Day 27 1398 - January 17 2020
Iran's President Rohani Slams Disqualification Of Candidates Ahead Of Parliament Elections

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has criticized the disqualification of hundreds of people from running in the upcoming parliamentary elections, saying Iranians "need diversity." In televised remarks during a cabinet meeting on January 15, Rohani called for "all parties and groups" to be allowed to run for office, saying the country "cannot be governed by one political wing alone." -RFE/RL 01/16/20

Europe's New Gamble: Dispute Resolution and the Iran Nuclear Deal

France, Germany, and the United Kingdom (the E3) initiated a new and uncertain phase in the Iran nuclear deal this week by triggering its Dispute Resolution Mechanism (DRM). They did so in response to Iran's expansion of its nuclear programme, following the reimposition of crippling US sanctions on the country. This is an assertive move by the E3, but it is also a gamble that could save or sink the agreement. The E3 will have to manage the process very carefully if they intend not to "add a nuclear proliferation crisis to the current escalation threatening the whole region", as they stated in their announcement on the decision. -Ellie Geranmayeh, Responsible Statecraft 01/16/20

Students Assaulted, Arrested in State Crackdown on University Protests

Protesters were physically attacked and arrested at universities in Tehran and other Iranian cities on January 14, 2019, the fourth consecutive day of protests that had erupted in the country after the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) admitted to accidentally downing a Ukrainian passenger plane. "The front entrance of the University of Tehran was full of security agents," one eyewitness who requested anonymity for security reasons told the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI). 01/16/20

Iranian FM Zarif Berates European Countries For Being Bullied By Trump

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Thursday blasted France, Germany and Britain for triggering the dispute mechanism of their nuclear agreement with Iran (JCPOA). In a tweet on Thursday Zarif said the E3 which consists of France, Germany and Britain "sold out remnants of JCPOA to avoid new Trump Tariffs". -Radio Farda 01/16/20

'Space Unites Us': First Iranian-American Astronaut Was Gunship Pilot

Jasmin "Jaws" Moghbeli earned her fierce nickname during her time as a decorated helicopter gunship pilot who flew more than 150 missions in Afghanistan. The Marine Corps major, MIT graduate and college basketball player can now add another accomplishment to her burgeoning resume: the first Iranian-American astronaut. -MSN 01/16/20

'An American dream': singer Andy Madadian becomes first Iranian on Hollywood's Walk of Fame

At age 22, Andy Madadian fled Iran with nothing, moved to Los Angeles and started playing guitar at nightclubs to pay rent. Now 63, the internationally celebrated pop singer says he's ready for another "new beginning": Madadian is getting a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, the first Iranian artist to earn the honor. -Sam Levin, Guardian 01/16/20

Economic Considerations Temper Iran's Response to Soleimani Assassination

The military confrontation between Iran and the U.S. that began with the assassination of General Qassem Soleimani on January 3 appears to have subsided as quickly as it flared up. On January 7, shortly after Iran fired a round of ballistic missiles at American bases in Iraq (which left no casualties), Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif announced that Iran has "concluded" its operation. U.S. President Donald Trump, for his part, let it be known that the U.S. did not plan further military actions. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 01/16/20

Europe needs to build on the Iran nuclear deal, not jettison it

The three European parties to the 2015 Iran nuclear deal - France, Germany and the UK (known as the E3) - announced yesterday that they were triggering the agreement's dispute resolution mechanism. In a joint statement, the E3 insisted that the move was undertaken "in good faith" and was aimed at salvaging the accord in response to Iranian breaches, not expediting its collapse. But resorting to the mechanism could set in motion the deal's demise, unless Europe engages both Tehran and Washington. -Ali Vaez, Guardian 01/16/20

Rouhani: Iran enriching more uranium than before 2015 deal

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has said that his country is enriching more uranium than Tehran did before it agreed to a nuclear deal with world powers in 2015. "We are enriching more uranium before the deal was reached ... Pressure has increased on Iran but we continue to progress," Rouhani said on Thursday in a televised speech. -Aljazeera 01/16/20

NIAC Responds to Baseless Accusations by Senators Cotton, Cruz, and Braun

In response to a letter sent by Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK), Ted Cruz (R-TX), and Mike Braun (R-IN) to the Department of Justice baselessly urging an investigation into NIAC and NIAC Action, the National Iranian American Council (NIAC) issued the following statement: "At NIAC, we are proud of the work we do for our community. We will never stop working to advance peace and diplomacy or fighting for equitable immigration policies and the civil rights of all Americans. 01/15/20

Iran's FM Zarif Admits People Are Angry For Being Lied To About Plane Crash

Iran's Foreign Minister on Wednesday a dmitted that Iranians are angry because they were lied to regarding regarding the real cause of a plane crash January 8, that killed 176 passengers and crew. While the Iranian military knew it had shot down the plane, authorities kept denying they fired an anti-aircraft missile, for three days. 01/15/20

Yes, Iranians can protest against both US intervention and their government

Is Iran a nation of people easily coerced into participating in pro-regime rallies or a country of brave souls willing to risk their lives for justice? Of course, the binary view of Iran that underlies this bewilderment is misguided and reductive. The complex attitudes of protesters are surprising only to those who see the country as a monolith. They have accepted the superficial caricature of a nation in which there can only be one national mood - a fickle place where shouts of "Death to America" are replaced with the anti-regime cry of "Death to the Dictator" overnight... -Reza H Akbari, Guardian 01/15/20

'They treated me like a terrorist': the vetted Iranians deported on arrival to the US

Mohammad Elmi was on his way to fulfill a lifelong dream. On 13 December 2019, the 31-year-old Iranian boarded a flight to Los Angeles to join his wife in the United States and start a PhD program at the University of California, Santa Barbara. Sixty-five hours later, he was back in the Iranian capital, Tehran, refused entry to the United States by immigration officers at the airport. -Caleb Hampton, Guardian 01/15/20

Sanctions Have Often Backfired And May Yet Again

In his address to the nation on Wednesday about Iran's response to the U.S. assassination of a senior Iranian military leader, President Trump pledged that the United States "will immediately impose additional punishing sanctions on the Iranian regime." Two days earlier, angered by Iraqi threats to expel U.S. troops because the assassination of the Iranian general was carried out on Iraqi territory, Trump promised to hit Iraq with "sanctions like they've never seen before, ever." -Thomas W. Lippman, Responsible Statecraft 01/15/20

British Ambassador 'Leaving Iran' Amid Diplomatic Spat

The British ambassador to Tehran has left Iran after being detained by Iranian authorities last week, state-run media reported on January 15. Rob Macaire was detained for three hours on January 11 after attending a candlelight vigil for the victims of the downing by Iran's air defenses of a Ukrainian passenger plane. Iran's official IRNA news agency said the diplomat had left after being given what it described as "prior notice." The report did not elaborate. -RFE/RL 01/15/20

Why do Some Iranians in the Diaspora Support a War Against Iran?

The killing of Soleimani has united Iranians who showed up in large numbers at funeral processions in numerous Iranian cities, despite some Iranians living outside Iran dismissing them as having been forced to attend by the Iranian government. Moreover, parts of the social media sphere have created an alternative narrative that leaves the impression that a majority of Iranians living outside Iran support American interventionism. -Mohammad Rafi, Responsible Statecraft 01/15/20

Iran recession to deepen, reserves to fall to $73 billion by March: IIF

Hit by sanctions curbing oil sales, Iran's economy is set to fall deeper into recession this fiscal year and foreign reserves could drop to $73 billion by March, a loss of almost $40 billion in two years, the Institute of International Finance said. The economy shrank by 4.6% in the 2018-2019 fiscal year and the contraction is expected to deepen to 7.2% in the current fiscal year, the IIF, a finance industry body, said this week. -Reuters 01/15/20

Iranian Drama 'Yalda' to Screen at Sundance Without Director Due to U.S.-Iran Tensions

U.S.-Iran tensions have put Iranian director Massoud Bakhshi whose daring drama "Yalda, a Night for Forgiveness," is set to premiere at Sundance, in a tough spot. The film's production and sales companies issued a joint statement on Tuesday announcing that Bakhshi will not personally be attending Sundance due to the current U.S.-Iran crisis. But they also denied recent Iranian media reports claiming that the director had pulled "Yalda" from the festival. -Variety 01/15/20

All-out efforts underway to help flood-hit Iran's Sistan-Baluchestan province

All the facilities and capacities of the country have been mobilized to assist people in the flood-stricken province of Sistan-Baluchestan, IRNA news agency reported on Tuesday. Unprecedented heavy rainfall which began on January 10 has led to flash flooding in the southeastern province, as 145 stations have recorded rainfall, 95 of which have reported receiving more than 50 mm of rain and 17 stations received some 100-200 mm. 01/14/20

Europe Should Prevent the Iran Nuclear Deal from Going the Way of the Oslo Accords

A major regional war in the Middle East has been averted, for now. President Donald Trump decided not to respond militarily to Iran launching missiles at the U.S. bases in Iraq, which itself was in response to the U.S.-executed assassination of the General Qassem Soleimani, the commander of the elite Al-Quds force of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards (IRGC). Instead, Trump announced new sanctions against Iran. There is no reason, however, to believe that this represents anything more than a pause in the rush to war rather than a beginning of a real de-escalation. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 01/14/20

European states trigger dispute mechanism in Iran nuclear deal

Britain, France and Germany have triggered the dispute resolution mechanism in the 2015 nuclear deal with Iran, a step that over months could result in the collapse of the agreement entirely and the return of European sanctions on Tehran. Officials described the move as one taken more in sorrow than anger and said it was in part prompted by fears that Iran may now be less than a year away from possessing the capacity to develop a nuclear bomb. --Guardian 01/14/20

"They Were Everywhere" Footage, Eyewitnesses Reveal Violence Against Ukraine Plane Crash Protesters

Iranian security forces used what appeared to be live ammunition and tear gas to repress protests in Tehran on January 12, 2020, over the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps' (IRGC) "unintentional" downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane, according to video footage sent to the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) and later verified by the AP. Protesters mainly in the capital and at least one other city (Amol in Mazandaran Province) who chanted slogans against the IRGC and called for Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to relinquish power faced a heavy security presence, according to eyewitnesses. -CHRI 01/14/20

Justin Trudeau: US escalation partly to blame for Iran plane deaths

Victims of an Iran-downed jetliner would still be alive were it not for a recent escalation of tensions partly triggered by the US, Justin Trudeau has said. "I think if there were no tensions, if there was no escalation recently in the region, those Canadians would be right now home with their families," the Canadian prime minister said in an interview with Global television. He added that the international community had been "very, very clear about needing to have a non-nuclear Iran", but also in "managing the tensions in the region that are brought about by US actions as well". -Guardian 01/14/20

Iran announces arrests over plane crash as Rouhani warns those responsible will be punished

Several people have been arrested in Iran over the downing of a Ukrainian passenger plane as Iranian President Hassan Rouhani warned that those responsible would be punished. Gholamhossein Esmaili, the spokesman for Iran's judiciary, was quoted by the semi-official FARS news agency Tuesday as saying that an investigation into the crash had started and several arrests had been made. He did not provide details on how many people had been arrested or what their roles in the incident may have been. 01/14/20

The Dawn of War and America's Strategic Fog

One can almost hear the guffaws and back-slapping laughter out of China and Russia rattling around the ether of the international system, as they watch the United States again blunder mindlessly around in the blind alleys of the Middle East, fruitlessly wasting time, money, and political capital to no useful end. Indeed, it must make for good theater in the dictatorial halls of power in Beijing and Moscow. The January 2020 tit-for-tat assassination of Iranian General Qassem Soleimani emphasizes yet again America's confounding inability clearly to think through the role of military force as an instrument of strategy. -James Russell, Responsible Statecraft 01/14/20

Hours of forewarning saved U.S., Iraqi lives from Iran's missile attack

Nearly eight hours before Iran's Jan. 8 missile attack on U.S. forces at bases in Iraq, American and Iraqi soldiers at Ain al-Asad air base scrambled to move personnel and weaponry to fortified bunkers, two Iraqi officers stationed at the base told Reuters...When the missiles finally landed at about 1:30 a.m., they struck "empty bunkers that had been evacuated hours before," the intelligence source said. No one was injured or killed. -Reuters 01/14/20

Trump came far too close to war. He must de-escalate further: scrap new sanctions and row back to the Iran deal

Last week's near catastrophe between the United States and Iran was a double-edged sword. On the positive side, both countries concluded that continuing down the path of military escalation was a dead-end journey. But the tension in the U.S.-Iran relationship--defined by 40 years of covert operations, diplomatic isolation, and pervasive mistrust--is still very much in play. -Daniel R. DePetris, Newsweek 01/14/20

Saudi Arabia And Trump's Other Middle East Pals Don't Want More Escalation With Iran

After years of pushing for the U.S. to make tougher moves against Iran, some of America's closest partners in the Middle East now desperately want President Donald Trump to take a more moderate tack. If those countries shift away from confrontation with Iran, it would have huge implications for the stability of the region and its hundreds of millions of people. -Akbar Shahid Ahmed, Huffington Post 01/14/20

Canada business chief lashes Trump over Iran plane crash

One of Canada's top business leaders has lashed out at US President Donald Trump over the shooting down of an airliner by Iran last week. Maple Leaf Foods chief executive Michael McCain said his colleague's wife and son were among the 57 Canadians who died. Without explicitly naming Mr Trump, he suggested "a narcissist in Washington" ultimately caused the air tragedy. -BBC 01/14/20

2020: Millennium of Persian Poet Ferdowsi

Anniversaries are important; they celebrate legacies and signify presence and continuity. This year, 2020, marks the 1000th anniversary of Ferdowsi's death. This renowned Persian poet died at age 81 in 1020, more than five centuries before Shakespeare was born. Ferdowsi has not only endured for a thousand years but has also defined the very identity and language of his own country - Iran. This is, indeed, a great achievement for a poet or for any person, for that matter. -Rasoul Shams 01/13/20

Iranian police fired live rounds to disperse protesters, say witnesses

Iranian authorities fired live ammunition to disperse protesters in Tehran, wounding several people, according to witness accounts provided to the Guardian and footage circulating on social media. Hundreds of protesters on Sunday defied a heavy security presence in the Iranian capital to hold vigils and demonstrations throughout the day and march in the evening on Azadi Square in the centre of the city. -Guardian 01/13/20

Iran Film, Theater, Music Artists, Broadcasters Boycott State TV, Festivals

An increasing number of Iranian filmmakers, performing artists, and musicians have been boycotting an annual state sponsored festival as Iran is overwhelmed by a new wave of protests during the past days. Meanwhile several presenters and actors have left the state TV in protest to the downing of a civilian passenger aircraft that claimed 176 lives and the state-controlled media's disinformation to divert attention from the revolutionary guards (IRGC) as the culprit behind the crash. 01/13/20

'We are captives': Iranian actor criticises Tehran government

One of Iran's most popular female actors has bluntly criticised the government in Tehran in a post on Instagram, telling her almost 6 million followers that "we are not citizens" but "captives". Taraneh Alidoosti - who has appeared in an Oscar-nominated film and acclaimed TV dramas - made her comments on Sunday, as Iranians took to the streets in a series of anti-regime protests. -Guardian 01/13/20

U.S. and Iran Are Not Out of the Woods

First, the good news. On Wednesday morning, President Trump told the nation that "the United States is ready to embrace peace with all who seek it." The threat that a catastrophic full-scale military confrontation with Iran was minutes away has apparently receded, at least for the time being. Now, the bad news. The two nations are still on a collision path. -Sonya Reines-Djivanides & Perry Cammack, Responsible Statecraft 01/13/20

Qatari emir in Iran: 'De-escalation' the only way forward

Qatar's Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al Thani said the only solution to rising tensions in the Middle East between Iran and the United States was de-escalation and dialogue. Sheikh Tamim's visit on Sunday to Iran to meet President Hassan Rouhani, its supreme leader, and other senior leaders came amid heightened tensions in the Gulf following the US assassination of top Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani in Baghdad and Iran's retaliatory missile strikes on US targets in Iraq. -Aljazeera 01/13/20

Iran's sole female Olympic medalist says she's defected

Iran's sole female Olympic medalist, Kimia Alizadeh, has announced that she's permanently left her country for Europe. "Let me start with a greeting, a farewell or condolences," the 21-year-old wrote in an Instagram post explaining why she was defecting. "I am one of the millions of oppressed women in Iran who they have been playing with for years." -CNN 01/13/20

PHOTOS: Protesters In Tehran Call For Justice Over Iran's Downing Of Ukrainian Plane

Protesters outside a university in Tehran have called for justice after Iran admitted it mistakenly shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane on January 8. "Resignation is not enough," protesters chanted outside Amirkabir university on January 11 while demanding a trial for those responsible for the downing of the plane that killed all 176 people on board. 01/12/20

Congress's Work to Prevent War With Iran has Only Just Begun

No sooner than the dust had settled on Iran's limited military retaliation for the assassination of Major General Qassem Soleimani did pundits claim it was a "win" for Trump. While we're all breathing a sigh of relief that a direct military confrontation between the United States and Iran appears to be on hold for now, there's a danger that Trump and his cabinet have taken the wrong lesson from last week's avoidable events - namely, that Trump's military action has deterred Iran and only more pressure will change the regime's calculus. -Kate Kizer, Responsible Statecraft 01/12/20

Iran's Government Should Allow People to Mourn, Protest Without Threat of Violence

The Iranian people should be allowed to exercise their constitutional right to peaceful assembly without the threat of violence, said the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) after crowds that had gathered in Tehran following the government's announcement that it had "unintentionally" shot down a Ukrainian passenger plane were met with armed state forces and tear gas. -CHRI 01/12/20

Local Iranians Say They're 'Angry For The American People, And People In Iran'

The Washington region is home to one of the largest communities of Iranian-Americans in the country. More than 31,000 Iranian-Americans call the area home, according to the U.S. Census Bureau's 2018 American Community Survey, behind only the Los Angeles and New York metropolitan regions...The intense barrage of news has been especially hard on Iranian-Americans who have strong personal and family ties to people in both countries. -NPR 01/11/20

US unsuccessfully targeted another Iranian military official on same day as Soleimani

On the same night the US military killed Iranian commander Qasem Soleimani, they unsuccessfully targeted another senior Iranian military official in Yemen, according to a US official with knowledge of the events and another source familiar. The sources would not give any details about the mission or how the US had attempted to carry it out. The US official said to the best of their knowledge there is no broader operation to decapitate the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps-Quds force leadership at this time. -CNN 01/11/20

John Kerry: Diplomacy Was Working Until Trump Abandoned It

President Trump says that on his watch, Iran will never be allowed to have a nuclear weapon. But if he had wanted to keep that promise, he should have left the 2015 Iran nuclear agreement in place. Instead, he pulled the United States out of the deal and pursued a reckless foreign policy that has put us on a path to armed conflict with Iran...Presidents make lonely, difficult decisions about the use of force to protect our interests -- usually with the solace of knowing at least that diplomacy had failed. The tragedy of our current plight is that diplomacy was succeeding before it was abandoned. -John Kerry, New York Times 01/10/20

The PASSENGERS

The passenger manifest for Ukraine International Airlines Flight 752 includes years of birth; the oldest Canadian was born in 1945, the youngest in 2018. The victims had roots across the country. Many were believed to be Iranian-Canadian students returning to school after the winter break. There were also professors, dentists, doctors, a software engineer and a real-estate agent. Flight 752 crashed Wednesday in Tehran, killing all 176 on board. 01/10/20

Inside the US Navy's mistaken shooting of Iran Air Flight 655 in 1988, which killed 290 people

The USS Vincennes was in the middle of a skirmish with Iranian gunboats when it saw Iran Air Flight 655 on its radar and confused the Airbus 300 for a fighter jet. After it failed to respond to the Navy's distress signals, the US shot it down with a missile. Everyone on board was killed. Yet despite this shocking mistake, it's often forgotten in the US. In Iran, it remains a national outrage. Many don't believe that it was a mistake, but a warning from the US. -James Pasley, Business Insider 01/10/20

Brazil helped the US and Iran towards peace. Dialogue is the only answer

The assassination of Qassem Suleimani by drone bombs, at the express request of the president of the United States, has thrown the Middle East - and the world - into the most serious global security crisis since the end of the cold war. By unilaterally ordering the execution of a senior Iranian military on Iraqi soil, Donald Trump violated international law and took a reckless and dangerous step in escalating conflict, with potential impact all over the planet. -Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva and Celso Amorim, Guardian 01/10/20

No War With Iran: Day of Action

We will not be forced into another war. On Thursday, January 9, at 5 p.m. local time, the anti-war majority in this country will get visible to oppose Trump's war and say #NoWarWithIran. Trump's reckless action has needlessly endangered countless lives of U.S. troops, Iraqis, Iranians, and countless other civilians. 01/9/20

There Are No Winners in a War With Iran

As we find ourselves on the brink of another unnecessary war in the Middle East, I am reminded of the night the United States invaded Iraq in 2003. At the time I was taking an international studies course titled, "Islam and the West." Beyond teaching about the historical context that informed our contemporary politics, our professor's objective was to give us the needed tools in order to "bridge the gap" between these erroneously divided worlds.Then a wide-eyed undergraduate student, my fellow classmates and I embodied the characteristic idealism of youth, the belief that with our convictions and our humanity we could change the course of events. -Assal Rad, Responsible Statecraft 01/9/20

Federal civil-rights office opens investigation into Canadian border stops

The Department of Homeland Security's Office for Civil Rights and Civil Liberties is opening an investigation into the many reports of people being stopped and questioned for hours over the weekend at the Canadian border, according to a spokesman for U.S. Rep. Pramila Jayapal. The civil-rights office verbally confirmed the investigation Wednesday, and said it is sending investigators to Washington state, according to Subhan Cheema, Jayapal's spokesman. -Seattle Times 01/9/20

Pompeo Orders U.S. Missions To Limit Contact With Iran Opposition Groups

In a rare move, the U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in a cable sent to all American missions overseas has ordered them to limit contact with Iranian opposition groups unless specifically approved, in order not to worsen tensions with the Iranian regime. "Many exiled Iranian opposition groups try to engage U.S. officials regularly to gain at least the appearance of tacit support and enhance their visibility and clout," CNN cited Pompeo as saying according to a copy of the diplomatic cable. -Radio Farda 01/9/20

Soleimani's Assassination Backfires Big Time

The White House insists that the overriding goal behind the January 2, 2020 assassination of the Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani was to deter Iran. But its evocation of a term that remains one of the most ambiguous and abused concepts in the language of international affairs cannot alter basic facts. Soleimani's death is part of a regime change strategy that began with the White House's imposition of sanctions that have strangled Iran's economy. -Daniel Brumberg, Arab Center Washington DC 01/9/20

Iran Launches Missile Strikes At U.S. Troops In Iraq, Casualties Unclear

Iran has carried out a ballistic-missile attack against U.S. forces stationed in Iraq in retaliation for the killing last week of a prominent Iranian military commander. Iranian state television said Iran had fired 15 missiles at U.S. targets in Iraq early on January 8. The U.S. military said at least two Iraqi facilities hosting U.S.-led coalition personnel were targeted in the overnight attack. It is unclear if there have been any casualties. 01/8/20

Ukrainian Plane Crashes In Iran, Killing All 176 People Aboard

A Ukrainian commercial airliner crashed on January 8 soon after taking off from Iran's capital, Tehran, killing all 176 people on board, mostly Iranian nationals, but also Western and Ukrainian citizens. Debris and smoldering parts from the Boeing 737-800NG belonging to Ukraine International Airlines (UIA) were strewn across a field southwest of the Iranian capital's Imam Khomeini International Airport as rescue teams with face masks retrieved bodies. 01/8/20

How anti-terrorism laws equip law enforcement to crack down on Iranian Americans

That the killing of Iranian Maj. Gen. Qasem Soleimani will reorder the Middle East is obvious - Iraq's parliamentary vote to expel U.S. forces, along with Iran's declared restarting of its nuclear arms program with "no limitations," offers proof enough. But that the killing will have repercussions within the United States, rattling the lives and liberties of many U.S. citizens and residents, is also a strong possibility - one that's no less ominous. -Aziz Huq, Washington Post 01/8/20

Some administration officials believe Iran intentionally missed areas with Americans

There is a growing belief among some Trump administration officials that Iran's missiles intentionally missed areas populated by Americans when they targeted two Iraqi bases housing US troops early Wednesday local time, multiple administration officials said...The administration officials floated the notion that Iran could have directed their missiles to hit areas that are populated by Americans, but intentionally did not. -CNN 01/8/20

Will This Billionaire-Funded Think Tank Get Its War With Iran?

The Foundation for the Defense of Democracies' militaristic influence on US policy toward Iran is working. Suleimani's assassination is evidence of that. On social media, Trump's decision to assassinate Suleimani and al-Muhandis was greeted with praise from the FDD, which gloated, via Twitter, that Iran "thought he [Trump] was a Twitter tiger; he's proven otherwise." - 01/8/20

Suleimani Is Dead, but Diplomacy Shouldn't Be

In the aftermath of the U.S. killing of the Iranian general Qassem Suleimani last week, the past, as so often, seemed to offer a tempting parallel of the present, with the hashtags #WWIII and #FranzFerdinand flourishing on Twitter. It's unsurprising that such memories haunt the collective consciousness at times like this. Western narratives of conflict turn around the world wars. Hawks see enemies as nascent Hitlers, who must be crushed before they are given space to expand. Doves see a world ready to repeat the catastrophic errors of 1914, when Europe destroyed itself. -Philip Caruso, Foreign Policy 01/8/20

Coalition Statement on Reports of Mass Detentions of Iranians and Iranian-Americans at the Washington/Canada Border

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) and its Iranian American coalition partners today issued the following statement following the recent reports of mass detentions of Iranians and Iranian Americans at the Washington/Canada Border: We write to share extremely disconcerting news and to share important information with you regarding new immigration incidents affecting Iranian Americans and Iranians in the U.S. Please read the below carefully and share this information with your friends and family. 01/7/20

Pentagon Says Will Not Violate Law Of War Amid Alarm Over Trump's Threat To Target Iranian cultural sites

U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper has strongly indicated that the U.S. military will not fire on Iranian cultural sites, targets that President Donald Trump had threatened to strike. "We will follow the laws of armed conflict," Esper said during a briefing at the Pentagon. When asked if that ruled out targeting cultural sites, Esper said pointedly, "That's the laws of armed conflict." Trump's suggestion that the United States could target Iranian cultural sites has sparked alarm in Iran and beyond, with Human Rights Watch (HRW) saying such action would be a war crime. 01/7/20

Iran: dozens dead in crush at Suleimani burial procession

Dozens of people have been killed in a crush in the south-eastern Iranian city of Kerman, where hundreds of thousands of mourners have gathered for the burial of the military commander Qassem Suleimani. Emergency officials told state TV that 40 people had been killed and 213 injured. Mourners had filled the streets of Suleimani's home town on Tuesday morning in numbers that appeared to match the huge turnouts in Baghdad, Tehran, Qom, Mashhad and Ahvaz in recent days to say farewell to the commander of the Revolutionary Guards external operations force, who was killed by a US drone strike in Iraq on Friday. -Guardian 01/7/20

U.S. Media Outlets Fail to Disclose U.S. Government Ties of 'Iranian Journalist' Echoing Trump Talking Points

one frequently cited Iranian voice in the mainstream media, Masih Alinejad, has been repeatedly echoing the administration's claims that Iranians, despite all visible evidence, were welcoming Trump's potential act of war against Iran. Fox News for example presented Alinejad - who appeared on the network on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday - as an "Iranian journalist" or "Iranian journalist and activist," missing a key detail about her biography: she's paid by the U.S. government. -Eli Clifton, Responsible Statecraft 01/7/20

Iran-Born Ivy League Professor Detained and Grilled About Soleimani at JFK

Until Sunday morning, University of Pennsylvania academic and historian John Ghazvinian-who left Iran as a baby with his family more than four decades ago and grew up in London and Los Angeles-traveled in and out of the United States with the same freedoms as any other U.S. citizen. But when he arrived from Cairo at John F. Kennedy International Airport via an Air France connecting flight from Paris-two days after the U.S. military killed one of Iran's top generals on orders from President Donald Trump--all of that changed. -Lloyd Grove, Daily Beast 01/7/20

Iranian-Americans Questioned at the Border: 'My Kids Shouldn't Experience Such Things'

Arriving at the United States border in Washington State early Sunday morning after a skiing trip to Canada, Negah Hekmati and her family were pulled out of line for further questioning by Customs and Border Protection agents. The family found itself in a room filled with fellow Iranian-Americans, many of whom had already been held for hours. -New York Times 01/7/20

Iranian Americans reportedly questioned at U.S.-Canada border in British Columbia

Mona Zabihian was on her way back to Washington after a Persian pop concert in Canada late Saturday night when she and four other Iranian Americans were pulled aside at the border. As their van slowed at the checkpoint, the U.S. citizens were asked a series of standard questions. Then they were given a slip and told to go inside, she said Sunday. The 27-year-old said she waited for about an hour before officials called for her questioning. -Los Angeles Times 01/6/20

Iranians Flood Twitter With Photos of Favorite Cultural Sites as Trump Threatens Them With Destruction

Ordinary Iranians on Saturday responded to U.S. President Donald Trump's monstrous threat to strike sites "important to Iran and the Iranian culture" with an outpouring of photos highlighting their favorite mosques, museums, monuments, and other stunning architecture. "Fastest way to unify all political factions in Iran against you is to assassinate the general who led Iran's fight against ISIS," tweeted Independent correspondent Negar Mortazavi. -Jake Johnson, Common Dreams 01/6/20

Mike Pompeo Fed the Rats in the President*'s Brain to Get What He Wanted

The Washington Post dives deeply into what is laughingly called the administration*'s "process" leading up to the decision to kill Qasem Soleimani with fire last week. In short, all the "imminent threat" palaver was pure moonshine. According to the Post, this particular catastrophe was brewed up for a while amid the stalactites in the mind of Mike Pompeo, a Secretary of State who makes Henry Kissinger look like Gandhi. -Charles P Pierce, Esquire 01/6/20

The Breathtaking Unraveling of the Middle East After Qassem Suleimani's Death

The flag-draped coffin of General Qassem Suleimani was thronged by wailing mobs in Tehran on Monday, as the fallout from his death, in a U.S. air strike, accelerated with breathtaking speed. Iran has not seen such an outpouring of emotion on the streets since the death of the revolutionary leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1989...Instead of being a dead bad guy, Suleimani appears almost as potent in his "martyrdom" as he was in life. -Robin Wright, New Yorker 01/6/20

Huge crowds flood Tehran streets for Soleimani's funeral, calling for revenge and retaliation

Tehran's streets were packed with black-clad mourners Monday as a sea of people turned out to pay their respects to Qasem Soleimani, the Iranian general killed by a US drone strike in Baghdad last week. The mourners carried photographs of Soleimani, a revered and powerful figure who headed the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps elite Quds Force and led Iran's overseas operations. -CNN 01/6/20

More than 70 Actions Took Place on Sat. Jan. 4 To Demand - No War With Iran!

More than 70 actions took place on Saturday, January 4 across the country to to demand no war with Iran and that U.S. troops leave the Middle East. The Trump administration and Pentagon have moved to start a war with Iran by assassinating Qassem Soleimani, the top military leader of that country. -Answer Coalition 01/5/20

"Iranian-American, Past Present Future"

On September 24th, 2019, in his UN address President Trump defended the United States' economic sanctions against Iran by invoking language that has become so familiar to us we fail to hear its ruthless and genocidal resonances. After stating that it was his duty and priority to "defend America's interests," Trump cited "Iran's blood-lust," its "menacing behavior," its "traffic in monstrous antisemitism," and accused Iran of single-handedly destabilizing the Middle East. The use of abstract and degrading terminology to discuss Iran has a long history in American politics. -Azareen Van der Vliet Oloomi 01/5/20

US Foreign Policy by Assassination

The United States, through its assassination of top-ranking Iranian General Qasim Soleimani, has once again opened Pandora's box in its conduct of foreign policy. How long does Washington think it can enjoy unique monopoly over exercise of these forms of international violence before they are turned against us?...The assassination of General Soleimani also revealed Washington's continuing assumption of a right to violate the sovereignty of any country in the world if it deems it in its interest to do so. -Graham E. Fuller 01/5/20

The Meaning of Qassem Suleimani's Death in the Middle East

On Thursday night, in the United States, soon after the news broke, I spoke by phone with Vali Nasr, a professor at Johns Hopkins University School of Advanced International Studies and a senior adviser to the State Department during the Obama Administration. During our conversation, which has been edited for length and clarity, we discussed Suleimani's role within Iran's regime, the importance of his actions throughout the Middle East, and how Iran is likely to respond. -Isaac Chotiner, New Yorker 01/5/20

On Qassem Soleimani's Assassination: Is It Foolish To Credit The Foolish Clown With Foolishness?

Jesus saw a dead man on a roadside. Startled, he pondered, saying: "O man, whom had you slain, for whose death. You paid the price with your blood; And where shall lie the avenger of your demise?" I am translating these haunting lines penned by a Persian poet over a thousand years ago. Tit for tat, and tat for tit; then tit for tat again, and tat for tit; over and over and over: will the riddle ever end?! -Kambiz Zarrabi 01/4/20

Protests planned across US to condemn Trump administration actions in Iraq, Iran

More than 40 demonstrations were planned across the U.S. Saturday to protest the Trump administration's killing of a top Iranian general and decision to send about 3,000 more soldiers to the Middle East. The protests are being spearheaded by Act Now to Stop War and End Racism (ANSWER), a U.S.-based anti-war coalition, in conjunction with more than a dozen organizations. Demonstrations were expected to protest outside the White House, in New York City's Times Square and more. -USA Today 01/4/20

Suleimani's Death Changes Nothing for Iran

The assassination of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani of Iran by the United States was an unprecedented escalation in the 40-year standoff between the two countries. General Suleimani was the powerful head of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' special operations forces, the Quds Force, and we can expect retaliation across the region. But the killing will not in itself weaken the Revolutionary Guards or Iran's role in the region. -Narges Bajoghli, New York Times 01/4/20

Trump's Iran Policy Is Brain-Dead

Well, that didn't take long. 2020 is less than a week old, and U.S. President Donald Trump has managed to stumble into another pointless and dangerous crisis with Iran. It is the near-inevitable result of his myopic approach to the entire Middle East (and especially Iran) and another demonstration of Washington's inability to formulate a coherent and effective policy toward any important global issue. When did this country get so bad at strategy? -Stephen M. Walt, Foreign Policy 01/4/20

Brighton's Alireza Jahanbakhsh scores stunning goal against Chelsea

Brighton winger Alireza Jahanbakhsh started 2020 in style as the Iranian scored a stunning acrobatic bicycle kick against Chelsea on Wednesday at the Amex Stadium. Jahanbakhsh came off the bench in the 69th minute with his team 1-0 down after Chelsea skipper Cesar Azpilicueta's opener early in the game, but salvaged a point with an acrobatic strike six minutes from time. 01/2/20

Quince Stew; An Iranian Tasty Dish for Cold Season

Quince is a fruit of the cold season; a fruit that has many benefits and with which various and delectable foods are prepared in Iran. Quince stew is one of these dishes. The stew is cooked in different styles. Some use split peas to make it look like another Iranian stew called Gheimeh. -IFP 01/1/20

Iran, China & Russia combined naval exercise: A security trilateral to counter US presence?

A first-of-its-kind combined naval exercise by Iran, China and Russia has wrapped up in the Gulf of Oman. The US has been watching closely, as it could be the beginning of a security coalition to counter American influence. The Iranian Navy had announced that the December 27-30 exercise, codenamed Marine Security Belt, was aimed at enhancing maritime security in the region, which has witnessed a series of attacks on ships transiting the vital shipping lane -- the same attacks for which the US has been blaming Iran. -Shishir Upadhyaya, RT 12/31/19

16 stunning modern architectural wonders in the Middle East you've probably never heard of

Some of the most visited include Petra, the famous archaeological site in Jordan and former capital of the Nabatean kingdom, and Persepolis, the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire in ancient Persia. However the region is fast becoming home to some of the most stunning modern buildings in the world too. -Sahar Esfandiari, Insider 12/30/19

Iranian Chess Player Who Refused To Play For His Country Wins Silver Medal At World Championship

Alireza Firouzja, a top-rated chess player from Iran and the world's No. 2 ranked junior player, has won the silver medal at the World Rapid & Blitz Chess Championship in Moscow after competing under the flag of the International Chess Federation (FIDE). Firouzja, 16, had decided not to play for his country in an apparent reaction to the Islamic republic's ban on competing against Israeli players. -RFE/RL 12/30/19

Iran Launches Naval Drills With Russia, China In Indian Ocean Amid Tensions With U.S.

Iran's navy has launched its first joint maneuvers with Russia and China in the northern part of the Indian Ocean, Iranian state TV reports. "The message of this exercise is peace, friendship, and lasting security through cooperation and unity...and its result will be to show that Iran cannot be isolated," Iranian Admiral Gholamreza Tahani said on state television on December 27. 12/28/19

Air pollution choking Iranian cities: 14,000 hospital visits in 6 days!

Due to air pollution and increased particulate matters in provinces of Isfahan, Alborz, Tehran, Markazi, Qazvin, Qom, East Azarbaijan, West Azarbaijan, Khuzestan, and Yazd, 13,931 people referred to hospital emergency services throughout the country, of whom 8,547 were cardiac patients and 5,384 were respiratory patients, according to Mojtaba Khaledi, Emergency Medical Services Organization spokesman. 12/27/19

Iranian woman goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi sets new record for not conceding a goal

Vochan Kordestan goalkeeper Zahra Khajavi set a new record in Iran football for minutes without conceding a goal. She extended her team shut-out run to 950 minutes, surpassing Sepahan stopper Payam Niazmand's old mark of 935. 12/27/19

After US withdrawal from Iran nuclear deal, restored sanctions put cancer patients at risk

Limited access to medicine has frustrated Iranian patients and their families, especially after President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iranian nuclear deal in 2018. The U.S. withdrawal led to the return of economic, trade and financial sanctions against the Islamic Republic. While humanitarian goods are exempt from sanctions, medication manufacturers in Iran face many challenges because of other sanctions, including banking and transaction restrictions. -Somayeh Malekian, ABC News 12/27/19

Iran's EB patients: The most oppressed victims of U.S. sanctions

Although food and medicine are claimed to be exempted from U.S. sanctions, financial and banking sanctions have limited the life-saving medicine trade which harshly targeted the patients suffering from Epidermolysis Bullosa (EB), a rare genetic disease that causes painful blistering of the skin. -Faranak Bakhtiari, Tehran Times 12/24/19

Iranian Women Make History: 2019 World Alysh Champions!

Iran's women's team made history by winning the 2019 World Alysh (Belt Wrestling) Championships for the first time on Monday. Team Melli claimed the title with 93 points, followed by Kyrgyz Republic (89) and Kazakhstan (63). The Iranian women won three medals in the competition. 12/24/19

IAPAC Proud to Endorse Yassamin Ansari for Phoenix City Council

Since she was a kid, Yassamin has demonstrated a steadfast commitment to serving others through public service. Yassamin began her career as a John Gardner Public Service Fellow at the United Nations, where she served as the youngest member of the climate team that advised former Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and helped to deliver the historic Paris Agreement. Later, she was appointed as the Director of the Climate Action 2016 Summit in Washington, DC, and worked with the Office of Governor Jerry Brown where she served as the Deputy Director of Policy for the Global Climate Action Summit. -PAAIA 12/24/19

Iran's 2019 Inflation Rate at 40 Percent

The Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) announced that the inflation rate in the twelve-month period ended on December 21, which marks the end of the ninth Iranian calendar month of Azar, stood at 40 percent. The SCI said that the inflation rate has fallen 1.1 percent in the mentioned time span from the twelve-month period ended in the last day of the eight Iranian month of Aban, IRNA reported on Sunday. 12/23/19

Nine Iranian Labor Rights Activists and Journalists Sentenced to Prison Without Right to Appeal

Nine Iranian labor activists were each sentenced to five years in prison on December 14, 2019, on the charge of "assembly and collusion against national security"... The Campaign for the Defense of Haft Tappeh Detainees (CDHTD) identified the defendants as Haft Tappeh sugar mill workers' representatives Esmail Bakhshi and Mohammad Khanifar, activists Sepideh Qoliyan and Atefeh Rangriz, and journalists Amirhossein Mohammadifard, Sanaz Allahyari, Amir Amirgholi, Asal Mohammadi, and Marzieh Amiri. "What this verdict says is, 'We can and will choke you,'" wrote Rangriz in response to the court's decision. -CHRI 12/21/19

Mothers of Iran Protest Victims Call for "Minute of Silence," UN Fact-Finding Committee

Sixteen mothers whose children were killed amid violent state crackdowns on street protests have called for Iranians to observe a minute of silence for the victims on December 26, 2019. "We, the mothers, will not remain silent," they said in a statement published on December 17, 2019, that also called on Iranian authorities to allow the UN to visit the country to establish a fact-finding committee on rights violations that were committed while major street demonstrations ravaged the country in November 2019. -CHRI 12/19/19

Kuala Lumpur Summit 2019: Iran's Rohani Urges Muslim Countries To Fight Against U.S. 'Hegemony'

Iranian President Hassan Rohani has used an Islamic conference in Malaysia to urge Muslim nations to deepen cooperation in order to counter U.S. "hegemony." Speaking on December 19 at the opening ceremony of the event in Kuala Lumpur, Rohani reiterated Iran's view that the United States is using economic sanctions as the "main tools of domineering hegemony and bullying" of other nations. 12/19/19

PHOTOS: Artistic Fall-Leaf Art Event in Tehran

The third Artistic Fall-Leaf Art Event was held in Tehran's Mashq Square for December 14 to 16, in collaboration with the Alumni Association of the Tehran University of Art, Municipality Office of 12 District, and the Tehran Beautification Organization. -Honar Online 12/18/19

Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation's Autumn/Winter Newsletter 2019

First of all, we would like to thank you for your generosity and dedication to the Foundation, which have made it possible for us to continue our work of bringing light to disadvantaged children and communities. In this edition of the newsletter, we would like to update you on the Bachehaye Ma family and also bring your attention to two new initiatives: The Kermanshah Water Project and the expanded reach of the Popli Football Club. 12/17/19

Landmine survivors feel the pinch of sanctions

An estimated 20 million anti-personnel landmines were planted on roughly 16,200 square miles along the 680-mile Iran-Iraq border during the bloody eight-year conflict. Though the war ended thirty-one years ago, it still continues to claim lives. According to Landmine and Cluster Munition Monitor, by 2016, almost 10,000 Iranians had been indiscriminately killed. Still, the average Iranian isn't even aware that these killing fields exist in border provinces such as Ilam, Kermanshah, Khuzestan, Kurdistan, and West Azerbaijan. -Holly Darges, Atlantic Council 12/17/19

Surena IV, Iran's fourth generation humanoid robot, unveiled In Tehran

At a ceremony held in Tehran University on Saturday morning, attended by the Vice President for Science and Technology Sourena Sattari, and the Chancellor of University of Tehran, a fourth generation 'Sourena humanoid robot' was officially unveiled. Sourena refers to a series of Iranian-made humanoid robots, named after the Parthian General Sourena. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has placed the Sourena Robot among the five most prominent robots of the world after analyzing its performance. 12/16/19

American Drug Companies Obtain Permission To Export Medicines To Iran - Report

A member of Tehran's Chamber of Commerce has told local media that a few American drug companies have obtained permission from the U.S. government to export medicines to Iran. ILNA news website in Tehran quotes Alireza Kolahi as saying that the drug companies have also proposed the names of several Iranian banks as payment channels and the U.S. government has approved two banks. -Radio Farda 12/16/19

Iran: Thousands arbitrarily detained and at risk of torture in chilling post-protest crackdown

Iran's authorities are carrying out a vicious crackdown following the outbreak of nationwide protests on 15 November, arresting thousands of protesters as well as journalists, human rights defenders and students to stop them from speaking out about Iran's ruthless repression, said Amnesty International today. The organization has carried out interviews with dozens of people inside Iran who described how, in the days and weeks during and following the protests, the Iranian authorities have held detainees incommunicado and subjected them to enforced disappearance, torture and other ill-treatment. -Amnesty International 12/16/19

Book: Tappeh Sialk, The Glory Of Ancient Kashan

Tappeh Sialk on the outskirts of modern Kashan is arguably the most important ancient site in Iran before the rise of the Persian Empire in 550 BCE. Excavations here in the 1930s by a French team and by Iranian teams from 2000 AD onwards have cast light on the history of Iran from 6000 BCE onwards, spanning the Neolithic, Chalcolithic, Bronze Age and Iron Age periods. 12/16/19



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last updated on Thu Jan 16 12:26:55 EST 2020