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May 04 2015
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US Senate at Crossroads on Iran Nuclear Bill

- This week could decide the fate of a bipartisan bill allowing the U.S. Congress to review and vote on any final nuclear accord with Iran. The Senate can either vote on the original bill, or allow amendments making additional demands of Iran, which would trigger a presidential veto and could doom the entire legislative effort. -VOA 5/4/15

Opposition house arrest conditions called worse under Rohani

- Fatemeh Karroubi, the wife of Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi, who has been under house arrest since 2011, has written to the Minister of Intelligence saying the "lack of accountability" around the opposition detainees has increased since the Rohani administration took power. 5/4/15

Tirgan Returns for Its Biennial Celebration This Summer 2015

- Tirgan, the world's largest Iranian arts and culture festival returns to the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Canada, this summer from August 20-23, 2015. The festival's ancient roots can be seen in a programme which showcases the tremendous ethnic diversity within Iran and celebrates the country's music, dance, theatre, cinema, literature, visual arts and cuisine. The central theme of "Homeland" unites the festival programme of Tirgan 2015. 5/4/15

Prominent Iranian Activist Charged with National Security Crimes for Her Peaceful Civic Activism

- A Tehran court has charged the prominent Iranian civil rights activist and deputy head of the banned Defenders of Human Rights Center, Narges Mohammadi, with crimes against national security for her peaceful activism. 5/4/15

Iran FM Wants To End 'Manufactured' Nuclear Crisis

- Zarif wrote on Twitter on May 4 that the drafting of a deal between Tehran and six world powers curbing Iran's nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions was "moving forward." The tweet comes two days after U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry condemned what he called "hysteria" from those who oppose such an agreement, namely members of the U.S. Congress. 5/4/15

No need for US to escort ships in Persian Gulf: Iran Navy Commander

- Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari says the US Navy does not need to escort US-flagged ships travelling through the secure Persian Gulf waters. "Security fully prevails in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman due to the permanent presence of Iran's [regular] Navy and the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC). Therefore, there is no need for the Americans to escort their ships in this region," Sayyari told reporters on Sunday. 5/4/15

Assault Amplifies Iranian Anger at Saudi Arabia

- In April, the unofficial media in Iran published unconfirmed reports of the sexual assault of two young Iranian men in the Jeddah airport in Saudi Arabia. By April 6, the Iranian Foreign Ministry had confirmed the news that the assault took place in the second week of April. The two teenagers were in a convoy of Iranian pilgrims that traveled to Saudi Arabia to perform Hajj and Umrah pilgrimage in Mecca. -LobeLog 5/4/15

Retracing a Utopian Stage: Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis (1967-77)

- Lecture in London: Vali Mahlouji will talk about the exhibition he has curated for the Festival of Arts at the Whitechapel Gallery opening on 28th April. The subject is the decade-long controversial Festival of Arts, Shiraz-Persepolis (1967-77) and the project refers to documents and records of the Festival in order to reconstruct the complex networks of ideas that informed its original curatorial direction. 5/4/15

Iran's Hegemonic Rise

- ith the Iran nuclear talks coming to a conclusion, now comes the speculation of what the next step is. The details, although not yet publicized, give us a basic framework of some type of reciprocal deal that would benefit both the Islamic Republic of Iran and the United States. -Arash Irani 5/4/15

Ariana's Persian Kitchen: World Premiere on Nat Geo People on May 8th

- Ariana Bundy, an award winning Iranian-American chef and cookbook author of 'Pomegranates & Roses', visits the vast and fascinating country of Iran to re-discover her heritage. From the lush green mountains of the Caspian sea, to the golden deserts of Yazd, Ariana eats her way through Persian delicacies in Bazaars, pastry shops, restaurants, and people's homes. 5/2/15

Featured Video

"Ariana's Persian Kitchen' World Premiere on Nat Geo People May 8th

Moving from Bazaar to Bourse in Iran - Anticipation has been building among international investors and business leaders as Iran and the P5+1 edge closer to a nuclear deal. Each week another trade delegation-whether American, or Swiss,or German-makes its way to Tehran to scope out opportunities. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj 5/2/15

Iranian workers march on May Day despite state resistance - ILNA reports that thousands participated in May Day demonstrations in Tehran and the International Workers Day was finally marked after "an eight year hiatus" with a parade by Iranian workers. ILNA reports that the demonstrations began at 10 AM with two thousand people in front of the Worker's House and demonstrators marched to Palestine Square where they ended the march at noon. 5/2/15

Following the Money: The New Anti-Semitism? - In the 1976 docudrama about the Watergate affair and the fall of Richard Nixon, All the President's Men, Bob Woodward's source at the FBI, Deep Throat, tells him to "follow the money." To the Post editorial board in 2015, doing just that is problematic-and probably anti-Semitic. Or at least that's their charge in a piece published last Friday entitled, "Argentina's President Resorts to Anti-Semitic Conspiracy Theories"... - Jim Lobe and Charles Davis, LobeLog 5/2/15

Bahrain seizes Iranian bank, insurer - The Central Bank of Bahrain (CBB) says it has placed two Iranian financial institutions into administration. Bahrain's media say this came into effect as of April 30, 2015. However, no explanation has been provided for the decision. 5/2/15

U.S. Offers Protection For Ships In Strait of Hormuz - The U.S. Navy is accompanying U.S.-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz to ensure they are not harassed by Iranian forces, and is in talks to extend the same protection to other nations' vessels, U.S. officials say. 5/2/15

Hit List Found In Honor Killing Of Iranian Activist - Texas investigators have disclosed that they found a hit list in a murder case involving the honor killing of an outspoken Iranian activist in Houston. U.S. prosecutors last week charged a Jordanian immigrant and devout Muslim, Ali Awad Mahmoud Irsan, with shooting the anti-Tehran activist Gelerah Bagherzadeh out of rage that she persuaded his daughter to go ahead and marry a Texas Christian man. 5/2/15

US Senate's Iran Nuclear Bill Surviving 'Poison Pill' Amendments - A bill subjecting any nuclear deal with Iran to U.S. congressional review has, so far, survived a barrage of proposed amendments by Republican senators that, if adopted, would erode bipartisan support for the legislation and likely trigger a veto by President Barack Obama. -Michael Bowman, VOA 5/1/15

Zarif Says Iran Doesn't Jail People Over Their Opinions - "We do not jail people for their opinions," said Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in an interview with U.S. journalist and television personality Charlie Rose aired on April 27. Zarif made the comments in response to a question about the fate of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian, who's been imprisoned in Iran on espionage charges. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 5/1/15

Managing Editor of Banned Iranian Women's Publication Hopes for Reversal of Decision - Iran's Press Oversight Committee has decided to suspend publication of Iran's premier women's magazine, Zanan-e Emrooz, and forward its case for prosecution to the Iranian Judiciary. The publication's managing editor, Shahla Sherkat, said that she hoped to be able to convince the court to allow resumption of the monthly magazine's publication. 5/1/15

Iranian Foreign Minister, U.S. Senator In Twitter Spat - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Senator Tom Cotton have had a forthright exchange of views on Twitter in a new war of words between the two men over nuclear negotiations and a potential nuclear deal. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 5/1/15

PAAIA OGHAB Internships Program For Young Iranian-Americans - The PAAIA OGHAB (Opportunities for Growth, High Achievement, and Betterment) Internship Program provides summer internship opportunities for young Iranian Americans in a variety of fields and disciplines. The program matches qualified Iranian American youth with internships in their field of interest in organizations and companies nationwide. 5/1/15

Iran destroyer patrolling entrance to Bab al-Mandab: Commander - Iran's Alborz destroyer is patrolling the Bab al-Mandab Strait, which connects the Red Sea to the Gulf of Aden, the Iranian Navy chief says. Iranian Navy's 34th flotilla, which comprises the Bushehr logistic vessel and Alborz destroyer, left Iran's southern port city of Bandar Abbas for the Gulf of Aden and the Bab al-Mandab Strait on April 8. 5/1/15

U.S. writers' group honours Iranian blogger who died in custody - Sattar Beheshti, the Iranian blogger who died in prison after being arrested by the Iranian cyber police for his internet activities, has been posthumously awarded the 2015 Pen New England Vasyl Stus Freedom to Write Award. 5/1/15

Gained in translation: Obama's Persian language spokesman wins fans in Iran - Alan Eyre's social media presence and knowledge of Iranian poetry has helped him win a wide following and improve understanding between cultures -Saeed Kamali Dehghan, Guardian 5/1/15

Labor Leaders Detained in Iran as International Workers' Day Approaches - On the eve of International Workers' Day on May 1, Iranian authorities have arrested at least five labor leaders. The arrests have taken place in the context of intensifying labor protests, strikes, and arrests of individuals organizing or participating in labor protests. 4/30/15

Washington Post: Iran Charges Against US Journalist 'Ludicrous' - The executive editor of The Washington Post says espionage and other charges against a correspondent of the paper imprisoned in Iran are "ludicrous" and "preposterous." In an exclusive interview Wednesday with VOA's Persian News Network (PNN), the Post's Martin Baron said correspondent Jason Rezaian is an "innocent and good man who deserves to have his freedom as any other human being." 4/30/15

Who's Killing Corker's Iran Bill, and Why - Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chair Bob Corker (R-TN) sufficiently neutered his Iran deal review bill-now known as the "Protecting Volunteer Firefighters and Emergency Responders Act"-that two weeks ago it passed out of his committee unanimously. Moreover, the White House promised not to veto it. Of course, that White House pledge was predicated on Corker's bill being passed as is, unamended... -Derek Davison 4/30/15

Final Verdict: Five to Seven Years for Facebook Users in Iran - An appeals court in Tehran has sentenced six individuals to prison terms ranging from five to seven years for postings on their Facebook pages. Two additional individuals are facing as of yet unknown terms for their activities on the social networking site. 4/30/15

Iran Calls Cargo Ship Interception a Commercial Issue - Iran's foreign minister said the interception of a cargo ship Tuesday in Iranian waters was a commercial legal matter, not a security or political issue. Mohammad Javad Zarif, speaking Wednesday in New York, said the MV Maersk Tigris, a Marshall Islands-flagged ship, was involved in a long-standing Iranian court case, recently concluded, over monetary claims. 4/30/15

When Duty Calls, Do Iranian Police Enforce Islam? - Is the role of Iranian police to serve and protect the people, or the revolution? That's up for interpretation in the Islamic republic, where the country's president and supreme leader have recently voiced different opinions on the police's role in enforcing Islamic values. President Hassan Rohani sparked the debate when he addressed police commanders in Tehran on April 25. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 4/30/15

Amendments Submitted to Corker Bill on Iran - For those of you who are paying attention to the ongoing Senate debate over the Corker bill asserting Congress's authority to review any final deal negotiated between the P5+1 and Iran, the Council for a Livable World/Center for Arms Control and Non-Proliferation has just put out this helpful guide to the proposed Republican amendments to the bill the vast majority of which will, if passed (by the House, as well), almost certainly provoke a veto by Obama. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 4/30/15

U.S. Seeks Iran's Help To Forge Political Settlement In Yemen - The United States sought Iran's help to bring Yemen's warring parties into talks on a political settlement when U.S. and Iranian foreign ministers met on April 27, U.S. officials say. 4/30/15

Deal with Iran Would Not Move Jews Toward GOP - Andrew Kohut, founding director of the Pew Research Center and director of Pew's Global Attitudes Project, wrote a piece last week for Real Clear Politics asking, "Would Iran Deal Imperil Jews' Loyalty to Democratic Party?" On first blush, this sounds like a clickbait headline... -Eva Galanes-Rosenbaum 4/30/15

World Premiere of Isfahan Blues in San Francisco - The two admired and beloved theater companies come together for a world premiere play inspired by Duke Ellington's 1963 tour of Iran. Isfahan Blues imagines the relationship between a famous American jazz musician and a beautiful and charismatic Iranian film star, if they disappeared on a road trip to the city of Isfahan. 4/29/15

Iran Seizes Cargo Ship in Strait of Hormuz - Iranian forces have seized a cargo ship traveling under the flag of the Pacific island nation of the Marshall Islands. The Pentagon says the ship remains off the coast of Iran as the U.S. military monitors the situation. 4/29/15

Poe's Financial Ties To MEK May Explain Maryam's House Testimony - Wednesday's scheduled congressional hearing on "ISIS: Defining the Enemy" is rapidly shrinking in size. Two key witnesses are refusing to attend due to the invitation to testify that Ted Poe (R-TX), the chairman of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Terrorism, extended to Maryam Rajavi, leader of the Mujahedeen-e-Khalq (MEK). -Eli Clifton 4/29/15

Overstretching the Specter of Iranian Imperialism - Opponents of the nuclear agreement (really, of any agreement) with Iran continue, in an effort to divert attention from the relative advantages of having versus not having negotiated restrictions on Iran's nuclear program, to present an image of Iran as a ruthless and relentless imperialist intent on gaining control of the entire Middle East. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 4/29/15

Iran: Rohani foresees improved industrial conditions after nuclear deal - Iranian President Hassan Rohani says conditions for production and manufacturing will improve when an agreement is reached with the world powers and he warned "sanctions go-betweens" to begin looking for another kind of livelihood. 4/29/15

Iran sees jump in prized caviar output - Iran expects to export 1.5-2.0 tons of caviar produced in its hatcheries this year amid a ban on commercial fishing of sturgeon in the Caspian Sea. The world's biggest exporter of the delicacy produced 1.2 tons of caviar last year in addition to 600 tons of sturgeon meat, according to the head of Iran's Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi 4/29/15

Senate Rejects Bid To Require Senate Approval Of Iran Nuclear Deal - The U.S. Senate on April 28 turned back an attempt to elevate any nuclear deal with Iran into an official treaty that would require ratification by two-thirds of the Senate. The rejection of the treaty amendment by 57 to 39 gives momentum to a more limited proposal to provide Congress with a 30-day period to review the nuclear deal under negotiation between Iran, the U.S. and European allies. 4/29/15

Iran to rein in emotional reaction to forex rate - A senior Iranian banking official says the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) will curb any emotional variance in foreign exchange rate due to a possible agreement with world powers. 4/29/15

Iranian Nobel Peace Prize Laureate Shirin Ebadi on Nuclear Deal, Islamic State, Women's Rights - We are broadcasting from The Hague, where we are speaking with the women Nobel Peace Prize laureates who have gathered to mark the 100th anniversary of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom. -Amy Goodman, Democracy Now 4/29/15

The Paradigm shift for the American critical role in (re-)shaping the future of the Middle East - With the imminent prospect of signing a comprehensive accord between Iran and the P5+1 by the end of June, the pivotal American/Western policy must now inevitably focus on resolving the Israeli-Palestinian conflict once and for all. -Rachel Eliassi Kohan 4/29/15

Kerry Visits Iranian NY Diplomatic Residence - In a sign of how much U.S.-Iranian relations have thawed as negotiations over Iran's nuclear file progress, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Iran's Foreign Minister Javid Zarif Monday for about an hour at the New York residence of Tehran's U.N. ambassador. -Margaret Besheer, VOA 4/28/15

Iranian women's magazine shut down for reporting on 'White Marriage' - Iran's Press Supervisory Board has shut down Zanan Emrooz (Today's Women) magazine and filed a complaint against it in court. The Tasnim website reports that the magazine has been shut down for "publishing material in violation of religious and national values". 4/28/15

Verifying Iran's Nuclear Commitments - On April 22, in the latest of a long line of congressional testimonies on Iran's nuclear program, the president of the Institute for International Science and Security, David Albright, issued a challenge to the six powers seeking a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. -Peter Jenkins 4/28/15

Iran Slams Nuclear Powers At UN Conference - Iran has demanded countries possessing nuclear weapons to scrap any plans to modernize or extend the life of their atomic arsenals. Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif was speaking in New York on April 27 at the start of a five-year review conference of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. 4/28/15

Saudi Arabia teetering on edge of collapse: Iranian Commander - A top Iranian commander has lashed out at the Saudi aggression against Yemen, saying Riyadh is on the verge of collapse. "Today, Saudi Arabia is brazenly and obnoxiously bombarding and massacring a nation, which is seeking the denial of the hegemonic system," said commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari on Monday. 4/28/15

Tehran police to crack down on luxury vehicles after Supreme Leader's comments - After the Iranian Supreme Leader criticized the prevalence of luxury cars in the streets, traffic police officials have announced that they are prepared to deal with possible violations by such vehicles. 4/28/15

Hajji Baba of New York City: 'Parviz Khatibi loved his country enough to tell it the truth' - Satire has the power to spark great controversy, illuminate injustice, and help bring forth social change. Throughout the 20th century, Parviz Khatibi was a clear voice of dissent in Iran, and his work encouraged people to always question what they often assumed to be the truth. -Reorient 4/28/15

Support an Iranian-American Kickstarter Project - Tye* - We are a young startup based in the Silicon Valley. We have multiple patents pending for our flagship product, Tye* hub, and Tye* remote. "Tye* is the first 3-in-1 smart anti-theft device that will revolutionize how we protect our valuables like gadgets, pets, and luggage with peace of mind", said Shahriar Ilislamloo, co-founder Perseus Micrologic. 4/27/15

The World Must Stop the Saudi Massacre of the Yemenis - After four weeks of savage bombing of their impoverished neighbor, Yemen, the Saudis declared "Mission Accomplished", and promised to halt their aerial bombardment at midnight on 22 April 2015. Yet only three hours later, they resumed their attacks with greater intensity from the sea and the air. -Farhang Jahanpour 4/27/15

Iranian nuclear official signals agreement on lifting sanctions - The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Agency said on Saturday April 25 that the parties negotiating a nuclear pact have agreed that all sanctions against Iran will be eliminated when the agreement takes effect. 4/27/15

Debut novel by Catherine Dehdashti brings together Iranian matriarch, Minnesota waitress - Minnesota writer Catherine Dehdashti has released her debut novel, Roseheart. Astory about family, Roseheart is set in the 1990s, and told through the sardonic voice of Valerie Kjos. She's a young Midwestern Gen X'er whose life is just barely coming together with her boyfriend when his Iranian mother, Goli, comes for a visit that seems to never end. 4/27/15

Iran names priority oil sector projects - The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) announced in a statement on Sunday that it has defined 21 top priority oil sector projects. The NIOC added in the statement that the projects will be introduced to investors in the upcoming Iran Oil Show that will be held in Tehran 6-9 May, 2015. 4/27/15

Will the U.S. Get Serious Now About Eliminating Its Own Nukes? - A few years ago, a plucky contestant on Dancing with the Stars popularized a terrific phrase when asked about her daring routine late in the contest. It was time, she quipped, for her to "go big or go home." We'd like to see that can-do attitude manifested at the upcoming UN review conference on the Non-Proliferation Treaty - the so-called NPT RevCon. -LobeLog 4/27/15

Iran nuclear team heads to New York - Iran's delegation of nuclear negotiators has set off for the 2015 Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT) in New York, where nuclear talks will also be held on the sidelines of the event. 4/26/15

Iran's President Rohani says religious oversight not the job of police - Iranian President Hassan Rohani told a meeting of security force commanders on Saturday that the police must enforce the law and not Islam. "The police are not responsible for executing Islam, they are charged with the execution of the law, and any other expectation would create confusion and cause problems for the people." 4/26/15

Iran sets rules for joint ventures with US carmakers - A top Iranian official said on Sunday the country is interested in the prospects for domestic carmakers to form joint ventures (JVs) with their American companies in the Iranian auto market "provided that they accept seven key preconditions". 4/26/15

Nepal quake spares Iranian mountaineers, girls football team - The Iran Mountaineering Federation expressed regret about the death of several mountaineers in the Nepal earthquake and announced that the three Iranian mountaineers in the Himalayas have not been harmed. 4/26/15

Final Phase of Iran Nuclear Talks Begins - Iranian and international negotiators resumed talks in Vienna this week as part of efforts to finalize an agreement on the future of Tehran's nuclear program by the end of June. They are working from a list of agreed parameters, but important differences remain, as U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry acknowledged when he announced the framework accord April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland. -Al Pessin , VOA 4/25/15

Inspection of ships by the naval forces in the maritime territories - The article was written couple of years ago at the peak of Iran-US problems in the Persian Gulf. However in the light of recent issues in the waters around Yemen, and once again between the US and Iranian naval forces, it is worth reading to know the legal limits of whatever is going on. -Bahman Aghai Diba 4/25/15

Tehran's Nature Bridge wins Architizer A+Awards - The global architectural award program The Architizer A+Awards has selected Iran's Tabiat (Nature) Bridge as one of the winners in +Engineering category. Tabiat Bridge was designed in order to improve access for pedestrians between two public parks, which are divided by highways. 4/25/15

42 Percent Of Iranian Graduates Unemployed: Parliament Speaker - Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani says 42% of Iranian university graduates are jobless. Speaking on the sidelines of a cultural ceremony in the northern city of Shahroud, Larijani described inflation and unemployment as two major problems facing Iranian people. 4/25/15

Iran flotilla in Gulf of Aden: Navy Commander - Iran's Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari has dismissed reports about a warning to Iranian ships in the Gulf of Aden, saying the flotilla is currently carrying out its mission in the strategic region. 4/25/15

Iran summons Saudi diplomat over obstruction of aid to Yemen - Iran has summoned Saudi's charge d'affaires on Friday over the refusal of the kingdom to allow the delivery of humanitarian aid to the Yemeni people who sustained injuries during Saudi's airstrikes. 4/25/15

How the US Contributed to Yemen's Crisis - As a Saudi-led military coalition continues to pound rebel targets in Yemen, the country is plunging into a humanitarian crisis. Civilian casualties are mounting. With U.S. logistical support, the Saudis are attempting to re-instate the country's exiled government - which enjoys the backing of the West and the Sunni Gulf monarchies - in the face of a military offensive by Houthi rebels from northern Yemen. None of this had to be. -Stephen Zunes, LobeLog 4/25/15

The Triple Fear of Persian Gulf Elites - Since the P5+1 (US, Russia, China, UK, France + Germany) powers began to engage in nuclear talks with Iran, Western leaders have sought to allay the security concerns of their allies in the Gulf over a possible deal. But what often is missed is a distinction between the security of the peoples and security of the elites and regimes in the Gulf. -Eldar Mamedov 4/24/15

Has Yemen Reshaped the Middle East Geopolitical Map? - Does anybody remember the old Cold War geopolitical concept of the "Northern Tier states?" They consisted of three countries-Turkey, Iran and Pakistan (sometimes Afghanistan) that lay along the southern border of the Soviet Union; they were perceived in the West as a potential bulwark against Soviet aggression southwards into the Middle East. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog 4/24/15

Prospect Of Iranian Nuclear Deal Stirs Hope For Detained Americans - When Iran and the United States found some common ground at the negotiating table earlier this month, it gave Naghmeh Abedini a welcome glimmer of hope. Her husband, Christian pastor Saeed Abedini, a dual U.S.-Iranian citizen, has been imprisoned in Iran since 2012 on charges of threatening the country's national security through private religious gatherings. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 4/24/15

Iranian Expats Face Arrest upon Return to their Homeland - The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran released a video today highlighting the plight of the thousands of Iranians who wish to return to their homeland, yet fear likely imprisonment upon arrival for the peaceful expression of their beliefs, art, or lifestyle. 4/24/15

The European Union, The Southern Corridor, And Turkmen Gas - The European Union is more active lately in searching for new sources of natural gas, motivated in no small part by its rocky relations with Russia over the Kremlin's involvement in Ukraine. The EU's Southern Gas Corridor project to bring gas from the Caspian Basin to Europe is getting new attention and taking on increased importance, which can be seen in the increased contact among officials from the EU, gas exporters Azerbaijan and Turkmenistan, and transit countries Turkey and Georgia. -Bruce Pannier, RFE 4/24/15

Dust storms continue onslaught on Iran's western provinces - Iran's western provinces have been suffering the impact of dust storms since Wednesday April 22, with limited visibility and disruptions to daily life being felt from Eastern and Western Azerbaijan, Zanjan, Kermanshah, to Khuzestan, Lorestan, Ilam, Chahar Mahal Bakhtiyari, and today also in Fars province and the City of Shiraz. 4/24/15

Prominent Iranians' Views on Impact of Nuclear Agreement on Human Rights - "Our next agreement will be on our civil rights!" was one of the slogans people chanted in Tehran only hours after a nuclear agreement was reached on April 2, during their street celebrations. During his election campaign, President Hassan Rouhani repeatedly pledged to observe citizens' rights, end the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders, and release all political prisoners... 4/23/15

FIVB Volleyball Men's World League 2015: U.S. to host Iran in Los Angeles - The U.S. Men's Volleyball Team, the 2014 FIVB World League champion, will begin defense of the title in Southern California and Hoffman Estates, Ill., this summer. USA Volleyball will host Iran at the Galen Center in Los Angeles (May 30-31) 4/21/15

Photos: Protests grow over film of stray dogs dying in agony - The killing of stray dogs in Shiraz has triggered widespread protests across Iran and they continued today, with large groups of animal rights activists in Tehran gathering in Pardisan Park, across from the Department of the Environment. Protesters wanted the department to identify and prosecute whoever killed the dogs. 4/20/15

Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli's 'Heech Garden' Exhibit Mixes Old With New - It has been 39 years since Parviz Tanavoli, one of Iran's most well-known contemporary artists, held a solo exhibit in the United States. Today, the creator of "Heech" (the Persian word for naught or nothing) walks around ruminating his memories in the "garden of his naughts" at the Davis Museum in Massachusetts. -Sara Dehghan, VOA 4/17/15

Worsening Conditions for Women in Iran Begin to Draw Attention - Almost two years after his 2013 election, President Hassan Rouhani and his Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, Shahindokht Molaverdi, spoke up against discrimination against women this week, in the face of steadily deteriorating conditions for women in Iran. 4/17/15

Two Presidents and the Ayatollah - Despite appearances, Ayatollah Khamenei and Presidents Barack Obama and Hassan Rouhani are not worlds apart in their thinking on US-Iran relations. In the aftermath of announcing the parameters of a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers on April 2 in Lausanne, Switzerland, each of the men took to the podium. -Ellie Geranmayeh 4/15/15

Iran beats the United States to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup - Iranian wrestlers overpowered the US squad competing on home soil to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup. Iran's wrestling team managed to beat the Americans 5-3 on Sunday at the Forum in Los Angeles to win the prestigious international title for a fourth time in a row. 4/13/15

Fun Farsi Games App - When Leyla Pope, the creator of Fun Farsi Games, wanted to download an interactive iPhone application for her three year-old daughter to teach her Farsi she was disappointed to find games for French, German, Hebrew, Arabic, and Spanish but none for Farsi. 4/8/15

Tehran Professor Decries Iran's Criticism of UN Human Rights Expert - The following is a translation of Tehran University Professor Sadegh Zibakalam's letter to Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Marzieh Afkham, responding to her statements on the latest report of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran. 4/8/15

Why Iran's Revolutionary Guard Supports the Nuclear Deal - With the framework of the Iran nuclear accord now in place after eight days of intensive negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland, the specter of conservatives in both Iran and the United States derailing a final deal looms large. Journalists and pundits point to Iran's conservative Revolutionary Guard and paramilitary Basij organization as potential forces that could disrupt the hard work of President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. -Narges Bajoghli 4/7/15

Photos: Nature Bridge in Tehran - Inaugurated in 2014, Iran's largest pedestrian bridge called "Tabiat Bridge" (Nature Bridge) has a unique structure designed by Leila Araghian. The design of this three-level, 2,000-Ton Structure pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views. 4/6/15

Iran: A Lesson in the Art of Building Confidence - Much of the comment on yesterday's "decisive step" towards a "Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action" (JCPOA), which will ensure the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran's nuclear program, has been based on the factsheet put out by the White House. -Peter Jenkins 4/4/15

This Is a Framework that Can Be Defended in Tehran - What a day it was and on sizdeh bedar no less, the thirteenth and last day of the Nowruz holidays! So, whether planned or not, for the "government of hope and prudence," the name used to distinguish Rouhani's government from the Islamic Republic's previous administrations, it was an especially auspicious day to announce an agreed framework. -Farideh Farhi 4/4/15

UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema: April 25 to May 16, 2015 - UCLA Film & Television Archive presents the "UCLA Celebration of Iranian Cinema," which will screen Saturday, April 25 - Saturday, May 16 at the Billy Wilder Theater in Westwood Village. This year's program will include works from well-known Iranian filmmakers as well as up-and-coming directors. Filmmakers Rakhshan Banietemad, Sharam Mokri, Kamran Heidari and Sepideh Farsi will attend in-person to discuss their work. 4/1/15

iBRIDGE Berlin Conference - High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges - iBRIDGE Berlin is a three-day event to be held on June 4-6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany that is organized by iBRIDGES. It will bring together European and American entrepreneurs and their counterparts in Iran to explore the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in Iran's economic development and diversification. The event will be comprised of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, as well as visits to local incubators in Berlin. 03/30/15

2015 Farhang Short Film Festival Winners Announced - Maryam Farahzadi's The Role of Each Fret (Iran) was this year's winning short film and awarded the top prize of $10,000. Commotion (Osyan) (Canada) by KAJART was the runner up and recipient of the $5,000 award. Rounding out the top three was Ali Azimi's & Arash Ashtiani's Prelude (Pishdaramad) (UK), which nabbed the $3,000 award. 03/28/15

Photos: Village Students in Chabahar Looking For Philanthropists To Help Their Schools - These photos are from the schools at Kamb and Tiss Koopan villages in the district of Chabahar town in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province. At the age of the internet, the students at these schools are still deprived of the basic educational facilities. With their their government having failed them, these students have now turned to philanthropists and asking for their help so their schools can meet the minimum educational standards. 02/12/15

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last updated on Mon May 4 14:36:58 GMT 2015