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July 07 2015
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Iran Nuclear Talks to Continue Through Friday

- An interim nuclear agreement between Iran and six major powers will be extended through Friday to provide more time for talks on a final agreement, the United States said Tuesday. "We've made substantial progress in every area, but this work is highly technical and high stakes for all of the countries involved," Marie Harf, the spokeswoman for the U.S. delegation, said in a statement. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA 7/7/15

With Iranian "Windfall," Perfect is the Enemy of the Good

- What will Iran do with the money it gets as a result of an expected nuclear deal? That's a big question swirling around Washington these days. There's going to be a good of money involved, likely north of $100 billion in frozen funds that Iran will be entitled to repatriate. There will be even more in increased revenue, though this will trickle in more slowly than many think, owing to the required investments and time needed to get, for instance, the energy sector operating at anything near its capability. -Ali Gharib 7/7/15

Insurance deal aims to protect Asiatic Cheetah in Iran

- The Asiatic Cheetah, which now can be found only in Iran, has been offered increased protection through an agreement between the United Nations Development Program and Dana Insurance. 7/7/15

Document Reveals Billionaire Backers Behind United Against Nuclear Iran

- Among the many groups engaged in advocacy over a potential deal between Iran and world powers, United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) stands apart as by far the most mysterious. Late last month, UANI announced it would launch a "multi-million dollar" ad campaign, noting "a growing concern that U.S. negotiators could be pressured into making dangerous concessions in order to cement a deal," according to the group's CEO, Mark Wallace. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog 7/7/15

Iran: Blogger's father sentenced weeks after son's release

- Only weeks after jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki was finally released due to health problems, his father, Ahmad Ronaghi Maleki, has been sentenced to four months in jail. 7/7/15

Germany's Bauermann picked as Iran's basketball coach

- Signing his contract with Iran's Basketball Federation, Dirk Bauermann became the head coach of Iran's national team. The former coach of Germany Dirk Bauermann was appointed as new head coach of Iran's national basketball team on Monday penning a three-month contract. 7/7/15

What Do Iranian-Americans Think of the Nuclear Deal?

- MY family left Tehran in 1979, in the aftermath of the revolution that created the Islamic Republic of Iran. We arrived in the United States with nothing but a single suitcase each, assuming this would be only temporary. Once things settled down, we would surely be returning to our lives back in Iran. That was 36 years ago. -Reza Aslan, New York Times 7/7/15

Iran's IRGC launches 2nd Qadir radar system

- Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) has launched a long-rangeradar system in the southwest of the country to enhance its air defense capabilities.The second Qadir radar system was put into service in Iran's southwestern city of Ahwaz on Saturday. 7/7/15

Iranians ready for new chapter as nuclear talks approach conclusion

- Many hope Iran's economy and perhaps its complex political system will be transformed by the easing of sanctions and a new relationship with west -Ian Black, Guardian 7/7/15

Overwhelming Expert Consensus Favors Agreement with Iran

- There is an overwhelming consensus among non-proliferation, nuclear policy, and national security experts that a negotiated accord is the best, and likely the only, way to ensure that Iran never builds a nuclear weapon. But you would not know that if you relied on congressional hearings or most media coverage of the negotiations. -Joe Cirincione, LobeLog 7/6/15

Featured Video

Iran FM Zarif video message from Vienna

Foreign Ministers Try to Close Iran Nuclear Deal - Foreign ministers from Iran and a group of six world powers were in a familiar position Monday in Vienna, where they gathered for a final push to reach an agreement on Iran's nuclear program a day before their latest deadline. The diplomats have expressed a mix of progress and the need to finalize key unresolved issues in their bid to limit Iran's nuclear activity in return for needed sanctions relief. 7/6/15

The Iran I Saw - There wasn't much exceptional about my recent lunch out with a couple dozen young, aspiring entrepreneurs. It was a typical, crowded, buzzing, Nandos-like joint-good food cheap, easy to pull tables together so we could talk. These were men and women debating the latest technologies, describing their recent ideas... -Christopher Schroeder, Politico 7/6/15

Iranian Activist Appeals Six-Year Prison Sentence for Her Membership in Peaceful Political Group - Civil and political activist Minoo Mortazi Langroudi has launched an appeal against the six-year prison sentence she received for her peaceful activism. Ms. Langroudi was convicted on charges of disturbing national security and propaganda against the state, based on her activities with a peaceful group that is critical of government policies. 7/6/15

Disputes over missiles and arms embargo hold up Iran talks - A dispute over U.N. sanctions on Iran's ballistic missile program and a broader arms embargo were among issues holding up a nuclear deal between Tehran and six world powers on Monday, the day before their latest self-imposed deadline. -Reuters 7/6/15

Baba Joon: The first Persian-language Israeli film starring Hollywood Actor Navid Negahban - The film stars Iranian actor Navid Negahban, staring Emmy-award-winning show Homeland, as Abu Nazir. Whose recent work includes Clint Eastwood's new film American Sniper; Cyrus Nowrasteh's film The Stoning of Soraya M. and more. Navid has also had guest-starring roles on The Mentalist, 24, Lost, Law and Order, CSIand more. 7/6/15

Iran vows to double oil exports after sanctions lifted - Iran said on Sunday that it has serious plans to increase its oil exports to almost double the current levels after sanctions against the country are lifted. "We are like a pilot on the runway ready to take off. This is how the whole country is right now," Mansour Moazami, Iran's deputy petroleum minister for planning and supervision affairs, told the Wall Street Journal. 7/6/15

Meet Arshya Vahabzadeh: Named as One of MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators - Iranian American physician, Arshya Vahabzadeh, was recently named as one of MedTech Boston's 40 Under 40 Healthcare Innovators-a list of forty accomplished young professionals working to better the United States healthcare system. 7/6/15

Iran's Nuclear Program A Child Of Washington - The start of Iran's nuclear program can arguably be pegged to December 8, 1953. It was on that date that U.S. President Dwight D. Eisenhower delivered what was later dubbed his Atoms For Peace speech to the United Nations General Assembly. -Tony Wesolowsky, RFE 7/6/15

U.S. Sends Conflicting Signals to Bahrain - After claiming that Bahrain has achieved "meaningful progress," the United States decided to lift the holds on security assistance to Bahrain's military forces. Since this decision took place, the government summoned and then arrested Majeed Milad, the former chairman of the municipal council of the capital city of Manama as well as a board member of al-Wefaq, the main opposition party. -Matar E. Matar, LobeLog 7/6/15

Kerry Cites Progress, But Says Iran Nuclear Talks 'Could Go Either Way' - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, speaking in Vienna on July 5, said there has been genuine progress in the Iranian nuclear talks but that "we are not yet where we need to be on several of the most difficult issues" and that the talks "could go either way." Kerry, in remarks to reporters, said "it is now time to see whether or not we are able to close an agreement." 7/5/15

Iranian actor apologizes for pro gay marriage tweet - Bahram Radan, a famous Iranian actor, has apologized to Iranians for posting a tweet in support of a ruling by the US Supreme Court legalizing same-sex marriage across the entirety of the United States. 7/5/15

"No Legal Basis" for Charging Iranian Lawyer with Shaking Hands with Female Client - Iranian defense lawyer Mohammad Moghimi, who spent four days in detention for shaking hands with his female client, insists there are no legal grounds for the charge against him. "I hope they will stop pursuing this matter because the charge leveled against me does not have any legal basis. It's laughable," Moghimi told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. 7/5/15

Some Iranian MPs plan to confirm Babak Zanjani is in prison - A number of Iranian MPs say they are planning a visit to Evin Prison to see jailed Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani. The Iran daily reports that Hossein Dehdashti, a member of the committee investigating the Zanjani matter, said the MPs want to ascertain that Zanjani is indeed in prison. 7/5/15

Under Obama US More Popular Abroad - The Republican/neocon narrative that the United States has steadily lost its standing in the eyes of the world since Obama succeeded George W. Bush has been rather strongly undermined by the findings of a major new survey of 40 countries by the Pew Research Center and its Global Attitudes Project (GAP). -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 7/5/15

'Expert Groups' Hammering Out Details of Iran Nuclear Deal - U.S. officials in Vienna say international nuclear and sanctions experts are grinding through details of various issues in an effort to negotiate a final agreement on Iran's controversial nuclear program. -Mary Alice Salinas, VOA 7/4/15

Zarif Says 'Never Been Closer' To Nuclear Deal - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has said a lasting nuclear deal with Iran has "never been closer." In a message posted on YouTube late on July 3 (below), Zarif also said that there is "no guarantee" of success. 7/4/15

Iran beats Russia with straight sets in FIVB World League - Iran's national volleyball team has registered a straight-sets win against Russia in the 2015 Federation Internationale de Volleyball (FIVB) World League. On Friday, the Iranian squad picked up a home victory and won the pool B match at the 12,000-seater hall of the Azadi Sports Complex in western Tehran in consecutive sets (25-21, 25-21 and 25-21). 7/4/15

Iran denies report on 'tentative agreement' over sanctions relief - Iran has denied a report claiming that it has reached tentative agreement with the P5+1 group of world countries on the removal of the sanctions against the Islamic Republic in the course of ongoing nuclear negotiations in the Austrian capital, Vienna. 7/4/15

Iran sports body invites female reporters to cover volleyball showdown - With only two games of the world volleyball league championships left to be played in Iran, Iran's Volleyball Federation has called on female reporters to arrive at Azadi Stadium on Friday and Saturday nights to cover the matches between Iran and Russia. 7/4/15

Other Reasons to Review IAEA's Al-Kibar Conclusions - The UK's former ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Peter Jenkins, has done us the service of calling into question the methods by which the Agency's inspection team may have obtained or collected the uranium particles that contributed importantly to its conclusion that the building destroyed by Israeli missiles in 2007 at Dair Alzour "was very likely a nuclear reactor." -Robert Kelley, LobeLog 7/4/15

Kerry, Zarif to Meet on Key Iran Nuclear Disputes - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will meet with Iranian Foreign Minister Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Vienna Friday on key disputes that have prevented nuclear negotiators from meeting a June 30 deadline. The discussions follow IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano's trip to Tehran where he met with President Hassan Rouhani and Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani. -Mary Alice Salina, VOA 7/3/15

Yet-To-Be-Fully-Released Poll Suggests Solid Support for Iran Deal - The Chicago Council for Global Affairs (CCGA) has just released the highlights of a public opinion survey taken in late May and early June concerning public opinion on Iran's nuclear program. The numbers should encourage the Obama administration in its drive to conclude a deal between the P5+1 and Tehran in the next week. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 7/3/15

The Father Of Iran's Nuclear Program Recalls How It All Began - It was late in 1973 when Akbar Etemad got the call -- the shah wanted to discuss ways to launch a nuclear program that would cement Iran's place among the world's modern nations. Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi had reached the conclusion that Iran needed to diversify its energy sources for the future in order to provide for a rising population. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 7/3/15

Russia Says Iran Nuclear Deal In Sight - Russia's Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov has said Iran and world powers are close to a nuclear agreement. TASS news agency quoted Ryabkov as saying in Vienna on July 2, "All parties are of the opinion that this matter will be resolved in the coming days." 7/3/15

Law to let volunteers enforce morality worries Iranian administration - Iranian Justice Minister Mostafa PourMohammadi says the legislation regarding the Islamic tenet of "Enforcing Good Behaviour and Forbidding Bad" is breaking rules about the branches of government and their jurisdictions. 7/3/15

No Official Reason Given for Arrest of Former Professor and Activist by Security Agents in Tehran - The family of former chemistry professor and activist Mohammad Hossein Rafiee, 71, has not been given an official explanation for why he was arrested and imprisoned nearly two weeks ago. 7/3/15

Shiraz Arts Academy 3rd Anniversary Concert in Sunnyvale, California - An evening of music performances by Shiraz Arts Academys' talented students and prominent instructors. Sunday, August 16, 2015 from 6:30 PM to 8:30 PM at the Sunnyvale Theatre 7/3/15

Are We Negotiating With Iran or Persia? - Much more than a name is involved. In terms of a national state of mind the two identities sit side-by-side-but not quietly. "Iran" and "Persia" diverged a long time ago as cultural and political concepts but one cannot exist without the other-and wishing won't make the harsher one go away. -Clive Irving, Daily Beast 7/3/15

The Islamic State and the Terrible Twos - The Islamic State celebrated its one-year anniversary in customary fashion. Other organizations might sponsor parades and make speeches. ISIS spilled blood. A beheading in France, the murder of 38 tourists at a resort in Tunisia, and a bomb blast at a mosque in Kuwait all reminded the world, if it had somehow forgotten, that ISIS isn't merely interested in securing sovereignty over a particular stretch of territory. It has much grander ambitions. -John Feffer, LobeLog 7/3/15

Chicken in Vienna - With the negotiations on Iran's nuclear program in its final days (and seven days of overtime having just been announced), a broken leg is not the most serious impairment to Secretary of State Kerry's ability to conclude an agreement that will ensure Iran remains a non-nuclear-weapons state and advances U.S. interests in other respects... -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 7/2/15

Amherst University Reverses Ban On Graduate Students - Facing a backlash from international students, the U.S. state of Massachusett's flagship university said it is lifting a ban on Iranian nationals in certain graduate programs. Instead, the university said it is instituting monitoring measures to ensure compliance with U.S. sanctions against Iran. 7/2/15

Mansoureh Shojaee' letter to the Chief of Justice of Islamic Republic of Iran - In protesting the unlawful action that has taken place in processing my lawsuit in the Revolutionary Court, I Mansoureh Shojaee, journalist, researcher, woman's activist, address this letter to you. At the present time, I am a resident scholar at Hague, Netherlands, a research scholar in the area of social justice, human rights, and gender studies. 7/2/15

Family of American Marine Calls for Release From Iranian Prison - As the crowd of journalists covering the Iran talks swells, so too do the opportunities for media coverage. Hoping to catch the attention of high-level diplomats, the family of American-Iranian marine Amir Hekmati is in Vienna, pleading for his release from an Iranian prison after nearly four years. -Heather Murdock, VOA 7/2/15

Tehran Center For Female runaways Funded Mostly By Donations - Iran's minister of labour and social welfare says a center for homeless and runaway women will soon open in Tehran. ILNA reports that the center has been funded mainly by various charitable donations from within the country. 7/2/15

Iranian Chess Grandmaster Crested at DC International 2015 - Iranian chess grandmaster Ehsan Ghaem Maghami stood on the top of the podium at DC International 2015. On Tuesday and in the last round of the blitz section of the 9 round Swiss competitions held in Washington DC, the 32-year-old Iranian national came first with the overall score of 7 out of 9. 7/2/15

IAEA Chief, Iranian Officials Work to Resolve Nuclear Issues - The head of the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog met with Iranian officials Thursday in Tehran in the latest effort to resolve long-standing questions about the country's nuclear program. International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) chief Yukiya Amano held talks with the secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council, Ali Shamkhani, and was also due to meet with President Hassan Rouhani. 7/2/15

Iran's Alliance of Convenience with the Taliban? - Ismail Kosari, a conservative member of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission and the chair of Defense Committee of the Iranian parliament, confirmed in early June the Taliban's trip to Tehran: "I can't divulge any details, but what I can say is that they have declared their readiness to talk." -LobeLog 7/2/15

Iran repatriates 13 tons of frozen gold - Iran has secured the release of 13 metric tons of its gold assets blocked in South Africa under US-led sanctions, central bank Governor Valiollah Seif has said. The repatriation came thanks to the Iranian negotiating team's follow-up of the matter in the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna, the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) said in a statement. 7/2/15

The WINEP Letter and the Bipartisan Fallacy - For the past week, a letter from a varied group of policy experts has been making the rounds, mostly as a case against doing a deal with Iran. More particularly, many of these experts have been opposed to doing this deal currently being hashed out in Vienna. -Ali Gharib 7/1/15

Iran's Supreme Leader sets growth target at 8% - Iran's new development plan, unveiled by Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei on Tuesday, envisages sustainable growth of eight percent over the next five years. The Leader's blueprint for the years 2016-2021, communicated to President Hassan Rouhani and heads of the judiciary and legislature, also calls for economic diplomacy, notably in Southeast Asia, to "revive foreign investment and enter global markets". 7/1/15

Cyrus Copeland Investigates in New Book, Was Dad a Spy? - Searching for the truth behind allegations that his American father was a CIA spy in Iran, Cyrus Copeland has crafted a gripping memoir. Off the Radar: A Father's Secret, A Mother's Heroism, and A Son's Quest (Penguin/Blue Rider, 2015) takes readers through a dramatic, yet witty journey in understanding his dual Iranian and American identity. 7/1/15

Congress on Iran and Israel - As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. 7/1/15

French firm snaps up Iran railway deal - France's architectural firm AREP signed an agreement on Wednesday for redevelopment of three railway stations in Iran, marking a return of European companies as nuclear negotiations with Tehran are reaching a climax. 7/1/15

Iran's Communications Minister says Telegram not restricted by government - Following reports of disruptions in access to Telegram social networking site, Iran's minister of communications denied any involvement from government censorship in blocking the site. ISNA reports that Mahmoud Vaezi the communications minister said on Tuesday the ministry has no plans on restricting social networking sites. 7/1/15

Iran: Police and Basij crackdown on eating, drinking during Ramadan - Shiraz and Hamadan officials reports that since the beginning of the month of Ramadan, 600 people in total have been arrested in the two cities for breaking their fast in public. 7/1/15

Grassroots Groups Representing Millions of Americans Urge Congress to Support an Iran Deal - NIAC Action signed a letter sent today by grassroots organizations representing millions of Americans urging Congress to support a strong final nuclear deal with Iran. "Every single poll shows that the American public supports an Iran deal and yet Congress seems hellbent on voting to kill it," said NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi. 6/30/15

Critiquing a Critique of Obama's Approach to Iran - Last week, the Washington Institute for Near East Policy (WINEP) posted a "statement" on the Iranian nuclear negotiation. The statement attracted attention because some of the parties appeared to be finding fault with the Obama administration despite past service in that administration. -Peter Jenkins 6/30/15

Open Letter to 2016 Presidential Candidates from Prominent Iranian Americans - Thirty-seven prominent Iranian Americans, consisting of current and former government officials, foreign policy experts, scientists, business leaders, authors and media personalities, sent an open letter urging the 2016 presidential candidates to refrain from broad generalizations about the Iranian people when discussing the prospective nuclear agreement taking shape between the P5+1 and Iran. 6/30/15

Post-deal Iran Leaders Need 'Economic Momentum' to Solidify - As Iran and world powers negotiate a deal to lift international sanctions in exchange for curbing the Iranian nuclear program, economists say the deal could inject more than $100 billion into Iran's coffers. The money is not enough to entirely rescue Iran's ailing economy, they say, but it may be enough to create an "economic momentum" to solidify the leadership's power base. -Heather Murdock, VOA 6/30/15

Iranian Teachers' Leader Arrested, Pressured Over Protests - The head of the Iranian Teachers' Association, Esmail Abdi, was arrested when he reported to court in response to a summons. The Kaleme website reports that Abdi tried to board a plane to Armenia last week and only then did he realize he was under a foreign travel ban. 6/30/15

Iranian Parliament outlines extent of water crisis devastation - Iranian Parliament announced that recent research indicates repeated droughts have led to the desertification of two-thirds of the country. The Shahrvand daily reports that the statement from Parliament also indicates a significant decline in the country's water resources in the past 20 years. 6/30/15

Average temperatures across Iran rise by one degree centigrade - Iran Meteorological Organization announced that nine provinces have so far registered average temperatures three degrees centigrade higher than normal in June. The report adds that the month of June was one average one degree centigrade higher all across the country. 6/30/15

Don't Fear Iran's Impending Windfall - As Iran and the P5+1 look set to complete a historic nuclear agreement this week, the policy community in the US and Europe is very fearful that sanctions relief will provide Iran a dangerous windfall that it can use to expand its interventions in the region. -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj, LobeLog 6/30/15

Iran Talks: Days Dwindle Down to a Precious Few - By the morning of July 1, we should know whether President Barack Obama has achieved one of his presidency's central foreign policy goals: an agreement to deal effectively with the Iranian nuclear program. -Robert E. Hunter 6/29/15

Iran: Draconian amendment further erodes fair trial rights - The Iranian authorities have put another nail in the coffin of justice by making a retrogressive amendment in Iran's new Code of Criminal Procedures which limits the right to access an independent lawyer of one's choice during primary investigations in certain criminal cases, including those related to national security. The authorities must immediately amend the law to ensure that any person charged with a criminal offence has access to a lawyer of their own choosing from the time of arrest. -Amnesty International 6/29/15

Iran holds world's largest gas reserves - World proven natural gas reserves at end-2014 stood at 187.1 trillion cubic metres (tcm), sufficient to meet 54.1 years of global production. Proved reserves grew by 0.3% relative to end-2013. Growth in Russia (+0.4 tcm), Azerbaijan (+0.3 tcm) and the US (+0.2 tcm) accounted for all of the gross increase in global proved reserves in 2014. Iran (34.0 tcm) and Russia (32.6 tcm) hold the largest proved reserves. 6/28/15

Iranian human rights lawyer succeeds in reducing licence suspension - After months of protest, prominent Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has finally managed to reduce the suspension of her licence from three years to just nine months. Sotoudeh's Facebook page reports that because nine months have elapsed since the order was issued, she will be applying for her licence at the Bar Association in the next few days. 6/28/15

Record rise in foreign investments in Iran - Iran's media reported on Saturday that foreign investments in the country had seen an unprecedented three-time rise in the second quarter of 2015. Foreign investments in Iran over the period had reached as high as $3 billion. The figure was higher than the total of $2.1 billion of foreign investments made in the country from March 2014-2015. 6/28/15

Foundation of noted palace discovered in Isfahan - Archaeologists report that the foundation of the 250-year-old Jahan Nama Castle, described in texts of the era as a recreation site, has been found. Jahan Nama Palace was built at the time of Shah Abbas of the Safavid and provided a panoramic view of the city at the time. However, Zel-ol-Soltan gave orders to destroy it, claiming the site provided a view of Hasht Behesht Palace, where his sister lived. 6/28/15

Kerry, Zarif in Agreement on Iran Nuke Deal: Hard Work Ahead - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said "we're hopeful" days ahead of a deadline for a comprehensive agreement on Iran's nuclear program. "I think it's fair to say that we're hopeful. We have a lot of hard work to do. We have some very tough issues, and I think we all look forward to getting down to the final effort here to see whether or not a deal is possible," Kerry said Saturday in Vienna as he met with Iran Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif. -VOA 6/27/15

Iranian volleyballers edge past Poland in 2015 FIVB World League - The Iranian volleyball team has edged past world champion Poland in a Pool B match of the 2015 FIVB World League. On Friday night, the Iranian squad defeated its guests 3-2 at Tehran's Azadi stadium, packed with more than 12,000 passionate fans. 6/27/15

The 2nd Europe-Iran forum: on September 24-25, 201 in Geneva, Switzerland - In October 2014, the 1st Europe-Iran Forum became the first major international business conference dedicated to Iran's private sector commercial opportunities. Building on the success of the first event, BHB Emissary and its partners are proud to host the 2nd Europe-Iran Forum on September 24-25, 2015 at the prestigous Grand Hotel Kempinski in Geneva, Switzerland. 6/27/15

Laying Zero Enrichment to Rest - With the self-imposed deadline for Iran nuclear talks looming, obstacles to reaching a deal are emerging mostly from the Iranian side. The majles, or parliament, passed a bill seeking to restrain inspections on Iranian soil. More importantly, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran's supreme leader who has final word on all matters of state, laid out onerous conditions for a deal that, if he holds to his red lines, would make an accord difficult for world powers to agree to. -Ali Gharib 6/27/15

U.S. To Continue Rights Sanctions Against Iran, Regardless Of Nuclear Deal - The U.S. State Department says sanctions imposed against Iran in response to its violations of human rights will remain in place regardless of any nuclear deal brokered by Tehran and six world powers. Tom Malinowski, the U.S. assistant secretary of state for democracy, human rights, and labor, made the announcement on June 25 in Washington during the presentation of the State Department's 2014 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices. 6/27/15

Wikileaks Strikes Again: Saudi Meddling in Lebanon - Last Saturday morning, Al-Akhbar, a Lebanese daily opposed to the West- and Saudi-friendly March 14 movement, once again helped Wikileaks disseminate material, this time with 70,000 diplomatic cables from the Saudi foreign ministry. And nearly half a million more are lined up for publication through the holy month of Ramadan. -Aurelie Daher, LobeLog 6/27/15

Saudi Leaks Expose 'Checkbook Diplomacy' in Battle With Iran - Saudi Arabia's willingness to wield its oil money on the global diplomatic stage appears to have been laid bare, after the website WikiLeaks published tens of thousands of leaked cables from Riyadh's Ministry of Foreign Affairs. WikiLeaks has not revealed its source, but a group calling itself the "Yemen cyber army" has claimed it hacked government servers. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA 6/26/15

The Day After a Nuclear Deal - Iranian president Hassan Rouhani may soon discover that negotiating a nuclear deal was the easy part of his job. He is likely to have a much more difficult time in office--with pressure from his opponents and his supporters--once the initial euphoria of a deal passes. -Hooman Majd, Politico 6/26/15

Nuclear Talks: Paradigm Shift in Iran Foreign Policy? - During my recent trip to Tehran I had a chance to listen to and participate in discussions on both the political and societal levels about the final stages of the nuclear talks. As I discussed here in mid-February, the level of anxiety in Iran could not be higher. More importantly, the overall debate about the talks and all its details goes far beyond factional politics. -Adnan Tabatabai 6/25/15

US universities on symbolic visit to Iran - A group of senior United States university representatives has visited Iran, in what is believed to be the biggest academic delegation since the 1970s. As relations between the two countries begin to thaw, the delegation met representatives of 13 Iranian universities and research institutes. -Sean Coughlan, BBC 6/25/15

Not Waiting For Nuclear Deal, Shell, Other Oil Firms In Talks With Iran - Executives from Royal Dutch Shell and Eni have met Iranian officials in Tehran to discuss investing in the country's energy industry, the first time international oil firms have publicly confirmed such talks ahead of a possible nuclear deal with the West, the Financial Times has reported. 6/25/15

POLL: Iranian Public Opinion on Nukes, the U.S., Politics - A major new poll of Iranian public opinion with important and fascinating results was released here and in Tehran Tuesday and deserves much more attention than it is likely to get (at least in the United States). -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 6/24/15

iBridges: The Iranian Runaway Singularity - iBridges, a non-profit organization incubated at the University of California, Berkeley, and powered by leading Iranian-American technology entrepreneurs, investors, and academicians, reached another milestone this month. It convened the largest- ever gathering of Iranians focused on high-tech entrepreneurship, on June 4-6 in Berlin - the start-up capital of Europe. -Jahandad Memarian, Huffington Post 6/23/15

POLL: American Jewish Support for Iran Deal Exceeds Support Among General Population - American Jewish support for an agreement with Iran exceeds support for the deal among the general US population, according to a new poll. American Jews express strong support for a final agreement with Iran that increases inspections in exchange for economic sanctions relief. Fifty-nine percent say they would support such a deal, compared to 53 percent of American adults in an April CNN poll that asked the same question. -J Street 6/12/15

Deal or No Deal, Iran's Economy Will Continue to Grow - "The official response of [Iran] to sanctions has been framed as the Economy of Resistance, but essentially, it is a blueprint for economic reform," said Dr. Bijan Khajehpour, Managing Partner at the Vienna-based Atieh International Consultancy, speaking at the Wilson Center last week on the economic significance of a nuclear deal for the Iranian economy. -Ala Hashami-Haeri, NIAC 6/12/15

A Rapprochement or Just Wishful Thinking? - Not until his second term in office was secured, did President Obama dare to openly redress America's foreign policy trends in the turbulent Middle East, especially with regard to Iran. I say "openly" because the mismanagement of America's policies in that region has been less the result of a misreading of the issues, but more due to the fact that implementing corrective measures that best suited America's best interests would run against the powerful and influential special interest lobbies that control the Congress and help formulate the public opinion. -Kam Zarrabi 6/10/15

Mike Rostampour: A rising basketball player - Following is an interview with Michael Maziar Rostampour, a young Iranian-American and a rising basketball player: "Life inspires me. Every day I have two goals. To be the best person I can be, and to be the best basketball player I can be. I truly believe I will play in the NBA some day soon; whether it is next year or in 5 years. That is the ultimate goal and that is where I know I will be. I believe that in my heart and soul." 6/10/15

Photos: Baluch girls wearing "Chakan" dresses - The dresses of these baluch girls are ornamented by the art called 'Chakan-douzi,' which is a tradition among girls and women in Sistan and Baluchistan province in southeastern Iran. 6/8/15

Iran startups open biggest event in Berlin - Iranian entrepreneurs and business owners gathered in Berlin Thursday for a three-day startup conference to explore opportunities in Iran's hi-tech sector. Renowned American startup guru David McClure opened the iBRIDGE Berlin conference with a keynote speech to more than 80 business owners coming from Iran, Europe and the US. 6/5/15

The Additional Protocol and Beyond: A Legal and Political Point of View - Nobody knows the exact content of the Additional Protocol signed by Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in December 2003. That protocol was designed to complement and reinforce the somewhat outdated Safeguards Agreement signed by the same two parties in 1973, which entered into force the following year. -Francois Nicoulaud 6/3/15

Luxury train carrying foreign tourists arrives in Tehran - The Thousand and One Nights luxury train carrying more than 70 foreign tourists has arrived in the Iranian capital, Tehran. The group of 74 tourists was welcomed by the Deputy Head of Iran's Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Organization Morteza Rahmani-Movahhed and a group of journalists at Tehran's railway station. 6/2/15

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last updated on Tue Jul 7 13:56:37 GMT 2015