Ordibehesht 15 1400 - May 05 2021
Persepolis restorers start work on Seljuk-era inscription

A team of cultural heritage restorers from the UNESCO-registered Persepolis has commenced work on a Seljuk-era (1037-1194) inscription, which is located in Khorramabad, the capital of Lorestan province. "The lack of adequate restoration and protection caused further erosion and destruction of this historical monument," Mehr quoted Seyyed Amin Qasemi, the provincial tourism chief, as saying on Monday. 5/5/21

Sanctions are part of our 'forever wars'

Recent research reveals just how much devastation U.S. maximum pressure campaigns have caused in Syria, Iran, and Venezuela. In Iran, sanctions have induced shortages in medicine and impeded the country's fight against COVID-19. In Venezuela, sanctions are causing shortages in clean water, electricity, food, and medical equipment... a 2019 report found that sanctions have caused an estimated 40,000 excess deaths in the country. The irony is that sanctions are ostensibly introduced to improve human rights. Instead, the instrument has become a human rights violator itself. -Beatrix Geaghan-Breiner, Responsible Statecraft 5/5/21

This Iranian Supermarket Gives Me a Taste of Home

It took 15 years from the time I immigrated to my first visit to a proper Iranian grocery store in Orange County, California, where my brother and his wife had settled. "You're never gonna believe all the things they have from our childhood," my brother said. "Things I never thought we'd find here." I walked in unsure of which language to speak in this familiar yet foreign space. -Naz Riahi, Food & Wine 5/5/21

Strategic patience trumps maximum pressure

The Israeli security and military delegations flocking to Washington in the past few weeks have returned disappointed following their failed efforts to dissuade the Biden administration from returning to the Vienna Agreement with Iran and lifting the imposed sanctions. Israeli security and military believe that Washington is determined to close this file, even if it means lifting more than 1,600 Trump-imposed sanctions. -Oraib Al-Rantawi, MEM 5/5/21

Photos: Andaj Village during spring

Alamut is the name of a region in Iran's Qazvin province in which a beautiful village called Andaj is located. The village, surrounded by rivers and beautiful rocks, is one of the popular tourist destinations in this region. -Hadis Bagheri, ISNA 5/5/21

Ex-boss of Iran central bank indicted over 'wasting' of funds

Iranian prosecutors have issued an indictment against the former governor of the country's Central Bank over the alleged mismanagement of tens of billions of dollars worth of funds. Tehran prosecutor Ali Alqasi-Mehr accused Valiollah Seif, who led the central bank from 2013 to 2018, of "wasting" more than $30bn and 60 tonnes of gold reserves, the semi-official Tasnim news agency reported on Wednesday. -Al Jazeera 5/5/21

Meeting between Saudi and Syrian intelligence chiefs hints at detente

Saudi Arabia's intelligence chief has travelled to Damascus to meet his Syrian counterpart in the first known meeting of its kind since the outbreak of the Syrian war a decade ago. The meeting in the Syrian capital on Monday is being seen as a precursor to an imminent detente between two regional foes, who have been at odds throughout much of the conflict. -Guardian 5/5/21

Flurry of diplomatic contacts fuel Iran deal speculation

A flurry of diplomatic contacts and reports of major progress suggest that indirect talks between the U.S. and Iran may be nearing an agreement. That's despite efforts by U.S. officials to play down chances of an imminent deal that would bring Washington and Tehran back into compliance with the 2015 nuclear deal. -AP 5/4/21

Biden is getting closer to a deal with Iran, and Democrats in Congress need to get with the program

Amid growing rumors that the US's return to the JCPOA is now a "when" and not "if" scenario, it is critical that Congress supports President Joe Biden as he progresses closer to restoring US and Iranian compliance with the 2015 multilateral deal. Biden has a narrow window of opportunity to prevent a new nuclear crisis with Iran - a situation created in 2018 when former President Donald Trump unilaterally withdrew from the agreement - and congressional support from Democrats will help ensure diplomacy is victorious. -Thomas M. Countryman, Business Insider 5/4/21

Radiological and histological findings in ancient salt mummies from the salt mine of Douzlakh, Iran

Computed tomography studies and histological analyses were performed on the mummified remains found in the Chehrabad salt mine in northwestern Iran. The ancient salt mummies are dated to the Achaemenid (550-330 BC) and Sassanid (3rd-7th century AD) time period and died in mining incidents. The aim of the study was to describe the radiological and histological findings of several ancient Iranian salt mummies with special interest in pathological and postmortem changes. -Lena Maria Ohrstrom, et al, PLOS ONE 5/4/21

Release jailed dissident on medical grounds, UN experts urge Iran

United Nations independent human rights experts, on Tuesday, called on Iranian authorities to immediately release a political activist, said to be at risk of severe health complications and even death, if not provided with appropriate medical care. Filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad received multiple sentences in February last year, including a seven-and-a-half-year prison term, after being convicted on charges relating to an open letter he and others signed calling for the Supreme Leader's resignation and for constitutional changes, according to a news release by the experts. -UN News 5/4/21

Hopes raised for two Americans jailed in Tehran being freed

Two high profile American-Iranian dual nationals detained in Tehran have been moved to a new location inside Evin prison in a procedure that has previously led to the release of detainees, according to sources inside the jail. The moves could add credence to Iranian media reports at the weekend that a prisoner swap involving four unidentified detainees might be, or had been, imminent. 5/4/21

Swiss Government Says Diplomat In Iran Suffered Fatal Accident

The Swiss Foreign Ministry (FDFA) says an employee at its embassy in Iran has died in an accident, which Iranian news agencies said was a fall from a high-rise building just outside of Tehran. "The FDFA and its head Federal Councillor Ignazio Cassis are shocked by the tragic death and express their deepest condolences to the family," the ministry said in a statement on May 4. The ministry did not identify the victim, nor did it give details on what happened. 5/4/21

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy Says U.S.'s Iran Sanctions Make Yemen Cease-Fire 'Hard'

Connecticut Senator Chris Murphy said that U.S. sanctions on Iran will make it "hard" to obtain a cease-fire from the Iranian-backed Houthi rebels in Yemen, according to an interview with the Associated Press. Murphy was headed this week to Oman, Qatar and Jordan to discuss political solutions to the war in Yemen, where Saudia Arabia has led a coalition of Gulf States against the rebels. He said the Biden administration has taken recent steps to defuse tensions in the region. -Newsweek 5/4/21

A path back to a deal: US and Iran make serious headway on nuclear talks

For months, US was humming and hawing about how and on what terms it would return to the nuclear deal with Iran, as doubts were percolating in world capitals about whether the administration of Joe Biden even wanted to revive the deal. But during indirect talks between Iran and the US over the last couple weeks in Vienna, Washington startled just about everyone involved when it suddenly presented plans detailing how it would remove sanctions on Iran if it were to roll back its nuclear programme for both countries to back come into compliance with JCPOA. -Borzou Daragahi, Independent 5/3/21

Iran, U.S. Inch Toward Nuclear Deal With Sanctions Consensus

Iran said it reached an agreement with parties to the 2015 nuclear deal for the Biden administration to lift a raft of economic sanctions that could propel talks aimed at restoring the historic accord. Speaking to reporters on the sidelines of the negotiations in Vienna on Saturday, Iran's Deputy FM Abbas Araghchi said there was an "agreement in place" over lifting sanctions on "most individuals" and on Iran's energy, autos, financial, insurance and ports sectors, adding that negotiations were "ongoing" on penalties that apply to other individuals. -Golnar Motevalli and Arsalan Shahla, Bloomberg 5/3/21

At Tehran garage, Iranian woman polishes cars and her dreams

It's a men's-only club in the tangle of auto repair shops on the traffic-clogged streets of Iran's capital, Tehran. Among them, workers toil in dim garages, welding and wrenching, fabricating and painting. That's until Maryam Roohani, 34, pops up from under a car's hood at a maintenance shop in northeastern Tehran, her dirt- and grease-stained uniform pulled over black jeans and long hair tucked into a baseball cap - which in her work, replaces Iran's compulsory Islamic headscarf for women, or hijab. -Mohammad Nasiri, AP 5/3/21

Top Senate Dem quietly inserts Iran poison pill into China bill

It seems like a basic transparency measure. But some Senate Democrats worry that an amendment quietly added to a China-related bill could be a stealth poison pill for diplomacy with Iran. Shortly before the Strategic Competition Act was set to be marked up by the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) and ranking member Jim Risch (R-Idaho) inserted an amendment that vastly expands the reporting requirements for international agreements. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 5/3/21

Saudi-Iran detente: What rivals' dialogue could mean for Middle East

After six years of asymmetric warfare, proxy battles, and mutual recriminations, Saudi Arabia this week offered its bitter regional rival Iran something new: dialogue. In a televised interview Tuesday, Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman called for the two nations to overcome differences that have divided the region. -Taylor Luck, CSM 5/3/21

US denies Iran claims of prisoner deal; UK plays it down

The United States and Iran are in active talks over the release of prisoners, a person familiar with the discussions said Sunday as Washington denied a report by Iranian state-run television that deals had been struck. Prisoner swaps between the U.S. and Iran are not uncommon and both countries in recent years have routinely sought the release of detainees. -AP 5/3/21

Iran's Khamenei reprimands foreign minister over leaked audiotape

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly rebuked Iran's top diplomat for his comments on internal power struggles in a controversial audiotape leaked last week. Khamenei said during a televised speech on Sunday that he was "surprised and sorry" to hear Mohammad Javad Zarif's comments on late Major General Qassem Soleimani's power and influence, without directly naming the diplomat. - Maziar Motamedi, Al Jazeera 5/3/21

Why would anyone-including Mohammad Javad Zarif-want to be Iran's president?

In December 2020, a journalist for Afghanistan's TOLO TV asked Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, "Will you run for president?" Zarif responded, "Absolutely, no." When the interviewer asked Zarif if he was tired, the minister said, "No, I know my capabilities and I don't see myself as capable to do this job." -John Limbert, Atlantic Council 5/3/21

International Judo Body Suspends Iran For Anti-Israeli 'Scheme'

Judo's governing body has suspended Iran as punishment for refusing to allow its athletes to compete against opponents from Israel. The International Judo Federation (IJF) imposed a four-year ban on April 29 after the Court of Arbitration for Sport said a previous indefinite ban was not allowed. The IJF disciplinary committee said the start of the suspension is backdated to September 18, 2019, and runs until September 17, 2023. 4/30/21

After revival, Iran's great salt lake faces new peril

Twenty years ago, geochemist Arash Sharifi began to drill sediment cores in Iran's Lake Urmia-then the largest lake in the Middle East-to probe its recent climate history. "I was shocked at how little was known about the lake," recalls Sharifi, now at Beta Analytic Inc. in Miami. He became entranced by the "very unique chemistry" of its hypersaline waters. He also grew alarmed: Dams on feeder rivers and a proliferation of illegal wells had made the lake, a favorite haunt of flamingos and migratory birds, "vulnerable to hydrological collapse," he wrote in an internal government report. -Richard Stone, Science Magazine 4/30/21

As Iran looks to boost production, major political barriers remain

Iran's leaders have put a renewed focus on increasing domestic production, yet to achieve this goal there must be political stability and sincere efforts to push back on corruption. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al Monitor 4/30/21

Iran Reportedly Imposes Travel Bans On Several People Over Zarif Leak

Iran has slapped travel bans on 15 people for alleged involvement in a leaked audio recording in which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif complains about the influence of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) on Iranian diplomacy, semi-official news agency ISNA reported on April 29. In the leaked interview, aired by the London-based Iran International Persian-language satellite news channel late on April 25, Zarif said he had "zero" influence over Iran's foreign policy. 4/30/21

Female political prisoners in Iran facing 'psychological torture', say campaigners

Female human rights activists imprisoned in Iran face increased jail terms and transfers to prisons with "dangerous and alarming" conditions, hundreds of miles away from their families, according to campaigners. Human rights campaigners said that in the past six months increasing numbers of Iranian women jailed for human rights and political activism had been moved from Evin prison in Tehran to prisons outside the capital city without warning. -Sarah Johnson, Guardian 4/30/21

Why Mohammed bin Salman Suddenly Wants to Talk to Iran

"We are seeking to have good relations with Iran," Saudi Crown Prince Mohammed bin Salman told Saudi television this week. "We are working with our partners in the region to overcome our differences with Iran." Only four years ago, the notorious royal sang a different tune, claiming dialogue with Iran was impossible. "How do you have a dialogue with a regime built on an extremist ideology?" he said, pledging that Saudi Arabia would take the battle to Iranian territory. What changed to make this 180-degree shift possible? -Trita Parsi, Foreign Policy 4/30/21

US Criticized for Response to Iran's Election to UN Women's Rights Commission

The United States has reiterated its concern about Iran's poor human rights record in its first official comment on the Islamic republic's election last week to the United Nations' top legislative body on women's rights. But it fell short of the explicit denunciation of the outcome that many rights advocates had hoped for. The remarks, which were provided to VOA on Thursday and largely repeated later at a State Department briefing, mark the United States' stand on the election of Iran to the U.N.'s Commission on the Status of Women. -VOA 4/30/21

Blinken meets Israeli spy chief as Iran talks continue

Secretary of State Antony Blinken and other top Biden administration national security aides met Thursday with the chief of Israel's Mossad spy agency for talks that focused primarily on Iran, according to officials familiar with the meeting. The two-hour meeting was the second this week in Washington involving senior officials from the two countries and underscored Israel's unease with ongoing indirect nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States in Vienna and Iran more broadly, the officials said. -AP 4/30/21

Russia secretly feared the Iran nuclear deal. Here's why.

The leaked audiotape of remarks made by Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif did not just reveal friction within the Iranian political establishment over the nuclear accord, it also disclosed that Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Quds Force commander, Qasem Soleimani-who was killed in a US drone strike in Iraq in January 2020-collaborated with Russia "to sabotage the nuclear deal." -Mark N. Katz, Atlantic Council 4/30/21

US eyes major rollback in Iran sanctions to revive nuke deal

The Biden administration is considering a near wholesale rollback of some of the most stringent Trump-era sanctions imposed on Iran in a bid to get the Islamic Republic to return to compliance with a landmark 2015 nuclear accord, according to current and former U.S. officials and others familiar with the matter. As indirect talks continue this week in Vienna to explore the possibility of reviving the nuclear deal, American officials have become increasingly expansive about what they might be prepared to offer Iran, which has been driving a hard line on sanctions relief, demanding that all U.S. penalties be removed -AP 4/29/21

Iranian Court Begins Trial Of German-Iranian Rights Activist Nahid Taghavi

A German-Iranian human rights activist held in Iran on vague security-related charges has had her first hearing at a Revolutionary Court, her daughter and human rights groups said. Nahid Taghavi, 66, was arrested in Tehran in October while on a family visit and spent nearly five months in solitary confinement in the capital's notorious Evin prison, in a case rights groups say amounts to politically motivated hostage taking. 4/29/21

COVID-19 depressed women's employment everywhere, and more so in Iran

The coronavirus pandemic has had a regressive impact on women's economic outcomes worldwide as women's jobs have been 1.8 times more vulnerable than men's jobs. In Iran, too, the closures and the pandemic have depressed women's already low economic participation rates by about 20 percent. -Nadereh Chamlou, Atlantic Council 4/29/21

Photos: Asad Khan Fortress in SW Iran

Asad Khan or Malekan fortress dates back to more than 1400 years ago. The 200-hectare, two-story high fortress is located on top of a high mountain near Andika County, Khuzestan Province, southwestern Iran. -Ahmad Riahi Dehkordi, IRNA 4/29/21

Persian ground jay: Iran's desert treasure

Iran is one of the world's richest in biodiversity, despite the diverse fauna and flora of the country, there are only two endemic species, one of which is the beautiful and rare Persian ground jay. Persian ground jay, the only endemic bird species of Iran, is considered one of the most precious animals of the country's deserts. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 4/29/21

Iranian Foreign Minister's Leaked Comments Spark Political Frenzy

Leaked audio of dour foreign policy assessments from Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has raised a political storm amid questions about who was behind its release at a crucial juncture for Iran and the region. In it, Zarif complains of interference by the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) in Iran's foreign policy and says assassinated Quds Force commander Qasem Soleimani colluded with Russia to undermine nuclear diplomacy. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 4/29/21

V&A restores casts of warriors that adorned ancient Iranian palace for once-in-a-lifetime display

New exhibition on 5,000 years of Iranian civilisation will feature museum's rarely seen replicas of life-sized friezes from King Darius's "very excellent" palace. Visitors to an exhibition opening next month at the Victoria and Albert Museum (V&A) will meet the intimidating warriors that greeted visitors more than 2,500 years ago when they arrived at the gigantic Palace of Darius at Susa in Iran. -Art Newspaper 4/28/21

Media launders hawks' absurd claims that John Kerry spilled secrets to Iran's foreign minister

The United States is engaging in diplomacy with Iran so that means it's silly season once again in Washington. The latest episode this week originated from a Sunday New York Times article reporting on leaked audio to the Saudi owned Persian news outlet Iran International of Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif discussing behind-the-scenes intrigue of Iranian politics and power. -Ben Armbruster , Responsible Statecraft 4/28/21

He returned to Iran to help save its environment. He had to flee

Iranian scientist Kaveh Madani's career was in full bloom as he settled into his seat in early 2018 for a flight home from Bangkok to Tehran. Though raised in the Iranian capital, the civil engineer had left the country at 22 to continue his studies abroad, earning renown for his research into how climate change affects water supplies. About six months earlier, however, the Iranian government had wooed the 36-year-old away from a prestigious professorship in London to a cabinet-level post as deputy environment minister. -Maurice Tamman, Reuters 4/28/21

Gando: the only crocodile native to Iran

The mugger crocodile, also called Gando in Iran, is a crocodilian native to freshwater habitats of the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan. The broad-snouted crocodile was also native to the Indian subcontinent, which is extinct in Bhutan and Myanmar and has been listed as Vulnerable on the IUCN Red List since 1982. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 4/28/21

Iranian attack boats harassed US warships in Persian Gulf again on Monday, Navy says

Iran's Navy once again harassed US ships operating in the Persian Gulf, this time coming within 68 yards of the ships on Monday night, prompting one of the American ships to fire warning shots, according to Cdr. Rebecca Rebarich, a spokeswoman for the US Navy's Fifth Fleet. Three fast inshore attack craft from the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy came within 68 yards of the USS Firebolt, a Navy patrol coast ship, and the Coast Guard cutter Baranoff, Rebarich said in a statement. -CNN 4/28/21

Iran Hits Record COVID-19 Deaths As Officials Warn Of Worse To Come

Iranian health officials are warning the number of COVID-19 fatalities is expected to climb in the coming weeks as the country recorded its highest single-day death toll from the pandemic. Health Ministry data showed the death toll from the virus increased by 496 in the past 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths from the virus to 70,070. The country also recorded 21,026 more confirmed infections, bringing the total to over 2.4 million cases. 4/27/21

AFC Champions League, Group E: Al Wahda stun Persepolis

Al Wahda of the UAE ended Persepolis' perfect record in Group E of the 2021 AFC Champions League at Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru Stadium on Monday. Al Wahda FSCC defeated the Iranian team 1-0 that keeps alive their hopes of advancing to the Round of 16. Tim Matavz scored the only goal just five minutes into the match. 4/27/21

Maryland Film Festival to feature "The Badger" by Iranian director Kazem Mollai

"The Badger" by Iranian director Kazem Mollai will be featured at the Maryland Film Festival, which will be held in the U.S. city of Baltimore from May 19 to 27. Iranian films has been considered one of the brightest phenomena in world cinema in recent years. Frequently applauded for their depth, complexity of character and realism The Badger fits well in this category. It has already played multiple renown international festivals. 4/27/21

Iran's President Orders Probe Into Leaked Audio 'Conspiracy'

The Iranian government says an investigation has been ordered into the "conspiracy" of leaked audio in which Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says the military and the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) are too influential in diplomacy. President Hassan Rohani ordered the investigation to identify who leaked the "stolen" three-hour-long recording, government spokesman Ali Rabiei told reporters on April 27. 4/27/21

Iran's female mechanics challenge male domination in the car industry

The seminal moment in Sahar Beygi's life came shortly after she bought a second-hand Nissan 4x4 in 2014. Deciding to celebrate the purchase, she got together with a group of her friends and headed for a night out. As bad luck - or a dodgy car dealer - would have it, the vehicle's engine gave way and the car broke down. "I had no idea about the mechanics of the engine," says Beygi. -Mohammad Hashemi, MEE 4/27/21

Navy Reports Iranian Ships 'Harassed' Coast Guard in Persian Gulf

In early April, the US Navy reports, Iranian Revolutionary Guards ships, including attack boats and a support vessel, "swarmed" a pair of US Coast Guard cutters operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf. Since US ships are constantly meandering around on the cusp of Iranian waters, it's not unusual for the Iranians to go out there and see why. This was the first case of 2021, according to officials, who predictably complained about "unprofessional" behavior by the Iranians. -Antiwar.com 4/27/21

Iran-Cuba COVID-19 vaccine enters phase three clinical trials

Iran started on Monday the third phase of the human trial of the Soberana-02 coronavirus vaccine, jointly developed with Cuba. Manufactured by Cuba's Finlay Vaccine Institute and Pasteur Institute of Iran, the vaccine is a conjugate vaccine with two injectable doses. It consists of the receptor-binding domain of the SARS-CoV-2 spike protein conjugated chemically to tetanus toxoid, IRIB reported. 4/26/21

Will the Natanz incident produce maximum diplomacy?

Just two days after what appeared to be an Israeli-backed sabotage of Iran's Natanz enrichment facilities, The Washington Post's editorial board declared that "Mr. Biden should persist with his diplomatic strategy-and hope that the Iranian regime chooses to make a distinction between Israel and the United States." This blunt statement highlights the widening breach between President Joe Biden, who wants to revive JCPOA, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who is resolved to undermine the United States' indirect talks with Iran that began in Vienna on March 8. -Daniel Brumberg , Responsible Statecraft 4/26/21

Photos: Historical Shush Castle in Khuzestan

The ancient city of Shush, located in Khuzestan Province, has many historical monuments. Shush Castle, dating back to over 120 years, is one of the most attractive historical sites in the Province. The castle features some historical materials such as the bricks of the palace of Darius the Great and bricks with cuneiform carved on them. In the beginning, French archeologists used the castle to protect discovered artifacts and conduct research into them. The castle attracts many tourists from all over the world annually. -Seyed Hamed Mousavi, ISNA 4/26/21

Hadi Choopan AKA Persian Wolf, Ready to Make 2021 a Big Success Year With His Bodybuilding

Persian Wolf, aka Hadi Choopan, we all know, is the biggest name in the Iran bodybuilding community. He is a role model for many who want to compete at the international level. Recently, Hadi Choopan said that he is all set to compete in Olympia in the US via his IG profile. This year certain issues held him back to compete in this competition. -Influencive 4/26/21

Iranian-made "Sputnik V" to be available by mid-June

Iran will release jointly-produced Russian "Sputnik V" vaccine by the end of spring (June 21), Kianoush Jahanpour, head of the Information Center of the Ministry of Health, has announced. A shipment of cell bank for the production of the "Sputnik V" vaccine delivered to Iran today, and the production process will start soon in Actoverco pharmaceutical company, Jahanpour wrote on his Twitter account on Thursday. 4/23/21

The Iranian-American Teen Making Climate Information Accessible In The Middle East

Just before taking a family trip to Iran seven years ago, Sophia Kianni's middle school teacher stunned her with a statistic: By 2030, temperatures in the world's warmest regions are expected to increase by more than twice the global average. When Kianni arrived in Tehran-where her aunts, uncles, and grandma all live-she got an even bigger surprise: Her family had no idea. -Rose Minutaglio, Elle 4/23/21

Media's Top Meaning for 'Proxy' Is 'Iranian Ally'

"Proxy," defined as someone who works on someone else's behalf, is a term of delegitimation in international politics: It undermines the credibility of both those who are accused of being "proxies" and those accused of having "proxies." In the former case, the term suggests that the party in question is not representing its peoples' interests, but rather those of an outside actor. The nation described as having proxies is implicitly accused of meddling in another country's affairs. -Gregory Shupak, Fair 4/23/21

The wisdom of detente in the Persian Gulf

A recent sign pointing to possible greater peace in the Persian Gulf region - in addition to the reported progress in restoring full compliance with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, which restricts the Iranian nuclear program - is the initiation of tension-reducing talks between Iran and Saudi Arabia. That neither of these two governments has yet openly acknowledged the talks is an encouraging indication that both sides are taking them seriously and want to minimize the risk that either foreign or domestic spoilers will disrupt them. -Paul R. Pillar, Responsible Statecraft 4/23/21

Photos: Ancient Palace of Ardeshir Babakan in Firuzabad, Iran

The photo album depicts the Palace of Ardeshir Babakan, also known as the Atash-kadeh in Firuzabad city, Firuzabad County, Fars Province, Iran. It is one of the most valuable and important artifacts left since the early Sassanid era (from 224 to 651 AD) in the country. -Reza Ghaderi, IRNA 4/23/21

Why is Biden selling weapons to a country that helped make Yemen a 'hell hole'?

The Biden administration's recent announcement giving a green light to a massive $23 billion weapons sale to the United Arab Emirates makes a mockery of its commitment to put human rights at the forefront of its foreign policy. The Emirates' disastrous roles in Yemen and Libya, along with its vicious human rights record at home, should disqualify it from acquiring advanced weapons. -Medea Benjamin and Ariel Gold, Responsible Statecraft 4/23/21

Fourth national festival of Maryam Mirzakhani to be held in June 2021

The 4th National Festival on Women and Science will be held in the fourth Iranian calendar month Tir (starting June 22), commemorating the late Iranian mathematician, Maryam Mirzakhani. The event is to be held to honor exemplary women who are active in scientific and social sections. 4/22/21

Groups call on Biden to offer Iran coronavirus relief

More than 40 humanitarian and human rights organizations called on the Biden administration to lift economic restrictions that are making it more difficult for Iran to deal with the coronavirus pandemic in a Wednesday open letter. The United States is currently enforcing strict sanctions on the Iranian economy, many of them imposed during the Trump administration's "maximum pressure" campaign. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 4/22/21

Persepolis, Esteghlal look to break Iran's title drought in the AFC Champs League

With three AFC Asian Cup titles and four FIFA World Cup appearances since 1998, Iran can consider itself a powerhouse in Asia football. The narrative for its club teams, however, has been a little different. It has been almost three decades the last time a football club from Iran has won a title in Asia. -ESPN 4/22/21

Sanctions-battered Iran, weary of pandemic, faces worst wave

s Iran faces what looks like its worst wave of the coronavirus pandemic yet, Tehran commuters still pour into its subway system and buses each working day, even as images of the gasping ill are repeatedly shown on state television every night. After facing criticism for downplaying the virus last year, Iranian authorities have put partial lockdowns and other measures back in place to try and slow the virus' spread. -AP 4/22/21


OF KINGS AND PAINTINGS is a history of the extraordinary art of Iran from 1785 to 1925. The documentary is the first film to explore the work of Iran's most significant artists of this remarkable era that straddled the transition between tradition and modernity. While offering an overview of painters and paintings of the Qajar era and its influence on Iranian artists and photographers today, the film weaves together art history and Iranian history. -Farhang Foundation 4/22/21

Amid Nuclear Talks, 40 Groups Urge Biden to Lift Sanctions on Covid-Ravaged Iran

As diplomats continue negotiations in Vienna aimed at the United States returning to the Iran nuclear deal, over 40 faith-based, human rights, and civil society groups on Wednesday published an open letter urging the Biden administration to lift "unconscionable" sanctions against the Iranian people as they endure the dual crises of the economic embargo and coronavirus pandemic. -Common Dreams 4/22/21

US and Israel at Odds Over Iran Talks

Tensions are rising between the Israeli government and the Biden administration over talks that have been ongoing in Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal, according to a report from Axios. The US and Israel have been holding strategic talks on Iran policy through a forum headed by each country's national security advisor. -Dave DeCamp, Antiwar.com 4/22/21

Iranian activists slam Natanz attack, call for diplomatic response

Hundreds of Iranian civility society activists have condemned the recent attack on the country's nuclear facility, which they say was aimed at derailing talks in Vienna on reviving the Iran nuclear deal, or JCPOA. Diplomats from Britain, China, France, Germany, Iran, and Russia are currently meeting in Vienna to reach an agreement on the necessary steps for bring the United States and Iran into compliance with the 2015 accord. A U.S. delegation is also in Vienna but not talking directly to Iranian diplomats. -Sajjad Safaei, Responsible Statecraft 4/21/21

'No doesn't mean no': Iran's 'Namjoo scandal' triggers debate on sexual abuse

When the #MeToo movement started sending reverberations across the globe in 2017, Iranian women felt the campaign was still out of reach for many. That was until late last summer, when one by one, Iranian women started taking to social media with their own accounts of sexual abuse and harassment. Among those accused of misconduct was Mohsen Namjoo, dubbed the Bob Dylan of Iran. -AFP 4/21/21

Hawks okay with Israeli attacks on Iran leading to all-out war

A former advisor to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that Israeli actions against Iran may lead to a war that endangers civilian life, but supported that strategy over the Biden administration's current diplomacy with Iran. Speaking at the Jewish Institute for National Security of America, retired major general Yaakov Amidror found a receptive audience of American hawks who believed the Biden administration needed to be saved from its own policy choices. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 4/21/21

Israeli Sabotage of the Nuclear Deal Fails Again

The Israeli government's latest attempt to sabotage negotiations over the nuclear deal with Iran has failed. Iran's Natanz nuclear facility suffered a significant attack on April 11 that caused a blackout and destroyed or damaged hundreds of centrifuges. The Israeli government carried out the attack in the hopes of derailing the talks in Vienna that had started only the week before, but the attack has backfired on them. -Daniel Larison, Antiwar.com 4/21/21

A great start to 2021 ACL for Iranian teams

The four Iranian teams have been amazing so far at the 2021 AFC Champions League. There's none of the usual gathering of tens of thousands of supporters in the host city; however, five wins and three draws in the eight matches of the stage groups means that the Iranian clubs are well-prepared and well-equipped for the most prestigious club tournament of the Asian Football Confederation, even without their fans. -Farrokh Hesabi 4/20/21

Iran jointly producing COVID-19 vaccines with three countries

Iran is currently producing COVID-19 vaccines jointly with three countries of Cuba, Russia, and Australia, Mostafa Qanei, secretary of the biotechnology development office of the Vice Presidency for Science and Technology, said on Monday. One of the vaccines is the Cuban-Iranian Soberana-02 vaccine, and the other is the Russian-Iranian Gamaleya vaccine, he explained. 4/20/21

Iran-China deal: Is a new grand strategy brewing in Washington?

Beijing and Tehran recently announced a 25-year cooperation agreement worth an estimated $400bn that, if implemented, could mean much more than a breath of oxygen into Iran's ailing economy. The deal lends itself to many interpretations, far beyond its strict bilateral context. -Marco Carnelos, MEE 4/20/21

Farideh Sakhaeifar: You are in the War Zone at Trotter & Sholer, NYC

You are in the war zone. is a retrospective exhibition of the Iranian artist Farideh Sakhaeifar, curated by Klaudia Ofwana Draber presented by Trotter&Sholer and KODA. This tight but emotionally packed show harshly criticizes U.S. foreign policy in the MENA region and gives ample space to contemplate the suffering of its people under constant imperialist aggression. -Jonas Albro, Arte Fuse 4/20/21

Court hearing over UK's 400m pound tank deal debt to Iran postponed

A high court hearing designed to resolve the UK's non-payment of a 400m pound debt to Iran has been postponed again, leaving the families of dual nationals detained in Iran distraught since they believe the debt is critical to their release of loved ones. Neither Iran nor the UK would explain why the court hearing - scheduled for Tuesday - had been postponed. -Guardian 4/20/21

Oriental lute makes comeback on Iran music scene

The Oriental lute is making a comeback in Iran after decades in the shadows as musicians reconnect with an instrument integral to Arab and Turkish musical tradition in a fragmented region. Known as the oud in Arabic, it is commonly called the barbat in Persian, although some would argue the instruments differ slightly. -AFP 4/20/21

Iranian activists at increasing risk in former haven Turkey

Iranian dissidents in Turkey are unsure whether the country is still a refuge after what appears to be a new wave of arrests and deportation orders targeting asylum seekers from the Islamic Republic. Five Iranians are in Turkish detention, the latest in an apparent wave of arrests and deportation orders. -Guardian 4/20/21

Magnitude 5.9 earthquake strikes Iran's Bushehr province

A magnitude 5.9 earthquake jolted southwestern Bushehr province on Sunday, according to the Iranian Seismological Center. The earthquake struck at 11:11 a.m. local time at a depth of 10 kilometers near the border with Fars province. Five were injured but no fatalities have so far been reported in the aftermath of the quake. 4/19/21

Shadow warrior: Benjamin Netanyahu takes a dangerous gamble with Iran

In a region famous for warmongers and tyrants, who is the most dangerous man in the Middle East right now? Not Bashar al-Assad, the isolated gauleiter of Damascus. Not disgraced Mohammed bin Salman, the princely Saudi executioner. Not even Turkey's misogynist-in-chief, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan, the local neighbourhood bully. Step forward Benjamin Netanyahu, easily the most convincing contender for the "danger man" title. -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 4/19/21

Pieces of Iran: My heart became whole in Iran

When I was 11, my mother sewed cash into the pocket of my pants and steeled herself against tears as she and my father prepared me to fly alone across the world for the summer. They didn't have the money or the time off work, but they wanted me to know myself. So with two suitcases full of soqaty for relatives I hadn't seen since I was two, I boarded the plane, remembering to be brave. -Nawal Qcasiano, NQC Literacy 4/16/21

Entanglements: Lives Lived Under Sanctions

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

Atlanta Film Festival picks five films from Iran

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

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

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

Child Adoption Up 10 Percent In Iran

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

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

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

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

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

Iran's middle class and the nuclear deal

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

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

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

Biden Should Listen to Americans and Return to the Iran Deal

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

Iranians and Americans Support A Mutual Return to JCPOA

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Persian Gulf water to give new life to central Iranian plateau

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

Iranzamin Exhibition at Powerhouse Museum in Sydney

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

Hegmataneh Hill one step closer to World Heritage registration

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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last updated on Wed May 5 11:30:45 EDT 2021