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January 24 2019
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Iran Sentences Men Who Supported Women's Protests Against Compulsory Hijab to Six Years Prison

- Reza Khandan and Farhad Meysami have both been sentenced to six years imprisonment in Iran and banned from leaving the country or engaging in online activities for two years for peacefully protesting the country's compulsory hijab law. "Iran wants to silence these men by jailing them for standing by women who want the hijab to be a choice, not a requirement," said Hadi Ghaemi, the executive director of the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 01/23/19

Five Iranian named among 50 influential architects from Middle East in 2019

- Five Iranians have been named among the 50 most influential architects of the Middle East in 2019, according to a list published by the Middle East Architect (MEA) magazine. The magazine named Mohammad Khavarian, Kourosh Hajizadeh, Amir-Hossein Hajizadeh, Farshad Mehdizadeh and Arash G Tehrani as Iran's influential architects in the Middle East region. 01/23/19

Announcing The Winning Nowruz Banner Design for 2019

- Farhang Foundation announces the winner of the 2019 Nowruz Banner Design Competition and the musical artist selected for the headlining Royce Hall concert as part of Farhang's 11th Annual Celebration of Nowruz at UCLA! 01/23/19

Iran: Release Labor Activists Re-Arrested For Revealing They'd Been Tortured

- The arrests of labor activist Esmail Bakhshi and freelance reporter Sepideh Qoliyan (also spelled Sepideh Gholian) on January 20, in Shush, Khuzestan Province, by agents of Iran's Intelligence Ministry after they spoke out about being tortured during their recent detentions, is an outrageous and unlawful abuse of power, and both activists should be released immediately, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) said in a statement today. 01/23/19

Why Iran's satellite launch does not amount to an ICBM test

- The US and its allies should be careful not to overstate the risks posed by Iran's latest attempt at a satellite launch, argues Michael Elleman. He offers a detailed analysis of the technology behind the launch and the programmes upon which policymakers should instead focus their attentions. -Michael Elleman, IISS 01/23/19

IRAN: President Rouhani Adviser Indicted For Remarks On House Arrests

- An indictment has been issued for President Rouhani's top aide, Hessamoddin Ashena and a lawsuit against him delivered to the court, Tehran's prosecutor said on Tuesday, January 22. Ashena, the head of Center for Strategic Studies, and Rouhani's Cultural Advisor, is prosecuted for comments he made about forty days ago on the fate of Iran Green Movement's leaders who have been under house arrest since February 2011. -Radio Farda 01/23/19

US backtracks on Iran-focused conference in Poland after objections

- European objections have forced the United States to backtrack on plans to stage a two-day conference in Poland focused on building a global coalition against Iran. The conference is now being described as a wider brainstorming session about the Middle East. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 01/23/19

Iran obsession: Netanyahu's reckless gambit in Syria will only cause more chaos for the region

- Neither Israel nor Iran is capable of winning a conflict against the other without inviting its own destruction. That there are hawks within both countries that believe otherwise only confirms the veracity of Nietzsche's admonition: "Madness," he writes, "is rare in individuals, but in groups, parties, nations, and ages it is the rule." -John Wight, RT 01/23/19

Iran's Sunni Leader Calls For End To Discrimination

- Almost four decades after the Islamic Revolution heralded an era of equality for all Iranians, Sunnis are still suffering from discrimination, says the Friday Prayer Leader of the city of Zahedan, Molavi Abdol-Hamid. 01/22/19

Some Want Iran's Past To Poison Its Future

- Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) is accusing Iran of having failed to declare to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) a site charged with "producing components for nuclear weapons." The accusation is based, apparently, on satellite imagery and documents that the Israeli intelligence service claims to have stolen from a warehouse in a suburb of Tehran. -Peter Jenkins, LobeLog 01/22/19

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IRAN: Ahmadinejad Calls Government A 'Gang' In New Letter To Khamenei - In his latest letter to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad calls the heads of all three branches of government a "gang," and accuses them of abusing their power to imprison his allies. -Radio Farda 01/22/19

Iran and the United States: Doomed to Be Forever Enemies? - President Trump and hard-line advisers want to isolate and undermine the government in Tehran. Engagement is a better option. -Carol Giacomo, New York Times 01/22/19

Muslim-American Congresswomen Prompt Saudi Alarm - Saudi Arabia may learn to regret the political attacks launched from the kingdom on two American Muslim women who won seats for the Democrats in Congress in the U.S. midterm elections. One of them, Rep. Ilhan Omar of Minnesota, has secured a seat on a House panel that has the power to disrupt U.S. arms sales to Saudi Arabia. -Jamie Dettmer, VOA 01/22/19

Iran does not allow any coalition against its interests: Deputy FM - Speaking in a meeting with Polish Undersecretary of State Maciej Przemyslaw Lang in Tehran on Monday, Iran's deputy foreign minister for political affairs Abbas Araqchi said the Islamic Republic does not allow any country to build a coalition against its interests either within the Middle East or outside. Araqchi's remarks came in reaction to a decision by Poland to host an anti-Iran summit organized by the United States, which is due to be held on February 13-14. -Press TV 01/22/19

Taliban, US Open Afghan Peace Talks in Qatar - Afghanistan's Taliban opened a new round of peace talks Monday in Qatar with the United States, the insurgent group said. A Taliban spokesman, Zabihullah Mujahid, said the two-day meeting in Doha will continue on Tuesday. -Ayaz Gul, VOA 01/22/19

Iran defeats Oman 2-0 in AFC Asian Cup, will play against China in quarterfinals - Three-time champions Iran have reached the quarter-finals of the AFC Asian Cup with a 2-0 victory over Oman in Abu Dhabi in Abu Dhabi, the United Arab Emirates. Oman almost took a surprise lead as early as the 3rd minute when they were awarded a penalty. However, Iran's keeper Alireza Beiraanvand saved the spot kick heroically. 01/21/19

Iran's President Rouhani Attacks Censorship, State Media Monopoly - In a surprising move, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has warned his country's hardliners that "Standing against public demands is against the law and religion." He also suggested that political parties should be allowed to have their own media outlets, independent of the government-controlled state TV and admitted that the popularity of social media in Iran is an outcome of government control on media, and questioned Iranian state TV's monopoly on broadcasting. -Radio Farda 01/21/19

Four Independent News Journalists Arrested in Iran in Less Than a Month - Former political prisoner Ali (Amir) Amirgholi has become the fourth journalist working for the Gamindependent online news outlet to be arrested in Iran in recent weeks. Three other journalists working for the media outlet have been arrested since December 2018. -CHRI 01/21/19

Defense Lawyer Mostafa Tork Hamedani Sentenced to Six Months Imprisonment in Iran - Human rights attorney Mostafa Tork Hamedani has been sentenced to six months imprisonment in Iran for allegedly slandering a former prosecutor, his lawyer Peyman Haj Mahmoud Attar announced on January 15, 2019. -CHRI 01/21/19

Israeli military strikes Iranian targets inside Syria - The sharp increase in tensions between Israel and Syria, and its key backer, Iran, comes at a time when the security situation in Syria is rapidly changing owing to the recently announced US troop drawdown and a jockeying for influence on all sides. -Guardian 01/21/19

Polish deputy FM in Tehran to explain hosting anti-Iran summit organized by US - Polish Deputy Foreign Minister Maciej Lang has arrived in Tehran to explain his country's decision to host an anti-Iran summit organized by the United States. Lang touched down on Monday morning and was due to meet his Iranian counterpart, Abbas Araqchi, later in the day to discuss the event which is due to be held on February 13-14. -Press TV 01/21/19

Germany sanctions Iranian airline over spying claims - The German government on Monday imposed sanctions against Iranian airline Mahan Air in connection to Iran's illegal activities in Europe, including the discovery of a spy working as a translator for the country's armed forces . -DW 01/21/19

The Iran Nuclear Deal At Three - That the Iran nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), has so far survived the May 2018 U.S. withdrawal is remarkable, owing much to the other signatories' efforts to keep it alive. But with Washington actively undermining the deal through reimposition and aggressive enforcement of sanctions,... -International Crisis Group 01/21/19

Satirist Keyomars Marzban to Be Tried in Iran Under Hardline Judge Salavati - Iranian satirist Keyomars Marzban, who has been detained in Iran since August 2018, is due to face trial for the charges of "propaganda against the state" and "insulting the sacred" at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran presided by Judge Abolqasem Salavati. 01/19/19

Iran Concerned About Oil Revenues, U.S. Pressure - Iran's Vice-President Mohammad Baqer Nobakht says Tehran is facing "serious problems in exporting oil" as a result of "brutal sanctions." Speaking in the south-eastern province of Kerman on Friday January 18, Nobakht said Iran is "too far away from the target of exporting 2,410,000 barrels per day planned in the country's budget," which should have brought $47 billion in revenues. -Radio Farda 01/19/19

Travel ban two years on - Federal officials say the ban is making America safer, though they refuse to reveal how many travel ban waiver applications they have received. In the meantime, an untold number of families have been divided by the policy with no indication of when or if they will ever see each other again -Daily Mail 01/19/19

Iran Postpones Approval Of UN Convention Against Transnational Crime - Ahmad Tavakoli, an Expediency Discernment Council member in Tehran told reporters on Saturday that the EDC meeting on the bill for joining the UN Convention on Transnational Crime has remained inconclusive and the Council will meet once again next Saturday for the final review of the bill. -Radio Farda 01/19/19

US Court Holds Iranian-American Journalist Marzieh Hashemi as Material Witness - A U.S. court has confirmed that an Iranian-American anchorwoman who works for Iran's state television has been jailed in the United States as a material witness but has not been charged with any crime. Court officials say they expect Marzieh Hashemi to be released immediately after her testimony to a grand jury in Washington. 01/19/19

The Attack On Iran That Wasn't - The title of Ehud Barak's recently published autobiography My Country, My Life declares that it is a book not just about Barak's life, but also a first person account of some the most important moments in Israeli history, told by a politician and senior military official who was in the room. -Shemuel Meir, LobeLog 01/19/19

Why are so many Iranian minors seeking asylum in Europe? - The growing number of Iranian children sent on dangerous journeys to the West is a harbinger of worse to come. -Amir Ahmadi Arian, Al Jazeera 01/19/19

Iran's Top Exporter Says Impossible To Do Business - The Chairman of Iran-China Joint Chamber of Commerce Asadollah Asgaroladi, who is one of the country's top businessmen has stopped exporting from Iran in the past two months due to payment problems."After 64 years of export activities, for first time I had to suspend exports," Tasnim quoted Asgaroladi as saying during a meeting with Tehran Chamber of Commerce members on January 15. -Radio Farda 01/18/19

Sham Investigation of Labor Activist's Alleged Torture Lacks Impartiality, Ignores Witnesses - After a brief and deeply flawed investigation lacking any semblance of impartiality, the authorities in Iran have denied that labor activist Esmail Bakhshi was tortured in an Intelligence Ministry detention center in Ahvaz, Khuzestan Province in Iran. -CHRI 01/18/19

How US sanctions intensify rent-seeking in Iran's pharma sector - As US sanctions hit Iranian patients, it is becoming clear that the impact of the sanctions -- including renewed opportunities for rent seeking -- are also intensifying turf wars in the country's pharmaceutical sector. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 01/18/19

Zarif Says Pompeo Has No Right To Interfere In Iran-Iraq Ties - Iran's foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who is on an extended tour of Iraq responded to his American counterpart, saying the United States has no right to interfere in bilateral relations between Tehran and Baghdad. -Radio Farda 01/18/19

Mogherini, EU ministers to snub US summit against Iran - EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini will not take part in an anti-Iran conference to be held by the US in the Polish capital of Warsaw in mid-February, Iranian and US media reports say. -Press TV 01/18/19

2019 AFC Asian Cup: Iran, Iraq tie 0-0 and move to next round - Iran national football team were held to a 0-0 draw by Iraq at the 2019 AFC Asian Cup on Wednesday at the Al Maktoum Stadium, Dubai and claimed top spot in Group D thanks to a better goal difference. Both teams have already qualified for the Round of 16. 01/17/19

Trump On Iran: A Lie That May Lead To War - On the first work day of the new year, President Trump held a cabinet meeting that was open to the press and consisted mostly of a rambling monologue by the president about border walls and assorted other topics. Toward the end of the proceedings, Trump castigated anew the "horrible Iran nuclear deal" and asserted that the agreement "in eight years, gives Iran the legal right to have nuclear weapons." -Paul Pillar 01/17/19

PETITION: Europe: Don't Join Pompeo's War on Iran! - On February 13-14, the U.S. will host a summit on the Middle East in Warsaw, Poland. The aim of the conference will be to set the stage for an unnecessary conflict with Iran. -Codepink 01/17/19

Iranian Officials Warn Of Desertification - Increase in the volume of desertification and reduction of vegetation, combined with other problematic factors, have led to the invasion of haze in most provinces in Iran. Eight million hectares, out of 35 million hectares of deserts across the country, are threatened by dust storms, turning them into the centers of wind erosion, the official news agency (IRNA) reported on Monday, January 14. -Radio Farda 01/17/19

Iran's satellite launch not against international law: Russian diplomat - Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov said on Tuesday that Iran's action in launching satellite is not against international law. Iran attempted on Tuesday to launch Payam satellite into orbit but the rocket's third stage failed to provide enough speed to reach the orbit. -Tehran Times 01/17/19

The Economic War Against Iran - On the eve of the third anniversary of the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and the fortieth anniversary of the Islamic Republic, the era of hope ushered in by the election of Hassan Rouhani and the implementation of the nuclear deal seems a lifetime ago. Iran remains in compliance with the agreement, but begrudgingly. Europe looks impotent in the face of U.S. sanctions. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog 01/17/19

The Middle East After Pompeo's Cairo Speech - Those who had wishfully hoped that Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's Cairo speech would enunciate a new Trumpian doctrine toward the Middle East were sorely disappointed. The speech was no more than a mean attack on former President Barack Obama and a warmongering harangue against Iran. -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 01/17/19

Iran, Azerbaijan sign agreement on defense cooperation - Senior defense officials of Iran and Azerbaijan have signed an agreement aimed at boosting defense and military cooperation between the two neighbors. -Press TV 01/17/19

Iranian Startups Offer Opportunities In An Unstable Economy - The past decade in Iran has witnessed a surge in the number of startups, larger Internet companies, and digital-service providers. Owing to the impact of American sanctions, Iranians are often left to their own devices when it comes to Internet services. Amid the country's rapid digitization and the fact that more than 62 percent of all households were connected to the Internet as of March 2017 -- a staggering leap from 21 percent in 2013 -- there is clearly increasing demand. 01/16/19

Brussels, Not Tehran, In Pompeo's Crosshairs - During his trip to the Middle East the Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced an international summit in Warsaw on February 13-14 to "promote freedom, peace and stability in the Middle East." Such objectives, judging by his own rhetoric, seem to be reduced almost exclusively to confronting Iran's "malign behavior" in the region. -Eldar Mamedov, LobeLog 01/16/19

UK Foreign Secretary: Iran's Treatment of Zaghari-Ratcliffe "Breach of Human Rights" - UK Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt summoned Iran's ambassador to Tehran on January 14, 2018, the day Iranian British citizen Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe and fellow prisoner, human rights advocate Narges Mohammadi, began a planned hunger strike in Tehran's Evin Prison. -CHRI 01/16/19

Looking At Iran's Past To Understand Its Future - Next month brings the fortieth anniversary of Iran's 1979 revolution. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini flew back from exile in Paris on February 1, meeting such big crowds in Tehran that the 78-year-old cleric abandoned his station wagon for a helicopter. A public holiday is now marked every February 11 with rallies, marches, and speeches round the country. -Gareth Smyth, LobeLog 01/16/19

Iran to open bunkering terminal in blow to UAE's Fujairah - Iran will start bunkering operations at a newly-built ship fueling terminal on the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm by next month, the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) said Wednesday. The 52,000-tonne capacity terminal will give Iran access to traffic on one of the world's biggest shipping lanes in the Strait of Hormuz through which 40 percent of the world's seaborne oil exports pass. -Press TV 01/16/19

How the Exiled Iranian Opposition May Actually Be Helping the Iranian Regime - The Islamic Republic of Iran has no shortage of opposition groups, many with adherents in the large Iranian diaspora. From the Mojahedin-e Khalq (MEK) to secular republicans to ethnic separatist organizations, they are all bent on overthrowing the Iranian regime and replacing it with what they claim will be a more inclusive system. -Maysam Behravesh, The Atlantic 01/16/19

Iran govt. gets clearance for $5 billion Russian loan - The Iranian government has been allowed to get a $5 billion loan from Russia for infrastructure projects, a parliamentary spokesman said on Tuesday. Mohammad Mehdi Mofatteh, the rapporteur of parliament's ad-hoc budget review committee, said the panel also gave the government the green light to secure up to $30 billion in finance from foreign lenders. -Press TV 01/16/19

Don't Rule Out The Possibility Of War With Iran - According to press reports, Iran has all but despaired of the European Union's ability-or, perhaps more accurately, willingness-to work out a system of financial transactions that could facilitate Tehran's trade with Europe. Not only that, largely under pressure from Denmark and Holland, the EU imposed sanctions on Iran's ministry of intelligence and two individuals on charges of plotting to kill leaders of the Ahwaz separatist movement in Europe. This group was involved in the bombings that took place in Ahwaz in September 2018. -Shireen T. Hunter 01/15/19

Musician Ali Ghamsari Banned From Performing in Iran After Refusing to Remove Female Singer - After the Iranian authorities banned musician Ali Ghamsari from performing "until further notice" for refusing to remove a female singer from his most recent concert in Tehran, he announced on his Instagram page that he "wasn't sorry at all." -CHRI 01/15/19

Video: Iran launches satellite into space - Iran has launched a domestically-built satellite into space with an aim to collect environmental information to boost the country's forecasting system; however, technical problems that occurred during the final stage of the launch prevented the spacecraft from reaching orbit. 01/15/19

Sufi Woman Jailed in Iran Sentenced to 148 Lashes For Criticizing Gharchak Prison Conditions - Elham Ahmadi, an imprisoned member of the Sufi Gonabadi Order in Iran, has been sentenced to 148 lashes for speaking out about the denial of medical treatment and poor living conditions in Gharchak Prison located south of Tehran in the town of Varamin, where she is currently serving a two-year prison sentence. -CHRI 01/15/19

IRAN: Mahmoud Ahmadinejad Targets General Qassem Soleimani - Iranian Quds Force Chief Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani has been on the receiving end of both comments by Israel and a critical letter by former Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. In a letter, Ahmadinejad accused Soleimani of acting as a go-between in favor of the brother of Iranian Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri, recommending that the authorities release him. -Radio Farda 01/15/19

Empty car shows and stalled solar as sanctions keep Iran dirty - Innovation flees after Trump reimposes sanctions, environmentalists and government say that puts the country on a dangerous path -Climate Home News 01/15/19

Iran, Iraq's Kurdistan call for enhanced ties - Iran and Iraq's semi-autonomous Kurdistan region have emphasized the importance of expanding bilateral relations in various sectors, particularly in the economic field. The calls for stronger ties came during a visit by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to the capital of Iraqi Kurdistan, Erbil, on Tuesday. -Press TV 01/15/19

Iran art auction rakes in millions amid pressure over sanctions - Monir Farmanfarmaian, the grand dame of Tehran's vibrant art scene, has set a new record for a local female artist after an untitled mirror mosaic of hers fetched almost $1m at an art auction in the Iranian capital. -Mohammad Ali Najib, Al Jazeera 01/15/19

Iran's Syria war blockbuster: cinema in the service of politics - Does pop culture move politics? The war movie 'Damascus Time' represents the fruit of a long effort by Iranian conservatives to gain supportive voices in the arts. But its impact may be limited. -Scott Peterson, CSM 01/15/19

Iran Cargo-Plane Crash Near Tehran Leaves 15 Dead, Army Says - A cargo plane coming from Kyrgyzstan has crashed near the Iranian capital, with the country's military saying only one person of the 16 on board survived. The Boeing 707 exited the runway and hit a wall while trying to land in bad weather at Fath airport near the city of Karaj, 40 kilometers west of Tehran, reports said on January 14. -RFE/RL 01/14/19

National plan for safeguarding Caspian seal drafted in Iran - Caspian seal, the sole marine mammal inhabiting the Caspian Sea, is endangered according to the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN), as recently demonstrated to have declined by more than 90 percent since the start of the 20th century. 01/14/19

Man Forces Children To Eat The Flowers They Are Trying To Sell - Iran's State Welfare Organization, the minister of labor and Kerman's city administration have reacted to a video showing a man forcing two children to eat the flowers they are trying to sell. A video circulated on social media shows a man, who directly or indirectly works for the city of Kerman, forcing two flower-selling children to eat the flowers and films the scene. -Radio Farda 01/14/19

Iran to send Amirkabir University's 'Payam' satellite into orbit in coming days - He said homegrown 'Payam' satellite will be put into orbit at an altitude of 600 kilometers above Earth on a satellite-carrier rocket in the coming days. President Rouhani added that the two are made by Iranian scientists at Amirkabir University of Technology (AUT). 01/14/19

Pentagon Officials Fear Bolton's Actions Increase Risk of Clash With Iran - Senior Pentagon officials are voicing deepening fears that President Trump's hawkish national security adviser, John R. Bolton, could precipitate a conflict with Iran at a time when Mr. Trump is losing leverage in the Middle East by pulling out American troops. -New York Times 01/14/19

Iran artist puts spotlight on water shortage through music - Electronic musician Saba Alizadeh hosts shows at dried-up reservoirs to call attention to growing scarcity of water. -Saeed Jalili, Al Jazeera 01/14/19

Crazy rich Iranians face blowback at a time of sanctions and economic stress - The lives of Iran's privileged youths -- including expensive holidays, glitzy parties and access to cash and jobs -- have sparked public anger in recent months as U.S. sanctions squeeze the economy. - Erin Cunningham, Washington Post 01/14/19

Iran taking first steps to design 20% modern nuclear fuel: nuclear chief - Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says the country has broken new ground in the field of nuclear technology and is now taking preliminary steps toward production of 20-percent modern nuclear fuel. -Press TV 01/14/19

Iranian Political Prisoners, Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and Baha'i Azita Rafizadeh, Refuse Phone Calls in Solidarity With Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe - Two political prisoners held in the same ward as Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe in Iran's Evin Prison have given up their right to phone calls until the authorities lift newly imposed restrictions targeting the Iranian UK dual national as well her fellow inmates in the Women's Ward. -CHRI 01/13/19

Famed Iranian Playwright Mohammad Rahmanian Charged for Allegedly Featuring Female Soloist - Prominent Iranian theater director and playwright Mohammad Rahmanian has been charged with "propaganda against the state" based on a complaint by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) for allegedly featuring a female soloist in his play. He was also detained and released later that day after responding to a summons to appear at a court in Tehran on January 6, 2018, to answer questions about the play, "Old Songs: Paykan Javanan." 01/13/19

'Like LA with minarets': how concrete and cars came to rule Tehran - With nearly 10 million people doing daily battle with some of the world's highest levels of congestion and air pollution, headscarves should be the least of the authorities' worries -Oliver Wainwright, Guardian 01/13/19

Iran summons Polish envoy to protest US 'circus' in Warsaw - The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned Polish chargé d'affaires in Tehran, Wojciech Unolt, to protest an anti-Iran US summit which Warsaw is set to host on February 13-14. -Press TV 01/13/19

Wall Street Journal: White House requested plans last year from Pentagon to attack Iran - The White House's National Security Council asked the Pentagon last year for plans for launching a military attack against Iran, the Wall Street Journal reported early Sunday, citing current and former US officials. The request from the council, which is led by national security adviser John Bolton, came after an attack in September on the US Embassy in Baghdad by a militant group aligned with Iran, according to the Journal. -CNN 01/13/19

Pompeo's Blind Revisionism In The Middle East - In Cairo, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asked his audience to accept the (false) "truth" that "America is a force for good in the Middle East" because ignoring it results in "bad choices." However, the reverse is true. -Laila Ujayli, LobeLog 01/13/19

America is trying to get more out of its relationship with Iraq - President Donald Trump thinks America is being ripped off. "We have spent $7trn-trillion with a T-$7trn in the Middle East," he told a crowd last year, exaggerating slightly. "You know what we have for it? Nothing. Nothing." To right this perceived wrong, Mr Trump has long favoured seizing Iraq's oil. -Economist 01/13/19

The Man Who Humbled Qassim Suleimani - "We struck thousands of targets without claiming responsibility or asking for credit." So says Gadi Eisenkot about the Jewish state's undeclared and unfinished military campaign against Iran and its proxies in Syria and Lebanon. For his final interview as chief of staff of the Israel Defense Forces before he retires next week, the general has decided to claim responsibility and take at least some of the credit. -NY Times 01/13/19

Pompeo In Cairo: Anti-Obama, Anti-Iran, And Little Else - Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a campaign speech in Cairo that seemed written to please an audience of one-President Donald Trump-along with the domestic political base to which Trump's own rhetoric is designed to appeal. The main theme was the familiar one that U.S. policy before the Trump presidency was uniformly awful and, since then, the current administration has spectacularly turned everything around for the good. -Paul Pillar 01/11/19

Stop The Trump Travel Ban - Share videos of your personal story about how Trump's ban has directly impacted you or the lives of your loved ones. You can even make your videos anonymously, so don't hesitate and share your story. The more stories, the more power behind our mission. 01/11/19

'Miss Marple Needed' To Solve Mystery Of Death Of Former Iranian President Rafsanjani - Commemorating the memory of her influential father, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, former Tehran MP Faezeh Hashemi says, "Two years after my father's passing, there are a lot of ambiguities concerning the cause of his death." "If Miss Marple were living in Iran, she could have found a clue about the cause of my father's death," she added. 01/11/19

The first annual Iranian Film Festival New York: Jan 10-15, 2019 - 1st IrFFNY presents a selection of acclaimed and award-winning films from one of the world's most vital and distinguished national cinemas. The festival aims to unite two strands of Iranian moviemaking - the classic art-house Iranian cinema beloved by cinephiles around the world, and new cutting-edge works that showcase the adventurousness and daring nature of younger Iranian directors. 01/10/19

Death Of A Young Woman And Suspicions Surrounding A Lawmaker - The death of a young woman in Malekan, northwest Iran, has led to controversy and suspicions of possible involvement by a lawmaker. The body of Zahra Navidpoor was discovered January 6 in her mother's house and the prosecutor's office in Malekan issued a statement saying it was an "apparent suicide". But investigations are underway to determine the actual cause of death. -Radio Farda 01/10/19

Iran Confirms It's Holding U.S. Navy Veteran - Iran says it is holding a U.S. Navy veteran, confirming media reports about a case that risks further escalating tensions with Washington. The New York Times reported on January 7 that Michael White, 46, was arrested while visiting Iran and had been held since July on unspecified charges. -RFE/RL 01/10/19

Iran's space tech development won't wait for other countries: Communication Minister - Iran will not hold off development in the field of space technology and cannot wait for other countries to meet its needs, the information and communication technology minister told the Tehran Times during a press conference at the Iranian Space Research Center (ISRC) on Sunday. 01/9/19

Iranian scientist Baharvand among winners of 2019 TWAS Prize - Hossein Baharvand, an eminent Iranian scientist, won The World Academy of Sciences (TWAS) 2019 prize in biology, ISNA news agency reported. Baharvand is a professor at Royan Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Technology. In 2004, he received a Ph.D. in Cell and Developmental Biology from Khwarizmi University. 01/9/19

Focus Iran 3 : Contemporary Photography and Video - Organized in collaboration with Farhang Foundation, Focus Iran 3 (at Craft and Folk Art Museum, Los Angeles) is the third exhibition in this juried biennial series that features photography and video works that relate to Iranian culture. 01/9/19

Iranian Journalist Sentenced to Six Years in Prison Without Lawyer - Political journalist Hamed Aynehvand has been sentenced to six years in prison without the presence of his lawyer on the basis of charges brought by Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC), the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. 01/8/19

Iranian Pop Singer Gagged, Under Fire Over Antiwar Video - Iran's Culture Ministry says it is considering action against an Iranian pop singer and his recording company amid accusations that Mehdi Yarrahi sullied the "martyrs" and ideals of past conflicts. The ministry last week dismissed reports that it had already blacklisted Yarrahi, saying it was awaiting a response from the company that produced the clip in question for the song Torn Rock. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 01/8/19

India Takes Over Operation At Iran's Chabahar Port - India has started its commercial activities in Chabahar within the framework of a trilateral deal, also including Afghanistan, aimed at developing the southern Iran port into a regional trade hub. "This is the first time India will be operating a port outside its territories," the Ministry pointed out. -Press TV 01/8/19

PHOTOS: Celebrating Birth of Jesus Christ at Saint Mary Church of Tabriz - The anniversary of the Jesus Christ's birthday was celebrated in a ceremony attended by Iranian Christians on Sunday in Saint Mary Church of Tabriz. Saint Mary Church, Holy Mother of God Church or Surp Mariam Asdvadzadzin Church is an Armenian Apostolic church in Tabriz, East Azerbaijan Province, Iran completed in 1785. -Mina Noei, Mehr 01/7/19

Belqeys Citadel in North Khorasan, Iran sees 55% more visitors - The ruined citadel, which is sometimes referred to as Shahr-e Belqeys ("The city of Belqeys") is located in northeastern North Khorasan province. It lies at a short distance from the city of Esfarayen. Remnants of the citadel, family lodgings, irrigation channels, a cistern, and a hypostyle hall are amongst objects so far been unearthed in Belqeys during rounds of excavation. 01/6/19

This Winter Is Not Cold: Yalda Summit 2018 In Tehran, Iran - The main hall of the Milad Tower hosted 1,800 startup activist in yalda Summit 2018 -Shanbe Magazine 01/6/19

CLOSING THE CIRCLE OF LOVE FOR MUSIC: Inspiring Story of An Iranian Son, Unveiling the Voice of Mother - I went to see the first performance of 'Maman Shamsi Love Songs', a musical performance by Ziba Shirazi, Mehrdad Arabi, an internationally acclaimed master of Persian music, and faculty of ethnomusicology department at UCLA and Hamed Poursaee, a composer and classical guitarist in Los Angeles. While I knew my good friend and well-loved artist of the City of Angels Iranian community, Ziba Shirazi, would be the main singer in the musical, I did not know what to expect. -Elahe Amani 01/3/19

Shahr-e Sokhta yields rare 4000-year-old relics - Iran's UNESCO-registered Shahr-e Sokhta has yielded tens of rare relics which date back to over 4000 years ago, IRNA reported on Tuesday. "A total of 26 burial chambers have been unearthed recently that led to discovery of potteries, beads, small metal objects and a piece of marble torch," said Seyyed Mansour Seyyed Sajjadi who led the site's 17th archaeological season. 12/28/18

Twenty Thousand PhD Graduates Are Unemployed In Iran - Iran's Deputy Minister of Science, Research and Technology for educational affairs says 20,000 Ph.D. holders in Iran are unemployed and jobless. Dr. Mojtaba Shariati Niasar has also noted that 100,000 students are currently studying for a Ph.D., but only 4,000 of them have been employed by the universities, so far. -Radio Farda 12/27/18

Makhmal Kuh: rugged, towering mountain of "velvet" in Lorestan, Iran - Makhmal Kuh, literary meaning velvet mountain, is an eye-catching and popular mount that dominates Khorramabad, the capital of Lorestan province, western Iran. The name "velvet" comes from what the natural scenery induces its passersby to think about, "A foothill beneath velvet blankets"! -Ali Karimi, IRNA 12/24/18

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

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

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

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

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last updated on Wed Jan 23 12:43:14 EST 2019