Farvardin 19 1399 - April 07 2020
Iran's President Rohani calls for necessary measures to resume economic activities

President Hassan Rohani said late on Sunday that all required measured must be adopted to resume economic activities in the country with the people's health prioritized. talking to his cabinet members, Rohani said, "People's health is the country's first priority, but employment, production and businesses in a year that is named 'Surge in Production' must be considered as well." 4/6/20

Sanctions are crippling Iran's fight against coronavirus

To many of us urban administrators in Iran, the onslaught of coronavirus has underscored an important fact of life: no town, city or nation can be indifferent to global crises, even in far-flung corners of our world. Indeed, while the mantra of good governance over the past century has been to "think global, act local", we must today think and act both locally and globally. -Pirouz Hanachi, Guardian 4/6/20

US: Ease Sanctions on Iran in COVID-19 Crisis

Broad US-imposed economic sanctions are negatively affecting the Iranian government's ability to adequately respond to the mounting health consequences of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. The US should take immediate action to ease US sanctions and expand licensing of sanctions-exempt items to ensure Iran's access to essential humanitarian resources during the pandemic. -Human Rights Watch 4/6/20

EU's INSTEX transaction offers glimmer of hope but unlikely to satisfy Iran

European leaders have confirmed that INSTEX-the Instrument in Support of Trade Exchanges-has processed its first transaction with Iran: an export of medical goods from Europe. News of this move has been received with cautious optimism by those seeking to preserve the nuclear agreement with Iran, as INSTEX's successful conclusion of a trade with Iran is taken as evidence Europe may be reinvigorating efforts to preserve the agreement. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 4/6/20

What an Iranian film about a leper colony can teach us about coronavirus

In the autumn of 1962, the celebrated Iranian poet Forough Farrokhzad made what would be her first and last film. Regarded as a precursor to the Iranian new wave and now considered a classic, The House Is Black is a documentary about the members of a leper colony near the city of Tabriz in northwest Iran. Despite having been filmed nearly 60 years ago, and focusing on a small group of people suffering from a particular condition, it has found new relevance in the age of the coronavirus pandemic, having much to say not only about the current situation in Iran but also to those in self-isolation and/or suffering, regardless of location. -Joobin Bekhrad, Guardian 4/6/20

Iran producing favipiravir for first time to treat coronavirus: Senior doctor

Iran has produced favipiravir for the first time as it continues its fight against the COVID-19 pandemic, says the head of Iran's Masih Daneshvari Hospital, which is one of the leading medical centers treating patients with the new coronavirus infection in the Iranian capital. Dr. Ali Akbar Velayati, who is also a senior advisor to Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, made the remarks in a meeting with the medical staff of the hospital on Sunday. -Press TV 4/6/20

Iran to have blocked funds released: Government spokesman

The Iranian government says it will soon have parts of funds blocked abroad because of the US sanctions released and return to the country for the fight against the spread of the novel coronavirus. Government Spokesman Ali Rabiei said on Monday that the government would soon announce some good news about unblocking the highly-needed funds. -Press TV 4/6/20

Rights Attorneys Call for Release of All Eligible Prisoners: "Tomorrow Will be Too Late"

As inmates in Iran continue to be killed or injured in "prison disturbances" amid the country's devastating COVID-19 outbreak, two defense attorneys in Tehran have joined the growing chorus of domestic and international voices that has been calling on Iranian authorities to release all eligible prisoners before it's too late. The following statement was written by human rights lawyers Arash Keykhosravi and Saeid Dehghan, who both represented the family of Kavous Seyed-Emami, an Iranian-Canadian sociologist and conservationist that died in Iranian state custody two weeks after being taken to Tehran's Evin Prison. -CHRI 4/3/20

Iran's COVID-19 situation will greatly change in coming days: Health minister

Iran's health minister has said that the country's international standing in regards to containing the coronavirus outbreak will "greatly change" in coming days. "Due to advances in our diagnosis capability, we have been able to identify more COVID-19 cases in the country," Saeed Namaki said late Thursday. "Signs of their recovery will further emerge in the following days; this will completely transform Iran's situation on the world stage," he added. -Press TV 4/3/20

Powerful light installation by Nanda Sharif-pour at Soho Lofts on Las Vegas Boulevard

The bright lights of Las Vegas' Strip may have gone dark, but art remains a beacon of light in Sin City. As the city is placed under a 30-day lockdown for entertainment and all non-essential businesses due to the global pandemic, a public art installation, ONE by Iranian-American artist and refugee Nanda Sharif-pour, uses art to inspire kindness, reflection, equality and unity during these times of global political and social unrest. -ArtfixDaily 4/3/20

Can Iran's president turn around its economy?

While the Iranian government is busy managing the public health fallout of the coronavirus pandemic, there are increasing calls to pay attention to the needs of the country's economy and to develop a stimulus plan. But what can the Hassan Rouhani administration do in its current financial position? Not only does it face major financial shortcomings, it also cannot access its own hard currency reserves in international banks, nor can it hope to secure international loans or issue bonds on global capital markets. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor 4/3/20

Iranian Filmmaker Mehrdad Oskouei Awaits a Prison Sentence in Quarantine

Three days before the announcement of the coronavirus coming to the city of Qom in Iran, I organized a one-day documentary-film workshop in which more than 80 people participated. My hotel was right in front of the Fatima Masumeh holy shrine. Early in the morning, around 4 a.m, pilgrims who had come from different cities began shouting loudly in the corridors as they prepared for pilgrimage. After class, I went to the shrine, and some of my students accompanied me; -Mehrdad Oskouei, as told to Bilge Ebiri, Vulture 4/3/20

Biden joins fellow US Democrats in call for easing Iran sanctions

Democratic presidential contender Joe Biden on Thursday called on the administration of United States President Donald Trump to ease economic sanctions on Iran as a humanitarian gesture during the global coronavirus pandemic. The former vice president said the US has a moral obligation to be among the first to offer aid to people in need regardless of where they live when confronting a virus that knows no borders or political affiliations. -Al-Jazeera 4/3/20

The US and Iran could bring down tensions if they're willing to talk about one issue

If there is one word to describe the state of US-Iran relations in 2020, it's "edgy." This January, the two countries were dangerously on the precipice of a wide-scale military confrontation, with US Hellfire missiles slamming into Quds Force commander Qassem Soleimani's convoy and Iranian ballistic missiles sending over 100 US soldiers to the hospital with traumatic brain injuries. -Daniel DePetris, Business Insider 4/3/20

Iran's Coronavirus Stats as of April 2nd: 50,468 infected, 3,160 dead

The total number of people diagnosed with the coronavirus in Iran has reached 50,468, of whom 3,160 have died and 16,711 recovered. Meanwhile, 2,875 new patients have been identified over the past 24 hours, Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour said on Thursday. Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has tested positive for COVID-19, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) reported on Thursday 4/2/20

COVID-19 outbreak in Iran exposes twisted aims of Iran hawks

The COVID-19 outbreak in Iran is a disaster for the Iranian people, with thousands already dead, tens of thousands more infected, and medical professionals working around the clock at profound risk to save as many lives as they can. Any American living through the pandemic should be able to sympathize, knowing that the Iranian people are dealing with the same struggle against a deadly virus, though one that is rendered far more difficult thanks to crushing U.S. sanctions. -Ryan Costello, Responsible Statecraft 4/2/20

Iran medical body writes to Guterres, slams UN inaction on cruel US bans

The Academy of Medical Sciences of Iran has written to the UN to complain about the world's body failure to push for the lifting of cruel US sanctions at a critical time when the Islamic Republic is fighting a deadly coronavirus pandemic. In a letter addressed to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres, the Academy's President Alireza Marandi criticized the UN and its affiliated organizations for taking "no effective measures" to ease the restrictive US measures, which are hampering Iran's fight against the fast-spreading disease. -Press TV 4/2/20

COVID-19 and Iranian-American Relations

In recent weeks, Iran's suffering has been dramatically heightened by four converging disasters. The first is the multiplying deaths caused by COVID-19. Iran's health ministry grimly estimates that one person dies from the virus every ten minutes and 50 are infected every hour. By March 31, over 44,000 Iranians had been infected and almost 2,900 perished, making Iran the locus of one of the highest cases and deaths due to this scourge. The second disaster facing Tehran results from the intersecting costs of massive corruption and pervasive economic inefficiency. The coronavirus could be the proverbial last straw that breaks Iran's oil-dependent economy. -Daniel Brumberg, Arab Center, Washington DC 4/2/20

Iran Says U.S. Sanctions Are Taking Lives. U.S. Officials Disagree.

As Iran struggles with a devastating coronavirus outbreak, a broken economy and a severe shortage of medical equipment, it says that American trade sanctions are taking Iranian lives and has called for the United States to lift them on humanitarian grounds. Iran's plea is gaining traction around the globe, winning support from allies like Russia and China, but also the European Union, the United Nations secretary general, rights groups and nearly three dozen members of Congress, who have appealed to the Trump administration to suspend the sanctions for as long as Iran is battling the coronavirus. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 4/2/20

Iran, US heat up war of words on Iraq despite virus pandemic

Iran said Thursday it "only acts in self-defence" after President Donald Trump warned it against attacks on US troops in Iraq, as a new war of words heated up despite the coronavirus pandemic. Tensions between the arch-foes flared in Iraq where the United States deployed Patriot air defence missiles prompting neighbouring Iran to warn of consequences and demand a US withdrawal. -AFP 4/2/20

Scoop: Netanyahu shared fake video as proof of Iranian virus cover-up

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu shared with his Cabinet a video he claimed was evidence of Iran concealing coronavirus deaths by dropping bodies in garbage dumps, two Cabinet ministers tell me. Behind the scenes: Several hours later, Netanyahu's office realized the video had nothing to do with Iran, or with the coronavirus crisis. It was a clip from "Pandemic," a 2007 Hallmark Channel mini-series. -Axios 4/2/20

Sizdah Bedar 1399: Iranians advised to stay home on Nature's Day due to epidemic

The thirteenth day of the Iranian calendar month of Farvardin is traditionally marked in Iran as Nature's Day, or Sizdah Bedar as the day is known in Persian. The annual festival is an opportunity for people to picnic outdoors with family and friends and enjoy nature. But not this year! And the coronavirus pandemic is to blame. Iranian officials have instructed people to skip celebrating Nature's Day and to continue staying home due to serious health threats from the new coronavirus. 4/1/20

Sanders, Ocasio-Cortez, Omar Lead Lawmakers in Calling for Lifting U.S. Sanctions as Iran Reels from Coronavirus

Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.), Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez (D-N.Y.) and Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) led nearly three dozen lawmakers in urging the Trump Administration to ease sanctions against Iran, as the country suffers from a major humanitarian crisis triggered by COVID-19. The letter comes just two weeks after the Trump Administration levied additional sanctions against Iran in the midst of the pandemic, which has to date killed more than 2,600 Iranians. 4/1/20

Mesr Village: A shining diamond in the heart of Iran's deserts

Mesr is a small rural area surrounded by an ocean of sand at the heart of Iran's Great Salt Desert (Dasht-e Kavir), Isfahan Province, which attracts thousands of the aficionados every year to its endless dunes. The village has become one of the most popular destinations for those who seek tranquility and seclusion of the desert as well as some astrological and adventurous fun. -Morteza Rahmani, Mehr 4/1/20

US lost historic chance to correct mistakes by lifting Iran sanctions amid pandemic: Rouhani

President Hassan Rouhani says the United States lost a unique opportunity to correct some of its mistakes concerning Iran by lifting its illegal sanctions against the Iranian nation and facilitating its fight against the deadly coronavirus outbreak. "Unfortunately, the Americans did not learn a lesson even amid these acute and tough international circumstances," said Rouhani, addressing a Cabinet meeting in Tehran on Wednesday. -Press TV 4/1/20

Iranian Students Donate Medical Supplies to American People

The university students of Iran have sent a shipment of health and medical supplies to people of the United States amid the outbreak of coronavirus that is rapidly spreading through the US. The consignment of medical aid for the underprivileged American citizens, loaded into two trucks, has been delivered to the Embassy of Switzerland, which represents the interests of the United States in Iran. -IFP 4/1/20

Afghanistan braces for coronavirus surge as migrants pour back from Iran

More than 130,000 Afghans have fled the coronavirus outbreak convulsing Iran to return home to Afghanistan amid fears they are bringing new infections with them to the conflict-ridden and impoverished country. The huge spike in Afghans crossing the porous border from Iran, in one of the biggest cross-border movements of the pandemic, has led to mounting fears in the humanitarian community over the potential impact of new infections carried from Iran, one of the countries worst affected by the virus. -Guardian 4/1/20

Iran President hails public compliance with social distancing measures in coronavirus fight

President Hassan Rouhani has expressed his gratitude to the Iranian nation for their cooperation with a crisis task force set up to manage the nationwide battle against the coronavirus pandemic, saying public support has played a key role in the government's plans to fight and curtail the outbreak. In total, 44,606 Iranian have contracted the disease and 2,898 have died as of March 31st. 03/31/20

Iran Gets Medical Aid Through U.S. Sanctions Workaround

Germany, Britain and France have facilitated exports of medical goods to Iran in the first use of a mechanism designed to get around U.S. sanctions, Germany said Tuesday. A German Foreign Ministry statement Tuesday did not specify what type of medical supplies were involved, nor any companies that were part of the action. 03/31/20

Beware of Trump Using the Coronavirus as a Cover for War With Iran

THE NEWS IS ALL coronavirus. Whether it's cable news, national newspapers, public radio, or even my own Intercept podcast, we can't get away from it. The pandemic has overwhelmed us all; we talk, think, dream of little else. But let me try and grab your attention for a few moments and point you in a different direction. How many of you noticed a rather disturbing New York Times story from Mark Mazzetti and Eric Schmitt last week that was headlined, "Pentagon Order to Plan for Escalation in Iraq Meets Warning From Top Commander"? -Mehdi Hasan, Intercept 03/31/20

U.S. extends sanctions waivers on nuclear cooperation with Iran

The United States has once again waived its sanctions on nuclear cooperation with Iran, allowing firms of the remaining signatories to a 2015 nuclear deal to continue working on Iranian nuclear facilities. The US State Department said in a statement on Monday that the Russian, Chinese, and European companies could continue their work at Iranian nuclear facilities without drawing American penalties. -Press TV 03/31/20

BOOK REVIEW: How the first generation of Iran's Revolutionary Guard became its most important source of reform

Days after the vote but before Iran's Supreme Leader sanctioned the results of the disputed 2009 presidential elections and unleashed the full weight of the state against millions of demonstrators, Mohammad Ahmadi was already on his third protest march, committed to participating in the Green Movement for the duration. For Ahmadi, one of several veterans featured in Narges Bajoghli's marvelous debut book, "Iran Reframed: Anxieties of Power in the Islamic Republic," the re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad came as a devastating blow. -Shervin Malekzadeh, Responsible Statecraft 03/31/20

The Quiet and Lethal Wars Against Iran

Some wars are fought with bombs and bullets. These are the wars in Syria and Iraq, in Afghanistan and Yemen. Then there are quieter wars executed by drone. These cowardly wars also kill people, but not our people. These quieter wars accomplish what the more cacophonous wars accomplish without the public outcry and condemnation. -Ted Snider, AntiWar.com 03/31/20

Iran begins use of plasma for COVID-19 patients

As the proportion of patients infected with COVID-19 continues to rise in Iran, Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran is facilitating access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with COVID-19 infections. This is while a number of the medical staff in the hospital are among the plasma donors who have been infected and have recovered recently. 03/30/20

Iran: Virus revealed 'ugliest face of US government addicted to sanctions'

Iran says the coronavirus pandemic underscores the need to end "madness in politics and irresponsible unilateralism" of the US government which is sabotaging the country's fight against the disease through sanctions. "This is the ugliest face of a government addicted to sanctions which wants to revive its abortive maximum pressure campaign through weakening Iran in the face of the corona," Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif wrote on his Instagram account Monday. -Press TV 03/30/20

Ehsan Hadadi, Iran's first Olympic track and field medalist, is infected with coronavirus

The World Athletics has wished discus thrower Ehsan Hadadi success in his fight against the novel coronavirus infection. "We've received word that Iranian discus thrower @EhsanHadadi has tested positive for Coronavirus. We wish him a full and swift recovery," the world governing body tweeted on Sunday. 03/30/20

Coronavirus: It's in America's interests to ease sanctions on Iran

Iran is among the countries worst hit by the coronavirus crisis, with more than 32,000 cases and 2,300 deaths, and no indication that the rate of infection will fall anytime soon... US sanctions, which have severely weakened Iran's economy and removed its access to the global banking system, have worsened the crisis. -Shireen T. Hunter, Middle East Eye 03/30/20

Iran Frees Prisoners Amid Pandemic

Iranian authorities said they have extended the temporary releases of thousands of prisoners in an attempt to curb the spread of the new coronavirus in the country's overcrowded jails. Authorities said they would also temporarily free another 15,000 prisoners, bringing the total number released to 100,000. Iran is one of the countries worst hit by the virus, with a declared death toll of 2,640 as of March 29, although experts estimate the total to be much higher. 03/29/20

This Coronavirus Crisis Is the Time to Ease Sanctions on Iran

Iran is in terrible shape. It is among the countries worst hit by the coronavirus - more than 27,000 documented cases to date. Sanctions have choked its economy. Tensions with Washington remain high and the government is incompetent. Does that mean the United States should tighten sanctions further in the hope that the "maximum pressure" strategy will compel Tehran to toe Washington's line? Or should it loosen sanctions to help Iranians and show them that America's argument is not with the people? -New York Times Editorial Board 03/29/20

Iran confronts coronavirus amid a 'battle between science and conspiracy theories'

When Mehdi Variji fell ill with COVID-19 in early March, he holed up in his apartment in Tehran to ride it out. The comforts of home didn't seem to help. As he grew short of breath and oxygen levels in his blood ebbed, Variji, a 43-year-old physician who ran Tehran's 21st District Clinic, knew he faced a bleak prognosis. "I'm taking three medicines, but they are not working on me," he said in a cellphone video he shot a few days before his death. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine 03/29/20

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe under consideration for clemency

Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the British-Iranian dual national on temporary release from a five-year jail sentence, is for the first time under formal consideration for clemency, her family has been told. A decision will be made by the highest level of Iran's multi-layered government. There is no guarantee that clemency will be granted, or that she will be allowed to return to the UK. -Guardian 03/29/20

Pentagon Order to Plan for Escalation in Iraq Meets Warning From Top Commander

The Pentagon has ordered military commanders to plan for an escalation of American combat in Iraq, issuing a directive last week to prepare a campaign to destroy an Iranian-backed militia group that has threatened more attacks against American troops. But the United States' top commander in Iraq has warned that such a campaign could be bloody and counterproductive and risks war with Iran. -New York Times 03/29/20

Covid-19 cases in Iran rise to 32,322, death toll hits 2,378

The US has once again extended a waiver allowing Iraq to import Iranian electricity and natural gas, but at the same time intensified its sanctions against Iran despite the coronavirus pandemic which is infecting more and more Iranians. Morgan Ortagus, a US State Department spokeswoman, said in a statement on Thursday that "Iraq is permitted to engage in financial transactions related to the import of electricity from Iran" under a US-issued sanctions waiver. -Press TV 03/27/20

Commentary: Trump's Refusal to Relax Iran Sanctions in the Era of COVID-19 Threatens Everyone

In my 15 years as an advocate for the rights of the people of Iran, I have never been more concerned for the lives of so many people. Iran's 85 million people are dying from the coronavirus at a rate some officials say is as often as 1 every 10 minutes. In the worst-case scenario, 3.5 million people could die, according to a study from Iran's prestigious Sharif University. -Hadi Ghaemi, CHRI 03/27/20

'I won't survive': Iranian scientist in US detention says Ice will let Covid-19 kill many

Dr Sirous Asgari, a materials science and engineering professor, was acquitted in November on federal charges of stealing trade secrets related to his academic work with a university in Ohio. Although the US government lost its case on all charges, Immigration and Customs Enforcement (Ice) has kept him indefinitely detained since the trial. Now he's speaking out about the "inhumane" treatment that could cost him his life. -Sam Levin, Guardian 03/27/20

The Ghoulish Opposition To Sanctions Relief For Iran

The Trump administration has gone out of its way for years to make humanitarian channels as difficult to use as possible, and even now the limited Swiss channel is inadequate for Iran's needs in the middle of the pandemic. Iran hawks know all of this, and in their more unguarded moments they exult in the horrors they have unleashed on the Iranian people, so no one should take their protestations seriously when they argue for keeping murderous sanctions in place. -Daniel Larison, American Conservative 03/27/20

In Iran, false belief a poison fights virus kills hundreds

"Other countries have only one problem, which is the new coronavirus pandemic. But we are fighting on two fronts here," said Dr. Hossein Hassanian, an adviser to Iran's Health Ministry who gave the higher figures to the AP. "We have to both cure the people with alcohol poisoning and also fight the coronavirus." -AP 03/27/20

US extends Iraq waivers but intensifies Iran sanctions as COVID-19 breaks records

The fresh US sanctions were imposed on the same day the novel coronavirus infected a record-high number of people in Iran. According to Health Ministry spokesman Kianoush Jahanpour, 2,926 new cases of infection were confirmed in the 24 hours to Friday noon. He said 144 people also died in the 24-hour period, increasing the death toll to 2,378. The spokesman said the total number of confirmed cases now stands at 32,332. -Press TV 03/27/20

Iran Reports Record Number Of New COVID-19 Cases As Travel Ban Imposed

Stepping up its fight against the new coronavirus outbreak, Iran has begun banning people from leaving their cities and requiring those who are already on Persian New Year trips to return to their hometowns at the earliest opportunity. Iran has announced 157 new deaths from the coronavirus, raising the official toll to 2,234, as a ban on intercity travel came into effect amid fears of a second wave of infections in one of the world's worst-hit countries 03/26/20

'80 hours for 80mn campaign': Pressing US to ditch Iran sanctions amid outbreak

Amid a worldwide outcry against the United States' illegal and unilateral sanctions imposed on Iran, a popular campaign has been launched to pressure Washington into temporarily lifting the sanctions that are obstructing the Iranian people's efforts to curtail the deadly coronavirus outbreak. The '80 hours for 80 million campaign' has been launched on the New/Mode advocacy platform to promote this cause. 03/26/20

Without international aid, the coronavirus crisis in Iran will spread throughout South Asia

Saadi Shirazi, one of the prominent Iranian poets of the medieval period, once wrote, "Extending a hand in the hour of need is the mark of a true friend." Iran is struggling with the COVID-19 pandemic and economic sanctions simultaneously, and all its friends are in trouble. Then who can help? Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan, in a tweet on March 22, called on the United States to temporary lift sanctions on Iran "till the COVID-19 pandemic is over." -Fatemeh Aman, Responsible Statecraft 03/26/20

AOC, Bernie Sanders, and other lawmakers send letter to Trump administration asking for Iran sanctions relief amid COVID-19 crisis

Nine members of Congress have signed on to a letter asking the Trump administration to suspend U.S. sanctions on Iran amid the COVID-19 crisis. The letter comes amidst a wider effort by activists to raise awareness of the issue and pressure the Treasury Department to take immediate action. 03/26/20

Zoroastrians In India Send Second Relief Shipment To Iran

The New Delhi Parsi Association has sent its second relief cargo, including medicine and medical equipment, to coronavirus-hit Iran, the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC)-linked Fars news agency reported. Followers of the Iranian monotheist prophet, Zoroaster, or Zarathustra, (c. 1500 BC - 1000 BC) in India are called Parsis, or Parsees. The Parsis moved from Iran to India during the 7th century AD to flee persecution from Muslim Arabs who had conquered the Persian Empire. 03/26/20

American Navy Veteran Held In Iran Requests Humanitarian Evacuation For Treatment

The family of an imprisoned U.S. navy veteran in Iran who was allowed to go on a medical furlough said on Wednesday that he has coronavirus (COVID-19) symptoms and called on the Iranian government to allow him to go home for medical treatment. In a Tweeter thread on March 26, the Free Michael White campaign said since being released on furlough, White has had symptoms consistent with COVID-19 including fever, fatigue, cough and shortness of breath. 03/26/20

Iran academics, management experts write to Rouhani, urge emergency measures against COVID-19

A group of Iranian academics and management experts have raised concerns over the widespread outbreak of a new coronavirus in the country, presenting the government with a list of emergency preventive measures that could be taken to stop further spread of the disease. In a letter to President Hassan Rouhani, a number of university lecturers in the field of management studies as well as members of Iran's Management Association underlined the need for urgent and decisive preventive measures to curb the virus called COVID-19. -Press TV 03/26/20

Ease sanctions against countries fighting COVID-19: UN Human Rights Chief

As the COVID-19 pandemic progresses, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights on Tuesday called for an easing of sanctions against countries such as Iran to allow their medical systems to fight the disease and limit its global spread. Michelle Bachelet said humanitarian exemptions to sanctions measures should be authorized for essential medical equipment and supplies to avoid the collapse of any national healthcare system. 03/25/20

Calls Grow For U.S. To Lift Iran Sanctions Due To Coronavirus Crisis

There are increased calls for the United States to suspend economic sanctions against Iran, which some believe hamper Tehran's ability to contain the deadly outbreak of coronavirus that has officially killed nearly 2,000 people. The United States has offered to help Iran but has shown no desire to ease crippling sanctions reimposed on Tehran shortly after U.S. President Donald Trump exited the 2015 landmark nuclear deal with Iran in May 2018. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 03/25/20

Iran expert says corruption 'No. 1 national security threat in Iran'

Al-Monitor contributor and economic analyst Bijan Khajehpour highlighted corruption as a major reason why the Iranian government was so slow in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic during an exclusive webinar today with Al-Monitor President Andrew Parasiliti. "If I were in charge of Iran, I would clear corruption as the No. 1 national security threat in Iran," said Khajehpour. -Bryant Harris, Al-Monitor 03/25/20

Iranian expert on COVID-19: We are in the same boat

Bobby Naderi is a journalist and current affairs commentator based in Iran. In this video, he shares his personal experience and observations during the COVID-19 outbreak in Iran, and calls on the U.S. to lift sanctions to soften the suffering of Iranians. -CGTN 03/25/20

In Iran, Coronavirus Is Suffocating an Already Strained Experimental Music Scene

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to spread, the devastation it leaves in its wake is, for the time being, incalculable. In addition to the rising deaths, there are overloaded medical facilities, widespread layoffs, and countless impacts on everyday life: weddings on hold, kids home from school, festivals postponed, nightclubs closed until further notice. The ultimate effects of the disease are likely to be as much cultural as they are economic. -Philip Sherburne, Pitchfork 03/25/20

How Trump Sanctions on Iran Will Worsen the Pandemic

The toll of the eight-year war between Iran and Iraq, which killed as many as one million people in the 1980s, is feared to pale in comparison to that of the coronavirus epidemic: Iranian researchers have estimated that the outbreak, which has already killed more than 1,500 people in the country, will peak around late May and could result in 3.5 million deaths. -Narges Bajoghli and Mahsa Rouhi, New York Times 03/24/20

Human rights groups call on Trump administration to end Iran sanctions amid COVID-19 crisis

Last week, over 25 groups called on the Trump administration to end its sanctions on Iran amid the COVID-19 crisis. The virus has been particularly calamitous for Iran: at the time this piece was written the country had 21,638 confirmed cases and 1,685 people had been killed by it. U.S. sanctions have no doubt worsened the situation, as they've weakened Iran's economy and thus made it more difficult to secure goods. 03/24/20

Collective punishment has always been the stated goal of Iran sanctions hawks

The coronavirus pandemic's impact in Iran, which already claimed over 1,800 lives and infected more than 23,000 people, is one of the world's more troubling examples of widespread infection, with insufficient medical resources to treat the victims and a staggering anticipated death toll. While public health experts and human rights advocates all point to the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" sanctions regime against Iran as contributing to the public health crisis, sanctions advocates in the Trump administration and at two ultra hawkish think tanks claim that the "humanitarian trade" sanctions exemption is sufficient to address Iran's medical needs. -Eli Cliftonn, Responsible Statecraft 03/24/20

Trump thinks Iran is on its knees. But COVID-19 may have given it an unprecedented path to the bomb

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo believes the coronavirus has made Iran ripe for some bombing. Weakened by both sanctions and the pandemic, a window of opportunity exists to strike it militarily, he reportedly told President Donald Trump. But paradoxically, the pandemic may also have given Tehran an opportunity it neither desired nor faced earlier on. Trump's sanctions have already begun to shift Tehran's nuclear calculus. 03/24/20

New European Limits on Medical Gear Exports Put Iranians at Risk

As the world grapples with shortages of the medical equipment needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, the European Commission has announced a new regulation that will establish export controls for Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), a category of goods that includes the face shields, gloves, masks, and other protective gear that help medical professionals limit their exposure to bacteria and viruses. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Bourse & Bazaar 03/23/20

MSF sends hospital and medical team to treat COVID-19 patients in Iran

Medecins Sans Frontieres (MSF) has sent a 50-bed inflatable hospital and an emergency team to Isfahan, in central Iran, to treat patients critically ill with coronavirus disease COVID-19. The inflatable hospital has been shipped by air from MSF's logistics hub in Bordeaux, France and is to be set up in the compound of Amin hospital in Isfahan. The unit is equipped to treat critically ill patients requiring constant medical supervision and care. 03/23/20

End US sanctions against Iran so that we can fight coronavirus with all our might

As Iran celebrates its new year, black death banner announcements hang from Tehran's eerily deserted squares. The virus has ravaged its way across the country in recent weeks, reportedly killing 1,135 and infecting more than 17,000 (many believe these figures underestimate the scale), making Iran one of the most impacted countries in the world, alongside Italy and China. The contagion has unfolded against the backdrop of an economic crisis that has made Iranians uniquely vulnerable. -Azadeh Moaveni and Sussan Tahmasebi, Guardian 03/23/20

Will Iran's economy collapse under coronavirus crisis?

There is no doubt that the current coronavirus crisis will undermine the Iranian economy and lead to a major contraction in the country's gross domestic product. Some early estimates project a contraction of up to 3%, though it is too early to offer a reliable assessment. The Iranian government has already announced a number of measures to support vulnerable social classes as well as businesses that will be hit hard by the current economic downturn. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 03/23/20

In Letter to Foreign Colleagues, Iranian Artists Urge Action against US Sanctions

A group of Iranian artists engaged in various fields have written a letter to their colleagues in the foreign countries to raise awareness about the urgent need for collective action against the coronavirus epidemic and call for action against the US sanctions that have impeded Iran's battle with COVID-19. -IFP 03/23/20

IRAN: Leaders Highlight Iranians' 'Sacrifices' As Country Celebrates Subdued New Year

In messages marking the Persian New Year that falls amid a deadly coronavirus outbreak, Iran's supreme leader and president both acknowledged that the past year had been difficult. In his televised address on March 2, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said the country's citizens have made "exemplary" sacrifices in the battle against the deadly coronavirus pandemic that has infected 19,644 people and killed 1,433 in Iran as of March 20 -- making it one of the worst-affected countries in the world. 03/20/20

Helping Hands: Iranians Unite To Help Those Suffering From Coronavirus

Facing one of the world's worst outbreaks of coronavirus, Iranians in local communities are coming together to help those affected as the country battles a disease that has claimed the lives of nearly 1,300 people and infected more than 18,000 across the country, according to official figures on March 19. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 03/20/20

'It was like a scary movie.' Coronavirus has forced Iran to take a hard pause

I HEAD OUT to take pictures of the coronavirus crisis in Tehran. In Iran we are used to crises and we adjust quickly to new realities. I put on latex gloves, place a mask over my mouth and nose, and pack a sterilizer in my camera bag. The new normal. Streets that would normally be bustling with people and cars are deserted. I try to breathe through my mask. It's suffocating. I feel as if I've stepped into some dystopian future. -Newsha Tavakolian, National Geographic 03/20/20

Trump administration piles on sanctions as the rest of the world helps Iran confront COVID-19

As Iran confronts a crisis that could kill millions of its citizens, much of the rest of the world, except for the United States, is coming to its aid. China, the original source of the novel coronavirus, has sent medical experts and planeloads of supplies to Iran, the third most affected country after China and Italy. Iran's neighbors, and sometime rivals, Kuwait, the United Arab Emirates, and Qatar, have also provided cash and goods, setting aside their other differences with the Islamic Republic. Britain, France, and Germany, the so-called E3, stepped forward, pledging $5.6 million... And what of the world's greatest power? -Barbara Slavin, Responsible Statecraft 03/20/20

The immoral cruelty of the Trump administration's refusal to grant Iran sanctions relief amid its COVID-19 crisis

There is a growing consensus that - to prevent Iran from spiraling out of control from the coronavirus epidemic and causing untold harm to the Iranian people - the Trump administration must immediately relent in its use of sanctions and allow Iran the ability to combat the epidemic through the purchase of necessary medical supplies overseas and the provision of a robust social safety net for the average Iranian facing economic catastrophe. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 03/19/20

The Coronavirus Is Killing Iranians. So Are Trump's Brutal Sanctions.

THE U.S. GOVERNMENT is run by sociopaths. How else to explain the Trump administration's callous disregard for the lives of ordinary Iranians in the midst of this global coronavirus crisis? How else to make sense of U.S. officials doubling down in their support for crippling economic sanctions on the Islamic Republic, despite the sheer scale of the suffering? -Mehdi Hasan, Intercept 03/18/20

Will the Trump administration block Iran's request for an emergency loan to combat COVID-19?

For the first time in 60 years, Iran has requested a loan from the International Monetary Fund (IMF), seeking emergency financing to support its efforts to combat COVID-19. On March 4, the IMF announced that it would make available up to $50 billion in financial assistance through its Rapid Financing Instrument (RFI), a facility targeting "low-income and emerging markets." -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, Responsible Statecraft 03/18/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh: "If We're Going to Die, Let Us Be by Our Families' Sides"

At least three political activists in Tehran's Evin Prison have joined prominent imprisoned human rights attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh's hunger strike demanding "freedom for all political prisoners" amid the country's deadly COVID-19 outbreak, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Sotoudeh's husband, Reza Khandan told CHRI that his wife is aware of the dangers of going on hunger strike amid a deadly viral outbreak when Iranian prisons are lacking crucial medicines and sanitary supplies and that she had started the hunger strike only as a "last resort." -CHRI 03/18/20

In search of junub, the hippie spirit of Iran's south

Among Iranian youths, junub carries much more meaning than just its literal definition of south. It has long been synonymous with an adventurous trip, a breath of fresh air and a sense of freedom. When winter cold comes to most of Iran, in its southern provinces young Iranians scatter around the remote beaches and mountains of the Persian Gulf islands. Here, they enjoy the company of other open-minded Iranians and relative safety to pursue their personal freedoms, engage in creative activities, exchange ideas and form long-term connections that last far beyond the beaches of Hormoz or Hengam. -Mykolas Juodele, Guardian 03/16/20

Reckoning with an Uncertain Future in Iran, and Outside It

My mother loves anecdotes, witty sayings, and little old tales that teach a life lesson. A favorite comes from her father, whom she loved dearly. The saying shows the imprint of a life lived in the Iranian countryside, under the rule of mercurial authorities: When you go to fill your water jugs, dip both in the stream at the same time. Otherwise, by the time one is filled, they might not let you use the stream anymore. -Ali Araghi, New Yorker 03/16/20

Amid Coronavirus Chaos, U.S. and Iran Edge Closer to War

IF YOU LISTENED closely this week, behind the terrifying clamor of Covid-19 sweeping across the planet, you might've heard the sound of war nearly breaking out again between the United States and Iran. On Wednesday, the birthday of assassinated Iranian Gen. Qassim Suleimani, a barrage of rockets slammed into the Camp Taji airbase north of the Iraqi capital of Baghdad. The attack killed two Americans and a Briton, while wounding 14 others. -Murtaza Hussain, Intercept 03/15/20

How hawks are trying to shatter the Iran nuclear deal once and for all

If you visit the State Department's Iran page, you'll see an ominous clock counting down the days, hours, minutes, and seconds until the expiration of the United Nations arms embargo on Iran. The clock, and the embarrassing propagandistic script that accompanies it, reflects how far the State Department has fallen from the days when it laboriously worked to craft a deal to constrain Iran's nuclear program and open a window to resolve additional longstanding concerns with Iran's regional activities. -Ryan Costello, Responsible Statecraft 03/13/20

Reading Richard Rorty in Tehran

When the American philosopher Richard Rorty arrived to deliver a lecture in Tehran on a summer night in 2004, he was surprised to discover that he could not get into the room. Some 2,000 enthusiastic Iranians, many of them students, had crammed into the venue's 200-seat auditorium to hear his talk on philosophy and democracy: sitting in the aisles, blocking the stairwell, and standing on the street outside. -Samuel Thrope, Nation 03/12/20

U.S. "maximum pressure" on Iran hurts the women it claims to help

On 21 May 2018, less than two weeks after the U.S. withdrew from the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo launched Washington's "New Iran Strategy" before an audience at the Heritage Foundation. In his remarks, he insisted that Iranian women's long struggle for inclusion and equality matters dearly to Washington. As if to prove the point, the U.S. State Department's social media feeds since that day have interspersed announcements of new choking sanctions with twinkling reminders of Iranian women's potential -Azadeh Moaveni & Ali Vaez, Responsible Statecraft 03/9/20

As Tensions Rise With Iran, So Does Interest in Art It Inspired

The Iranian artist Shirazeh Houshiary works out of a luminous studio in a leafy corner of southwest London. Her misty abstract paintings evoke the galaxy, the cosmos, the afterlife. To make them, she floods the canvas with water, pours pigment over it and draws tiny marks over the dried surface. "Abstraction is one of the most sophisticated ways of coming to feeling, like a piece of music: You have tone, color, rhythm, so many things that touch you right inside," she said... -Farah Nayeri, New York Times 03/9/20

Jailed Iranian Activist Nasrin Sotoudeh Writes a Plea for Peace on International Women's Day

On this International Women's Day, as a deadly virus sickens my country, I throw my hands down and as a citizen, in a gentle voice, I ask the government to end their animosity with the world, to look at the world through the eyes of peace and to trust life and human beings. I ask human right activists to help us in our peaceful endeavor. I specifically extend my hand to American citizens. Our governments have been rivals for years, with little regards for us... -TIME 03/7/20

Hawkish Group Targets Medicine Sales to Iran Amid Coronavirus Crisis

DESPITE A MASSIVE coronavirus-related public health crisis, an anti-Iran pressure group with close ties to the Trump administration is urging major pharmaceutical companies to "end their Iran business," focusing on companies with special licenses - most often under a broadly defined "humanitarian exemption" - to conduct trade with Iran. -Eli Clifton, Intercept 03/6/20

THE RUMI PRESCRIPTION: How an Ancient Mystic Poet Changed My Modern Manic Life

A compelling cultural, spiritual and literary memoir, THE RUMI PRESCRIPTION is inspired by and sprinkled with new original translations of one of the finest mystic poets of all time. It is at once a smart and tender father-daughter story, an intriguing tale of spiritual pilgrimage, a delightfully eccentric self-help manual, and an inspiring account of hope and survival through the healing power of love and poetry. 03/4/20

Iranian Instrument maker Zolfaqar Beitaneh picked as Living Human Treasure

The South Khorasan Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Department (SKCHTHD) has selected dotar maker Zolfaqar Beitaneh as a Living Human Treasure. The 58-year-old master, who lives in Ferdows, South Khorasan Province, has also skills in crafting a kind of reed flute, which is used in the folk music of Khorasan. 03/4/20

Banned Iranian Director Mohammad Rasoulof Wins Top Prize At Berlin Film Festival

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof won the top prize at the Berlin Film Festival for his film titled There Is No Evil, which he made despite being forbidden to do so by the government in Tehran. Rasoulof was not present at the February 29 ceremony to receive the Golden Bear award for the film, which tells four stories loosely connected to the use of the death penalty in Iran and dealing with personal freedom under tyranny. 03/1/20

Census 2020 "Write in Iranian" Campaign Launch

Today, Pars Equality Center (Pars) announced its Write In Iranian campaign for the upcoming 2020 Census. Pars is partnering with the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) in an effort to increase awareness among the Iranian American community about the importance of participating in the upcoming census. 02/19/20

Iranahayer Exhibition: Iranian-Armenian artists display works in Tehran

The Mehrsun Art Gallery in Tehran is showcasing a collection of works by a group of prominent Iranian Armenian artists in an exhibition entitled "Iranahayer". Armenian Ambassador Artashes Tumanyan, Music Museum of Iran Managing Director Ali Moradkhani and Iranian Artists Forum director Majid Rajabi-Memar attended the opening ceremony of the exhibit on Friday. 02/16/20

How Iran's millennials are grappling with crippling US sanctions

As someone who has studied the lives of Iran's working classes, I know just how damaging economic warfare has been. It's hit young Iranians, who comprise a large portion of the population, particularly hard. High rates of inflation - on the order of 38.6% over the past 12 months - and a youth unemployment rate of 28.6% have drastically reduced their ability to purchase basic goods and feel any semblance of financial security. -Manata Hashemi, The Conversation 02/14/20

"Stop Trying to Destroy Me and My Family": Writes Iranian American Businessman from Tehran's Evin Prison

In a letter from Evin Prison in Tehran where he has been held since October 2015, Iranian American businessman Siamak Namazi asked Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raisi why his requests for furlough have been repeatedly denied while those around him continue to be allowed to go on temporary leave. "For the past four years, while enduring punishment for a crime I did not commit, I have been trying to restore my rights with the help of almighty God within the laws of our beloved country," wrote Namazi in a letter that was published in Persian on February 7, 2020 02/9/20

Sanctions and domestic constraints cripple Iran's startups

The Iranian startup ecosystem is deteriorating after a boomlet lasting from 2012 - 2016 as sanctions and domestic restrictions create new challenges and force businesses abroad. The startup environment started to take a structured shape in Iran from 2012 - 2013 thanks to the initiatives taken by a number of universities, visionary individuals and the return of foreign-educated Iranians and the diaspora. -Mohsen Tavakol, Atlantic Council 02/7/20

The Amazing Windcatchers of Yazd: Talk by Dr Susan Roaf - March 4, 2020 in London

We take so much for granted when we look only at the visible structures of buildings, but windcatchers demonstrate that their invisible attributes may often be more important. Their story in Yazd reaches out in many directions, showing how one apparently simple design feature links us to many aspects of the physical, historic and political past of the whole region. 02/6/20

"Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness" wins grand prize at Sundance Film Festival

"Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness" directed by Iran's Masud Bakhshi received the "World Cinema Grand Jury Prize: Dramatic" award at the Sundance Film Festival in Park City, Utah on Saturday February 1st, 2010. Filmmaker Massoud Bahkshi brings aesthetic energy and dramatic intensity to a story that unfolds over a few hours and almost entirely within the studio. 02/3/20

Sanctions, Scarcity, and the Depressing Reality of Iranian Healthcare

When I visited Iran this summer, severe panic attacks, depression, and anxiety-longstanding byproducts of post-traumatic stress disorder-caused me to seek out a trauma therapist. After weeks of contacting Iranian pharmacies, hospitals, charities, and relief organizations, my prescriptions for Zoloft, Xanax, Ativan, and Clonazepam remained unfilled. Since the United States exited the Iranian nuclear deal (JCPOA) and imposed new sanctions, this kind of shortage has become commonplace. -Younes Mahmoudieh 01/18/20

2020: Millennium of Persian Poet Ferdowsi

Anniversaries are important; they celebrate legacies and signify presence and continuity. This year, 2020, marks the 1000th anniversary of Ferdowsi's death. This renowned Persian poet died at age 81 in 1020, more than five centuries before Shakespeare was born. Ferdowsi has not only endured for a thousand years but has also defined the very identity and language of his own country - Iran. This is, indeed, a great achievement for a poet or for any person, for that matter. -Rasoul Shams 01/13/20

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last updated on Mon Apr 6 09:24:12 EDT 2020