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Iraq, Iran, and WMDs: Scott Ritter interviewed by Foaad Khosmood
FKh: In your new book, Target Iran you say that Israeli intelligence was the true source of the new information on Iran's hidden nuclear facilities. You also say that Michael Ledeen and some Washington neocons arranged for MEK to be the conduit of this information. Why was it important for another organization to be the deliverer of this news? -ZNET - 1/31/07

Iranian Objectives in Afghanistan: Any Basis for Collaboration with the United States?
In November 2006, Project Iran convened a workshop that assessed the potential for the U.S. to collaborate with Iran over the issue of Afghanistan. The discussion had two objectives: first, to reach a better understanding of the role Afghanistan plays in Iran's strategic calculus; second, to assess U.S. objectives in Afghanistan and examine where those interests intersect or diverge from those of Iran. - 1/31/07

IRAN: A People Interrupted
Destined to become the standard book on modern Iranian history, Iran: A People Interrupted (by Hamid Dabashi) is a deeply informed and eloquently written account of a national struggle for freedom and democracy against the overwhelming backdrop of the U.S. military hegemony—one that will be of enduring, immediate, and urgent interest to anyone hoping to make sense of current events in the larger historical and regional contexts. - 1/31/07

Iranian Politicians React To Government's Disrespect For Parties
The populist ideas of President Mahmud Ahamdinejad's government were made evident recently in remarks by Culture Minister Hussein Saffar-Herandi, who has been skeptical about the usefulness of political parties. -RFE - 1/31/07

U.K. Scientists Work To Save 'Lesser-Known' Mammals
British scientists have launched an ambitious conservation project that focuses on some of the world's rarest and most extraordinary mammals. The plan includes some animals traditionally overlooked by scientists, and will allow the public to track and donate to individual projects via a new website. Iran and Central Asia provide habitats for several species on the list. -RFE - 1/31/07

Barry Lando on "The History of Western Complicity in Iraq, From Churchill to Kennedy to George W. Bush"
Barry Lando, a former 60 Minutes producer, examines how the United States has meddled in Iraq dating back to the Eisenhower administration. He also looks at how the Reagan and Bush administration helped arm Saddam Hussein at a time when he was committing his deadliest atrocities. -Democracy Now - 1/31/07

US 'using opposition group to track Iranian influence networks in Iraq'
According to some leaks from Baghdad, Americans have begun to form special groups comprising MKO members to assist them to track Iranian intelligence networks in Iraqi cities, as well as to provide the US intelligence with a huge amount of information from inside Iran, especially with the escalation of the Iranian nuclear file. -Gulf News - 1/31/07

Ivanov: Russia to confer with 5+1 Group on Iran nuclear issue
Russia's Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov here Tuesday evening announced that Moscow will consult with the 5+1 Group (the UN Security Council's five permanent members Russia, Britain, France, China and the US plus Germany) to try to reach a peaceful settlement to the Iran nuclear issue in the near future. - 1/31/07

"Building a Case for War" with Iran: Jafarzadeh and the Downing Street Dossier Redux
"The al-Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guards is stepping up terrorism and encouraging sectarian violence in Iraq," Alireza Jafarzadeh—a US-based Iranian dissident who is linked to the Marxist cult Mujahedin-e-Khalq (MeK), officially listed by the State Department as a terrorist group—told the Moonie, er Washington Times earlier this month. In essence, Jafarzadeh is but another Ahmed Chalabi, pedaling lies and exaggerations, the vile stuff of neocon pretext. -Global Research - 1/31/07

Military Balance 2007 Launched
In addition to the regular Chart of Armed Conflict and detailed descriptions of the armed forces around the world and a large array of non-state actors, The Military Balance 2007 offers updates on defence transformation in the US and key defence trends in all the world’s major regions. - 1/31/07

Iranian President's Setbacks Embolden His Domestic Critics
With another confrontational moment in Iran's nuclear standoff approaching next month, criticism of the country's president at home is increasing. -WSJ - 1/31/07

Are the Iranians Out for Revenge?
Some Iraqis speculate that the IRGC has already started a campaign of revenge with the killing of five American soldiers in Karbala on Jan. 20, nine days after the arrest of the IRGC members in Erbil. As the logic of the rumor goes, five American soldiers were killed for five Iranians taken; Karbala was an IRGC message to release its colleagues — or else. -TIME - 1/31/07

Human Rights Watch: U.S. should Cut Off Cluster Munition Sales to Israel & Compel Israel to Provide Strike Data
Preliminary US government findings that Israel violated agreements with the United States by its use of cluster munitions in Lebanon last summer should lead to an immediate cutoff of all US cluster munitions sales to Israel, Human Rights Watch said today. - 1/31/07

The Cold War's Deadly Legacy: How the U.S.'s Atom for Peace Program Helped Spread Nuke Technology to Iran and Beyond
"The specter of nuclear warfare waged by North Korea or Iran has hung over the world in recent months. But beyond that fear and foreboding looms a more far-reaching threat: the vast amount of nuclear bomb-grade material scattered across the globe. And it wasn't Kim Jong Il or the ayatollahs of Iran who put it there. America did." -Democracy Now - 1/31/07

Iran-Pakistan-India gas pipeline may not be a pipe-dream anymore
Strong positive indications have emerged recently that the multi-billion Iran-Pakistan-India (IPI) gas pipeline will go ahead, a leading Pakistani analyst has said. -IRNA - 1/31/07

New U.S. Middle East Commander To Focus on Regional Diplomacy
Admiral William Fallon, nominated to be the new U.S. commander in the Middle East, says he will focus on regional diplomacy and carrying out President Bush's new Iraq plan, which calls for an American troop surge to help Iraqi forces reduce violence-wracked Baghdad neighborhoods. -USINFO - 1/31/07

Iranian Foreign Minister invited to attend conference of Iraq neighboring states FMs
The idea for such a meeting was suggested by the Iranian foreign minister during recent visit of Syrian Foreign Minister Walid al-Moualem to Tehran. It was then welcomed by the Iraqi foreign minister. -IRNA - 1/31/07

The neocons have learned nothing from five years of catastrophe
Their zealous advocacy of the invasion of Iraq may have been a disaster, but now they want to do it all over again - in Iran -Guardian - 1/31/07

Iran: Fajr Film Festival To Screen Documentary On Israeli Photojournalist
Iranians have expressed surprise that a documentary by an Israeli director, Solo Avital, about a Tel Aviv photojournalist will appear at Fajr. The festival has been held every year since 1982 to commemoration Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. -RFE - 1/31/07

Khatami: There is a "tall wall of distrust" between Iran and U.S.
"A relation requires mutual understanding; it is not possible for Iran to show flexibility when the other side's policy is to change Iran's regime which is the most democratic system in the region," Khatami said at the World Economic Forum Annual Meeting 2007. U.S. Senator John Kerry, who was the next speaker, criticized what he called the "unfortunate habit" of Americans to see the world "exclusively through an American lens." -MNA - 1/31/07

Bush Says No Plans To Invade Iran
President Bush says no one in his administration is talking about invading Iran, although all options remain on the table. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House, Mr. Bush was asked about tensions with Tehran during a nationally broadcast interview. - 1/31/07

Bush 'spoiling for a fight' with Iran
US officials in Baghdad and Washington are expected to unveil a secret intelligence "dossier" this week detailing evidence of Iran's alleged complicity in attacks on American troops in Iraq. The move, uncomfortably echoing Downing Street's dossier debacle in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq invasion, is one more sign that the Bush administration is building a case for war. -Guardian - 1/31/07

The Middle East on a Collision Course (1): Recent Saudi-Iranian Contacts to Resolve the Lebanon Crisis
In recent days, there have been many reports on intensive contacts between Saudi Arabia and Iran, at the initiative of the latter, aimed at finding a resolution to the Lebanon crisis and preventing civil war in Lebanon. -MEMRI - 1/31/07

US accuses allies of dragging their feet over Iran
Divisions are emerging in the West’s united front towards Iran with fears being voiced over the aggressive military posture adopted by America, while European allies are accused by the US of dragging their feet. -TIMES Online, UK - 1/31/07

Magnificent mourning ceremonies underway across Iran on Ashura
Magnificent mourning ceremonies are underway across the country on Ashura Tuesday to honor memory of Imam Hossein (AS) and martyrs of Karbala. -IRNA - 1/30/07

Iran: Rift Emerging Between President And Clerics
The Iranian dailies "Ayande-yi No" and "Etemad" have commented this month on increasingly fragile relations between theologians in Qom -- Iran's main center of religious studies -- and the government of President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, whose populist manner has not proved entirely palatable to clerics concerned with public morals and political stability. -RFE - 1/30/07

American-Iranian Friendship Committee participates in anti-war rally in DC
Following a period of educational and local activities of the U.S. peace movement, the demonstration in Washington, DC on January 27, 2007 was well-attended and enthusiastic in spirit. - 1/30/07

Reporters Without Borders concerned about Iranian journalists after arrests
Three online journalists and women’s rights activists, Tala’t Taghinia, Mansoureh Shojaie and Farnaz Seify, were arrested at Tehran airport on 27 January as they were about to board a plane for India to undergo journalism training. - 1/30/07

Proposal for OPEC-type gas bloc between Iran and Russia gets attention
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in a meeting with Russian secretary of national security council Igor Ivanov on Sunday suggested that Iran and Russia would form a gas cooperation organization like OPEC. The two countries have about half of global gas reserves are considered world major gas producers. -IRNA - 1/30/07

Iran: Tehran To Ponder UN Offer To Delay Sanctions
Iran says it is considering an offer from the United Nations which would suspend sanctions against Iran for a certain period of time if Iran stops its sensitive nuclear work. -RFE - 1/30/07

Could Weak Oil Cost Venezuela, Iran Clout?
Softening oil prices over the past few months have spurred hope in Washington that less revenue for oil-rich states could weaken the hand of governments the U.S. considers worrisome -- particularly those in Iran, Venezuela and Russia. -WSJ - 1/30/07

Shell defies US pressure and signs £5bn Iranian gas deal
Shell has signed an important deal to help Iran develop a major gas field, ignoring growing pressure from George Bush to isolate the country for being part of what he alleges is an "axis of evil". -Guardian - 1/30/07

No chance for Isfahan's subway to pass under Chahar Bagh street: Official
In a recent visit to Isfahan, president of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization announce that the subway will for sure not pass underneath the historic Chahar Bagh Street. -CHN - 1/30/07

Bush Says He Will Take Action if Iran Foments Violence in Iraq
President Bush says if Iran escalates violence in Iraq, the United States will respond firmly. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House that Mr. Bush says he will do whatever it takes to protect American troops. - 1/30/07

Marjane Satrapi: 'the Iraq war was about nothing but oil'
In spite of her frequent visits to North America, Satrapi doesn’t betray warm feelings when discussing the US. She's a fierce critic on American intervention in Iraq. -Café Babel - 1/30/07

Israeli movie makes Tehran film festival
'More than 1000 words,' an Israeli-German film portraying life in Israel under current state of conflict, has been requested to participate in 25th annual film festival in Tehran -YNet, Israel - 1/30/07

Las Vegas Gives 3 to 2 Odds America Will Go to War With Iran
Unconfirmed sources report that 'guys in the know' in Vegas have increased the odds that America will be going to war with Iran within 6 months to 3 to 2. -Unconfirmed Sources (satire) - 1/30/07

Two Indian companies sign steel production agreement with Iran
TATA Steel industrial group and Iranian Mines and Mining industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) agreed to produce two million tones steel in the Persian Gulf zone for mineral and metal industries in Bandar Abbas. -IRNA - 1/30/07

Iran: Pasdaran threaten to abduct U.S. troops
In an article published by the Pasdaran's mouthpiece, Sobhe Sadegh, the director of the centre for strategic studies of the Iranian presidency, Reza Zakeri, also says Iran will retaliate against any further abduction of Iranian nationals. -AKI - 1/30/07

Dubai-based realty firm posts $100 million in revenue
“Our company was the first to extensively introduce UAE real estate to the Iranian market. The strategy has resulted in steady growth that has boosted our confidence to further expand operations in different sectors,” said Parvaneh Khosravi, AFTAB President. -GOWEALTHY.COM - 1/30/07

Khatami to Haaretz: No chance of talks between Iran, Israel
Former Iranian president Mohammed Khatami told Haaretz yesterday that there was no chance for talks between Iran and Israel. Speaking after a session at the World Economic Forum at Davos, Khatami said a solution for the Arab-Israeli conflict must be found that would allow the Palestinian refugees to return to their homes and establish a Palestinian state. -Haaretz, Israel - 1/30/07

He is Awake: Close Up on Cyrus Kar
Cyrus Kar, an Iranian-American, became an identifiable face on CNN news reports for being wrongfully imprisoned and in violation of his Constitutional Rights. He went to Iraq to film a historical documentary on his Royal namesake Cyrus the Great hoping to shoot footage of ruins in Babylon and archeological sites. -Darius KADIVAR - 1/29/07

Iranians Join Anti-War Protests
Iranian expatriate community answers the call to action against war with Iran in unprecedented numbers -Daniel M Pourkesali, CASMII - 1/29/07

Zohre Elahian's Passion for Humanity
Persistent, self-sacrificing, and with a heart of gold, Zohre is the embodiment of volunteerism at its ideal. Residing in Los Altos, California with her husband Kamran Elahian, a trailblazing philanthropist himself, Zohre has found not one, but several ways to help communities in need. -PARSA - 1/29/07

Painting is my Life: Ali Chitsaz, A Story Telling Painter
I was deeply taken by the works of Mr. Ali Chitsaz; I found his work most daring, cool to the deep point of cynicism yet warm and caring. The characters in his paintings each had a life and one could sit and wonder about what led them to this point. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/29/07

Iranian Diplomat: Tehran Plans to 'Greatly' Expand Military, Economic Ties With Baghdad
Iran's ambassador to Iraq says Tehran plans to greatly expand its military and economic ties with Baghdad. -VOA - 1/29/07

Women's Rights Activists Released In Iran
Three Iranian women's rights activists and journalists have been released from detention, Radio Farda reports. - 1/29/07

Meanwhile: An Iranian, a coup and regime change
I watched with anxiety President George W. Bush's seventh State of the Union address, hoping for words that would ease my fear that America would soon bomb Iran, my place of birth. The address however re- affirmed my worse nightmares. -Behzad Yaghmaian, IHT - 1/29/07

Russia Upset with US Over Mideast Policies
Russia's foreign minister says he plans to demand an explanation from the United States over its growing military presence in the Middle East. He also criticized the U.S. over its policies toward Iran. -VOA - 1/29/07

Iranian official: Tehran received letter from U.S. aimed at resolving 'current case' between two countries
Iran's foreign ministry spokesman said Sunday that Tehran has received a letter from the United States which sought to resolve a dispute between the two countries. -AP - 1/29/07

Italy remains top trading partner of Iran in EU
Italy remains the top trading partner of Iran in the European Union followed by Germany, France and the Netherlands according to the figures for the first ten months of 2006 released by Eurostat, the EU's statistical office. -IRNA - 1/29/07

Iraqi Police: More Than 250 Insurgents Killed in Battle Near Najaf
Iraqi sources say the raid was launched while insurgents were planning to attack Shi'ite clerics during this week's Ashura observances in Karbala, between Najaf and Baghdad. -VOA - 1/29/07

Targeting Iran: Why Can't Americans See What's Coming?
The American public and the US Congress are getting their backs up about the Bush Regime's determination to escalate the war in Iraq. A Massive protest demonstration is occurring in Washington DC today, and Congress is expressing its disagreement with Bush's decision to intensify the war in Iraq. -Counterpunch - 1/29/07

Oil refinery meeting to be held in Tehran
The first two-day international oil refinery meeting will be held in Tehran from February 17-19 and will be attended by Iran's oil minister and minister of economic affairs and finance. -IRNA - 1/29/07

Three Iranian Women's Rights Activists Arrested!
Tala't Taghinia, Mansoureh Shojaie, and Farnaz Seify, women's rights activists, journalists, and members of the Women's Cultural Center, were arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport in Tehran, while trying to exist the country to attend a journalism training in New Delhi India. - 1/28/07

Russia committed to completing Bushehr nuclear power plant on time
Russia's Security Council Secretary Igor Ivanov in his meeting with Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Sunday stressed his country's pledge to complete Bushehr nuclear power plant project on the scheduled date. -IRNA - 1/28/07

Former Iranian President Khatami and Senator John Kerry meet in Davos
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini here Sunday assessed as "ordinary" a meeting held between former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami and 2004 US Democratic presidential candidate Senator John Kerry. -IRNA - 1/28/07

America ‘Poised to Strike at Iran’s Nuclear Sites’ from Bases in Bulgaria and Romania
President Bush is preparing to attack Iran's nuclear facilities before the end of April and the US Air Force's new bases in Bulgaria and Romania would be used as back-up in the onslaught, according to an official report from Sofia. -Sunday Herald - 1/28/07

Iran stands second at world kabaddi meet
Iran finished runner-up to India in the second world kabaddi tournament in Bombay Friday night. -MNA - 1/28/07

A different Iran in Hot Spots Festival
Two Iranian artists, Reza Abedini and Mohsen Namjoo were invited to take part in the 36th edition of the international Hot Spots festival, Rotterdam. -ISNA - 1/28/07

They're broken men, so don't let them take us to a new war
Presidents Bush and Ahmadinejad have lost face at home; now others must forge peaceful settlements in the Middle East -Guardian - 1/28/07

On Iran, Bush Faces Haunting Echoes of Iraq
As President Bush and his aides calibrate how directly to confront Iran, they are discovering that both their words and their strategy are haunted by the echoes of four years ago — when their warnings of terrorist activity and nuclear ambitions were clearly a prelude to war. -New York Times - 1/28/07

North Korea Denies Nuclear Cooperation With Iran
North Korea is dismissing speculation in Western media that it is secretly helping Iran to develop a nuclear weapons capability. -VOA - 1/28/07

World Bank finances sewage projects in northern Iranian cities
World Bank will finance sewage projects in the cities of Sari and Babol in the northern province of Mazandaran for a five-year period. -IRNA - 1/28/07

London Court to Officially Announce its Verdict to Iran
In a recent court hearing held in London, Iran lost the legal battle over bas-relief of an Achaemenid soldier from the ancient Persian capital of Persepolis. The Court’s final ruling will be delivered to Iranian authorities in an official statement. -CHN - 1/27/07

Escalation of US Iran military planning part of six-year Administration push
The escalation of US military planning on Iran is only the latest chess move in a six-year push within the Bush Administration to attack Iran, a RAW STORY investigation has found. - 1/27/07

What a smart chess game the US is playing
To a casual observer of recent turbulent events in the Middle East nothing makes sense... But to the US strategists, using neocons' "The new American century" as their bible, these events are all coherent calculated moves culminating in checkmating Iran. In chess one must anticipate the opponent's moves and block or neutralise them. -Adam Javid, Campaign Iran - 1/27/07

What if Iran Suspends? A Western Dilemma
As the Feb. 21 deadline for Iran to halt its uranium enrichment programme fast approaches, both Iran and the West are scrambling to prepare themselves for all possible moves by the other side. -Trita Parsi, NIAC - 1/27/07

Pollution poses serious threat to Persian Gulf ecosystem, corals
Giant oil tankers plying the Persian Gulf waters, offshore and onshore oil and natural gas fields as well as the related industries in the region are all posing serious threats to the marine life in this world's major waterway. -MNA - 1/27/07

Russia Questions U.S. Military Buildup In Mideast
Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said today that Moscow expects Washington to explain the growing U.S. military presence in the Middle East. Lavrov was quoted as saying today that what he called "the rather aggressive rhetoric from Washington" is continuing, as are U.S. actions to increase its military presence in the region. - 1/27/07

Outsourcing Terrorism
It would be naive to think that ‘outsourcing’ is a new phenomenon; at least the kind we see in Iraq today can be traced back to the 1940’s. In 1947, the National Security Act created the CIA. Little known or discussed is the fact that one of the fist acts of the National Security Council was the subversion of Italian democracy. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 1/27/07

Iraq: Growing Numbers Flee Sectarian Violence
Since the U.S.-led invasion in 2003, the UNHCR estimates that 12 percent of Iraqis have fled their homes due to violence, which it says is the largest long-term movement of people in the Middle East since the creation of Israel in 1948. -RFE - 1/27/07

UN Adopts Resolution Condemning Holocaust Denial
The U.N. General Assembly has adopted a resolution condemning any attempt to deny the Holocaust. From U.N. headquarters, VOA's Peter Heinlein reports Iran's delegate was alone in speaking out against the measure. - 1/27/07

FM: Iran welcomes comprehensive formula on N-case
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran Saturday Iran would welcome a comprehensive formula toward solving the dispute over its peaceful nuclear program. -IRNA - 1/27/07

Iran's Oil Ministry gives private sector OK to build two refineries in Qeshm
The Oil Ministry has agreed to allow the private sector to construct two refineries in Qeshm, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) said on Saturday. -MNA - 1/27/07

Saudi king dismisses alliance against Tehran: report
Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah has dismissed some reports in Iranian press media that Riyadh is trying to form a coalition with other countries against Tehran, a Kuwaiti newspaper reported on Saturday. -MNA - 1/27/07

Takhti Cup Competition Strengthens U.S.-Iran Wrestling Ties
The U.S. freestyle wrestling team has returned from the Takhti Cup, held January 18-19 in Bandar Abbas, Iran, where they competed against some of the world's best wrestlers and shared in the enthusiasm and friendship of the Iranian fans and public. - 1/26/07

Iranian Americans Elected to the California Democratic State Party Central Committee
On Sunday, January 14, 2007, three Iranian-Americans were elected as delegates to the Democratic State Central Committee (DSCC) of the California Democratic Party. - 1/26/07

We are the people of Iran: A look at the book "We are Iran"
In recent years, we have seen the publication of a large number of books on Iran, whether memoirs or historical, literary and political studies. We are Iran is different from any of those. This is a book about ordinary Iranians as seen through the eyes of the country’s many bloggers, mainly young people who are voicing their hopes and anxieties through their writings. -Fariba Amini - 1/26/07

American, Iranian Cultures Support Space Pioneer's Achievements
Iran and the United States are thousands of kilometers apart, but they share the same sky. And when Iranian and American children look up into that sky, they often share the same aspirations and hopes. - 1/26/07

Troops Authorized to Kill Iranian Operatives in Iraq
The Bush administration has authorized the U.S. military to kill or capture Iranian operatives inside Iraq as part of an aggressive new strategy to weaken Tehran's influence across the Middle East and compel it to give up its nuclear program, according to government and counterterrorism officials with direct knowledge of the effort. -Washington Post - 1/26/07

New Report Challenges Blair's Views on Iran
Today, a report will be delivered to Number 10 Downing Street and to the news editors of all major media networks in Britain and the world, countering the some misconceptions that surround alleged threat posed by Iran. -Campaign Iran (CASMII) - 1/26/07

Iran Set to Try Space Launch
Iran has converted its most powerful ballistic missile into a satellite launch vehicle. The 30-ton rocket could also be a wolf in sheep's clothing for testing longer-range missile strike technologies, Aviation Week & Space Technology magazine reports in its Jan. 29 issue. - 1/26/07

IAPAC Joins the Working Group on Ancestry
In the hope of securing an accurate count of the number of Iranian Americans residing in the United States, the Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) has become a member of the Ancestry Working Group (AWG). - 1/26/07

Stop the Iran War Before It Starts
While President Bush, a Republican, remains Commander in Chief, a Democrat-controlled Congress shares responsibility on war and peace from this point on. The conflict in Iraq, although ongoing, is a product of the Republican-controlled past. The looming conflict with Iran, however, will be assessed as a product of a Democrat-controlled present and future. If Iraq destroyed the Republican Party, Iran will destroy the Democrats. -The Nation - 1/26/07

US, Iranian Publics Not So Different
The people of Iran and the United States share many of the same hopes and fears about global problems but remain deeply distrustful of each other's government, according to a major survey of public opinion in both countries released here Wednesday. -IPS - 1/26/07

IAEA's ElBaradei Says Attack on Iran Would be Catastrophic
The head of the U.N. nuclear agency says an attack on Iran because of its nuclear program would be counterproductive and catastrophic. -VOA - 1/26/07

Washington Bishop Sees Iranian Meetings Bearing Fruit
Washington Bishop John B. Chane participated in three days of talks with senior Iranian religious and political officials in the capital of Tehran as guests of Muhammad Khatami, the country’s former president, in early December. Later he spoke about the visit in person with President George W. Bush. -Living Church Foundation - 1/26/07

University of Chicago not showing goodwill on return of Achaemenid tablets: official
"When the tablets were handed over to the university, it had agreed to send the artifacts back after several years, but the university has still not fulfilled the agreement after 70 years," Ali-Mohammad Tarafdari told the Mehr News Agency on Friday. - 1/26/07

Afghanistan: More Women Operating Their Own Businesses
It is an unusual sight for Afghanistan -- where for years women were barred from public life -- and it is also a small step in bringing them into spheres previously considered to be reserved for men. -RFE - 1/26/07

Another U.S. attempt to severe Iran/Iraq ties
The United States has long been claiming that Iran's interfering in Iraq, yet it never presented any evidence of Iranian networks operating or training what it calls “insurgents in the strife-torn neighboring country. -Aljazeera - 1/26/07

Iran says no state accepts IAEA inspectors' unprofessional acts
An Iranian diplomat said in Tehran on Friday that the IAEA inspectors who refuse to do their main and legal jobs and carry out unprofessional measures are denied the entry to the country. -IRNA - 1/26/07

Orchestra to play Iran's Nuclear symphony in Tehran's Azadi Square
The Azadi Square in western Tehran will resound with the symphony, representing the nation's peaceful nuclear program, on Feb. 11 to mark the 28th anniversary of the victory of the Islamic Revolution. -MNA - 1/26/07

Actress set to host Iranian film screening
Aghdashloo, is in Houston today to host a screening of Iranian director Majid Majidi's The Willow Tree as part of the 14th annual Iranian Film Festival at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. -Houston Chronicle - 1/26/07

Ahmadinejad's Achilles Heel: The Iranian Economy
What a difference a year makes. It was in mid 2005 that Ahmadinejad won a land-slide victory (62%) in the presidential election. As a presidential candidate he had promised to improve the lives of the poor and the lower classes by "putting petroleum income on people's tables". His campaign motto was "it is possible and we can do it". -Abbas Bakhtiar, Norway - 1/25/07

Signs Political Elite Moving To Restrain Iranian President
Hints are emerging in Tehran that Iranians of various political persuasions are trying to put the brakes on firebrand President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. -RFE - 1/25/07

Tehran power struggle intensifies
Iran's beleaguered president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, is facing a powerful challenge from his fiercest political rival for control of the country's nuclear and economic policies. -Guardian - 1/25/07

Tehran Art Scene: Omid Masoumi
Once in a while, on our gallery outings, we come across a most interesting artist, good enough to follow and keep an eye out for in years to come. On average we go to two or three galleries every week, most of them on Fridays as Tehran traffic discourages most art lovers’ inclination to go to many galleries during the week. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/25/07

Lake Urmia's artemia stocks declining: researcher
The population of the famous saltwater crustacean living in Lake Urmia, northwestern Iran, is rapidly in decline, the director of the Artemia Research Center at the University of Urmia told IRNA on Wednesday. -MNA - 1/25/07

Russian Defense Chief: Iranian, N. Korean Missiles No Threat to Europe
Russian Defense Chief: Iranian, N. Korean Missiles No Threat to Europe -VOA - 1/25/07

Four Iranian Arabs executed after unfair trials, says Amnesty International
Amnesty International deplores the executions earlier today of four Iranian Arab men and fears for the lives of other prisoners who are reported to have been sentenced to death recently following unfair trials. - 1/25/07

Rafsanjani: Iran committed to peaceful use of nuclear energy
Expediency Council Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani said that Iran is committed to peaceful use of nuclear energy. "Iran is not after any nuclear ambition and expects others not to do so," said Rafsanjani in a meeting with the UK ambassador to Tehran Jeffrey Adams on Wednesday. -IRNA - 1/25/07

An Animated Adventure, Drawn From Life
Ms. Satrapi said she wrote “Persepolis” as an answer to the relentless and loaded question of what it means to be Iranian. But her book’s success has meant that she has both gently educated those in the West — “Persepolis” is taught in 118 colleges in the United States, including West Point, according to Pantheon, its publisher — and taken part in a larger conversation about the book’s global resonances. -New York Times - 1/25/07

Iran Human Rights Documentation Center Releases Report: "A Faith Denied: The Persecution of the Bahá'ís of Iran"
The Bahá'í faith has been effectively criminalized by the Islamic Republic of Iran and persecution of Bahá'ís is rising, the Iran Human Rights Documentation Center (IHRDC) documents in a new report released today. - 1/25/07

Members of Congress Question Iraq Plan, Seek Alternatives
Senate leaders from both major U.S. political parties are crafting resolutions that formally express concern over President Bush’s plan to increase U.S. troop levels in Iraq. -USINFO - 1/25/07

Israel's President Asks to Temporarily Step Aside
Iranian-born Israeli President Moshe Katsav, who is facing indictment on rape and other charges, says he will ask Israel's parliament to allow him to temporarily step down from his ceremonial post, and will immediately resign his position if formal charges of rape and abuse of power are brought against him. -VOA - 1/25/07

Iran's L90 is a mediocre car: industries minister
Iran's Minister of Mines and Industries Alireza Tahmasbi maintained that the Iranian version of French budget car, Logan (L90) is a mediocre automobile. -MNA - 1/25/07

Iranian sees border danger
A ranking Iranian diplomat on Monday said the chaos of Iraq was spilling over into his country, spreading a destabilizing influence to its Arab population. -Los Angeles Times - 1/25/07

Donors Gather in Paris To Offer Aid to Lebanon
Lebanon is set to reap millions of dollars in aid Thursday, when representatives from some 35 Western and Middle Eastern countries meet for a donors' conference in Paris. From the French capital, Lisa Bryant has more on the meeting, which takes place amid continuing unrest in the Middle Eastern country. -VOA - 1/25/07

The Sculptor of Iran: Master Abolhassan Khan Sadighi (1894-1995)
The prominent Iranian painter and sculptor Master Abolhassan Khan Sadighi was born in the Odlaydjan area of Tehran in 1894. At the age of seven he went to the Aghdassieh school which was established by Sa'id al-Olamai Laridjani, one of the founders of the modern schools in Iran. Influenced by his family's encouragement, he entered the Alliance school after finishing his primary education. - 1/24/07

Philadelphia Museum of Art Celebrate Norooz on Sunday, March 11, 2007
Norooz is the joyous festival of new life observed by Persians and the neighboring cultures of the Tajik, Afghan, Uzbek and Kurdish people. The Museum is proud to welcome the Silk Road Dance Company, whose dazzling performances feature elaborate costumes, beautiful stories and festive music. Families can make their own Norooz inspired crafts in the Make and Take Workshop and create drawings in the Persian Galleries. - 1/24/07

Iran: Health Official Fears New Wave Of HIV Infections
Iranian officials frequently maintain that most of that country's HIV infections are the result of intravenous drug abuse -- often in prison. But a senior health official's recent warning of the potentially exponential spread of HIV and AIDS through sex suggests that an official reluctance to discuss extramarital intimacy and other forbidden topics might be giving way to a more realistic view of AIDS. -RFE - 1/24/07

Israeli Shi'ite Specialist Plays-Down “Shi’ite Crescent” Alarms
Diplomacy between the US and Iran can institute regional stability, Middle East scholar and expert on modern Shi’ite nationalism, Yitzak Nakash, said yesterday at a Woodrow Wilson Center briefing in Washington. “Washington and Tehran need to acknowledge the mistakes of the past and begin a dialogue,” said Dr. Nakash. -NIAC - 1/24/07

Five Iranian Churches Put Up for UNESCO Registration
Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) completed the file of Qara Kelisa alongside four other Iranian churches to be submitted to UNESCO for world registration. -CHN - 1/24/07

Predecessor's grievances haunt Tehran Symphony Orchestra conductor
Nearly two years since the resignation of former Tehran Symphony Orchestra conductor Ali Rahbari, the current conductor is complaining about the same things that caused Rahbari to quit: financial problems! -MNA - 1/24/07

4th tripartite meeting on "The Peace Pipeline" kicks off in Tehran
The working committee of the Iran-Pakistan- India gas pipeline project started a two-day meeting in Tehran Wednesday to discuss pricing for Iranian natural gas that is to be transported to India via Pakistan through the pipeline. -IRNA - 1/24/07

Japanese Archeologists to Start Excavations at Bolaghi Gorge
Next week, a team of Japanese archeologists will come to Iran to start excavations in the historic site of Bolaghi Gorge, Iran's Fars province. -CHN - 1/24/07

UN nuclear watchdog discusses with Iran its request for withdrawal of some inspectors
The United Nations International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) is discussing with officials from Iran the country's request for withdrawing some of its inspectors, but it still has a sufficient number to continue its efforts seeking to determine whether Tehran's nuclear programme is solely for the peaceful purpose of producing energy and not for making weapons. -UN News - 1/24/07

The American hostility towards Iran
One of the notable features of President George W Bush's State of the Union speech was its hostile attitude towards Iran. -BBC - 1/24/07

US, China Discuss Stronger North Korean and Iran Sanctions
U.S. and Chinese officials have discussed speeding up U.N. sanctions against North Korea, and expanding those against Iran. -VOA - 1/24/07

Bush Continues to Unite the World... Against Him
Despite two years of a concentrated effort by Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice and her public diplomacy major- doma Karen Hughes to boost Washington's global image, more people around the world have an unfavourable opinion of U.S. policies than at any time in recent memory, according to a new BBC poll released here Monday. -IPS - 1/24/07

Tehran to host 6th International flower show in June
Domestic producers of flowers and plants as well as foreign companies, mainly from Netherlands, Spain and France are to be invited to the exhibit, the chairman of the Association of Iranian Flower and Ornamental Plant Producers said on Tuesday. -MNA - 1/24/07

Iran will give "crushing response" to any aggression: Defense Minister
Najjar urged the administration of U.S. President George W. Bush to be "rational instead of acting crazy, and to think before acting", so that they will not endanger their national interests. -MNA - 1/24/07

UN to Condemn Holocaust Denial
The U.N. General Assembly is due to vote this week on a resolution condemning efforts to deny the Holocaust. The resolution does not mention any country by name, but U.S. diplomats made clear it is a reaction to last month's Holocaust denial conference in Iran. -VOA - 1/24/07

Candidates court Israel, cite Iran risks
Presidential hopefuls Mitt Romney, John Edwards and John McCain all detoured through Israel on the way to New Hampshire this week, seemingly competing to see who could be strongest in defense of the Jewish state. -Washington Times - 1/24/07

Iran, Belarus to expand defense ties based on international laws: Defense Minister
Belarus Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev declared in Moscow on Wednesday that expansion of Iran-Belarus relations in military fields are in line with the national interests of his country and that it takes place according to international criteria and laws. -IRNA - 1/24/07

Left behind flowers of life, and Khaneh Mehr
I have often written here about the many charitable organizations (NGOs) that work with children in Tehran. This time I would like to inform you about yet another good place that I have known about for some time and I have been meaning to write about their works and activities. Yet every time something happened to prevent this, this time I was determined and here is my short report on the activities of the Society for the Protection of Street and Working Children (SPSWC). -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/23/07

Last of the Asiatic Cheetahs Fight Extinction: Iran shelters the small surviving population, which experts hope to save
According to Peter Zahler, assistant director of the Asia Program at the Wildlife Conservation Society (WCS) in New York, there are only 50 to 60 Asiatic cheetahs left in the wild, and they live in the Dasht-e Kavir region of Iran. WCS, one of America’s leading wildlife conservation institutions, helps Iran conserve this precious population, training local wildlife professionals in effective practices for managing endangered species, their habitats and for surveying cheetahs and their prey. - 1/23/07

Rafsanjani: Privatization plan key to Iran's development
He criticized the three branches of the government for failing to formulate serious plans to implement the privatization scheme. "Unfortunately, no serious measure has been taken since the Supreme Leader announced the plan. Even the Expediency Council, as the supervisor, has done nothing serious, like all other bodies in charge of implementing the plan." -MNA - 1/23/07

Iranian officials, Interpol meet on Argentine's blast
A meeting was held in the city of Lyon, France, Monday evening between Iranian officials and the International Police (Interpol) on the 1994 bombing of a Jewish community center in Buenos Aires. The meeting was held to enable parties to present documents on the explosion of the Jewish center. -IRNA - 1/23/07

Iranian Involvement in Afghanistan
The Afghan media has published an increasing number of critical reports about Iran's secret contacts with insurgent groups in Afghanistan, specifically those groups fighting against the U.S. presence in the country. -Muhammad Tahir - 1/23/07

EU imports from Iran on upward trend
EU imports from Iran in the 10-month period (January-October) in 2006 totaled 11,931 billion euros whereas its imports from Iran for the whole of 2005 totaled 11,448 billion euros. -IRNA - 1/23/07

EU Calls for Tightening of Sanctions on Iran
The European Union called on all countries Monday to enforce United Nations sanctions against Iran and announced a series of measures it would take against Tehran's efforts to develop a nuclear program. Lisa Bryant has more for VOA from Paris. - 1/23/07

Iran to continue cooperation with IAEA based on NPT, Larijani
Iran's top nuclear negotiator Ali Larijani said here Tuesday that Iran will continue cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency based on NPT and Safeguards Agreement. -IRNA - 1/23/07

Farah Pahlavi at Maurice Béjart 80th Birthday Party
Farah Pahlavi the former Empress of Iran was among the many guests at Januray 1st celebrations in Switzerland to mark the 80th birthday of one of the finest choreographers of the 20th century, Maurice Béjart. Béjart made an important contribution to the Persian Ballet Repertoire in the 1960s and 1970s at the Roudaki Hall in Tehran, created under the supervision of the empress, Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi. -Darius KADIVAR - 1/23/07

US Says More Pressure Needed to Stop Iran Nukes
A senior U.S. diplomat says the international community needs to bring more pressure on Iran to end, what he describes as, its efforts to develop nuclear weapons. Jim Teeple has details from our Jerusalem bureau. -VOA - 1/23/07

Iran in talks with Italy's Saipem on Azadegan Oilfield
The Petroiran Development Company (PEDCO) is in talks with Italy's Saipem over two EPCM (Engineering, Procurement, Construction, and Maintenance) contracts for the project to develop the Azadegan Oilfield in southern Iran, the PEDCO managing director said here on Tuesday. -MNA - 1/23/07

The Ezri Center for Iran & Persian Gulf Studies
It gives me great pleasure to hereby announce the addition of the word "Persian" to the term "Gulf" in our center's name. It makes justice to the historically appropriate, right and just term for that geographic region, and thus makes the Ezri Center as probably the only research and academic center outside Iran to use that term. -Soli Shahvar, Deputy-Director, Ezri - 1/23/07

Iran: Government to sell off state-owned telecom, oil enterprises
The Iranian government announced that it would privatize a number of state-owned telecommunications and oil enterprises in the next year (Iranian calendar year begins March 21, 2007). -MNA - 1/23/07

Iranian electricity transfer to Azerbaijan to hit 800mw: envoy
An Iranian diplomat said in Baku Tuesday that electricity supplied by Iran to Azerbaijan will increase from the current 280mw to 800mw next Iranian year after an expansion project for erection of a number of transfer lines is completed. -IRNA - 1/23/07

China: Test Could Bring Militarization Of Space A Step Closer
China's successful use of a missile-launched space vehicle to destroy an orbiting satellite has at a stroke threatened to change the world's military balance. -RFE - 1/23/07

Russia fulfils Iran missile deal
Russia has completed a contract to sell some 30 air defence missile systems to Iran, a senior official has said. -BBC - 1/23/07

Criticism of Ahmadinejad mounts
His main political rival, former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, implicitly criticised his slow move towards privatisation of the economy. Hardliners in parliament also appear split with many of Mr Ahmadinejad's former supporter now critical of him. -BBC - 1/23/07

West's Iran plan shows gains. Will US stick to it?
With evidence mounting that international pressure on Iran is getting results, President Bush prepares to deliver a State of the Union speech Tuesday night that could provide signs of where efforts against Tehran and its nuclear program will go next. -CSM - 1/23/07

Fair Negotiations with Iran. Not.
When my little sister and I would argue over a candy bar, my mom would remind us the only way to divide anything up fairly was to let one side divide, and the other side choose. -Nancy Pace, Common Dreams - 1/23/07

Fate of Persian Tablets Still Undetermined
The US Federal Court held a hearing yesterday about the ancient Persian tablets loaned by Iran to the University of Chicago in the 1930s following the quarrel after a previous judgment authorized the plaintiff to auction off the invaluable Persian relics. -CHN - 1/22/07

Zagros Sports of Spain receives the prize for "Companies for Equality"
Zagros Sports a chain of high quality sports clubs in the Alcobendas municipality (north of Madrid) in Spain won the first price for equality at work between men and women. - 1/22/07

Iran: Foes Challenge President's Economic Rhetoric
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has repeated past claims that those responsible for price volatility in Iran are speculating based on privileged connections to previous governments. But the reaction this time to his remarks suggests his critics want government action, not finger-pointing. -RFE - 1/22/07

Reza Deghati Receives the Highest Honorary Medal in Journalism
Reza Deghati, the internationally renowned photographer (Time, Newsweek, National Geographic) and founder of NGO Aina received the highest award in Journalism, the “Missouri Honor Medal”, at the Missouri school of Journalism (University of Columbia) in recognition of his lifelong contributions, through brilliant photojournalism, to justice and dignity for the world's citizens. - 1/22/07

Iranian Intellectuals Condemn Holocaust Conference
More than 100 Iranian intellectuals and activists have issued a statement condemning a conference in Iran last month that questioned the existence of the Holocaust. -RFE - 1/22/07

Iranian Dissident Cleric, Ayatollah Montazeri, Criticizes Ahmadinejad
Iran's most senior dissident cleric has criticized the economic policies and nuclear diplomacy of president Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Radio Farda reported. - 1/22/07

Iran, Qatar warn against Shia-Sunni schism
On Sunday, the foreign ministers of Iran and Qatar stressed that the sectarian strife between Shias and Sunnis in Iraq must come to an end. Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said he discussed the roots of insecurity in Iraq with his Qatari counterpart Sheikh Hamad bin Jassem bin Jabr al-Thani. -MNA - 1/22/07

US Legislators Debate Resolution Opposing Troop Surge in Iraq
Leading Democrats in Congress say they will push ahead with a resolution opposing President Bush's plans to boost U.S. troop strength in Iraq. VOA's Michael Bowman reports from Washington, where administration officials and some Republican members of Congress say such a vote would send the wrong message to America's military - and to anti-democratic forces in Iraq. -VOA - 1/22/07

Iran-Switzerland aviation agreement bill approved
The bill on Iran and Switzerland air transportation agreement was signed into law by Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad. The agreement is aimed at the expansion of the air transportation services between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Central European nation. -MNA - 1/22/07

Iran’s strongman loses grip as ayatollah offers nuclear deal
IRAN’S supreme leader is considering a change of policy on the country’s nuclear programme in an effort to defuse growing tension with the West, according to senior sources in Tehran. -TIMES Online, UK - 1/22/07

Iran: IRGC wargames start in Garmsar region
The Islamic Revolution's Guard Corps (IRGC) began missile wargames in the Garmsar region in eastern Semnan province Sunday. Colonel Reza Hashemian told IRNA that the military exercises will be conducted in various stages for a period of five days. -IRNA - 1/22/07

Shi'ites End Government Boycott in Iraqi Legislature
Members of Iraq's Parliament who support radical Shi'ite cleric Moqtada al-Sadr have ended a boycott of the legislature, after winning concessions from colleagues. But, as VOA's Jim Randle reports from Baghdad, it was violence as usual on the country's streets. - 1/22/07

Museums face fallout in fight over carving
A stone carving of the head of a guardsman from the ancient palace of Persian kings at Persepolis is at the centre of a High Court battle that could have worldwide repercussions for museums and art collections. -Telegraph, UK - 1/22/07

Iran: Special committee for N-power plant construction holds session
The first session of a special committee created to pursue construction of nuclear power plants in the country was held in Tehran on Sunday. -IRNA - 1/22/07

Talented Iranian female receives honorary doctorate from UNESCO
A gifted Iranian young woman has received an honorary doctorate from the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). -MNA - 1/22/07

How Congress Can Stop the Iran Attack - Or be Complicit in Nuclear War Crimes
President Bush is invoking his "commander in chief" authority to escalate the war in Iraq, and he will likely also invoke it to launch an aerial attack against Iran. Congress has long ago abdicated and delegated to the President its constitutional responsibility to initiate wars. Yet Congress still has one surefire way to influence events: it has the constitutional authority to make the "nuclear option" against Iran illegal. In so doing, it would stop the relentless drive to war against Iran dead in its tracks. -Jorge Hirsch, Common Dreams - 1/21/07

Iranian President declares reduced foreign currency expenditure
The president said that in next year's budget, expenses have been cut by 5.6 percent and as far as consumption is concerned the government has introduced an austerity package. -IRNA - 1/21/07

Iranian FM says Bush has just two ways ahead in Iraq
Mottaki told reporters that Bush should either change his policy according to the Baker-Hamilton recommendation which conveys sense of failure or continue the Republicans' arrogant approach in order to cover up US failure in Iraq. -IRNA - 1/21/07

Iran Launches Three Days Of Military Maneuvers
Iran's state television has reported that the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps today launched three days of military maneuvers, including short-range missile tests. - 1/21/07

Festival to select women's dress of the year
The Women of My Land international festival is scheduled to be held in July 2007 in order to select the women's dress of the year, Farahnaz Ghandforush, the advisor to the Tehran governor for women's affairs, said here on Wednesday. -MNA - 1/21/07

Iran, Belarus Defense Ministers Hold 1st Round of Talks
Visiting Belarus Defense Minister Leonid Maltsev and his Iranian counterpart Brigadier General Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar on Sunday held their first round of talks. -IRNA - 1/21/07

Moves Toward War with Iran: We Must Stop This
Yet, the world still stands on the brink. The United States and Israel may be about to start a wider war in the Middle East by attacking Iran, sparking more of the violence that CIA Director Michael Hayden called "almost satanic." -Patrick McElwee, Common Dreams - 1/21/07

Bush Meets With Top Advisors to Discuss Iraq, Middle East
U.S. President George Bush is meeting with his top diplomatic and military advisors about the war in Iraq and efforts to bring peace to the Middle East. VOA White House Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, opposition Democrats say the president sending more troops to Iraq is a mistake. - 1/21/07

Ahmadinejad: Nuclear Iran, a national goal
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in Tehran on Sunday that access to nuclear technology is long-term goal and sacred cause of the Islamic Revolution. -IRNA - 1/21/07

Impatience on Iran Carries a Price
President Bush once again risks confusing his destiny with that of the nation. His presidency is running out of time. The United States is not. An all-or-nothing confrontation with Iran that has to be resolved before Bush leaves office is an artificial concept that will deepen American problems abroad. -Washington Post - 1/21/07

Karzai Says 'Pakistani Circles' Protecting Insurgents
Afghan President Hamid Karzai today accused "certain Pakistani circles" of protecting insurgents fighting in Afghanistan. -RFE - 1/21/07

U.S. plans envision broad attack on Iran: analyst
U.S. contingency planning for military action against Iran's nuclear program goes beyond limited strikes and would effectively unleash a war against the country, a former U.S. intelligence analyst said on Friday. -Reuters - 1/21/07

Sixteen foreign films to compete at Fajr Festival
Sixteen foreign entries will be competing for Simorghs (the most prestigious Iranian cinematic award) at the International Competition Section of the 25th Fajr International Film Festival to be held here from Feb. 1 to 11. Contenders have come together from various countries, including Britain, the U.S., Japan, South Korea, Brazil, France, India, Spain, and China. -MNA - 1/20/07

Ferdowsi, a poet for all seasons: Greek scholar
Greek scholar Marina Theocharidou believes that Iran's Abolqasem Ferdowsi is a poet for all times. At the Ferdowsi and Homer Conference that opened at Athens' National Research Foundation on January 19, Theocharidou said, "Ferdowsi is a poet of all eras, who expressed the idea that good and evil guarantee or endanger man's happiness." -MNA - 1/20/07

Iranian Journalist banned from leaving the country to collect prize
Reporters Without Borders expressed concern after freelance journalist, Taghi Rahmani, was prevented from leaving Iran as he prepared to travel to Denmark on 13 January 2007, to receive a prize awarded by the local section of the freedom of expression organisation, PEN International. - 1/20/07

Arrested Iranian diplomats to be released this week: envoy
Five Iranian diplomats arrested in the northern Iraqi city of Erbil nine days ago could be released this week, Iranian Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Kazemi Qomi said on Saturday. -IRNA - 1/20/07

Iranians' love affair with America
The US mustn't squander the vast majority of Iranian hearts and minds that it has already won. -Ali G. Scotten, CSM - 1/20/07

Swedish NGO in Tehran to conduct research on victims of chemical weapons
An eight-member Swedish delegation arrived in Tehran on Saturday to conduct research on victims of chemical weapons in the country. -IRNA - 1/20/07

Iran's war films to be screened in New York and London
Five Iranian films in the Sacred Defense genre are scheduled to be screened during a program entitled "War in Iranian Cinema" in New York and London in February. -MNA - 1/20/07

Majority of OPEC oil passes through Strait of Hormoz
Majority of the oil produced by the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) passes through Strait of Hormoz, the managing director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) said here on Saturday. -MNA - 1/20/07

Onetime Afghan Resistance Leader Resurfaces as Terrorist Ally
During the 1980s, Gulbuddin Hekmatyar received the lion's share of U.S. covert assistance, funneled through Pakistani intelligence, to the resistance battling the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Now Hekmatyar has resurfaced as an ally of al-Qaida and his onetime rivals, the Taleban. -VOA - 1/20/07

Iran Demands UN Action Against US For Detaining Iranians in Iraq
Iran has sent an official letter of complaint to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon demanding action against the United States for its recent arrest of five Iranians in Iraq. -VOA - 1/20/07

Iran summons 29 footballers for 2008 Olympics preliminaries
Newly installed Croat manager of Iran's Under-23 football team, Vinko Begovic, here Saturday called up 29 players for the preliminary matches of the 2008 Olympic Games in the Chinese capital Beijing. -MNA - 1/20/07

US Helicopter Crashes Near Baghdad, Killing 13
A U.S. military helicopter has crashed near Baghdad, killing all 13 people aboard. -VOA - 1/20/07

Turkey Faces International Pressure Over Dink Killing
Thousands of people marched in Istanbul last night to protest the murder of Armenian-Turkish journalist Hrat Dink. The protesters, some waving Turkish and Armenian flags, marched down the street where reports say the prominent journalist was shot three times as he left his office at the "Agos" newspaper. -RFE - 1/20/07

Ahmadinejad Comes Under Fire
More than half of the 290 lawmakers in Iran's parliament have backed a letter assailing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's budget preparations. In it, they attack his government for failing to present a budget on time and warn that it must be realistic in its basic assumptions. -RFE - 1/19/07

US Lawmakers Press Bush Administration Officials on Iran
The Bush administration is coming under increasing pressure from members of Congress regarding any possible moves against Iran because of its role in Iraq. VOA's Dan Robinson reports, concerns intensified after the president's speech last week in which he said U.S troops will be moving to interrupt support from Iran and Syria for insurgents in Iraq. -VOA - 1/19/07

Mashayekhi to compose Rumi Symphony
Tehran Symphony Orchestra conductor Nader Mashayekhi has announced that he plans to compose a new work entitled the Rumi Symphony. -MNA - 1/19/07

Iran’s President Criticized Over Nuclear Issue
Less than a month after the United Nations Security Council imposed sanctions on Iran to curb its nuclear program, two hard-line newspapers, including one owned by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, called on the president to stay out of all matters nuclear. -New York Times - 1/19/07

US raided consulate to sever Iran-Iraq relations: Iranian Official
Jaafari, who was on a visit to Erbil heading a delegation prior to US capture of Iranian diplomats after storming the consulate, said the US air and ground attack on the consulate had been concurrent with the Iranian delegation's official meetings with Iraqi president Jalal Talabani and president of Iraqi Kurdistan Masood Barzani. -IRNA - 1/19/07

Producers should intervene to boost box office: Abbas Kiarostami
Iranian auteur Abbas Kiarostami believes Iranian cinema does not have appropriate economic returns, so producers should intervene in the filmmaking process. -MNA - 1/19/07

Iranian Organizations Unite to Promote Tourism Industry
Presidents of Iran's Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines (ICCIM) and Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) signed a memorandum of understanding for expanding their cooperation for promotion of Iran's tourism industry. -CHN - 1/19/07

Iran Sees A Divide-And-Conquer Policy In The Mideast
Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently denounced what he sees as attempts by the United States to divide Shi'a and Sunnis in the Middle East and to bring Arab states into a coalition hostile to Iran. -RFE - 1/19/07

Stop Obsessing About Iran
Distinguishing Iraqis from Iranians can be hard. Iraq's most revered cleric, Grand Ayatullah Husaini Sistani, speaks Arabic with a thick Persian accent. Meanwhile, across the border, Iran's top judge, Ayatullah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi, struggles with Persian, the residue of an Iraqi birth. -TIME - 1/19/07

IRAQ: Kurdistan, low in violence but lacking services
Unlike other parts of the country, the three-province autonomous northern region of Kurdistan is not the Iraq of roadside bombs and beheadings. It is relatively safe and well-protected by an experienced security force. Locals and foreigners alike can walk around freely and there is even an active nightlife. -IRIN - 1/19/07

Debate on Consequences of US 'Failure' in Iraq Continues
One issue at the heart of the debate over President Bush's new Iraq strategy is whether it would be, as the president says, disastrous to remove U.S. troops before the new government is firmly established and the new security forces can maintain stability. -VOA - 1/19/07

Stand up against BBC's support for US war propaganda on Iran
As the US is deploying a massive armada in the Persian Gulf to threaten Iran, the BBC ‘s top in-depth news programme has supported the totally unfounded US propaganda against the five employees of the Iranian consulate in Arbil arrested after the US forces raid last week. -Abbas Edalat, Campaign Iran - 1/19/07

Quake hits Iran's Khouzestan province again
A tremor measuring 3.5 on the Richter scale again jolted outskirts of Haftgel in the southern province of Khouzestan on Friday afternoon. -IRNA - 1/19/07

EU FMs say door is open for talks with Iran
The Foreign Ministers' Council of the 27- member European Union are to discuss Iran's nuclear program and the European bloc's relations with the Islamic Republic during their regular monthly session in Brussels on Monday. -IRNA - 1/19/07

Two Takes on Iraq
After reading the U.N.'s statement that at least 34,452 civilians died violent deaths last year in Iraq, I touched base with two expert sources and asked if they thought President Bush's decision to send an additional 21,500 troops to Iraq could restore order to the country. -Harper's Magazine - 1/19/07

Saudi Arabia casts wary eye on its Shiites
With a Sunni-Shiite cold war descending on the Middle East, Saudi Arabia appears to be hardening its sectarian battle lines -CSM - 1/19/07

2nd national fashion show opens in Tehran
The second national fashion show of Islamic and Iranian women's clothes opened at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) in Tehran on Wednesday. - 1/18/07

US using MKO terrorists as bargaining chips, says BBC
Nearly four years after overthrowing of Saddam Hussein's regime, the US are still using some 3,500 MKO terrorists at Ashraf camp in Iraq as a bargaining tool in its relations with Iran, BBC reported. Britain's state-funded broadcaster said the US cannot decide what to do in its hypocritical policy, with some statesmen in Washington still seeing the MKO as potential allies even though the grouplet is officially branded as terrorists. -IRNA - 1/18/07

"Doomsday Clock" Moves Two Minutes Closer To Midnight
The Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists (BAS) is moving the minute hand of the Doomsday Clock two minutes closer to midnight. It is now 5 minutes to midnight. Reflecting global failures to solve the problems posed by nuclear weapons and the climate crisis, the decision by the BAS Board of Directors was made in consultation with the Bulletin’s Board of Sponsors, which includes 18 Nobel Laureates. - 1/18/07

Carpet Makers Struggle To Weave Tradition And The Market
In the highly competitive, and highly international, world of handmade carpets, producers closely watch each other. And at the Domotex fair in Hannover on January 13-16 -- one of the biggest annual trade shows for the industry -- many are watching Bayat Nomad Gaminchi, a successful, high-end production house that operates in Iran and the United States. -RFE - 1/18/07

Resolutions introduced in the House to prevent Iran war
With speculation growing about a possible military buildup to confront Iran over its alleged role in destabilizing Iraq, two legislative measures will be introduced calling for President George W. Bush to gain Congress’ approval before taking any military action against Iran. -NIAC - 1/18/07

Freedom in the World 2007: Year Marked by Global "Freedom Stagnation," Setbacks for Democracy in Asia
The year 2006 saw little change in the global state of freedom in the world and the emergence of a series of worrisome trends that present potentially serious threats to the expansion of freedom in the future, Freedom House said in a major survey of global freedom released today. -Freedom House - 1/18/07

Despite Charges, No Evidence Iran Sending IEDs to Iraq
For 18 months now, the George W. Bush administration has periodically raised the charge that Iran is supplying anti-coalition forces in Iraq with arms. -Antiwar.com - 1/18/07

Iran on Bush's Death Row
If you have been following the news lately, you know that Bush's noose is tightening around Iranian necks. Iran's sin is that it can not prove its uranium enrichment program is not intended for military use. This is not the first time that Bush is intent on condemning others to death for lack of proof. -Rostam Pourzal - 1/18/07

Prepared Testimony by Vali R. Nasr before the Senate Committee on Foreign Relations
Since 2003 Shia-Sunni conflict has emerged as a major divide in Middle East politics, and radically changed the regional context for U.S. policy. Sectarian violence is no longer just limited to Iraq, but has expanded in scope to influence regional development from the Persian Gulf to Lebanon, adding new complexity to the conflicts in the region and presenting a serious foreign policy challenge to the United States. -CFR - 1/18/07

The Problem with Confronting Iran
While U.S. officials commonly use terms such as "meddling" to describe Iranian involvement in Iraq — an accusation echoed by Sunni leaders inside Iraq and by the Sunni Arab regimes with which Secretary Rice has been meeting in recent days — the Shi'ite and Kurdish parties that lead Iraq's government don't share Washington's animus towards Tehran; in both cases they have close ties with Iran forged during years of exile and warfare. -TIME - 1/18/07

Persian Gold provided Iran drilling update
Persian Gold, the Irish based gold explorer, is pleased to update shareholders on results from its 16 hole reconnaissance drilling programme at Chah-e-Zard near Yazd in Central Iran. Persian Gold holds a 70% interest in the project. Table 1 below shows a summary of results. - 1/18/07

Iran not playing chess with US in Lebanon: Larijani
Iran is not playing chess with the US in Lebanon, Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Larijani said. The Lebanese press on Thursday published reports quoting Larijani while talking to Lebanese reporters in Tehran. "Iran has no intention of making Lebanon a regional battleground," he said. -IRNA - 1/18/07

Bush Moves To Contain Iranian Influence
Urged by outside experts and opposition Democrats to embrace diplomacy with Iran and Syria, U.S. President Bush has instead intensified U.S. efforts to contain Tehran's influence in Iraq and the wider Middle East. -RFE - 1/18/07

Iran to import new Peugeot models next year
Iran's automaker, Iran Khodro Co. is planning to import some of the Peugeot passenger car models and versions currently not being produced in the country. -MNA - 1/18/07

Rice: Mideast Quartet to Meet in Washington
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said Thursday the international Quartet on the Middle East will meet in Washington in two weeks to try to advance Israeli-Palestinian peace efforts. Rice, in Berlin after a Middle East mission, took a hard line against dialogue with Iran. -VOA - 1/18/07

Iranian bloggers on web restrictions
Iranian bloggers have reacted with anger and scorn to a new law requiring them to register their websites and blogsites with the authorities. -BBC - 1/18/07

Washington 'snubbed Iran offer'
Iran offered the US a package of concessions in 2003, but it was rejected, a senior former US official has told the BBC's Newsnight programme. -BBC - 1/18/07

America's Brewing Nightmare with Iran
I suspect that we will soon see more collisions between U.S. military squads and Special Force operations against suspected Syrian and Iranian convoys and personnel -- civilian and military -- inside Iraq as well as more border interdiction. At some point, these units will go into Syria and Iran to accomplish their "disruption" missions. –Washington Post - 1/18/07

Venezuela, Iran agree to establish $2bn investment fund
Venezuela and Iran have agreed to establish a $2 billion fund to finance investment projects in other countries. -MNA - 1/18/07

The US and Iran: are they by any chance related?
The open letter to Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad by a majority of the country's MPs, criticizing his economic policies, illustrates the checks and balances that Iran's constitution provides. As it is, Iran's parliament, called Majlis, is entitled to impeach the popularly elected president if it finds him to be incompetent. It did so in 1981 and removed from office Abol Hassan Bani-Sadr, the first president of the Islamic Republic of Iran. –Guardian - 1/18/07

U.S. Wrestlers Excited by Challenge of Takhti Cup in Iran
Ask America's top freestyle wrestlers where they most would like to compete internationally, and the answer for many is the same: Iran. So when the opportunity arose for the United States to compete in Iran's prestigious Takhti Cup, "The response from the wrestlers was immediate -- no reservations -- 'I'm going,'" said Rich Bender, executive director of the national organization USA Wrestling. -USINFO - 1/17/07

Iran: Ahmadinejad's Government Pressuring Activist Students, Universities
Recent reports indicate that the Iranian government is intensifying restrictions on activist students and universities, although Iran's education minister has dismissed reports of such pressure and said the authorities have so far been "lenient" on universities and students. -RFE - 1/17/07

Jefferson Unafraid of Koran
Keith Ellison’s recent use of Thomas Jefferson’s Koran for his ceremonial Congressional oath profoundly symbolizes America’s greatest strengths – its enduring principle of freedom of religion. Mr. Jefferson would have approved. -Wm. Scott Harrop - 1/17/07

Tehran Art Scene: Golnar Tabibzadeh and Mansour Tabibzadeh
We know of a few fathers and daughters who both are artists. Last month we went to the famous Khaneh Honarmandan (Artists' Forum) and saw the work of Mr. Mansour Tabibzadeh which we found very interesting. -Syma Sayyah and Paul Sanford, Tehran - 1/17/07

Fajr Film Festival to narrate Sinaii's "Tale"
The old hand of screen Khosro Sinaii's "Like a Tale" will be competing for Simorgh (the most prestigious Iranian cinematic award) at the upcoming 25th Fajr International Film Festival. -MNA - 1/17/07

President Bush's "troop surge" in Iraq
I saw President Bush’s “troop surge” speech in Iraq on Wednesday January 11, 2007 on the television. I carefully watched his moves and gestures and listened to his half an hour address to the American people. I really was shocked at the end. I had never seen President Bush in such a pathetic and miserable state. -Hossein Sharifi - 1/17/07

Italy's Future Film Festival screening Iranian animations
A collection of animated films is representing Iranian animation cinema at the 9th Future Film Festival, which opened today in Bologna, Italy. The festival is screening films produced by the Institute for the Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) in English and Italian. -MNA - 1/17/07

Pentagon Chief Says Iran Seeks To Exploit U.S. Exposure in Iraq
Defense Secretary Robert Gates says he recommended diplomatic engagement with Iran in 2004, but added that the Islamic republic today does not seek constructive cooperation and instead is attempting to exploit U.S. difficulties in neighboring Iraq. -USINFO - 1/17/07

US wrestling official praises good sporting ties with Iran
Executive Director of the US Wrestling Board Richard Bender said in Iran's southern city of Bandar Abbas Wednesday that wrestling teams of Iran and the US enjoyed good relations. -IRNA - 1/17/07

Iran: Quashing of child offender's death sentence highlights need for urgent legal reform
The outcome of the retrial of 19 year old Mahabad Fatehi, known as Nazanin, as a result of which she no longer faces execution, highlights the urgent need for legal reform in Iran to prevent those accused of crimes committed before they are 18 being sentenced to death. -Amnesty International - 1/17/07

Diplomatic efforts underway to secure release of Iranian diplomats, Larijani
Diplomatic efforts are underway to secure release of Iranian diplomats kidnapped from Iran's Consulate in Arbil, Iraq, Secretary of Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani said on Wednesday. -IRNA - 1/17/07

Over 34,000 civilians killed in Iraq in 2006, says UN report on rights violations
Nearly 6,400 Iraqi civilians were killed in the November-December period, slightly less than in the preceding two months, as rampant and indiscriminate killings, sectarian violence, extra-judicial executions – and impunity for the perpetrators – continued virtually unchecked, according to the latest United Nations rights report released today. - 1/17/07

Report Says US Military Equipment Gets to Iran, China
In an exclusive report, the Associated Press says missile components and high-technology parts for fighter jets and helicopters have been among the material that has ended up in countries that are not supposed to receive such things. -VOA - 1/17/07

Iraq edges closer to Iran, with or without the U.S.
The Iraqi government is moving to solidify relations with Iran, even as the United States turns up the rhetorical heat and bolsters its military forces to confront Tehran's influence in Iraq. -Louise Roug and Borzou Daragahi, Newsday - 1/17/07

Taunting Iran
The Baker-Hamilton study group advised President Bush to talk directly to Iran. Senior members of Congress from both parties urged the president to talk to Iran. Three-quarters of the American public, says a recent poll, also want the president to talk to Iran. Even Secretary of Defense Robert Gates—when he was the co-chair of a 2004 Council of Foreign Relations task force—urged the president to talk to Iran. -Center for American Progress - 1/17/07

US spy plane shot down by Iran, says MP
Iranian military troops have shot down a spy plane of the US army during the last few days, an Iranian MP said in Tehran on Tuesday. - 1/17/07

We are not leaving, Gates warns Iran as troop surge begins
Iran yesterday appeared to offer an olive branch to Washington. A senior Iranian official, Ali Larijani, delivered a joint letter to King Abdullah from the Iranian supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad asking the Saudi monarch to act as an intermediary with the US. -Guardian - 1/17/07

Top Iraqi condemns US over Iran
One of Iraq's most powerful Shia politicians has condemned the arrest of Iranians by US forces in Iraq as an attack on the country's sovereignty. -BBC - 1/17/07

Bush's New Iran Policy: War Plan or Propaganda?
President George W. Bush's seemingly aggressive Iran policy of taking direct action against alleged Iranian "networks" involved in attacks on U.S. troops in Iraq, combined with the deployment of a second carrier group off Iran's coast, triggered speculation that it is related to a plan for an attack. -IPS - 1/17/07

Iranians Wary as U.S. Shows Signs of Escalation
It wasn't the news of the raid by the U.S. Army against the Iranian interests section in the northern Iraqi town of Arbil that set off the alarm bells. Nor the announcement by Gen. Peter Pace, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, that "twice in the past two or three weeks . . . we've captured Iranians," followed by former Assistant Secretary of State Martin Indyk threatening "serious consequences" as a result of Bush's new strategy of escalation against Iran. -World Politcs Watch - 1/17/07

Iran Wants Germany to Swap Assassin for Jailed Tourist
A German tourist who has been held in an Iranian jail for over a year because his fishing boat accidentally entered a restricted zone in the Persian Gulf has become a bargaining chip of international dipomacy. Iran wants to swap him for a convicted assassin serving a life sentence in a German jail. -Spiegel - 1/17/07

Persian Golden Boys In Hollywood
A New Generation of Talented Persian Screenwriters gets noticed in Hollywood -Darius Kadivar - 1/16/07

U.S. freestyle wrestling team to compete in Takhti Cup in Iran, Jan. 18-19
A team of U.S. men's freestyle wrestlers will compete at the 2006 Takhti Cup in Bandar Abbas, Iran, January 18-19. This will be the sixth time a U.S. team has competed in the Takhti Cup (1998, 2000, 2001, 2003, 2004, 2007). The U.S. also competed at the 1998 World Championships held in Tehran, Iran. -TheMat.com - 1/16/07

A HERO HOSTS: Adrian Pasdar at the 64th Golden Globe Awards
Adrian Kayvan Pasdar (born April 30, 1965) is an American actor and film director, best known for playing Jim Profit on the cult TV series Profit, for his roles in Near Dark, Mysterious Ways and Heroes, and for directing the feature film Cement. -Darius Kadivar - 1/16/07

Bush to Congress: Stop me if you can
Last night's Scott Pelley interview with President Bush on CBS's 60 Minutes was by far the most revealing look at the mental state of the American president when he claimed to be forging ahead with deployment of thousands of additional troops to Iraq despite fierce public and congressional opposition by stating: "I fully understand they­ could try to stop me from doing it. But ­ I made my decision, and we're going forward". -Daniel M Pourkesali, Virginia - 1/16/07

Apply to become a prestigious Ashoka Fellow!
The Ashoka PARSA Partnership for Social Entrepreneurship is excited to announce that it will financially support, FOR THREE YEARS, an Ashoka Fellow of Iranian origin, anywhere in the world that Ashoka operates. - 1/16/07

Russia Confirms Sale Of Missile-Defense Systems To Iran
Russian Defense Minister Sergei Ivanov today confirmed reports that Russia has sold antiaircraft-missile systems to Iran. Ivanov said an unspecified number of TOR-M1 systems have been supplied in keeping with the two governments' contract. - 1/16/07

For Freedom, Sunni Publics Look to Hizballah and Iran
A campaign designed to exacerbate Sunni-Shi'a hostility as currently promoted by Washington and its nervous acolytes in Saudi Arabia, Egypt, and Jordan will be hard pressed to succeed when Iran and Hizballah are seen by Sunni publics as pursuing popular Arab national issues. -Excerpts by Rostam Pourzal - 1/16/07

Storm Warnings: The Films of Bahman Farmanara
The Film Society of Lincoln Center, Jan 26 – 31 : One of the founding figures of the Iranian New Wave of the 70s, Bahman Farmanara attracted attention with his second feature, a powerful adaptation of Houshang Golshiri’s Prince Ehtejab (1974). - 1/16/07

Outgoing US Commander Says No Guarantee of Success in Iraq
The outgoing commander of U.S. forces in Iraq says it will probably take months to see results from a new security plan for Iraq. And, as VOA's Jim Randle reports from Baghdad, the general says there are no guarantees that it will work. -VOA - 1/16/07

Iran: UN Experts Urge Tehran Not To Execute Ethnic Arabs
Three UN human rights experts are urging Iran to stop the "imminent" execution of seven Iranian ethnic Arabs and to grant them a fair public trial. The seven are accused of crimes including trying to overthrow the government after receiving training from U.S. and British forces in Iraq. -RFE - 1/16/07

A Talk by Shahrnush Parsipur, A Prominent Iranian Novelist, in Berkeley
Shahrnoush Parsipour will discuss her views on the methodology of normative thinking regarding dialectical thought in the Ancient World and will explain its relationship to specific geographical settings. - 1/16/07

Winners of World Monotheistic Religions exhibition announced
The winners of World Award of Monotheistic Religions exhibition were praised during the closing ceremony at Imam Ali Religious Arts Museum here Monday night. Organized by Tehran Municipality's Art and Culture Organization, the exhibition was the first international poster competition. -MNA - 1/16/07

President's future in doubt as MPs rebel and economic crisis grows
Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has suffered a potentially fatal blow to his authority after the country's supreme leader gave an apparent green light for MPs to attack his economic policies. -Guardian - 1/16/07

Environmental arts festival hosted by Hormoz Island
Hormoz Island of Iran is to become the winter base for hosting Iran's upcoming international environmental arts festival. - 1/16/07

Rice Presses Moderate Arab States to Support Iraq Government
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice met Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah in Riyadh late Monday as she continued Middle East talks aimed at solidifying Arab support behind Iraq's struggling government. Rice says the United States and its traditional Arab allies share the risk and responsibility if President Bush's new strategy for Iraq fails. -VOA - 1/16/07

Tehran largest donor in £500m Muslim pledges to Palestinians
Iran has become the single biggest donor to the Palestinian Authority, replacing the European Union, according to a senior official in the Hamas government. -Guardian - 1/16/07

South Africa Gets Two-Year Term on UN Security Council
South Africa supports Iran's right to develop nuclear technology and will resist any discussion of the state of its neighbor, Zimbabwe. It also opposes the United States on some key aspects of U.N. reform. -VOA - 1/16/07

Rafi Pitz's "Winter" wins Palm Spring jury award
Iranian director Rafi Pitz won the New Voices New Visions Grand Jury Prize of At 18th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival for his film "It Is Winter" on Sunday. -MNA - 1/15/07

Next target Tehran
The evidence is building up that President Bush plans to add war on Iran to his triumphs in Iraq and Afghanistan - and there is every sign, to judge by his extraordinary warmongering speech in Plymouth on Friday, that Tony Blair would be keen to join him if he were still in a position to commit British forces to the field. -Guardian - 1/15/07

Are Iranians sleepwalking into a disaster?
Never in the long history of Iran has a threat had such disastrous potential as the current threat of US attack. In the past when the Greeks, Arabs, Mongols, etc. raided, destroyed, divided the country, there was always the potential for a strong leader to rise up in the future and re-unify the land. -CASMII - 1/15/07

Iran: Reformists Say That Right Destined To Split
Iran's conservatives regularly maintain that they are united in the broad principles they espouse; just as regularly, reformists argue that there is a persistent division on the right. Could the right-wing electoral defeat in December divide conservatives once and for all? -RFE - 1/15/07

It's All About Iran: Washington wants war...
As American troops storm what is, or was, an Iranian consulate – at least that's what the Iraqi government calls it, in spite of American denials – and the president accuses Tehran of arming and aiding Iraqi insurgents, the answer to the question "Why are we in Iraq?" should begin to dawn on even the dullest. The answer: Iran. We're in Iraq so we can go after the mullahs in Tehran, and, perhaps, those other Ba'athists in Syria. -Antiwar.com - 1/15/07

Iranian president: Iran not against talks with US in proper, just conditions
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejan told Al-arabyia television that Tehran is not against talks with the US if just and proper conditions are provided. -IRNA - 1/15/07

Tehran: All international flights to be handled at Imam Khomeini Airport
All international flights will be handled at the newly-built Imam Khomeini International Airport (IKIA) by the end of the current Iranian year (March 20, 2007), Minister of Roads and Transport Mohammad Rahmati said. -IRNA - 1/15/07

Installation of 3000 centrifuges underway: Iran's government spokesman
Iran plans to install over 3000 centrifuges to enrich uranium at the Natanz enrichment facility and the process is currently underway, government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said on Monday. -MNA - 1/15/07

Afghanistan: U.S. Sees Increased Taliban Threat In 2007
Recently appointed U.S. Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has warned NATO's Secretary-General Jaap de Hoop Scheffer that the threat posed by Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan may increase in 2007. -RFE - 1/15/07

Iranian companies begin housing project in Venezuela
Iranian companies have started the construction work aimed at building of 10,000 housing units in Venezuela. -MNA - 1/15/07

Ortega: Iran, Nicaragua in joint struggle for justice, peace
During a meeting with his Iranian counterpart Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, he said the visit to Nicaragua of the Iranian president shows the link that brings the two revolutionary nations and friends to work for a common cause. -IRNA - 1/15/07

Iran presses on with enrichment
Iran has said it is pressing ahead with its nuclear programme despite recent sanctions by the UN Security Council. -BBC - 1/15/07

India, Iran to discuss gas pipeline
Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri Hamaneh, along with representatives from nine other oil producing countries will attend the International Oil and Gas Conference, Petrotech 2007, which starts in the Indian capital tomorrow, Indian Oil Ministry sources said. -IRNA - 1/15/07

Oil rises on talk of an Opec cut
Oil prices moved above $53 a barrel on Monday, after talk that oil producing cartel Opec could cut output soon. Venezuela and Iran are two key Opec members that are in favour of a cut. -BBC - 1/15/07

After the surge ... what next?
President Bush, under fire for sending 20,000 extra troops into Iraq, is now ready to target Iran for the chaos in Baghdad and beyond -Guardian - 1/14/07

No room for teahouse painting
An Iranian gallery director Javad Aqili lamented on Sunday that teahouse painting is ignored even at the painting biennials. "A few teahouse paintings were displayed at the biennials in previous years," said Aqili, complaining that now there is no room for them. -MNA - 1/14/07

Iranian artistic works to be auctioned by Christie
Iranian artistic works are to be sold in the world's most significant winter auction in Dubai. This is the second Christie arts sale in Islamic countries hosted by Dubai with the major presence of Iranian artists in the event. -ISNA - 1/14/07

Modification of Jahan Nama Tower Resumed
As the countdown to UNESCO's deadline for complete modification of Jahan Nama Tower has now begun, the height of the tower has not yet reached the expected level. -CHN - 1/14/07

Shabnam in Mirror of Persian Awards
With a BS in Computer Science and a BA degree in German Literature from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from New York University, Shabnam Rezaei has spent most of her professional career in selling software solutions to large financial institutions such as Merrill Lynch, Lehman Brothers, ING and Bank Austria. -Marjan Abdi - 1/14/07

'Reading Bush'
The United States, once known as the beacon of democracy, finds itself in a dilemma. It is faced with a President that is deaf to the people. In his address to the nation on January 10, 2007 he left little doubt that he means to rule over the people he was ‘elected’ to serve. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 1/14/07

Rice Launches Mideast Consultations on Iraq, Iran, Mideast Peace
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice arrived in Jerusalem January 13 on her third trip to the Middle East since October 2006 saying she planned to discuss with U.S. allies in the region topics including Iraq, Iran and the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. -USINFO - 1/14/07

Ahmadinejad: Iran, Venezuela shoulder heavy responsibilities
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said in Caracas Saturday that the Iranian and Venezuelan governments and nations shoulder heavy responsibilities including development of their countries. -IRNA - 1/14/07

Urban Train, No Threat for Taq-e Bostan
According to authorities of Kermanshah's urban train, all necessary conditions for preventing any possible harm to the historic site of Taq-e Bostan will be implemented in performing the railway project. -CHN - 1/14/07

Exiting via Iran
FOR THE United States, the road out of Iraq runs through Tehran. The only way to promote sustainable peace, stability, and order in Iraq is to forge an unholy alliance with Iran -- and accept Iran's dominant influence in the Middle East. Only by accepting Iranian hegemonic pretensions, odious as they are, can the United States extricate itself somewhat honorably from Iraq. -Robert I. Rotberg, Boston Globe - 1/14/07

Shock and Oil: Iraq's Billions & the White House Connection
The American company appointed to advise the US government on the economic reconstruction of Iraq has paid hundreds of thousands of dollars into Republican Party coffers and has admitted that its own finances are in chaos because of accounting errors and bad management. -Independent - 1/14/07

First Iranian Cinema Actors Celebration: Four veteran actors honored
Four Iranian actors were honored during the First Iranian Cinema Actors Celebration in Tehran on Friday evening. "We are proud to honor veterans in the first step," said Roya Teimurian, the president of the Iranian Actors Society, which founded the celebration. -MNA - 1/13/07

US Policy in the Middle East Taking a Turn for Worse; The Catastrophic Human Consequences
The US foreign policy in the Middle East in the last quarter century has resulted in untold suffering for the people of the region. These policies in one hand are extremely short sighted for the US strategic interests. On the other hand they have resulted in massive destruction of countries in the region such as Afghanistan and Iraq. -Nader Sadeghi, CASMII - 1/13/07

Bush’s Iraq Plan - Goading Iran into War
President George W. Bush’s address on Iraq Wednesday night was less about Iraq than about its eastern neighbor, Iran. There was little new about the US’s strategy in Iraq, but on Iran, the President spelled out a plan that appears to be aimed at goading Iran into war with the US. -Trita Parsi, NIAC - 1/13/07

Iran defeats UAE 2-0 in football friendly
Iran hit once in the last minute of each half to beat home side the United Arab Emirates (UAE) 2-0 in a football friendly in Abu Dhabi Friday. -MNA - 1/13/07

Duplicity of the UN Security Council
In light of the imposition of new sanctions brought by the United Nations Security Council against Iran, and in the face of a massive U.S.-led military build-up in the Persian Gulf, American-Iranian Friendship Committee (AIFC) calls on all peace loving and justice-seeking people to defend Iran’s sovereignty, to demand U.S. withdrawal of its naval forces from the Persian Gulf, and call for the annulment of U.N. Resolution 1737 against the Iranian people. -Ardeshir Ommani - 1/13/07

Iran: No more entry exams for universities as of 2010
Iranian students would enter university without passing the difficult barrier of entry exams as of 2010, it was reported on Saturday. Deputy minister of Sciences, Researches and Technology, Hossein Khaleqi told IRNA that the decision was made based on an agreement between the ministry and the Majlis. - 1/13/07

Letter to President Bush: Don't Bomb Iran
Dear Honorable Mr. President Bush, Please do not bomb my parents, my parents-in laws, grandmother, brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, cousins, nieces, nephews, thousands of other relatives, friends, and 70 million Iranians that do not want anything to do with war and your ideas of democracy and freedom. -Abbas Yavari - 1/13/07

Human Rights Watch: EU Should Fill Leadership Void on Human Rights
With US credibility undermined by the Bush administration's use of torture and detention without trial, the European Union must fill the leadership void on human rights, Human Rights Watch said today in releasing its World Report 2007. - 1/13/07

Middle East Analysts Skeptical About New Iraq War Strategy
Middle East analysts are expressing skepticism about President Bush's new strategy to win the war in Iraq, saying his decision to send more than 20,000 additional U.S. troops may not end the violence in Baghdad and western Anbar province. They also question whether the Iraqi government is capable of meeting the commitments the plan calls on them to make. -VOA - 1/13/07

Fate of 5 Iranian consulate staff held by US troops in Iraq not clear
Releasing a statement, the government of Kurdish party leader Massoud Barzani condemned the US raid on the Iranian consulate and demanded immediate release of all detained consular staff. Barzani's statement further said that the US move was condemned by the entire Kurdish people. -IRNA - 1/13/07

Iran's President Begins Tour of Latin American Nations
Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad begins a Latin American tour Saturday that will include stops in Venezuela, Nicaragua and Ecuador. The Iranian leader already has strong ties with Venezuela's President Hugo Chavez, a vocal critic of the United States. From Miami, VOA's Brian Wagner reports the trip shows that Mr. Ahmadinejad is seeking more allies in the region. - 1/13/07

Iran's non oil exports rise to dlrs 11.6bn in first 9 months
The deputy commerce minister said that the value of Iran's non-oil exports in the first nine months of the current Iranian year (starting on March 21) has risen to dlrs 11,6 billion. -IRNA - 1/13/07

Torn loyalties of Israel's Iranian Jews
Concern about Iran's nuclear programme is felt most acutely in Israel, not least due to the fiery rhetoric of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who has called for an end to the Israeli state. -BBC - 1/13/07

Bush's Tough Tactics Are a 'Declaration of War' on Iran
American forces stormed Iranian government offices in northern Iraq, hours after President George Bush issued a warning to Tehran that was described as a "declaration of war". -Independent - 1/13/07

Tell Congress to Stop War with Iran
Lawmakers and experts say that President Bush’s speech yesterday is laying the groundwork for war with Iran. Call your lawmaker today and urge him or her to prevent a war with Iran! - 1/12/07

Politicians in 15 nations take stand against Bush's Iran Plans
Campaigners addressed a call to MP’s in all 15 nations in the UN Security Council to challenge George Bush whose speech on Wednesday clearly spelled out his intention to take military intervention against Iran. -Campaign Iran - 1/12/07

Iran: U.S. Expert Predicts Iranian Oil-Export Crisis Within A Decade
Economic geographer Roger Stern has predicted in a recent study in a U.S. National Academy of Sciences publication that Iran might run out of oil for export by 2015. Stern, a researcher at John Hopkins University, spoke with RFE/RL correspondent Golnaz Esfandiari about what this might mean. -RFE - 1/12/07

Apply for a PARSA Community Foundation Grant!
PARSA, a recently formed Persian community foundation, is inviting student organizations and other nonprofits to submit grant proposals to its site by February 15. PARSA is keen on identifying and supporting innovative change makers with effective business plans in the following areas: Preservation and advancement of Persian arts and culture, ... - 1/12/07

NIAC President: Bush's Escalation against Iran Will Expand Rather than End War in Iraq
President Bush’s address to the nation on Iraq yesterday contains a danger that should not be overlooked. Though the speech focused mostly on Iraq, the plan seems more geared towards preparing for a new war with Iran than towards winning the existing war in Iraq. - 1/12/07

Iran's Role in Iraq, Nuclear Ambitions, Debated in US Congress
Iran's de-stabilizing role in Iraq, as well as concerns about Iranian nuclear development, were key topics in congressional hearings on Thursday. VOA's Dan Robinson reports from Capitol Hill. - 1/12/07

Jiroft is lost link of chain of civilization: Majidzadeh
Iranian archaeologist Yusef Majidzadeh believes that Jiroft is the lost link of the chain of civilization and says it has such a significant civilization that he would be proud to be named an honorary citizen of the ancient site. -MNA - 1/12/07

Rice Opposes Outreach to Iran, Syria Over Iraq
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice Thursday resisted calls for U.S. outreach to Iran and Syria over what the Bush administration sees as efforts by those countries to destabilize Iraq. In Senate testimony, Rice said the United States is not prepared to pay a diplomatic price for such contacts. -VOA - 1/12/07

Police Film Festival winners announced
The winners of the 2nd Police Film Festival were Thursday night awarded in the closing gala at the Milad Hall of Tehran International Permanent Fairground. -MNA - 1/12/07

China Tells US Not to Interfere in Relations with Iran
A Chinese official says the United States should not interfere in China's relations with Iran. The comment came after the U.S. expressed concern about a Chinese oil company's plans to invest in an Iranian oil field, at a time when Tehran is defying the United Nations over Iran's nuclear program. -VOA - 1/12/07

The new plan: fight the Mahdi army toe to toe, hope Iraqi army holds
The Americans could be about to embark on the most dangerous phase of the conflict since the invasion of Iraq in 2003, pitting themselves for the first time against the Baghdad stronghold of the Shia cleric and militia leader Moqtada al-Sadr. -Guardian - 1/12/07

Modernity threatens Iran's 'museum city'
In the 17th Century the central Iranian city of Isfahan was the capital of Safavid Persia - a place of dazzling wealth, with pleasure palaces, ornate gardens and mosques with the most exquisite tile work. -BBC - 1/12/07

Bush's New Strategy - The March of Folly
So into the graveyard of Iraq, George Bush, commander-in-chief, is to send another 21,000 of his soldiers. The march of folly is to continue -Robert Fisk, Independent - 1/12/07

Iran Pivotal Factor in Proposed New US Approach in Iraq
In his address Wednesday night, President Bush said he wants to boost U.S. troop strength in Iraq to quell sectarian violence. But he also made clear that the United States holds two of Iraq's neighbors, Iran and Syria, to blame for fueling the clashes. -VOA - 1/12/07

Iranian commander: Enemy plots will be punished
Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps commander commented that the U.S. and some European countries such as the U.K. had stuck in the Iraq war swamp. -ISNA - 1/12/07

The US moves to confront Iran and Syria
Close to the same hour Wednesday night that President Bush vowed to disrupt the "flow of support" from Iran and Syria to "terrorists and insurgents" in Iraq, US forces raided an Iranian consulate in northern Iraq, arresting five diplomats and staff and taking computers and files. -CSM - 1/12/07

Quake hits Mianeh in northwestern Iran
A mild tremor measuring 3.7 on the Richter scale jolted outskirts of the city of Mianeh in the northwestern province of East Azarbaijan on Thursday night. -IRNA - 1/12/07

The Plan for Economic Strangulation of Iran
It is said that there is more than one way to skin a cat. It seems that United States is trying to skin this cat –Iran- in anyway that it can, including economic strangulation. While people are concerned with Iraq and the gathering armada in the Persian Gulf, United States has been quietly carrying out a not so covert economic war against Iran. -Abbas Bakhtiar, Norway - 1/11/07

Music that transcends souls, intertwines brains, and settles in hearts
The concert commenced with an introductory charismatic remarks by Amir Vahab on Rumi and Hafez and their poetries, and the Persian music and its instruments. He then introduced mysticism and began playing his Reed Flute, accompanied by Taraneh, Yvette and Jude who played Daf, Farnaz playing Dohol, and Ron who played Tombak and Darieh. -David N. Rahni, New York - 1/11/07

US forces raid Iran's consulate in Iraq, arrest 5
US forces raided the Iranian consulate in the Iraqi northern city of Erbil and arrested five of its staff, it was announced Thursday. After disarming the consulate's guards and breaking open its gate, the US troops entered the consulate building -IRNA - 1/11/07

Iranian Film Festival a Big Hit at Washington's Freer Gallery
One of the most popular events at the Smithsonian Institution’s Freer Gallery of Art each year is the Iranian Film Festival, which presents contemporary works by internationally acclaimed filmmakers as well as new directors. -Washington File - 1/11/07

Iran: Former Officials, Reformists Criticize Government's Nuclear Policy
Despite last month's UN Security Council resolution imposing limited sanctions on Iran over its controversial nuclear program, the country's leaders say they will continue their nuclear work with great determination. At the same time, a growing number of voices inside Iran are calling for a change in Iran's nuclear policy. -RFE - 1/11/07

Iranian American Poised to Become the Next Mayor of Beverly Hills
A successful entrepreneur and business owner, Jimmy Delshad was elected to the Beverly Hills City Council in March of 2003 and is currently serving as Vice Mayor. Delshad is seeking his second and final term on the council in the March 2007 election. -IAPAC - 1/11/07

The Moazamis Reach for their Philanthropic Roots
Although distant from their homeland, Mohsen Moazami and Laleh Amirteymour keep their customs alive and strong, thanks to a deeply-rooted dedication to philanthropy that goes back generations. Living in Silicon Valley, Mohsen is a member of the Executive Staff at Cisco Systems, and despite their busy schedules, he and Laleh dedicate a considerable amount of time to philanthropic causes. -PARSA Community Foundation - 1/11/07

Your Baghdad is in Ruins: Time to Leave Iraq
There was a time in history when Baghdad was the heart of the Islamic Empire and when things were fine in Baghdad the entire world was fine and vice versa. There is a well known ancient saying still frequently echoed throughout the Middle-East to imply that the situation is hopeless: "your Baghdad is in ruins." No other phrase can better describe the current situation of the US involvement in Iraq and the Middle East. -Ali R. Rabi - 1/11/07

Defazio to Reintroduce Separation of Powers Iran Resolution
Amid growing speculation that the Bush administration continues to prepare for military strikes against Iran, Rep. Peter DeFazio (D-OR) is gathering signatories for a resolution nearly identical to a prior measure he authored (H.Res. 391), which requires the President to seek Congressional approval before initiating military action against Iran. -NIAC - 1/11/07

Iran beats Stuttgart at Dubai football meet
Iran defeated German club Stuttgart 1-0 in a four-side football tournament in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, Wednesday. -MNA - 1/11/07

US: Sanctions Target Iran's Nuclear Program, Not Its People
The Bush administration said Wednesday financial sanctions it is imposing on Iran are aimed at Iran's alleged nuclear weapons program and not intended to cause broad hardship among the Iranian people. -VOA - 1/11/07

Bank Sepah of Iran: US decision against Iran not to affect transactions
Bank Sepah of Iran (BSI) issued a statement on Thursday, dismissing the baseless and false charges brought up against Iran by the US Department of the Treasury. -IRNA - 1/11/07

IAEA inspectors in Iran, head for Isfahan UCF facilities
Two inspectors from International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Iran on Wednesday. The inspectors are to inspect Iran's nuclear installations in Isfahan and Natanz and also hold discussions with officials of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, said the source. -IRNA - 1/11/07

Sharp Disagreements Voiced on Bush's Iraq Troop Increase Plan
President Bush's decision to add more than 20,000 troops to the U.S. force in Iraq was controversial before it was even official. The big questions now are whether the move will improve the situation or make it worse and what impact it will have on the U.S. military's ability to do its job worldwide. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon. - 1/11/07

Iran's oil industry will require $18bn in next five years: expert
Given that the addition of every new barrel of oil to the current production capacity calls for around $7,000 of investment in the field, the nation's oil industry will require around $18 billion of investment in the next five years, an expert noted. -MNA - 1/11/07

Text of Bush Speech on Iraq
Good evening. Tonight in Iraq, the Armed Forces of the United States are engaged in a struggle that will determine the direction of the global war on terror – and our safety here at home. The new strategy I outline tonight will change America's course in Iraq, and help us succeed in the fight against terror. - 1/11/07

Democrats Feel Liberals' Antiwar Heat
Freshman and veteran lawmakers alike risk the ire of bloggers and other activists if they waver on an Iraq exit. -Los Angeles Times - 1/11/07

Resurgent Pragmatists Work to Push Iran in a Different Direction
The results of the Assembly of Experts vote December 15 provided a rebuke of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s neo-conservative movement. -Eurasianet - 1/11/07

Why the US Is Not Leaving Iraq
Neither the Iraq Study Group nor other establishment critics of the Iraq war are calling for the withdrawal of US troops from that country. To the extent that the Study Group or the new Congress purport to inject some “realism” into the Iraq policy, such projected modifications do not seem to amount to more than changing the drivers of the US war machine without changing its destination, or objectives: control of Iraq’s political and economic policies. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 1/10/07

Iran: People Shiver In An Energy-Rich Land
Despite its wealth of oil and natural-gas reserves, Iran has faced a gas crunch as people turn up the heat this winter. Partial or total energy cutoffs were reported in 11 provinces, with residents of colder western provinces worst affected, and exports to Turkey were suspended for five days. -RFE - 1/10/07

The Next Nuclear Holocaust
Forty five years ago in October 1962, people watched in horror as the superpowers went to the brink of a global nuclear war during the Cuban Missile Crisis when the Soviets attempted to place nuclear missiles in Cuba, to match U.S. deployments in Europe near the Soviet border. What followed next was nearly 30 years of constant fear of a nuclear holocaust. But 16 years after the fall of the Soviet Union the threat of a new nuclear disaster still remains. -Daniel M Pourkesali - 1/10/07

Export of Persian rugs hits $388m in 9 months
Hand-woven rugs worth around $388 million were exported to the U.S. and European countries during the first nine months of the current year (Iranian calendar year started March 21, 2006). -MNA - 1/10/07

BBC corrected on Iranian nationality of Avicenna
The BBC has been politely reminded that the nationality of the great Islamic scholar, Avicenna, is Iranian and not Arab as claimed in one of its recent articles on chromo-therapy on its Arabic website. - 1/10/07

Iranian Activist Abbas Deldar Freed After Eight Years In Prison
Following the 1999 unrest scores of students and activists were arrested. Most of them have been freed, but several, including well-known student activist Ahmad Batebi, remain in custody. -RFE - 1/10/07

If Iraq Worsens, Allies See 'Nightmare' Case
As President Bush prepares to unveil his latest Iraq strategy, Arab allies are worried about what might happen if the plan fails: that worsening strife could engulf the entire region, sparking a wider war in the middle of the world's largest oil patch. -WSJ - 1/10/07

UAE FM Rejects Arabs' Aid for Invasion of Iran
The United Arab Emirates' Foreign Minister Abdallah bin Zayid al-Nuhayyan termed rumors and reports about Arab states' assistance with a possible attack on Iran as unwise and insane. -Fars - 1/10/07

U.S. Designates Iranian Bank as Weapons Proliferator
The U.S. Treasury Department has designated an Iranian state-owned bank as a supporter of proliferation of weapons of mass destruction and urged other countries to consider similar actions aimed at blocking Iran's illegal nuclear and missiles programs. -USINFO - 1/10/07

Iran: Larijani welcomes views for resolving nuclear standoff
Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani said here on Tuesday that Tehran welcomes any way which can help settle the nuclear dispute between Iran and some Western countries. -MNA - 1/10/07

Bush's New Intel Chief Could Overhype Danger of Iran
Officials believe the White House chose new Intelligence chief in effort to darken Iran Intelligence Estimate, and broaden domestic surveillance. -AlterNet - 1/10/07

U.S. Envoy Calls on U.N. States To Enforce Iran Sanctions
The U.S. ambassador to the U.N. office in Vienna, Austria, Gregory Schulte, is calling on U.N. members to implement the Security Council’s agreed upon sanctions against Iran’s nuclear program and to stand prepared to adopt additional measures if Iran continues to defy the international community’s demands. -USINFO - 1/10/07

Iran: French container ship docks in Khorramshahr after 27 years
Total volume of goods loaded/offloaded at Khorramshahr port is expected to reach one million tons by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2007). Khorramshahr port used to load/offload 4.5 million tons of goods annually before the Iraqi-imposed war (1980-88). -IRNA - 1/10/07

65,000 jobs created in Iran's South Pars
Some 65,000 jobs have been created so far in gas and petrochemical installations and projects of South Pars region, Managing Director of Pars Energy Special Trade Zone Organization Seyyed Abdoljalil Razavi said in Bushehr on Tuesday. -IRNA - 1/10/07

Iran Says Nuclear Spy Arrested In Research Center
An Iranian legislator says a man has been arrested on suspicion of leaking information about Iran's nuclear activities to the country's main opposition group, the Mujahedin Khalq Organization (MEK). - 1/10/07

Iranian President set for a tour of Latin America
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad will leave the country on January 11 for a tour of Venezuela, Nicaragua, and Ecuador. The Venezuelan President Hugo Chavez will officially welcome Ahmadinejad at Caracas on Saturday. -MNA - 1/10/07

Iran: Members of Parliament try to impeach Ahmadinejad
Iranian reformist lawmakers have started collecting signatures in Parliament to demand the impeachment of the country's president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. So far, 38 signatures have been collected out of the 72 required to formally summon Ahmadinejad and request his impeachment. -AKI - 1/10/07

A Success story from Tehran Sharif University
The accomplishments of Sharif University students are well known not only in Iran but also throughout North America, Europe and other parts of the world. Recently through my work with PKCF, I found a new success story of former Sharif University students. They have won many awards since their formation about 15 years ago. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 1/9/07

Nobel Peace Prize Winners Urge Talks Between US and Iran
Two Nobel Peace Prize winners, one from the United States, the other from Iran, are urging the Bush administration to engage in a constructive dialog with the government in Tehran. -VOA - 1/9/07

An appeal from Iran to all Iranians to prevent war
Like many Iranians you are probably conflicted about Iran, its nuclear activities, and if there should be regime change through military action or not. -Cyrus Mossaddegh, CASMII - 1/9/07

Tarisha Lost its Chance for World Registration
Construction of a tall hotel in the vicinity of the historic site of Eshkaf-e Salman, known as Tarisha Temple, has not only defied heritage regulations, it has also taken away the chance for world registration of Iran's biggest Elamite inscription. -CHN - 1/9/07

22th International Fajr Music Festival ends in Tehran
The annual event was attended by 1,200 domestic and foreign artists performing different pieces in various categories -- Muslim Nations' Music, International and Folk Music, Classical Music and Youth and Women Music. -IRNA - 1/9/07

Discovery of 105 Archeological Sites in Lorestan
Discovery of 105 archeological sites belonging to the Neolithic epoch to the Islamic period in the vicinity of the city of Poldokhtar in Lorestan province points to the existence of continual life in this area during different periods of time. -CHN - 1/9/07

2010 census recommendation panel rejects ethnic ancestry data's inclusion
With the 2010 US Census fast-approaching and the deadline to submit final survey content for the 2010 Census to Congress set for April 2007, support for the inclusion of an ancestry question in forthcoming recommendations was recently dealt a blow. -NIAC - 1/9/07

Pollution Said To Kill 3,600 A Month In Tehran
An Iranian official has said that air pollution has directly or indirectly killed 3,600 people in just a month in the Iranian capital, Tehran. - 1/9/07

Iran's first international cartoon museum to be launched in Tabriz
Iran is to launch the first international Cartoon Museum of Iran in city of Tabriz in Azerbaijan province. The future museum building is the former Tabriz National Library, located in the Golestan Garden with a history of 50 years. -ISNA - 1/9/07

Nuking Iran: Are Bush's Wars Winding Down or Heating Up?
Most Americans believe that Bush's Iraqi misadventure is over. The occupation has lost the support of the electorate, the Congress, the generals and the troops...Recent news reports indicate that this conclusion could be an even bigger miscalculation than the original invasion. -Paul Craig Roberts, Counterpunch - 1/9/07

Iran: Khamenei advises Arabs to avoid "dangerous traps" of arrogant powers
Commenting on reports that the United States is trying to establish a united front against Iran with the cooperation of Britain and certain Arab states, the Leader said such a coalition would be cooperation with two "ominous and filthy" governments against a nation which has been a source of dignity for Islam and has made many sacrifices on this path, and therefore "Arab governments should be wary of this dangerous trap." -MNA - 1/9/07

Afghanistan: Fighting in the south sets off new wave of displacement
Fierce fighting between NATO troops and insurgents in southern Afghanistan has sent tens of thousands of people fleeing from their homes in a new wave of displacement. Although numbers are unverified, the government said that more than 20,000 families had been displaced due to the fighting in the provinces of Helmand, Kandahar and Uruzgan as of November 2006. -IDMC - 1/9/07

US Submarine, Japanese Ship Collide in Arabian Sea
A U.S. nuclear-powered submarine has collided with a Japanese oil tanker in the Arabian Sea. No one was injured in the crash and no oil leaks were reported -VOA - 1/9/07

Cell phone penetration rate up 41% in Iran
Some 9.9 million cellular phones and 21 million fixed phones kept the lines busy in the hot season (summer of 2006), registering 41.7% and 13.7% jump over previous, a report by Statistical Center of Iran (SCI) noted on Monday. -MNA - 1/9/07

Bush Nominating New Ambassadors to the United Nations and Iraq
The Bush administration announced its intention to nominate Zalmay Khalilzad, current U.S. ambassador to Iraq, to be its ambassador to the United Nations, and Ryan Crocker, ambassador to Pakistan, to succeed Khalilzad in Baghdad. -Washington File - 1/9/07

EU: Explanations Sought After Russian Oil Supplies Disrupted
European Commission spokesman Ferran Tarradellas Espuny today confirmed that European oil supplies have been disrupted. -RFE - 1/9/07

Revealed: Israel Plans Nuclear Strike on Iran
ISRAEL has drawn up secret plans to destroy Iran’s uranium enrichment facilities with tactical nuclear weapons. Two Israeli air force squadrons are training to blow up an Iranian facility using low-yield nuclear “bunker-busters”, according to several Israeli military sources. -Sunday Times, UK - 1/8/07

How Can Flawed Trial, Execution of ex-leader Promote Democracy?
The flawed trial and execution of Saddam Hussein deal a heavy blow to the Bush administration’s goal of creating a “new Middle East” based on the principles of democracy and the rule of law. -R.K. Ramazani, University of Virginia - 1/8/07

Fajr International theater festival kicks off
The 25th Fajr International Theater Festival opens here at the City Theater Complex open air later in the day. The opening gala is to feature 18 street theaters, including "The Last Way", "Passerby", "A Man Who Knew a Lot", "Once Upon a Time", and "Laughter Bomb". -MNA - 1/8/07

Persian Classical Sufi Music with Lian Ensemble in Pacific Palisades, California
This concert celebrates the leap of faith as the perpetual condition of the human heart in its quest for union with the Divine Heart, and therefore with all humanity. The foundation of Persian Classical Music is Sufism, an ancient spiritual path to God through the Practice of Love. - 1/8/07

Victims of History
Regrettably, the most immoral among us remember the past, observe the criminal implications and repeat it. In 1939, six years after the Madrid Conference, Hitler met with his military chiefs and delivered a speech that today some are determined to emulate -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 1/8/07

Tectonic Movements, a Real Threat for Masuleh
Studies by the research center of Iran's Ministry of Housing show that aggregation of rain water in the upper valleys and tectonic movements resulting in the shift of mountains seriously threaten Masuleh village, northern Iran. -CHN - 1/8/07

Tehran gallery to exhibit Iranian wedding photos
Iranian photographer Hassan Sarbakhshian plans to hang his works depicting wedding ceremonies in various regions of Iran at the Mah-e Mehr Gallery for three weeks beginning on January 13. Sarbakhshian took the photos during a tour of the country over the past year. -MNA - 1/8/07

Bush Readies Iraq Plan: Democrats Promise Scrutiny
President Bush is putting the finishing touches on a revised strategy for Iraq. There are indications he will call for a major short-term troop increase, as well as money for a massive job-training program. But as VOA White House Correspondent Paula Wolfson reports, there is growing skepticism on Capitol Hill. - 1/8/07

Bodog.TV broadcasts Tale of Two Nazanins
Music artist and runner-up for Miss World – Nazanin - presents riveting documentary outlining heroic efforts to save the life of an Iranian woman who shares her name - 1/8/07

Huge cost of Iranian brain drain
The number of educated young Iranians trying to leave the country appears to have increased in the last year since President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad took office judging by the numbers sitting the IELTS exam. -BBC - 1/8/07

They met in Teheran
The Teheran Holocaust Conference caused quite a storm in the world media. One might ask: what’s so special about that? -Israel Shamir - 1/8/07

Supreme Court turns down supporters of Iranian opposition group designated terrorist by U.S.
Supporters of an Iranian opposition group lost a Supreme Court appeal Monday that was intended to let them challenge the United States' designation of the group as a foreign terrorist organization. -AP - 1/8/07

Iran actually is short of oil
Iran has ensnared itself in a petroleum crisis that could drive its oil exports to zero by 2015. While Iran has the third- largest oil reserves in the world, its exports may be shrinking by 10 to 12 percent per year. How can this be happening? -IHT - 1/8/07

Winter 2007 Zoroastrian Lecture Series at Stanford
"Two Millennia of Orality: Continuity and Integration in Ancient Iranian Literary Tradition -- from Central Asia to Mesopotamia" -Friday, January 19th - 1/8/07

The "Demonization" of Muslims and the Battle for Oil
Throughout history, "wars of religion" have served to obscure the economic and strategic interests behind the conquest and invasion of foreign lands. "Wars of religion" were invariably fought with a view to securing control over trading routes and natural resources. -Michel Chossudovsky, Global Research - 1/8/07

Iran resumes gas export to Turkey
Iran resumed its gas export to Turkey from the 7th of January with 12 million cubic meters. -ISNA - 1/8/07

Azerbaijan Halts Oil Exports To Russia
Azerbaijan today announced that it has stopped exporting oil to Russia following a gas-price dispute with Russia's state-run gas monopoly, Gazprom, RFE/RL's Azerbaijani Service reported. -RFE - 1/8/07

Focus: Mission Iran
Israel will not tolerate Iran going nuclear and military sources say it will use tactical strikes unless Iran abandons its programme. Is Israel bluffing or might it really push the button? -TIMES Online, UK - 1/7/07

An Unforgettable hero: Gholamreza Takhti
Gholamreza Takhti was born on Aug. 27, 1930 in Tehran and raised in a poor family. He trained in a makeshift sports hall until he left Tehran to work as an oil worker. After being drafted into the army he was introduced to freestyle wrestling. -MNA - 1/7/07

Israel Denies Reports it Has Plans for Strike on Iran Nuclear Facility
Israel is denying British reports that it has drawn up plans for a nuclear strike on Iran's uranium enrichment facilities. -VOA - 1/7/07

UNESCO official to address closing ceremony of Fajr Music Festival
Festival Executive Deputy head of the UNESCO-based International Music Council (IMC), Inar Sulbo will deliver a speech at the closing ceremony of the 22nd Fajr International Music Festival, Monday, for the first time in the history of this festival. - 1/7/07

Iranian Journalists Union Concerned Over Arrested Reporter
representative from the Iranian Journalists Union (IJU) has expressed concern over the detention of a journalist who was arrested 40 days ago. Reuters quotes IJU deputy head Mashallah Shamsolvaezin as saying union member Ali Farahbakhsh is being held in Tehran's Evin prison. - 1/7/07

Indian company to build oil refinery in Iran
India's Essar Group, a multi-billion dollar steel-to-telecoms conglomerate, is negotiating with National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) to set up a new oil refinery in Iran's oil-rich southern region. -MNA - 1/7/07

Iran willing to hold talks with Group 5+1, FM spokesman
Foreign Ministry spokesman, Mohammad-Ali Hosseini, said on Sunday that Iran is willing to hold talks with the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany (5+1 group) on the nuclear dispute. -IRNA - 1/7/07

Iranian Oil minister calls for cooperation with Malaysia on oil industry
Vaziri-Hamaneh made the remarks in a ceremony held to sign an MoU between head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Gholam-Hossein Nozari and the Executive head of Malaysia's SKS Ventures Tan Sri Syed Mokhtar on development of Iranian gas fields of Golshan and Ferdos. -IRNA - 1/7/07

IRAQ: The exodus of academics has lowered educational standards
"You are on the list of the teachers who are going to be killed this month for not obeying our demands to leave Iraq," said a hand-written letter which was left at Dr Hamida Bakri's door. -IRIN - 1/7/07

Over 900 killed in 657 terrosist attacks in Pakistan in 2006
Terrorist attacks in Pakistan killed almost two people a day in 2006, with Balochistan and the country's tribal areas becoming the worst trouble spots. -IRNA - 1/7/07

An unholy alliance threatening catastrophe
Most people think that the bungled invasion of Iraq, climaxing last week with the bungled execution-assassination of Saddam Hussein, will go down in history as the ultimate symbol of the Bush Administration’s hubris and incompetence. They should think again. With the dawning of a new year, the Bush-Blair partnership is working on an even more horrendous foreign policy disaster. -Anatole Kaletsky, TIMES Online, UK - 1/6/07

Iran to Hold Children's Drawing Expo on Peace & Friendship
The Society for Chemical Weapons Victims Support (SCWVS) in Iran will hold children's drawing exhibition with the theme of "Peace and Friendship" this coming June/July to mark the occasion of the National Day for the Campaign against Chemical and Biological Weapons -CHN - 1/6/07

Iran Reformist Party Calls For Nuclear Rethink
Iran's largest reformist party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has called for a review of Iran's nuclear policy in order to prevent what it describes as a further deterioration of the nuclear crisis. -RFE - 1/6/07

Women Nobel Laureates Call for New U.S.-Iran Engagement
Two days before President Bush will deliver a speech announcing a new course in Iraq which will exclude the Iraq Study group’s recommendation to engage Iran, women Nobel Peace Prize Winners Dr. Shirin Ebadi and Professor Jody Williams will be in Washington, D.C. to call for constructive US-Iran dialogue and engagement. -OneWorld.net - 1/6/07

Increasing fuel consumption raises specter of power outages in Tehran
The growing trend towards energy consumption in the nation is raising the specter of power outages, Mir-Fattah Fattah, the managing director of the Regional Power Co. of Tehran warned. -MNA - 1/6/07

International Seminar on Drama and Religion opens
The International Seminar on Drama and Religion opened at the Iranian Artists Forum in Tehran today. Twenty-one papers discussing the connection between religion and theater will be presented by foreign scholars from nine countries and Iranian academics during the two-day seminar. -MNA - 1/6/07

Iran Trying to Retrieve Persian Relics from Russia's Hermitage Museum
During his visit to Russia in March 2007, ICHTO President will discuss the return of Persian artifacts from Hermitage Museum. -CHN - 1/6/07

Time to Lift Iran's Sanctions
Conjuring images of nuclear terrorism and the "annihilation" of the Jewish state, the spectre of an Iranian bomb readily haunts the Western imagination. But Tehran’s nuclear ambitions also pose a very different type of challenge to America. This challenge is not years from fruition, as a warhead still seems to be. It is instead already unfolding. -Roger Howard, FPIF - 1/6/07

Foreign pros to hold workshops at Fajr International Theater Festival
A group of foreign instructors and scholars is to hold workshops on the sidelines of the upcoming theater festival in Tehran. The 25th Fajr International Theater Festival, scheduled to be held from Jan. 8 to 17, will play host to scholars from the U.S., Britain, Germany, Russia, Greece, the Netherlands, and Poland. -MNA - 1/6/07

Iran's cotton production plummets to lowest level in 27 years
The nation's cotton production has plummeted to its lowest level in the past 27 years, the Society of Cotton Gin Industries of Khorasan Province warned in a letter to the Agricultural Jihad Minister Mohammad Reza Eskandari. -MNA - 1/6/07

Top US Congressional Democrats Urge Bush Not to Send More Troops to Iraq
The top leaders of the new Democratic-led U.S. Congress are urging President Bush not to increase the number of U.S. troops in Iraq. Their comments, in a letter to the president Friday, come as Mr. Bush is preparing to announce an overhaul of his Iraq strategy next week that could include a short-term surge in troop strength. -VOA - 1/6/07

Facts and truth, Iraq and Iran
One outcome of the American invasion is that it has generated a much more uncompromising "fundamentalist" politico-ideological constellation in Iraq. This has led to a predominance of the pro-Iranian political forces there — the intervention basically delivered Iraq to Iranian influence. One can imagine how, if President George W. Bush were to be court-martialed by a Stalinist judge, he would be instantly condemned as an "Iranian agent." -IHT - 1/6/07

Trading Flesh for Discount Clothes Lands Young Women in Trouble -AIDS
A country thronged by almost 300,000 prostitutes, most of them barely in their twenties, it is estimated that 11,000 of them in the least are carriers of the AIDS virus. -Med India - 1/6/07

Prof's book on drug use in Iran wins 2 awards
A fascinating paradox in Iran is the religious ban against alcohol and drugs and their continual use throughout Iranian history, according to Rudi Matthee, UD professor of history, who has written the award-winning book, The Pursuit of Pleasure, Drugs and Stimulants in Iranian History, 1500-1900. -UDaily - 1/6/07

Tjeknavorian conducts Armenian orchestra in "Messenger" symphony
Iranian musician Loris Tjeknavorian conducted an Armenian orchestra in a performance of "The Messenger of Love and Hope" symphony in honor of the Prophet Muhammad at Tehran's Vahdat Hall on January 4 in one of the programs of the 22nd Fajr International Music Festival. -MNA - 1/5/07

Iran, UAE, Hamburger SV and Stuttgart in Dubai Football Challenge Cup
The opening match of the Dubai Football Challenge Cup between Iran's national team and Bundesliga club Hamburger SV will be broadcast live on the German sports television network DSF on Monday. -IRNA - 1/5/07

BBC Media Bias Against Iran Investigated
The BBC and Ofcom, the regulator for the UK communications industries, will investigate alleged bias by the BBC following a large number of complaints received following a panel discussion on Iran broadcast on Radio 4 this week. -CASMII - 1/5/07

Congressman Takes Oath of Office on Thomas Jefferson's Quran
Incoming Minnesota Representative Keith Ellison became the first Muslim member of the U.S. Congress January 4, swearing his oath of office on a copy of the Quran that belonged to the author of the Declaration of Independence and the third president of the United States, Thomas Jefferson. -Washington File - 1/5/07

Official Hints Iran To Continue Work With UN Nuclear Watchdog
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization, Gholamreza Aqazadeh, said today that Iran will continue its cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). - 1/5/07

U.S. officially agrees to overhaul 6 Iranian Airbus
Iran's airliner organization chief gave news that the U.S. has officially agreed to overhaul 6 of Iran's Airbus aircrafts. -ISNA - 1/5/07

The Hand That Rocks the Cradle
By reading "Mothers, Leadership and Success," we can find studied reasons to the fall of civilizations, empires and great nations. Issues that perhaps all of us are familiar with throughout our history. -Marjan Abdi - 1/5/07

Caucasus: Georgia, Azerbaijan Seek Alternatives To Russian Gas
Following the announcement in early November by Russia's state-controlled gas monopoly Gazprom that it planned to raise the price of natural gas supplied to CIS countries in 2007, Georgia and Azerbaijan have both sought to secure alternative supplies. -RFE - 1/5/07

A Woman Called Iran, a Refuge Called America
Iran Davar Ardalan, the author of “My Name Is Iran,” has spent her life bouncing back and forth between America and Iran, torn between these two poles in her family history, always finding herself an outsider in both countries, always missing one nation’s traditions and ideals when living in the other. -New York Times - 1/5/07

US should end acting based on double standards - Iranian official
Secretary of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Supreme National Security Council Ali Larijani said at a press conference in Beijing, comprised of Chinese and foreign media correspondents, "If the Americans are truly after the establishment of global peace, the first thing they would have to do is to end observing double standards." -IRNA - 1/5/07

A World Free of Nuclear Weapons
Nuclear weapons today present tremendous dangers, but also an historic opportunity. U.S. leadership will be required to take the world to the next stage -- to a solid consensus for reversing reliance on nuclear weapons globally as a vital contribution to preventing their proliferation into potentially dangerous hands, and ultimately ending them as a threat to the world. -George P. Shultz, William J. Perry, Henry A. Kissinger and Sam Nunn, WSJ - 1/5/07

China Calls for Renewed Negotiations Over Iranian Nuclear Program
A senior Chinese official has urged the international community to resume negotiations on Iran's disputed nuclear program. -VOA - 1/5/07

Turkmenistan: Presidential Campaign Opens With Surprising Promises Of Reform
Turkmenistan's six presidential candidates officially hit the campaign trail this week. They are traveling into terra incognito in Turkmenistan, where there has never been a multicandidate presidential election. -RFE - 1/5/07

German group to perform Shakespeare's 'King Lear' in Tehran
Germany's Ruhr theater group will perform William Shakespeare's 'King Lear' and Georg Buechner's 'Danton's Death' at the Fajr International Theater Festival, due to take place in Tehran from January 10 through 18 -IRNA - 1/5/07

Iran welcomes normalization of ties with Egypt
Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini said on Thursday that Tehran welcomes recent calls by Egyptian officials to normalize its diplomatic relations with Cairo. -MNA - 1/5/07

Iranians 'up to no good' in Iraq
Five Iranians arrested by US troops in Baghdad last month were on a covert mission to influence Iraq's government, British officials have told the BBC. - 1/5/07

Middle East Citizens - Unanimous Verdict: Citizens Response to the UN Security Council Resolution 1737
This writing is an attempt to reflect, without inhibitions, the true meanings of the prevailing deep anti-western feelings of the masses throughout the Middle East region. Reflections are somewhat accentuated in the hope to shed more light on the hidden dimensions often missed in the formal transliterations of messages intended for the consumption of the political leaders in the West. -Ali R. Rabi, CASMII - 1/4/07

Persian Composer Mostafa Kasravi Passes Away
"What a pity!" A phrase we have repeatedly used in the past few months mourning the loss of Persian musicians and singers. And now the same phrase is repeated for Mostafa Kasravi, bassoon player and great Persian composer; the composer of "Arbor Day Hymn," "Shoustari Overture," "Goftegoo Kon, Jostejoo Kon," etc. - - 1/4/07

A New Year's Resolution: Save Iranians From Devastation in 2007
You signed petitions against Persian Gulf name abuses and you sent help to earthquake victims in Bam. But your job is not finished. Hostile battleships are turning Iran's coastal waters into an Anglo-American Gulf as they wait for orders to inflict worse devastation in Iran than the Bam earth quake. The imposition of UN sanctions is the first step towards war, as it was in the case of Iraq. What will you do in 2007 to save thousands of Iranian children from being buried under rubble? -Rostam Pourzal, CASMII - 1/4/07

Iran - the Pivot of Geopolitics
The question that needs to be asked is who benefits from American hostility towards Iran? Certainly not America nor Iran. The only beneficiary is Israel. The primary reason America has never adopted a pragmatic course of action towards Iran based on its own national interests is because America’s ruling Jewish elite has continually demonized Iran to deter Americans from abandoning the Jewish state as America’s main ally in the Middle East. -Bob Finch, Israel Shamir - 1/4/07

National consensus essential to uphold nuclear rights: Iranian official
It is essential to reach a national consensus on upholding Iran's nuclear rights, International Center for Strategic Research Deputy Director Hossein Musavian said in Tehran on Wednesday. -MNA - 1/4/07

French Gig Could Land Iranian Musician In Prison
Iranian authorities have reportedly sentenced a member of a well-known band to two years in prison for insulting Islam during a show in France. A colleague said Habib Meftah Bushehri was convicted in connection with a performance in France in 2006, during which their group, Shanbezadeh, played religious music. -RFE - 1/4/07

ICFJ Launches Groundbreaking Online Program for Iranian Journalists
The International Center for Journalists took its first steps to support Iranian media with the launch of a Persian channel on its International Journalists’ Network, the online Web site for media professionals seeking networking and training. - 1/4/07

Iran, China review mutual ties, regional security
Secretary of Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Larijani conferred in Beijing on Thursday with the senior member of China State Council Tang Jiaxuan on issues of mutual interests. -IRNA - 1/4/07

Expatriate Iranian investors to receive assistance
To assist Iranian investors abroad, several consulting centers in major cities of the world will be established, ISNA reported on Wednesday. -MNA - 1/4/07

Iran-China trade exchange to reach dlrs 20b: Deputy FM
Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Asia- Pacific affairs Thursday said that Iran-China trade and economic exchanges will increase to dlrs 20 billion in 2007. -IRNA - 1/4/07

"Turkmenistan after Niyazov" symposium held in Tehran
Iran's foreign ministry's common wealth bureau chief in the "Turkmenistan after Niyazov" symposium, regarding the current situation in Turkmenistan, stated that this country had a tribal and ethnic atmosphere and the previous communist environment and the Niyazov rule had turned that country into a patient and enduring nation. -ISNA - 1/4/07

US failure to talk to Iran is a key contributor to the region's instability
Sir, What is Tehran's price for helping the United States in Iraq? This question has dominated the debate in Washington after the Iraq Study Group recommended opening unconditional talks with Iran. While stay-the-course hawks argue that Tehran's price is too high, few have cared to ask the real question at hand: What is the price of not talking to Iran? -Trita Parsi, Financial Times - 1/4/07

Over 16,000 hectares of minefields to be cleared in Khuzestan: Iran's Defense Minister
Some 16,238 hectares of minefields in Khuzestan will be cleared by March, Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad-Najjar said on Wednesday. "Of a total of 4.2 million hectares of minefields in the country, 1.5 million hectares are located in Khuzestan Province," he added. -MNA - 1/4/07

Israeli Army Inquiry Cites Failures of Lebanon War
Summing up 50 internal military inquiries, Israeli army Chief of Staff Lieutenant-General Dan Halutz said there were major failures during the war in Lebanon. -VOA - 1/4/07

Efforts for World Registration of Qara Kelisa Speeds Up
Experts of Iran’s Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization (ICHTO) have speeded up their efforts to collect information and prepare a full dossier for St. Thaddeus Church, otherwise known as Qara Kelisa (Black Church), to be inscribed in the list of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites. -CHN - 1/3/07

Saddam's Execution and the coming Campaign in Baghdad
The trial and execution of Saddam raise important questions: why was he tried and executed for only one incident: ordering the 1982 killings of 148 Shiite Muslims in Dujail; why was he executed at such a sensitive time; why the films were released; and finally why did the authorities allow his body to be buried in Tikrit, his hometown? -Abbas Bakhtiar, Norway - 1/3/07

Omar Khayyam, Robinson, and The WAALM Awards
One of the world’s prime contributors of science and literature was with no doubt Omar Khayyam, the great mathematician, astronomer and poet of 11th century. He is the author of "The Rubiyat of Omar Khayyam" and a proto-Renaissance man who placed reason above faith. Recently an independent movie in name of ‘The Keeper, the legend of Omar Khayyam was made on this fascinating scholar. -Marjan Abdi - 1/3/07

UNESCO nominates Shiraz world's 2nd City of Literature
UNESCO has nominated Iranian city of Shiraz as the world's second City of Literature, local cultural official in Shiraz Saeed Zahed, who heads the Farsology (Persian Studies) Foundation, said on Wednesday. -IRNA - 1/3/07

"It's 1938"
Former Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu is making the rounds in the media with his "new" slogan designed to scare American Jews and Christians into supporting the bombing of Iran. Netanyahu has a simple message consisting of three reductionist falsehoods -Qumars Bolourchian, California - 1/3/07

Persian Gulf Atlas published based on European documents
The representative of authors of the newly published Persian Gulf Atlas, Mahmoud Taleqani, who executed the project, told IRNA here Wednesday that it has been arranged by referring to historical documents belonging to the period between 16th and mid-18th centuries. -IRNA - 1/3/07

FCF announces three foreign films for Fajr festival
Brian De Palma's "The Black Dahlia" (2006), Doug McGrath's "Infamous" (2006), and Andrew Goth's "Cold and Dark" (2005) will be competing in Iran's most prestigious film gala, which begins in Tehran on February 1. -MNA - 1/3/07

Soroosh Ensemble performing at Kingsborough on January 7
Founded by acclaimed musician and singer Amir Vahab, the Soroosh Ensemble performs the spirited folk music of Iran past and present, as well as the sacred compositions of the Sufis. Bringing the exceptional power, beauty, and grace of this music to new audiences is the mission of this ensemble, whose name means “Messenger Angel.” - 1/3/07

The West revises its strategy for halting Iran's nuclear program
The United States and its allies in Europe, in a tacit acknowledgment that sanctions imposed by the United Nations Security Council in late December are too weak to force Iran to abandon its nuclear ambitions, have embarked on a new strategy to increase the financial and psychological pressure. -IHT - 1/3/07

Red stains removed from Persepolis
team of experts from the Parseh and Pasargadae Foundation announced on Wednesday that they had successfully removed the red stains from the floor and walls of the Hadish Palace of Xerxes in Persepolis. -MNA - 1/3/07

Iran's crude oil exports value escalates to $52 billion
Iran's National Oil Company international affairs director, Hojjatollah Ghanimifard discussed the involving factors in oil prices fluctuations in the recent months. -ISNA - 1/3/07

Think tank says Israel capable of attacking Iran's nuclear program on its own
Iran will possess nuclear weapons unless military action is taken against it, and Israel would be capable of carrying out such an attack, a respected Israeli think tank said Tuesday. -AP - 1/3/07

Persian fallow deer returns to original habitat in Dez, Karkheh region
Iran's Department of Environment (DOE) is planning to reintroduce a number of Persian fallow deer into their original habitat, Dez and Karkheh region in southern Iran. -MNA - 1/3/07

Caspian: UN Lifts Embargo On Most Caviar Exports
UN conservation agency has lifted its ban on the export of most types of caviar. The Geneva-based Convention on International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora (CITE) imposed its ban last year by refusing to provide export quotas to producer states. -RFE - 1/3/07

Two Iranian cartoonists win Yomuri Shimbun award
Two Iranian artists won the "Trouble" cartoons award in the 28th edition of the International Yomuri Shimbun competition, Japan. -ISNA - 1/3/07

Iran police move into fashion business
Women in high-heeled shoes and plenty of make-up strut down the catwalk amid clouds of artificial smoke. It is the first time live models have been allowed to appear in a fashion show in post-revolutionary Iran. -BBC - 1/3/07

Iran Cuts Gas Supplies To Turkey To Meet Domestic Demand
Iranian authorities say the country has stopped supplying natural gas to neighboring Turkey in order to meet growing demand at home this winter, Radio Farda reports. - 1/3/07

Democracy and moderation are alive in Iran
The Bush administration's reluctance to engage the Iranians is understandable, but is it realistic? Iran is a large, dynamic, oil-rich country with an ancient heritage that the Iranians are proud of. It's certain to be a force in the Middle East that cannot be ignored or controlled militarily. -Scripps News - 1/3/07

US unit works quietly to counter Iran's sway
For nearly a year, a select group of US officials has been quietly coordinating actions to counter the looming threat of a nuclear-armed Iran, including increasing the military capabilities of Arab allies such as Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates, and Bahrain. -Boston Globe - 1/3/07

Quake hits Javadiyeh in central Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.2 on the Richter scale jolted outskirts of the city of Javadiyeh in the central province of Yazd Wednesday. -IRNA - 1/3/07

What are the options for Iran?
Since the UN Security Council's Resolution 1737, which was unanimously passed on Saturday Dec 23rd, has a specified 60 day deadline for Iran's response, ignoring it will force the Security Council to revisit the issue and increase the level of sanctions against Iran. Although, experts believe that tougher economic sanctions will be hard to approve given the reluctance of China, Russia, and some European countries, but it will be wishful thinking for Iran to assume that it is unlikely to happen. -Nader Bagherzadeh, UC, Irvine - 1/2/07

Iran: 5000-Year-Old Skeletons of 3 Kids Unearthed in Taleb Khan Tepe
Discovery of three skeletal remains belonging to children from 2nd Millennium BC in Taleb Khan Tepe, southeast Iran, raised the number of such discovery to four. -CHN - 1/2/07

Book Review: "New Visual Culture of Modern Iran"
The book, New Visual Culture of Modern Iran by Reza Abedini and Hans Wolbers (Mark Batty Publisher 2006) is a recent incarnation of what began in the seventies during the Pahlavi era. It is a collection of posters, graphic design, and mixed art; a seemingly random yet right on the real surface view into the hidden chambers of modern day Iran's sub-conscious. I was glad to find that now, as then, the secret messages of resistance, objection, and truth were still alive and well within the psyche of the contemporary Iranian artist. -Bruce Bahmani - 1/2/07

Persian Gulf Environmental Arts festival held in south of Iran
Over 30 Iranian artists have gathered in Bandar Abbas coast, Hormozgan province to display their artistic taste in the three days "Persian Gulf Environmental Arts" festival. (Jan1-3) -ISNA - 1/2/07

US Due to Overhaul Iranian Planes
The shortage of spare parts beleaguering the Iranian aviation industry may soon be improved through a breakthrough deal with the United States. -Fars - 1/2/07

How Security Problems Can Undermine Economic Progress
At first glance, the prospects for continued vigorous economic growth in both East Asia and South Asia seem quite promising. A closer look, however, suggests that a miasma of uncertainty regarding the security environment in the two regions threatens those prospects. -Ted Galen Carpenter, Cato Institute - 1/2/07

Iran's Parliament Raises Voting Age
Iran's parliament today passed a bill that would raise the minimum voting age in legislative and presidential elections from 15 to 18. The bill is opposed by the government, which says Iran's young people are capable of voting as a "pillar of the revolution." The bill still must be approved by the Guardians Council before becoming law. - 1/2/07

What to do with Iran?
We must coordinate independent strike with US, prepare for Iranian response -General Oded Tira, YNet, Israel - 1/2/07

Rezaei: U.S. is after deploying the Baath party members in Iraq
Iran's Expediency Council secretary, Mohsen Rezaei stated that the U.S. believe deploying the Baath party members in Iraq after Saddam's execution is harmless, because there's no longer a possibility that Saddam would join them. -ISNA - 1/2/07

Website Manager, Editor Are Released In Iran
The manager and editor of an Iranian news website have been freed less than a week after they were detained, apparently in connection with the release of video footage that could compromise one of the country's vice presidents, Radio Farda reports. - 1/2/07

Iran lays down a challenge to Arab leaders
On a recent trip to Bahrain, a self-assured Manouchehr Mottaki, Iran’s foreign minister, professed to have the answer to the Gulf’s troubles. Speaking to a largely Arab and western audience, he suggested Gulf stability was best achieved by removing American forces, well entrenched across the region, and setting up, with Tehran, a regional security alliance. -Financial Times - 1/2/07

Iran considering connecting electricity network to Europe
Iran's electricity network company manager, Masoud Hojjat informed that connection with Europe's electricity network was possible via Russia and Turkey. -ISNA - 1/2/07

Iran: Quake hits Bardkhoun in southern province of Bushehr
An earthquake measuring 3.8 on the Richter scale jolted outskirts of the city of Bardkhoun in the southern province of Bushehr early Tuesday. -IRNA - 1/2/07

Shadi Ghadirian: Portraits, colour and a stereo
It might just seem as simple as a click of a button, but while we all know how to aim and shoot, photography can also be elevated to an art form. At B21 Progressive Art Gallery this month, photography in its most breathtaking form will be on exhibit with Shadi Ghadirian’s stunning images. -7DAYS, UAE - 1/2/07

Iranian-Armenians celebrate New Year 2007
Iran's Armenian Christian community held a ceremony at Sarkis church here Sunday night to celebrate New Year 2007. According to estimates, nearly 200,000 Christians are living in Iran. - 1/1/07

Leading train through tunnel, only way to save Naqsh-e Rostam
After studying different alternatives for saving the cultural landscape of the historic site of Naqsh-e Rostam against railway construction, experts of Parse-Pasargadae Research Center concluded that the most effective way to prevent the railway from intruding the historic landscape of this Achaemenid site is to construct a 6-kilometer-long tunnel from Sivand to Shoul village and direct the train through the tunnel. -IRNA - 1/1/07

Remains of a 5000-Y-Old Camel Rider Identified in Burnt City
Anthropologists studying skeletal remains found in the prehistoric Burnt City, southeast Iran, identified a camel rider among remaining skeletons which is believed to have been a courier who traveled around this region some 5000 years ago. -CHN - 1/1/07

Iran's diverse desert landscapes could turn into region's geotourism hub
Geotourism is defined as tourism that sustains or enhances the geographical character of a place, its environment, culture and heritage, and the well-being of its residents. The concept is different from ecotourism, which focuses on the environment to the exclusion of local people. -MNA - 1/1/07

Fajr Theater Festival gives nod to 56 groups
Fifty-six domestic and foreign troupes will be participating in this year's Fajr Theater Festival to open on Jan. 8, secretary Saeid Keshen-Fallah announced on Monday. -MNA - 1/1/07

US Congress Ponders Troop Surge In Iraq
Divisions are surfacing on Capitol Hill as the U.S. Congress prepares to take up a revised U.S. strategy on Iraq. President Bush is expected to announce his plans early in the new year. And as VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House, lawmakers appear split on the best course of action to end the violence and support the young Iraqi government. -VOA - 1/1/07

Reporters Without Borders: 2006 the deadliest year for Journalists since 1994
At least 81 journalists were killed in 2006 in 21 countries while doing their job or for expressing their opinion, the highest annual toll since 1994, when 103 died (half of them in the Rwanda genocide, about 20 in the Algerian civil war and a dozen in former Yugoslavia). - 1/1/07

Quest for Median Evidence at Ecbatana Hill Turns Hopeless
Archeological findings continue to refute Ecbatana Hill to be Median as archeologists at this ancient hill announced that the only evidence observed in the area under studies belong to the Parthian dynastic era while surprisingly no such evidence from the Median Empire was found. -CHN - 1/1/07

U.S. seeks direct talks with Iran through resolution: official
The United States seeks to enter direct talks with Iran through pushing for the UN Security Council resolution, Secretary of the Expediency Council Mohsen Rezaii said in Tehran on Monday. -MNA - 1/1/07

Khatami: Iran's nuclear problem soluble through negotiation
Former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami Monday said the West should pursue 'negotiation and consensus' on Iran's nuclear dossier. -IRNA - 1/1/07

IRISL replaces dollars with euro in foreign transactions
Managing Director of Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Line (IRISL) Mohammad Hussein Dajmar said in Tehran on Monday that IRISL has officially replaced dollars with euro in foreign transactions. -IRNA - 1/1/07
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