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March 23 2019
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International Norooz Day celebrated in Geneva

- The International Norooz Day, marking the Persian New Year and arrival of spring, was celebrated in the Swiss city of Geneva on March 21, hosted by Iran and ten other countries. The ceremony was held at the World Intellectual Property Organization building in Geneva on March 21, marking the beginning of the Persian New Year and arrival of spring. 03/22/19

Norooz Celebration Turns Into Disaster: Iraq Ferry Capsizes, Killing At Least 94

- At least 94 people were killed when an overloaded ferry capsized on the Tigris River near the Iraqi city of Mosul Thursday. Officials said more than 180 people were on board, celebrating the Kurdish New Year, Norooz, and Mother's Day. Most of the victims were women and children struggling to swim in the fast-moving current. -VOA 03/22/19

Latest Report Says Annual Inflation Close To 50 Percent In Iran

- At the end of the Iranian year on March 20, inflation figures heralded a tough time ahead for ordinary Iranians, as price rises neared 50 percent in the last 12 months. From March 2018 to March 2019, goods and services became 47.5 percent more expensive, in what is the worse inflation number in the past five years, Iran Statistical Center reported on March 21. 03/22/19

Muslims countries hold emergency meeting, urge fight on Islamophobia and slam West after carnage in New Zealand

- Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says certain countries in the West must be held accountable for an attack on two mosques in New Zealand, which left at least 50 worshipers dead. "The terrorist attack in New Zealand represents a very dangerous tide in the West that is Islamophobia," he said in Istanbul where the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC) held an emergency meeting Friday. 03/22/19

Iran's Supreme Leader likens European financial mechanism to a 'bitter joke'

- Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Leader of the Islamic Revolution, on Thursday likened the European financial mechanism for trade with Iran to a "bitter joke". "Europe's financial channel introduced recently is more like a bitter joke," the Khamenei remarked. -Tehran Times 03/22/19

Iran's state TV kills top-rated show

- Millions of Iranian viewers had to spend a Monday night without "90," a wildly popular soccer show hosted by Adel Ferdowsipour, who is widely believed to have kept Iranians tuned to a national broadcaster that has been grappling with a serious audience crisis. -Al Monitor 03/22/19

PHOTOS: Iranians celebrate Persian New Year Norooz at Tomb of Poet Hafez

- Iranians gathered at the Tomb of Hafez in Shiraz, Fars province, last night to celebrate Persian New Year, Norooz. The vernal equinox which took place at 1:28 AM local time marked the start of spring and Norooz holidays in Iran. Shiraz is known as the City of Poets, Literature, Wine and Flowers. -Mohammad Ali Haqshenas 03/21/19

Iran: Harsh Sentence for Rights Lawyer Threatens Activism

- The prominent human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh's draconian sentence for her peaceful activism shows the threat posed by Iran's revolutionary courts to human rights work, the Center for Human Rights in Iran and Human Rights Watch said today. Iran should immediately and unconditionally release Sotoudeh and other human rights defenders who are unjustly spending Nowruz, the Persian New Year, behind bars. -CHRI 03/21/19

We Are Here, We Have Always Been Here

- An international conference hosted by San Francisco State University brings together the Iranian American diaspora -- one that has flourished, noticed or not, in the Bay Area. -Ida Mojadad, SF Weekly 03/21/19

After Trump

- Donald Trump has shaken up U.S. foreign policy. Most of what he has done has been disastrous, like pulling America out of the Paris climate accord and the Iran nuclear deal. He has been erratic, unprincipled, aggressive, and unilateral. -John Feffer, LobeLog 03/21/19

Featured Video

Happy Norooz 2019

A Message of Hope to Mark Nowruz, the Persian New Year - Spring is in the air and for millions of people around the world including Iran, it marks the beginning of a new year. The ancient festival of Nowruz ("new day") is celebrated at the end of winter with festivities symbolizing rebirth, renewal and the possibility of new beginnings. Many Iranians will ring in the new year with family get-togethers, delicious food and picnics. But for Iran's political prisoners, this time of year is particularly painful. -CHRI 03/20/19

Iran's woes briefly go up in smoke during fire festival - Iran's many woes briefly went up in smoke as Iranians observed a nearly 4,000-year-old Persian tradition known as the Festival of Fire. The celebration is held on the last Tuesday night before Nowruz, or the Iranian New Year, which will be celebrated Thursday. The annual ritual dates back to at least 1700 B.C. and is linked to the Zoroastrian religion. -Amir Vahdat, AP 03/20/19

U.S. Extends Waiver To Allow Iraq To Buy Iranian Energy Supplies - The United States is extending a waiver to allow Iraq to continue to buy electricity from Iran, despite sanctions imposed by Washington targeting Tehran's energy sector. The original waiver, issued in December 2017, expired on March 19. -RFE/RL 03/20/19

Iranians Line Up at Dawn for a Sanctions Meal They Can Afford - The cost of red meat and poultry has surged more than 90 percent from a year ago. U.S. sanctions don't apply to humanitarian supplies like food but their re-imposition last year froze banking channels and alarmed foreign companies doing even permitted business in Iran. The rial went into free fall and has only partially recovered. Imports, when Iran can afford them, are vastly more expensive. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 03/20/19

Freeloading in Iran - "Iran, Ordibehescht 1396" is the title of a new book about Iran. According to the publisher, the "travelogue" by Christian Welzbacher is "a call for dialogue with the supposed enemy". For reviewer Fahimeh Farsaie, it feels more like a catalogue of tired cliches about the Middle East. -Fahimeh Farsaie, Qantara 03/20/19

What remains of Chaharshanbeh Suri, eve of last Wednesday before Norooz - 'Chaharshanbeh Suri', observed on the eve of the last Wednesday before the Iranian New Year (Norooz), is a 'festival of fire' from ancient times, which is now barely recognizable from its original from in the hustle and bustle of metropolis Tehran. -Marjohn Sheikhi 03/19/19

Sotoudeh's Case Is Iran's Own Goal - Last week, the European Parliament joined the international outcry over the sentencing of Iranian human rights defender Nasrin Sotoudeh to a long prison term by voting overwhelmingly for a resolution calling for her release... There are some flaws in the text too. No conversation on the topic is complete without acknowledging the devastating effects of U.S. economic sanctions, imposed in violation of the UN Security Council-endorsed resolution on the nuclear pact with Iran, on Iranian human rights. -Eldar Mamedov 03/19/19

Iran's Meteorological Organization projects normal water year - Iran's Meteorological Organization (IMO) predicted normal conditions for the next water year (starting on September 23) in the country. In a press conference, the new director of IMO, Sahar Tajbakhsh, explained that since the beginning of the current water year (September 23, 2018) the precipitation rate has increased by 17.6 percent compared to long-term averages, so it is predicted that the current desirable conditions will last in the spring as precipitations levels will hit normal and above normal levels. -Maryam Qarehgozlou, Tehran Times 03/19/19

Iran To Drop Tattooed Players From National Football Team - The Iranian tattooed players have reportedly no place in Iran national football team from now on. According to the reports, the Iranian football federation has been told it must prevent to invite the tattooed players to the national team. -Tehran Times 03/19/19

Turkish President Claims Iran Joins Military Offensive Against Kurdish Separatists - Turkey has repeated its claim that it and Iran are jointly carrying out a military operation against Kurdish separatists, although semiofficial Iranian media quoted the military as denying it was involved. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan on March 18 said the operation was targeting militants from the outlawed Kurdistan Workers Party (PKK), adding it was the first of its kind and that he hoped further missions would follow. -RFE/RL 03/19/19

Iran's economy 40 years after the Islamic Revolution - nlike the socialist revolutions of the last century, the Islamic Revolution of Iran did not identify itself with the working class or the peasantry, and did not bring a well-defined economic strategy to reorganize the economy. Apart from eliminating the interest rate from the banking system, which was achieved in name only, the revolution put forward few specific economic policies that could be called an Islamic economic development strategy. -Djavad Salehi Isfahani, Brookings 03/19/19

Anti-terror fight to continue until all terrorist groups defeated: Iran military chief - Chairman of the Chiefs of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Major General Mohammad Baqeri made the remarks while addressing a joint press conference at the end of a tripartite meeting with his Iraqi counterpart Lieutenant General Othman al-Ghanimi and Syrian Defense Minister General Ali Abdullah Ayyoub in Damascus on Monday, during which the three countries exchanged views on ways to combat terrorism. -Press TV 03/19/19

PHOTOS: Amol adorned with giant colored eggs ahead of Persian New Year Norooz - Iranian citities are abuzz with excitement in the countdown to the Persian New Year, Norooz which coincides with beginning of spring. Norooz is a festive occasion for Iranians and other countries in the region. To mark the new year, visual artists have decorated some of Iranian cities with large colored eggs. These photos show artists in the city of Amol painting their eggs with various new year themes. -Majid Nikjou 03/18/19

Iran ranked 13th most powerful country in the world - Iran has been ranked 13th most powerful country in the world, according to an annual ranking by U.S. News and World Report that looked at a country's political and financial influences, as well as its international and alliances, its military strength and how it acts as an international leader. 03/18/19

Iran: Women's Expedition - Discover the beauty of Iran and experience its culture from the female perspective. Join Intrepid on our first ever female-only, female-led 12-day expedition through Iran. Designed to allow travellers a unique opportunity to discover the customs, food, challenges and lives of local women of Iran through a range of experiences otherwise off limits to our normal mixed gender groups. -Intrepid Travel 03/18/19

Charles Bernstein: Poetry in Solidarity with the Iranian People - On January 22, a group of distinguished American poets and literary figures gathered at the Busboys and Poets in Washington, DC, to recite poetry and read statements against the US sanctions and in solidarity with the Iranian people. Prominent American poet, essayist and literary scholar Charles Bernstein - who was awarded Yale's prestigious Bollingen Prize for American Poetry that night - was one of them. -Kourosh Ziabari, Fair Observer 03/18/19

Rouhani says Iran will file legal case against U.S. for sanctions - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Monday that the government would file a legal case in Iran against U.S. officials who imposed sanctions on the country as a precursor to action in international courts. -Reuters 03/18/19

Russia dethrones Iran, takes the crown at Men's Freestyle World Cup - Iran fell short in the final match of the 2019 United World Wrestling (UWW) Freestyle World Cup, losing to hosts Russia 9-1 at the Yakutsk's Triumph Sports Training Center. The Russian Federation claimed their seventh overall Freestyle World Cup title and first gold since their title-winning performance at the 2011 Makhachkala World Cup. 03/17/19

Defying US sanctions, Iran inaugurates new South Pars gas field phases - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has inaugurated four new phases of the huge offshore South Pars gas field in a move, which has been seen as a clear sign of the failure of US sanctions against the country. During an inaugural ceremony in the southern coastal city of Kangan on Sunday, Iran's president officially launched phases 13, 22, 23, and 24 of South Pars gas field, noting that despite all the US pressures on the Iranian nation, especially through the imposition of unilateral economic sanctions, Iranians remain steadfast and resistant and continue to progress. 03/17/19

Good Iraqi-Iranian Relations Are Not A Reason To Worry - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has been visiting Iraq this week-a friendly, extended visit that has yielded several bilateral agreements on trade and transportation. Such an event causes heartburn, of course, within the Trump administration and for others who believe that the only useful thing to do to Iran is to try to isolate and cripple it. -Paul Pillar 03/17/19

Iranians in Truro celebrate ancient spring festival of Nowruz - Crowds of people attend Persian New Year party at Dal AC featuring live music, keeping alive a 3,000-year-old tradition -Fram Dinshaw, Truro Daily, Canada 03/17/19

Tehran Ranks Near Bottom In Mercer's 2019 Quality of Living Report - Western European cities dominated Mercer's 2019 Quality of Living report comparing the quality of life in cities around the world, while Tehran ranked near the bottom, at 199 out of 231 cities surveyed. Dubai (74) and Abu Dhabi (78) in the United Arab Emirates, Tel Aviv (104) in Israel, and Muscat (105) in Oman were among the cities in the Middle East that were ranked higher than Tehran. 03/17/19

U.S. Navy Veteran Sentenced By Iran To 10 Years In Prison, Lawyer Says - The lawyer of a U.S. Navy veteran detained in Iran says his client has been given a 10-year prison sentence. Washington-based lawyer Mark Zaid told AP that Michael White was convicted of insulting Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and posting private information online. -RFE/RL 03/17/19

What Did Rouhani Really Get From His Iraq Visit? - n Iran, President Hassan Rouhani's recent visit to Iraq has been hailed as a great victory. In particular, Iranian officials and media have portrayed the visit as demonstrating the inability of the United States as well as Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf Arabs to undermine Tehran's position in Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter, LobeLog 03/17/19

Iran: UN expert concerned by crackdown on protests and strikes - Worrying patterns of intimidation, arrest, prosecution, and ill-treatment of human rights defenders, lawyers, and labour rights activists in Iran signal an increasingly severe State response to protests and strikes in the country, a UN expert said today. Javaid Rehman, the Special Rapporteur on human rights in Iran, said rising inflation, difficult working conditions, late or unpaid wages, falling living standards, and increased challenges in accessing adequate work, food, health care, and water was making life harder for many Iranians. -OHCHR 03/16/19

Qassem Soleimani is a master strategist, not a cartoon villain - Last night, BBC Two aired a primetime documentary on a senior member of the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), who has become a figure of nationalist adulation in Iran and a kind of bogeyman in the West: General Qassem Soleimani, The programme narrates recent decades of Middle Eastern history in light of Iran's meddling, with Soleimani, the leader of a special unit responsible for overseas operations, known as the Qods Force, as a driving force. -Marco Carnelos, Middle East Eye 03/16/19

Veteran Iranian Lawmaker And Former Guards Commander Convicted Of Rape - A veteran member of parliament and a former commander in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) has been convicted of rape, the head of the Justice Department, Gholamhossein Esmaeili, announced on March 15. Hours later, the IRGC-run Fars news agency reported that Esmaeili was referring to the MP for the city of Malekan, Salman Khodadadi, who is chairman of the legislative body's Committee for Social Affairs. -Radio Farda 03/16/19

42 Human Rights Groups Support Renewal of UN Special Rapporteur's Mandate on Iran - A coalition of diverse human rights organizations have signed an open letter supporting the renewal of the UN special rapporteur's (SR's) mandate on Iran. Javaid Rehman, a Pakistani-born British legal scholar, was appointed to the position in July 2018 after former SR Asma Jahangir passed away in February 2018. -CHRI 03/16/19

Gantz Denies Sex Tape After Iranians Hack Phone, Says There's No Threat of Extortion - Benny Gantz, the chariman of the Kahol Lavan political alliance, said on Friday no compromising data was found on the phone breached by Iran, and claimed the whole matter was 'a political spin' meant to obscure Israel's real issues. Earlier, Gantz reassured his part's members that there are no sex tapes of him. -Haaretz 03/16/19

PHOTOS: Norooz Khani Persian New Year Ritual In Kordkouy, Northern Iran - Persian New Year Norooz is around the corner. This is a festive occasion for Iranians and many other countries in the region. There are many local cheerful customs associated with Norooz. One such custom is called "Norooz Khani" which is performed in some of the villages and towns. -Marjohn Sheikhi 03/15/19

Photos: Tabriz Grand Bazaar Busy With Norooz Shopping - Iranian citities are abuzz with excitement in the countdown to the Persian New Year, Norooz which this year coincides with Thursday, March 21, 2019 at 01:28:27 AM Tehran time. These photos show the historic Grand Bazaar of Tabriz, in northwestern Iran, busy with people doing their Norooz shopping. Tabriz Grand Bazaar is one of the greatest indoor markets in Iran and Asia. -Morteza Rahmani 03/15/19

IRAN: Qoliyan and Bakhshi Held Without Bail or Access to Lawyers for Almost Two Months, Transferred to Prisons in Ahvaz - Despite the apparent end of investigations by judicial authorities against labor activist Esmail Bakhshi and freelance reporter Sepideh Qoliyan, the two have not been offered bail and continue to be held, without access to a lawyer, for almost two months, awaiting trial. No date has been set for the trial. -CHRI 03/15/19

Tehran Says Renault Will Resume Operations In Iran - Following lengthy negotiations, giant French carmaker Renault will return to Iran, Deputy Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade Farshad Moqimi (Moghimi) announced March 14. Moqimi was cited by state-run media as saying that a new "mechanism" had been devised for Renault, enabling it to resume manufacturing in Iran despite U.S. sanctions targeting companies doing business in Iran. Representatives of Renault have neither confirmed nor denied the minister's statements. -Radio Farda 03/15/19

US officials offered my friend cash to take down Tehran's power grid - It took a country-wide power outage in Venezuela, whispers of a cyberattack, and smug tweets from US officials to make me suddenly recall the cloak-and-dagger story of a close Iranian-American friend nine years ago. My friend, an engineer, revealed to me in 2010 that he was approached by two "State Department employees" who offered him $250,000 to "do something very simple" during his upcoming trip to Tehran. -Sharmine Narwani, Medium 03/15/19

A Photo Op in Najaf Reveals an Iran That Could Be - As far as photographs go, it's a rather inartful moment. Three aging men dressed in dark clothes sit in a spartan room with small glasses of heavily-brewed tea and a tissue box resting before them, as they engage in conversation. But to Iranians and Iran-watchers the March 13 meeting marked a historical moment. The image of Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani seated with Iran's President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif graced the front pages of almost every Iranian newspaper the next day. -Borzou Daragahi, Atlantic Council 03/15/19

Iran Asking Canada For Extradition Of Marjan Sheikholeslami In A Financial Case - Iran's General Prosecutor says that Tehran has referred to Interpol the case of a woman in Canada accused in his country's petrochemicals scandal and expects extradition. The news website of Iran's Judiciary quotes Mohammad Jaafar Montazeri as saying that an arrest warrant for Marjan Sheikholeslami has been issued and sent to Interpol, and he hopes "they will cooperate". -Radio Farda 03/14/19

Widow of Dual National Who Died in Iranian Custody Sues Judiciary for Banning Her from Travel - Maryam Mombeini, the widow of Iranian Canadian academic Kavous Seyed-Emami who died under suspicious circumstances in Tehran's Evin Prison, has sued a judicial official for extending a travel ban imposed on her a year ago, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI 03/14/19

AFC Beach Soccer Championship: Japan win epic clash against Iran - Japan came from two goals down to secure a place in the AFC Beach Soccer Championship Thailand 2019 semi-finals, after earning a stunning 3-2 extra time win against defending champions Iran on Thursday. The loss comes as a crushing blow to Iran, who will miss the FIFA Beach Soccer World Cup after having qualified for seven of the last eight editions, and finishing third in 2017. -AFC 03/14/19

Gas Pipeline Explosion In Southwest Iran Leaves 4 Dead, 6 Injured - At least four people were killed on Thursday in an explosion of the pipelines that link the gas network from Mahshahr city to Ahvaz city in southwestern Iran, a senior provincial official said. A bus, a water tanker truck and a private car had also caught fire amid the explosion. -MNA 03/14/19

U.S. Looks To Cut Iran Oil Exports '20 Percent' To Below 1 Million Barrels A Day - Reuters on March 13 quoted two sources familiar with the matter in its report, quoting one as saying the "goal right now is to reduce Iranian oil exports to under 1 million barrels per day." The source added that the administration of President Donald Trump was concerned that if it pushed for a complete and immediate shutdown of Iran oil purchases, it would cause a large rise in prices on the world market. -RFE/RL 03/14/19

Iran's President Rouhani meets Grand Ayatollah Sistani in Najaf, Iraq - President Hassan Rouhani on Wednesday met with Iraq's top Shia cleric, Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, in the holy city of Najaf on the last day of his historic visit to neighboring Iraq. Ayatollah Sistani welcomed any step toward expansion of Iraq's ties with its neighbors based on mutual interests, respect for the sovereignty and not interfering in the internal affairs of one another. -Tehran Times 03/14/19

The Rise Of The Hardliners - Here's the foreign policy question of questions in 2019: Are President Donald Trump, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman, all severely weakened at home and with few allies abroad, reckless enough to set off a war with Iran? -Bob Dreyfuss, LobeLog 03/14/19

Billions Of Dollars Involved In Two Corruption Trials In Iran - The court has brought charges against 14 individuals, three of whom who are living abroad and are represented by their lawyers, said the prosecutor. It is still not known if the lawyers have been appointed by the suspects or the court. Tehran prosecutor Dolatabadi added that a major part of the case is about a "runaway suspect" he has named as Marjan Sheikholeslami, who has been referred to in the indictment as the main partner of Reza Hamzehlou, the prime suspect. -Radio Farda 03/14/19

Iran's IRGC holds massive drone drills in Persian Gulf region - Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) holds offensive-combat drone exercises in the Persian Gulf region, involving dozens of RQ-170 stealth unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) that Tehran has manufactured based on a model of a US Sentinel drone it captured unharmed in 2011. -Press TV 03/14/19

Iranian Lawyers Join Global Backlash to Iran's Sentencing of Rights Defender - A group of Iranian lawyers has added its voice to international criticism of Tehran for sentencing a female colleague to additional years in prison in relation to her work in defending Iranian rights activists. In an open letter to the Iranian people dated Tuesday and sent by one of the authors to VOA Persian, the group of 16 lawyers said the multiyear sentencing of lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh, announced by Iranian state media Monday, violates the Iranian constitution's commitments to human rights and fair trials. -Michael Lipin, VOA 03/13/19

How to celebrate the Persian New Year - Persian New Year festivities last 13 days during the month of March. The holiday - rooted in Zoroastrianism, an ancient religion that predates Christianity and Islam - has been celebrated for at least 3,000 years in Iran. -Sarah Ravani, San Francisco Chronicle 03/13/19

Persian New Year, Nowruz, Is Coming Up. Here's How (And Where) To Celebrate Around D.C. - Spring in D.C. is marked by certain annual rituals-a flood of cherry blossoms and the bigger flood of tourists they bring with them (cue rant about navigating Metro escalators), seemingly endless rainy days (I'm looking at you April 2016), and the return of rooftop everything (actual views optional). -dcist 03/13/19

Reformist Iranian Politician Abolfazl Ghadyani Ordered to Copy Out by Hand Supreme Leader's Book - Veteran Iranian politician Abolfazl Ghadyani has been sentenced to two years in prison for the charge of "insulting the supreme leader" and one for the charge of "propaganda against the state," the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Ghadyani has also been ordered to copy out by hand three books including "Doshmanshenasi" (Enemy-ology), a collection of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's political views about his enemies. -CHRI 03/13/19

Iran's President Rouhani meets with Grand Ayatollah Sistani on final day of Iraq visit - In a historic meeting, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has held talks with Iraq's top Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani in the holy city of Najaf on the final day of his landmark visit to the neighboring Arab state. Rouhani sat down with Ayatollah Sistani at his residence on Wednesday after visiting the shrine of Imam Ali, the first Imam of Shia Muslims. -Press TV 03/13/19

Iran overtakes Qatar in South Pars with new gas phases - Iran on Sunday will launch four new development phases of the world's largest gas field at South Pars with a capacity to produce 112 million cubic meters per day, the Ministry of Petroleum says. President Hassan Rouhani will travel to Bushehr in the Persian Gulf to inaugurate two refineries built with $10 billion of investment. With their launch, Iran's daily gas production will surpass that of Qatar with which it shares the offshore field. -Press TV 03/13/19

Do clothes make the woman? An Iranian artist's search for identity - The works of Mona Hakimi-Schueler, an Iranian artist based in Berlin, depicts Iranian women not as victims but strong individuals whether in a hijab, summer dress or armor. -Zahra Alipour, Al Monitor 03/13/19

Iran, North Korea, And The Pitfalls Of "Maximum Pressure" - Donald J. Trump's hitherto failed "maximum pressure" approach to Iran, as well as for that matter North Korea, begs the question what the US president's true objectives are and what options he is left with should the policy ultimately fail. -James M. Dorsey, LobeLog 03/13/19

Iranian Human Rights Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh Says She Has Been Sentenced to 38 Years in Prison - Iranian defense attorney Nasrin Sotoudeh told her husband she has been sentenced to 38 years in prison and 148 lashes. Her statement follows media reports quoting the hardline judge overseeing her case who said she has been sentenced to seven years in prison. -CHRI 03/12/19

Iran: Countering Extremism Through Inclusiveness - The Iranian government has long accused some of its neighboring states of using terrorism and insurgency to destabilize the country. There may be some truth to these accusations. But Iran's treatment of minority groups has also contributed to the rise of militancy. -Fatemeh Aman 03/12/19

Will endangered Kaiser's mountain newt survive people's hankering for variety in Norooz? - Kaiser's mountain newt, the world's most attractive salamander species, confined to western Iran, is driven on the brink of extinction due to habitat degradation as well as uncontrolled overharvesting for national and international pet trade which pace up near the Iranian New Year celebration (Norooz, starting on March 21). -Faranak Bakhtiari 03/12/19

50+ Retired Generals and Diplomats Urge the United States to Reenter Iran Deal - The United States should rejoin the Iran nuclear deal. The 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), put limitations on Iran's nuclear program that provided assurances that it would not be used to develop weapons, improved American intelligence about potential future development and significantly improved the security of the United States and our allies. -National Interest 03/12/19

Prime Suspect In Large Corruption Case Linked To Khamenei-Led Enterprise - Reports from Tehran say the prime suspect in the financial corruption case involving Iran's petrochemical industry is linked to a body under the aegis of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. 03/12/19

Iran, Iraq sign five MoUs for economic, healthcare cooperation - Iran and Iraq have signed five memorandums of understanding for the expansion of bilateral cooperation in various economic and healthcare sectors. The documents were signed by senior officials of the two countries in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and Iraqi Prime Minister Adel Abdul-Mahdi in Baghdad on Monday. -Press TV 03/12/19

Record corruption scandal puts spotlight on Iranians in Iran, US - The revelation of perhaps the biggest corruption scandal in Iranian history has exposed domestic political fault lines and is already reverberating as far away as Washington, DC. -Rohollah Faghihi, Al Monitor 03/12/19

Iran's President Rohani Kicks Off First Official Visit To Iraq, Hails 'Special Relations' - Iranian President Hassan Rohani has arrived in Baghdad for his first official visit to Iraq, state television reported, as Iraq is under pressure from the United States to limit ties with its neighbor. Iraq, which receives financial and military support from Washington, has attempted to balance its relations with the United States and Iran, which carries significant influence with members of Iraq's Shi'ite population. -RFE/RL 03/11/19

Iran finishes second at Sabre World Cup - Iran finished in second place at the International Fencing Federation (FIE) men's Sabre World Cup in Padua, Italy on Sunday. Team Melli, consisting of Ali Pakdaman, Mojtaba Abedini, Mohammad Fotouhi and Mohammad Rahbari, lost to reigning world champions South Korea 45-28 in the final match. 03/11/19

Norooz Spring Festival kicks off Persian New Year celebrations - People gathered in Union Square Saturday, March 9, 2019 to commence Persian New Year Celebrations. Norooz (also spelled Nowruz) takes place on March 21 this year, however traditional activities happen for the weeks before and after the actual date. This event was hosted by Norooz Outreach and is the first event in what they anticipate will be an annual recurrence. -SF Examnanier 03/11/19

Tehran theater group to host Woody Allen's "Old Saybrook" - A group of Iranian actors will perform a reading of Woody Allen's "Old Saybrook" at Shahrzad Theater in Tehran on March 15. Sajjad Qatei is the director of the reading performance in which he will also play a role, and Mahmud Rashidi is the producer of the production. -Tehran Times 03/11/19

Prisoners of Their Own Rebellion: The Cult-Like Group Fighting Iran - Members of the Trump administration have been providing support to a political sect that aims to topple the Iranian regime in Tehran. Around 2,000 of its members live in a camp in Albania. Former members say it subjected followers to torture and psychological terror. -Luisa Hommerich, Spiegle 03/11/19

Congratulations to David Emami, City Councilor of Happy Valley - "I am humbled, appreciative and thankful for this opportunity to serve as Oregon's first ever Iranian-American City Councilor. I hope to inspire others out there to achieve their dreams and It is my absolute goal to represent ALL people of Happy Valley." -NIAC Action 03/11/19

U.S. Peace Delegation to Iran Welcomed by Foreign Minister, Met by FBI Agents on Return - Code Pink delegation members Medea Benjamin, Margaret Flowers and Kevin Zeese, speak about the highlights of their trip, a 90 min meeting with Foreign Minister Javad Zarif and more. -Real News Network 03/11/19

Billionaire Iranian Football Sponsor On Trial For Financial Corruption - The prosecutor in the corruption trial of a super-rich sponsor of major Iranian football (soccer) clubs, says one of the suspects in the case had opened 242 bank accounts within a day in his 8-year-old son's name, Iranian news agencies reported. -Radio Farda 03/11/19

Iranian Students Win Award At The "Architecture At Zero" Competition In U.S. - An Iranian team from University of Science and Technology has gained a citation award at The 2019 International Architecture at Zero competition in the US. Students of 'the School of Architecture and Environmental Design' of the Iranian university claimed third place by winning the Citation Award along with three other teams from the US and one from Poland. 03/10/19

Thousands of Iranian Teachers Launch Third Strike Demanding Fair Pay, Universal Education - Thousands of teachers went on throughout Iran for the third time in less than a year March 3-5, 2019, to demand fair pay, the release of their imprisoned colleagues and free, universal education. "The most important reason for the strike is that the government does not feel obligated to implement Article 30 of the Constitution," Javad La'l Mohammadi, an activist teacher based in the city of Mashhad, told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) on March 5. -CHRI 03/10/19

CODEPINK In Iran: Day 10-Last Day - We have had a great trip to Iran. We have learned much about Iranian life and culture, and despite the sanctions, the excellent medical care experienced by a member of our delegation, as well as about Iranian government policies and concerns. -Ann Wright, CODEPINK 03/10/19

Iranian Couple Arrested Over "Indecent" Shopping Mall Marriage Proposal - Iranian police have arrested a couple for "outraging public decency" after they got engaged in front of a crowd at a shopping mall. Video of the public proposal in the western city of Arak appeared on social media on March 8, showing the pair standing amid rose petals in a heart shape on the floor. After the proposal, the woman can be seen hugging the man as the crowd cheers. -RFE/RL 03/10/19

Are The MEK And Regime Change Finally Running Out Of Road? - The "regime change in Iran" bandwagon-driven by warmongers, fueled by false prophesy, and hurtling pell-mell down the road to Iran contains various characters, some new and some old. The bandwagon itself is an ideological construct created 40 years ago in response to the Iranian Revolution. -Anne and Massoud Khodabandeh, LobeLog 03/10/19

Outspoken Lawmaker Tells Iran Judiciary 'Stop Wrong Practices', As UN Issues Critical Report - The outspoken Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Motahari has called on Iran's new Judiciary Chief Ebrahim Raeesi to "stop some wrong practices" in the judicial system. In a letter, Motahari, representing Tehran, has put forward five requests including one that calls on Raeesi (Raeisi) to stop limiting the number of defense lawyers political prisoners can choose from. -Radio Farda 03/10/19

Iran medical societies write to UN in condemnation of US bans - Sixty-six Iranian scientific medical societies have written to the UN chief in condemnation of the "inhumane and medieval" American sanctions targeting Iran's health sector. In a post on his Twitter account on Wednesday, Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif released the letter, which had been written to UN Secretary General Antonio Guterres on February 23. -Press TV 03/8/19

From poachers to protectors, meet the rangers of Masjed Mountain - EACH EVENING AS the sun sets over Masjed Mountain in central Iran, a group of volunteer patrolmen scan the craggy slopes for poachers making their way down with the day's kill. If the poacher is a first-time offender, the rangers will reason with him and try to convince him to change his ways. They're well-placed to make a compelling case: the eight or so rangers of the Masjed Protected Area are all former hunters themselves. -Kayleigh E. Long, National Geographic 03/8/19

Food of Persia on The Splendid Table - - The Splendid Table, a podcast and radio broadcast program with host Francis Lam, will be celebrating the food of Persia ahead of Norooz, the Persian New Year. The episode will air on Friday, March 8 from local public radio stations and will be posted on The Splendid Table website. Several guests are scheduled to appear on the show whom Francis will be talking to including Samin Nosrat, Naz Deravian, Najmieh Batmanglij and Behzad Jamshidi. 03/7/19

Iranian Belgian Academic Arrested in Iran on Unspecified "Security Charges" - A dual national academic who has taught at the University of Tehran and the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium was arrested on "security charges," a senior Iranian official revealed on March 4, 2019. "The University of Tehran has submitted a request to colleagues at the judiciary who are looking into whether he deserves to be given a break to avoid harming scientific ties between the University of Tehran and that university [in Belgium]," he told the state-funded Mehr News Agency. -CHRI 03/7/19

Geologist Says The Ground Is Sinking In 300 Regions Of Iran - The head of Iran's Geological Agency says that in 300 plains in Iran the earth is sinking and huge sinkholes are appearing. Alireza Shahidi says that the capital city Tehran is sinking 35 centimeters (more than a foot) a year, ISNA reports. -Radio Farda 03/7/19

Photos: Samanoo Festival in Daraq, Iran - Samanoo festival, a joyous occasion where people cook Samanoo - a traditional Iranian sweet paste made entirely from mashed germinated wheat - was celebrated in Daraq, North Khorasan Province, on Thursday March 28, 2019. Some 60 participants took part in the festival. Samanoo, prepared in advance of arrival of Persian New Year Norooz, is one of the components of the Haftsin spread for Norooz. -Maryam Davarnia, Mehr 03/6/19

PHOTOS: Tehran's First International Conference Of Modern Power Trains - The first international conference of modern power trains technologies in road, rail, air, sea and stationary applications with special focus on electric vehicles - battery, fuel cell and solar-powered vehicles - was held at Iran University of Technology (IUST) on February 26-27, 2019 in Tehran. -Maryam Kamyab, Mehr 03/6/19

VERNADOC documenting historical windmills (Asbads) in Iran - The International Camp of Vernacular Architecture Documentation (VERNADOC) have commenced documenting arrays of the centuries-old windmills, located in eastern parts of Iran. Vertical-axis windmills, which are locally known as "Asbads", are scattered in the provinces of Sistan-Baluchestan, Khorasan Razavi and South Khorasan. They bear testimony to the human being's adaption with the nature through turning environmental obstacles into opportunities. 03/5/19

Millions of iPhone Users Unable to Use Iranian Apps Due to Apple Certificate Revocation - A new move by the Apple Corporation aimed at protecting user data has resulted in Iranian apps becoming unusable on the iOS mobile operating system as of February 27, 2019, for some 9 million users. -CHRI 03/3/19

First Ever Persian New Year Party in the Florida Capitol - Every year, millions celebrate Persian New Year, or Norooz. This year for the first time ever, we are bringing the Persian New Year to the Florida Capitol! Join us we share Persian food, music, and dance to all of Florida! -Hosted by Office of Representative Anna V. Eskamani 03/1/19

First Iranian-American Woman to Win Oscar Turns to Iran-Themed Films - The first Iranian-American woman to win an Oscar, Rayka Zehtabchi, says she wants to build on Sunday's triumph of her documentary about menstruation by producing several films with Iran-related themes. -Michael Lipin, VOA 02/27/19

Natural mating raises hope for Persian leopard conservation - Two Persian leopards mated naturally for the first time at Tehran Zoological Garden on Wednesday and will breed by the next 100 days in case of reproductive success. Given that Kija, the female leopard, and Gaspar, the male one, are both healthy, there is a very high chance of achieving a live birth within less than 4 months. 02/24/19

Statement of Pro-Diplomacy Groups Regarding U.S. Policy Toward Iran - Pro-diplomacy groups representing millions of American voters urge lawmakers to publicly articulate and support the following principles with respect to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) that verifiably blocks each of Iran's pathways to a nuclear weapon and created a much-needed diplomatic relationship between Iran, the United States, and U.S. allies -Foreign Policy for America 02/21/19

Why Has Iran Remained In The Crosshairs - The value of a US Dollar is now around 12,000 Tomans in Iran. The inflation rate seems out of control. There is a shortage of meat, even chicken, as well as other staple commodities and medicines in the market. The prices of locally manufactured automobiles fluctuate from one day to the next. Housing prices have skyrocketed since last year, to where the price of a typical flat in Tehran is over 1,000 US Dollars per square meter! There is also the horrible prospect that what is happening in Venezuela is a model of what the United States has in mind for Iran. -Kambiz Zarrabi 02/12/19

Pompeo, Bolton, And Iran's "Fake Opposition" - As Iranian people struggle for democracy and respect for human rights and the rule of law, as well as preserving the national security and territorial integrity of their country, two main groups have emerged among the opposition to Iran's hardliners, both within Iran and in the diaspora. One group, the true opposition that includes the reformists, religious-nationalists, secular leftists, various labor groups, human rights activists, and others, believes that it is up to the Iranian people living in Iran how to change the political system in their country. -Muhammad Sahimi 02/6/19

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last updated on Fri Mar 22 13:18:08 EDT 2019