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August 18 2017
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Photos: Natanz Central Mosque (Masjid-e Jameh)

- Natanz Central Mosque (Masjid-e Jameh) is located near Sheikh Abdol Samad Isfahani Tomb in the city of Natanz in Iran's Isfahan province. This four-iwan central mosque is one of the best preserved of all Ilkhanid-era buildings, dating from the early 14th century. -Milad Raf'at 8/18/17

800 Activists Urge Iranian Parliament to End Child Marriage

- Hundreds of Iranian women and children's rights advocates in Iran are urging Parliament to prohibit underage marriage in the country. "In defense of children's human rights, we call for an end to the phenomenon known as child spouses," said a statement signed by more than 800 activists addressing members of Parliament on August 12, 2017. 8/18/17

Iranian Government Responds to the Demand of the Hunger Striking Opposition Leader

- Government of Hassan Rouhani has responded to the demands of Mehdi Karroubi, an opposition leader who was on hunger strike in house arrest. Karroubi is demanding life without surveillance and presence of security officer as well as a public trial. As such the ailing 80-year-old has ended his hunger strike which has sent him to the intensive care unit of a hospital in Tehran. 8/18/17

Tehran University withdraws report on death of researcher Lotfi Aliasker Zadeh

- The University of Tehran has withdrawn a previous report on the passing of its graduate and the founder of fuzzy logic, Lotfi Aliasker Zadeh. The university's website had earlier reported that mathematician and artificial intelligence scientist, Aliasker Zadeh, had passed away last Saturday, several days after news broke that his health was severely deteriorating. 8/18/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activist to Serve Three Years in Prison For Attending Seminar

- Women's rights activist and photojournalist Alieh Matlabzadeh has been sentenced to three years in prison by a preliminary court in Tehran for participating in a women's empowerment seminar. A member of the One Million Signatures for Gender Equality campaign, Matlabzadeh was arrested on November 26, 2016 about a month after attending the seminar in Tbilisi in the Republic of Georgia, along with 20 other Iranian activists. 8/18/17

Iranian labor market on path to gender transformation

- Iranian society has undergone tremendous change in past decades, with women continuously playing a role in this transformation. Indeed, Iranian women have long sought a more active presence in society, gradually distancing themselves from the cliche of being mothers or wives. Today, they make up almost 70% of university applicants and half of the graduates. -Maysam Bizaer, Al-Monitor 8/18/17

Iran Denies Appeal Of U.S. Student Imprisoned On Spying Charges

- Iranian authorities have denied the appeal of a Princeton University researcher who was convicted of spying for the United States and sentenced to 10 years in prison, the university said on August 17. Xiyue Wang, a U.S. citizen and doctoral candidate specializing in Eurasian history, was conducting research for his dissertation in Iran last year when he was detained by Iranian authorities and accused of "spying under the cover of research." 8/18/17

Iranian American Organizations Condemn Violence and Bigotry Displayed by Hate Groups in Charlottesville, Virginia

- Washington, D.C. - As organizations representing the Iranian-American community, we stand united in condemning - in the strongest possible terms - the violence and bigotry displayed by hate groups in Charlottesville, Virginia on Friday and Saturday. 8/17/17

Iranian women claim 9th place at Asian Volleyball Championship

- Shifting to high gear in the latter part of the game, Iran served a sweet revenge to Australia in a 5-set thriller, 19-25, 25-18, 20-25 25-22, 15-10 to snatch the 9th place at the SMM 19th Asian Senior Women's Volleyball Championship in Manila, Philippines on August 16, 2017. 8/17/17

Iran Praises 'Martyrdom' Of Fighter Beheaded By Islamic State Terrorists

- A 25-year-old-member of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) who was recently beheaded by the extremist group Islamic State (IS) is becoming the poster child of Iran's military efforts in Syria and Iraq, where Tehran has deployed hundreds of so-called shrine defenders to assist the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, fight IS, and spread its influence. Mohsen Hojaji, who according to Iranian state media was a member of Iran's advisory support team in Syria, was reportedly captured by IS last week in an ambush near the border with Iraq. Iranian media report that he was beheaded two days later. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 8/17/17

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Natanz Central Mosque

IRAN: Six Inmates at Rajaee Shahr Prison Punished With Solitary Confinement For Going on Hunger Strike - More than 50 political prisoners in Rajaee Shahr Prison are in severe distress, with at least six on hunger strike in solitary confinement, after they were moved en masse to a high-security ward without any of their clothes or medicine. 8/17/17

Iranian Soccer Body Says Star Players Not Banned for Playing Against Israeli Team - After days of public outcry over an Iranian official's declaration that two national soccer players were banned from the national team for playing against an Israeli team, Iran's soccer federation announced it has made no official decision. Banning the players, who played against the Israeli team while employed by the national soccer team of Greece, would have been a violation of the world soccer governing body FIFA's regulations. 8/17/17

Detente in the Persian Gulf is in Everyone's Interests - But a lessening of tension in that rivalry is in Saudi Arabia's interests, as well as being in the interests of Iran. Both countries rely on the oil trade continuing without interruption from armed conflict or the fear of such conflict. Both have potentially restive domestic minorities that could find sympathy and support on the other side of the Gulf. For the Saudis this mainly means Shia in the Eastern Province... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 8/17/17

Moscow Voices Hope Iran Won't Quit Nuclear Deal - Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov has said that Moscow hopes Iran will not quit the agreement reached in 2015 with world powers to curb its nuclear work in return for the lifting of most economic sanctions. Lavrov spoke on August 16 after Iranian President Hassan Rohani's warning the previous day that Tehran could abandon the deal "within hours" if the United States imposed any more new sanctions. 8/17/17

Turkey, Iran Voice Opposition To Kurdish Independence Vote In Rare Visit - Turkey and Iran have voiced strong opposition to a referendum on Kurdish independence scheduled next month in neighboring Iraq during a rare visit to Ankara by Tehran's army chief of staff on August 16. Turkish media said it was the first such visit since Iran's 1979 Islamic Revolution. 8/17/17

Iranian Ayatollah mocks US over handling of Charlottesville racism - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has publicly criticised the US government over its handling of violence following a recent white nationalist rally in Charlottesville, Virginia. "If US has any power, they better manage their country, tackle #WhiteSupremacy rather than meddle in nations' affairs. #Charlottesville," a post on the religious figure's official Twitter account said late on Wednesday. -Independent 8/17/17

NIAC: 'Trump's Violations of the Iran Deal Begets Unfortunate But Predictable Iranian Response' - "It should now be clear that Donald Trump's moves to violate and hold certification of the Iran nuclear deal in doubt are actively destabilizing the accord. Unfortunately, in response to Trump's increasingly hostile rhetoric, as well as Congress' moves to escalate sanctions, Iran is now warning that it has its own options to back out of the deal if the U.S. continues to undermine it. We reiterate our call for all parties to the JCPOA to fully implement their obligations under the agreement. 8/16/17

Comedy "1st Born" billed as first Iranian-American film production - Iranian director Ali Atshani plans to make a comedy project titled "1st Born", which will be the first co-production between Iran and America, the Hollywood Reporter announced on Tuesday. Atshani, renowned for movies such as "The President's Cellphone", "Wish Bone", "Banana Peel", and "Negar's Role" will use a cast and crew from both the U.S. and the Middle East. 8/16/17

U.S. Says Iran Trying To 'Hold World Hostage' By Threatening to Quit Nuclear Deal - The U.S. ambassador to the United Nations has said Iran is trying to "hold the world hostage" by warning that it might abandon the 2015 nuclear agreement because of continued U.S. "sanctions and coercion." Rohani earlier in the day told lawmakers in Tehran that the Trump administration seemed to want to go back to the way it was before the nuclear agreement by repeatedly trying to force Iran to change through pressure tactics rather than negotiations. 8/16/17

Persian carpets trump toxic anti-Iran hype in US - The United States is now the largest importer of Iranian carpets, shipping in $196 million worth of highly prized Persian artistry last year, head of the Iran National Carpet Center Hamid Kargar says. The US has long been a major market for Iran's hand-woven carpets but a stack of sanctions imposed in 2010 pulled the rug from under the Persian craftsmanship, allowing cheaper craft from Pakistan, India, Turkey and China to gain a foothold. 8/16/17

Political Pundit Sadegh Zibakalam Faces Charges For Discussing Politicization of Iran's Judiciary - Prominent reformist political analyst Sadegh Zibakalam has been slapped with the charges of "propaganda against the state" and "disturbing public opinion" after discussing the politicization of Iran's judiciary with a foreign radio station. 8/16/17

Iran's Top General Makes Rare Visit to Turkey - In a rare visit, the head of Iran's armed forces is in Turkey. The two neighbors have found themselves increasing rivals in Iraq and Syria, but both sides are trying to find common ground. The chief of staff of the Iranian armed forces, Major General Mohammad-Hossein Baqeri, arrived in Ankara, leading a high-ranking military and political delegation, for three days of talks. It is the first visit by Iran's chief of staff since the 1979 Iranian revolution. 8/16/17

Iran, Russia, Turkey mark a new turn with $7B drilling deal - Turkey's Unit International which signed a drilling deal last week with Russia's state-owned Zarubezhneft and Iran's Ghadir Investment Holding says the contract is worth $7 billion. The drilling in Iran will take place at three oil fields estimated to hold 10 billion barrels of reserves and produce 100,000 barrels per day and a large natural gas field with a production capacity of 75 billion cubic meters per day. 8/16/17

How Donald Trump's travel ban has hit Iran's tourism renaissance - Trump's repeated threat to withdraw the US from the nuclear agreement, achieved through years of painstaking negotiations, is creating concern that Iran will be pushed back towards isolation -Independent 8/16/17

President Rouhani: If US Continues Threats, Iran Could Quickly Jump Start Nuclear Program - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Tuesday his country prefers abiding by the 2015 international agreement on its nuclear program, but that if the United States continues "threats and sanctions" then Iran could quickly revitalize its nuclear activity to an even higher level than before the deal went into effect. Speaking to members of parliament in a televised address, Rouhani said the U.S. is not a "good partner." 8/15/17

Iranian Women's Rights Activist Demands Rouhani Provide Reasons for His Exclusively Male Cabinet - President Hassan Rouhani must explain why he didn't nominate women to serve in his new cabinet, feminist researcher Nahid Tavasoli told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) in a recent interview. "Dr. Rouhani should explain why and based on what expedient principle did he decide not to reinstate [Vice President for Women and Family Affairs] Shahindokht Mowlaverdi?" she said. "He made all these promises about utilizing competent women in key positions and ministries, but didn't deliver. Why?" 8/15/17

Trump's new world order inadvertently making our planet great again - Arguably one of the most unexpected events since the onset of the Trump administration's unconventional policy reform is the United States backing out of the Paris Climate Agreement, severing alliances with world leaders tackling climate change. Meanwhile, a rescaling of governance regarding climate change has taken root, where various stakeholders ranging from long-standing autonomous nations to state leaders are emerging as key players in combatting climate change. -Kaveh Madani and Shirin Hakim 8/15/17

Iranian Political Prisoner Responds to "Dolled-Up" Evin Prison Visit by Foreign Ambassadors - A political prisoner held in Evin Prison since 2009 has harshly criticized a state-organized "dolled-up" tour of the facility by a group of foreign diplomats in July 2017 that was used by state officials and media to gloss over the prison's well-documented history of ongoing human rights violations. 8/15/17

Iranian Drone Buzzes Aircraft Carrier, Endangering Pilots, U.S. Navy Says - An Iranian drone has flown close enough to a U.S. aircraft carrier to put the lives of American pilots of F-18 fighter jets at risk, the U.S. Navy said on August 14. Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps issued a statement on August 15 saying their drones are guided "accurately and professionally," dismissing the U.S. Navy's concerns as "unfounded." 8/15/17

Iran selecting financiers for 200 airplanes: New Iran Air CEO - Iran is in the process of selecting financiers for the purchase of 200 new passenger aircraft from among many domestic and foreign companies which have submitted their proposals to Iran Air, the new CEO of the national airline Farzaneh Sharafbafi said Tuesday. Sharafbafi became the first Iranian woman in July to take the helm at Iran Air which has signed deals with Airbus and Boeing as well as Franco-Italian aircraft manufacturer ATR for the purchase of new brand passenger planes. 8/15/17

Beheading of IRGC fighter unites Iranians - Hojjaji, dressed in military fatigues, is held by an IS fighter with a knife in his hand. In the background, black smoke rises from the overtaken camp. Many who saw it drew comparisons between the expressions of Hojjaji and his captor. Hojjaji, who likely knew his death was imminent, seems resigned to his fate. The IS fighter, with blood running down his cheeks, appears almost anxious. -Al Monitor 8/15/17

Iran judiciary freezes assets of BBC Persian staff - The BBC has called on the Iranian authorities to reverse a new order that appears to effectively freeze the assets of its staff in Iran. BBC World Service Director Francesca Unsworth said it deplored the apparent "targeted attack" on BBC Persian staff, former staff and some contributors. -BBC 8/15/17

With Eye on Telegram, Internet Body Says All Social Media Apps Must Store Data Inside Iran - To improve Iran's ability to monitor and censor online content and user activity, the country's Supreme Cyberspace Council (SCC) has ruled that all foreign social media networks must store domestic traffic data inside Iran. 8/14/17

Daughter Of Iran's 'Hanging Judge' Breaks Silence About Her Notorious Father - Ayatollah Sadeq Khalkhali is notorious as Iran's "hanging judge," having ruthlessly ordered hundreds of summary executions after trials that sometimes lasted just minutes in the months following Iran's 1979 revolution. His daughter, however, remembers him differently. "My father's outside image is very violent," Fatemeh Sadeghi says in an interview published this month in the Iranian magazine Andisheye Pouya. "But that's not the image of him that I had at home. He was very strict at home, but he would never beat me." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/14/17

Critics & Criticism: Reflections on Iranian Contemporary Art - The aim of this panel discussion (September 4, 2017 in London) is to facilitate a critical reflection on the contemporary Iranian art scene and the issues surrounding its criticism. The conversation will include looking at what the challenges are in practising contemporary art in Iran, how it is discussed both inside and outside the country, as well as what the role of art criticism is in contemporary practices in Iran. 8/14/17

Iraq To Mediate Between Saudi Arabia, Iran: Reports - An Iraqi leader has said his country will take the role as mediator between rivals Saudi Arabia and Iran, media in Iraq and Iran are reporting. Iraqi Interior Minister Qasim al-Arraji on August 13 said Saudi Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman had requested Iraq get involved to help ease tensions between Riyadh and Tehran, according to Iran's semiofficial ISNA news agency and Iraqi satellite channel Alghadeer. 8/14/17

Iran Ranks First In Sturgeon Production - Deputy Minister of Agricultural and Head of Iran Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi said Iran ranked first in the world as regards production of trout and sturgeon. Salehi made the remarks adding "in the previous Iranian calendar year (ended March 20), Iran took a major step in the fisheries sector by realizing a production of nearly one million and 100 thousand tons of aquatic species." 8/14/17

IRAN: Ayatollah Shahroudi named new head of Expediency Council - Ayatollah Shahroudi replaces Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani who passed away in January after a 27-year stint on the council, which mediates on legislative differences between the Parliament and the oversight Guardian Council. 8/14/17

Iran book ticket for 2018 Men's Volleyball World Championships - Iran, the only Asian team competing in the FIVB World League Group 1 this season, qualified for the 2018 FIVB Men's World Championships. On Sunday, the Iranian team eased past Kazakhstan 3-0 (25-18, 25-17, 25-16) in Pool A at the 6,000-seater Rezazadeh Stadium. 8/13/17

President Rouhani's Second Term Begins - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani began his second term with the nomination of 17 proposed ministers for his 18-member cabinet on Tuesday (the nominee for the ministry of sciences, research, and technology has yet to be proposed). And, as is usually the case in Iran's highly contested terrain, it was not without controversy. As a politician who unapologetically claims to occupy the middle ground in the country's contested terrain, Rouhani made appointments that generated unhappiness and disappointment on both sides of the political spectrum. -Farideh Farhi 8/13/17

Iranian parliament votes to boost military budget in response to U.S. sanctions - The Iranian Parliament voted overwhelmingly on Sunday to approve the outlines of a bill to counter the "U.S. terrorist and adventurist acts in the region", boosting by more than 500 million dollars investment in missile defense industry and operations by the IRGC Quds Force. Out of 247 MPs present in the parliament, 240 MPs voted for the bill. 8/13/17

Journalist Sasan Aghaei With Iranian Reformist Etemad Daily Detained - Iranian journalist Sasan Aghaei has reportedly been arrested. The charges against Aghaei, who works for the reformist daily Etemad, are not clear. The opposition site Kalameh reports that Aghaei was taken away by security forces on the afternoon of August 12 from Etemad's offices of in the Iranian capital. 8/13/17

Iran's Foreign Minister Zarif Accuses Trump Of 'Bad Faith' On Nuclear Deal - Iran's foreign minister has accused U.S. President Donald Trump of showing "bad faith" over the 2015 nuclear agreement between Tehran and world powers. Trump "always wanted to kill" the deal, Mohammad Javad Zarif tweeted on August 10, adding, "To avoid isolation, he's trying to blame it on Iran." "Bad faith on top of U.S. violating the letter & spirit" of the agreement, he also wrote. 8/13/17

Iran Says Talks Under Way With Airbus On Purchase Of Helicopters - Iran says it is in talks with the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus about the possible purchase of 48 helicopters for civilian use. Deputy Transport Minister Asghar Fakhrieh-Kashan told Iran's Financial Tribune newspaper on August 12 that Tehran plans to order 45 emergency medical helicopters. 8/13/17

Worsening Relations between Iran and Afghanistan? - According to The New York Times, Iran is sending weapons on helicopters to help the Taliban destabilize Afghanistan. Iran is sabotaging Afghan markets to promote Iranian goods, stealing Afghanistan's water, attempting to bomb Afghan dams, and even participating in drug trafficking along with the Taliban... -Fatemeh Aman, LobeLog 8/13/17

Iranian Imprisoned Spiritual Leader Awaiting New Verdict While IRGC Arrests His Followers - Followers of imprisoned Iranian spiritual leader Mohammad Ali Taheri are being arrested by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) while he awaits a verdict more than three weeks after he was retried for the charge of "corruption on earth." 8/13/17

Kissinger's Dangerously Flawed Views on Iran - There are few people in the universe of US foreign policy with the standing and prestige of Henry Kissinger... In a recent article Kissinger warned that the defeat of the so-called Islamic State (ISIS or IS) would lead to a consolidation of an "Iranian radical empire" if the Iranian Revolutionary Guards and their "Shiite allies" in Iraq and Syria inherit the territory currently occupied by IS. -Eldar Mamedov 8/11/17

Two Barred From Iranian National Soccer Team For Playing Against Israeli Club - Iran says it has kicked two players off the national soccer team after they played on their Greek professional squad against an Israeli club last week in the Europa League tournament. Deputy Sports Minister Mohammad Reza Davarzani on August 10 said midfielders Ehsan Haji Safi and Masoud Shojaei could no longer wear the national shirt of Iran after they played for Panionios against Maccabi Tel Aviv on August 4. 8/11/17

After Iranian adviser is beheaded by ISIS, IRGC General vows Iran not to rest until eradication of all terrorists - General Qassem Soleimani says Iranian forces will not rest until they have taken out every last terrorist from the face of the Muslim world after Daesh reportedly beheaded Iranian military adviser Mohsen Hojaji in Syria. Mohsen Hojaji, who was a member of the Iranian advisory support team in Syria, was reportedly taken hostage by the Takfiri group near the Iraqi border on Monday and beheaded two days later. 8/11/17

Iran: The Change that Matters Is Happening Already - In Washington, the policy of Iranian regime change that blossomed during the Bush years and withered under Obama has flowered again in the Trump administration. But those advocating regime change and those arguing vociferously against it are both losing sight of the fact that profound change is already happening in Iran. -Sanam Naraghi Anderlini and Sina Azodi, LobeLog 8/11/17

Trump Again Says Iran Violating 'Spirit' Of 'Horrible' Nuclear Agreement - U.S. President Donald Trump once again asserted on August 10 that Iran is not "living up to the spirit" of its 2015 nuclear agreement with world powers, and added that it was a "horrible agreement." U.S. and UN watchdogs monitoring compliance with the agreement have universally found Iran has adhered to the deal. 8/11/17

For Netanyahu and the Saudis, Opposing Diplomacy With Iran Was Never About Enrichment - "THIS WAS NEVER about enrichment." The academics and officials in the room were taken aback. For a former senior Israeli official to deny the importance of the nuclear issue was unusual, to say the least. The conversations, attended by American civilian and military officials and other Western representatives, as well as Iranian diplomats and Tehran's then-nuclear negotiators, were shockingly honest. -Trita Parsi, The Intercept 8/11/17

The real footprint of the IRGC in Iran's economy - The Iranian economy consists of three distinct sectors: public, private and semi-state -- which includes religious, revolutionary, military foundations and cooperatives, as well as social security and pension funds. Experts agree that as a result of flawed privatization processes in the past three decades, the ownership of top governmental enterprises has been transferred to the semi-state sector. -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor 8/11/17

Statement on a Comprehensive Policy to Constrain Iran - On August 8, 2017, a bipartisan group of 47 national security leaders issued a statement recommending a comprehensive Iran policy designed to further U.S. national security interests: "The international agreement with Iran continues to prevent Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon. No American national security objective would be served by withdrawing from it as long as Iran is meeting the agreement's requirements..." -The Iran Project 8/10/17

Health Tourism Could Fetch Iran 7 Billion Dollars A Year - The Iranian minister of cooperatives, labor and social welfare has said that the country has a potential to earn $7 billion in revenues through attracting one million health tourists on a yearly basis. Health-tourism companies from more than 30 countries including the Netherlands, Germany, France, China, Canada, Brazil, Russia, Ukraine, Turkey, Azerbaijan, Georgia, Belarus, Bulgaria, Romania and Uzbekistan are supposed to collaborate with Iran in this regard. 8/10/17

Stoking War with Iran Courts Disaster - If President Trump's recent pronouncements on Iran are to be believed, it's all but certain that he will not recertify the Iran nuclear deal the next time around. He is expected to accuse Iran of advancing its missile technology and supporting terrorism, which in his view would be a violation of the spirit of the Iran deal, formally known as Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Trump and his Iranophobe supporters are itching for a war with Iran, without any consideration of the disastrous consequences that will ensue. -Emile Nakhleh 8/9/17

Iran: Rohani Names Two Women Vice Presidents, But None In Cabinet - Iranian President Hassan Rohani has named two women as vice presidents, a day after proposing a government that included no women in cabinet positions. Rohani's presidential website announced August 9 that he appointed Masumeh Ebtekar as vice president for women and family affairs and Laaya Joneidi as vice president for legal affairs. 8/9/17

Arrests, Crackdown Put Spotlight On Islamic State Threat In Iran - A fresh wave of arrests of alleged Islamic State (IS) militants, while scant on details, is helping build the case that the extremist group's activities in Iran go beyond the recent deadly bombings in Tehran. That 10 of the 27 alleged IS members were arrested in another country revealed that the effort to clamp down on the militant group had expanded past Iran's borders. The authorities claimed the arrests resulted from intelligence sharing with a third country and they touted the operation as a success that was carried out as IS was planning further attacks on Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/9/17

Iran's Beleaguered Music Community Urges Rouhani to Prevent Concert Cancellations - Members of Iran's music industry are urging President Hassan Rouhani to follow through on his 2017 election campaign promise to uphold citizens' rights by preventing the cancellation of state-sanctioned concerts. The most recent appeal was issued to the president in a letter signed by members of the House of Music, an independent association of musicians based in Tehran, on August 2, 2017 following the cancellation of a concert by a renowned vocalist. 8/9/17

Muqtada al-Sadr's Saudi Visit and Iraq's Shifting Shia Politics - Last week, the Iraqi Shia cleric and the leader of the Sadrist movement Muqtada al-Sadr paid an official visit to Saudi Arabia and met with the Crown Prince Muhammad bin Salman, the power behind the throne. In view of the Saudi monarchy's rather dark record of treating Shias both in the kingdom itself and elsewhere, including Iraq, this visit is rather unusual. Muqtada could not have forgotten how Saudi Arabia supported Saddam Hussein who killed several members of his family, including his father Muhammad Sadiq al-Sadr and the famed Ayatollah Muhammad Baqir al-Sadr, his uncle. -Shireen Hunter, LobeLog 8/9/17

Bad Selfie: Iranian Lawmakers Take Heat For Pictures With Top EU Diplomat - A group of Iranian lawmakers have come under fire for appearing too eager to take selfies with EU foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini while she was in Tehran to attend a high-profile event. Mogherini was among dozens of foreign officials in attendance as President Hassan Rohani was inaugurated for his second term on August 5, and the Italian politician's presence did not go unnoticed. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/8/17

Frequent Concert Cancellations In Iran Draws Fire From The Music Community - The musicians in Iran are constantly being harassed and mistreated by the conservatives who are in power in judiciaries, especially in religious urban centers. They are now asking Iranian president to stand up for their rights. A year after 600 Iranian musicians wrote a letter to Iran's president, Hassan Rouhani, objecting to increasing mistreatment of the music community and the illegal cancelation of concerts, nearly 100 of them gathered to voice their concerns. 8/8/17

British delegation meets family of jailed British-Iranian woman - A delegation from London has met with the family of Nazanin Zaghari, a British-Iranian woman jailed in Iran since April 2016, Tehran confirmed on Monday. "The British delegation which had visited Tehran to participate in the swearing-in ceremony (of President Rouhani) met the family of Zaghari," Foreign Ministry spokesman Bahram Qassemi told a press conference in Tehran. 8/8/17

Why Shirin Neshat complicates 'Aida' at the Salzburg Festival - New York-based Iranian visual artist Shirin Neshat is known for her photography, video installations and films. Her work has largely dealt with women's issues in Iran, exploring taboos and touching on gender and cultural conflicts. At this year's Salzburg Festival, she is the stage director for a new production of Verdi's opera "Aida," starring Russian soprano Anna Netrebko, who debuted in the role to resounding applause on Sunday evening. -DW 8/8/17

The Challenges Iranian President Rohani Faces In His New Term - As Iranian President Hassan Rohani enters his second term in office, he faces a number of challenges both at home and from abroad. Hassan Rohani began his second term on August 5 amid an intensification of pressure from Washington, which has accused Tehran of noncompliance with international obligations following recent missile tests and has characterized the 2015 nuclear accord as a bad deal. -Golnaz Esfandiari 8/7/17

French automaker Renault signs landmark auto deal in Iran - French carmaker Renault has signed a much-awaited agreement with Iran to produce more than 150,000 cars a year in the country - what is already being described as the Islamic Republic's biggest ever auto deal. The value of the agreement, which was signed after 10 months of negotiations, would be 660 million Euros. 8/7/17

Tehran metro among finalists for ITA Tunneling Awards 2017 - Tehran metro line 6 is among the four finalists at International Tunneling and Underground Space Association (ITA) Tunneling Awards 2017 in the category of 'major project of the year'. Tehran metro line 6 is vying against three other major project of Confederation LRT Line in Canada, Delhi Metro Phase 3 Expansion of networks, and Qatar Rail Metro. The winner will receive a 500-million-euro award. 8/7/17

Iran Industry Spotlight: Water Management - Like other countries in the region, Iran faces a severe water crisis due to climate change and poor water management. One of the most visible reminders of this ongoing problem is Lake Urmia. Located in the northwestern corner of Iran, Lake Urmia's watershed serves an agricultural regionwith a population of 6.4 million people. Previously one of the largest salt lakes in the world, Lake Urmia was also once a popular tourist destination. However, the last 20 years of environmental conditions and damming of tributary rivers for irrigation have shrunk Lake Urmia's surface area by 70% and its water volume by 95%. -Elliot Plaut 8/4/17

The Persistence of Falsehoods About the Iran Nuclear Agreement - The biggest current threat to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the agreement that limits Iran's nuclear program, comes from Donald Trump's obsession with killing the accord. That obsession is driven by his impulse to undo whatever Barack Obama did and to fulfill campaign rhetoric based on such contrarianism. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 8/4/17

Provoking Iran into Tearing up the 2015 Nuclear Deal - How easy will it be for President Donald Trump to use the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to provoke Iran to "tear up" the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) aka the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran? Annex 1 of the JCPOA spells out the basis on which the IAEA may request extraordinary access to Iranian locations... -Peter Jenkins 8/3/17

How a Solar Eclipse Got Me Interested in Iran - Unless you are a space geek like me, you might not be aware that the U.S. will experience a total solar eclipse next month -- the first one to occur over the continental U.S. in over 38 years! If you are in its path (or traveling to see it), I wish you clear skies! For me, a total solar eclipse elicits memories of my first trip to Iran in 1999 when I traveled there to view the last total solar eclipse of the millennium with a group organized by Search for Common Ground. -Stephanie Lester 8/3/17

Iranian Political Prisoners' Letter to Foreign Ambassadors Who Went on Staged Tour of Evin Prison - On July 5, 2017, dozens of foreign diplomats based in Iran went on a staged tour of Evin Prison designed to prevent any contact between the diplomats and political prisoners and inmates with legitimate grievances about the prison's conditions. The following letter, a copy of which was obtained by the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI), was written by two current political prisoners in Evin who were hidden from the diplomats. 8/2/17

Celebration of Iranian Cinema Returns to UC Irvine - The 2nd Annual CELEBRATION OF IRANIAN CINEMA in Orange County will be held at the University of California, Irvine August 25-27, 2017. 8/2/17

Don't Repeat the Iraq War False WMD Claims with Iran - Where were you when the US invaded Iraq 15 years ago? I was an acting Deputy Assistant Secretary at the State Department, with an inside view on the decision-making process. My colleagues in the department's Intelligence and Research (INR) Bureau disputed supposed evidence about a reconstituted Iraqi weapons of mass destruction (WMD) programme that served as the justification for the invasion. I was not forceful in siding with them, ... -Mark Fitzpatrick, LobeLog 8/2/17

Is the EU Pushing Back Against Trump on Iran? - The European External Action Service (EEAS) has officially announced that the EU High Representative for Foreign and Security Policy Federica Mogherini will attend the inauguration ceremony of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani on August 5. According to the brief statement released by the EEAS on July 29, Mogherini will visit Iran in her role as chair of the Joint Commission of the Joint Comprehensive Plan Of Action (JCPOA) tasked with overseeing the implementation of the agreement. It also says that she will meet with Iranian dignitaries to discuss issues of bilateral and regional relevance. -Eldar Mamedov 8/1/17

Iranian teams grab 16 titles in RoboCup 2017 - Iranian teams managed to scoop 16 titles in the biggest and most reputable robotic competitions in the world held this year in Japan's Nagoya from 27 to 31 July. After four days of intense competitions, Iranian robotic teams managed to win 16 titles in Japan's RoboCup 2017 in the two junior and adult categories. 8/1/17

Iranian Public May Be Turning More Skeptical, Hostile Toward US - The election and subsequent actions of the Trump administration appears to have provoked much greater skepticism, if not hostility, regarding U.S. intentions among the Iranian public, according to a major new poll released here Friday by the Center for International & Security Studies at the University of Maryland (CISSM). -Derek Davison & Jim Lob, LobeLog 7/29/17

The Mask Is Off: Trump Is Seeking War with Iran - Something extraordinary has happened in Washington. President Donald Trump has made it clear, in no uncertain terms and with no effort to disguise his duplicity, that he will claim that Tehran is cheating on the nuclear deal by October--the facts be damned. In short, the fix is in. Trump will refuse to accept that Iran is in compliance and thereby set the stage for a military confrontation. -Trita Parsi, Lobelog 7/29/17

Iran Claims Successful Launch of Simorgh Satellite-carrying Rocket - Iran announced Thursday that it had successfully launched a rocket carrying a satellite into space. State television in Iran claimed the "Simorgh" rocket, which means phoenix in Farsi, is capable of carrying a 250 kilogram satellite as far as 500 kilometers above Earth, but did not elaborate on the payload of the rocket launched Thursday. 7/28/17

2017 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans: Poll Shows a Community Under Duress Due to Rising Discrimination - Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) released the findings of its national public opinion survey of Iranian Americans revealing concerns over increased discrimination and domestic issues - a shift from previous polling. A great majority of respondents (82%) are worried about rising discrimination against Iranian Americans, and more than one-half (56%) report having personally experienced discrimination. 7/28/17

Trump Seeks to Abuse Inspections in the Iran Deal to Fabricate Crisis - "Reports that Trump is pushing for IAEA access to Iranian military sites without a compelling intelligence justification should be deeply concerning. Already, Trump has not only signaled his intent to withdraw from the nuclear accord, he's made clear that he wants to find Iran out of compliance even when the IAEA and U.S. intelligence services have confirmed that Iran is living up to the deal. Clearly, facts don't matter to the Trump administration - their desire to start a war trumps everything. Now, his team appears to be putting his desires into action." -NIAC 7/28/17

Sanctions: Can Iran Avoid Taking the Bait? - The U.S. House of Representatives has just imposed new sanctions on Iran as well as on Russia and North Korea. The Iran sanctions have been justified based on its missile development and its disregard of human rights, plus its so-called destabilizing activities in the Middle East. Because technically these sanctions are not new, they cannot be strictly speaking considered a violation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). However, they will undoubtedly undermine the success of the nuclear deal. -Shireen T. Hunter 7/28/17

International Iranian Women's Leadership Conference in London - The Iranian American Women Foundation is hosting its 15th Women's Leadership Conference in London, in association with Persia Educational Foundation. This world-class event is expected to attract over 400 participants from across America, Asia and Europe. 7/27/17

Iranian woman Elham Sadat Asghari swims into Guinness Book of World Records - Iranian female swimmer Elham Sadat Asghari has managed to swim her way into the Guinness Book of World Records. The 36-year-old Iranian sportswoman recently completed the challenge of swimming handcuffed for more than three hours non-stop in the Persian Gulf waters off the coast of the southwestern port city of Bushehr 7/26/17

A challenge for tourists: Babak Fort, high up in the mountains - High in the mountains at an altitude of 2,300 meters lies the relatively well-preserved Babak fortress, a tourist destination near Kaleybar in West Azarbaijan Province, northwest Iran. Locally known as Qaleh Babak, it consists of several stone towers and lodging areas stretched in an area of nearly ten thousand square meters, attributed to the Sassanid-era (224-651). The fort is named after Babak Khorramdin, an Iranian warlord who managed to resist Arab invaders until his death in 838 CE. 7/25/17

Iran and the Collision between Trump and Reality - Donald Trump's disdain for the truth does not prevent reality from repeatedly bumping up against his policies, the most consistent theme of which has been to try to destroy his predecessor's accomplishments. The degree to which reality inconveniences Trump-and more importantly, how much Trump's efforts to shove reality aside damage U.S. interests-varies from issue to issue. -Paul Pillar 7/21/17

New Details on the 1953 Coup in Iran - In June, the State Department's historical office finally released a new collection of documents on the US role in the August 1953 coup in Iran, after years of delay. These documents provide interesting new details about the circumstances surrounding the coup, in which a team of CIA officers worked with certain Iranians to overthrow Iran's popular prime minister, Mohammad Mosaddeq, and install retired general Fazlollah Zahedi in his place, establishing a dictatorship that lasted for 25 years. -Mark Gasiorowski 7/13/17

Retired Flag Officers Warn Against Regime Change and "Aggressive Posturing" Toward Iran - An open letter to President Trump from 38 retired generals and admirals and warning against policies of "regime change" and "aggressive posturing" toward Iran has just been released amid growing concerns that Washington and Tehran could be sliding into a war. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 7/13/17

Iran's historic city of Yazd inscribed on UNESCO World Heritage List - The United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) has added the historical texture of Yazd in central Iran to its list of world heritage sites. According to the UNESCO website, the historical structure of Yazd is a collection of public-religious architecture in a very large scope comprising of different Islamic architectural elements of different periods in a harmonious combination with climatic conditions. 7/9/17

IRAN: Laft village's Historical mansions on path to glory - Iran's heritage body plans to lead several restoration projects at the village of Laft (map) on the southern Qeshm Island with the aim of bringing fifteen historical mansions and houses back to their heyday glory. Perched on a rocky slope in the Persian Gulf, the fishing village offers its visitors a patchwork of delightfully photogenic scenes of badgirs (wind towers) and minarets. 7/7/17

Featured Web Site

The American Institute of Iranian Studies (AIIrS)



An Anthology of Philosophy in Persia, Volume 3


Featured Articles

Philanthropy

Sarava (Iranian Venture Capital firm)

Rights

Iranian-American Organizations issue statements on Trump's Muslim ban after Supreme Court decision

General

World Bank forecasts 5.8% GDP growth for Iran in 2016

Iranian-American

The CIA Coup Against Iranian Prime Minister Mohammad Mosadeq: Iran 1953 Covert History Quietly Released

Politics

Secretary Tillerson Eschews Iran Diplomacy in Favor of Regime Change

Economy

Iranian Women Face Bias in the Workplace: Human Rights Watch

Culture

Going their own way

Sports

FIFA BEACH SOCCER WORLD CUP: Iran finishes third to make Asian history

Art

"In order to Create, One must First Destroy": An Interview with Parvaneh Etemadi

Literature

The Past, the Present, and the Bridge: Ali Dehbashi's Bukhara Magazine

Travel

New Trump's "Extreme Vetting" Proposal Raises Alarm Bells

Environment

December 4 marks International Cheetah Day: World's fastest land animal is racing against extinction

Entertainment

"The Salesman" by Iranian director Asghar Farhadi wins Oscar for Best Foreign-Language Film

Music

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?

Book

A book by Meghan Nuttall Sayres: "Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran"

Event

Beyond the Ban: Contemporary Iranian Art Exhibition in New York

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last updated on Fri Aug 18 11:43:08 -04 2017