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Insane Israeli leadership and Arab leaders lassitude
If Israel's objectives are as stated, it is an obvious conclusion that they are destined to failure. They have never worked elsewhere for anyone else, or at any other time in history and, they have been failing for Israel for sixty years now. -Debbie Menon - 12/31/08

Protesters enter Qolhak Garden in Tehran
A group of students and people on Tuesday evening entered Qolhak Garden, a national compound taken over by British Embassy, in protest to London's support for Israeli crimes in Gaza. - 12/31/08

Changing U.S.-Iran Relations Won't Be Easy
During the recent U.S. presidential campaign, Barack Obama distinguished himself by, among other things, expressing a willingness to hold direct and unconditional talks with the leadership of Iran. -Abbas Djavadi - 12/31/08

Iran: End Persecution of Nobel Laureate
The Iranian government should end immediately its escalating persecution of Dr. Shirin Ebadi, the 2003 Nobel peace laureate and a leading human rights defender, Human Rights Watch and the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. - 12/31/08

Iran on full alert in wake of Israeli raids
Iran's Air Force is on alert after the country's president envisaged major regional developments in the wake of the Israeli raids on Gaza. - 12/31/08

U.S. Assistant Secretary of State, Mrs. Goli Ameri, to Speak on Public Diplomacy at UCLA
Goli Ameri, U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for Educational and Cultural Affairs & highest ranking Iranian-American public official in the U.S. Government, will speak about the challenges of public diplomacy at a forum at UCLA on Monday, January 5, 2009 - 12/31/08

Everyplace Is Dark
"Everyplace is dark and filled of sadness; all hopes are hopeless; the whole world has ended. Four tall walls surrounded me; all that was open was the sky, but it was dark. I felt like I was burying myself, my heart could not stay in my chest, I wanted to tear it out, stomp on it, and no longer sense anything." -Said the female veteran of war who participated in the freeing of Khorramshahr; describes burying her brother -Shirin Saeidi - 12/31/08

Iran Red Crescent ready to build field hospital in Gaza
Iran's Red Crescent Society expressed readiness to set up a field hospital in Gaza Strip or in one of the countries in the vicinity of the tiny piece of land. - 12/31/08

Iraq to close MKO camp in Iraq
Iraq has decided to shut down the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) Ashraf Camp as soon as possible, expel the MKO members from Iraq and close their file forever, said a senior Iraqi official. -IRNA - 12/31/08

Imprisoned Iranian Blogger Begins Hunger Strike
Shahnaz Gholami, an online Iranian journalist and rights activist, has begun a hunger strike in Tabriz city prison. -RFE - 12/31/08

Iran's Parliament approves Ahmadinejad subsidy bill
The Iranian Parliament has approved a bill presented by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to eliminate the subsidy on basic commodities. -Press TV - 12/31/08

Statement by the European Union on the Situation in the Middle East
The European Union, conscious of the suffering and anguish of all civilian populations, puts forward the following proposals to resolve the crisis: Immediate and permanent ceasefire: there must be an unconditional halt to rocket attacks by Hamas on Israel and an end to Israeli military action... - 12/31/08

Moderates in Middle East May Suffer if Israeli-Hamas Conflict Continues Unabated
Fawaz Gerges is a Middle East expert at Sarah Lawrence College in New York. Speaking from Tripoli, Lebanon, he said the strong Israeli response has radicalized Arab public opinion in the region. -VOA - 12/31/08

Azerbaijan Authorities ban international broadcasters from the domestic airwaves
The Broadcasting Board of Governors (BBG) deplores today's decision by the Azeri National TV-Radio Council to ban all international broadcasters, including RFE/RL, VOA, and BBC, from the domestic airwaves effective January 1. - 12/31/08

Reading Lolita again
AZAR NAFISI’S new book is both prequel and sequel to her earlier memoir, “Reading Lolita in Tehran”. Her latest work, “Things I’ve Been Silent About”, reveals some inconvenient truths about Ms Nafisi’s upbringing that she chose to keep private while her parents were alive. -Economist - 12/31/08

The Shah? He's as safe as houses ...
that was the startling misjudgement made by the British ambassador on the eve of Iran's Islamic revolution. This and other extraordinary stories are revealed in secret documents released yesterday by the National Archives. Cahal Milmo reports -Independent - 12/31/08

End of the year thoughts
As we approach the end of the year I have been thinking of all that we have experienced through the year that is coming to an end. Whether good or bad, an experience can only be positive and strengthen you. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/30/08

Royan Cell Therapy Center Opens in Tehran
Iran inaugurated the country's first cellular therapy center in Royan institute in a bid to treat refractory diseases in the near future - 12/30/08

Iran President: Real Holocaust now taking place in Gaza
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in a message addressed to world nations on Tuesday condemned the atrocities of the Zionist regime and its supporters in Gaza Strip. - 12/30/08

Iranian Literary Arts Festival in San Francisco, February 5-6, 2009
The Translation Project marks the 30th Anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Revolution by gathering diaspora poets from all over the world - 12/30/08

Iran: Jewish MP blasts Israeli war crimes in Gaza
Representative of Jewish Community at Majlis, Siamak Mara-Sedq on Monday expressed shock at massive war crimes being perpetrated by Israel in Gaza. Also, different groups of Iran's Jewish community gathered in front of the United Nations office in Tehran Tuesday morning protesting Israeli war crimes -IRNA - 12/30/08

Iranian-Canadian Blogger Has Been Detained, Judiciary Confirms
A prominent Iranian-Canadian blogger has been detained and his case is being investigated, Iran's judiciary said today in the first official public confirmation about his whereabouts. -Reuters - 12/30/08

8th Tabriz International Cartoon Contest: "No War"
The 8th Tabriz International Cartoon Contest will be held on the theme of "No War" in mid February in the Northwestern Iranian city. - 12/30/08

U.S. Science Academy Official Detained in Tehran
A member of a U.S. scientific delegation headed by the President of the Institute of Medicine was interrogated for 9 hours earlier this month in his Tehran hotel. The U.S. National Academies labeled the incident a “serious breach,” and declared on Friday that they “cannot sponsor or encourage American scientists to visit Iran unless there are clear assurances that the personal safety of visiting scientists will be guaranteed.” -Science - 12/30/08

Soccer: Malavan stuns Persepolis at home
Persepolis missed a good chance to get close to the Iran Professional League (IPL) leader Esteghlal in the 20th week after being badly beaten by Malavan Bandar Anzali on Tuesday. -MNA - 12/30/08

Gaza Protests Now Target Arab Leaders
On the third day of Israel's attack on Gaza, street protesters across the Middle East broadened their rage toward Israel and the U.S. to include Arab rulers accused of not acting forcefully and fast enough to stop the violence. -Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ - 12/30/08

Ramin Zoufonoun: Running For A Good Cause
Iranian-American Ramin Zoufonoun has been supporting the Lance Armstrong Foundation in its endeavors to help individuals facing cancer. Ramin ran the New York City Marathon on November 2, 2008. - 12/30/08

Nothing Simple About Disbanding Of Iranian Rebel Camp In Iraq
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki, who has found himself sandwiched between the demands of an influential neighbor, Iran, and the presence of a large occupation force of mostly U.S. soldiers, assured Iranian leaders during a recent visit to Tehran that a "solution acceptable to all parties" was imminent to the contentious issue of an Iranian rebel camp on Iraqi soil. - 12/30/08

Iranian Security Services Arrest Five Dervishes
Iranian security services recently arrested five dervishes -- members of the Nematollahi Gonabadi Sufi Muslim community -- without any official charges in southern Hormozgan Province. - 12/30/08

Iraq president appreciates Iranian experts work in northern Iraq
A 5.2 kilometer-long tunnel was constructed in two years by Iranian companies in Iraq Kurdestan and will be commissioned soon. The Azmer Tunnel connects two parts of Soleymanieh city. - 12/30/08

Israeli Attacks Kill Over 310 in Gaza in One of Israel’s Bloodiest Attacks on Palestinians Since 1948
We speak to Dr. Moussa El-Haddad and Fida Qishta in Gaza, Dr. Mustafa Barghouti in Ramallah, Gideon Levy in Tel Aviv and Ali Abunimah in the US. -Democracy Now - 12/30/08

Iran's software exports to reach $60M this year
The deputy commerce minister anticipated on Tuesday that the export of software would exceed dlrs 60 million by March 21, 2009. - 12/30/08

Report: HP printers a hit in Iran
Hewlett-Packard printers, like blue jeans in the old Soviet Russia, are apparently a hot item among consumers in Iran. -cnet - 12/30/08

Big ransom paid to free student in Iran
Japan paid the equivalent of about ¥200 million to resolve the kidnapping of a Japanese national in Iran, a government source said Monday. -Japan Times - 12/30/08

Photos: International festival of Islamic cooking, Iran, Qom
The following photos are from the first international festival of Islamic cooking which was held in Qom, Iran on December 27, 2008. -Photos by Mohammad Akhlaghi, ISNA - 12/29/08

International Gaza Cartoon Contest by Iran's Cartoon House
All the works displayed at the Tehran exhibition of Gaza cartoons will be available on this site, said head of the Cartoon House Masud Shojaii Tabatabaii, adding that all the Iranian and foreign cartoonists will be able to show their latest works on this site. - 12/29/08

Zurkhaneh becomes Iran national heritage
Zurkhaneh (house of strength) is an ancient Persian gymnasium where - 12/29/08

Shirin Ebadi's Private Law Office Stormed by Iran's Security Forces
On Monday December 29, 2008 at 5:30 in the afternoon the private law office of Shirin Ebadi, Nobel Peace Prize Winner, Lawyer and human rights defenders was stormed by 5 security officers identifying themselves as tax officials, who presented a letter allowing them to take two computers and other documents. -Change for Equality - 12/29/08

Jundullah responsible for bombing in Saravan, Iran
The Jundullah terrorist group has claimed responsibility for a deadly Monday suicide attack that rocked a southeastern city in Iran. A suicide bomber carrying explosives tried to enter a police station in the city of Saravan in Sistan-Baluchestan Province on Monday. The bomber, however, failed to enter the building and was killed in the explosion. - 12/29/08

Iran's First Solar Power Plant Inaugurated
The first domestically-made solar power plant has been inaugurated as a pilot scheme in Shiraz, Fars province, energy minister said. -Iran Daily - 12/29/08

Washington and Tehran to hold direct talks soon: ex-German envoy to US
The German official added American and Iranian political representatives are slated to attend the Munich security which is to focus mainly on disarmament and arms control. - 12/29/08

Arab World Reacts in Anger at Gaza Strike
Protesters throughout the Middle East held angry demonstrations Sunday, condemning not only Israel's deadly airstrikes in Gaza but also their own governments for not doing more to prevent the violence. - 12/29/08

Premarital sex on rise as Iranians delay marriage, survey finds
Rising numbers of Iranians are spurning marriage and having sex illegally outside wedlock, Iran's state-run body for youth affairs has said. -Guardian - 12/29/08

What Iran Wants
After an eight-year struggle over whether to engage Iran, the United States may finally be on the verge of launching a direct dialogue with its perennial Middle Eastern adversary. -Ray Takeyh, Washington Post - 12/29/08

Massacre in Gaza: The Paradox of Peace
Sadly, this was not the first time. History has repeated itself. Only our media has successfully managed to throw sands of ignorance in our eyes and blind us with bigotry, keeping our wits dull with misinformation. For the sake of the innocent victims everywhere, the truth must be exposed. We must revisit history. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 12/29/08

AFGHANISTAN: Iran agrees to halt deportations - Afghan minister
Iran is to suspend large-scale deportations of illegal Afghan migrants until March 2009, the Afghan Ministry of Refugees and Returnees (MoRR) has said. -IRIN - 12/29/08

Designer Duds For Fashion-Starved Iran
An iconic British department store is about to open the doors of its first location in the Islamic Republic of Iran. -CBS News - 12/29/08

Shannon Kelley, the independent movie consultant: Mass media draw an altered view of Iran
Cinema Verite International Film Festival which was held in Iran on the third week of October 2008 was undoubtedly an occasional and magnificent opportunity for documentary filmmakers from 75 countries worldwide to congregate for a landmark event and share their precious artistic experiences with together along with being acquainted with the obscured and folded culture of Iran -Ahmadreza Tavassoli and Kourosh Ziabari - 12/29/08

Iran's Supreme Leader strongly condemns Gaza massacre as more than 270 die in Israeli Airstrikes
Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a historical message on Sunday strongly condemned the inhuman atrocities of the Zionist regime in Gaza Strip. - 12/28/08

Iran defeated by Spain's Galicia team
Iran's football team lost to Galicia selection 3-2 in a friendly at the Riazor Stadium in Coruna, Spain, on Saturday. - 12/28/08

Iranians Ponder Future U.S.-Iranian Relations in an Obama Administration
Just a month ago, while Israeli Prime Minister Olmert and U.S. President Bush met for the last time as heads of state in late November, 2008 in Washington and continued their relentless bellicose rhetoric toward Iran, I and three activists from the United States were in Iran as citizen diplomats talking with Iranians on their views of a new American presidential administration and their hopes for their country. -Ann Wright, Common Dreams - 12/28/08

Kashan, Queensland universities sign cooperation agreement
An agreement on educational, research and technological cooperation was signed by Kashan University and Australia's Queensland University of Technology. - 12/28/08

A bloody Christmas in Palestine
Israel's barbaric attack on the innocent civilians of Gaza on Saturday once again revealed the true nature of the Zionist regime. The onslaught was unleashed just after the Christian world celebrated the birthday of Jesus Christ and Pope Benedict XVI called for peace in the Middle East in his Christmas address. - 12/28/08

ESRB symbols unveiled in Tehran
Iran joined the Entertainment Software Rating Board (ESRB) in a ceremony held at the Andisheh Hall of the Art Bureau on Saturday, December 27. -MNA - 12/28/08

Financial Crisis In Russia Holds Threat Of Social Unrest
The crisis had so far largely spared the Russian population, mainly because share ownership and private pensions are still rare. But ordinary Russians have begun feeling the pinch in recent weeks, prompting talk of looming social unrest. -RFE - 12/28/08

CIA Buys Afghan Chief's Loyalty with Viagra
The Afghan chieftain looked older than his 60-odd years, and his bearded face bore the creases of a man burdened with duties as tribal patriarch and husband to four younger women. His visitor, a CIA officer, saw an opportunity, and reached in his bag for a small gift. -SF Chronicle - 12/28/08

Oldooz Robatian: An Intense, Deep and Attentive Young Artist
Last Friday, after a long time, I came across the work of a young lady whose work touched me for its insightfulness and the devotion rendered towards its creation. We were at the Golestan gallery where we saw works by the talented young lady artist Oldooz Robatian. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/28/08

Iran World Cup 98 team wins Gilan benefit match
Iran football team in World Cup 1998 France beat the "Selection of Gilan" 4-1 in a benefit match held at the "Shahid Azodi" Stadium in Rasht, north of Iran, on Friday. - 12/27/08

Iran Promises Higher Education For All
College attendance in Iran was until now dependant on whether applicants could gain a high score in a nationwide test called Konkoor. The Iranian minister in charge of higher-education-related issues has revealed, however, that universities in the country will be able to admit all students starting from next year. - 12/27/08

Mashayekhi, Olov honored at 4th Parvin Etesami Film Festival
Actor Jamshid Mashayekhi and actress Jaleh Olov were paid tribute in a ceremony at the 4th Parvin Etesami Film Festival held at Tehran's Art Bureau on Friday. The festival is named in memory of the Iranian poetess Parvin Etesami. - 12/27/08

Iran primed for talks with US
Iran announces its readiness to talk with the US amid stepped up Israeli efforts to delay high-level discussions between the two countries. - 12/27/08

Iranian Fashion Dilemmas
Iran is hosting its first fashion and costume-design festival to promote Islamic styles, both for adults and children. -RFE - 12/27/08

Israel launches attack on Gaza, kills 210
Israeli warplanes have carried out a massive airstrike on Hamas security compounds inside the Gaza Strip, killing at least 210 and wounding hundreds others. -Press TV - 12/27/08

Christmas Night in Tehran
Daily Photos From Tehran by Tehran24 - 12/27/08

Iran drops plans for cash subsidies
Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani confirmed on Friday that the plan to provide direct payments of subsides has been cancelled due to the sharp fall in oil prices. -MNA - 12/27/08

UNESCO concerned about threats to Soltanieh Dome
The director of UNESCO Tehran Cluster Office expressed concern about the construction projects threatening the Soltanieh Dome, an Ilkhanid monument registered on UNESCO's World Heritage List. - 12/27/08

U.S. Claims New York Skyscraper Is Owned By Iran's Bank Melli
The U.S. Justice Department has announced that it intends to seize a 40-percent share in a posh New York City skyscraper. Prosecutors allege the share is owned by Bank Melli, an Iranian bank that is fully owned by the Iranian government. -RFE - 12/27/08

Oil Prices Collapse on Falling Demand
Some oil-producing nations face their first budget deficits in years as oil prices drop sharply. And Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin warns that the world can expect higher natural gas prices. - 12/27/08

Malaysia's Proton to Expand Market in Iran
Malaysian car manufacturing company Proton will begin mass production of Gen-2 model in Iran from next two months. -FNA - 12/27/08

Landing in Tehran, where paradoxes thrive
In summer, I flew from Istanbul to Tehran to film a public-television show on Iran. For an American, it was eye-opening from the first moment. When the pilot said, "We're taking this plane to Tehran," nobody was alarmed. -Rick Steves, TMS - 12/27/08

Photos: Village of Zarg in Kouhrang, Chaharmahal-Bakhtiyari province of Iran
These photos are from the village of Zarg and its residents. Zarg is about 140 kilometers from Kouhrang considered among the most beautiful towns of Chaharmahal-Bakhtiyari province. Chaharmahal o Bakhtiyari is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. It lies in the southwestern part of the country. Its capital is Shahrekord. It has an area of 16,332 square kilometers and a population of 842,000 (2005 estimate). -Photos by Amin Shirazi, ISNA - 12/26/08

Photos: Preparations for Muharram Mourning in Zanjan, Iran
The Mourning of Muharram is an important period of mourning in the Shi'a branch of Islam, taking place in Muharram which is the first month of the Islamic calendar. It is also called the Remembrance of Muharram. Zanjan is a province located in the North-West Iran with the Zanjan city being its center. -Photos by Meysam Mohammadi, ISNA - 12/26/08

105 foreign movies to go on screen at Fajr festival
Some 105 foreign movies from 50 countries will go on screen at the International Section of the Fajr International Film Festival to be held from February 1 to 11, 2009 at various Tehran theaters. - 12/26/08

Haddadi called up to Grizzlies
Hamed Haddadi was recalled by the Memphis Grizzlies from the Dakota Wizards of the NBA Development League on Thursday. - 12/26/08

Israel bent on blocking Iran-US talks
Israel has reportedly stepped up efforts to block the prospect of high-level negotiations between Washington and the Islamic Republic. -Press TV - 12/26/08

Bottom-Up Stimulus
What development projects deliver short-term relief to people and long-term economic structural change for sustained growth and should therefore be part of the upcoming economic stimulus package? The answer: projects determined and managed by the local communities they are intended to benefit. -Yossef Ben-Meir - 12/26/08

Russia eyes trade rise with Iran in 2009
Russia is planning to sign new agreements with Iran to boost the two-way trade in 2009, Russian Economy Ministry Trade Negotiations Department Director Maxim Medvedkov stated on Thursday. -MNA - 12/26/08

Naqqali: A Short Film Titled Shemr and The Daughter of Iran
Naqqali is a traditional form of Persian storytelling that used to be performed by Naqqals (Storytellers). This story is about Shemr of Arabia and Turan , the archenemy of Iran Dokht ( The Daughter of Iran). In this short tale the defiant Shemr ( Portrayed by Iraj Anvar ) boasts about the carnage and chaos he is about to unleash upon Iran. - 12/26/08

Dr. Saba Valadkhan: A Renowned Biomedical Scientist
Dr. Saba Valadkhan is a world-renowned biomedical scientist and the Assistant Professor of Case Western Reserve University of USA. This young Iranian scientist has won several international awards for her effective, determinant contribution to the field of Molecular Biology such as Peter Sajovic Memorial Award, Harold M. Weintraub Graduate Student Award and James Howard McGregor Prize. -Kourosh Ziabari and Ahmadreza Tavassoli - 12/26/08

Dast2Dast: Serving Up Soul Food for the Homeless- Persian Style
It's 8am on Tuesday, just two days before Christmas, and while most of us are frenetically tending to last minute "Festivus" details, one Iranian American is quietly planning a holiday dinner for over a hundred homeless Virginians. -By Rudi Bakhtiar, PAAIA - 12/25/08

Farhang Foundation Short-Film Festival Winner to Be Featured at LACMA
Farhang Foundation, a recently established non-profit organization focused on celebrating Iranian art and culture in Southern California, today announced that the screening of the winning film in their first Short-Film Festival Film Festival will take place during the Farhang Foundation Nowruz (Persian New Year) Celebration events at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on March 14 and 15, 2009. - 12/25/08

Thirteenth Annual Festival of Iranian Films in Washington
The event, which will start on January 9, will feature a number of award-winning Iranian films. The Thirteenth Annual Festival of Iranian Films is organized by Bo Smith of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, and cosponsored by ILEX Foundation. - 12/25/08

Iran Presient delivers Christmas message on UK TV
One of the renowned British TV networks, Channel 4, has opted to end the year for British audience by inviting Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to give the broadcaster's alternative Christmas message on Thursday - 12/25/08

Photos: Emergency Evacuations Drill at Kouyeh Nasr in Tehran
An emergency evacuations drill was held on Wednesday at Kouyeh Nasr neighborhood of Tehran. During this drill, the residents went through various emergency preparedness exercises. -Photos by Amir Pourmand, ISNA - 12/25/08

US Says Iraq Won't Force Rebel Group Back to Iran
The status of about 3,500 members of the Iranian exile group, the Mujaheddin-e Khalq, or MEK, has been an issue of contention between Iraq and Iran. After the U.S.-led invasion of Iraq in 2003, the group was disarmed by American forces and its members remain at the northern Iraqi site, Camp Ashraf, protected by U.S. troops despite the terrorist designation. - 12/25/08

There are 12 million smokers in Iran
According to a report by the Public Relations Department of the institute, Mahmoud Abtahi said, "We are working in an industry whose product is disagreeable but we should manage the cigarette market given the number of smokers in Iran." - 12/25/08

BBC Persian service conducting illegal activities: Culture Minister
The activities of the BBC Persian service in Tehran are illegal, Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Mohammad Hossein Safar Harandi said in Tehran on Wednesday. -MNA - 12/25/08

The Web of Iran, Ireland, and China and Beyond: An Ethno-Cultural Etymological Interconnection? Sounds Incredulous but Real!
Many years ago a few Irish professors commissioned at the University of Tehran concluded there is a firm interconnection between Iran and Ireland in the distant past. At the time, skeptics including this then teenager perceived it naively as a part of the propaganda machinery by the Shah to embellish an Aryan heritage for Iran and thus himself before his self coronation on the �Persian Peacock� throne that followed. -Davood N. Rahni - 12/25/08

Women's Peace Group Creates Petition to Iranian President
After learning of the shutdown of two renowned Iranian human rights organizations Sunday, CODEPINK Women for Peace have created a letter of petition to Iranian President Ahmadinejad calling for him to allow women's rights and human rights activists to continue their work in Iran safely and freely. - 12/24/08

Iran Wedding Bell Blues
Although marriage is recognized to be a stabilizing factor in today's society, the National Organization for Civil Registration (NOCR) has revealed that there have been 53 thousand divorces as opposed to a mere 486 thousand marriages in the first half of the current Iranian calendar year. - 12/24/08

Persian electro-acoustic sensation NIYAZ to give hometown record release party in Los Angeles
On February 7, the Persian electro-acoustic sensation Niyaz does a hometown record release party in Los Angeles at the El Rey Theatre in support of their critically acclaimed sophomore album, Nine Heavens. The album has been resonating across a wide spectrum of fans worldwide from the younger Persian generation to their parents, to Western ears and more. - 12/24/08

Female Cardiologist Co-authors Book on Women's Heart Health
Dr. Shokooh is a Board Certified Cardiologist in private practice at the Orange County Heart Institute and Research Center in Orange County, California. She has lectured on women and heart disease to nursing programs and has been involved in EBCT research. She has had research papers published. She is currently the co-medical director at the St. Joseph Women's Heart Center in Orange, California. - 12/24/08

Iran prepares for sweeping economic reforms
Tehran has launched a campaign to promote an economic reform plan after parts of the proposal faced public disapproval in October. -Press TV - 12/24/08

Iran soccer team in Spain for friendly game
Iran's soccer team arrived in Madrid on Wednesday. Iranian team is due to hold its friendly match with Spain's Galicia soccer club on December 27. - 12/24/08

Israeli singer born in Iran, has fans everywhere
Her two worlds are sworn enemies, but singer finds she's welcome in both -Chicago Tribune - 12/24/08

Termination of pregnancy due to Thalassemia major, Hemophilia, and Down's Syndrome: the views of Iranian physicians
Genetic disorders due to kindred marriages are common medical conditions in Iran; however, the legal aspects of abortion remain controversial. This study was undertaken to determine physicians' opinions regarding the termination of pregnancy for three genetic diseases: thalassemia major, hemophilia, and Down's syndrome. -Mehran Karimi, et al - 12/24/08

Hospital Show 2008 kicks off in Kish
The First International Hospital Industry Exhibition (Hospital Show 2008) kicked off at the Kish International Exhibition Center on Tuesday and will run until Friday. Also, First International Seminar themed 'Innovation in Nursing and Midwifery' was held for two days in Qeshm Island, Hormuzgan province. - 12/24/08

Iran's 9-month petchem exports hit $6 billion
Iran has exported 7.805 million tons of petrochemical products worth about $6 billion in the first nine months of the Iranian calendar year (began March 20, 2008). -MNA - 12/24/08

Putin sends a shiver to Britain with warning: 'The time of cheap gas is coming to an end'
Russian premier Vladimir Putin warned Western consumers yesterday that gas bills are set to soar. To ram home the point, he oversaw the setting up of a new international 'cartel' of gas producers - unofficially led by Moscow - which observers fear will seek to fix output and prices. -Daily Mail - 12/24/08

A Musical collaboration between the Iranian artist Katayoun Goudarzi, Tim Ries of the Rolling Stones, Kevin Heys, and Sato Takeishi in NYC
Katayoun Goudarzi's distinctive melodic style of recitation blends an emotive rendition of the poetry with meticulous attention to the linguistic and lyrical integrity of the piece. Her accurate style is the result of decades of study and the fruits of this labor are evident in her writings and albums. - 12/24/08

Iran Asked to Free AIDS Doctors Held for Six Months on Illegitimate Charges
On the sixth-month anniversary of Iran's detention of Dr. Arash Alaei and Dr. Kamiar Alaei—Iranian brothers who are known worldwide as HIV/AIDS physicians—international NGOs, academic institutions, and medical leaders from across the globe are asking Iran to free them immediately. - 12/23/08

So happy to be at school!
Because of its position in the Middle East, Iran has been a home to over a million refugees from Iraq and Afghanistan. Many are children of school age. Some of them are legal and have papers giving them permission to live here, others are illegal. For the past two years the legal ones have been allowed to go to school, but they have to pay between 500,000 to 800,000 rials! ($50-$80). Many of the families can hardly afford to buy food, let alone pay for their children's education. -Syma Sayyah & Paul Sanford, Tehran - 12/23/08

Bam earthquake: five years later
The psychological scars still linger from the devastating earthquake that destroyed almost the entire city of Bam in December 2003. The massive quake killed some 26,000 people and left 30,000 with life long injuries. Five years on people still struggle to cope while around them reconstruction continues. -IFRC - 12/23/08

Second Tehran Art Expo opens
At the ceremony, world renowned master of painting and miniatures Farshchian stressed on the importance of paying homage to veteran Iranian artists as well as being concerned about the economic situation of art in Iran. - 12/23/08

German coach Rutemoeller to become Daei's advisor for Iran's 2010 World Cup bid
The former chief instructor of the German Football Federation (DFB) Erich Rutemoeller is to become an advisor to Iranian national football team coach Ali Daei during Iran's 2010 World Cup qualification bid, the DFB announced on its official homepage on Tuesday. - 12/23/08

Natural-Gas Producers Meet In Moscow To Finalize Forum
Ministers from gas-exporting countries are meeting in Moscow to put the final touches to their new group -- the Gas Exporting Countries Forum (GECF). - 12/23/08

Malaysian PM terms prospect of ties with Iran as bright
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi said here on Tuesday that prospect of Tehran-Kuala Lumpur cooperation is bright and growing. Badawi, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday at the head of high- ranking delegation, made the remarks in a joint press conference with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. - 12/23/08

Who Speaks for Islam and for Christianity?
Christianity and Islam represent the world's two largest religious faiths today – with an estimated 2 billion Christians and 1.3 billion Muslims. During this month when Muslims celebrate Eid al-Adha and Christians celebrate Christmas, VOA News Now's Press Conference USA explores the question: Who speaks for Islam and who speaks for Christianity? - 12/23/08

Dlrs 150b to be invested in Iran's energy sector in 10 years
Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IDRO) will invest more than dlrs 150 billion in oil, gas and petrochemical sectors during the next ten years. -IRNA - 12/23/08

Iranians go to cinema once every 5 years
Based on the statistics released last year, Iranians go to the cinema once every 5 years. -MNA - 12/23/08

Iran to Open Office On Internet, SMS-Related Crimes
Tehran's Prosecutor-General Saeed Mortazawi said a special office will open this week to deal with Internet- and SMS-related crimes and violations. -FNA - 12/23/08

Etisalat wins Iran mobile license bid?
Emirates Telecommunications Corp. (Etisalat) has reportedly won the technical license bid to be Iran's third domestic mobile phone carrier. -Press TV - 12/23/08

Bush pushes Persian Gulf nuclear agreement
The Bush administration is quietly advancing a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), raising concerns in Congress and among nonproliferation experts about the deal's repercussions in a volatile region. -CSM - 12/23/08

Heroin, schools and the heart of the insurgency
The third in our series on life in Afghanistan reveals that in Helmand province no part of society is free from the economic impact of drugs or the prevailing culture of corruption -Guardian - 12/23/08

Tehran mayor seen as Ahmadinejad rival
Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf is shaping up to be a strong political challenger to Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, political analysts say. -UPI - 12/23/08

No pomegranates in Saveh, but art works instead!
First Saveh Pomegranate Visual Art Festival came about, to make the general public aware of the pomegranate growers plight, by using the pomegranate's symbolic properties in art, culture and folklore through the means of visual arts. Thanks to the enthusiastic energy of the painter Marzieh Ramezani who has Saveh origins, the project took shape towards the end of October 08, at the usual time of the pomegranate harvest. -Jacqueline Mirsadeghi - 12/22/08

Iran: Reverse Closure of Nobel Laureate's Rights Group
The unlawful raid by Iranian security forces on the Tehran rights group run by Nobel Laureate Shirin Ebadi on December 21, 2008, raises concerns of a broader attempt to silence Iran's human rights community, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran and Human Rights Watch said today. - 12/22/08

Tehran museum hosting exhibit by German artists Barlach and Kollwitz
An exhibition displaying the works of German Expressionists Käthe Schmidt Kollwitz and Ernst Barlach opened at the Tehran Museum of Contemporary Art (TMCA) on December 21. - 12/22/08

Persian Gulf Sand Sculpture Festival to promote world peace
The First Persian Gulf International Sand Sculpture Festival will be held on the theme of "World Peace and Friendship" from March 16 to April 5 in the southern Iranian port of Genaveh. -MNA - 12/22/08

Nazeri cancels concert due to Konya's improper atmosphere
Winner of France's Chevalier de la Légion d'honneur medal, Shahram Nazeri cancelled his performance in Konya, Turkey, objecting to the improper conditions and inappropriate atmosphere of the city. - 12/22/08

Tehran to host seminar on impact of global financial crisis on Iranian economy
Secretary General of Tehran Chamber of Commerce, Industries and Mines Mohammad-Mehdi Rasekh said on Monday that a seminar on the impact of global financial crisis on Iran's economy will be held here on January 19. - 12/22/08

Daei: My resignation is a baseless story
Iran football coach Ali Daei stated on Sunday that he is not going to resign from his job despite speculations of a rift with the football officials. - 12/22/08

Iran: Articles on medical sciences to exceed 4,000 this year
Minister of Health and Medical Education Kamran Baqeri-Lankarani said that the number of scientific articles on medical sciences will exceed 4,000 in the current Iranian year (to end on March 20). - 12/22/08

Iranian karatekas stand second in Malaysia competitions
Iranian karate team stood second in the 2nd Asian KOI Karate Championships in Cube Osaka style in Kuala Lumpur on Monday. Iranian karatekas snatched five gold, six silver and 15 bronze medals in the competitions. - 12/22/08

Iran police forces delivers deadly blow to Jundallah terrorists
Deputy police chief Ahmad Reza Radan said police forces have delivered a deadly blow to the terrorist Jundollah group led by Abdolmalek Rigi. -MNA - 12/22/08

Edinburgh's Fest to host 13 Iranian films
Scottish Edinburgh's International Film Festival is to screen 13 Iranian films in its Middle East section. The event to be run from January 30th to February 8th in the Scottish capital of Edinburgh is sponsored by Iranian communities of Edinburgh University. -ISNA - 12/22/08

Iran-Afghanistan transactions stand at dlrs 500M: Official
The deputy commerce minister on Monday put the volume of Iran-Afghanistan trade transactions at dlrs 500 million annually. Mehdi Ghazanfari made the remark while addressing the First International Seminar on Afghanistan's Economic Reconstruction. - 12/22/08

Police Raid, Close Offices Of Iran's Nobel Peace Laureate
Iranian security forces have raided and closed the Tehran office of the human rights center run by 2003 Nobel Peace Prize laureate Shirin Ebadi. -RFE - 12/21/08

Iran defeats China 2-0 in Oman Cup
Iran's national soccer team has snatched a 2-0 victory over China to come third at the International Cup of Oman held in Muscat. - 12/21/08

Nooshin Meshkaty Makes History as First Iranian American School Board President
Nooshin Meshkaty was recently sworn in as the President of the Beverly Hills Board of Education. According to news reports, Meshkaty has made history by becoming the first Iranian American school board president in the United States. - 12/21/08

Photos: Yalda Night Celebration
Some Eye-Catching views about Yalda Night: "The true morning will not come until the Yalda Night is gone". -Photos by H. Bazgosh - 12/21/08

Obama to create Iran outreach post
The incoming Obama administration plans to create a new position to coordinate outreach to Iran and is considering a number of senior career diplomats, State Department officials and Iran specialists say. -Washington Times - 12/21/08

Winners of the Image of the Year exhibit announced
The winners of the Sixth Image of the Year Exhibition were announced during a ceremony at the Iranian Artists Forum (IAF) on Friday. Although the exhibit was primarily non-competitive, young artists in the three sections of cartoon, photo and graphic design, competed for the Mohsen Rasoulov Award during the exhibit that was held at IAF from December 4 to 19. - 12/21/08

MKO Remains on EU's List of Terrorist Groups
A court that ruled that the anti-Iran terrorist group, the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO), was wrongly included on list of terrorist organizations refuses to say when it should be taken off it. -FNA - 12/21/08

Iran to host conference on reviving Afghanistan's economy
The Mehr News Agency reported here on Saturday that the director of Afghanistan's national customs office and deputy director of the Central Bank of Afghanistan as well as 80 Afghan tradespersons, businesspersons, and some high-ranking officials are in Iran to attend the confab. - 12/21/08

Iraq Says Iranian Opposition Exiles Must Leave
The Shi'ite-led Iraqi government has told nearly 3,500 opposition Iranians living in exile in Iraq that it plans to close their camp and they have to leave the country. -Reuters - 12/21/08

Malaysian PM arrives in Tehran
Malaysian Prime Minister Abdullah Ahmad Badawi heading a high ranking delegation arrived here on Sunday afternoon and was officially welcomed by Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki. -IRNA - 12/21/08

Iran: 85% of electronic waste produced by state bodies
Electronic waste is of concern largely due to the toxicity of some of the substances if processed improperly, Aslanian noted, adding that the toxicity is because of lead, mercury, cadmium, arsenic, and a number of other substances. -MNA - 12/21/08

NIDC to invest $2B in Persian Gulf projects
National Iranian Drilling Company plans to implement $2 billion worth of projects in the Persian Gulf, the NIDC managing director said here on Sunday. -MNA - 12/21/08

Yalda Registered as National Heritage
Yalda festival which marks the longest night of the year in the northern hemisphere was officially registered on the national heritage list on Saturday. - 12/20/08

Iranians celebrate Yalda tonight
While the Christians all over the world are preparing themselves for celebrating Christmas, the Iranians in Iran and outside are getting ready to celebrate one of their most ancient rituals, Shab-e Yalda (Night of Yalda which is the longest night of the year), in a tradition welcoming the birthday of the Goddess of Love, Mitra. - 12/20/08

Iranian Foundation Head Arrested In U.S. For Obstruction Of Justice
Farshid Jahedi, the president of the New York-based Alavi Foundation, has been arrested in New York on charges of obstruction of justice. - 12/20/08

YALDA: The Persian Winter Solstice Celebration
Winter solstice that usually falls on December 21 has been celebrated by human communities throughout the world for millennia. As many of the oldest civilizations have evolved between the Indus and Ganji rivers to the east and Tigris and Euphrates rivers to the west, where current Iran falls in the center, the celebration has been called Yalda ( aka Daygan) since antiquity. -Narrated by F & D Rahni - 12/20/08

More Power To Iran's Most Powerful Leader
Iran's parliament, the Majlis, has passed a bill that deprives the legislature of the right to check three major regulatory bodies, in a move analysts say is likely to consolidate Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei's power. -RFE - 12/20/08

U.S., Iran Both Need an Attitude Change
As she prepares for her role as Secretary of State, Senator Hillary Clinton and the rest of the Obama foreign policy team should consider how a new American-Iranian relationship might advance American interests in Iraq and Afghanistan, and conceivably even the Arab-Israeli peace process. -Washington Post - 12/20/08

Iran sends warship to Gulf of Aden
Iran has sent a warship on a patrol mission to the Gulf of Aden amid continued reports of ship hijacking by Somali pirates in the region. -Press TV - 12/20/08

Iranian diplomats detained by US troops in Iraq meet their families
Five Iranian diplomats kept in US jails in Iraq met with their family members for four hours on Friday. -IRNA - 12/20/08

Iran urges Security Council to take immediate action on Gaza
Iranian Ambassador to United Nations Eshaq Ale Habib on Friday urged the Security Council to take immediate action to alleviate sufferings of people living in Gaza Strip. -IRNA - 12/20/08

IRAN: 'Tis the season, also in the Islamic Republic
At Tehran's Zaeem flower shop in Pasteur Square, a stone's throw from the office of President Mahmoud Ahmdinejad, you can spot something unexpected for the Islamic Republic of Iran: a small Christmas tree. -Los Angeles Times - 12/20/08

Italy lifts ban on oldest Iranian bank
Italy has reportedly overturned a decision to ban the oldest Iranian bank, allowing the financial institution to resume activities in Rome. -Press TV - 12/20/08

'They all think I'm a spy'
Once a revolutionary who helped bring down Iran's monarchy in 1979, Akbar Ganji is now the country's most outspoken reformist -Guardian - 12/20/08

HIV+ disease spread among injection addicts decreased 7%: Iranian Official
Remedy and Rehabilitation Deputy of Narcotic Drug Abuse Campaign Headquarters said here Friday thanks to that headquarter's moves, according to Health Ministry statistics, spread of HIV+ disease among country's injection addicts has decreased 7% during past three years. -IRNA - 12/20/08

Emerging Iran: Danger or Opportunity?
Over the past several months, the investment world has turned its ever-roving eye on the Middle East and North Africa. -ETF Guide - 12/20/08

Winners of 24th Fajr International Music Festival announced
The winners of the 24th Fajr International Music Festival were announced here on Tuesday in a ceremony held at Tehran's Vahdat Hall. Prior to the presentation of the awards, tribute was paid to tar virtuosos Farhang Sharif and Hushang Zarif, vocalist Ahmad Ebrahimi and composer of famous Iranian revolutionary songs Ahmad Abraviz. - 12/19/08

What hurled shoes say about America's standing in the world
President Bush may be pleased to have ducked the shoes hurled at him by an Iraqi journalist at a press conference on Sunday. But to miss the significance of these flying objects would be a grave mistake. -Fatemeh Keshavarz - 12/19/08

Fallon talks sense into Israel on Iran
A former senior US commander says Israel should overcome its "fear" that a nuclear Iran would pose an existential threat to Tel Aviv. - 12/19/08

AFGHANISTAN-IRAN: Iran called upon to halt winter deportations
Afghan government officials and aid agencies are calling on the Iranian authorities to halt the deportation of Afghans from Iran during the winter for humanitarian reasons. -IRIN - 12/19/08

Iran: A Long and Painful Story of Jailed Bloggers
Iranian blogger and journalist, Omid Reza Mirsyafi, was sentenced [fa]to two and a half years of prison this week. He stands accused of insulting religious leaders, and engaging in propaganda against the Islamic Republic. Over the past 5 years, several bloggers in Iran have faced jail and persecution because of their blogs. -Global Voices - 12/19/08

Iran comes 2nd in World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships
Iran finished in second place on Thursday in the 3rd WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships held in Ankara. -MNA - 12/19/08

US should appoint Iran envoy, says former UK ambassador
US president-elect Barack Obama should appoint an envoy to Iran as part of a plan for the normalization of bilateral ties once the current nuclear dispute is resolved, according to former UK ambassador to Tehran Sir Richard Dalton. -IRNA - 12/19/08

UAE vows to address Iranian concerns
Police at Dubai International Airport have beaten and insulted nearly 150 Iranian men and women traveling from Tehran, according to Tabnak. The police claim to have reports suggesting that one of the travelers had been carrying narcotics. -Press TV - 12/19/08

Global Financial Crisis Costs Many Migrant Workers Their Jobs
In the Persian Gulf region, major construction projects financed by a seemingly endless stream of oil revenue have brought millions of migrant workers to the region -- mostly from Asian countries such as India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, and the Philippines. -RFE - 12/19/08

Iranian Ayatollah wants a "Shoe Intifada"
Substitute Friday prayers leader of Tehran Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati here Friday hailed Iraqi journalist Muntadhar al-Zeidi's recent shoe-tossing at the US President George W. Bush and said the "shoe Intifada" should not be taken for granted. - 12/19/08

Iran to attend gathering of gas exporting countries in Moscow
The Islamic Republic of Iran, the Russian Federation and Kingdom of Qatar agreed on general idea of the need for establishing a gas exporting countries organization at a meeting in Tehran in October, 2008. - 12/19/08

Milan-Kish direct flight to be launched
The deputy director of Kish Free Zone Organization (KFZO) for tourism affairs announced on Friday that a direct flight is to be launched between Milan and Kish Island in February 2009. - 12/19/08

In The Spotlight: International Awards and the Accomplished Iranians Who Have Earned Them
Prestigious international awards not only recognize the accomplishments of their winners, but encourage excellence in the fields they honor. Iranians around the world have frequently been the recipients of such awards recognizing leaders in a variety of fields. -PARSA - 12/19/08

US jury convicts Iranian in night goggle case
A jury on Thursday convicted an Iranian woman of attempting to obtain thousands of pairs of sophisticated U.S.-made night-vision goggles for Iran's military and police. -AP - 12/19/08

Iranian bloggers demand release of the "blogfather"
We, the undersigned, view the circumstances surrounding the Iranian authorities' arrest of Hossein Derakhshan (hoder.com), one of the most prominent Iranian bloggers, as extremely worrying. Derakhshan's disappearance, detention at an unknown location, lack of access to his family and attorneys, and the authorities' failure to provide clear information about his potential charges is a source of concern for us. - 12/18/08

In Tehran, a Christian-Muslim symposium affirms dialogue, criticizes media
Equal participation and shared responsibility in society are at the basis of a peaceful coexistence between Christians and Muslims, stated participants at an inter-religious symposium in Tehran, Iran last week. They highlighted the value of learning from each other's faith and criticized "irresponsible media". -World Council of Churches - 12/18/08

Iran's Alamiyan Selected as World Best Table Tennis Player
Iran's table tennis player Noshad Alamiyan has been selected as the best player at the World Junior Table Tennis Championships. - 12/18/08

The Perils And Pitfalls Of Oil Price Forecasting
This year's sharp drop in crude prices from $147 a barrel in July to approximately $44 today has rattled the economies of oil exporters and prompted OPEC on December 17 to cut production by 2.2 million barrels. -RFE - 12/18/08

Iran clinches 3 gold medals in Turkey taekwondo championships
The Iranian team clinched three gold, one silver and one bronze medals in the 3rd WTF World Taekwondo Poomsae Championships hosted by Turkey at the ASKI Sports Hall. -IRNA - 12/18/08

Iranian diplomat's wife seek release of her kidnapped husband
The wife of an Iranian diplomat kidnapped in northwestern Pakistan in November, has sent a letter to Pakistani authorities seeking her husband's early release, officials said on Thursday. -IRNA - 12/18/08

Half Moon Bay woman fosters peace between Iran, U.S.
Rae Abileah is helping mobilize anti-war sentiment between Iran and the United States. Back from a peace-seeking mission, the Half Moon Bay resident partnered with Fellowship of Reconciliation, a national interfaith organization dedicated to justice, nonviolence and civilian diplomacy. -San Mateo County Times - 12/18/08

Interview with Iranian Woman Activist and Campaigner Maral Farokhi
My name is Maral Farokhi and I am 26 years old. I am a Masters level student in Cultural Studies at the Science and Culture University in Tehran. -Change for Equality - 12/18/08

Iran is recognizing the value of higher education
With more than 50 state universities, 40 medical schools and scores of private universities and specialized research institutes, higher eduction is highly valued in Iran. The Iranian university participation rate is slightly higher than Canada -- at 25 per cent to 23 per cent -- and the gender balance is about the same -- at 60 per cent female and 40 per cent male. -The Record - 12/18/08

US Says Russia Hardening Stance Against European Missile Defense Plan
The Bush administration's top arms control official says Moscow is hardening its stance against a proposed U.S. missile defense system in Europe - apparently intending to "test the mettle" of incoming President Obama on the issue. But State Department arms control chief John Rood is also optimistic the two powers can reach a new strategic arms limitation treaty next year. -VOA - 12/18/08

What's Next for America?
To some it signals the end of the American empire, to others it's just part of the vicious capitalist cycle. Either way, the litany of bad economic news in America has many pondering where it all goes from here. -Mark Egan, Reuters - 12/18/08

Gaza families eat grass as Israel locks border
AS a convoy of blue-and-white United Nations trucks loaded with food waited last night for Israeli permission to enter Gaza, Jindiya Abu Amra and her 12-year-old daughter went scrounging for the wild grass their family now lives on. -TIMES Online - 12/18/08

US Freezes Assets of Iran-Linked Company
The U.S. Treasury Department has designated a New York-based company as a front for an Iranian bank that Washington says helps spread weapons of mass destruction. -VOA - 12/18/08

Iranians hit by Dubai property slide
Habib Mostofi is one of thousands of Iranians who believed buying property in Dubai would be safer than Iran, isolated by the West over its disputed nuclear plans. But that was before the emirate's property bubble burst. -Reuters - 12/18/08

Iraq presents a lesson from history
As Britain prepares to pull its troops out of Iraq, former BBC Baghdad correspondent Andrew North looks back to a previous military campaign and considers whether history is destined to repeat itself? - 12/18/08

Photos: First Snow of the Year in Tehran
Tehran was hit by the first snow of the year on Tuesday which put the residents of the capital city on notice that winter is making an early arrival. -Photos by Arash Khamooshi, ISNA - 12/17/08

To run or not to run, that is the question for Khatami
Mohammad Khatami at Tehran University stresses that his bid for presidency counts on how far it can push justice and democracy in the country. - 12/17/08

Obama, Iran and control of the Middle East
Gareth Porter: US must acknowledge that Iran has a broad influence that no US policy can alter -RNN - 12/17/08

Nejat Society Asks UK to Support Iraqi Government Plans for Camp Ashraf Victims
Nejat [Rescue] Society, an Iranian NGO, has sent a delegation to London to brief policy and decision makers, human rights organisations and media on the US army handover of the Mojahedin-e Khalq's (MKO, MeK, NCRI, PMOI) military base, Camp Ashraf, to the Iraqi military on January 1st 2009. - 12/17/08

Russia justifies arms sales to Iran
A senior Russian official says military cooperation between Moscow and Tehran will continue to ensure stability in the Middle East. - 12/17/08

Ali Dizaei files against Scotland Yard for "religious, racial discrimination"
Iranian-born senior police commander of West London has served a lawsuit against the Metropolitan Police for "religious and racial discrimination" on Wednesday. - 12/17/08

France to Honor Iran's Renowned Director
The Vesoul International Film Festival of Asian Cinema is slated to honor the acclaimed Iranian filmmaker Mohsen Makhmalbaf in France. -FNA - 12/17/08

Israel's detention of UN expert 'unprecedented' ¨C rights chief
Israel's refusal to allow a United Nations expert to transit to carry out his officially mandated functions in the occupied Palestinian territory, his detention and subsequent expulsion is "unprecedented and deeply regrettable," the world body's top human rights official said today. - 12/17/08

UN Powers Discuss Iran Issue With Arab Envoys
In remarks prior to the meeting, Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov said his country is seeking a peaceful, nonconfrontational approach toward Iran. -RFE - 12/17/08

Iran's Regional Power Rooted in Shi'a Ties
As Barack Obama's national security team assesses the challenge of Iran's role in the Middle East, it confronts a paradox: Iran is seen as having ambitions of regional hegemony, but it lacks the military power normally associated with such a role. -IPS - 12/17/08

The Wrestler Vs. The Ayatollah
Iranians have been a little over sensitive in the past with their outrage over depictions of their people in ÌB" and "Alexander." In the case of the former, they even complained to the UN. But I do sympathize a bit with them on this one: it does seem a bit offensive if you ask me. -RFE - 12/17/08

Iranian Women to Inherit Land
Iranian widows will soon be able to inherit their husbands' lands, following an important religious decree issued by Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah 'Ali Khamanai, the Al-Jazeera online website reported. -Media Line - 12/17/08

East meets West in a doctor's suitcase
Kazemi was one of 10 medical specialists sent from the Iranian University of Mashhad to China for a four-year PhD in TCM between 2005 and 2009. -China Daily - 12/17/08

Debenhams to open store in Iran
British high street giant Debenhams is set to open its first ever department store in Iran. -Marie Claire - 12/17/08

Oldest 'well-head' to return to Iran
One of the oldest Iranian oil facilities dating back to the 1910s has been returned to Iran by the British Petroleum (BP). -IRNA - 12/17/08

Prison for nuke engineer who took software to Iran
An Iranian-born engineer who worked at the nation's largest nuclear power plant was sentenced Tuesday to 15 months in prison for taking computer software that he obtained at the plant to Iran. -AP - 12/17/08

Iranian-Canadian Blogger Hossein Derakhshan Held Incommunicado in Tehran's Evin Prison
Blogger Hossein Derakhshan was arrested at his family home in Tehran on 1 November. Denied access to his family and to legal representation, no one knows where Hossein Derakhshan is held. - 12/16/08

Iran and the Global Financial Crisis
The global financial crisis is set to depress oil producing economies. As the crisis is already pushing down oil prices, a firm response to the fallout of the crisis from governments and central banks is expected. Oil prices have tumbled more than 65% since their July peak and there are fears they could continue their plunge because of diminishing demand caused by the current financial meltdown. -Amir Naghshineh-Pour - 12/16/08

a U.S.-Iran Deal on the Middle East Possible?
Would a negotiated agreement between Iran and the Barack Obama administration be feasible if Obama sent the right signals? The answer one gets from Iranian officials and think tank analysts is, "Yes, but..." -IPS - 12/16/08

OPEC members due in London as 2009 oil price forecast is cut
The London Energy Meeting will begin here on Friday with the participation of 40 energy and oil ministers from across the world including the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries members. - 12/16/08

Tehran Ramps Up Campaign Against 'Immoral' Websites
The Iranian authorities, who admit to blocking access to over 5 million websites, have decided to take additional measures to restrict Internet access and crack down on bloggers. -RFE - 12/16/08

Arson attack cause of fire at one of oldest Tehran theaters
"The comprehensive investigation carried out by fire department experts has revealed that the fire at Cinema Jomhouri was deliberate," Tehran Fire Chief Mohammad-Reza Hajji-Beigi said in comments posted on the department's website on Sunday. -FNA - 12/16/08

Iran drones to monitor enemy from sky
Iran says it has manufactured a new generation of "spy drones" capable of providing near instantaneous access to aerial intelligence. - 12/16/08

Iranian FM: Paris did not show the courtesy of a host
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki has said that the undiplomatic remarks of French President Nicolas Sarkozy were the main reason Iran did not attend the recent two-day conference on Afghanistan. -MNA - 12/16/08

Iran's bloggers thrive despite blocks
Iran has one of the most vibrant blogging communities in the world - despite government boasts that it blocks five million websites. The BBC's Jon Leyne in Tehran is spending the day with bloggers to see what makes them tick. - 12/16/08

Iran VAT suspension stirs controversy
The indefinite suspension of the value-added tax (VAT) plan by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has sparked heated debate in Tehran. -Press TV - 12/16/08

8-day Iran tour delighted Y. student
The Iranian ministry of tourism flew more than 100 tour operators and a dozen travel journalists around the country and put them up in five-star hotels. They visited Tehran, a bustling modern city set against mountains that reminded Jackson of the Wasatch Front, and Esfahan, what Jackson called the most beautiful Iranian city with its mosques, bridges and majestic Imam Square. -Desert News - 12/16/08

Iran Health Minister asks for import ban on e-cigarettes
Iran's Health Minister Dr. Kamran Baqeri Lankarani here Monday in a letter addressed to Mines and Industries Minister asked for imposing a sever ban against issuance of import licenses and distribution of electronic cigarettes in Iran. - 12/16/08

Iran Embassy protests misconduct of Danish airport officials
Iran's Embassy in Copenhagen, Denmark, protested on Monday to the Danish officials over misconduct with Iranian passengers at Copenhagen airport. -IRNA - 12/16/08

IEA: New Oilfields Needed
Declining production from aging oilfields poses a much greater threat to world oil supply than rising demand, according to the International Energy Agency. - 12/16/08

Why Hezbollah Stiffed Carter
Hezbollah, my inquiries suggest, decided at the last minute not to meet with Jimmy Carter this trip at the request of Iran and out of respect for their Persian ally and the memory of the late Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, still deeply revered in much of Lebanon among Hezbollah's rank and file as well as the wider Shia community. -Counterpunch - 12/16/08

Iran 'seizes 10 oil smuggling tankers'
Iran says its naval security forces have confiscated ten oil tankers smuggling 4,600 tons of Iranian fuel out of the Persian Gulf. -Press TV - 12/16/08

Gas Exporting Countries Forum: The Russian-Iranian Gas Cartel
Steadily and stealthily, a natural gas cartel has emerged over the last seven years. On October 21 in Tehran, the Gas Exporting Countries’ Forum (GECF) agreed to form a cartel. Russia, Iran, and Qatar announced that they intend to form a yet-unnamed group to "coordinate gas policy." -Journal of Energy Security - 12/16/08

Photos: Iranian Robot Sourena
Sourena is named after the Parthian Iranian warrior Sourena (84 BCE-54 BCE) who defeated the Roman general Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae. - 12/15/08

Iranian Comedian Arham Sadr dies at 85
Reza Arham-Sadr, considered to be the master of critical comedy performances in Isfahan, died at his home in the historical city. He was one of the pioneers of theatrical performance in Isfahan. - 12/15/08

CODEPINK Leaders Announce Plans for Investment in Iranian Wind Energy Company
To defy crippling U.S. sanctions on Iran and build peaceful bridges between the countries, CODEPINK Women for Peace has announced plans to launch a new company that will invest in an Iranian wind energy company, allowing Americans to show support for peace and sustainability in Iran. - 12/15/08

Red ribbon award presented to Iranian organization for work in HIV/AIDS
United Nations Development Program (UNDP) and the Joint United Nations Program on HIV/AIDS (UNAIDS) presented the Mashad-based NGO, Hamyaran Mosbat with the Red Ribbon Award for their work in the area of HIV/AIDS, in a ceremony held today in Tehran. - 12/15/08

Iran to hold first fashion and costume design festival
Iran's first fashion and costume design festival will be held at the Tehran Permanent International Fairground from December 22 to 26. It will have several sections: male, female and children clothes, and subsidiary textile industries. - 12/15/08

Damavand; A mountain of garbage?
It's been four months now since the registration ceremony of the first natural site has been held at the foothills of Damavand with attendance of Iran's Tourism and Cultural Heritage officials. But this mountain still struggle with garbage - 12/15/08

Photos: Fajr International Music Festival in Iran
The 24th International Fajr Music Festival, featuring classic, traditional, orchestral, pop and choral music, is underway in Tehran. The event which started on December 9 will run till December 19. -Photos by Mona Hoobehfekr, ISNA - 12/15/08

Roudaki played vital role in flourishing of Persian language
Holding an international conference to commemorate Abdullah Jafar Ibn Mohammad Rudaki, a renewed Persian poet, plays a vital role in flourishing of the Persian language in the Persian speaking countries. - 12/15/08

German Coach Rutemoller joins Iran soccer team
Celebrated German coach Erich Rutemoller has been appointed as an assistant coach to Ali Daei in Iran's national soccer team. - 12/15/08

Archbishop Gobel donates rare collection to Mashhad museum
Archbishop Jean-Paul Aimé Gobel donated a rare collection of stamps, postcards, surcharges, and coins to the Astan-e Qods Razavi Museum's Stamp and Banknote Section in the holy city of Mashhad. - 12/15/08

Ecuador plans to buy weapons from Iran
Ecuadorian President Rafael Correa says Quito may buy weapons from Iran to enable the tightening of security on its border with Colombia. -Press TV - 12/15/08

Iranian to be blinded with acid for doing same to woman
An Iranian woman, blinded by a jilted stalker who threw acid in her face, has persuaded a court to sentence him to be blinded with acid himself under Islamic law demanding an eye for an eye. -CNN - 12/15/08

Trepidation in Tehran
Iran translates signals from the incoming US administration as hawkish, prompting the Islamic Republic to hope for the best but prepare for the worst, Kamal Nazer Yasin writes for ISN Security Watch. - 12/15/08

Tehran Stock Exchange Falls to Five Year Low
The TSE index (Tepix) fell to 8,974 upon opening on Saturday, dropping below the symbolic 9,000 points for the first time since 2003, the market's website said on Monday. - 12/14/08

Iranian karatekas snatch 3 gold medals in France
Iranian karatekas snatched three gold, one silver and one bronze medals in the France International Competitions on Sunday. - 12/14/08

Foreign Music Bands Holding Master classes at University of Tehran
The University of Tehran is playing host to performances, master classes and workshops by international participants of the 24th Fajr International Music Festival now underway in Tehran. -Tehran Times - 12/14/08

Hamoun Lagoon dries up
Hamoud Lagoon which is the seventh international lagoon is on the verge of destruction and it has nearly gone dry, said head of the Hamoun Lagoon Research Center. - 12/14/08

Biography: Iranian Artist Shahpari Behzadi
Born in 1973 in Tehran, Behzadi graduated from the Tehran Azad University of Fine Arts in graphic design. Her works epitomize simple abstract painting; she does not attempt to define her work within the scope of any one school. -Gallery Mamak, Tahran - 12/14/08

Boroujerdi offers nuclear talks on Iran's proposed package
The head of Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi told reporters that talks, based on the recognized principles of the UN nuclear watchdog and the Non-Proliferation Treaty as well as the framework proposed by the two sides' proposed packages are the best possible solution. -IRNA - 12/14/08

Hillary's New Role Puts Iranian Moderates on Edge
Iran's women's rights activists feared a hawkish Hillary Clinton as president and now wonder what she'll be like as secretary of state. Vahdati says moderate factions in Iran, including women's rights activists, have the most to lose from militarism. -Women's eNews - 12/14/08

Iran Proposes OPEC Oil Output Cut
Iran will call for a cut in OPEC's, the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries, oil output during the cartel's meeting next week in Algeria. - 12/14/08

Iran, 7th in UF6 production - IAEO official
UF6 gas plays a significant role in production cycle of nuclear fuel which is used in Iran's peaceful nuclear program and is also used in enrichment and production of nuclear reactors - 12/14/08

Obama's Vietnam?
In our second segment with Ray McGovern, The Real News elaborates on Barack Obama's appointment of Robert Gates to his cabinet. Ray McGovern is a retired CIA analyst who worked with Gates and conducted his fitness reports; reports that raised concerns with McGovern about Gates' emphasis on his own ambition, not good intelligence. -RNN - 12/14/08

Economy, Ties with West Are Key to Iran Polls
The main issue in Iran's June 2009 presidential election is certain to be the country's economic woes, but both candidates will be linking the economy to the issue of relations between Iran and the West, according to Iranian politicians and political analysts. -Gareth Porter, IPS - 12/14/08

Iran: Construction of 7 refineries moving ahead
The National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC) currently has the construction of 7 refineries across the country in hand. Khuzestan refinery, The Persian Gulf Star refinery, Shahriar refinery, Anahita refinery, Hormoz refinery, Caspian refinery and Pars refinery are the seven planned refineries. -MNA - 12/14/08

Hollywood film The Wrestler 'insults Iran'
Iran has again accused Hollywood of "anti-Iranian" sentiment, this time due to scenes in The Wrestler, a Golden Globe-nominated drama starring Mickey Rourke -Telegraph, UK - 12/14/08

Photos: Autumn in Golestan Province of Iran
Golestan is one of the 30 provinces of Iran. It is in the north-east of the country, south of the Caspian Sea. Its capital is Gorgan. It was split off from the province of Mazandaran in 1997. It has a population of 1.7 million (2005) and an area of 20,380 km square. -Photos by Javad Maktabi, ISNA - 12/13/08

Production of Iranian car Miniator to start next year
Miniator will be produced in Kashan Saipa Factory with a capacity of 200,000 units annually. The car will have duel-fuel system and be equipped with air bag. - 12/13/08

Father of Iran's vaccine passes away
Dr Hossein Mir Shamsi, known as the father of Iran's vaccine, died at the age of 92. Announcing this, head of the Institute for Researches on Vaccine and Serum, Mohammad Hossein Dalimi told IRNA that he was born in Isfahan and died of old age at his home in Tehran Saturday. - 12/13/08

US Nears Nuclear Accord With United Arab Emirates
The State Department said Friday the United States is close to concluding a nuclear cooperation agreement with the United Arab Emirates, the UAE. The deal would be the first of its kind with a Middle Eastern country, and it has raised concerns in Congress that it could spur nuclear proliferation in the region. -VOA - 12/13/08

Iran finishes 6th in Junior Wushu Championships
Iran finished in sixth place in the 2nd World Junior Wushu Championships held in Bali, Indonesia. A total of 700 athletes and officials from 45 countries and regions competed in the four-day event. -MNA - 12/13/08

American filmmaker Nickelson to produce doc on Iran's 2005 presidential election
A Hollywood reporter announced on Thursday that Michelle Nickelson, president of UAE based Mirage Holdings, is prepping the documentary "We the People of the Islamic Republic of Iran." - 12/13/08

Production Cuts Expected When OPEC Meets December 17
The oil cartel OPEC is expected to announce further cuts in production of at least one million barrels a day, when its members meet in Algeria December 17. The aim is to shore up oil prices, which have fallen drastically in recent months. -VOA - 12/13/08

Iran, Egypt agree on meeting to help ease Gaza crisis
Iran and Egypt on Friday agreed that parliament speakers from Iran, Indonesia, Syria, and Egypt hold a meeting to take practical steps to ease the humanitarian crisis in Gaza Strip. - 12/13/08

US Defense Secretary: Don't Test Obama
Gates told a gathering of Persian Gulf state leaders in Bahrain Saturday that Mr. Obama will be "ready to defend the interests of the U.S. and its allies" from the moment that he steps into office on January 20. - 12/13/08

The Six American University Presidents travel to Iran
As a patriotic American with proud Persian heritage, I have followed with much exhilaration the recent travel to Iran by the presidents of the six national American universities. -Davood N. Rahni - 12/12/08

An American tour leader: I really feel safe in Iran
An American tour leader said "Since I've been in Iran I've been asked several times about my concern for safety. I really feel safe in Iran." Lynne King, whose last trip to Iran took place 9 years ago maintained: "Tehran's new airport is a great improvement over the last time I was here - 12/12/08

Iran Debates Negotiations
Hours after returning from a fact-finding mission to Iran, Gareth Porter sat down with The Real News Network's Senior Editor Paul Jay to discuss his findings. Gareth responds to recent Obama statements toward Iran, pointing out that Iran has a long history of walking away from negotiations with the West and this debate over the value of participation in negotiations is raring up again against the backdrop of Obama's election victory. -RNN - 12/12/08

Iran holds massive rally to protest Gaza blockade by Israel
Millions of Iranians have held rallies across the country in condemnation of Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip against Palestinians. Meanwhile, Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak has reportedly accused the Islamic Republic of trying to control Arab countries in the region. - 12/12/08

Pink Slips Only Tell Half The Story In Iran
Iranian officials recently announced that the country lost 250,000 jobs in the six months to September. Some Iranian experts say the real figure is more like half a million, but that the figure is kept artificially low and many other "underemployed" people fall through the cracks. Iran has a population of around 65 million. - 12/12/08

Iranian band "Meshki Pushan" (Men in Black) performs at Fajr Music Festival
Iran's deceased pop singer Nasser Abdollahi was commemorated by a performance of "Nasseria", his smash hit that made a name for himself and his group, during the 24th Fajr International Music Festival. - 12/12/08

Song by Iranian Star Strikes Chord at Obama Victory Celebration
When singer-songwriter Farshid Amin stepped off the stage at the Orange County, California, Democratic election night party in Costa Mesa, he heard comments he didn't expect. "They didn't believe I was really Iranian," he said of some reporters and others who interviewed him. -Sonya Weakley, America.gov - 12/12/08

Conversation With Iranian Artist Shahrzad Salehipour
Shahrzad Salehipour was born in Tehran in 1961. She did her artistic training at the Tehran Niavaran Art Centre. Over the past twenty years Salehipour has been teaching Persian miniature painting at various universities and institutions in Iran and carrying out extensive research on modern and traditional paintings. -Gallery Mamak, Tahran - 12/12/08

Iran bags 3rd bronze medal at Wushu Championship in Bali
Iran's female athlete Maryam Esmati has won a bronze medal in the taolu event at the World Junior Wushu Championship in Bali, Indonesia. - 12/12/08

Dear Iran
Politic is not a funny matter but the past and present actions of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) have shown that you need a great sense of humor to be able to stand the look of these sanctimonious humbugs. -B. Bahrami, UK - 12/12/08

Iran's Noshad Alamiyan shines at World Junior Table Tennis Championships
Iran's Noshad Alamiyan has snatched a victory over his English rival Liam Pitchford at the World Junior Table Tennis Championships. Alamiyan had already advanced to the knockout stages of the event on Wednesday following his 3-2 victory over his South Korean opponent Jung Young Sik. - 12/12/08

Iran blasts Western support for terrorism
Iran's permanent representative at the United Nations condemns the double standard approach to terrorism pursued by Western countries. - 12/12/08

Power at the U.N.
In her article Iran's Power at the United Nations , Ms. Rosett uses sound-bites to demonize Iran while bemoaning America's burdensome monetary contributions to the U.N., hence she considers it an entitlement that Mr. Obama should 'kick Iran out of the U.N., or bypass the U.N. altogether". -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 12/12/08

Iraq Urges Obama to Open Dialogue with Iran
Iraq is urging U.S. President-elect Barack Obama and his incoming administration to open a dialogue with Iran to help solve Middle East problems. -VOA - 12/12/08

Iran Khodro to boost Samand production in Belarus
The contract for the second phase of the Samand Sedan production project in Belarus was finalized between the Iranian and Belarusian officials of Iran Khodro Company (IKCO) in Minsk on Friday. - 12/12/08

Sweden to supply Iran with technology to boost road safety
Iran and Sweden reached agreement to cooperate on road safety and transfer of technology from Sweden to boost road safety, Road and Transport Minister Hamid Behbahani said on Thursday. - 12/12/08

Survey of Iranian Americans: 84% Support Establishing U.S. Interest Section in Iran
In August of 2008, the Public Affairs of Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) commissioned Zogby International to conduct a national public opinion survey of Iranian Americans to gather accurate and timely information about the demographics and views of the Iranian American community. - 12/11/08

AARAN, a Chic and Superb Real Gallery in Tehran
The Aaran Gallery, which opened last month right in the center of Tehran not far from the 7th Tir Square metro station is Tehran's newest hot news and ongoing sensation. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 12/11/08

NIAC Forges Ahead in SBA Struggle
NIAC is forging ahead with its campaign to achieve SBA 8 (a) benefits for Iranian-American small business owners. The nation's largest Iranian-American organization is enlisting the cooperation of other ethnic minority groups and reaching out to Iranian-American organizations to bring the issue before the public and Congress. - 12/11/08

France cracks down on Iranian scientists
Europe's largest basic-research agency, the CNRS in France, is now vetting not only non-European Union (EU) researchers working on sensitive topics, but also all scientists from Iran regardless of what they work on. -Nature News - 12/11/08

Festival at Mingei Museum offers a peek into Persia
Following years of strife between the United States and Iran, people in both countries are sensing that relations between the two nations could improve during the administration of President-elect Barack Obama. -San Diego Union-Tribune - 12/11/08

Iranian Women Lead Men in Higher Education
Statistics released last Saturday by Iran's Women Socio-Cultural Council show that the percentage of women entering universities has increased to 58% which shows a 37.24% growth over the last three decades. -FNA - 12/11/08

A U.S.-Iranian conversation
The United States and Iran are talking to each other about the elimination of an entire category of weapons of mass destruction. That is a good thing. On the eve of Barack Obama's inauguration, it shows there is nothing in the DNA of the two nations that precludes dialogue. -IHT - 12/11/08

Iran Poses Both Danger and Opportunity for Obama Administration
Very high up on the list of foreign policy challenges for President Barack Obama will be Iran. During the long campaign, then-candidate Obama repeatedly defended his willingness to open a dialogue with Iran. But the path to any potential U.S.-Iranian reconciliation is tricky and lined with hazards. -VOA - 12/11/08

On Human Rights Day, Urge Obama to Put Diplomacy First
President-elect Obama has asked Americans to share with him our vision of positive change. We're taking President-elect Obama up on his offer and we hope you'll join us. We're sending him our proposals for a just foreign policy, based on real diplomacy and respect for human rights. - 12/11/08

Bandar Abbas to Host Int'l Conference on Iranian Archaeology
The 4-day gathering, which is being sponsored by the Archaeological Research Center of Iran (ARCI) of the Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO), is to scrutinize the latest studies on Iranian archaeological sites over the past year. -FNA - 12/11/08

Iran Red Crescent readies aid for Gaza
Iran's Red Crescent is slated to deliver USD100,000 worth of emergency aid to the Gaza strip in the wake of the Israeli-imposed siege. -Press TV - 12/11/08

Iranian nuclear workers arrested for spying
Several Iranians working directly for the country's nuclear research program were among those arrested recently for funneling information about the program to foreign nations, according to an Iranian media report. -CNN - 12/11/08

Dating site 'prostitution', says Iran
A popular Iranian internet dating website that claimed to be helping people find a spouse and start families has been banned for "promoting prostitution", on the advice of leading Islamic clerics. -Guardian - 12/11/08

Iran opens its skies to airlines
Iran opened the way for the UAE’s flag carriers to gain further access into airports there through an air services agreement signed between the two governments. -The National, UAE - 12/11/08

Whose Interests Will Shape Barack Obama's "Change"?
To say that President Obama will face daunting challenges is stating the obvious. What is less obvious, however, is that these challenges also represent opportunities for change in favor of peace and economic security for all. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh - 12/10/08

Iran creates world's largest sand carpet on the shores of Persian Gulf
Iranian artists have created the world's largest sand carpet from the colorful sand found on the country's southern island of Hormuz. - 12/10/08

Rice University's Farinaz Koushanfar named to MIT Technology Review's TR35
Rice University's Farinaz Koushanfar, assistant professor of electrical and computer engineering, has been named to MIT Technology Review magazine's coveted 2008 list of the world's 35 Top Young Innovators. - 12/10/08

Iranian Groups Urge UN To Assess Human Rights Situation
Six Iranian human rights watchdogs have urged the United Nations to send a delegation to Iran to assess the human rights situation there. - 12/10/08

Iranian Lawyer Receives German Human Rights Prize
An Iranian human rights activist has traveled to Germany to accept an award from the Nuremberg Human Rights Center. Abdolfattah Soltani is a lawyer and his NGO defends Iranians free of charge. - 12/10/08

Former American policy maker: Iran-US interests 'partially congruent'
Fitzpatrick, a senior analyst with the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, further called for more engagement by the Iranian side in resolving its nuclear issue. - 12/10/08

U.S. government expels Iran's GAJ Publications from Association of Educational Publishers
GAJ Publications was the only Asian member of AEP, said the manager of the Public Relations Office of the publishing chouse, adding, "The AEP is an American organization for educational publishers that follow the regulations of the United States. They asked to exclude GAJ since it is an Iranian publisher." - 12/10/08

Iranian Activist Lawyer Not Allowed To Leave Tehran For Award
Iranian lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh was not allowed to leave the Tehran airport today to attend a ceremony awarding her the International Human Rights Prize of south Tirol in Italy. - 12/10/08

Rezazadeh praises Iran's weightlifters
"Iranian youth and junior weightlifters and the technical staff tried their best to win the Asian championship for the youth team and finish as the runner-up for the junior squad," Rezazadeh said on Tuesday. - 12/10/08

Iranian students design humanoid robot
Sourena --named after the Parthian Iranian warrior Sourena (84 BCE-54 BCE) who defeated the Roman general Crassus at the Battle of Carrhae-- is 1.6 meters (5.2 ft) tall and weighs around 60 kilograms. -Press TV - 12/10/08

Iran Blasts West for not Helping in Drug Campaign
Iran's anti-drug trafficking chief chided the international community for not doing enough to help stop the flow of drugs from Afghanistan, saying that the West has left Tehran alone in the campaign against drugs while it enjoys the results of the sacrifices Iranian troops make. -FNA - 12/10/08

Iran: Ayatollah Rafsanjani condemns US "carrot and stick" policy
Addressing the US statesmen and President-Elect, Ayatollah Rafsanjani said, "You are advised to take a right course, acknowledge to Iran's right and not to deny Iranians' rights. Let Iran, as an exemplary independent Muslim state, stand on its feet and serve as model of independence and freedom for other countries." - 12/10/08

Globetrotting Photographer Explores People, Cultures
Photographer Mark Edward Harris has traveled the world with his camera, visiting dozens of countries. Harris explored North Korea and Iran in his two most recent books, documenting their monuments, scenery and the everyday lives of their people. - 12/10/08

China, Russia Keen to Invest in Iran's Telecom Sector
Several big economies in Asia have expressed interest in making large-scale investments in the Iranian telecommunications sector, an Iranian official said. -FNA - 12/10/08

Middle East consumer technology sales to hit $37bn
Families in Iran want even larger screens and LCD TVs of 46 inches or more account for 18% of sales in a market estimated at 600 000 units in 2008. This compares with a market share for similar sizes of only 4% in the UAE or 9% in Saudi Arabia. -GfK - 12/10/08

Adventure Journey Writer Becomes First American in Almost 30 Years to be Issued Diplomatic Visa to Iran
The government of Iran has issued a diplomatic visa to Adventure Journey writer Joseph Jackson, 24--the first time since the 1980 hostage crisis that such a visa has been issued to a U.S. citizen. - 12/9/08

My vote in my homeland US affects my motherland Iran
Nov. 4, 2008 in the US is marked as the historic day for Americans as they elected their first African American president. For me as an Iranian American, Nov. 4 marks a dark day. -Mahtab Farid, Washington, DC - 12/9/08

Biography: Iranian-American Jazz Singer Rana Farhan
Jazz siren Rana Farhan proclaims on her web site: "Jazz is peace." She's not just borrowing 60s flower child rhetoric. She knows firsthand. - 12/9/08

Iran: Student Talks Of Arrest, Refusal To Issue Written Pledge
Mahdiyeh Golrou was among four students of Tehran's Allameh Tabatabai University who were arrested in late November, accused of acting against national security, and held for eight days, including at the notorious Evin prison. RFE/RL's Radio Farda correspondent Mohammad Zarghami interviewed Golrou the day of her release. - 12/9/08

Iranian Students Day Demonstration at Shiraz University Turns Against Government
Two days after national Students Day, several hundred students at Iran's Shiraz University marked the day with a demonstration against government policies, despite attempts to shut it down. - 12/9/08

Amnesty Film On Iranian Women's Movement Striking Global Chord
A video shot by Amnesty International to show its support for the Iranian women's movement is attracting a surprising amount of worldwide attention. -RFE - 12/9/08

Russia: Iran Does Not Have Capability to Build Nuclear Bomb
The reports quote the director of the Foreign Ministry's department of European cooperation, Vladimir Voronkov, as saying Iran cannot create or deliver a nuclear weapon. - 12/9/08

Jewish shrine in Iran registered as national work
Head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism Office in Hamedan province said the old and valuable place of Esther and Mordecai tomb has been registered in country's national works list. - 12/9/08

What does theatre really say about Iran?
But as the Iran: New Voices season at the Barbican has shown over the last two weeks, this country of more than 70 million people which nestles between Iraq and Afghanistan is a far more subtle and protean entity than the tabloid headlines would ever want you to believe. -Guardian - 12/9/08

The Last of the Zoroastrians
Far removed from Tehran's bustling tin-roofed teashops and Isfahan's verdant pomegranate gardens, the deserts known as Dasht-e Kavir and Dasht-e Lut meet at the city of Yazd, once the heart of the Persian Empire. -TIME - 12/9/08

Arms expert urges moderate approach on Iran
In a new report, Mark Fitzpatrick argues for accepting some aspects of Iran's nuclear program, such as enrichment, in order to maintain access for inspectors and help prevent development of a bomb. -LA Times - 12/9/08

Rich Dubai Flirts With Hard Times, But Its Airline Is Still Flying High
The global economic slump is just now touching the glittering shores of the oil-rich Persian Gulf. But when it comes to the 10,000 flight attendants working for Emirates, the government-owned airline here, Dubai isn't cutting any corners. -Farnaz Fassihi, WSJ - 12/9/08

Photos: Snow in Abyaneh Village
Abyaneh is a famous historic Iranian village near the city of Kashan in Isfahan Province. With a unique reddish hue, the village is one of the oldest in Iran, attracting numerous native and foreign tourists year-round, especially during traditional feasts and ceremonies. -Photos by Sina Shiri, ISNA - 12/8/08

Farhang Foundation Announces Short-Film Festival and Competition in Celebration of Iranian Heritage
Farhang Foundation, a recently established foundation focused on celebrating Iranian art and culture in Southern California, is putting out a call to all filmmakers interested in Iranian heritage to create a short film on the subject and submit it to this festival. - 12/8/08

Iran voted Asia's third best in football
Iran was voted third best national squad in Asia Iran has been voted the third best Asian team by the International Sports Press Association (AIPS) in the World Football Team Awards. - 12/8/08

Pictures of You: Images from Iran
Tom Loughlin is a Colorado-based artist whose portraits of Iranians in Iran are being shown in a groundbreaking and thought-provoking installation across the United States. We asked Tom how his show, Pictures of You: Images from Iran, came about, how people have reacted so far, and where the show is going. -Sepideh Saremi, Pars Arts - 12/8/08

ROSTAM 2 , The Return: Digital Art Exhibition by Siamak Filizadeh
Goethe has said "blessed is the nation that does not need heroes". Dictatorships are the most fertile fields for the creation of heroes and have devised the most compelling reasons for hero worship. - 12/8/08

Persian Poets, Environmental Devastation, and Electronic Music: Green Memories is an Ambient Voice of the Earth
Almost a century ago, after a thousand years of Persian poetry, there was a major shift. It paralleled a seemingly global movement in which older artistic languages were transformed. - 12/8/08

Ecuador president wraps up Tehran visit
Iran and Ecuador inked 12 letters of understanding on Sunday to promote economic cooperation in the fields of industry, energy, banking activities and consulate affairs. - 12/8/08

Iran 3rd in bone marrow transplant
A bone marrow transplant center in Iran has become the third such center in the world due to the number of its performed transplants. - 12/8/08

A Night of Persian Poetry in New York Featuring Sara Goudarzi
December's guest reader will be Sara Goudarzi, Sara was born in Tehran and grew up in Iran, Kenya, and the U.S. Her father introduced her to poetry when she was two years old. Shortly after, she started performing poetry. - 12/8/08

Obama Says Will Pursue Carrot/Stick Iran Policy
U.S. President-elect Barack Obama has said he was prepared to offer Iran economic incentives to stop its nuclear program, but he also warned that sanctions could be toughened if it refused. -Reuters - 12/8/08

24th International Fajr Music Festival underway in Shiraz
The 24th International Fajr Music Festival, featuring classic, traditional, orchestral, pop and choral music, opened in Shiraz late Sunday. - 12/8/08

Israel risks hurting U.S. ties by pushing for Iran strike, says ex-Carter aide
Israel will do harm to its relations with the United States if it insists on lobbying Washington for an American military strike on Iran, Zbigniew Brzezinski, the former national security adviser to Jimmy Carter, said in an interview with Haaretz over the weekend. - 12/8/08

Iran welcomes Canada's move to keep MKO on terrorist list
The Canadian government has recently decided to keep the anti-Iran terrorist group in its list of 41 terrorist groups and organizations. - 12/8/08

Iran caviar export value to hit $22M this year: Official
Nasrollah Khadem, the managing director of Agricultural Services Holding Company added that Iran harvested 10.2 tons of caviar last (Iranian) year and exported about 7 tons of that, earning over $22 million - 12/8/08

Time for behavior adjustment – Ours
Over two-thirds of all sanctions since 1945 have been initiated by the U.S., three-quarters of which have involved unilateral action without significant participation by any other country. They are often discussed and portrayed as a form of diplomacy and an alternative to war even though they're no less an act of aggression with very heavy human costs. -Daniel M Pourkesali - 12/8/08

Oil firm sidesteps sanctions on Iran
The oil-services firm Schlumberger, based in the Caribbean, acknowledges that US-developed technology has been used in Iran despite sanctions, but says it followed ''all applicable laws and regulations.'' -Boston Globe - 12/8/08

Photos: Students Protest at University of Tehran, Demand Freedom and Democracy
Students at University of Tehran held a gathering on Saturday to mark the Student Day and to protest policies of the government. In particular the students were demanding the following: Freedom, security and democracy, Release of the imprisoned students, Re-admittance of the suspended students, Reinstatement of the fired faculty, and Abolition of stoning and execution -Photos by Mehdi Ghasemi, ISNA - 12/7/08

Photos: Autumn in Mellat Park, Tehran
Mellat Park is a park in Tehran, the capital city of Iran. Known as the Shahanshahi Park (Imperial park) prior to the revolution of 1979, it is the largest recreation area in the Tehran. It is situated at the foot of the Alborz mountains adjacent to the famous Valiasr Avenue in the east, extending to the Parkway (chamran) and Seoul Street to the west. -Photos by Mona Hoobehfekr, ISNA - 12/7/08

FM: US stance on Iran hostile, Obama should revise approach
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Sunday that the US stance in the past 30 years against Iran was hostile and advised US President-elect Barack Obama to revise White House's international and regional policies including those pertaining to the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 12/7/08

Iran's Basij Force -- The Mainstay Of Domestic Security
Every year, Iran's Islamic regime devotes an entire week to the glorification of the Basij Resistance Force. This year, Basij Week ended on November 27 with extensive media coverage and a raft of activities, including a high-profile review march by 15,000 Basij members in Tehran. -Hossein Aryan, RFE - 12/7/08

Tehran-Quito relations are strategic: President Delgado
President Rafael Correa Delgado called his country's relations with Iran "strategic" and asked for expansion of ties. The visiting president said, "Deep cooperation between Iran and Ecuador in the international arena will help establish balance in the world equations. - 12/7/08

Iran: Guardians Council Rejects Electoral Amendments
Iran's legislative watchdog, the Guardians Council, rejects parliament-set amendments to the country's presidential electoral law. The new electoral law only qualified applicants aged between 40 and 75 who held the equivalent of a master's degree to run for president. -Press TV - 12/7/08

Iran Khodro to produce various sedans in Senegal
A large number of Iranian sedans including Samand, Peugeots Roa, Peugeots Pars and Bardo pickup truck are to be produced in Senegalese Seniran Auto plant and be delivered to West African markets following the Senegalese President Abdoulaye Wade's offer. -ISNA - 12/7/08

Photographer Haleh Anvari: More than meets the eye
Haleh Anvari talks to Natalie Hanman about how her photographs of women in brightly coloured chadors attempt to redraw the image of Iran in the west -Guardian - 12/7/08

Iran Test-Fires New Missile From Warship
Iran's military test-fired a new surface-to-surface missile from a warship as part of exercises along a strategic shipping route, state media have reported. -Reuters - 12/7/08

Advocates seek safety for Iranians in Iraq
About 3,500 members of Iran's main opposition group, the People's Mujahideen of Iran, designated by the State Department as a terrorist organization, reside in Camp Ashraf, about 60 miles northeast of Baghdad. -Washington Times - 12/7/08

The Foundation for the Children of Iran Successfully Completes Treatment for Newest Heart Patient, Greatly Extending 6-Year Old Child's Life Expectancy
The Foundation for the Children of Iran has announced that its most recent patient has been successfully treated for a complex heart condition by doctors in Minnesota. The 6-year old boy suffered from a congenital condition which required critical diagnosis and treatment not available in Iran. This condition, if left untreated, would have greatly diminished the child's quality of life and meant a foreshortened life expectancy. - 12/6/08

Iranian doctor receives Medical Futures Innovation Award for cancer diagnosis
Mohammad Reza Safaee a PhD in breast cancer surgery received Medical Futures Innovation Award known as a medical Oscar from Britain for his new method of cancer diagnosis within a few seconds. -ISNA - 12/6/08

Ecuadorian president officially welcomed by Iranian counterpart
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on Saturday officially welcomed his Ecuadorian counterpart, President Rafael Correa Delgado. President Delgado, heading a high-ranking delegation arrived in Tehran Friday evening to review issues of mutual interest with his Iranian counterpart and other senior officials. - 12/6/08

FILM: 'Song of Sparrows' nominated for US Golden Globe award
'Song of Sparrows' by Iranian Director Majid Majidi was nominated for the US Golden Globe award for the Best Foreign Language Film among 53 foreign competitors. - 12/6/08

Interview with Iranian Woman Activist and Campaigner: Hoda Aminian
I am Hoda Aminian. I am 25 years old. I have a BS in Surveying and am currently working on my Masters in City Planning. My focus is on women and the use of public spaces. -Change for Equality - 12/6/08

Iranian Police Crack Down On 'Satanic' Dress, Western Hairstyles
Police in the Iranian town of Qaemshahr have arrested some 40 young people for wearing "satanic" clothes and for sporting "Western" hairstyles. -RFE - 12/6/08

IAEA chief optimistic about US-led settlement of Iran nuclear dispute
Director General of International Atomic Energy Agency Mohamed ElBaradei said he felt optimistic about an eventual US-led settlement between Tehran and the West. -IRNA - 12/6/08

Iran crude output over 4.05m bpd: NIOC chief
Iran's current crude production stands between 4.05-4.08 million barrels a day, Managing-Director of National Iranian Oil Company, Seifollah Jashnsaz said on Saturday. -IRNA - 12/6/08

Tit-for-tat with UAE nationals entering Iran necessary: MP
A member of Islamic Majlis' National Security and Foreign Policy Commission here Friday objecting to UAE customs officials' mistreatment of Iranian visitors at their airports proposed treating the Emirati nationals entering Iran the same way, as a bare necessity. - 12/6/08

The Fall of Paradise: 19th Environmental Art Festival in Iran - Isfahan
During the last week of October 2008, we organized the 19th Environmental Art Festival in Iran. More than 60 artists participated in our new festival in historic city of Isfahan. In the 17th century Isfahan was the capital of Persia. -Ahmad Nadalian, RiverArt - 12/5/08

FILM: The Queen and I
In her award-winning documentary Prostitution Behind the Veil, about two Iranian prostitutes, Nahid Persson expressed fierce criticism on the position of women in her native country. This drove the Islamic regime to accuse the leftist documentary-maker of monarchist sympathies. Whereas during the Iranian Revolution in the late seventies she helped depose the shah the Iranian king. In reaction to these reprimands, Nahid decides to make a film about the last Iranian queen Farah, who lives abroad, like herself. - 12/5/08

107 Nations Join Global Ban on Cluster Bombs
"Like the landmine ban treaty, this treaty will stigmatize the use of the weapon by all countries, even if they have not yet signed the treaty, Nations such as the United States, Russia, and Israel will risk severe international condemnation if they ever use cluster munitions again," said CMC Co-Chair Steve Goose, Director of the Arms division at Human Rights Watch. - 12/5/08

Farhad Aiish takes Rhinoceros to stage in Tehran
"Rhinoceros" is a play by Eugène Ionesco, written in 1959. The play belongs to the school of drama known as the Theatre of the Absurd. Over the course of three acts, the inhabitants of a small, provincial French town turn into rhinoceroses. - 12/5/08

Situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran
The text of the resolution adopted last week by the third committee of the UNGA about the human rights situation in the Islamic Republic of Iran. The resolution itself should be put to vote in the UNGA by mid-December. - 12/5/08

Iranian Student Claims University Officials Behind Arrests
Mahdiyeh Golrou was one of four students detained by police outside Tehran's Allameh Tabatabaei University last month. She spent eight days in Tehran's notorious Evin prison before being released. - 12/5/08

Why diplomacy and sanctions don't mix
Change often occurs at a faster pace than people can comprehend. That is certainly the case with the quickly shifting political realities in Washington on Iran. In less than 50 days, America will be led by a president who made dialogue with Tehran a campaign promise--and yet he won. -Trita Parsi, Bitterlemons-international - 12/5/08

Change for Equality Receives RSF Jury Prize at the DW Weblog Awards
The website of Change for Equality, the site of the One Million Signatures Campaign has received the Reporters Without Borders Jury Prize of the Deutsche Welle International Weblog Awards—The BOBs. - 12/5/08

Iran Reformists Criticize Ahmadinejad
Iran's main reformist party is accusing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad of hurting the nation's poor. At an annual meeting of the Islamic Iran Participation Front Thursday, party leader Mohsen Mirdamadi attacked both the president's foreign and economic policies. - 12/5/08

Survey Highlights Mental Anguish of Iraqi, Iranian Detainees Living in Australia
New research shows a group of Iraqi and Iranian refugees in Australia are suffering 10 times the levels of post-traumatic stress than does the wider community. -VOA - 12/5/08

Renowned Artist: Arab Countries Plundering Persian Architecture
Over the past few years, some of Iran's neighboring countries have been purchasing Persian books and research works compiled by Iranian masters of art and history, and have translated them into Arabic or Turkish, plagiarizing Iranian art, culture and history and palming it off under their own name. - 12/5/08

Iranian FM advises UAE not to tout "bankrupt" Washington, London policies
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Friday harshly criticized the UAE for its recent anti-Iran claims and called on the emirates to disavow policies of the "bankrupt" extremists in Washington and London. -IRNA - 12/5/08

Living with the monster
A season of contemporary work from Iran shows that the country offers its artists rich inspiration - at a price -New Statesman - 12/5/08

Tehran in the eyes of the young
Granaz Moussavi, an Iranian immigrant and poet with an honours degree in screen studies from Adelaide's Flinders University, has written and directed a film based on the people she knew in Tehran. -Age, Australia - 12/5/08

U.S. economic woes spark rift in Iranian community
The U.S. economic problems over the past several months have resulted in rising conflicts among some Southern California Iranian Jewish community groups. -Jewish Journal - 12/5/08

Stolen Kisses: Iran's Sexual Revolutions
A few years ago, in the course of researching her dissertation on changing sexual mores in the Islamic Republic of Iran, a young Iranian-American anthropologist named Pardis Mahdavi stopped by the Ministry of Education in Tehran to inquire about the country's sex education curriculum. -The Nation - 12/4/08

The Doors of Yazd
Yazd is a wonderful old city to wander around, and although the alleys that meander around between the buildings seem eerily quiet, you know that life is going on behind the doors. -Syma Sayyah & Paul Sanford, Tehran - 12/4/08

Photos: Group Wedding in Qom, Iran
These photos are from a recent group wedding of young religious couples. The wedding ceremonies was held in Qom, Iran. Qom lies 156 kilometers by road southwest of Tehran and is the capital of Qom Province. The city is the largest center for Shi'a scholarship in the world, and is a significant destination of pilgrimage. -Photos by Mohammad Akhlaghi, ISNA - 12/4/08

Justice Denied: Report to the Nation
"We stand resolute in our demand to know the whole truth about these crimes against humanity and to have a competent court investigate them. … These crimes are still an open wound in the collective conscience of the Iranian society. And each one of us feels responsible to press for justice." Forouhar, Mokhtari, and Pouyandeh families - 12/4/08

Iran's Beheshti University to cooperate with Harvard, Texas State Universities
Professors of the above mentioned US universities have arrived in Iran last Saturday upon invitations sent to them by Marty Beheshti University for cooperation with Iranian professors in the course of joint research works. - 12/4/08

Iranian Writers Group Marks Day Against Censorship
The Iranian Writers Association has designated today as a Day Against Censorship. All forms of media in Iran -- including print, television, radio, and the Internet, as well as film and gallery exhibitions -- are subject to censorship by the Iranian government. "Nobody, nobody, tells us, 'You have to report on this or do that,'" Esfandiari said to critics who call the station "the CIA radio." -Roxanne Emadi - 12/4/08

Iran Conducts War Games in Persian Gulf
The Iranian army fighter jets Wednesday successfully targeted premeditated enemy vessels with their air-to-sea missiles and bombs in the second stage of the 'Unity 87' wargames. -FNA - 12/4/08

An Iranian autocrat's nightmare: A pint-sized workaholic in Prague
Tehran native revamps Radio Farda ('Radio Tomorrow' in Persian) to include listeners, and even dogs - 12/4/08

Iran to Send Animals into Space
Iran's Aerospace Research Institute said the country plans to launch further exploratory rockets into space with live animals aboard, paving the way for manned space flights. -FNA - 12/4/08

Blogs bridge Iran-US gulf
US officials took it as a quiet sign of good will: In October, the Iranian government gave permission to Iranian bloggers to travel to the United States to write about its presidential election. But minutes before the bloggers boarded the plane in Tehran, Iranian security officials reversed the decision, confiscating the bloggers' passports. -Boston Globe - 12/4/08

Postcard from...Persepolis
John McCain and his "Bomb, Bomb, Bomb Iran" lost the presidential election. George W. Bush and his view of Iran as an "evil" nation will soon leave the White House. Barack Obama could open a new chapter in U.S.-Iranian relations by visiting Iran. He wouldn't be alone. -FPIF - 12/4/08

Engaging the Next Generation of Iranians
Thirty years of muscular posturing by five successive administrations have not afforded the White House a handle on the Islamic Republic. Neither have they ushered in a new dawn of Middle Eastern stability or, for that matter, Israeli security. -Babak Yektafar, WPR - 12/4/08

IDF preparing options for strike at Iran without US assent
The IDF is drawing up options for a strike on Iranian nuclear facilities that do not include coordination with the United States, The Jerusalem Post has learned. While its preference is to coordinate with the US, defense officials have said Israel is preparing a wide range of options for such an operation. - 12/4/08

US Commission Warns of Possible WMD Attack
A congressionally-mandated U.S. commission has released a report warning of a possible nuclear or biological attack somewhere in the world within five years. The report singles out Pakistan as the top security priority for the United States. -VOA - 12/4/08

Iranian engineer adapts to Arizona life
Bonakdar is Iranian. Born and raised in the country’s capital, Tehran, he grew up a Shiite Muslim. He left his country two-and-a-half years ago to pursue his doctorate degree in civil engineering, with a specialty in concrete materials, at ASU. -Zonie Report - 12/4/08

Iran’s “Hoot” Torpedo Documented
In April 2006, Iran successfully test-fired a new high-speed torpedo called Hoot. It was test-fired again last July, along with various other missiles. Technical specifications (pdf) for components of the Hoot torpedo are presented in an Iranian document (in Farsi) that was provided to Secrecy News. -Secrecy News, DC - 12/4/08

People of Yazd
During our trip to Yazd as mentioned in our previous report titled A Weekend Trip to Yazd, what most intrigued me there was how many of the shop keepers were actually makers and producers of their own goods. -Syma Sayyah & Paul Sanford, Tehran - 12/3/08

Iran's Beheshti to sign agreements with Harvard and Texas universities
Shahid Beheshti University will sign cooperation agreements with the two US universities of Harvard and Texas. Medical Sciences Faculty of the university will ink deals on ways of controlling cancer. - 12/3/08

Energy: Iran and Malaysia Tie the Knot
Iran is to build a refinery/petrochemical complex in Malaysia despite increasing US scrutiny of energy deals between the two countries. Also, Malaysia is set to invest up to $14 billion in Iranian energy projects, two of which will deal with the development of gas fields. - 12/3/08

Does masculine air rules over poetical awards in Iran?
The main subject of discussion in the session of Khorsid female poets award was: Masculine air rules over poetical awards. The first award for female Iranian poets will be awarded in the week of December 21-27 - 12/3/08

IAAB's The Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) is pleased to announce The Fourth International Conference on the Iranian Diaspora, to take place April 4-5, 2009 at the University of California Berkeley's Pauley Ballroom. - 12/3/08

AIDS not prevalent in Iran: UNICEF envoy
The United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF) representative to Iran said that AIDS is not prevalent in Iran. Addressing a news conference marking World AIDS Day, Christian Salazar said that AIDS in the country is limited to high risk groups. - 12/3/08

Iran's Vahedi Nikbakht among top popular players
Persepolis striker Alireza Vahedi Nikbakht has been selected as one the most popular players, according to a poll by the International Federation of Football History & Statistics (IFFHS). -MNA - 12/3/08

Iran's Parliament neither rejected nor responded to letter from US Congress: Larijani
In the recent letter it was announced that considering the situation in international level the US Congress is interested in holding dialogues with Iran over different topics, he added. -ISNA - 12/3/08

Iran naval prowess 'best in the region'
"Iran has so far developed a number of 'exclusive' equipment such as high-speed missile boats, vessels, lightweight aircrafts and stealth micro submarines in a bid to increase maritime capabilities in deep-sea operations," said the Iranian Navy Chief. - 12/3/08

Archaeological teams to carry out rescue excavation at Seimareh Dam reservoir
Five archaeological teams will be assigned to carry out rescue excavations in the Seimareh Dam reservoir area in western Iran's Ilam Province. - 12/3/08

AIDS Sufferers Battle Disease, Social Prejudice
UNAIDS, a UN agency that tracks the progress of the epidemic, reports that some 20,000 people in Eastern Europe and Central Asia were infected with HIV in 2007. Another 14,000 people died of AIDS. Last year, about 2 million people worldwide died of AIDS. They include people in all parts of the globe, without regard to gender or lifestyles. -RFE - 12/3/08

Restoring the Balance: A Middle East Strategy for the Next President
This is the final product of an eighteen month Saban Center at Brookings-Council on Foreign Relations project. This effort involved fifteen of our senior Middle East experts who joined together for the first time to conduct in-depth research, travel to the region, and hold interviews with its leaders in order to develop a series of policy recommendations for President-elect Barack Obama. - 12/3/08

Bridging the Divide
President Skorton’s recent visit to Iran was an excellent way to start a conversation. Designed to introduce North American university presidents to Iranian academics, Skorton’s trip, along with a delegation from the Association of American Universities, highlighted that academic censorship still exists within the international community. -Cornell Daily Sun - 12/3/08

Power cuts, fuel shortages in Gaza affect health and water supplies
UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay called for an immediate end to Israel's blockade of the Gaza Strip on 18 November, which she said breached international and humanitarian law. -IRIN - 12/3/08

Iran-Armenia Gas Pipeline Inaugurated
Armenia officially completed on Monday the construction of a natural gas pipeline from neighboring Iran which could reduce its heavy dependence on Russian energy resources and significantly boost its electricity exports. -FNA - 12/3/08

Iran to Offer Chemical Weapon Treatment Courses
A senior Iranian diplomat said his nation is ready to offer international medical training for treating victims of chemical weapons. - 12/3/08

Change or More of the Same? Obama Introduces National Security Team
For more on Obama’s national security team we are joined by two guests in Washington DC. Robert Dreyfuss is an investigative reporter and contributing editor at The Nation magazine. His blogs at the Nation online at The Dreyfuss Report. Steven Clemons is a Senior Fellow at the New America Foundation where he directs the American Strategy Program. He runs the popular blog The Washington Note. -Democracy Now - 12/3/08

A Weekend Trip to Yazd
For many years I have been ashamed to admit that I had never been to Yazd, which is the second most ancient city in the world, and since last year we have made several plans to go there but something always happened, so this time I was adamant that we should go and see this old city which is also the center of Zoroastrianism. -Syma Sayyah & Paul Sanford, Tehran - 12/2/08

A Tribute to Taj al-Saltana, the daughter of Naser al-Din Shah Qajar
The life of Taj al-Saltana, daughter of the ruler of Iran, Naser al-Din Shah Qajar, epitomized the predicaments of her changing era. Overcoming her limited education within the harem walls, Taj chronicled a thirty-year span in the life of a generation that witnessed a shift from traditional order to revolutionary flux. -Artworks by Niki Koohpaima - 12/2/08

Iran studying US Congress letter on talks
Iran's Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has said that a US Congress letter to the Parliament is under study but Iran needs more detail to reply. -Press TV - 12/2/08

Apply for a PARSA Community Foundation Grant!
PARSA Community Foundation is inviting nonprofits and student organizations to submit inquiry forms for its 2009 Norooz grant cycle by December 5, 2008. - 12/2/08

Archaeologists rush to save Bronze Age sites in northwestern Iran
Five archaeological teams have been sent to East Azarbaijan to carry out rescue excavations at the reservoir of the Khoda-Afarin Dam. - 12/2/08

Iran's Fajr Film Festival to honor Paul Newman
Iran's 27th Fajr International Film Festival will commemorate the late American actor Paul Newman, the secretariat of the festival announced in a press release on Sunday. - 12/2/08

Iran's underground rap artists take to wearing symbol of Islamic revolution
But now the chafiyeh, the black-and-white scarf proudly worn by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his loyal followers, has become an unlikely fashion item for young Iranians drawn to the same western pop culture that country's leaders disdain. -Guardian - 12/2/08

US academics eager to visit Iran
A number of the acclaimed US universities' chancellors are interested in visiting Iran, said the head of Sharif University of Technology. - 12/2/08

German-Iranian trade up 7.8 percent
Total German-Iranian trade volume rose 7.8 percent between January and September of this year compared to same the corresponding period in 2007, the Federal Statistical Office based in the south German city of Wiesbaden reported Tuesday. - 12/2/08

Director of "Over There" yearns for audience over here
Director of "Over There" said that he wants to watch his films along with the common people and particularly with Iranian audiences. -Tehran Times - 12/2/08

Iran forex reserves reaches $80B
A high-ranking Central Bank of Iran (CBI) official says the country's foreign exchange reserves have reached more than $80 billion. -Press TV - 12/2/08

Pistachio export has increased by 80,000 tons in past 3 years
Agriculture Jihad Minister said that pistachio export increased to 197,000 tons in the past year from 121,000 tons in 2004, registering a growth of 80,000 tons in the past three years. - 12/2/08

Iran spends dlrs 20 million on AIDS control
Iran said Monday that the country has registered more than 18,000 HIV-positive citizens and is worried that number could rise in a rare government disclosure about the AIDS causing virus. - 12/2/08

OFAC Identifies Entities Owned or Controlled by the Government of Iran
The U.S. Department of the Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) has identified the National Iranian Oil Company (a.k.a. NIOC), Naftiran Intertrade Company Ltd. (a.k.a. NICO), and Naftiran Intertrade Co. Sarl as entities owned or controlled by the Government of Iran. - 12/2/08

Iranian company to buy shares of two private banks in Belarus
Iranian company of Mobina Group seeks purchasing shares of two private Belarusian banks. Also Iran's Bank Tejarat with initial capital of five million euros will open a branch in the country. -ISNA - 12/2/08

Iran-Malaysia sign cooperation agreements on oil and gas
Iran and Malaysia signed 3 cooperation agreements on oil and gas in Tehran on Monday. -IRNA - 12/2/08

Iran Says It Tests New Missile
Iran has announced a series of military tests and drills amid ongoing tension with the West over its nuclear program. -VOA - 12/2/08

Omantel consortium qualifies for 2nd stage of third mobile operator license in Iran
Oman Telecommunications Company (Omantel) announced on Saturday that it has been qualified for the second stage of obtaining the 3rd nation-wide Mobile Network Operator license in the Islamic Republic of Iran as part of a consortium comprising local and international partners. - 12/2/08

Parsa emerges from the shadow of Persepolis
The ancient town of Parsa has begun to emerge from the shadows of Persepolis. An Iranian-Italian joint archaeological team has brought to light the first remains of the town of Parsa, which was the residential area of commoners just outside the palaces of Persepolis. -Hamid Golpira, MNA - 12/1/08

"Iran: Hot Tea, Cool Conversations" and Brenden Hamilton, filmmaker and citizen diplomat
An independent filmmaker recently released his latest film, two years in the making called "Iran: Hot Tea, Cool Conversations." Directed by Brenden Hamilton and co-produced with Mehdi Ghafourifar -Brian H. Appleton - 12/1/08

Iran to launch campaign to condemn sanctions on aviation industry
Arrangements are underway by the human rights activists to launch a 75-million signature campaign to condemn sanctions on Iran aviation industry as blatant violation of human rights. - 12/1/08

The Battle for Iran
The battle for Iran is on - for Iran policy, that is - and a ferocious contest is in store. The combatants are former policy makers, scholars, and think tanks. They are issuing position papers and holding press conferences. On the front line of the contest are those with carrots and those with sticks, the ages-old choice in foreign affairs. -John Tirman - 12/1/08

Tehran NGO supporting street children shut down by police
Police shut-down the Society for Defense of Street and Working Children on November 22, 2008. A nongovernmental organization based in Tehran, The society was founded in 2003 to "empower street and working children [and] to familiarize society with their dilemmas." - 12/1/08

Abbas Kowsari's photography at Aaran Gallery in Tehran
Abbas Kowsari has changed the face of photojournalism in Iran. His unique angles and personal vision capture the sorrows, joys and memories of a nation in a constant state of flux. His work is imbued with his special human touch and empathy combined with sharp observations of Iranian society. - 12/1/08

Lecture in London: Goethe and 1001 Nights
It has been rightly said that, with the exception of the Bible, few books exist which have so widely circulated through the Western world since the 18th century as the collection of narratives from the Near and Middle East known under the name of 1001 Nights. - 12/1/08

An evening with noted photographer Reza
The Santa Fe Photographic Workshops partners with National Geographic to bring together the award-winning photojournalist and humanitarian Reza and bestselling writer Sebastian Junger, author of The Perfect Storm and Fire, for an evening of spectacular images and compelling conversation. - 12/1/08

Young Muslim Artist Stirs Controversy
A young Muslim artist exhibiting her provocative and controversial work at a London gallery has received death threats, angry emails and phone calls and the gallery hosting the exhibit has been vandalized. -Grace Nasri, Iran Times - 12/1/08

Iran: The Women's Movement in a Game of 'Snakes and Ladders'
Three women are standing side by side locked arm in arm and shouting. They are among those women who, at the beginning of the cold winter of 1357, transformed International Women's Day into a day of protest with their shouting. -Parvin Ardalan - 12/1/08

Iran Offers To Develop Nuclear Plants With Persian Gulf Neighbors
The head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization made the offer on November 30 during an international seminar on nuclear power plants and environmental issues held in Tehran. Gholam Reza Aghazadeh announced that Tehran has a "comprehensive proposal" for the creation of a consortium with Persian Gulf neighbors to develop and construct develop light-water nuclear reactors. -RFE - 12/1/08

OPEC will discuss market situation:Secretary General
Secretary General of Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries Abdullah al-Badri said on Monday that OPEC member states would hold talks on stabilizing the oil market. - 12/1/08

Iran Telecommunications Report Q3 2008
In the first three months of 2008, the number of Iranian cellular subscribers grew by an estimated 22.6% to reach 35.049mn; which helped to increase mobile penetration to 49.4%. -Business Monitor International - 12/1/08

Should a Pious Muslim Practice Yoga?
To the long list of things that everyone else loves but that Muslims are supposed to hate — democracy, dogs, women with uncovered hair — we can now add yoga. A council of muftis in Malaysia issued a fatwa over the weekend banning yoga for Muslims -Azadeh Moaveni, TIME - 12/1/08

Iran's Kurdestan and West Azarbaijan provinces hit by quakes
An earthquake measuring 4.7 on Richter scale hit the outskirts of the city of Shoeisheh in Kurdestan province on Monday. Another earthquake measuring 4.1 in magnitude shook Sunday night the vicinity of Sarv area in West Azarbaijan province, northwestern Iran. -IRNA - 12/1/08

D.C. Establishment Pressuring Obama on Iran?
There's a rapidly developing consensus among Washington's Very Serious person set that Obama's plans to negotiate with Iran should get only one try, and if that fails then the bombing should begin. -Crooks And Liars - 12/1/08
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