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Photos: Iran Contemporary Painting Biennial kicks off at Saba institute
The 8th edition of Iran Contemporary Painting Biennial opened Thursday with a new glance at the paintings of the Herat School. Organized by the Visual Art Department of the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the biennial opened at the Saba Art and Cultural Institute after a four-year hiatus. - 12/31/11

Rafsanjani Is For Boycotting Iran's Parliamentary Elections: Report
According to a report by Mehr News Agency, Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Chairman of the Expediency Council, is of the opinion that the reformists should not participate in the March 2012 Parliamentary elections. The opinion was expressed by political analyst Sadeq Zibakalam. - 12/31/11

Iran Proposes Nuclear Talks, Delays Missile Test
Iran has proposed a new round of talks on its controversial nuclear program while apparently delaying long-range missiles tests that it had said would take place Saturday. - 12/31/11

Iran's Farhadi says Academy Awards winners "unpredictable"
Iranian prominent director Asghar Farhadi said winners of Academy Awards cannot be predicted. Farhadi who is now in France for making his new film, said he was willing to return home after finishing the new project to screen the feature film in the country. - 12/31/11

Election roll for parliamentary elections drops by 30%
The Interior Ministry announced that 5,395 candidates have registered for the March elections. Tehran has the most registered candidates, with Esfahan coming in second. - 12/31/11

Iran Warns of Tough Reaction to Jet Fuel Boycott
Tehran warned on Saturday that any effort by the western countries to block the supply of jet fuel to Iranian airliners under the guise of unilateral sanctions will be reciprocated seriously. - 12/31/11

Talk of closing Hormuz Strait is a thing of the past: IRGC official
A top IRGC commander, Masoud Jazayeri, says the talk of closing the Strait of Hormuz dates from five years ago and Iran has other options that will be revealed "when the time comes," IRNA reported on Saturday. - 12/31/11

Rafsanjani's Brother Confirms Website Blocked After Official Order
Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's office manager and younger brother, Mohammad Hashemi, confirmed today in an interview with Iran's ILNA news agency that the website of the former president and head of the Expediency Council has been blocked after officials intervened over the site's content. - 12/31/11

Petrol rationing saves Iran $38 billion: Official
Rationing the supply of gasoline since 2008 has prevented Iran from importing 65 billion liters of the product, saving the country some $38 billion, an official with the National Iranian Oil Production and Distribution Company said. - 12/31/11

Football: Mahdavikia Returns to Tehran's Persepolis
Mehdi Mahdavikia will play for Persepolis in the second half of the Iran Professional League despite the fact that he was told the Tehran-based team would not sign him. Mahdavikia played three years for Persepolis before moving to VfL Bochum in 1998. - 12/31/11

Industrial park project threatening ancient city of Pasargadae
The Achaemenid city of Pasargadae, which is home to the tomb of Cyrus the Great and many other ancient sites, is being threatened by an industrial park project. - 12/30/11

Iran's Unemployment Rate at 12.3%
According to the Statistical Center of Iran, the unemployment rate for the country in spring 2011 dropped to 12.3% from the year earlier figure of 13.5%. - 12/30/11

Website Of Iran's Former President Rafsanjani Blocked
The website of Iran's former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was filtered on December 29 for several hours, according to Iranian news websites, including "Tabnak." The website now seems to be completely down now. -Golnaz Esfandiari, REF - 12/30/11

Hardline Iranian cleric slams reformist move to boycott elections
Iranian reformists groups have announced that they will not participate in the coming parliamentary elections because of the closed political atmosphere and the government's refusal to release political prisoners and allow for open political activity. - 12/30/11

Darbandsar Village In Tehran: A Heaven For Extreme Skiers
Built in 1982, Darbandsar ski resort is one of the private slopes in Iran. It is located in Darbandsar Village, 60 kilometers north east of Tehran in the middle of Alborz Mountain Range near Mount Damavand. - 12/30/11

Policies That Are Foreign
However, now, more important than the future of America's Middle East policies will be her policies in Africa. Accounting for 15% of the world's population in sixty one territories, Africa is surrounded by the Mediterranean Sea, the Suez Canal, the Red Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic Ocean. Its Saharo Arabian region and its Afro Asiatic languages unite the region geographically and linguistically. -Sousan M Alemansour - 12/30/11

Iran says ready to resume dialogue with G5+1
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has said that Iran is ready to resume negotiations about its nuclear program with the 5+1 group (the United States, Britain, France, Russia, China, and Germany). - 12/30/11

Iraq's Political Crisis May Have Broader Mideast Reach
In the wake of the U.S. military pullout from Iraq, a political crisis threatens to ignite a fresh sectarian conflict. Regional tension between Shi'ite powerhouse Iran and Sunni archrival Saudi Arabia also threatens to worsen the sectarian divide in the Middle East. -Edward Yeranian, VOA - 12/30/11

US Announces Saudi Arms Deal Amid Tensions in Persian Gulf
The United States Thursday announced a major aircraft sale to Saudi Arabia amid tensions in the Gulf over Iran's threat to close the Strait of Hormuz if nuclear sanctions against it are tightened. The State Department said the threat reflects recent "irrational" behavior by the Tehran government. -David Gollust, VOA - 12/30/11

Iran, Israel and the US: who's threatening who?
InPEC has conducted this interview with Shirin Shafaie at the School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London. Shirin Shafaie is an Iranian researcher and PhD candidate at SOAS. She was educated in Iran (BA in Philosophy and MA in Philosophy of Art) and in the UK (MSc in Middle East Politics). The core of her research is critical war studies in general and the Iran-Iraq War in particular. - 12/30/11

The Ultra-Orthodox in Israel: A Clash of Cultures in the Holy Land
Ultra-Orthodox Jewish groups in Israel would like to see gender separation in public, and some have stooped to harassing women -- and even children -- to get their way. With thousands of Israelis protesting against the growing influence of the super-religious, the rift in Israeli society is getting deeper. -Spiegel - 12/30/11

Iran's House of Cinema ruled illegal
The Iran Public Culture Council (IPCC) has ruled the Iranian House of Cinema (IHC) is illegal. The decision was made on Tuesday during an IPCC meeting, which was held to settle a lawsuit filed against the organization by the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance early December. - 12/29/11

Iran To Meet Hormuz 'Threats With Threats'
A senior Iranian Revolutionary Guards commander has responded to U.S. warnings over possible Iranian moves in the Strait of Hormuz by suggesting Tehran would counter any "threats" with threats of its own. - 12/29/11

Khamenei's Rep Declaration: IRGC Members Should Run for Majlis
As the number of former IRGC members in the Majlis has been growing since they first entered the body in 2005 and took over key committees, this week the representative of ayatollah Khamenei in the force called on for more members of the force to get into the consultative assembly so that they could, in his words, "take strong and focused positions on important decisions." -Bahram Rafiei, Rooz - 12/29/11

U.S., France Warn Iran On Hormuz Shipping Rights
U.S. and French officials have responded to a threat from Iran to stop oil moving through one of the world's busiest shipping lanes and a particularly key transit route for Mideast oil, the Strait of Hormuz. The statements came after Tehran threatened to stop oil moving through the strategic shipping lane. - 12/29/11

Iran: Jailed reformist slapped with new sentence for insulting the Supreme Leader
The Kaleme website reports that Ghadiyan, a senior member of the reformist party the Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, was due to be released this month before he was slapped with a new three-year sentence. - 12/29/11

British feature film smuggled out of Iran during the green revolution prepares for a U.S. Premiere January 16th
I Am Nasrine is a love story that chronicles the challenges facing a young Iranian girl who comes to live in Tyneside, UK and tackles a number of controversial themes around refugees and global politics. Shot in 2009 by South Shields filmmaker Tina Gharavi, the project has been eight years in making. - 12/29/11

Iran Heritage Foundation Visiting Fellowship Programme at SOAS, London
One Fellowship will be tenable from March 2012 for a maximum period of six months. Thereafter, two Fellowships per year will be offered starting from the beginning of the academic year 2012/13. Each Fellowship is available for a minimum of four and a maximum of six months. - 12/29/11

Iran Jails Veteran Opposition Figure
Iranian opposition activist Ebrahim Yazdi, who served briefly as foreign minister following the 1979 Islamic Revolution, has been sentenced to eight years in prison, his lawyer told RFE/RL's Radio Farda. - 12/29/11

Dangerous mix: Iranian oil and U.S. sanctions
Iran has threatened that it will retaliate against the Obama administration's proposed new economic sanctions on Iran's oil exports by blocking the flow of oil from the Persian Gulf. This is a significant escalation of tension between the United States and Iran, and the start of a more dangerous phase in the West's attempt to curtail Iran's nuclear program. -Vali Nasr, CNN - 12/29/11

Iran's non-oil exports approaching $32 billion
The value of non-oil exports, including gas condensates, stood at $31.9 billion in the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year which ended on December 21, showing 38 percent rise year on year, the Iranian Customs Administration director said. - 12/29/11

Details released on identity of Iranian engineers abducted in Syria
Five Iranian electrical engineers and technicians were abducted on December 20 in the restive Syrian city of Homs by unknown armed gunmen. The engineers were kidnapped on their way to a power plant. Two other Iranian engineers were also abducted in the same city a day later. - 12/29/11

Pakistan to complete the gas pipeline from Iran
Islamabad, Dec 29 -- Shrugging off US pressure, Pakistan has geared up work on bilateral agreement with Iran including Pakistan-Iran gas pipeline, local media said on Thursday. - 12/29/11

Mother of accused U.S. spy says Iranian charges are false
The mother of an American on trial in Iran denied allegations that her son is a spy for the CIA, saying that anything he confessed to was coerced. -CNN - 12/29/11

'I am shooting people': Christmas killer heard on 911 call
When police responded to the call, they found the bodies of seven family members they believed had just finished opening Christmas presents when Azizolah Yazdanpanah, 56, apparently shot them before turning the gun on himself. -NY Daily News - 12/29/11

IRGC and Basij have plans to correct Tehran's political and cultural situation: General Jafari
IRGC chief has openly admitted that the political and cultural situation in Tehran is far from ideal which poses security threat to the regime. He has also threatened that IRGC and Basij cannot remain indifferent and they have plans to address the situation. - 12/28/11

Iran: newly-discovered gas field in the Caspian Sea
In a nutshell, while Iran is suffering from international, multilateral and unilateral sanctions, the discovery of joint oil and gas fields only works to benefit the countries neighboring Iran that take advantage of Iran's isolation in the international community. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 12/28/11

Threat to block Strait of Hormuz raises oil prices
Oil prices have pushed past $100 a barrel with Iran threatening to block off the Strait of Hormuz, the major route for transporting oil from Iraq, Kuwait, and Qatar as well as some of the oil from Saudi Arabia and the UAE. - 12/28/11

US Spy Drone and Violation of International Aviation Law
There is no doubt that infringement of reconnaissance planes into another country's airspace for espionage purposes without asking for permission of the subject country will amount to violation of that country's sovereign rights over its airspace. -Farzad Piltan - 12/28/11

Iran Navy to test-fire advanced missiles, torpedoes during war games
An Iranian naval commander has announced that the Navy will test-fire its advanced missiles and torpedoes during the 10-day naval war games, entitled Velayat-90, which started on Saturday. - 12/28/11

Using Insects For Rescue Operations
An Iranian-American scholar is developing a technology using insects to rescue people under debris and dangerous areas. Professor Khalil Najafi from the University of Michigan plans to install tiny cameras on insects to use them for searching the survivors of earthquakes in rescue operations. - 12/28/11

Iran Oil Minister push for expanding Caspian Sea explorations
Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi has set a one-month deadline for a number of his deputies to accelerate explorations across the Caspian Sea, especially in Golestan Province. - 12/28/11

Circumcision Gains More Acceptance in AIDS Fight
If 80 percent of men in the 14 countries are circumcised, 3.4 million new infections could be averted and $16.5 billion in HIV/AIDS treatment costs could be saved, Curran said. Reaching 80 percent would entail performing 20 million circumcisions on men ages 15-49 by 2015, according to UNAIDS. - 12/28/11

IRGC forces fight with Kurdish group
The dissident Kurdish group PJAK has clashed with Islamic Republic forces near Baneh in western Iran. The Fars News Agency reports that one member of Iran's Revolutionary Guards and four members of PJAK were killed in the conflicts. - 12/28/11

Iran Agrees To Supply Fuel To Afghanistan
Tehran says it has reached a deal with Kabul to supply Afghanistan with Iranian fuel oil. - 12/28/11

Photos: Gohar Tepe Historical Site
Gohar Tepe historical site, with a 50 hectare area, is one of the most important historical sites of Mazandaran province which carries the secret of an ancient civilization. It is believed that Gohar Tepe once enjoyed a complicated urbanization with a history that goes back to some 5000 years ago. -Mohsen Rezapour - 12/27/11

A Short Story: That Summer Night in Tehran
The night air is warm. The heat of the day still radiates off of the old taxi's pleather seats, and I am content to slide into its permanently indented cushions and nurse my freshly engorged stomach. The sounds of the city lull me into a limbo between wakefulness and sleep. -Yasi Etemadi - 12/27/11

Military-Security Alert for Iran's March 2012 Election
These days, the post-2009-election events loom large in the psyche of Iranian leaders and officials, and as the March 2012 parliamentary elections inch closer, senior regime authorities express concern about the repetition of those events. -Bahram Rafiei, Rooz - 12/27/11

Alleged U.S. Spy On Trial In Iran
The Fars News Agency reports that 28-year-old Amir Mirzai Hekmati is accused of "collaboration with the hostile government of the United States and the spying agency the CIA, against the sacred regime of the Islamic Republic." - 12/27/11

Serving Sandwiches in Washington - With an 'International Accent'
Washington DC is a melting-pot of people from around the globe. The many races and cultures are reflected in its foods. Among the choices are countless Asian, African and Middle Eastern eateries restaurants. But one Iranian-American business owner has put a twist on a classic Western cuisine... and earned a name for himself along the way. -Arash Arabasadi - 12/27/11

Publishers express grave concern over Iranians' reluctance to read books
Analysts believe that Iranian people's aversion to book reading points to factors far beyond a lack of an appropriate environment for booksellers. They said that the high cost of living in Iran is the major reason for the unwillingness to purchase and read books in Iran. - 12/27/11

Iran's Subsidy Chief Slaps MP in Parliament
A government representative in Iranian Parliament was expelled from parliament after he struck one of lawmakers over an argument about the redistribution of government subsidies. - 12/27/11

Iranian Navy Completes Preliminary Stage Of War Games
The preliminary stage of the 10-day naval war games, entitled Velayat-90, was completed on Monday, and Iranian warships, submarines, and other naval vessels spread out across the theaters of operations, which cover a wide area from the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Aden. - 12/27/11

Defense Minister: Cracking drones code not beyond Iran's capabilities
Iranian Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi has said that Iran has very high capabilities in the area of defense, particularly in decoding unmanned aircraft. - 12/27/11

Iranian engineers abducted in Syria are safe and sound: Envoy
Eight technicians including five Iranian electrical engineers were kidnapped by unknown armed gunmen on their way to a power plant in the troubled Syrian city of Homs last Tuesday. The technicians have been building the city's Jandar power plant for the past two years. - 12/27/11

Sadrists Call for New Elections in Iraq
The Iraqi political bloc led by anti-American Shi'ite cleric Muqtada al-Sadr has issued a call to dissolve Iraq's parliament and hold early elections, in a move that could escalate the country's growing sectarian crisis. - 12/27/11

Iran to invest $571m in Armenia electricity projects
An Iranian private sector consortium will invest $571 million in two projects in Armenia for commissioning the third power transmission line from Armenia to Iran and boosting the Aras River hydroelectric power plant capacity to 1.7 giga watts per year. - 12/27/11

Detained Iranian Opposition Leader Calls Elections A Sham
Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karroubi says the Islamic Republic government is trying to turn the upcoming parliamentary elections into a repeat of the fraudulent 2009 election. - 12/26/11

Iran's currency fluctuations continues
According to khabar online news site, Iran's currency fluctuations continues. Today, rial was being traded 1480 for a dollar in the morning. However, by noon the rate had increased to 1550. - 12/26/11

Photos: The Five Lions Kept At Tehran's Pardisan Park - A Grim Fate?
The number of lions found in Tehran recently has reached 5. Initially two cubs were captured by Tehran Fire Department crew in separate incidents around mid-December. The authorities later confiscated another 3 lions and handed them to the Environmental Protections Agency office in Tehran's Pardisan Park to join the cubs. -Ashraf Tabatabaei - 12/26/11

"A Separation" nomination for Oscar depends on U.S. political climate: Iranian Official
The Iranian deputy culture minister for cinematic affairs said that "Nader and Simin, a Separation" is a possible Oscar nominee in the Best Foreign Language Films category, but everything would depend on the U.S. political climate at the time the Academy decides on nominations for this category. - 12/26/11

Year In Review: Tensions Rise Between Iran, West
The Arab Spring; nuclear activity; mysterious killings at home and alleged assassination attempts abroad; house arrests; fears of impending air strikes; the storming of an embassy -- these are events that made 2011 the year of the threat in Iran. - 12/26/11

Conservative Iranian MP wants reformists in elections
Ali Motahari, a conservative Member of Parliament, today called on reformists to take part in the parliamentary elections in March and urged the Guardian Council not to disqualify nominees for having links to reformists. - 12/26/11

Ahmadinejad steps into Iran's dress-code debate
While leading Shiite Muslim clerics advise women to wear chadors - the traditional head-to-toe cloak, usually black - Iran's urban fashionistas increasingly prefer tight-fitting coats and scant head scarves. Now, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is stepping into the dispute. -Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post - 12/26/11

Iran develops new cyber defense model: Official
Last week, Ali Hakim Javadi, Iran's deputy minister for communications and information technology, said Iran had moved more than 90 percent of its governmental internet websites from hosting companies overseas to new locations inside the country to protect governmental data on internet networks. - 12/26/11

UN, Iraq Agree on Plan to Resettle Iranian Dissidents
The United Nations and the Iraqi government have signed a deal to relocate 3,400 Iranian dissidents living in a camp in northeastern Iraq while their refugee status is determined. - 12/26/11

Iran, Armenia mulling free trade agreement
To boost their economic and trade ties Iran and Armenia are preparing the ground for signing a free trade agreement, Iran's Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi says. - 12/26/11

Iran, Afghanistan to sign new oil contract
Iran will boost exports of oil products, such as gas oil, gasoline and jet fuel, to Afghanistan according to a contract which will be signed today in Tehran. - 12/26/11

Mother Of Iranian Political Prisoner Sentenced To Prison For Publicizing Son's Case
Iran has sentenced the mother of a political prisoner to 23 months in prison apparently for publicizing her son's case in media interviews. Parvin Mokhtare is the mother of human rights activist Kouhyar Goudarzi. Both mother and son have been in jail for the past five months. - 12/25/11

Photos: Migratory Birds Return to Gomishan Wetland
The Gomishan wetland is located by the Caspian Sea in Iran's northern province of Golestan. Every winter Gomishan is host to thousands of migratory birds. -Aboutaleb Nadri - 12/25/11

Iran: Another Reformist Group Calls For Election Boycott
The Mojahedin of the Islamic Revolution, a prominent reformist organization, has joined the line-up of such groups boycotting the upcoming parliamentary elections. - 12/25/11

Iranian Christian Journalist Discusses Government Campaign to Target Protestants
In the weeks leading up to the 2010 Christmas holiday, authorities arrested over 100 Protestant Christians and Christian converts in Tehran and other cities across Iran. Many of these people were active in house-churches, and authorities eventually released most of them. - 12/25/11

Iran's Bamou National Park: Scene of vivid flora and fauna
To the northwest of the city of Shiraz in Fars Province is one of the most beautiful national parks of Iran called Park-e-Bamou or Bamou Park. - 12/25/11

Iran, Ukraine set to ink $1b oil deal
Ukrainian Inter Naft Gas Prom Pars Company is set to sign a contract, worth around $1 billion, with Iranian Petroleum Engineering and Development Company aiming to develop three heavy crude oilfields in Iran, namely Kooh Mond, Booshgan and Kooh Kaki. - 12/25/11

Iran extends oil deal with Turkey despite sanctions
The National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) has extended its crude oil deal with Turkey by the end of 2012 despite tightening sanctions against Iran by western countries. - 12/25/11

Iran Denies US Accusation of Harboring Al-Qaida Financier
Iran is denying a U.S. accusation that it is harboring an al-Qaida financier suspected of moving money and terrorist recruits through Iran to al-Qaida bases in Afghanistan and Pakistan. - 12/25/11

Challenging Iran's Supreme Leader: Letters To Khamenei
Journalist and filmmaker Mohammad Nourizad has repeatedly defied one of Iran's most sacred taboos. Nourizad, who used to be a columnist for the ultra-hardline "Kayhan" daily which is said to reflect the views of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has now challenged Khamenei in open letters in which he has accused him of mistreating Iranians and isolating the country. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 12/24/11

Iran: Trial of the daughter of top cleric gets underway
ISNA reports that Faezeh Hashemi, the daughter of the moderate cleric Ayatollah Aliakbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, is being tried on a charge of "propaganda against the regime" in a closed-door trial led by Judge Salavati. - 12/24/11

Photos: Isfahan Grapples With Air Pollution
Air pollution in the provincial city of Isfahan in central Iran has reached above safe levels. Similar problems in the capital city Tehran has prompted the Health Ministry to issue a warning for the elderly and children to avoid any unnecessary travel to the city center. - 12/24/11

A Cellphone Takes You Inside An Iranian Prison
A short video has surfaced on YouTube that shows a number of well-known Iranian political prisoners taking a walk in the yard of Iran's Gohardasht prison. - 12/24/11

99% Occupy Wall Street Movement and Political Prisoners in Iran
Iranian activists are raising awareness among protestors at Occupy Wall Street Movement on the situation of political prisoners and the ongoing repression of dissidents in Iran. - 12/24/11

Christian worshippers arrested in Ahvaz, Iran
Islamic Republic forces have arrested a group of Christians in Ahvaz just as Christmas approaches. According to Human Rights Reporters of Iran, Islamic Republic security forces attacked a church in Ahvaz on Friday and arrested the pastor, his wife and all the congregants in attendance. - 12/24/11

Iran's Annual Oil Revenues Approaching $110 Billion
Iran will earn up to $110 billion through selling crude oil by the end of the current Iranian calendar year which ends on March 19, 2012, Majlis Economic Committee chairman Gholamreza Mesbahi-Moqaddam told the Pana news agency. - 12/24/11

Iran launches navy drill in Strait of Hormuz
Iran's Navy has launched massive drill dubbed "Velayat 90" on Saturday. The drill covers 2,000 km stretching from the east of the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf to the Gulf of Aden. - 12/24/11

Football: Denizli takes charge of Tehran's Persepolis
Mustafa Denizli was appointed as coach of Persepolis football team on Saturday. Denizli joined the Iranian giant on an 18-month contract for an undisclosed fee. - 12/24/11

Iranian firm inks $1.4b deal to build largest NGL plant
An Iranian corporation, Oil Industries Engineering and Construction Company (OIEC), has signed a $1.4 billion contract with the National Iranian Oil Company to build the country's largest natural gas to liquids (NGL) plant. - 12/24/11

Iran Central Bank rejects halting trade with UAE in dirham
Iranian Central Bank dismissed reports that the county has halted trade exchanges with the UAE in dirham. The Central Bank rejected the smear campaign about ban on opening letter of credit for imports from the UAE and halting trade exchanges with the UAE in dirham. - 12/24/11

Iraq-MEK: Ensure Camp Residents' Safety
All parties involved with the UN plan to resolve the situation of Camp Ashraf residents should work to make sure it is carried out safely and effectively, Human Rights Watch said today. - 12/24/11

To build a bridge to Iran, tap the diaspora
The sizable and growing communities of Iranian origin in the U.S., Canada, Europe, and among Iran's neighbors in the UAE and Turkey, represent a potentially instrumental bridge to the Islamic Republic. Since they are literally situated "in-between," the Iranian diaspora has a great stake in, and is ideally positioned to lead dialogue and engagement efforts between Iran and their new home. -Alidad Mafinezam, Reuters - 12/24/11

Severe Air Pollution Hits Tehran
Rising level of air pollution in the capital city of Tehran has forced people with respiratory and heart ailments to stay at home, Press TV reports. Iran's Health Ministry has issued a warning for the elderly and children to avoid any unnecessary travel to the city center. - 12/23/11

Iranian Political Prisoners Call For Election Boycott
A statement issued by 39 high-profile Iranian political prisoners urges the public to boycott the upcoming parliamentary elections. Participation in those elections, slated for March, has been a hot topic in Iranian political circles, with reformists widely advising an all-out boycott. - 12/23/11

Iran: Workers in Shiraz enter fifth day of protests
More than 200 workers at Shiraz Telecommunications factories protested in front of the Fars Governor's building for a fifth straight day to demand unpaid wages. - 12/23/11

What Happens When We Come Together?
2011 has been a year of growth and important victories on critical issues, and there are many great things on the horizon in 2012! With 2011 drawing to a close, we look ahead to 2012, our 10th year serving the Iranian-American community! -NIAC - 12/23/11

Iranian journalist released after 95 days of detention
Journalist Amirali Allamehzadeh has been released after 95 days in Evin Prison. The Human Rights House of Iran reports that Allamehzadeh was released on Wednesday on bail. - 12/23/11

Shifting dynamics between Saudi Arabia, Turkey, and Iran
The Woodrow Wilson International Center hosted an expert panel discussing the changing relationship between Syria, Iran, and Turkey amidst the Arab Spring and increasing regional tensions. -Ardavon Naimi, NIAC - 12/23/11

Iranian, Armenian presidents emphasize need for regional peace
After a meeting on Friday, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his Armenian counterpart Serzh Sargsyan issued a joint statement insisting on the need to accelerate efforts to improve security and peace in the region. - 12/23/11

Iran envisages $50B investment to explore oil, gas fields in Caspian Sea
Iranian oil ministry has envisaged investing up to $50 billion to explore oil and gas fields in the Caspian Sea, the Mehr news agency quoted a member of parliament as saying on Friday. - 12/23/11

Iran bans opening LCs for UAE imports
The Iranian administration has decided to ban opening LCs for importing goods from the United Arab Emirates in response to illogical behaviors of the UAE under the pressure of international sanctions against Iran, a member of the Iranian parliament (Majlis) stated. - 12/23/11

Iraq extends deadline for closing MKO camp
Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki said on Wednesday that his government had agreed to extend a year-end deadline for closing Camp New Iraq, which was formerly known as Camp Ashraf, by six months, Reuters reported. - 12/23/11

With Sync Solved, Dropbox Squares Off With Apple's iCloud
In early 2009, just months after Drew Houston and Arash Ferdowsi launched Dropbox, a service that promised to sync users' photos, music, and documents across computers, Apple's MobileMe team suggested the pair come by for a chat. -Wired - 12/23/11

US Puts Bounty on Iran-Based al-Qaida Financier
The United States Thursday announced a $10 million reward for information leading to the arrest of a Syrian national said to be operating as an al-Qaida paymaster from a base in Iran. The bounty, under the State Department's Rewards for Justice Program, is the first ever offered for a terrorist financier. - 12/23/11

Photos: Getting an education in a remote region of Iran
The town of Charavimagh is located in the south of East Azerbaijan province of Iran. The schools in this deprived region lack adequate funding and resources. However, irrespective of the hardships, the students continue their education in a simple and friendly environment. - 12/22/11

Iran Has Only Six Months
While sanctions against Iran's central bank - an idea that has already reverberated through the country's economic sector - have not yet been signed by the US president, a review of the Iranian media indicates the constrains that exist in debating this issue. To clarify the meaning and consequences of sanctioning the central bank, Rooz interviewed two prominent economy specialist in Tehran. -Sara Samavati - 12/22/11

Child Foundation's Holiday Fund
As we begin to close out another year, it is with a great sense of honor and gratitude that I shall report to you some of the remarkable work your dedicated staff at Child Foundation were able to accomplish in 2011 on your behalf and through your unwavering help and support throughout the year. -Masoud Modarres - 12/22/11

Iranian Student Activist Expelled for "Disobedience"
According to a source who spoke to the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, women's rights and student activist Setareh Elyasi has been expelled from university. - 12/22/11

A Single Roll of the Dice: Obama's Diplomacy with Iran
This book, authored by Trita Parsi, provides a definitive and comprehensive analysis of the Obama administration's early diplomatic outreach to Iran and discusses the best way to move toward more positive relations between the two discordant states. - 12/22/11

Anti-Iran Human Rights Resolution Are 'Lies': Judiciary Chief
Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli Larijani has said that the most recent United Nations resolution on the human rights situation in Iran is full of lies. - 12/22/11

High School Dropout Hits It Big on the Internet
Mazyar Kazerooni started his first Internet company while he was still in high school. Once the money started to pour in, he convinced his parents he should drop out and give his internet business a real chance. -Tala Hadavi - 12/22/11

The 10,000 Women March In Cairo
Around 10,000 women marched through central Cairo demanding Egypt's ruling military step down Tuesday in an unprecedented show of outrage over soldiers who dragged women by the hair and stomped on them, and stripped one half-naked in the street during a fierce crackdown on activists the past week. - 12/22/11

Iran's Navy To Hold Drill In International Waters
The Iranian Navy will hold a 10-day drill in international waters beyond the Strait of Hormuz. Navy commander Admiral Habibollah Sayyari told state television on December 21 that the drill, dubbed Velayat-90, will be launched on December 24. - 12/22/11

Poster exhibit explores Persian influences on European art, culture and science
European artists' posters inspired by Persian art and culture are currently on display during a showcase at Tehran's Niavaran Cultural Center. The exhibit, featuring 26 posters by artists from 15 European countries, was opened during a ceremony at the main gallery of the center on Tuesday. - 12/22/11

Blasts Kill 63 in Iraq as Political Crisis Continues
Iraqi officials say more than a dozen explosions have hit the capital, Baghdad, killing at least 63 people and wounding more than 180 others in the worst violence to hit the country in months. - 12/22/11

Literary Tranquilizers
To make my efforts (getting our great men known in the world) far reaching I combined the messages of global and Iranian scholars such as Khayyam and the rest in book titled Literary Tranquilizers -Ali Parsa - 12/22/11

Sanctions against Iran could trigger oil price spike
Don't be fooled by the cordial meeting between Saudi and Iranian officials on the sidelines of the recent Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) meeting in Vienna. While OPEC quickly agreed on 30 million barrels per day without much argument, the meeting belied the great tensions between the two rivals. -FP Investing - 12/22/11

U.S. efforts to cut off Iran's oil exports put Japan in tight spot
The latest U.S. sanctions on Iran's oil exports have put Tokyo in a difficult position, with Japanese diplomats and companies scrambling to secure sufficient energy resources while avoiding penalties for continuing to do business with Tehran. -Japan Times - 12/22/11

Iran's Currency Goes On A Roller Coaster Ride
Iran's currency rial dropped to a new low of 1600 for a U.S. Dollar in trading in Tehran on Tuesday. After wild fluctuations, rial setteled at about 1500 per Dollar. However, the increasing sanctions on Iran, and the targeting of Iran's Central Bank by U.S. and European allies, will most likely bring more instability. - 12/21/11

Photos: Yalda Night Shopping in Tehran
Yalda Night as called in the Persian solar calendar is a night with especial ceremonies. Families get together on Yalda Night at the home of the elders until after midnight. They are served with dried fruits, nuts, and winter fruits like pomegranates and watermelons, which are said to symbolize the red color of dawn in the sky. -Fatemeh Behboudi - 12/21/11

Iranian Revolutionary Guard Confiscated Confidential Footage to Fabricate Film, Says Nourizad
Following the release of a private and confidential film about his personal life, renowned filmmaker and journalist Mohammad Nourizad spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about the illegality of its release. - 12/21/11

Iranian reformist group calls for boycott of elections
The Coordination Council for the Green Path of Hope, Iran's major reformist organization, is urging Iranians to boycott the coming parliamentary elections. - 12/21/11

Iranian Political Prisoners Held In Appalling Conditions
The transfer of political prisoner Saeed Saleki to Dezfool Prison has brought the attention of human rights activists to the prison's dire conditions. - 12/21/11

Is Iran legally permitted to close Strait of Hormuz to countries that impose sanctions against Iran's oil?
The Strait of Hormuz is the narrow sea passage that connects the Persian Gulf to the Oman Sea. This is the only sea-passage for the export of oil from the Persian Gulf states. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 12/21/11

Iran Invites IAEA Inspectors To Visit
Iran has invited inspectors from the International Atomic Agency to travel to Tehran, a Western diplomat was quoted as saying. The invitation comes after the IAEA released a report indicating that Iran's nuclear program may have a military component. - 12/21/11

Iran: Earth cracks at ancient site of Naqsh-e Rustam
A large deep crack has appeared in the earth at the foot of the ancient site of Naqsh-e Rustam in Iran's southern province of Fars. The site includes a number of bas-reliefs and tombs of several Achaemenid kings, which had been created on rocks on Mount Hossein. - 12/21/11

US Expands Iran Sanctions to Shipping Firms
The United States has widened its sanctions against Iran to include 10 "shipping and front companies" accused of helping Iran's effort to advance its missile programs and transport military cargoes. - 12/21/11

Register order problem from UAE to Iran resolved: Iranian official
Some Iranian news outlets have already said Iran's trade with the UAE was banned until further notice following a decree by Iranian Industry, Mines and Commerce Minister Mehdi Ghazanfari. - 12/21/11

1000 MW nuclear power to join Iran national grid by March
1000 megawatts prodiced by the Bushehr nuclear power plant would join Iranian national grid by March 20, said Iranian Energy Minister Majid Namjou. - 12/21/11

Iran's Currency Plunges to Record Lows
Iran's currency rial dropped to a record low on Tuesday. According to latest reports, U.S. dollar is selling for 15,050 in the open market at the foreign currency exchange offices. - 12/20/11

Iranians preparing for Yalda Night ceremonies
Yalda Night is the Persian Winter Solstice Celebration which has been popular since ancient times. Yalda is celebrated on the Northern Hemisphere's longest night of the year, that is, on the eve of the Winter Solstice. - 12/20/11

Former Officials Call for President Obama to Reinvigorate Iran Diplomacy
A group of former government officials, diplomats, military officers, and nonproliferation experts issued a letter to President Obama calling for him to reinvigorate direct diplomatic engagement with Iran to resolve the Iranian nuclear issue - 12/20/11

Iran: Former president says running in elections meaningless
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami has announced that Iran's political situation has not improved enough to warrant the participation of reformists in the coming parliamentary elections. - 12/20/11

General Assembly voices concern over Iranian human rights record
United Nations Member States today expressed deep concern at reports of human rights violations in Iran, including torture, the use of cruel punishments such as flogging and amputations and "pervasive gender inequality and violence against women," and called on Tehran to strengthen its national human rights institutions. - 12/20/11

U.S. calls for release of alleged spy in Iran
The United States has called for the immediate release of Amir Mirza Hekmati, a U.S. citizen of Iranian background, who has been arrested in Iran on spying charges. - 12/20/11

Iran offers condolences to North Korea over Kim Jong-il death
Iranian Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani offered condolences over death of North Korean Leader. Kim Jong-il, 69, died following a heart attack. His son Kim Jong-un will be his successor. - 12/20/11

Iranian journalists denounce arrest of their colleague Hassan Fathi
Fathi was arrested in Tehran on November 12 after he was interviewed by Persian BBC about the controversial explosion at a Revolutionary Guards weapons depot that rocked the western part of the capital. - 12/20/11

From Iranian Concerns of a Break in Ties, to the Queen's Pleas: The Attack on the Embassy, a British Plot!
Even with the passage of more than two weeks since a group of Basij official-militia attacked the British embassy in Tehran, and the aftermaths of the event, Principlists (the ruling hardliners in Iran who proclaim loyalty to the ideals of the 1979 revolution) continue to make contradictory statements over the issue. -Arash Bahmani, Rooz - 12/20/11

Recent Attacks by Iran and Turkey on Civilians in Iraqi Kurdistan: At Least a Dozen Dead; Thousands Displaced Since July
Iran and Turkey's cross-border attacks in Iraqi Kurdistan killed more than a dozen civilians and displaced thousands between mid-July and November 2011, including in areas that did not appear to have military targets, Human Rights Watch said today. - 12/20/11

Iranian astronomer's idea introduced in International Solar Eclipse Confab
An Iranian scientist's ambitious idea was introduced in the International Solar Eclipse Conference 2011 despite Indian refusal to grant visa to the Iranian scientist. A representative of Iranian embassy to New Delhi joined the conference and presented the Iranian scientist's plan dubbed "observing solar eclipse from the space." - 12/20/11

Iran wants consulate in Vancouver
Iran wants to open a consul-ate in Vancouver to serve the city's Iranian-Canadian population, but a federal government policy prohibits it. There are about 120,000 Iranian-Canadians in Metro Vancouver, according to Kam-biz Sheikh-Hassani, charge d'affaires of Iran's embassy in Ottawa. -Vancouver Sun - 12/20/11

Russia's Tatneft denies Iran oil deal
The Russian Tatneft Group has denied reports it has entered an agreement with Iran's Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDC) to develop the Zagheh heavy crude oil field. - 12/20/11

Washington's Secret Wars
Following the widely reported Iranian government plot to assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and alarming new reports of civilian deaths in Syria, the White House has issued several findings to the intelligence community authorizing stepped-up covert action against both Damascus and Tehran. -Philip Giraldi, Veterans Today - 12/20/11

Syria Signs Arab League Deal Allowing Outside Monitors
Syria has agreed to an Arab League plan to allow observers into the country, as rights activists say security forces killed dozens of army deserters in the country's northwest. - 12/20/11

U.S. supports U.N. plan to relocate group on terror list
The Obama administration "welcomes" a United Nations-led effort in Iraq to relocate a group on the State Department terrorism list, before an end-of-the-year deadline that could see heavy violence and a large humanitarian disaster unfold, senior administration officials said Monday. -CNN - 12/20/11

Farewell to fall, salute to snow: Yalda and the advent of winter in Iran
Of all ancient Persian rituals, it is mainly two festivals that are unanimously celebrated by Iranians today, Yalda Night (the birth of a new sun) and the Persian New Year (Norouz, the birth of a new day). Wherever in the world they are, Iranians somehow feel committed and relate to these festivities. -Maryam Ala Amjadi - 12/19/11

Iran TV Shows Alleged US Spy 'Confessing'
Iran state television has broadcast a video of a young man who the Tehran government says is a CIA spy. The broadcast Sunday identified him as Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, who was born in the western U.S. state of Arizona to Iranian parents. - 12/19/11

Photos: Making Brown Sugar in Mazandaran
These days, the people in the northern Iranian province of Mazandaran, by the Caspian Sea, use a hybrid of traditional and mechanized ways to produce brown sugar from sugar canes. -Mohsen Rezapour - 12/19/11

Support PAAIA's Mentorship Program
In an increasingly competitive world, the younger generation of Iranian Americans, more than ever, needs opportunities and programs to live the American dream and prosper in their educational and professional careers. - 12/19/11

Attacking Iran and Pilotless Drones
The explosion that destroyed a missile base in Malard a few weeks ago could have been the result of a missile strike by an American or an Israeli pilotless drone. An attack like this is something that the Americans have practiced and mastered in Pakistan's Vaziristan region. -Farzaneh Roostaee - 12/19/11

Exhibiton: Farhad Ahrarnia's "Canary in a Coal Minne"
Until the 1980s, British coal miners would take a caged canary with them underground. Because the bird sings most of the time, if the oxygen level dropped or any dangerous gases were emitted, its silence meant its death, and was an early warning system. - 12/19/11

Russia and India concerned about sanctions against Iran
In a joint statement, Russia and India have expressed concern over the intensification of sanctions against Iran, emphasizing that unilateral sanctions "could be highly unconstructive." - 12/19/11

Human Rights is a historical shared journey
The nature of human rights is that of a journey. It is a journey through a history of shared humanity by all humankind. Human Rights will always be a delicate and continual work in progress. -12 Petals Media Group - 12/19/11

Hundreds of asylum seekers missing after ship sinks
More than 200 people are still missing after an overcrowded ship carrying asylum seekers to Australia sank today off the coast of Java, Indonesia. The asylum seekers, mainly from Iran, Iraq and Afghanistan, were being illegally transported to Australia. - 12/19/11

Iran oil embargo to impact Japan most: Report
A report says the Japanese economy would be hardest hit in case sanctions are slapped against the Iranian oil industry over the country's nuclear program. - 12/19/11

Photos: Dome of Historic Chahar Bagh School in Isfahan Damaged
Tiles from a 1.5 square meter section of the dome of Chahar Bagh school, a 16-17th century cultural complex in Isfahan, Iran, have fallen. This is being blamed on the negligence of the authorities who are responsible for maintaining this historical building. - 12/18/11

Russian Maneuver in the Caspian Sea: who is the hypothetical enemy?
Recently the Russians and a few other Caspian regional states conducted a military maneuver in the Caspian Sea and its adjacent areas. Maneuvers by the Russian forces, with or without participation by other Caspian regional states are nothing unusual. - 12/18/11

Iran's Jamaran destroyer returns home after completing first international mission
The Jamaran destroyer returned home on Sunday after the completion of its 70-day mission to international waters and moored in the port city of Bandar Abbas, in the southern province of Hormozgan. - 12/18/11

Google admits Iranian superiority in cyber warfare
Google boss Eric Schmidt says Iran is a serious threat in cyberspace, creating a constant concern through its breaking of cyber codes. - 12/18/11

Russia's Tatneft inks $700m deal to develop Iran's oilfield
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russia's Tatneft signed a deal, worth $700 million, in Tehran on Sunday to develop the Zagheh heavy crude oilfield in southwest Iran. - 12/18/11

Nazanin Pouyandeh's Exhibition at Aaran Gallery: "Entre Chien et Loup"
Nazanin Pouyandeh juxtaposes her memories and the outside world. The energy emanating from her paintings are transmissions of her cross cultural identity. - 12/18/11

Iran, Syria Sign Free Trade Pact
Iran and Syria have signed a free trade agreement in a bid to boost bilateral trade especially in industry, mining and agriculture, the deputy industry, mine and trade minister stated on Sunday. - 12/18/11

Iran: Kurdish prisoner's death sentence commuted
Iranian authorities have reduced the death sentence of Kurdish political prisoner Zeinab Jalalian to life in prison, Jalalian's defence attorney reports. - 12/18/11

Iran's daily gasoline consumption hits 57m liters
Gasoline consumption in the fourth week of the ninth calendar month of Azar (to end December 21) stood at 399.1 million liters, showing 11.7 million liters decrease compared to the week before. - 12/18/11

Photos: Perforamnce of "Darkness Like a Dream" Play in Tehran
A Monologue / Desdemona, a lonely actress cast as a fairy in A Midsummer Night's Dream, invites a man she hasn't seen in seven years to a performance. Surprised and a little frightened when he actually shows up, she suggests that they go for coffee. -Fatemeh Behboudi - 12/17/11

Iranian captain launches international campaign to condemn aviation sanctions
Iranian Captain Hooshang Shahbazi, who landed an Iran Air Boeing 727 plane without its front landing gear at Tehran's Mehrabad International Airport on October 18, has launched an international campaign to condemn sanctions imposed upon the sale of civilian aircraft and spare parts to Iran. - 12/17/11

Iran needs $300 billion FDI to realize 8% economic growth
Iran needs up to $300 billion in foreign direct investment (FDI) to meet objectives of its fifth five-year development plan (2010-2015), and reach 8 percent economic growth rate, the Iranian deputy finance and economic affairs minister said. - 12/17/11

Iran is manufacturing new assault UAVs: Defense Minister
Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi said on Saturday that Iran is in the process of manufacturing new assault unmanned aerial vehicles. - 12/17/11

Iran Deplores Western Media's Reports on "Smuggling of Nuclear Material"
Iranian ambassador to Moscow has said that Russian customs officers' decision to temporarily hold an Iranian dental student at one of Moscow's main airports was the result of a misunderstanding. - 12/17/11

Iranian political prisoners receive HR awards from ICHR
The International Center for Human Rights (ICHR) announced today that Mr. Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, Iranian political leader and prisoner, is receiving a prestigious human rights award from ICHR for his human rights activities. Five other prisoners also won the awards in the realms of student, labour, culture, human rights and legal advocacy. - 12/17/11

Iran: Steel factory explosion death toll hits 16
The Bazaar-e Kar (Job Market) weekly recently announced that workplace accidents are the second-highest cause of death in Iran. The report indicated that 22,559 insured workers were involved in workplace accidents in the past year, and 109 of them lost their lives. - 12/17/11

Iran announces arrest of suspected U.S. spy
Iran's Intelligence Ministry has announced the arrest of "an American Central Intelligence Agency spy of Iranian origin." The ministry announcement indicates that the suspect had been under surveillance in Afghanistan and was arrested after he entered Iran. - 12/17/11

Iran, Russia Set To Ink $700M Oil Deal
National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) and Russia's Tatneft are scheduled to sign a deal, worth $700 million, in Tehran on Sunday to develop the Zagheh heavy crude oilfield in southwest Iran. - 12/17/11

Jailed Iranian labour activist taken to hospital
Jailed Iranian labour activist Reza Shahabi has been transferred to hospital after three weeks on a hunger strike. The International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran reports that Nader Naderi, the union activist's brother-in-law, said Shahabi was taken to Khomeini Hospital on Wednesday morning. - 12/17/11

The Winners And Losers Of The U.S.'S Latest Iran Sanctions
This week saw the furthering of draconian legislation against Iran that may end up benefiting U.S. adversaries more than hurting Iran's government. On Wednesday the House of Representatives passed the Iran Threat Reductions Act (H.R. 1905) and President Obama is expected to sign into law sanctions against Iran's Central Bank (Bank Markazi) as part of the National Defense Authorization Act. -Jasmin Ramsey, lobelog - 12/17/11

Exclusive: Iran hijacked US drone, says Iranian engineer
In an exclusive interview, an engineer working to unlock the secrets of the captured RQ-170 Sentinel says they exploited a known vulnerability and tricked the US drone into landing in Iran. -CSM - 12/17/11

Obama Responds to Republican Criticisms on Support for Israel
In an address Friday to the largest North American Jewish organization, President Barack Obama said the United States is fully committed to Israel, and responded to recent sharp criticisms on the subject from Republican presidential candidates. -Dan Robinson, VOA - 12/17/11

Iran: Students demonstrate against head of state newspaper Kayhan
Students at Tehran's Abbaspour University protested a recent speech by Hossein Shariatmadari, the director of the state newspaper Kayhan. Iranian media report that Shariatmadari was invited last Sunday by the university's Basij students to speak about National Students' Day. - 12/16/11

Photos: The Iranians' "Gold Rush"
Sale of gold bullions by Iran's Central Bank began on Saturday December 10. The bank is now selling gold coins. This has caused a "gold rush" by some of the Iranians who have literally stormed the banks to gain their fair share of the gold! - 12/16/11

Photo of Fars Region of Iran among TIME's "Best Photos From Space 2011"
During his time aboard the International Space Station, Italian astronaut Paolo Nespoli uploaded dozens of photographs of Earth to his twitter feed. One of these photos is from the Fars region of Iran - 12/16/11

Iranian Activist Facing New charges Of 'Assistance in Espionage'
Saeed Naimi, who was transferred from Karaj Prison to Tabriz Prison, is currently facing new charges of "assistance in espionage." Naimi's wife, Saideh Islami, spoke with the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran about her husband's new charges and his current conditions in prison. - 12/16/11

Domestic politics drives US sanctions on Iran
Tougher sanctions and an anti-diplomacy approach to Iran can only lead to eventual military confrontation, writes the National Iranian American Council policy director -Public Service Europe - 12/16/11

Jailed Iranian blogger's health deteriorating from hunger strike
Jailed blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki, who recently began a hunger strike, is in dire health, his parents reported after visiting him on Monday. Ronaghi Maleki's parents told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran that officials confirmed he was on a hunger strike and that he has lost considerable weight. - 12/16/11

Iran to Expand Iraq Power Industry
Iraq's power ministry officials announced that they have endorsed electricity deals with Iran and China to build and expand the country's power plants. - 12/16/11

IRGC and the Administration Disagree on Threatening Turkey
Iran's foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi rejected the recent threats by Iranian military commanders and parliament deputies against Turkey and said their remarks were "personal" and did not reflect the official policy of the government of the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 12/16/11

U.S. worried China, Russia will gain access to RQ-170 drone
The controversial U.S. spy drone, which was successfully brought down by the Iranian military in the northeast of the country near the city of Kashmar, is one of the most state-of-the-art espionage instruments in terms of technology and design. -Brigadier General Mousavi, Tehran - 12/16/11

Did Iran hijack the 'beast'? US experts cautious about bold claims
To hijack the lost US drone, Iran would have to have overcome major technical hurdles. None are impossible, but US experts question Iran's capabilities in such high-end cyberwarfare. -CSM - 12/16/11

Photos: Lion Cub Captured in Tehran
Tehran Fire Department crew have captured a lion cub in the the northern part of the town near Lavizan. The lion, weighing 50 Kilograms, was moving among the trees when it was spotted by a driver and reported to the authorities. - 12/15/11

Congress' Extreme Iran Sanctions
Today's vote by the House of Representatives to approve broad Iran sanctions (H.R. 1905) and an expected vote by both chambers to approve central bank sanctions as part of the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA), represent a major step in the wrong direction for the United States' Iran policy. -NIAC - 12/15/11

Nowruz across Southern California
For the last three years, Farhang Foundation has celebrated Nowruz (Iranian New Year) at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA). 2012 will be no different, with festivities taking place on Sunday March 18, 2012 and promising to be splendid, as always. - 12/15/11

Iranian MP admits state error in death of activist
Iranian MP Ali Motahari has admitted "the negligence of officials caused the death of Haleh Sahabi," the Iranian activist who died during a raid on her father's funeral. - 12/15/11

Iran: Surge Of Secret Executions For Drug Offences Must End
This year has seen a dramatic rise in the number of people - many impoverished - who are executed for drug offences in Iran, Amnesty International said today in a new report. - 12/15/11

The US Drone, a Gift to the Ashura Mourners
Iranian government media and officials have declared the possession of the US drone by the IRGC revolutionary Guards to be a "defeat for US intelligence" at a scale worse than the one it experienced during the Cold War, and have gone as far as announcing the event to be a divine reward for the mourners. -Nazanin Kamdar, Rooz - 12/15/11

Outlawing diplomacy with Iran comes with dangerous repercussions
For a bill being sold as a last best alternative to military confrontation, H.R.1905 sets a destructive precedent that will silence our diplomats, endanger our troops, and dangerously intensify the danger of war with Iran. -Jamal Abdi, The Hill - 12/15/11

Iran: Factory explosion in Yazd claims more lives
The explosion at the Ghadir Steel Smelter has claimed more lives as four more workers have succumbed to injuries sustained during the incident. Mehr News Agency reported the death of the workers today, which raises the explosion's death toll to 14. - 12/15/11

Iran: Nabavi says Rafsanjani Will Remain Expediency Council Chairman
Morteza Nabavi, a member of the Expediency Council, has said that he thinks current EC Chairman Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani will remain in his post for the next term. He said that the Supreme Leader will decide on the appointment of EC members for the next term. - 12/15/11

U.S. and Britain to intensify sanctions against Iran
Britain and the U.S. have announced plans to intensify sanctions against Iran in the coming year. - 12/15/11

U-2 Spy Plane Still Flying High
One of the oldest planes the United States Air Force still flies is used to carry out some of America's most sensitive and critical missions. Whether it's aiding NATO troops in Afghanistan, providing surveillance over North Korea or ... -Steve Herman, VOA - 12/15/11

Foreign spy drones in Iran's possession to be put on display
Iran plans to put foreign spy drones it has in its possession on display in the near future, according to an informed source close to the Tehran Times. National reporters and foreign ambassadors based in Tehran will be allowed to visit the exhibition. - 12/15/11

Iran's agricultural output to hit 118 million tons
Iran's agricultural output will reach 118 million tons by the end of the current calendar year (March 20, 2012), the deputy agriculture minister predicted. - 12/15/11

IAAB Presents Camp Ayandeh 2012 -- Apply Today!
IAAB is pleased to present Camp Ayandeh 2012, its celebrated annual Iranian American high school leadership camp, which is being held July 3rd-11th at Whittier College in Los Angeles, California. Camp Ayandeh is open to rising high school students through incoming college freshmen. - 12/14/11

Iranian Reformist Group To Sit Out Upcoming Elections
A major reformist organization has announced that it will not participate in the coming parliamentary elections. ILNA reports that Ali Mohammad Gharibani, the head of the Coordination Council of the Reformist Front, has issued a statement to announce that it will not endorse any candidates in the elections set for this March. - 12/14/11

Zoorkhaneh: Physical strength through moral purity
From the beginning of the human civilization many forms and methods of physical training, with consideration to some spiritual or religious believes, social values and/or political exigencies have emerged and some of them for somehow the same reasons have vanished in the course of time. - 12/14/11

Fruits of Obloquy
A poem by Toney A. Schloss in protest to the sanctions against Iran - 12/14/11

Iran Says Closing Vital Oil-Transit Strait Not On Agenda
A hard-line Iranian newspaper considered to speak for Iran's supreme leader has come out in support of closing the Strait of Hormuz in the Persian Gulf, the world's most important oil shipping lane, as punishment against countries that have sanctioned Tehran over its suspect nuclear program. -RFE - 12/14/11

Book: On The High Road: The History of Godin Tepe, Iran
The site of Godin Tepe is located in the southeastern corner of the Kangavar valley in central western Iran, at the western end of the Silk Road. "On the High Road" will provide the first major publication of the material remains from Godin. - 12/14/11

Jailed Iranian Blogger Goes On Hunger Strike
Jailed Iranian blogger Hossein Ronaghi Maleki has issued a letter of protest two days after starting a hunger strike at Evin Prison. - 12/14/11

"Cura; the Rise and Fall of Aplasticism" at Tehran's Aaran Gallery
In the aplastic play, Cura; the Rise and Fall of Aplasticism Golshiri repeats Malevich's exhibition. He finds himself imprisoned in art's highest summit of feasibility and in the meantime, its emptiest abyss: The Black Square, 1915. - 12/14/11

U.S. puts two top Iranian military officials on blacklist
Two more Iranian officials have been added to a U.S. blacklist: Major-General Hassan Firoozabadi, the head of the Iranian Armed Forces General Staff, and Abdollah Araghi, the top Revolutionary Guards commander. - 12/14/11

US Troops Leave Iraq, Controversy Over War Continues
The war in Iraq lasted nearly nine years and as the remaining U.S. troops pull out of the country, Middle East analysts continue to disagree over the success or failure of the mission. -Meredith Buel - 12/14/11

OPEC members reach consensus on 30 million bpd output ceiling
Members of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) on Wednesday agreed on an output ceiling of 30 million barrels per day. - 12/14/11

Iran Remains The Main Target Of The Presidential Candidates' Televised Debates On Foreign Policy Issues
Since it is clear that a war with Iran would not be in anyone's interest, the hope is that the charade of threats and saber rattling will continue to appease the gullible public and allow Israel to reap the rich harvest with the blessing of American taxpayers, and this way, avoid an expensive and counterproductive new military involvement with potentially catastrophic global blowbacks. -Kam Zarrabi - 12/13/11

"We Are Many" to tell the story of the biggest protest in history!
Producer-Director: Amir Amirani, Executive Producer: Taghi Amirani -- We Are Many is a documentary about the never-before-told story of the biggest protest in history, on 15 February 2003, and its legacy, through the Arab Spring to the Occupy Movement. The day that saw an estimated 30 million people in over 700 cities around the world, gave birth to a new global social movement. - 12/13/11

US Asks Iran to Return Lost Drone
The United States said Monday that it has formally asked Iran to return an American surveillance drone that fell into Iranian hands earlier this month. Iran says it is extracting technology from the lost aircraft and will build copies of it. -David Gollust, VOA, State Department - 12/13/11

Watch a video tribute and take action for Human Rights Day 2011
Sixty-three years ago, today, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights enshrined the fundamental human rights to which each of the globe's citizens are entitled. On this important day, we pay tribute to all of those struggling to attain their basic rights from Homs to Moscow to Tehran. -United4Iran - 12/13/11

Iranian Opposition Leader Mir Hossein Mousavi: Our's Is The Just Path
On the second anniversary of the Bloody Ashura, Khadijeh Mousavi Khameneh - sister of Mir Hossein Mousavi- in an interview said that in the last visit she had with her brother, Mousavi while was surrounded by the security guards firmly stressed on his previous positions and once again said: "our path is the just one". - 12/13/11

Iranian Americans Help Others Through the Lions Club
Providing free eyesight and hearing screenings to those in need are among the many charitable contributions being made by a group of Iranian Americans living in the Washington metropolitan area. -Jane Morse - 12/13/11

Iran's Mahdavikia to face Zidane in "Match Against Poverty"
The 9th edition of the "Match Against Poverty" takes place in Hamburg's Imtech Arena between Hamburg SV All Stars and "Ronaldo, Zidane, and Friends" on December 13. - 12/13/11

Six Iranian MPs Involved in the Grand Embezzlement Case
The grand embezzlement case in the Islamic republic of Iran involving about three billion Dollars is now in a new phase. As four Majlis deputies were interrogated, some reports now talk of the possibility of death sentences for two of the defendants in the case. -Hossein Mohammadi, Rooz - 12/13/11

Iranian Official Calls Obama's Demand For Return Of Drone "Escape Forward"
"The U.S. should know that what it did regarding violation of our air space can put international peace and security in danger. The U.S. should take responsibility for the consequences of the measure," Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman added. - 12/13/11

Iran's newly found Caspian Sea gas field in has 8 billion barrels of crude oil
The huge gas field, which has been recently discovered in Iran's territorial waters in the Caspian Sea, holds an estimated 8 billion barrels of crude oil, the managing director of Khazar Oil Company announced on Monday. - 12/13/11

Iran Indicts 'American, Zionist Spies'
Iran's official IRNA news agency says Iran has indicted 15 people on charges of "spying" for the United States and Israel. The report did not identify the suspects nor give any details of when they were arrested and under what circumstances. - 12/13/11

Syria's Opposition Split Over Civil, Armed Unrest
Syria's opposition has launched a new form of civil disobedience with a general strike, even as armed resistance escalates. The opposing tactics highlight a growing split among those who seek to oust the government, a divide echoed in the mixed signals of the international community. - 12/13/11

Leaders are defiant, but many Iranians fear war
TEHRAN - Faced with Israeli warnings of strikes against Iran's nuclear facilities, officials here routinely answer with bravado and counterthreats. Instead of sharing that sense of defiance, however, many ordinary Iranians are increasingly worried that war could be catastrophic. -Thomas Erdbrink, Washington Post - 12/13/11

Photos: Sassanid Bas-Relief Vandalized in Southern Iran
Part of one of the significant bas-reliefs of the Sassanid era has been vandalized at Tang-e Chogan, a gorge near the town of Kazerun in Iran's southern province of Fars. - 12/12/11

Kamran Katuzian: A personal journey in the synthesis of graphic and abstract arts
Kamran Katouzian, the graphic designer, art director and painter is a highly revered influential figure of Iranian modern arts who successfully managed to combine Iranian traditions and major elements of Iranian visual arts, and incorporated them in the well-known frame-works of the contemporary global art. - Roya Monajem, Tavoos - 12/12/11

Shoes Hurled at Iranian President by Unemployed Man
Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was heckled and had to dodge a flying shoe during a public commemoration service for a former minister. - 12/12/11

8 killed in steel plant blast in central Iran
Eight people were killed by an explosion that occurred on Sunday night at the privately owned Ghadir steel plant, which is located in the city of Ardakan, in the central province of Yazd, Khabaronline reported. - 12/12/11

Ruins Of Ancient City Plundered In Southwestern Iran
Iran's Cultural Heritage, Tourism and Handicrafts Organization (CHTHO) has forbidden archaeologists working at ancient Iranian sites from giving interviews to the Iranian press since 2009. The ban was imposed after the archaeologists published a great deal of information explaining about the destruction of ancient Iranian sites. - 12/12/11

Ahmadinejad: Discovery of new gas reserves changes Caspian Sea status
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said on Monday that discovery of new gas reservoirs will greatly transform energy and political equations around the Caspian Sea. - 12/12/11

Downed US Spy Drone Gives Iran Winning Card in Intelligence Trade
The hi-tech US stealth drone that was downed by Iran last week is of paramount importance in intelligence trade with the US foes as it can blunt the US technological edge over its adversaries. - 12/12/11

U.S. Virtual Embassy For Spying: Iranian Intelligence Minister
Iranian Intelligence Minister Heydar Moslehi says the virtual embassy launched by the U.S. for use by Iranian people is actually intended for "spying" purposes. - 12/12/11

Iranian FM Says British Actions "Hasty"
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi says relations between Iran and Britain have not yet been completely severed, despite recent "hasty" recent actions by Britain. - 12/12/11

Iran-Saudi Relations: Friendship or Enmity?
Iran's relations with Arab countries of the region, especially member states of the (Persian) Gulf Cooperation Council, topped by Saudi Arabia and its allies in the Council, are not very friendly. -Seyed Ali Mousavi Khalkhali - 12/12/11

Tighter Sanctions On Iran: An Alternative to War -- or a Road to War?
Pity President Barack Obama trying to stay off the slippery slope to war with Iran in an election year, while his challengers perform crowd-pleasing, spoken-word versions of Senator John McCain's "Bomb Iran" adaptation of the Beach Boys. -Tony Karon, TIME - 12/12/11

Once again, war is prime time and journalism's role is taboo
On 22 May 2007, the Guardian's front page announced: "Iran's secret plan for summer offensive to force US out of Iraq." The writer, Simon Tisdall, claimed that Iran had secret plans to defeat American troops in Iraq, which included "forging ties with al-Qaida elements". -John Pilger - 12/12/11

Iran's Electricity Export Up 23%
Electricity export has increased by 23 percent in the first nine months of the current Iranian year (started March 21, 1011), thanks to implementation of subsidy reform plan in the country, Energy Ministry announced on Monday. - 12/12/11

Iranian Filmmaker Released After Three Months
Iranian documentary filmmaker Mojtaba Mirtahmasb has been released from Evin Prison after three months in jail. ISNA reports that MirTahmasb, who was arrested on the charge of "collaborating with the Persian BBC network", was released Saturday night on bail of $200,000. - 12/11/11

Iran Says No To Returning U.S. Drone, But Hints At Deal
Asenior commander from Iran's elite Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) says his country will not return an American surveillance drone captured by Iranian armed forces but also indicated willingness to reach a deal. - 12/11/11

Layla Diba's "Turkmen Jewelry" Among New York Times Top Books
The Turkmen people of Central Asia and Iran are revered for their carpets and textiles. Less well known, but equally stunning, is the extraordinary silver jewelry created by Turkmen tribal craftsmen and urban silversmiths throughout the 19th and early 20th centuries. - 12/11/11

Iran Claims Massive New Caspian Gas Field
Iran's oil minister says the country has discovered a huge natural-gas field in the Caspian Sea. The ministry's news website, shana.ir, quotes Rostam Qassemi as saying the field is located within Iran's maritime borders at a depth of 700 meters and contains an estimated 50 trillion cubic feet of gas. - 12/11/11

Oil embargo against Iran would mostly affect Italy, Spain, Greece
Analyst Eugen Weinberg of Commerzbank said sanctions would most affect Italy, Spain, and Greece, the three Euro-zone nations that are in the grip of severe debt problems. - 12/11/11

TBM Machine Moving Slowly Beneath Tehran Streets
An automatic TBM machine has started digging the tunnel for the third line of Tehran subway and construction of the line, which has progressed 70 percent by now is expected to be finished by the end of next Iranian calendar year (March 2013). - 12/11/11

Iranian Activist Held Incommunicado
Iranian political prisoner Mohammad Tavasoli is being held incommunicado at Evin Prison, his family reports. - 12/11/11

Most Iranians say huge fraud is government's fault:Auditor General
Iran's Auditor General says 75 percent of the people hold the government responsible for the recent $3-billion bank fraud. - 12/11/11

Iranian theater scholar receives French Order of Chivalry
The French government bestowed the Chevalier of the Order of Academic Palms to Iranian theater scholar Professor Ahmad Kamyabi Mask, the Persian service of ISNA reported on Saturday. - 12/11/11

Ready to Serve: Meet Milad Pooran Candidate for U.S. Congress
Milad Pooran (D-MD), a physician who served his community and country as both a civilian doctor and as a member of the US Air Force Medical Corps, recently announced his bid for the 6th Congressional District of Maryland. If successful, he will become the first Iranian American to serve in the U.S. Congress. - 12/10/11

Iranian Rights Activists Criticize Tehran's Satellite Jamming
Two prominent Iranian human rights activists are calling on the European Union and United States to take action against European satellite companies who host Iranian state programming. - 12/10/11

Japan Widens Sanctions Against Iran
Japan's cabinet on Friday said it will freeze the assets of 106 organizations, one individual and three Iranian banks. More than 350 Iran-based entitites are now subject to Japanese sanctions. - 12/10/11

Iran Protests U.S. Drone Incursion, Calls On UN To Take Action
The Iranian ambassador to the United Nations has called on the UN to condemn U.S. aggressive moves against the Islamic Republic including the recent violation of Iranian airspace by a U.S. spy drone and adopt "clear and effective measures" to end such "dangerous and unlawful acts." - 12/10/11

Iran's Oldest Female Student: It Is Never Too Late To Learn
An Iranian woman of 65 has decided to continue her studies at university, saying you are never too old to learn. Alaviyeh Robabeh Mojtahed Najafi, now Iran's oldest student, is studying village management engineering at a center of Payame Noor University in the town of Rey, which is located just south of Tehran. - 12/10/11

IKCO ranked Iran's richest industrial company
Iranian top state-run carmaker Iran Khodro Co. (IKCO) was ranked as country's richest industrial company according to the latest statistics issued on financial statements of Iranian companies. - 12/10/11

'I Believe Iran Can Help Us,' Says Wife Of Captured FBI Agent
The family of American Robert Levinson, the former FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than four years ago, has publicly released a video, which they said they received a year ago. - 12/10/11

Russia denies military component in Iran's nuclear program
Russia says Iran's nuclear program has no military dimension, and the ongoing nuclear dispute should be tackled through dialogue only. - 12/10/11

Clinton to High-Tech Firms: Don't Aid Web Repression
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Thursday urged software companies and high-tech firms not to sell technology that would help repressive governments restrict Internet freedom. - 12/10/11

War on Iran has already begun. Act before it threatens all of us
They don't give up. After a decade of blood-drenched failure in Afghanistan and Iraq, violent destabilisation of Pakistan and Yemen, the devastation of Lebanon and slaughter in Libya, you might hope the US and its friends had had their fill of invasion and intervention in the Muslim world. -Seumas Milne, Guardian - 12/10/11

Is war with Iran inevitable?
Former UK foreign minister Malcolm Rifkind fears Iran wants to develop nuclear weapons. Not so, says campaigner Abbas Edalat, who thinks western hawks want war -Guardian - 12/10/11

PAAIA Releases 2011 National Survey of Iranian Americans
The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) today released the findings of its third national public opinion survey of Iranian Americans. The 2011 survey follows similar surveys commissioned by PAAIA in 2008 and 2009. The surveys are an integral component of better understanding the Iranian American community and having its voice heard through the availability of on-going accurate scientific data. - 12/9/11

Iran Shows Footage Of Captured U.S. Drone
Iranian television has broadcast a video of a U.S. drone that Tehran claims to have brought down on its territory, and it's probably safe to say that the images are the stuff of U.S. intelligence officials' nightmares. -Heather Maher, RFE - 12/9/11

Joint Letter Calls for Congress to Oppose Legal Restrictions on Iran Diplomacy
We urge you to oppose the provision restricting contact with Iranian officials in the Iran sanctions bill H.R. 1905 and to work with your colleagues to remove it from the bill when it comes to the House floor. - 12/9/11

Reza Milani Photography Exhibition at Seyhoun Art Gallery in Tehran
You are reborn as many as everybody on earth. your happiness, your sorrow, your plays and your roles, your sight is often joyful and sometimes gloomy... - 12/9/11

Heads of medical schools urge Iran to release imprisoned Baha'i educators
Almost 50 leaders of medical education in the United States have joined the worldwide protest against the Iranian government's persecution of Baha'i students and educators. - 12/9/11

Iranian workers losing purchasing power
The purchasing power of Iranian workers has declined by 50 percent, says a former member of the Council of Money and Credit. - 12/9/11

A Conference for Security and Cooperation in the Middle East: An Obligation Imposed by the "Arab Spring" and the Israel-Iran Conflict
With the war drums on Iran sounding again and the Arab Revolts following an arduous path, the question of a sustainable perspective for a conflict-ridden region remains to be dealt with. After all, the lack of both security and cooperation is an enduring malady plaguing the region. -Ali Fathollah-Nejad - 12/9/11

Clinton Warns Against 'Disastrous' Curbs On Internet Freedom
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has warned governments against efforts to restrict the Internet within their national borders, saying such measures would be "disastrous" for human freedoms and the Internet as a whole. - 12/9/11

Missing Ex-FBI Agent In Hostage Video
The mystery surrounding a retired U.S. FBI agent who disappeared in Iran more than 4 1/2 years ago has deepened with the release of a video showing him held hostage by an unknown group. - 12/9/11

Russia rejects sanctions on Iran's energy sector
Russia announced that it will not join any efforts to sanction Iran's oil and gas sector. Ria Novosti reports that Sergei Shmatko, the Russian Minister of Energy, said: "Russia will not join any embargo on the Iranian energy sector." - 12/9/11

Iran Releases Footage of downed US Drone
Iran has released video footage of the most advanced US reconnaissance drone which was downed by the Iranian Army in the eastern part of the Islamic Republic earlier this week. - 12/8/11

Iran marks National Student Day
Non-governmental student organizations, such as the Council for the Defence of Education Rights, issued a statement that many students are unable to celebrate this day because they are behind bars. - 12/8/11

Stop the War Campaign Against Iran!
A diplomatic, economic and military noose is being steadily but firmly tightened around the Islamic Republic of Iran which paves the way for a full scale Western military assault against the country headed by the US and UK and prodded by Israel. -CASMII - 12/8/11

US Condemns Iran's Blockage of 'Virtual Embassy Tehran'
In a statement Wednesday, the White House said that "through this action, the Iranian government has once again demonstrated its commitment to build an electronic curtain of surveillance and censorship around its people." - 12/8/11

CPJ Says Mideast Bad, Iran 'Worst' Journalist Jailer
The Committee To Protect Journalists (CPJ) says the number of journalists jailed around the world has increased to its highest level since the mid-1990s and Iran is "the world's worst jailer." - 12/8/11

Iranian Activist arrested on National Student Day
Iranian authorities arrested another student activist yesterday, as the country marked National Student Day. The Human Rights Reporters Committee reports that security forces in Lahijan raided Mohammad Karimi's home yesterday and arrested him. - 12/8/11

China, Russia want to inspect U.S. drone downed in Iran
An informed source in the Iranian military has said that Russian and Chinese officials have asked for permission to inspect the U.S. spy drone that was recently downed by the Iranian Armed Forces, Nasimonline.ir reported on Wednesday. - 12/8/11

Russia, China reject Iran oil embargo
China and Russia, as two veto-wielding Security Council members who sit on the 5+1 group negotiating with Iran over its nuclear program, have opposed oil embargo against Iran. - 12/8/11

Iran-EU Trade Ties Stand at 19 Billion Euros Despite Sanctions
According to a report by the Eurostat website, despite the western sanctions and the extra embargos imposed by the EU against Iran, the country ranks 7th in exporting crude oil to Europe. - 12/8/11

International Broadcasters Call For Action Over Jamming By Iran And Other Countries
In particular, they noted an increase in deliberate interference - known as "jamming" - of international satellite programming in Persian. Satellite operators indicate interference originates from Iran. - 12/8/11

Darvish planning move to majors
Yu Darvish, the son of an Iranian father and a Japanese mother, considered the best pitcher in the Japanese professional leagues, ended months of speculation Thursday by saying he intends to make a move to Major League Baseball. -Sports Illustrated - 12/8/11

US Withdrawal From Iraq Nears Completion
The United States' eight-year military operation of Iraq is coming to an end. Military commanders in Iraq say the withdrawal of troops and equipment from the country is nearly complete. - 12/8/11

NATO, Russia at Odds Over Missile Shield
Russian Chief of Staff General Nikolai Makarov told a group of foreign military attaches Wednesday that the NATO defense shield poses a risk to his country's strategic nuclear defenses. He said that will inevitably lead to a new arms race. - 12/8/11

The West Wants to Hit Tehran with an Oil Embargo
Following the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran, the desire to move decisively against Iran is growing across Europe. Support for sanctions has increased -- and next time they may strike where it really hurts: oil sales, which is responsible for nearly half of government revenues. -Spiegel, Germany - 12/8/11

U.S. Launches 'Virtual' Embassy For Iran
The United States has launched what it's billing as a "virtual Iranian embassy" in an effort to engage with that country more than three decades after the U.S. Embassy in Tehran was closed and diplomatic relations were cut with Iran. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 12/7/11

Iran's Downing of U.S. Stealth Drone Rattles Washington
U.S. military officials have expressed concern over news reports that Iran recently downed a U.S. spy drone that had violated the country's airspace. -MNA, Tehran - 12/7/11

Photos: Ashura Mourning Rituals in Taft, Yazd
Ashura mourning rituals were held Tuesday in the town of Taft in the central province of Yazd in Iran. In the recent decades, Ashura has been turning into a carnival like event where people in different regions of Iran enact various events as they see them happened in Karbala. -Ali Golshan - 12/7/11

Iran Blocks U.S. 'Virtual Embassy'
Iranian Internet users say the country's authorities have blocked a web-based U.S. "embassy" to Iran, less than a day after it went online. - 12/7/11

Iranian Opposition Leader Mehdi Karrubi, Under House Arrest, Meets With His Family
Iranian opposition leader Mehdi Karrubi, who has been under house arrest for some 10 months, met with his family over the weekend. The December 3 meeting, which lasted 30 minutes, took place in a house the family recently purchased, according to Karrubi's son. - 12/7/11

Photos: Ashura Mourning Rituals in Khusf, Birjand
Ashura mourning rituals were held Tuesday in the town of Khusf south of the provinical town of Birjand in South Khorasan province, eastern Iran. Every year millions of people across Iran mark Ashura, the day Imam Hossein (the grandson of Prophet Mohammed) was martyred in 680 AD in the battle of Karbala. -Amir Hossein Haydari - 12/7/11

UN Urges Iraq to delay closing of Camp Ashraf
The United Nations' top envoy for Iraq has urged the government in Baghdad not to close Camp Ashraf - housing more than 3,000 Iranian dissidents -- by the end of this year. - 12/7/11

Iranian cinematographer Mahmud Kalari wins Silver Frog at Polish festival
Iranian cameraman Mahmud Kalari has won a Silver Frog from the Plus Camerimage, a Polish international festival of cinematography art. - 12/7/11

Iranian Oil Minister: Politics-free economy secures global energy supply
Any approach toward dealing with global challenges to secure energy supply is in need of economies which are independent from political systems, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi said. - 12/7/11

Australia adopts new measures against Iran
Australia has announced new sanctions against Iran in coordination with European Union and U.S. efforts AFP reports that on Tuesday, Foreign Minister Kevin Rudd said the sanctions include individuals and bodies linked to Iran's nuclear program. - 12/7/11

Iran Promises Better Protection for Embassies
"This will not recur," the foreign minister Ali Akbar Salehi, said in an interview with a leading German newspaper. He called the pillaging of Britain's embassy and a residential compound on Nov. 30 "unlawful actions." -NY Times - 12/7/11

US Launches Virtual Embassy for Iran
The Obama administration launched a virtual embassy for Iran on Tuesday to facilitate reaching out to the Iranian people. The online embassy went live today offering information in English and Persian. - 12/6/11

Iran's Supreme Leader Says Reformists Must Admit They Were Wrong
Iran's Supreme Leader says reformists can participate in the coming election if they "admit to being in error" in the last presidential election, the head of Iran's Assembly of Experts has reported. - 12/6/11

Call for Solidarity with Iranian Women's Movement: Coming Together with The Butterflies for Peace
The following statement has been endorsed by over 160 prominent Iranian women's rights advocates, activists and scholars living abroad. This was meant to show solidarity with women's rights activists inside Iran and echo their voices internationally. - 12/6/11

Photos: Ashura Mourning Rituals in Khomeini Shahr, Isfahan
Ashura mourning rituals were held Tuesday in Khomeini Shahr, Isfahan in central Iran. Every year millions of people across Iran mark Ashura, the day Imam Hossein (the grandson of Prophet Mohammed) was martyred in 680 AD in the battle of Karbala. -Abolfazl Salmanzadeh - 12/6/11

Photos: Persian Koloocheh Bread For Imam Hussein
As part of the Muharram mourning rituals, the people of Ahangar neighborhood in Gorgan, northern Iran, bake traditional Persian Koloocheh bread and distribute it among the people. -Aboutaleb Nadri - 12/6/11

Iran Finishes 9th at Volleyball World Cup
The FIVB Volleyball Men's World Cup 2011 ended but Iran's journey into becoming one of the top teams in the world just started after they won world admiration for their stunning performance during the tournament. - 12/6/11

Iran Teen Hossein Vafaei Crowned World Snooker Champ
Iranian snooker player Hossein Vafaei defeated Wales star Lee Walker in the final of the IBSF World Snooker Championship. Iranian snooker player played a shot during the IBSF World Snooker Championship in Bangalore on December 3. - 12/6/11

Question Authority
The concept of human rights is first and foremost about self-worth and equality. Its protection is a responsibility imposed upon the State, which must protect human rights through the rule of law. And that groundwork allows each of us to live in dignity and to preserve our human rights and integrity. -12Petals Media Group - 12/6/11

Iranian journalist arrested at his home
Iranian journalist Farshad Ghorbanpour was arrested after a raid on his home in Tehran, the Human Rights House of Iran reports. - 12/6/11

Tehran Medical Reactor To Be Loaded With Domestically Produced Fuel Plates Soon
Informed sources in Tehran say that the national project to produce plate type nuclear fuel will be completed in the near future and the Tehran reactor will be loaded with domestically produced nuclear fuel plates. - 12/6/11

Iranian Foreign Minister expresses regret over embassy attack
The Iranian Foreign Minister told his Swedish counterpart on Monday that the Iranian administration does not support incidents like the recent attack on the British embassy in Tehran. - 12/6/11

Two Basijis killed near Iran's eastern border
Two members of the Islamic Republic's Basij militia have been killed in the southern province of Sistan-Baluchistan, Iranian media report. - 12/6/11

Afghan Allies Pledge Long-Term Support
World leaders have pledged long-term support to war-torn Afghanistan as international combat troops prepare to leave the country by 2014. Meanwhile, Afghanistan's western neighbor Iran, represented by Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi, said it strongly condemned any foreign military bases in the country after 2014. - 12/6/11

THE MYSTERIES OF THE LABYRINTHS OF NIASSAR
The village of Niassar, located west of the city of Kashan on the edge of the Karkas Range, has quite a history. Sitting at the base of a promontory or a natural citadel, the village has been known for its annual wild roses harvest, which has been attracting tourists in greater numbers each spring to enjoy the scenery and the aroma, as well as to purchase rosewater and the highly prized rose essence. -Kam Zarrabi - 12/5/11

Higher than Gems, Art Emerged
It is the opening of Bahram Dabiri's painting exhibition and ... The same old struggle... why don't I go? At least his paintings are not like News... Yet, it would be like the same old story, Of a man and a woman; A time for war and a time for peace... Painted in growingly unique colours... -Roya Monajem, Tehran - 12/5/11

Celebrating an Ancient Persian Heritage of Tolerance
Iranian Americans and others from Iran's diaspora around the world have been celebrating the man many consider their nation's greatest ruler - even though he died 2,600 years ago. - 12/5/11

Confessions of Attackers on the British Embassy in Tehran: We Were Used
With the passage of five days since the attack on the British embassy compounds in Tehran, which has so far met with silence from the leader and the president of the Islamic Republic, a senior cleric condemned the attack, amid the strong condemnations that have been made by the British and other governments. Newspapers in Iran too are now commenting on the event as have some of the attackers on the embassy. -Arash Bahmani, Rooz - 12/5/11

Legal Regime of the Artificial Islands in the Caspian Sea
The idea of creating artificial islands has already reached the Caspian Sea. The idea has been previously put to action extensively in many parts of the world, including and especially the Persian Gulf. -Bahman Aghai Diba - 12/5/11

Launch of Free Sotoudeh Project
Today, the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran launched a project to help build support for the release of imprisoned human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh and highlight the tragic situation of Iranian prisoners of conscience. The launch coincides with the occasion of Human Rights Day, which is celebrated worldwide on 10 December. - 12/5/11

"For Immediate Release: A Tribute To Jafar Panahi and Mohammad Rasoulof" in New York
Exit Art's Digimovies is pleased to announce a pair of screenings to mark the one-year anniversary of the Iranian government's imprisoning and silencing of two of its most politically outspoken and internationally revered filmmakers. - 12/5/11

Iran: Prominent political activists urge jailed labour activist to end hunger strike
Shahabi was arrested 15 months ago and so far remains in an undetermined judicial state. In his last phone call to his family, he informed them that he is fed up with the situation and was going on a hunger strike to force the authorities to take notice of his case. - 12/5/11

US Official Disputes Reports Iran Shot Down US Drone
In a statement Sunday, the U.S.-led coalition in Afghanistan said the Iranians may be referring to "an American drone that had been flying a mission over western Afghanistan last week and is now missing." The statement said "the operators of the drone lost control of the aircraft and had been working to determine its status." - 12/5/11

British Iranians fear fallout from diplomatic row
Iranians living in Britain fear the latest diplomatic storm between London and Tehran will strain links with family back home and threaten deep-rooted business and cultural relations between the two countries. -Reuters - 12/5/11

Iran FM in Germany for Afghanistan International talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi is Germany for Bonn Conference, aiming at charting a course for Afghanistan's future. - 12/5/11

Honoring Ashura in Iran
This Monday marks the Muslim holy day of Ashura, a day that is perhaps nowhere more ardently commemorated than in Iran. The only way to fully understand what this day means to so many Iranians is to delve into a history that has repeated itself there for years on end. -Melody Moezzi, Washington Post - 12/5/11

Iran's Largest Student Group To Broaden Focus Due To Dominant Political-Security Atmosphere
Iran's largest student organization, Daftar-e Tahkim-e Vahdat, announced that the student movement should broaden its focus from political issues and pay more attention to labour and academic issues in order to "explore apolitical activism in universities." - 12/4/11

Iranian reformists will not run in coming elections
Senior Iranian reformist figure Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha has declared that the establishment has missed the opportunity to get reformists join in the coming parliamentary elections. - 12/4/11

Pillars to paradise: The concept of pilgrimage in Iran
Naser Norouzzadeh Chegini is a renowned and prolific Iranian scholar and professor retired of archeology. He has previously worked as the curator of the Historic Section in the National Museum of Iran and as the director of Archeology Research Center at Iran's Cultural Heritage Organization. In an interview with Maryam Ala Amjadi he discusses the social and cultural aspects of pilgrimage in Iran. - 12/4/11

Parviz Tanavoli to showcase his Persian carpets in Dubai
The Iranian Etemad Gallery in Dubai will be hanging a collection of Persian carpets created by veteran Iranian sculptor Parviz Tanavoli from December 9-14. - 12/4/11

THE IRAN JOB: Journey of An American Professional Basketball Player to Iran
THE IRAN JOB follows American basketball player Kevin Sheppard as he accepts a job to play in one of the world's most feared countries: Iran. With tensions running high between Iran and the West, Kevin tries to separate sports from politics, only to find that politics is impossible to escape in Iran. - 12/4/11

Iran Says it Shot Down US Spy Drone
Iranian media report that Iran's armed forces have shot down an unmanned U.S. spy plane after it allegedly violated Iranian air space. The reports quote military officials who say the spy drone was not badly damaged and is in the Iranian military's possession. - 12/4/11

Iran to Send Living Creatures into Space
Iranian scientists plan to send a second biocapsule of living creatures, probably mice, into the space, an academic revealed on Sunday without giving any specific date for the launch. - 12/4/11

Iranians in Britain to receive consular services outside UK
The Iranian Foreign Ministry has announced that, with the closure of Iran's embassy in Britain, Iranians in Britain will soon be offered consular services in a neighbouring country. - 12/4/11

Oil price will rise above $250 if Iran's oil export is banned: Iran
The Iranian Foreign Ministry is of the opinion that if sanctions were imposed on Iran's oil exports, the global price of crude would increase above $250 a barrel. - 12/4/11

Top Cleric Says British Embassy Attack In Tehran Was 'Illegal'
A top Iranian cleric has sharply criticized the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran by hundreds of pro-regime protesters, calling the attack "illegal." - 12/4/11

Senate Passes Sanctions Despite White House Objections
Despite strong opposition from Obama Administration officials, the Senate unanimously passed legislation to force the President to impose sanctions on countries and companies that do business with Iran's central bank or purchase Iranian oil. The provision was adopted as an amendment to Congress' annual defense policy bill and must be approved by the House of Representatives before going to the President. - 12/3/11

Houston and New York Join Other PAAIA Chapters in Giving Thanks - Persian Style!
During the week of Thanksgiving, PAAIA chapters nationwide celebrated the second annual PAAIA Persian Thanks. Chapter volunteers, local merchants, and businesses came together to collect food items, donations, and make a variety of Iranian and American foods to share with shelters, food banks, and shelters. - 12/3/11

Upcoming Security Challenges in Iran: Why the Concern Over the March Elections?
With only about three months left for the first elections since the bloody and controversial 2009 presidential voting, security and law enforcement officials have expressed concern over serious security challenges that the March Majlis elections may bring. They have said that "The enemies of the Islamic Republic plan to create pandemonium to harm our revolution." -Bahram Rafiei, Rooz - 12/3/11

NIAC Statement on Iran Sanctions Vote in Senate
NIAC Policy Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement regarding the Senate's passage today of an amendment to the National Defense Authorization Act that would impose U.S. sanctions on foreign countries and institutions that conduct transactions with the Central Bank of Iran: - 12/3/11

Iran Tries To Contain Diplomatic Rift With U.K., Europe
Iran says its crisis with London over the storming of the British Embassy in Tehran should not be an issue for other European countries. - 12/3/11

Iran: Several trade unionists sentenced to long prison terms while one unionist is released on leave
The Observatory for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders, a joint programme of the World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT) and the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), expresses its deepest concern about the ongoing arbitrary detention of several trade unionists and human rights defenders in Iran - 12/3/11

Is 'Death To England' A New Signature Chant In Iran?
Speaking as diplomats were clearing out of Iran's London embassy, senior Iranian hard-line cleric Ahmad Khatami has said the country's signature "Death to America" chant should be followed by "Death to England." Khatami told worshipers at Friday Prayers in Tehran that Britain deserves such scorn for its "treacherousness." -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 12/3/11

Iran Diplomats Leave Britain After Embassy Attack Row
Iranian diplomats and embassy staff have arrived in Tehran from London after Britain ordered the closure of their embassy in the wake of an attack this week by demonstrators on the British Embassy in Tehran. - 12/3/11

Panetta to Israel: 'Get to the Damn Table' for Peace Talks
During a forum in Washington late Friday, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Israel needs to start by getting back "to the damn table" and negotiating peace with the Palestinians. He also called on Israel to mend its fraying relationships with traditional partners like Turkey, Egypt and Jordan. - 12/3/11

Biden Urges Turkey to Toughen Sanctions on Iran
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden is pressing Turkey to impose new sanctions on Iran, while praising the Turkish government for pressuring Syria to stop a brutal crackdown on protesters. - 12/3/11

Photos: The Blind Kilim Weaver of Meybod
Gholamreza Sabbaghi is a 68-year-old blind man who lives in Meybod, central Iran. Sabbaghi, who lost his sight when he was 5 years old, has been weaving kilims for 56 years now, without any support from official sources -Massoud Saki - 12/2/11

EU Ramps Up Sanctions Against Iran
European Union foreign ministers have beefed up sanctions against Iran in the aftermath of this week's storming of the British Embassy in Tehran. The ministers imposed asset freezes and travel bans on180 individuals and entities... -Rikard Jozwiak, RFE - 12/2/11

US Senate Advances New Sanctions on Iran
The U.S. Senate has unanimously approved new sanctions on Iran, with the intent of isolating and crippling the country's central bank. The vote was 100 to nothing. - 12/2/11

Israel backs down from sabre-rattling on Iran
Israeli Defence Minister Ehud Barack has announced that his country is no longer considering military action against Iran. AFP reports that Barack told Austrian Radio that at the moment there is no urgent need for military action against Iran. - 12/2/11

Russia leaves diplomats in Iran
Russian Foreign Ministry has announced that it has no intention of withdrawing its diplomats from Iran. The Ria Novosti News Agency cites a spokesman for the Russian Foreign Minister who said yesterday that there have been no attacks against Russian representatives in Iran. - 12/2/11

Iranian Hard-Liner Raps In Support Of Occupy Wall Street
A member of Iran's pro-government Basij force has composed and produced a rap in support of the Occupy Wall Street movement. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 12/2/11

Norway reopens its embassy in Tehran
Meanwhile, Iran's Foreign Ministry stressed the that it respects international law and the immunity of diplomatic sites and missions, while emphasizing the Iranian government's commitment to protecting international diplomatic missions to the Islamic Republic of Iran. - 12/2/11

Iranian artist shows window into her world
Born in Khoramshar and educated in Tehran, Iran, Kheiriyeh came of age in a country viewed by the rest of the world as a hotbed of political conflict under the rigid religious rule of Muslim clerics. -Missoulian - 12/2/11

Why the UK Embassy in Iran Was Attacked: The Domestic Angle
The disgraceful attack by hardline Basijis -- the same group that beat and killed peaceful demonstrators in Iran in 2009 -- against the British embassy in Tehran appears on the surface to be a response to Britain's role in imposing crippling sanctions on Iran. -Trita Parsi, Huffington Post - 12/2/11

Iran to Sell Gas Futures To Raise Funds
Iranian oil and gas officials announced that the country plans to offer investors gas futures contracts to raise billions of dollars needed to fund various energy projects. - 12/2/11

Japan Turns Down France's Demand for Boycott of Iranian Oil
Japan showed its rejection of a French demand for a boycott of Iranian oil imports in action after it supplied 7.7% of its oil needs from Iran in October. - 12/2/11

US, EU Tighten Syria Sanctions as Death Toll Mounts
The United States and the European Union tightened sanctions on Syria Thursday as the United Nations said the death toll in the Damascus government's crackdown on protestors now exceeds 4,000. A top State Department official said Syrian President Bashar al-Assad's departure is inevitable. -David Gollust, VOA - 12/2/11

Iranian women fight controversial 'polygamy' bill
On a summer night in 2008, the wives of some Iranian members of Parliament started receiving phone calls. "Would you mind if I married your husband - just for a week?" asked the female voice on the end of the line. - 12/1/11

Storming Of U.K.'s Embassy Summons Memories Of '79, But There Are Differences
The incident this week in Tehran has inevitably been compared to the events of 32 years ago. But there are differences. The 1979 hostage crisis began spontaneously. What happened on November 29, 2011, seems to have been a calculated move by hard-liners in the regime. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE - 12/1/11

Satellite Images Show Devastation at Iran Missile Base After Blast
ISIS has acquired commercial satellite imagery of a military compound near the town of Bid Kaneh in Iran where a large explosion occurred on November 12, 2011. Compared to an earlier picture of the site, an image taken on November 22, 2011 shows that most of the buildings on the compound appear extensively damaged - 12/1/11

UN: HIV Infections Growing In Russia, Ukraine
The report has praise for Iran, saying HIV prevalence has "declined steadily" in the country since peaking in 2005 -- in part due to efforts by authorities to address health problems among injecting drug users. - 12/1/11

Diplomats visit British compound in Tehran
Iranian media report that 25 foreign representatives and ambassadors visited the Gholhak Orchards yesterday north of Tehran, where British diplomats resided. - 12/1/11

Concern grows for Iranian journalist in solitary confinement
Jailed journalist Amirali Allamehzadeh is being subjected to grave pressure in prison, his sister has told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. - 12/1/11

Iranian Police Commander Says People Who Entered UK Embassy Arrested
Acting Police Commander Ahmad-Reza Radan said those who entered the UK embassy were arrested. He said the details of the incident are currently under investigation. Radan added that the events which took place in the UK embassy in Tehran injured the public feelings. - 12/1/11

UN expert starts probing rights violations in Iran through diaspora in Europe
The United Nations Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran, Ahmed Shaheed, will launch a fact-finding mission to three European countries which host Iranian diaspora. Mr. Shaheed will visit France, Germany and Belgium from 30 November - 8 December 2011 to gather information about alleged human rights violations in Iran. - 12/1/11

Imprisoned Iranian trade unionist Ebrahim Madadi freed
Ebrahim Madadi, a board member of the Tehran bus drivers' union, the Vahed Syndicate. Ebrahim had been unjustly held on false charges of endangering national security since being arrested and then rearrested in 2007 and 2008. - 12/1/11

Human Rights Watch Calls for Iraq and Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization to Cooperate With UN
Both the leadership of the exiled Iranian opposition group Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization and the Iraqi government should fully cooperate with the UN refugee agency, Human Rights Watch said today. - 12/1/11

The west has Iran in its sights
The hasty decision by the British government to expel all Iranian diplomats from the UK is another step to tighten the diplomatic, economic and military noose around the Islamic republic - a tactic that has defined the western attitude to Iran for at least the past six years. -Abbas Edalat - 12/1/11

'Blame It On The Brits' A Familiar Refrain In Iran
The central character in Iran's best known and most popular satirical novel, "Uncle Napoleon," sees plots by the British behind everything that has happened in his country. "Blame it on the Brits!" is a key line in the 1971 book, which was turned into a superb TV series that was watched over and over by millions of Iranians, who learned most of its lines by heart. - 12/1/11

Swiss police confirm attack on Iran Embassy
Swiss police confirmed on Thursday that Iranian Embassy in Bern has been attacked and said that police is currently investigating the matter. - 12/1/11
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