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April 23 2017
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Former Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad Barred From Election

- Iranian state TV says the body charged with vetting candidates has disqualified former hard-line President Mahmud Ahmadinejad from running in next month's presidential election. Although Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei had previously urged him not to run, Ahmadinejad shocked the country by registering last week. 4/21/17

Trump Accuses Iran Of 'Not Living Up To Spirit' Of 2015 Nuclear Deal

- U.S. President Donald Trump has accused Iran of "not living up to the spirit" of its nuclear agreement with world powers and said the United States would soon have a response. At a White House news conference with visiting Italian Prime Minister Paolo Gentiloni on April 20, Trump repeated his criticism that "it was a terrible bad as I've ever seen negotiated." 4/21/17

Low Female Participation Rate in Iranian Elections Symptom of Gender Inequality

- The low number of female participants in Iranian elections is an indicator of inequality in the political, social and cultural fabric of the country, women's rights advocate Nahid Tavasoli told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). Speaking from Tehran, the editor-in-chief of Nafe, an academic women's periodical, said Iranian women are denied many rights as citizens that affect their participation rate in politics. 4/21/17

Trump Adviser Seeks Political Deal To Settle Iran Sanctions Case

- A close ally of U.S. President Donald Trump is lobbying U.S. prosecutors to go easy on a man charged with helping Iran evade U.S. sanctions because he could be a potential bargaining chip in a political deal with Turkey. Rudy Giuliani, the former New York City mayor and Trump adviser, was hired recently to represent Reza Zarrab, a wealthy Turkish-Iranian businessman accused of arranging hundreds of millions of dollars' worth of financial transactions for Iran's government and businesses in violation of U.S. sanctions from 2010 to 2015. 4/21/17

Samsung & Amirkabir University Launch Their Tech Center in Tehran

- Samsung, the Korean electronic giant has joined Amir Kabir University of Technology and launched Samsung-AUT Tech center in Tehran. Samsung Electronics the world's second largest information Technology Company by revenue, after Apple, invests at least 9% of its sales revenue in R&D activities according to their website. -Techrasa 4/21/17

The Coming Crisis With Iran

- President Trump has flip-flopped many times during his first months in office. But none may be as consequential as his decision on April 18 to certify that Iran is abiding by the nuclear deal of 2015, paving the way for further waiving of sanctions. In just a few months, Mr. Trump has gone from promising to "tear up" the nuclear deal to allowing its extension. -Trita Parsi, NY Times 4/21/17

Championing Nuclear Non-Proliferation Rules: The EU and Iran

- In a newly published book, Tarja Cronberg contrasts EU and US conceptions of multilateralism in the nuclear field. Her work is titled Nuclear Multilateralism and Iran. A former member of the European Parliament (EP) and chair of the EP delegation for EU relations with Iran, Cronberg writes: "For the US multilateralism is a means to an end, but for Europeans it is an end in itself." -Peter Jenkins 4/20/17

Lawmakers Say Iran's Larijani Rejects Call To Bar Religious Minorities From Elections

- Iranian parliament speaker Ali Larijani has dismissed a call by the head of the powerful Guardians Council to prevent members of religious minorities from running in city council elections in May, according to two lawmakers. 4/20/17

No Woman Has Ever Run For Iranian President. Will Azam Taleghani Be The First?

- On April 14, a tiny, frail-looking woman wearing a chador and using a walker made her way slowly up the stairs of Iran's Interior Ministry in Tehran. Seventy-three-year-old Azam Taleghani was there to register as a candidate in the May 19 vote for Iran's presidency. She's hoping the third time is the charm -Golnaz Esfandiari 4/20/17

Iranian Media Banned From Covering Ahmadinejad's May 2017 Presidential Campaign

- Iranian media outlets have been ordered to stop reporting on former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's third presidential campaign for the country's May 19, 2017 election. The Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned that the order was issued by the Supreme National Security Council and Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dowlatabadi. 4/20/17

Featured Video

Impossible Challenge: Gymnastics Boy Arat Hosseini from Iran!

Iranian Foreign Minister slams 'worn-out' US accusations - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has slammed fresh accusations leveled by US Secretary of State Rex Tillerson against the Islamic Republic, urging Washington to honor its obligations under the 2015 nuclear deal. 4/20/17

Iran's Judiciary Blocks Voice Calls On Telegram Messaging App - Iran's judiciary has blocked newly introduced call features on a highly popular messaging app called Telegram. It was not immediately clear whether the reason for the blocking of voice calls, introduced last week, was a political move ahead of the country's May presidential election or an attempt to protect the commercial interests of Iranian telecom companies. 4/20/17

Has Donald Trump Learned To Love The Iran Deal? - All this Republican party fighting over the Iran nuclear deal, it's almost enough to forget that it's America's greatest foreign policy achievement in years. At least that's what the Trump administration has seemingly acknowledged. In a statement released late Tuesday evening, they certified that Tehran continues to comply with its end of the bargain. -Tyler Cullis and Reza Marashi, LobeLog 4/20/17

Iran-EU trade up 171% in January - The European Union's trade with Iran amounted to 1.55 billion Euros in January 2017, a 171 percent rise compared to the first month of 2016, based on the latest figures released by the European Union's statistics agency Eurostat. The figure was 572 million Euros in January 2016, Tasnim news agency reported. 4/20/17

Iranian Militia Role in Syria, Iraq Prompts Alarm - On Monday, according to local news reports, General Qassem Soleimani, commander of Iran's elite Quds Force, a special forces branch of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), was in Kirkuk, 1,000 kilometers from Hama, trying to broker a deal between Shi'ite militias and the Kurds about eventual control of the disputed northern Iraqi city. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA 4/20/17

Prominent Political Activist Continues Fight for Gender Equality in Iran's 2017 Presidential Election - Despite being repeatedly disqualified in the past, one of Iran's top political activists, Azam Taleghani, has registered to run in the country's May 19, 2017 presidential election. The daughter of a moderate leader of Iran's 1979 revolution, Ayatollah Mahmoud Taleghani (1911-1979), Azam Taleghani told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) that she registered to "clear the confusion" over male interpretations of the Constitution that have blocked women from running for the presidency. 4/19/17

Iranian-American groups testify in Washington seeking new ban on Trump travel order - Leaders of Iranian-American organizations asked a U.S. district court in Washington Tuesday to become the latest to order a nationwide halt to President Trump's executive order banning new visas and immigration from six Muslim-majority countries. -Washington Post 4/19/17

IRAN: Poll Highlights Rouhani's Reelection Challenge - With all 1600-plus candidates now registered for next month's Iranian presidential election, the results of a new public opinion survey by IranPoll suggest that incumbent President Hassan Rouhani may have a challenge on his hands if he hopes to win a second term. -Derek Davison 4/19/17

Trump Orders Review of Iran Nuclear Deal - Secretary of State Rex Tillerson revealed the review in a letter Tuesday to House Speaker Paul Ryan. Tillerson said that as of Tuesday, Iran is complying with its responsibilities under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which it agreed to in 2015 after negotiations with the U.S., Britain, France, China, Russia and Germany. 4/19/17

Nasrin Sotoudeh: Investigate Iranian Presidential Hopeful Ebrahim Raisi for 1988 Mass Executions - Prominent Iranian human rights lawyer and former political prisoner Nasrin Sotoudeh has strongly criticized the candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi in Iran's May 19, 2017 presidential election. "The competency of this candidate should not be approved for any reason until the events of 1988 are investigated and it is proven that he was not an accomplice," she told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "In the meantime, we do have an audio file... that shows he did have a hand in those events." 4/19/17

EU, Iran sign nuclear safety deal with another deal expected in coming weeks - Iran and the European Commission have signed a 2.5-million Euro project for nuclear safety cooperation, the first ever under the framework of a 2015 international nuclear deal, saying that a second one will be finalized in the coming weeks, the EU official website said on April 18. -Ali Kushki, Tehran Times 4/19/17

"Everyone treated me like a saint"--In Iran, there's only one way to survive as a transgender person - In Iran, homosexuality is a crime, punishable with death for men and lashings for women. But Iran is also the only Muslim country in the Persian Gulf region that gives trans citizens the right to have their gender identity recognized by the law. In fact, the Islamic Republic of Iran not only allows sex reassignment, but also subsidizes it. -Neha Thirani Bagri, Quartz 4/19/17

Russia lifts visas for tourists from Iran, 17 other countries - Russia says it has lifted visa restrictions for tourists and businessmen from Iran as well as 17 other countries for trips to the country's Far East. The announcement was made by Russia's Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev as reported by Sputnik news agency. 4/19/17

Conflict and Famine in Yemen - Yemenis are starving because of war. No natural disaster is responsible. No amount of humanitarian aid can solve the underlying problem. Without an immediate, significant course change, portions of the country, in the 21st century and under the watch of the Security Council, will likely tip into famine. -International Crisis Group, LobeLog 4/19/17

Iranian Couple Reunited In Colorado After Travel Ban Scares - An experience that both called "a nightmare" turned into a dream come true for an Iranian family reunited at Denver International Airport Tuesday night. "I saw her on May 5, one year ago," Zoheir Khademian said. -CBS, Denver 4/19/17

Iran's Presidential Carnival Kicks off - In the past two decades, Iran's presidential election kickoffs have increasingly become occasions for comedy. It did not disappoint this time. During the five-day registration period, beginning on April 11, over 1,600 people signed up (1,636 to be exact), ranging in age from 6 to 89 years old. Unlike for other offices, there are no clear minimum requirements to run for presidency in Iran-not age, not education, and not even gender even if no woman has ever been qualified. So the registration period has become an occasion for people of varying degrees of charisma to make their voices heard and faces seen. -Farideh Farhi 4/18/17

Iran denounces Washington for supporting terrorist groups - Tehran on Monday denounced the United States for supporting terrorist groups, such as the anti-Iran Mujahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO or MEK), which carry out acts of terror against the Islamic Republic and other regional countries. Qassemi's remarks came days after the head of the MKO, Maryam Rajavi, met with John McCain, a senior U.S. senator who was the Republican nominee for the 2008 U.S. presidential election. 4/18/17

International Law Expert Denounces Iranian Presidential Bid of Rights Violator Ebrahim Raisi - The candidacy of Ebrahim Raisi in Iran's May 19 presidential election "shows great contempt for human rights, the rights of the Iranian people, and the families of those killed in the 1980s," international law expert Shadi Sadr told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 4/18/17

IRAN: Reformists Barred From Isfahan's May 19 By-Election for Parliament - After disqualifying the initial reformist winner, Iran's conservative Guardian Council has now barred most reformist candidates from running in the second-round election for Isfahan's vacant parliamentary seat. The vote will occur when Iranians head to the polls on May 19, 2017 to elect their new president and city and village councils. 4/18/17

Iranian squad crowned in ITSF World Cup & World Championships - The Iranian men's senior table football team has won the trophy at the International Table Soccer Federation (ITSF) World Cup and World Championships in Germany following a victory over Italy. The Iranians recorded a 42-28 victory over their Italian rivals in the title game at the fantastic Kampnagel venue in the northern German city of Hamburg, and took the honors. 4/18/17

UK cautiously eyes $600bn opportunity in Iran investment drive - UK firms are cautiously eying opportunities in Iran ahead of an expected $600bn boom in trade and infrastructure investment over the next ten years. The Islamic Republic is embarking on an ambitious investment drive as it emerges from decades of isolation imposed by international sanctions. -Jillian Ambrose, UK's Telegraph 4/18/17

Russia says trade with Iran to grow further in 2017 - Russia says it expects trade relations with Iran to grow further this year after increasing almost twofold in 2016. Alexander Maksimov, the honorary representative of the Russian Chamber of Commerce and Industry in Iran, was quoted by the media as saying that trade with the Islamic Republic had increased by a whopping 70 percent after the removal of sanctions against the country early last year. 4/18/17

Is it safe to travel to Iran? - It happened on my second day in Tehran. As I ambled into the National Jewellery Museum for a glimpse of Iran's crown jewels, a woman in black started gesturing at me with a burst of angry words. My heart just stopped. Is this the notorious Iranian morality police? My tour guide rushed over with a tight smile. "She says you have your sweater on wrong, it's inside-out." -Hariati Azizan, Star2 4/18/17

The Syrian War: Two Lessons for Trump - The roots of US involvement in the Syrian war run deep and wide. On our side we can start with the Korean conflict, which ended in a tie and a lesson taught: never fight a land war in Asia. Unfortunately, the lesson wasn't learned because about a decade later we were subbing for the French in Vietnam. From that losing fight we should have learned, but didn't, not to take the corrupt, unpopular side in an internal conflict. -Henry Precht, LobeLog 4/18/17

Photos: Drone design & construction competition at Tehran's Sharif University - The 4th tournament of drone design and construction is underway at Sharif University of Technology in Tehran. Sharif is a public research university in Tehran, Iran known traditionally to be the first choice of top ranked Iranian high school and university students in engineering and physical sciences, and it is known as the Iranian MIT. 4/17/17

Muslims in Abadan, Iran join city's only Christian to celebrate Easter - Abadan's only church, Surp Karap, is adjacent to Musa ibn Jafar Mosque. Surp Karap Church was built in 1940 and damaged during the Iraq-Iran war. The church was renovated in 1991 and registered as national heritage. On Sunday, Muslims joined the single Christian citizen in the city to mark Easter. 4/17/17

From Isfahan to Irvine: Speech, Film Screening & Music Performance at Stanford University - Hossein Omoumi is a scholar and musician from Isfahan, Iran. He currently teaches at UC Irvine. A new documentary about his life, made by Hesam Abedimi, and innovative teaching style will also be screened (in Farsi with English subtitles). After, Hossein will discuss and demonstrate the structure of classical Persian music by singing and playing the Ney, with vocals from Jessika Kenney, santur accompaniment from Faraz Minooie, and Sina Dehghani playing the tombak. 4/17/17

Iran moves into flourishing ecotourism market - The ecotourism market in Iran has witnessed a growth over the past couple of years, drawing more domestic and foreign backpackers to the pristine and relatively undisturbed natural areas of the country. Some 530 ecotourism projects have been implemented since the current administration took office in 2013, Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization Director Zahra Ahmadipour said on April 11. 4/17/17

Iran forges deal with China to redesign Arak reactor - Iran has hashed out price differences with China to receive counselling on redesigning its only heavy water nuclear reactor, signing a deal on the project with the Chinese side, Iranian Foreign Ministry has said in a written briefing to parliament. "The contract to receive counselling on the redesign was negotiated and signed in Beijing on April 13," read part of the report, the fifth parliamentary briefing on the 2015 international nuclear accord between Iran and six world powers. 4/17/17

Foreign Minister Zarif in Central Asia as Iran seeks to fire up economy - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has started touring Central Asia and the Caucasus to boost Iran's ties with three major countries in the region, especially in the field of economy. The three-day tour spans Turkmenistan, Georgia, and Kyrgyzstan. A 20-member delegation of businessmen and company representatives is accompanying Zarif who cited transit cooperation among the objectives of the visit. 4/17/17

At US competition, Iranian law students 'surprised' by reception - For seven young Iranians participating in an international moot court competition April 9-15 in Washington, success consisted of simply getting here... The Iranian law students told Al-Monitor they are gratified by the warm reception they have received. -Barbara Slavin, Al Monitor 4/17/17

VACATION IN IRAN - In the nineteen-eighties, when I was a child, my family rarely took vacations. There had been a revolution in Iran, and there was a war on. Most of our trips were to the gardens of family and friends; a couple of times we went to Shomal, as the green band of forests south of the Caspian Sea is known. In those days, travelling was all about us pleasing the group. -New Yorker 4/17/17

Trump Administration Sees Bahraini Crisis Through Saudi Lens - As tensions between Bahrain's marginalized Shi'ites and Sunni rulers escalate, the royal Al Khalifa family feels emboldened by Donald Trump's administration and its prioritization of security issues above human rights. Trump's ascendancy to the White House comes as a major relief to Bahrain's rulers whom Barack Obama's administration repeatedly irked. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog 4/17/17

Photos: Easter celebration at Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran - Iran's Armenian Christian community held a ceremony at Saint Sarkis Cathedral in Tehran on Sunday April 16, 2017 to celebrate Easter. During the event, special prayers were said and candles were lit. While Iran is officially designated the "Islamic Republic," among its more than 70 million people is a small but important Christian minority. Most of Iran's Christians are Armenians and Assyrians, who remain relatively free to follow their faith. 4/16/17

Football: Persepolis Wins Iran Professional League for Third Time - Persepolis football team defeated rock bottom Machine Sazi of Tabriz to end nine-year title drought in Iran Professional League (IPL) with three games left until the end of the season. In the match held in Yadeger-e Imam Stadium, Persepolis defeated the Tabriz based team 2-0. 4/16/17

Iran's President Rouhani inaugurates mega gas projects in Persian Gulf - Iran has officially inaugurated several mega projects in its natural gas hub of South Pars - projects that can put the country in the lead over production from a giant field that it shares with Qatar. The projects included South Pars Phases 17 and 18, Phase 19, as well as Phases 21 and 22. They were inaugurated by Iran's President Hassan Rouhani. 4/16/17

More Than 1,600 Iranians File To Run For President As Registration Deadline Passes - More than 1,600 candidates have filed to run in the Iranian presidential election as the official registration period ended. Among the last-minute entrants for the May 19 election was 55-year-old Tehran Mayor Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, who arrived at the Interior Ministry just before the deadline on April 15. 4/16/17

Photos: Iran Defense Ministry showcases achievements, including some making first appearances - The Iranian Defense Ministry has showcased its recent technological achievements, including a jet designed indigenously for training purposes and other items that were being made public for the first time. The achievements were displayed during an exhibition at the Iranian Helicopter Support and Renewal Company (IHSRC) in Tehran on Saturday. 4/16/17

Renowned Iranian actor Aref Lorestani dies at 45 due to heart attack - Renowned Iranian actor Aref Lorestani, who was generally known for his roles in the comedy series over the past two decades, has died of heart attack at the age of 45. Born on February 4, 1972 in the western Iranian province of Kermanshah, Lorestani died Saturday morning in sleep. 4/16/17

Sanctions impaired Iran's economic transparency: Iranian FM Zarif - Sanctions imposed on Iran over its nuclear program dealt a major blow to the country's economic transparency, an issue much neglected in assessing the outcomes of the 2015 international nuclear deal, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Saturday. 4/16/17

PHOTOS: Iranians Make A Run For It, But They're Already Out Of The Presidential Race - Virtually anyone can register to run in Iran's presidential election. The formal restrictions as laid out in the constitution are clear: potential candidates must be 18 or older; they must also be among the country's "religious and political personalities," hold Iranian citizenship, and believe in the principles of the Islamic republic and the official religion of the country. -Golnaz Esfandiari 4/15/17

History Made: Men attend women's basketball game in Tehran - A historical moment took place in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Thursday as the country's men attended a women's basketball game. This marked the first time that men were allowed to witness a women's sporting event in person. 4/15/17

Death toll rises to 35 in flood, landslide in western and northwestern Iran - Severe flood and landslide in western and northwestern parts of Iran have so far claimed 35 lives and left 8 missing. Heavy rain which started on Friday morning caused flood in the afternoon and unfortunately the northwestern cities of Azarshahr and Ajabshir hit the hardest by the flood, ISNA quoted Ismail Najjar, head of the Crisis Management Organization as saying on Saturday. 4/15/17

Hard-Line Cleric, Seen As Main Rohani Rival, Files To Run For President - Ebrahim Raisi, a hard-line cleric close to Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on April 14 filed to run in the May presidential election. Raisi, 56, a professor of Islamic law, is viewed as incumbent President Hassan Rohani's main rival for the presidency. Rohani, a politically moderate cleric, also filed for reelection earlier on April 14. 4/15/17

Iranian Azeri Rights Activist on Trial for Advocating Mother Language - Abbas Lesani, an Azeri ethnic rights activist, is being tried for advocating for state recognition of his mother tongue and making a speech at his friend's wedding calling for an end to the discrimination of Azeris in Iran. 4/15/17

Russia, Iran, Syria Issue Warning Against Another Syria Strike - Russia, Syria and Iran have warned the United States against launching new strikes on Syria and called for an international investigation into the chemical weapons attack in Syria. 4/15/17

Iran's first ever cruise ship completes maiden voyage in Persian Gulf - Iran says its first cruise ship since the 1979 Islamic Revolution has completed its maiden trip and docked in the Persian Gulf resort island of Qeshm. The ship - which reports said were built in Sweden - carried more than 200 passengers on the 127-kilometre voyage from Kish, Iran's other main resort island. The trip - that was made overnight -reportedly took around 12 hours. 4/15/17

Iran's Presidential Elections: Has Hassan Rouhani Met His Match? - Until only a few weeks ago, Iran's hardliners lacked a candidate of any stature in Iran's forthcoming presidential elections in May 2017...This still may be the case, and President Hassan Rouhani may yet serve another term. But that scenario is now complicated by the entry into the race of Hojatoleslam Ibrahim Raeisi, the head of the vast complex centered around the shrine of the eighth Shia Imam Ali ibn Musa al Riza and a candidate to succeed Ayatollah Khamenei as the supreme leader. -Shirin T. Hunter 4/14/17

Iran's Incumbent President Registers To Run In May Elections - Iran's incumbent president has registered to run in next month's national election, a vote that is shaping up to be a referendum on the landmark 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers. News reports said Hassan Rohani, 68, submitted the necessary paperwork at the Interior Ministry in Tehran on April 14, the fourth day of the registration period. 4/14/17

U.S. Sanctions Tehran Prison Organization, Official For Abuses - The United States says it has sanctioned the Tehran Prisons Organization and a top official in connection with "serious human rights abuses" in Iran. The U.S. Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) on April 13 said it was sanctioning Sohrab Soleimani and the prison organization, an action it said reflects "deep concern" regarding the human rights situation in the country. 4/14/17

Social Media Emerges as Major Battlefront in Iran's May 2017 Elections - A month before Iranians head to the polls for the presidential and council elections, a heated exchange between the judiciary and the Intelligence Ministry has highlighted the growing tension over social media between different political factions in the Islamic Republic. 4/14/17

Rebekah Mercer Joins Board of Anti-Muslim Think Tank - Earlier this month, Rebekah Mercer, the daughter of billionaire Trump backer Robert Mercer, was listed as a member of the "Board of Governors," of the Gatestone Institute, a New York City-based anti-Muslim organization that has long opposed the immigration of Muslims to the West. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog 4/14/17

Iran's Revolutionary Guard: How Revolutionary? - Ayatollah Khomeini once declared that if it weren't for the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), there would be no revolutionary Iran. In many ways, he was right. From its humble roots among disorganized militias fighting the Shah, the IRGC has been at the heart of almost every major historical turn in Iran's modern era. It defended the homeland against Iraqi invaders and then reconstructed the country's bombed-out infrastructure and economy. -Henry Johnson 4/13/17

Meet Kia Hamadanchy: Candidate for U.S. Congress (CA-45th) - The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) recently had the opportunity to interview Kia Hamadanchy to discuss his historic campaign for California's 45th Congressional District. If successful, he will become the first American of Iranian descent to be elected to the U.S. Congress. 4/13/17

Iranian Political Prisoner Narges Mohammadi Offered Furlough in Exchange for Silence - Imprisoned human rights defender Narges Mohammadi has been offered temporary release if she promises to be silent about her unjust sentence, her husband told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). "The authorities have told Narges that they would grant her furlough on the condition that she not talk to or meet anyone," said Taghi Rahmani, who lives with the couple's two children in Paris. "No interviews, no phone calls, no visits." 4/13/17

Assad vs Regime of Warring Jihadis - The Syrian agony poses a straightforward strategic question: which is worse, Assad or the opposition? Choosing between these two brutal sides is unpalatable. But there is a powerful case to be made that the motley grouping that makes up the armed opposition affects nearly all players far more negatively than the continuation of Assad's ugly regime. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog 4/13/17

PHOTOS: The Ancient Samen Underground City In Western Iran - A two-millennia-old subterranean city has been unearthed in Samen, Hamedan Province, after more than a decade of excavations. The city, located 400 km west of Tehran, provisionally dubbed the Underground City of Samen, is "under the modern city of Samen," said Ali Khaksar, the head of the provincial office of Iran's Culturally Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization. 4/12/17

Moghadam Award: Long-Term, Sustainable Economic Development in Iran - The Stanford Iran 2040 Project announces the first annual Moghadam Award in Iranian Economics to recognize the best original paper on Long-Term, Sustainable Economic Development in Iran. The awardee will be asked to present the paper at the next Stanford Iran Economic Forum to be held in Summer 2017. All travel expenses will be covered and the awardee will also receive a $10,000 prize. 4/12/17

Former Iran President Ahmadinejad Registers For May Presidential Election - Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad submitted his name for registration for the May 19 presidential election on Wednesday in an apparent reversal of earlier promises not to run. Back in September during a lecture to seminary students in Tehran, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei said he would not find it advisable for Ahmadinejad to seek a comeback to politics "both for his own and the country's good." 4/12/17

General: Game Changer in Iran-Pakistan Relations? - Iran and Pakistan have experienced many ups and downs in their relationship dating back to the creation of Pakistan in 1947. Despite Iran's persistent conflict with Pakistan's closest ally Saudi Arabia and broad economic relationship with Pakistan's rivals India and Afghanistan, they have managed to maintain a relatively healthy relationship. Will this relationship be now influenced by the appointment of former army chief (retd) General Raheel Sharif as the leader of the Saudi military alliance? -Fatemeh Aman 4/11/17

Lies, Damned Lies, And The "Breaking News" - The dust hasn't settled quite as yet over the recent events in Syria, the allegations against Bashar Assad for gassing innocent babies and the United States' "measured and proportional" surgical strike to punish him for that heinous crime. But there is enough light passing through the dust to give us reasons to question the whole scenario. -Kambiz Zarrabi 4/10/17

Boeing Reportedly Moves Closer To Delivering First Passenger Jets To Iran Air - Iran's official IRNA news agency says U.S. plane-maker Boeing will deliver two 777 passenger jets to Iran within the next month, one of the first major U.S. business deliveries with Iran after years of Western sanctions. 4/10/17

Women's Asian Cup Qualifiers: Vietnam Crushes Iran 6-1 - Hanoi: Host nation Vietnam recovered from conceding an early goal to produce a devastating second half performance, and put themselves 90 minutes away from the 2018 AFC Women's Asian Cup with a 6-1 win over the Islamic Republic of Iran on Sunday. 4/10/17

Iran Air signs contract to buy 20 ATR planes - Iran's national flag-carrier airline Iran Air has signed a contract to buy 20 turboprops from the French-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR, an official says. "The contract between IranAir and ATR to buy 20 ATR 72-600 aircrafts has been signed by the officials of both countries," Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhriyeh Kashan said on Monday. 4/10/17

President Rouhani unveils Iran's new nuclear achievements - President Hassan Rouhani has unveiled two major nuclear achievements on the occasion of the 11th anniversary of Iran's National Nuclear Technology Day. The Iranian chief executive lifted the curtain off the accomplishments made by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, namely a stone centrifuge, and high-temperature condensate pump. 4/9/17

How Will Iran Respond to US Missile Attack in Syria? - Iran has been a major supporter of Bashar al-Assad, Syria's beleaguered president, throughout its civil war, which has entered its sixth year. In fact, until Russia decided to conduct airstrikes in Syria in September 2015, Iran was the only country that actively and meaningfully supported the Syrian regime. -Shireen T. Hunter 4/9/17

PHOTOS: Iran's Moradi crosses finish line first in Tehran Marathon - Mohammad Jafar Moradi, who represented Iran at the 2016 Olympic Games, won the Tehran's first-ever marathon on Friday. The course took male runners from the Azadi Sports Complex through the Azadi square in western Tehran. Women ran separately, inside the Azadi sports complex, where Parisa Arab finished in first place in 10 kilometers race. 4/7/17

Iranian Americans Use Tech to Count Their Impact in US - Pirooz Parvarandeh, a longtime Silicon Valley executive, saw a problem. Although he has lived in the United States for more than 40 years, he knew little about the contributions and accomplishments of Iranian Americans like himself. That lack of knowledge is widespread, he feared, and in his view makes Iranians in America more subject to stereotypes, discrimination and attacks. -Michelle Quinn, VOA 4/7/17

In Iran, Emerging Hard-Liner Stakes Future On Unseating Rohani - After weeks of speculation, Ebrahim Raisi, the head of Iran's wealthiest state charity, has officially announced his intention to run in the country's presidential vote next month. His candidacy could galvanize conservatives and pose a serious challenge to President Hassan Rohani, who campaigned in 2013 on reform pledges and has helped relative moderates make gains after years in the political wilderness. 4/7/17

Joint Statement of Iranian-American Organizations on Detentions of Iranians - As organizations that represent the Iranian-American community, we are deeply concerned by recent arrests of Iranians visiting and studying in the United States. At least two Iranians are currently being held in custody by U.S. immigration authorities: Alia Ghandi and Mohammad Salar Fard-Hajian. We implore authorities to ensure these individuals have ready access to legal counsel and insist they be promptly released from custody. 4/6/17

Documenting the Contributions of Iranian Americans - Launched in 2016, the Iranian American's Contributions Project (IACP) applies software technologies to publicly available information to rigorously aggregate the many facets and contributions of the Iranian American community. Pirooz Parvarandeh is the founder and will describe this new approach and the results achieved to date. 4/6/17

PHOTOS: RoboCup Iran Open 2017 kicks off in Tehran - The 12th edition of the international Robocop competitions (RoboCup Iran Open 2017) started on Tuesday at the Tehran Permanent International Fairground. Some 2,820 contestants from the United States, Germany, India, Japan, China, Singapore, South Korea, the Netherlands, Pakistan, Mexico, England, Turkey, Peru, and Iran will be competing during the 4-day event 4/5/17

PHOTOS: Ancient city uncovered in Kerman, Iran after sandstorm - Heavy sandstorm in the city of Fahraj in Iran's Kerman province led to the emergence of a large part of an ancient city in the Negin desert. Pieces of pottery, bones and brick walls can be seen in the area. -Laleh Khajooei 4/5/17

Iran's Aseman Airlines seals new $3B deal with Boeing for purchase of 60 planes - Iran has signed a new agreement with US aviation giant Boeing for buying dozens of the company's twinjet narrow-body passenger planes. The agreement involves the purchase of 30 Boeing 737 MAX planes as well as the purchase rights for an additional 30 planes of the same class. It was signed between Iran's Aseman Airlines and Boeing in Tehran, the country's IRNA news agency reported. 4/4/17

35th Fajr Film Festival in Tehran: 140 films from 58 countries, 350 guests from 66 countries - The 35th edition of Fajr International Film Festival will take place from 21 to 28 April in Tehran, screening 140 film titles from 58 countries. Well over 350 guests from 66 countries will attend the 35th Fajr Internatioanl Film Festival (FIFF) in Tehran. Speaking to reporters, the festival spokesperson Alireza Shojanouri said there will be appearances from 31 Asian, 23 European, and 6 African countries. At least 5 special guests from the American continent and Australia will also participate. There will be celebrity guests from 24 Muslim nations as well. 4/4/17

In praise of Norooz: A glimpse at myths encircling Iranian New Year - Like many other ancient traditions, Persian New Year Norooz is associated with heroes of myths and legends that revolve around such a cherished festival in the Persian calendar. Ferdowsi (940-1020 CE), an illustrious Persian poet, in his book Shahnameh (a long epic poem translated as the Book of Kings) dates Norooz as far back to the reign of Jamshid, who in Zoroastrian texts saved mankind from a harsh winter that was destined to freeze the planet. 4/3/17

Photos: The Historic Golestan Palace in Tehran - The oldest of the historic monuments in Tehran, the Golestan Palace (Palace of Flowers) belongs to a group of royal buildings that were once enclosed within the mud-thatched walls of Tehran's Historic Arg (citadel). The Arg was built during the reign of Tahmasb I (r. 1524-1576) of the Safavid dynasty (1502-1736), and was later renovated by Karim Khan Zand (r. 1750-1779). Agha Mohamd Khan Qajar (1742-1797) chose Tehran as his capital. The Arg became the site of the Qajar (1794-1925) Court and Golestan Palace became the official residence of the royal family. 03/31/17

The unfathomable soul of Iran - The very first time I travelled to Iran, I was absolutely amazed at how open and inclusive its community was, how safe the country was and how astonishingly beautiful. Sadly, it is blatantly misrepresented in most Western media, a tendency I would gladly counter as a journalist in the making. -Katya Bohdan 03/31/17

NOWRUZANE: An Exchange & Celebration of the Persian New Year with Iranian, Italian and CPC Artists - This touring exhibition is a collaboration between Chav Printmaking Studio (Iran), Milano Printmakers Associazione Culturale (Milan) and Chicago Printmakers Collaborative. The exhibit features over 130 mini prints by 96 CPC, Italian and Iranian printmakers. Multiples of these works are currently traveling and being exhibited together at the Chav Printmaking Studio in Tehran, as well as in Mashhad, Kermanshah and Kerman in Iran, at IL Fogilo - 74b Gallery in Milan, Italy and at the Sagene Kunstsmie in Oslo, Norway. 03/30/17

Assessing the Putin-Rouhani Summit - The successful meeting between Russian President Vladimir Putin and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in Moscow on March 28 indicates that the two leaders have similar views not just on Syria, but on several other issues. Still, areas of disagreement between them remain, even when it comes to issues on which they're broadly cooperative. -Mark N. Katz 03/30/17

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last updated on Fri Apr 21 10:07:30 -04 2017