened at the 45th edition of the Atlanta Film Festival. "African Violet" by Mona Zandi-Haghighi will go on screen at the main section of the festival. "Eyes and Arms" by Panahbarkhoda Rezai will be screened at the documentary section of the festival. The festival will also screen Iranian shorts "Crab" by Shiva Sadeq-Asadi, "The Doll" by Elahe Esmaeili, and "Spotted Yellow" by Baran Sarmad. 4/14/21

Senate Dems Tell Biden Returning to Iran Nuclear Deal Should Be a Top Priority

Amid critical talks in Vienna, more than two dozen Senate Democrats on Tuesday sent a letter urging President Joe Biden to treat the United States' return to the Iran nuclear agreement as a top priority. "While the damage of the last four years has left our country facing numerous challenges across the globe, there is no question that one of your early pressing national security priorities should be to return to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to address the threat of Iran's nuclear program," the letter (pdf) says, using the deal's formal name. -Common Dreams 4/14/21

Rouhani says Iran will boost nuclear activity after Natanz attack

President Hassan Rouhani has said Iran will keep strengthening its nuclear programme and continue negotiations to revive the 2015 nuclear deal in the wake of the attack on its nuclear facility which Tehran blamed on Israel. "This is the answer to your malignancy," he said in a televised address on Wednesday in reference to the country's announcement on Tuesday that it will begin enriching uranium to a new high of 60 percent and deploy new centrifuges in response to an attack on its nuclear facility in Natanz. -Al Jazeera 4/14/21

By sabotaging Iran's nuclear program, Israel sabotaged world peace

Pentagon chief Austin's visit to Israel serves as a stark reminder that regardless of stated US policy goals, Israel almost always gets its way. After a week of fruitful discussions between the parties to the Iranian nuclear agreement, it looked as if the US and Iran had agreed to a mutually accepted outcome: the lifting of all nuclear-related sanctions imposed by the US in exchange for Iran returning to full compliance with its obligations under the terms of the JCPOA... -Scott Ritter, RT 4/14/21

Iran and Russia discuss ties, the Middle East, and nuclear deal

Iran and Russia have held high-level talks on bilateral ties, the region, and Iran's nuclear deal with world powers during Russian foreign minister Sergey Lavrov's trip to Tehran on Tuesday. In a meeting with Lavrov, President Hassan Rouhani said Iran wishes to expand regional cooperation with Russia on Syria, Afghanistan, and Yemen in order to help establish stability and combat American interventions. -Al Jazeera 4/14/21

What's the Deal with Iran's Foreign Exchange Reserves?

When it comes to Iran, even economic data can cause controversy. The International Monetary Fund's latest regional report for the Middle East and Central Asia places Iran's gross international reserves at $4 billion in 2020, a tiny fraction of the $122.5 billion of reserves Iran held in 2018, and down further from the estimate of $8.8 billion published in October of last year. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 4/14/21

Analysis: Iran's powerful Guard faces scrutiny after attacks

The recent sabotage at Iran's main nuclear enrichment facility is just the latest setback for the country's Revolutionary Guard, though the paramilitary force is rarely publicly criticized due to its power. But with some of its leaders now considering vying for the presidency, the Guard's influence and failures could become fair game. -AP 4/14/21

Child Adoption Up 10 Percent In Iran

Child adoption has increased in the country by 10 percent, following the actions taken to speed up the process, Habibollah Masoudi-Farid, deputy head of the Welfare Organization, has stated. Following the Law on Protection of Children and Adolescents in [the Iranian calendar year] 1392 (March 2013-March 2014), adaption experienced an upward trend. 4/13/21

Why Israel would attack Iran's nuclear facility

Whatever else happens in the coming hours and days in the high-stakes drama over Iran's nuclear program, there is one thing we can all be sure of. Israel's apparent, daring attack on Iran's uranium enrichment facility in Natanz will be repeatedly and widely described in U.S. media as a move intended to "set back Iran's nuclear program." But it was nothing of the kind. -John Ghazvinian, Responsible Statecraft 4/13/21

Iran Says Israeli 'Nuclear Terrorism' Could Have Led to Catastrophic 'Crime Against Humanity'

Iran's Foreign Ministry said Monday that an attack on its Natanz nuclear facility over the weekend, which it accused Israel of carrying out, could have led to a catastrophic "crime against humanity" if the damage had been more extreme than what occurred. -Jon Queally, Common Dreams 4/13/21

Iran warns sabotage could hurt Vienna talks over nuke deal

Iran's foreign minister warned Tuesday that a weekend attack on its main nuclear enrichment site at Natanz could hurt ongoing negotiations over its tattered atomic deal with world powers. "Americans should know that neither sanctions nor sabotage actions would provide them with an instrument for talks," Zarif said in Tehran alongside visiting Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov. "They should know that these actions would only make the situation difficult for them." -AP 4/13/21

The 'NY Times' is whitewashing Israel's efforts to sabotage the Iran nuclear deal

Even veteran observers of the New York Times's zeal to protect Israel's reputation will be astonished at the paper's latest whitewash. The paper just published a long, sensible editorial endorsing the U.S. return to the Iran nuclear deal - without once mentioning Benjamin Netanyahu's violent efforts to sabotage the agreement. -James North, Mondoweiss 4/13/21

Attack on Iran's Natanz plant muddies US-Iran nuclear talks

The attack on Iran's Natanz nuclear facility is casting a major shadow over the resumption of indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran over resurrection of the international accord limiting Iran's nuclear program. Neither Iran nor the U.S. say the incident will crater the negotiations. But the attack and the destruction of a significant amount of Iran's uranium enrichment capability add uncertainty to the discussions set for Tuesday in Vienna. -AP 4/13/21

EU Sanctions Iranian Officials Amid Vienna Talks

While the European Union is trying to play the honest broker between the US and Iran to revive the nuclear deal, the bloc slapped sanctions on Iranian officials on Monday over alleged human rights violations surrounding protests in 2019... The timing could damage the delicate indirect talks that are ongoing between the US and Iran in Vienna. -Antiwar.com 4/13/21

Israel appears to confirm it carried out cyberattack on Iran nuclear facility

Israel appeared to confirm claims that it was behind a cyber-attack on Iran's main nuclear facility on Sunday, which Tehran's nuclear energy chief described as an act of terrorism that warranted a response against its perpetrators. The apparent attack took place hours after officials at the Natanz reactor restarted spinning advanced centrifuges that could speed up the production of enriched uranium, in what had been billed as a pivotal moment in the country's nuclear programme. -Guardian 4/12/21

Iran reports 258 coronavirus deaths, highest daily toll since Dec

Iran reported 258 deaths from COVID-19 in the past 24 hours, the health ministry said on Sunday, the highest daily toll since early December. That brings the total number of fatalities from the coronavirus to 64,490 in Iran, the worst-hit country in the Middle East. -Reuters 4/12/21

Nuclear chief says the world and IAEA must address 'nuclear terrorism' against Iran

Nuclear chief Ali Akbar Salehi on Sunday slammed the act of sabotage against Iran's nuclear site in Natanz earlier in the day, noting that the international community and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) must deal with such "nuclear terrorism" that targets Iran's facilities. Salehi's remarks came hours after a nuclear spokesman said that an incident took place at the electricity distribution network of the Shahid Mostafa Ahmadi Roshan nuclear facility in Natanz in Iran's central province of Isfahan. 4/12/21

South Korean PM arrives in Iran to help try to revive nuclear deal

South Korean Prime Minister Chung Sye-kyun arrived in Iran on Sunday to help try to restore a 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and world powers and free up $7 billion in Iranian funds trapped in South Korea, Seoul officials said. Chung is the first South Korean prime minister to visit Iran in 44 years amid icy relations between the two countries due to Iran's military cooperation with North Korea. -Reuters 4/12/21

Tablecloth weaving in Mazandaran villages

Some women in the Iranian province of Mazandaran are still weaving traditional tablecloths as a way to make a living. Mazandaran Province is located along the southern coast of the Caspian Sea and in the adjacent Central Alborz mountain range, in central-northern Iran. -Hava Ahmadi, Mehr 4/12/21

Iranian TV action thriller delivers warning to Zarif

It is hardly surprising that Mohammad Javad Zarif, Iran's foreign minister and nuclear negotiator, is not a fan of Gando, a popular television drama that depicts an incompetent minister who scuppers nuclear talks with world powers by hiring dual nationals who turn out to be spies for MI6. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 4/12/21

Defense Secretary Vows 'Ironclad' Commitment to Israel During Visit to Talk Iran Deal

A Sunday meeting between Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin and his Israeli counterpart Benny Gantz is looming large over nuclear talks with Iran, with the US trying to reassure Israel that they are committed to Israeli security, and Israeli officials expecting to have effective veto power over the negotiations. -Jason Ditz, Antiwar.com 4/12/21

Attack on Natanz nuclear plant 'will set back Iran's programme by nine months'

Iran's foreign ministry has blamed Israel for an attack on a nuclear plant, as US intelligence sources claimed the incident would set back Tehran's nuclear programme by nine months. Israel has not confirmed it was behind a cyber-attack on the heavily guarded Natanz facility, but its security officials have done little to dispel the notion. -Guardian 4/12/21

Iran nuclear talks to continue next week after breakthrough

Talks on the terms for the US and Iran to come back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal are to resume next week after making sufficient progress since Tuesday's breakthrough agreement on a roadmap for both sides. The US has not been in direct talks with the Iranian delegation in Vienna this week but is relaying messages mainly to European members of the body that oversees the deal. -Guardian 4/9/21

'Here's the (Iran) deal, folks': Americans are fine with a return to the JCPOA

Supporters of the Iran nuclear deal got a bit antsy as the weeks rolled by after Joe Biden's inauguration without apparent progress toward restoring the landmark 2015 agreement. Members of the US Congress and assorted lobbyists who had opposed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) from its inception took advantage of the time to argue against the Biden administration lifting punitive sanctions and returning to compliance with the JCPOA even if Iran would do so as well. =Barbara Slavin, Atlantic Council 4/9/21

Netanyahu's desperation could prompt him to sabotage the Vienna talks to restore the Iran nuclear deal

Benjamin Netanyahu is desperate. His first corruption trial has already started; he's struggling to form a government that might keep him out of jail; even observers who recognize his past ability to squirm out of trouble think he may finally have come to the end of the line. As the talks continue in Vienna to restore the Iran nuclear deal, Netanyahu's desperation could prompt him to extreme measures to try and sabotage the agreement - but, yet again, the U.S. mainstream media is ignoring the Israel angle. -James North, Mondoweiss 4/9/21

Iran's middle class and the nuclear deal

This week the U.S. and Iranian negotiators met for indirect talks in Vienna and agreed on procedures for the two countries to return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, formally known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Millions of Iranians continue to suffer economically from both U.S. maximum pressure sanctions and the pandemic. Meanwhile, the Biden administration has been waiting for Iran to get back into compliance before it considers easing the sanctions. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Brookings Institution 4/9/21

Families Of Austrians Jailed In Iran Call On Their Government To Do More To Secure Their Release

The families of two Austrian citizens currently imprisoned in Iran have written an open letter to the Austrian foreign minister Alexander Schallenberg demanding he does more to try and secure their release. Massud Mossaheb and Kamran Ghaderi are both serving ten-year sentences, having been convicted on spying charges. -Dominic Dudley, Forbes 4/9/21

Iran nuclear deal talks: the key issues on the Vienna negotiating table

A joint commission responsible for overseeing the 2015 Iran nuclear deal is looking for a way for the US to rejoin the agreement - abandoned under Donald Trump - and lift its sanctions on Tehran, and for Iran to end its retaliatory breaching of the limits placed on its nuclear programme. Throughout this week experts from the deal's remaining signatories - Iran, France, Germany, the UK, Russia, China and the EU - have been meeting in Vienna's Grand Hotel and relaying messages to the US delegation over the road in a neighbouring hotel. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian- 4/9/21

Iran welcomes 'new chapter' in nuclear talks as Washington seeks to heal 'profound differences' in Vienna

The United States and Iran will resume talks on Friday aimed at restoring trust and bridging what Washington calls "tremendous and profound differences" over how to salvage their failed nuclear agreement. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani told a cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday that initial talks with the U.S. and world powers in Vienna to rescue the deal were a "success" that opened a "new chapter" to save the agreement, according to a statement via his official website. -CNBC 4/8/21

IMF sees Iran's GDP growth at 2.5 percent in 2021

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), in its latest World Economic Outlook titled "Managing Divergent Recoveries", predicted a 2.5-percent real gross domestic product (GDP) growth for Iran in 2021, up one percent from 1.5 percent in 2020. The data presented in the IMF report indicates that Iran's GDP growth has outpaced that of West and Central Asia which is reported to be - 2.9 percent in 2020. 4/8/21

New Iran nuclear talks allow Biden to fix Trump's mess before we head toward war

Delicate talks to restore constraints on Iran's nuclear program began in Vienna on Tuesday between the United States and other leading countries. Their task is to undo the damage Donald Trump caused when he left an agreement that had effectively shrunk Iran's program, frozen it for a generation and put it under lock and camera. It should be possible to put the deal back together, but not if President Joe Biden listens to the siren song of junking that agreement for "a better deal." -Joseph Cirincione, NBC 4/8/21

3 Years Later, A Prisoner's Family Still Awaits His Return From Iran

Later this month, Bahareh Shargi will mark an anniversary: It will be three years that her husband has been stuck in Iran. Iranian authorities first imprisoned Emad Shargi, a U.S. citizen, on April 23, 2018. Though they eventually released him on bail, they did not allow him to leave the country and later returned him to Tehran's Evin prison. Now his family hopes that speaking out may help him. -NPR 4/8/21

Iran sets coronavirus infection record for 3rd straight day

Iran hit a new coronavirus infection record on Thursday for the third straight day, reporting 22,586 new cases as the country grapples with a severe spike following the Persian New Year holiday. The new case count pushes Iran's total during the pandemic over 2 million, including 63,884 deaths after health authorities reported 185 new daily fatalities due to COVID-19. -AP 4/8/21

Two leading international congresses in Iran in the era of COVID‐19

21st royan international twin congress, 4th international and 16th Iranian genetics congress. In this report, we look at the challenges posed by the outbreak of COVID‐19 and how the Executive Board of these two congresses succeeded in overcoming those challenges and holding two congresses. Leila Montazeri, et al, Wiley Online Library 4/8/21

Is Clubhouse boosting democracy in Iran?

Iran's FM Mohammad Javad Zarif made headlines last week when he made a late-night appearance in Clubhouse, the increasingly popular group audio-chat mobile app. Even though hours into the conversation he said it was past his bedtime, the country's top diplomat stayed longer to discuss issues that ranged from Iran's recent controversial 25-year cooperation accord with China, to its nuclear deal with world powers, to again denying he has aspirations to become president, to his bedtime routine. -Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera 4/8/21

As US and Iran talks progress, Netanyahu says Israel is not bound by 'garlic peel' deal

As the Iran-US talks proceed in Vienna, there are clear signs that both countries want to reenter the Iran deal. And there are indications that Israel, which opposes the deal more strenuously than any country in the world, has been sidelined and is not being consulted on the talks. -Philip Weiss, Mondoweiss 4/8/21

Iran Posts Second Consecutive Daily Record For New COVID-19 Cases Amid Holiday Surge

Iran has set a new daily record for new coronavirus infections amid a surge of cases following the Norouz holiday. The Health Ministry said on April 7 that in the previous 24 hours, 20,954 new cases had been reported, breaking the record set a day earlier of 17,430 infections. 4/7/21

For true JCPOA re-entry, Biden must tear down this sanctions wall

It was clear from the outset: Returning to the Iran Nuclear Deal was not a matter of nuclear technicalities or diplomatic savvy. It was and remains primarily a matter of political will and political capital. Though all eyes will be on the start of formal talks in Vienna this week, the real test will take place in Washington D.C. where President Joe Biden must muster the political will to tear down the "sanctions wall" his predecessor put in place for the sole purpose of preventing an American return to the nuclear agreement, lest the talks in Vienna will be for naught. -Tyler Cullis and Trita Parsi, Responsible Statecraft 4/7/21

Warnings of Attempt to 'Sabotage' Diplomacy as Israel Reportedly Attacks Iranian Ship

Israel reportedly informed U.S. officials that it was behind a Tuesday mine attack on an Iranian vessel stationed in the Red Sea, a dangerous escalation that came on the same day American and Iranian negotiators took part in European-led talks in Vienna on the 2015 nuclear agreement. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 4/7/21

Facebook Busts Iranian Dissident Group's Elaborate Troll Farm Operation

Facebook says it busted a troll farm run by the Mujahideen-e-Khalq (MEK)-a dissident Iranian group that lobbies for the overthrow of Iran's revolutionary government-that used artificial intelligence-generated fake faces to populate sham accounts. The social media company linked the troll farm, based alongside the MEK's headquarters in Albania, to 300 different assets on Facebook's platform, including pages, groups, and accounts engaged in coordinated inauthentic behavior. -Daily Beast 4/7/21

Vienna could be a small step toward bigger places if US-Iran take advantage of it

Although Iran and the U.S. agree on the goal of reviving the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action through a full return to commitments by all parties, they've hit an impasse on how to proceed. The Iranians believe that the U.S. should make the first move by lifting sanctions since it was the Trump administration that withdrew from the deal in May 2018. Biden administration officials are unwilling to take an initial, unilateral step... -Suzanne DiMaggio, Responsible Statecraft 4/6/21

US, Iran expected to begin indirect nuclear talks in Vienna

Efforts to bring the United States back into the 2015 deal on Iran's nuclear program stepped up a gear Tuesday as Iran and the five world powers still in the accord were meeting in Vienna while the U.S. is due to start indirect talks with Tehran. Friday's announcement that Washington and Tehran would begin indirect talks through intermediaries was one of the first signs of tangible progress in efforts to return both nations to the terms of the accord, which restricted Iran's nuclear program in return for relief from U.S. and international sanctions. -AP 4/6/21

Biden Should Listen to Americans and Return to the Iran Deal

Despite being the most powerful nation in the world, the last U.S. election exposed the fragility of American democracy. It highlighted the need to continually work toward improving and fostering our democratic institutions... In order to nurture democracy, President Joe Biden should abide by its core belief to carry out the will of the people. His administration's openness to diplomacy with Iran reflects that very will. -Assal Rad, Newsweek 4/6/21

Iran Charges 10 Officials Over 2020 Downing Of Ukrainian Airliner Near Tehran

Iran says it has charged 10 officials over the crash of a Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) jet that was shot down last year, killing all 176 people on board. Gholam Abbas Torki, the former military prosecutor for Tehran Province, said on April 6 that the 10 have been "brought to responsibility" and will face trial to determine "the necessary conclusions" over the incident in January 2020, the semiofficial ISNA news agency reported. 4/6/21

The Iran-China agreement: Inconsequential or a game changer?

After a nearly two-year delay, on Saturday March 27 during the visit of Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Iran and China signed the 25-year Comprehensive Agreement on Economic, Political and Cultural Cooperation. This event generated a great deal of attention and controversy both inside Iran and globally. Within Iran, the debate has centered on the costs and benefits of the agreement, which remains short on details. -Shireen Hunter, Responsible Statecraft 4/6/21

120,000 refugees assisted to access Iran's health insurance scheme

As the COVID-19 pandemic continues to affect refugees and host communities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, UNHCR, the UN Refugee Agency, is ensuring that another 20,000 refugees can access the country's national health insurance scheme, taking the numbers assisted with health insurance to 120,000. -Reliefweb 4/6/21

Iran receives first AstraZeneca doses through COVAX

Some 700,000 doses of the Oxford-AstraZeneca vaccine have been delivered to Iran as part of its purchase of millions of doses through the World Health Organization's COVAX initiative. As confirmed by an Iranian official and the United Nations' UNICEF, which handled delivery, the first shipment landed in Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport Monday night and included 700,800 doses of the vaccine. -Al Jazeera 4/6/21

Nakhchivan rail plans promise to rewire Caucasus connections

A new rail line connecting Azerbaijan with its exclave of Nakhchivan promises to revolutionize transportation in the Caucasus and could have broad ramifications further afield. In February, a camouflage-clad Azerbaijan President Ilham Aliyev laid the foundation for a new 100-kilometer stretch of railroad across southern Azerbaijan, along the Iranian border, in territory that Azerbaijan took back from Armenia after the war last year. "This railroad has enormous strategic significance," he said. -Eurasianet 4/6/21

Iranians and Americans Support A Mutual Return to JCPOA

A joint Council and IranPoll survey shows that although Iranian and American public support for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action has waned over time, there is still sizable backing for it in both countries. -Chicago Council on Global Affairs 4/5/21

'The Beautiful Dreams That Are Burnt': Portraits From Iran Under Sanctions

Iranians across a broad spectrum of society are having a tough time right now, and many blame U.S. sanctions. Hospitals struggle to get medical supplies. Imported goods are hard to come by. Tourism has dried up. And forget about traveling abroad. These are just some of the many concerns Iranian photojournalist Marjan Yazdi hears from her subjects in this portrait series. -NPR 4/5/21

Biden's Iran nuclear diplomacy needs to fix Trump's mistakes

The hotels of Vienna are likely to be prepping for a bit of deja vu. The Austrian city is where, after months of negotiations, the United States and five other world powers signed a pact with Iran to limit its nuclear capabilities in 2015. On Tuesday, representatives of all seven countries will be back to figure out whether the deal can be salvaged. -Hayes Brown, MSNBC 4/5/21

'Angry' protesters show up at Sen. Bob Menendez's house

Antiwar protesters demonstrated Saturday outside the suburban New Jersey home of Senate Foreign Relations Committee chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) over his opposition to diplomacy with Iran. The protest was led by Codepink and Peace Action NJ. About two dozen people marched to the house in the upscale suburb of Englewood Cliffs where Menendez's third wife lives and the senator spends much of the year. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 4/5/21

How a shadowy, hawkish new group tied to Iranian monarchists is gaining influence in Congress

A new organization with ties to Iranian monarchists is cultivating relationships with the Republican Party, holding a series of online events with newer GOP House members, strongly advocating against diplomacy with Iran, and pushing for the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate so-called "Islamic Republic agents and lobbyists" in the United States. -Bryan Metzger, Responsible Statecraft 4/5/21

Letter protesting the unjust prosecution and sentencing of Touraj Amini in Iran

To Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic of Iran, We write on behalf of the Committee on Academic Freedom of the Middle East Studies Association (MESA) to express our concern over the imprisonment of Touraj Amini, a historian of the Qajar era and the Iranian Constitutional movement, who is also Baha'i. -Middle East Studies Association of North America 4/5/21

Clubhouse Brings Together Iranians More Used to Trading Insults

Public debate in Iran has for decades been monopolized by state authorities primarily concerned with promoting Islamic values, stemming Western influence and curbing dissent. Enter Clubhouse. The invite-only iPhone app is connecting Iranians more used to venting their seemingly irreconcilable differences: political exiles, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps veterans, monarchists and staunch defenders of the 1979 Islamic revolution. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 4/5/21

Iranians mark Nature Day outdoors despite COVID-19 restrictions

To prevent the spread of coronavirus, and by order of Coronavirus Prevention and Combat Headquarters, authorities closed all parks and public places in Iran on April 2 and imposed severe penalties for picnicking. However, desite the official orders and warnings, Iranians across the country gathered outdoors on Friday to celebrate Sizdah-Bedar, the traditional Persian festival of nature. 4/2/21

U.S, Iran to go to Vienna for indirect nuclear deal talks -sources

Officials from Tehran and Washington will travel to Vienna next week as part of efforts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal between Iran and global powers, though they will not hold direct talks, diplomats said on Friday. -Even without face-to-face talks, which Tehran has ruled out, the presence of both of Iran and the United States in the Austrian capital would mark a step forward in efforts to bring both sides back into compliance with the accord. -Reuters 4/2/21

Hopes rise of breakthrough on US return to Iran nuclear deal

A potential breakthrough in the apparently deadlocked efforts to bring the US back into the nuclear deal with Iran is on the horizon after secret diplomatic talks in Frankfurt this week. The joint commission, the body that brings together the existing signatories to the deal, will meet virtually on Friday to discuss the outcome of Monday's meeting amid growing optimism that unexpected progress has been made. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 4/2/21

U.S. Civil Society Groups Call for Sanctions Relief

Though the Biden administration announced soon after taking office that they would review these sanctions for the purposes of humanitarian assistance in a global crisis, no such relief has been granted and all Trump era sanctions remain in place on Iran. As such, a group of civil society organizations-including human rights, faith-based, advocacy and other groups-sent a letter to President Biden last week urging him to take swift action on sanctions relief. -NIAC Action 4/2/21

Kamyar Bineshtarigh's world of words

With a deliberate randomness and the works of a beloved Persian poet, the Iranian artist combines language, text and writing imaginatively to create meaning - or shatter it. -New Frame 4/2/21

Iranian Americans Hope For a Better Year in Orange County This Nowruz

Nowruz, the Persian New Year, has not only been celebrated for decades by the tens of thousands of Iranian Americans who live in Orange County, but it is a tradition that dates back thousands of years. The word Nowruz means "new day" and for many, the tradition is about hope, letting go of the past and preparing for new beginnings. It's not just Iranians, many people celebrate the festivities. -Hosam Elattar, Voice of OC 4/2/21

Iran minister's social media stint sparks talk of openness - or fix

Iran's foreign minister has taken to the social media forum Clubhouse to answer questions in front of 8,000 people, in a move regarded by some as showing an unprecedented degree of openness but denounced by others as a fix in which unwelcome queries were not permitted. Javad Zarif is the latest in a line of politicians to try out a medium that is proving increasingly popular in Iran amid a growing demand for political debate and discussion. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 4/2/21

Progressive Dems: Biden needs to move first on Iran nuclear deal

Two progressive Democratic members of Congress argued on a Wednesday panel that the United States needs to make the first move in returning to the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.) and Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) called for a more proactive U.S. stance towards the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action at a video event hosted by the National Iranian American Council and several other pro-diplomacy groups. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 4/1/21

Concert: Pacific Symphony and Farhang Foundation's Virtual Nowruz Celebration

Celebrate Nowruz with the prestigious Pacific Symphony partnership with the Farhang Foundation. A traditional festival that marks the beginning of spring, Nowruz is a time to celebrate the "rebirth of nature" and wash away the past. Guest artists include pianist and composer Shardad Rohani, guitarist Lily Afshar, vocalist Sara Hamidi, and Sohrab Pournazeri improvising on the tanbour from Tehran, Iran. 4/1/21

Bahman Mohassess shaped Iranian modernism-and buried his own legacy

Bahman Mohassess is considered Iran's most important modernist, and has been dubbed the "Persian Picasso." But for nearly five decades of his career, he lived outside the public eye in Italy, and his countrymen even thought he was dead. Now, however, there is no missing the many contributions of Mohassess, who is best known for his paintings of anthropomorphic figures that allude to international political conflict. -Angelica Villa, Art News 4/1/21

Containing Iran and drawing the wrong lessons from the Cold War

When it comes to Iran, there is a persistent belief in Washington that the Cold War experience in confronting the Soviet Union is relevant to dealing with the Islamic Republic. Yet the pundits and policymakers insist on drawing the wrong lessons from that experience. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 4/1/21

Sign the petition to President Biden: Restore the Iran Deal

President Biden campaigned on the promise of reviving the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, and we must hold him to that. Returning to the Iran deal is a necessary requirement for effective, broader diplomacy with Iran. The United States, along with people worldwide, deserve a long-term diplomatic approach to Iran and the wider region that minimizes human suffering and fosters lasting peace. -15 Participating Organizations 03/30/21

Iran start-ups battle brain drain and US sanctions

Online start-ups have mushroomed in Iran in the past decade with entrepreneurs offering services as diverse as online shopping, food delivery, e-ticketing for movies and laundry services, among others. As of the beginning of March, there are around 10,000 start-ups operating in Iran, according to the country's Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari. -Reza Khaasteh, MEE 03/30/21

The Middle-Class Women of Iran Are Disappearing: And the United States is partly to blame.

The decimation of Iran's economy is unfolding in the lives of the very constituency that has been working for reform and liberalization, and in whose name Mr. Pompeo and other leading American officials speak: middle-class Iranian women. The slump is tearing away at their fragile gains in employment, upper management positions and leadership roles in the arts and higher education, while reducing their capacity to seek legal reforms and protections. -Azadeh Moaveni and Sussan Tahmasebi, New York Times 03/29/21

The complicated history of US-Iran relations

Scholars have urged us, when looking at U.S.-Iran relations, to "take the long view." It is a mistake, they tell us, to imagine that relations began in 1979 with the 14- month occupation of the American Embassy in Tehran. Or that they began in 1953 with the CIA-sponsored coup d'etat against the nationalist government of Premier Mohammad Mosaddegh. -John Limbert, Responsible Statecraft 03/29/21

From Iran to Le Cordon Bleu, This Atlanta Chef Brings Her Passion Project to Buckhead

Growing up on her family's saffron farm in Iran, chef Forough Vakili didn't realize there was any other way to eat besides using what's around you. Her fondest food memories revolve around picking saffron flowers with her parents at dawn and celebrating Iranian festivals and holidays, like Nowruz (or Persian New Year) when her mother made exquisite gingersnap cookies in the tandoor oven. -Swathi Reddy, Thrillist 03/26/21

'Disclaimer' Turns the Spotlight on Its Audience

Can a culturally appropriative murder mystery in the guise of a cooking class prevent war with Iran? Piehole's interactive new Zoom play aims to find out. Disclaimer begins as a Persian cooking class on Zoom. Writer Tara Ahmadinejad also stars as Nargis Saleem, an Iranian American woman flailing in her attempts to teach her class how to cook Sabzi Polo, a dish traditionally served for the Persian New Year. It quickly becomes clear that Chef Nargis has an ulterior motive for this gathering. -American Theatre 03/25/21

Why end of Trump's travel ban is only partial victory for Iranian Americans

Iranian Americans have played defense for far too long. For years, the Trump administration's travel ban hung over our community like a dark cloud - unjustly separating families and loved ones and encouraging a dramatic rise in hate crimes and further discrimination directed at Iranian Americans. This includes the detention of hundreds of Iranian Americans by U.S. Customs and Border Protection on the Washington State/Canadian border in January 2020. -Leila Golestaneh Austin, AZ Central 03/25/21

What It Took to Assemble Iran's $3 Billion Modern Art Collection

In 1975, Donna Stein embarked on a semi-secret, two-year effort to build a contemporary art collection for the empress of Iran. Before she was hired as part of the empresses's private secretariat, Stein was an assistant curator in the prints and illustrated books department at MoMA and was given very little direction before and during her tenure in Tehran. There was no budget and no real guidance about acquisitions. -James Tarmy, Bloomberg 03/25/21

10 Must-See Shows from Middle Eastern Galleries You Can View

Over the past year, the art world has made a conscious effort to highlight voices beyond the narrow confines of the West, amplifying unheard voices and moving away from the long-dominant white male gaze. Perhaps one of the most exciting hotspots within our increasingly global art world is the Middle East. -Lizzy Vartanian Collier, Artsy 03/24/21

Biden must act quickly to salvage Iran nuclear deal

Former US president Donald Trump's 'maximum pressure' campaign against Iran utterly failed to enhance regional or global security. His successor, Joe Biden, must not make the same mistake. -Shlomo Ben-Ami, The Strategist 03/24/21

"Opposition to the religious patriarchal system is female"

As an artist, she translates experiences into images - for her political engagement, she was brought to trial. The Iranian contemporary artist Parastou Forouhar talks about idyllic places and war, suicide and opulence, and how women in Iran are fighting for equality. Interview by Siri Goegelmann, Qantara 03/23/21

Biden can end 'forever wars' only if he scraps Trump policies and pursues peace with Iran

President Joe Biden has inherited many debacles at home and abroad, including a global war that spans continents and has seen hundreds of thousands killed and trillions of taxpayer dollars spent. This endless war was almost catastrophically expanded by former President Donald Trump and his aggressive policies toward Iran. As the Biden years begin, the administration must fundamentally end America's reliance on military force, starting with coming to a lasting peace with Iran. -Sina Toossi and Yasmine Taeb, USA Today 03/22/21

Black Iranian heritage: Emerging from the shadows

A new generation of Black and Afro-Iranians are revitalising their distinct histories and culture. The exact number of Black and Afro-Iranians is not known. Their ancestry is linked to either the Trans-Saharan slave trade, the 19th century Pearl Diving trade, or more recent economic migration from Iran and African countries to the West for example. -Adama Munu, TRT World 03/17/21

Persian Gulf water to give new life to central Iranian plateau

The national plan for transferring water from the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman to seven provinces situated in the semi-arid central plateau will be completed by 2025, aiming to save underground water resources while flourishing industries and agriculture in the region. -Mehdi Garshasbi 03/15/21

Iranzamin Exhibition at Powerhouse Museum in Sydney

Iranzamin (Land of the Persians) is the first survey exhibition of Persian arts and crafts acquired by the Powerhouse Museum since its founding in 1880. It explores the stories behind rarely seen artefacts from the middle of the 19th century to now, shedding light on the diverse social and cultural history of Persia - today's Iran - and its people. 03/12/21

Hegmataneh Hill one step closer to World Heritage registration

Iran is completing an all-inclusive dossier for the mysterious Hegmataneh Hill to have it registered on the UNESCO World Heritage list. The ruined Hegmataneh (Ecbatana) which is partly beneath the modern city of Hamedan (the capital city), is widely believed to be once a mysterious capital of Medes. According to ancient Greek writers, the city was founded in about 678 BC by Deioces, who was the first king of the Medes. 03/10/21

How to Get America and Iran Back to the Negotiating Table

Last September, Joe Biden proposed a dramatic alternative to Donald Trump's bellicose Iran policies. As president, he would offer "a credible path back to diplomacy" aiming at return to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal, if Iran too returned to compliance. While spare on details, the overall thrust was clear: A Biden administration would prioritize the Iran deal as a centerpiece of its approach to the Middle East. -Perry Cammack, American Prospect 03/10/21

UNESCO celebrates 1,750th anniversary of Iran's Gundi-Shapur University

UNESCO Director-General Audrey Azulay has expressed delight over the 1,750th anniversary of the University of Gundi-Shapur, which has long been a major forum for science. "Since its creation, this university, the intellectual capital of the Sassanid Empire, has been a major center for producing knowledge, a truly universal forum for science. It is this idea that we celebrate today," Azoulay said in a written message, addressing the 3rd international congress on Gundi-Shapur 03/9/21

National Iranian American Council's "40 under 40" campaign

From tech leaders and business gurus, to athletes and artists, Iranian Americans have made an enormous impact on our community and country. That's why NIAC is proud to launch its first ever "40 under 40" campaign to recognize 40 Iranian Americans under the age of 40 who have inspired us with their work. Check back weekly through the month of March as we roll out profiles highlighting our 40 Under 40 honorees! -NIAC 03/9/21

30+ Orgs to Biden: Fulfill Your Campaign Promise, Rejoin the Iran Deal

On March 3, 2021, 32 organizations, on behalf of the pro-diplomacy majority of the U.S. public, sent a letter to President Biden calling for him to fulfill his campaign promise to move swiftly to rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. 03/5/21

Buried for 4,000 years, this ancient culture could expand the 'Cradle of Civilization'

Flooding in 2001 near Jiroft, Iran, exposed the ruins of an ancient necropolis from a Bronze Age culture that flourished alongside Mesopotamia. -Antomio Ratti, National Geographic 02/26/21

Bandar Khamir on its way to become sustainable travel destination

The southern Iranian port city of Bandar Khamir, which has recently joined the UNESCO Network of Learning Cities, seeks to be a sustainable travel destination. Situated in Hormozgan province and bounded by the Persian Gulf, Bandar Khamir is the only city located on the coasts of the Khorkhoran Wetland, one of the largest and most important marine environments in Iran. 02/12/21

Publication of 'Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period'

The Iran Heritage Foundation is pleased to announce the recent publication of a book entitled Studies in Ancient Persia and the Achaemenid Period, edited by John Curtis, the Academic Director of IHF. The book is published by James Clarke & Co and has been sponsored by IHF. 01/28/21

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last updated on Thu Apr 15 11:50:45 EDT 2021