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Payvand's top 20 News stories of 2011

My-Tehran-for-Sale--movie-poster-iWith millions of article impressions and thousands of articles on every year, here are the top 20 news stories most viewed, in case you missed any.

These viral articles are a reflection of what captured our attention the most in 2011.


20- How U.S. Laws Can Affect Your Personal Affairs in Iran


The current economic and political instability in Iran is causing many Iranian-Americans to sell properties in Iran they did not sell before moving to the United States, be it offices, farmland, factories, or even former family homes.  A number of others are going through Iranian courts to reclaim properties that were seized by the government after the revolution.  What most Iranian-Americans unfortunately do not know is that U.S. laws require U.S. persons (as defined by the applicable regulations) to obtain a license from the Treasury Department to engage in transactions related to the sale of their personal property in Iran.

19- Caspian Sea Is Dying


Caspian Sea is dying and its littoral states (Russia, Iran, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) are not able to decide who owns what and what their responsibilities to the Caspian Sea, towards each other and the non-littoral states are.  The main problem is that the newly independent countries (this includes Russia which is not the USSR) around the Caspian Sea are not ready to give an equitable share of the Caspian Sea to Iran

18- 2011 Sundance Film Festival Presents Circumstance by Maryam Keshavarz


Teenagers Atafeh, and her best friend, Shireen, are experimenting with their burgeoning sexuality amidst the subculture of Tehran’s underground art scene when Atafeh’s brother, Mehran, returns home from drug rehab as the prodigal son.

17- Photos: Facebook curly-hair community gather in Tehran’s park


MooFerferia (curly-hair in Persian) Facebook community has about 8000 members worldwide,  and for the first time gathered in Tehran’s Nation Park in January 2011 for a few hours before they were asked to leave by park police.

16- Photos: New Year 2011 at the Vank Christian Church in Isfahan – Iran


The Vank Cathedral was one of the first churches to be established in Isfahan by Armenian immigrants settled by Shah Abbas I after the Ottoman War of 1603-05.

15- Iran: Second anniversary of Neda Agha Soltan ’s killing highlights near-total impunity for officials


Two years after the death of Neda Agha Soltan was captured on a mobile phone and came to symbolize the brutal repression meted out by security forces after the disputed presidential election of 2009, Amnesty International is renewing its call on the Iranian authorities to end impunity for officials responsible for unlawful killings, torture and other human rights violations.

14- The NBC Report That Could Have Been Produced By Iranian State TV


Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad prays every morning at 5 a.m., then goes jogging with his bodyguards “at times seemingly ‘Rocky’-style.”

He then heads to the gym. The early bird Iranian president works out for 30 minutes every day before reaching his “spacious but simple office” before 7 a.m.

13- Iranian Actress Marzieh Vafamehr Arrested

According to Iran Green Voice, Iranian actress Marzieh Vafamehr, wife of film director and screenwriter Nasser Taghvai, was arrested two weeks ago in Tehran and remains in detention.

12- Persian Gulf: A Name for All Seasons


The famous Greek mathematician and astronomer of 2nd Century BC, Claudius Ptolemy was a great geographer as well. His world map is in the shape of a vast hemisphere showing at least 8000 places. In this map, the Persian Gulf recorded as Sinus persicus is clearly shown. Parallel to it, toward south, we find the name Sinus Arabicus or Arab Gulf. From this important map, which together with its marking method – attracted the attention of Islamic scholars a more important point can be derived: Persian and Arab Gulfs were two distinct seas whose names and limits were known even before Christ.

11- Iran photos of the year by Fars

Nineteen Photographs of Iran from 300 images submitted by 90 Fars photographers in 1389.
10- Photos: Lake Urmia-Iran, the third largest salt water lake on earth


The lake (in northwestern Iran) is named after the provincial capital city of Urmia, originally a Syriac name meaning city of water.

Lake Urmia has 102 islands, the second largest island, Kaboudi, is the burial place of Hulagu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan.

9- U.S. worried China, Russia will gain access to RQ-170 drone


The controversial U.S. spy drone, which was successfully brought down by the Iranian military in the northeast of the country near the city of Kashmar, is one of the most state-of-the-art espionage instruments in terms of technology and design.

8- I Dream of (A Persian) Jeannie


Stranded on a desert island after his spacecraft malfunctioned, NASA astronaut Tony Nelson comes upon a strange bottle and releases a beautiful girl genie. “Jeannie” as she is called, is more than two thousand years old, is from ancient Persia, and can materialize objects or control any situation with the blink of an eye.

7- Farah Pahlavi’s interview with French Magazine Point de Vue

Ever Since her exile and the death of her husband the Shah of Iran, the life of Empress Farah could have been a succession of tragedies. ” There are moments of great joy “, confesses the Empress to our reporters surrounded by her family in the outskirts of Washington.

6- Designation of Iran Air on OFAC’s SDN List and Restrictions for Iranian Americans

The Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) of the United States Department of the Treasury announced that it has added Iran Air, the largest Iranian air career, to its “Specially Designated Nationals and Blocked Persons List” (SDN List).

5- Photos: Bear Cubs Separated From Mommy Bear


Two bear cubs are being cared for at the quarantine center in Lorestan Mountain Park in Khorramabad, western Iran. Environmental protections agents discovered these cubs recently in a box a hunter was carrying with him. The hunter escaped leaving the cubs behind along with unanswered questions about where they had come from and how they had been separated from their mother.

4- Remembering Princess Leila Pahlavi


June 10th is a sad day for the Pahlavi Royal Family in exile. It is marked by a simple gathering in the Passy Cemetery in Paris ever since the demise of the youngest daughter of Shahbanou Farah, the former Empress of Iran, in 2001.

3- Bon Anniversaire Votre Majesté


The Month of October is a joyful one for the Pahlavi Family for it corresponds to several timely birthday celebrations and happy symbolic memories linked to their dynasty that of respectively the Coronation of 1967 and Persepolis Celebrations of 1971. The reason is that October corresponds to the birthday month of the late Shah of Iran ( October 26th, 1919), the Shahbanou (October 14th, 1938) and their eldest son the Crown Prince Reza (October 31st, 1960).

2- Photos: Ali-Reza Pahlavi 1966-2011


Alireza Pahlavi, 44, the youngest son of the former Shah of Iran, died Tuesday morning Jan. 4 2011 at his home in Boston, Massachusetts.

Ali-Reza Pahlavi was born on 28 April 1966. He lived in the U.S. where he received a Bachelor’s degree from Princeton University, a Masters of Arts degree from Columbia University, and studied at Harvard University as a Ph.D. student in ancient Iranian studies and philology.

1- Photos: Murder convict hanged in public in Iran

Alireza Mollasoltani was hanged today, Wednesday, after the appellate court confirmed his death sentence for the murder of Ruhollah Dadashi. ISNA reports that Mollasoltani was hanged in public in the Golshahr area of Karaj.