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United States Seeks To Engage the Iranian People
After 25 years of holding each other at arm¡¯s length, the United States is seeking to engage the people of Iran in direct exchanges with the hope of building stronger ties and greater understanding between Iranians and Americans, says Under Secretary of State R. Nicholas Burns. -USINFO - 3/31/07

Iran: Crisis Escalates Over Seizure Of British Sailors
The standoff continues between Britain and Iran over Tehran's detention of 15 British sailors in the Persian Gulf. The EU has demanded that Iran immediately and unconditionally release the sailors and marines, who were detained more than a week ago, and warned of undefined "appropriate measures." - 3/31/07

Fate of Five Detained Iranians Unknown
As the Western media turns its attention to the fate of 15 Britons detained for allegedly trespassing into Iranian waters over the weekend, the status of five Iranian officials captured in a U.S. military raid on a liaison office in northern Iraq on Jan. 11 remains a mystery. -IPS - 3/31/07

British Museum to Exhibit Richness of Culture of Safavid Persia
An exhibition of artifacts belonging to Safavid dynasty (1502-1736 AD) giving testimony to the richness of culture and power of Safavid Persia is to be launched in a near future at the British Museum. -CHN - 3/31/07

Blair no credibility in citing international law, says UK daily Independent
A leading British daily Saturday suggested that one of the reasons the UK government failed to win the support of the UN Security Council in its diplomatic dispute over Iran's arrest of UK sailors was because Prime Minister Tony Blair has no credibility. -IRNA - 3/31/07

Call that humiliation?
No hoods. No electric shocks. No beatings. These Iranians clearly are a very uncivilised bunch -Guardian - 3/31/07

UNESCO and Heritage Experts to Hold a Meeting on Sivand Dam
A joint meeting will be held on Sivand Dam with presence of UNESCO representatives, NGOs, and authorities of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization. -CHN - 3/31/07

Duel for Leverage Fuels Conflict, Not Diplomacy
As the dispute over Iran's seizure of British sailors continues to twist and turn, what may have been an isolated incident at the outset is quickly developing into yet another move in the geopolitical chess game between the West and Iran. -Trita Parsi, IPS - 3/31/07

Book: Iran on the Brink - Rising Workers and the Threats of War
While the world keeps its eyes riveted on Iran's nuclear programme, the Islamic Republic has gone through a crisis of its own. This is the first book to explore the changes taking in place in Iran from the ground up. -Pluto Books - 3/31/07

Iran loses High Court battle to recover 'stolen' antiquities
Iran has lost a High Court battle to recover a collection of 5,000-year-old grave relics it says were looted from desert sites. In a ruling that could have implications for attempts by other countries to secure the return of antiquities, Mr Justice Gray said that, under the provisions of Iranian law, it could not show that it had obtained valid title to the artefacts. -Independent, UK - 3/31/07

Easter Surprise: Attack on Iran, New 9/11¡­ or Worse
Russian media is sounding alarms. In February, ultra-nationalist leader Vladimir Shirinovsky warned that the US would launch a strike against Tehran at the end of this month. Then last week, the Russian News and Information Agency Novosti (RIA-Novosti) quoted military experts predicting the US will attack Iran on April 6th, Good Friday. -Common Dreams - 3/31/07

White House Criticizes US House Speaker's Plan to Visit Syria
The Bush administration Friday criticized plans by House Speaker Nancy Pelosi to visit Syria. Pelosi and a delegation of other House Democrats are expected to go to Damascus early next week as part of a broader Middle East trip. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department. - 3/31/07

Football board fails to sanction Muslim hijab
The International Football Association Board (IFAB) has come under criticism from British Muslim organizations for "remaining ambiguous on the question of the hijab." -IRNA - 3/31/07

Legal issues over captured crew
In international law, there seem to be two key issues arising from the capture of the 15 Royal Navy personnel by Iran. -BBC - 3/31/07

Iran sends mixed signals in detainee crisis
Infighting arises over the release of Faye Turney, the lone female among the British captives. -Times - 3/31/07

Defense Expert Issues Warning on China's Anti-Satellite Efforts
A U.S. defense expert is urging Washington to take seriously the possibility that China could develop space weapons to use against the United States. He made his comments to a congressional advisory panel Friday, as VOA's Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill. - 3/31/07

Iranian-American Leila Vaziri smashes world swimming record in FINA World Championships
Iranian-American Leila Vaziri has followed up her championship record in the heats of the 50m backstroke with a world record in the semi finals at the 12th FINA World Championships in Melbourne. - 3/30/07

Rumi, A Great Film Critic's Choice
Legendary Film Critic Jean-Claude Carri¨¨re and Wife Nahal Tajadod Chants Djalal-e-Din Mohammad Molavi Rumi -Darius KADIVAR - 3/30/07

The "One Million Signature Campaign: "Face- to- face, Street- to- street"
In this article, I would like to briefly review the activities surrounding the One Million Signature Campaign, a number of reasons why it was chosen as the current strategy, and the way it relates to the ongoing women's movement in Iran. -Noushin Ahmadi Khorasani - 3/30/07

Report Of The Third Annual Persian New Year Festival in Houston
The Third Annual Persian New Year Festival in Houston was held on Sunday March 25, 2007 at Jones Plaza in Downtown Houston. - 3/30/07

Captive British Marine Confesses To Violating Iranian Territory
A British serviceman has appeared on Iranian television apologizing for having entered Iranian waters without permission with his crew last week. The clip, broadcast on Arabic-language television, also showed another serviceman and the only woman among the 15 British Navy personnel being held by Tehran. -RFE - 3/30/07

Parade Brings Persian New Year Celebration to New York
A vibrant and spirited crowd celebrated Nowrouz, the Persian New Year, at the fourth annual Persian Parade in New York City as men and women in colorful clothing danced to traditional music and cheerfully promenaded down Madison Avenue. -USINFO - 3/30/07

13-Bedar Events in Southern California: April 1, 2007
Orange County: Annual Sizdeh-Bedar gathering in Irvine at William R. Mason Regional Park. Los Angeles: - 3/30/07

US-Iran "Game of Chicken": Iran Stays Firm despite UN Sanctions
The Game of Chicken, is a model of conflict between two players in game theory, It has both geopolitical and military applications. In the Game of Chicken, "the outcome where neither player yields is the worst possible one for both players." -Akbar E. Torbat - 3/30/07

Mottaki: UK should apologize to Iran
Saudi based daily Al-Riyadh on Friday quoted Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki as saying that the British government as the first step to resolve the issue of its arrested sailors should officially apologize to Iran. -IRNA - 3/30/07

U.S. Senator Gordon Smith Joins IAPAC's Annual Washington, D.C. Reception
The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its annual Washington, D.C. reception on March 8, 2007. The reception, which was held at the home of IAPAC Trustee Mr. Robert Babayi, brought together Iranian Americans from the DC area to discuss IAPAC's role in enhancing Iranian American participation in the U.S. political process. - 3/30/07

Kaveh Golestan - Four years have gone by
On 2nd April 2003 we lost a distinguished and a highly accomplished Iranian photojournalist, Kaveh Golestan, at Kifri in Iraq. He was a freelance journalist who at the time of his death was working as a cameraman for the BBC when he stepped on a landmine as he was getting out of the BBC jeep. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/30/07

Boundary Dispute Seen as Root of Iranian Seizure of British Sailors
Britain continues to insist that it was within Iraqi territorial waters when Iranian Revolutionary Guards seized two small patrol craft and 15 sailors and marines. Iran maintains the boats were in Iranian waters. As VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports, the waters in question have long been a point of dispute between Iran and Iraq. - 3/30/07

US 'Surprised' by Saudi Comments on American Role in Iraq
The Bush administration Thursday expressed surprise, and said it was seeking clarification, over remarks by Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah at the Arab League summit that the United States role in Iraq was an "illegal foreign occupation." -VOA - 3/30/07

General Wesley Clark: Bush Administration's current policy with Iran is not working
Last Friday, Iranian military forces seized 15 British sailors and marines in the Persian Gulf. Some believe this is an act of aggression by Iran and should be met with a commensurate military response. I do not. -StopIranWar.com - 3/30/07

US hawks see strikes on Iran as less likely now
Influential thinkers who backed a US-led invasion of Iraq now say containment, not confrontation, is best for Iran. -CSM - 3/30/07

NIAC Publishes Transcripts of February Capitol Hill Conference on Iran
Transcripts of National Iranian American Council and the New America Foundation¡¯s conference on US-Iran relations on February 14, 2007 on Capitol Hill are now available online. - 3/30/07

Iran Demands Britain Admit Sailors Strayed into Iranian Waters
Iran's foreign minister says Britain must admit that its 15 sailors mistakenly entered Iranian waters in order to resolve the standoff over their capture. -VOA - 3/29/07

Is New York Times biased against Iranian/Persian community?
Letters to the Editor, The New York Times: We the undersigned write this letter to express our unhappiness with the failure of your esteemed newspaper to cover the 4th Annual Iranian/Persian Parade which took place in Manhattan on Sunday, March 25th. - 3/29/07

Iranian/Persian Bay Area Community to Celebrate Norouz at Vasona Park
Iranian-Americans, as well as their friends and families and the entire surrounding communities will participate in a collaborative effort between Bay Area Iranian-American organizations, vendors and artists in the 4th Annual Norouz Spring Festival. Last year, this event gathered 15,000 attendants, making it the largest gathering of Iranian-Americans in the Bay area to date! - 3/29/07

Investigation into US coercion of IAEA members during votes on Iran puts State Department under pressure
The investigation into allegations that India's votes at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) in 2005 and 2006 were coerced by America has been intensified with pressure building on the man at the centre of the scandal to break his silence. -Campaign Iran - 3/29/07

Iran's Atomic Energy Organization assigned to drop subsidiary undertakings to NPT
The cabinet assigned Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO) to enforce a decision according to which the subsidiary undertakings to Non-Proliferation Treaty will no longer be valid. -IRNA - 3/29/07

US Senators Introduce Legislation to Close Loophole in Sanctions Law
Two U.S. Senate Democrats have introduced legislation that would close a loophole in U.S. sanctions law. The measure would deny federal contracts to U.S. companies that do business - through foreign subsidiaries - with countries that the United States has designated state sponsors of terrorism. -VOA - 3/29/07

Norouz celebration in Pierrefonds
A community organization devoted to helping Iranian-Canadians integrate into Canadian society and hang on to their Iranian culture celebrated the Iranian New Year and the coming of spring Saturday night at the Marcel Morin Community Centre in Pierrefonds. -West Island Chronicle - 3/29/07

Iran: Connecting the Medical World and Norouz Inspires Reflection
Iranian bloggers provide information, share their opinions, and discuss various issues with their photography, illustrations, and text. But that¡¯s not all. Occasionally, they launch plans to make the world a better place. Paris Marashi, an Iranian-American video-blogger has revealed a project that aims to bring Iranian medical professionals in contact with their colleagues around the world. - - 3/29/07

US Calls for British Sailors' Release
The United States is calling on Iran to immediately release the 15 sailors and marines seized in the waters of the Persian Gulf Friday. But, as VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports, the United States is trying to stay out of the diplomatic spotlight on the issue. - 3/29/07

Germans view US ally as greatest threat to world peace: survey
Germans regard their political ally America as the greatest threat to global peace, the weekly Stern news magazine cited Wednesday an opinion poll released by the Berlin-based Forsa Institute. -IRNA - 3/29/07

Iran expects UNESCO to condemn measures distorting its history
Iran's representative to the Paris-based UNESCO, Mohammad-Reza Dehshiri, in a meeting with UNESCO deputy director general Marcio Barbosa on Wednesday briefed him on some points about anti-Iran movie '300' contradicting the Convention for the Safeguarding of Cultural Heritage. -IRNA - 3/29/07

The Islamic reformation
Though many critics demand that Islam "modernise", Iranian-American scholar Reza Aslan argues that the Islamic reformation is already well under way. -madrid11.net - 3/29/07

Britain denies troops surrounded Iranian consulate in Basra and fired shots
At a critical period in the crisis over Iran's seizure of 15 British sailors and marines, the Iranian consul in Basra charged that British soldiers on Thursday had surrounded his office in the southern city and fired shots into the air. Britain denied the allegation. -AP - 3/29/07

The Shatt al-Arab 15
There have been a lot of comparisons drawn online lately between the recent seizure of 15 British Naval personnel in the Shatt al-Arab waterway and the Gulf Of Tonkin incident in 1964. The difference between the two, of course, is that the former has actually occurred whereas the latter’s occurrence is, at best, debatable. -Matthew Good - 3/29/07

Iranian Rock Band Has a New York Moment
Performing Monday night at Fat Baby bar on the Lower East Side, the four members of Hypernova almost made it through their set before distinguishing themselves from the many other hip and hungry young talents who come to New York seeking musical recognition. -New York Times - 3/29/07

U.S., allies look to challenge Iran over refusal to allow nuclear monitoring
The United States and key allies are pressing the U.N.'s nuclear watchdog to find Iran in violation of commitments linked to the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty because of Tehran's refusal to allow remote monitoring of its underground uranium enrichment plant, diplomats said Thursday. -AP - 3/29/07

Why Iran matters to oil markets
Tehran is ensnared in a growing dispute with the West. Traders are nervous it might pull its oil off the market. -CNNMoney - 3/29/07

Iran-US Crisis Could Pose Risk to Central Asia
New United Nations sanctions against Iran will not seriously affect Central Asian countries in the short term, but an escalation in the confrontation between Iran and the West could halt Iranian-funded projects and raise tensions in the Caspian region. -Institute for War & Peace Reporting - 3/29/07

Five Men Artists at Tehran's Mah Gallery
I know of a few women artists who have successfully banded together for exhibitions, such as Dena and Halghe (Circle). But it was rather unusual to see a group exhibition of five male artists at the Mah Gallery. They had published a very good booklet describing themselves and their work. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/28/07

Iran: Mexican Museum Shows The Domestic Side Of Persian Culture
Mexico's National Anthropology Museum in Mexico City is hosting a rare display of Persian artifacts, providing a panorama of Persian arts and handicrafts from 6,000 B.C. to the early 20th century. This is reportedly the first such exhibition in Latin America. -RFE - 3/28/07

Iranian-American Becomes Beverly Hills Mayor
Beverly Hills, the upscale California community many movie stars once called their home, is getting a new mayor - an immigrant from Iran named Jimmy Jamshid Delshad. VOA's Mike O'Sullivan reports, the mayor became the highest-ranking US public official of Persian descent. - 3/28/07

UK sailors detained 0.5 km inside Iranian waters, embassy confirms
Iran confirmed Wednesday that the detention of 15 British marines and sailors took place last Friday after they had illegally entered Iranian territorial waters in the northern part of the Persian Gulf. -IRNA - 3/28/07

UN Human Rights Council Comes Under Fire
A UN Human Rights Council decision on March 26 to end scrutiny of Iran and Uzbekistan has been widely criticized by rights organizations and some governments, including the United States. -RFE - 3/28/07

Report: U.S. Sponsoring Kurdish Guerilla Attacks Inside Iran
We speak with independent journalist Reese Erlich about his report on Iranian Kurdish guerillas based among their Kurdish bretheren in northern Iraq. Erlich writes, "Kurdish and American sources say the United States has been supporting guerilla raids against Iran, channeling the money through organizations in Iraqi Kurdistan." -Democracy Now - 3/28/07

Iran Outraged By Latest UN Resolution
Unsurprisingly, senior Iranian officials have rejected UN Security Council Resolution 1747. The additional UN sanctions were approved unanimously on March 24 in a continuing bid by the international community to curb Iran's nuclear program. -RFE - 3/28/07

Defense Chief: US Open to Higher-Level Talks With Iran
U.S. Defense Secretary Robert Gates says the United States is open to higher-level talks with Iran, but is warning against having any illusions about Tehran's intentions in the Persian Gulf region. VOA correspondent Meredith Buel has details from Washington. - 3/28/07

U.S. Military Denies Reports Iran Fired On U.S. Ship
The U.S. military has denied reports that Iran fired a missile at a U.S. ship in the Persian Gulf. A U.S. naval spokesman said such reports had been checked and turned out to be untrue. - 3/28/07

Pilgrimage To Karbala
WIDE ANGLE travels with a busload of Shia pilgrims as they make their way from Iran to Iraq to visit Karbala, among the holiest sites in Shia Islam. -PBS - 3/28/07

Hunter: Time for U.S. to Offer Iran Security Guarantees for Concessions
Robert E. Hunter, who served on President Carter¡¯s National Security Council staff as chief of Middle East affairs, says the United States should be willing to offer Iran the same kind of security guarantees it has given North Korea in return for Iranian concessions on its nuclear program. -CFR - 3/28/07

U.S. Muslims Increasing Their Political Involvement
Houston City Councilman M.J. Khan, a Muslim American originally from Pakistan, answered questions sent from journalists and students in Morocco, India, Sri Lanka and Liberia about his political career and about Muslims’ growing political involvement in the United States. -USINFO - 3/28/07

Financial criminal captivates Tehran
The international crisis over the seizure of 15 British sailors and marines has been overshadowed in Iran by the arrest of a high-profile financial criminal, whose case has exposed corruption and fiscal mismanagement in the upper ranks of the Islamic Republic. -Iason Athanasiadis, Washington Times - 3/28/07

US Efforts to Isolate Iran Economically Gaining Momentum
At least five states in the U.S. are following Missouri's lead with proposals to divest public pension funds of shares in companies that do business with Iran. -VOA - 3/28/07

Those involved in escape of Jazayeri-Arab being prosecuted: Iranian Minister
Minister of Information Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ejei said that prosecution of all those involved in the escape of the main culprit of an economic corruption case, Shahram Jazayeri-Arab, from Iran is currently underway, adding that the relevant information will be released in 8 to 10 days. -IRNA - 3/28/07

Tell Senate to Support Webb's Anti-War Amendment!
Contact your Senator and tell them to support Senator Webb’s amendment to the FY07 supplemental appropriations bill prohibiting use of funds for military operations in Iran without Congressional authorization. -NIAC - 3/28/07

Iranian Abduction of British Sailors Remains a Puzzle
Iran says the 15 British sailors and marines captured Friday by Iranian Revolutionary Guards in disputed waters in the Persian Gulf are being held in Tehran. VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports from Washington, Iran's motives in detaining them, and what the Iranian government's plans for them are, remain unclear. - 3/28/07

Behind Russia and Iran's Nuclear Reactor Dispute
Developments during the last several weeks seem to suggest that Russia is reconsidering its nuclear cooperation with Iran. -Bulletin of the Atomic Scientists - 3/28/07

Iran presses oil customers to pay in currencies other than dollars
Iran is pressuring its oil customers to start paying in currencies other than U.S. dollars and many have begun to comply, people in the oil industry here with knowledge of the practice said. -Reuters - 3/28/07

Earthquake hits Mehran in western Iran
An earthquake measuring 4.0 on the Richter scale hit outskirts of the city of Mehran on Iran-Iraq joint border line Wednesday. -IRNA - 3/28/07

The Fourth Annual Persian Parade in New York City Draws Huge Enthusiastic Crowd
Perfect Sunny Spring weather with a mild temperature in the 50¡¯s, enthusiastic cheering spectators, and a spectacular procession of floats and performance, brought out the best in Persian-Iranian Pride. By all accounts the spectacular extravaganza again surpassed last years. -Davood N. Rahni - 3/27/07

The 300 Savages at Thermopylae: A Response to the Hollywood Film '300'
The recent Hollywood film '300' about the defeat of Dorian Spartans by the Imperial Iranians has created a storm of protest from Iranians worldwide. This is not surprising, since the film makers got the entire story wrong, turning the heroic Iranian victors of the battle, the defenders of Cuneiform civilization, into villains, and morphing the tribal Dorians militants from Sparta into heroes. -Dr. Samar Abbas - 3/27/07

A Norouz Card with a Difference: A New Seven for our Times
I have received many cards recently from all over the world with Norouz greetings but there is one that stands out without a doubt and will stay in one's mind long after the Norouz celebrations have passed. I wanted to share this card with you which I received from the Zanestan website -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/27/07

EU Expresses Desire for Negotiated Settlement to Iran Nuclear Standoff
The European Union's foreign policy chief has told Iran that the international community wants a negotiated settlement to the standoff on Tehran's nuclear program. -VOA - 3/27/07

UNSC once issued resolution against nationalization of Iran oil
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in an interview with Spiegel recalled the United Nations Security Council Resolution 50 years ago in which the world body termed nationalization of Iranian oil industry as "detrimental to international peace and security". -IRNA - 3/27/07

Move over Britannica, here's Encyclopedia Iranica
"Today more than at any other time we need to keep our Iranian culture alive," Iranica's director Ehsan Yarshater told an audience of 350 Iranians at a fundraiser in Dubai last month. The glitzy dinner, concert and auction raised $100,000 for a project that will take a total of $20 million -- and another decade or so -- to finish. -AP - 3/27/07

The Coming War With Iran: Is it inevitable?
The timing of the recent incident in which 15 British sailors were arrested by Iran at the mouth of the Shatt al-Arab waterway for purportedly entering Iranian waters couldn't have been more provocative if it had been planned that way. And perhaps it was. The question is, however, who did the planning? -Antiwar.com - 3/27/07

Glory of Persia in Fukuoka
210 Persian historical relics belonging to Iran's National Museum and museums of Reza Abasi, Persepolis, and Azarbaijan, which have been selected to be displayed in exhibition of Glory of Persia headed to Fukuoka. -CHN - 3/27/07

How Iran's true believers pass the torch
Hardline conservatives share the core values of the Islamic Republic from father to son through the celebration of sacrifice and martyrdom. -CSM - 3/27/07

Britain Calls On Iran To Release Sailors
Prime Minister Tony Blair, in an interview on British television, warned that efforts to secure the group's release could enter a "different phase" if diplomatic efforts failed. -RFE - 3/27/07

US Warns Iran Failure to Cooperate with IAEA Could Lead to More Isolation
Under Secretary of State Nicholas Burns, visiting Brussels for talks with European Union and NATO allies, warned Tehran its failure to cooperate with the U.N. nuclear watchdog agency would lead to Iran's further isolation. -VOA - 3/27/07

IRAQ: Growing Needs Amid Continuing Displacement
UNHCR estimates there are some 1.9 million Iraqis displaced internally, and up to 2 million in neighbouring states, particularly Syria and Jordan. Many were displaced prior to 2003, but an increasing number are fleeing now. - 3/27/07

Ahmadinejad Buys His Way Into Iranians' Hearts
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad remains popular among Iranians, despite increasing Western pressure. Free hospital treatment and low-interest consumer loans play a part. -Spiegel, Germany - 3/27/07

US Navy starts war games in Persian Gulf
The US Navy has begun its most extensive manoeuvres in the Gulf region since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, but denies sabre-rattling aimed at Iran. -BBC - 3/27/07

Christian Science Monitor and Saudi-US Fence Around Iran
Dear Editor of the Christian Science Monitor, Your paper's March 26 editorial titled A Saudi-US Fence Around Iran was more than just biased in favor of US aggression in the Persian Gulf region. It falsified critical and well-established truths about Saudi Arabia's corrupt ruling elite and the origins of international terrorism. -Rostam Pourzal - 3/27/07

Second UN resolution and Tehran’s halting of IAEA cooperation “deplorable”
The passing of the second UN Security Council Resolution against Iran and Tehran’s decision to partially suspend its cooperation with the International Atom Energy Agency are two deplorable steps in the wrong direction. -Trita Parsi, NIAC - 3/27/07

Iran reduces US dollar exposure
Iran has significantly reduced the amount of US dollars it holds in its foreign reserves, the head of its central bank has revealed. -BBC - 3/27/07

American raid and arrests set scene for capture of marines
At 3am on 11 January US military forces raided the Iranian liaison office in the Kurdish capital Arbil and detained five Iranian officials who are still prisoners. The attack marked a significant escalation in the confrontation between the US and Iran. -Independent - 3/27/07

Persia, thirty centuries of art: Exciting exhibition in the Hermitage Amsterdam
From 31 March to 16 September the seventh exhibition at the Hermitage Amsterdam will present nearly 200 works from this rich culture, among them the famous Sassanid silver and the enchanting Persian miniatures. This is the first time that such a wide-ranging overview of Persian art has been seen in the Netherlands. - 3/26/07

Iran to limit cooperation with IAEA
The council of ministers has decided to limit cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Iranian government spokesman Gholam-Hossein Elham said late Sunday. -MNA - 3/26/07

UNSC Role Change
As I watched Iran being hauled in front of the United Nations ¡®Security¡¯ Council, a vivid picture conjured up in my mind ¨C my native country Iran, a vulnerable and defenseless beauty being prepared for violation by brutal savages. -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/26/07

UNSC: Sanctioning the next war of aggression
United Nations Security Council (UNSC) has once again voted to impose yet another sanction on Iran for its failure to suspend a legal activity allowed by the Nuclear Non-proliferation Treaty, to which Iran remains a signatory state, and that the IAEA itself has found no indication of any nuclear material being diverted to military purposes. -Daniel M Pourkesali - 3/26/07

Iranian-Americans rally against movie 300 in New York
A group of Iranian-Americans protested against the movie 300 in New York City on March 25th, 2007. They termed the movie anti-Iran. - 3/26/07

Indo-Iran gas pipeline will go ahead despite U.S. objections: Indian FM
Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee signaled Monday that New Delhi intends to go ahead with a multi-billion-dollar gas pipeline from Iran via Pakistan despite objections from the United States. -MNA - 3/26/07

10,000 Against War Campaign
Canada's first nationwide pro-Iranian interests lobby group - Freedom Is Not Free - has initiated an antiwar campaign. The risk of war and violence against Iran and its people is growing. Against a backdrop of increasingly hostile attitudes toward the Middle East and a coalition of Western leaders and lobby groups propagating anti-Iranian rhetoric, a campaign for peace and positivity was born. - 3/26/07

FM calls new UN resolution against Iran "unlawful"
Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki on Saturday called a new UN sanctions resolution against Iran unlawful and unjustified. -MNA - 3/26/07

Iran Considers Charges Against British Navy Personnel
Iran says it is considering charging 15 detained British sailors and marines with illegally entering Iranian waters. Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki made that remark Sunday in New York. -VOA - 3/26/07

Globalizing the Canadian way
One of the most liberating discoveries immigrants make when they come to Canada is that old enmities don't matter here. Vahan Kololian, one of Toronto's most successful financiers, has lived that story. He has seen it happen on university campuses, in corporate boardrooms and in community groups. He has come to think of it as the Canadian way. -Toronto Star - 3/26/07

Face-off with Iran takes tougher turn
From the United Nations in New York to the Shatt al-Arab waterway that splits southern Iran and Iraq, the ongoing row over Iran's nuclear program turned decidedly more confrontational over the weekend. -CSM - 3/26/07

Steering Iran away from Russia
Ever since the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991 and the terror events of 11 September 2001, the world has, as a result of US opportunism, witnessed the creation or intensification of three major trends in international politics -Jalal Alavi - 3/26/07

Iran's arrest of sailors was legitimate, says former UK envoy
"In international law the Iranian government were not out of order in detaining foreign military personnel in waters to which they have a legitimate claim," Murray said, who was also a previous head of Foreign Office's maritime section, carrying out negotiations on the UN Convention on the Law of the Sea. -IRNA - 3/26/07

Iran Tensions Send Oil Prices To Three-Month High
World oil prices have risen to their highest level this year, hitting $63.93 a barrel in London today. Analysts point to rising diplomatic tensions over Iran as the main reason for the rise. - 3/26/07

West creates tension in Mideast - Khatami
Former Iranian president Mohammad Khatami said in New Delhi on Saturday that Iran exports oil to the West while Westerners export tension to the region. -IRNA - 3/26/07

Iranians Had Showdown With U.S. Forces
As the British government demanded the immediate release of 15 of its sailors whose boats were seized by Iranian naval vessels in the Persian Gulf on Friday, U.S. News has learned that this is not the first showdown that coalition forces have had with the Iranian military. - 3/26/07

At the table with Iran, what could the US concede?
Dialogue is the right step. But the US must be ready to settle old claims of compensation. -CSM - 3/26/07

Capture of British sailors gives Iran chance to tell the world 'You can't push us around'
Iran's refusal to free 15 British sailors and marines seized in contested Persian Gulf waters is the country's way of telling the world that it cannot be pushed around — even with new international sanctions over its nuclear program. -AP - 3/26/07

Iran & Iraq: US and UK Fail to Find Smoking Gun
Although British and US military and diplomats often complain of Iranian support for insurgents in Iraq, there is no “smoking gun” to prove it, a senior British officer in Basra admitted yesterday. -Guardian - 3/26/07

Iranian minister quoted as denying British sailors will be swapped for Iranians held in Iraq
Iran is not aiming to swap the 15 British sailors it detained for the five Iranians arrested in northern Iraq, the deputy foreign minister was quoted as saying on state television on Monday. -AP - 3/26/07

Iran Feels Pinch As Major Banks Curtail Business
Although British and US military and diplomats often complain of Iranian support for insurgents in Iraq, there is no “smoking gun” to prove it, a senior British officer in Basra admitted yesterday. -Washington Post - 3/26/07

Iran defeats US in the world wresting tournament
Iran's national freestyle wrestling team, in a world tournament in Krasnoyarsk, Russia, had a decisive victory over the US team on Saturday morning. -IRNA - 3/24/07

Iran due to export Samand cars to Turkey
Managing Director of Iran Khodro Industrial Group Manouchehr Manteqi said in Tehran on Saturday that by taking needed standards from Turkish Ministry of Industries, his company would shortly start export of Samad cars to Turkey. -IRNA - 3/24/07

Russia: Why Is The Kremlin Retreating From Bushehr?
This week has seen much speculation about why Russian specialists are abandoning work on the Iranian nuclear plant at Bushehr. Pro-Kremlin observers say the move is punishment for Iran's refusal to cooperate with international demands to abandon uranium-enrichment activity. -RFE - 3/24/07

U.S. Nukes Plan Viewed as Provocative
The announcement earlier this month that the United States will pursue the design and construction of new nuclear weapons has not been warmly embraced by the rest of the world. -IPS - 3/24/07

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2007 Academic Scholarships
Momeni Foundation is dedicated to providing scholarships to graduating high school students and full time college students of Iranian descent anywhere in the world. - 3/24/07

Iranian President will not attend the UNSC session in New York
"Due to the evident and deliberate failure of the American officials in issuing visa to Dr. Ahmadinejad's entourage and flight crew, the president could not attend the UN Security Council session," said Foreign Ministry spokesman Seyed Mohammad Ali Hosseini Friday. -IRNA - 3/24/07

Iran Moves British Sailors To Tehran
The Iranian Foreign Ministry today described as a "suspicious act" what Iran says is the illegal entry of British navy personnel into Iranian waters. - 3/24/07

British charge d'affaires summoned to Iran's Foreign Ministry
British Charge d'Affaires in Tehran Kate Smith was summoned to the Iranian Foreign Ministry Friday evening and conveyed Iran's strong protest to the "illegal entry into Iranian territorial waters of British forces" on Friday morning. -IRNA - 3/24/07

UN to Vote on More Sanctions Against Iran
The United Nations Security Council is scheduled to vote later Saturday on a resolution that will impose new sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium. Major powers expect that the measure will be unanimously approved. -VOA - 3/24/07

Arrested British sailors confess violating Iran's waters: Official
Deputy Commander in Chief of Armed Forces General Staff by confirming arrest of 15 British sailors by Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) naval forces in Iran's territorial waters on Friday March 23, 2007, said the sailors were under interrogation and have confessed violating Iranian territorial waters. -IRNA - 3/24/07

Confusion over Iran's intentions
This is not the first time Iran has seized British sailors for allegedly intruding into its territorial waters - the same thing happened to eight UK servicemen in 2004. -BBC - 3/24/07

Isfahan, the City that is Half the World
Because of its unmatched beauty and historic ambiance, Isfahan is called ¡°Half the World¡± as dubbed for the first time by French poet Renier who visited this city in the 16th century. -CHN - 3/23/07

AMAZING IRAN: Alamut
I'm back from a trip to the stunning Alamut region - snowy peaks and amazing amounts of steam naturally rising from the ground! - 3/23/07

US, Azerbaijan Sign Energy Security Agreement
The agreement signed by the Azerbaijani Foreign Minister and Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice establishes a high-level dialogue on energy security in the Caspian region, largely aimed at promoting new oil and gas export routes that bypass Russia and Iran. -VOA - 3/23/07

FILM: OFFSIDE opens in New York and Los Angeles
Jafar Panahi’s OFFSIDE follows a day in the life of a group of Iranian girls attempting to watch their team’s World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain at the stadium in Tehran. - 3/23/07

Britain Says Iran Seized Sailors In Persian Gulf
Britain's Defense Ministry says 15 British navy personnel were seized by crew on Iranian vessels in the Persian Gulf today. - 3/23/07

Greeks and Persians in Snyder's 300
I saw Zack Snyder’s 300 at a sleepy suburban movie theatre near Chicago. The lady behind me was telling her husband that she did not expect to like the movie because “it sounds too violent!” Those who came for that exact reason got their fill of digital gore. There were other dark premonitions. -Ahmad Sadri - 3/23/07

Talking to Iran
President Bush has declared Iran to be part of the "Axis of Evil" and administration officials have said no options -- including military options -- are off the table in the effort to stop Iran from building a nuclear weapon. In the midst of this standoff between Washington and Tehran, some U.S. religious leaders are trying to succeed where politicians and diplomats cannot. -PBS - 3/23/07

Azerbaijan: Baku Seems Ambivalent About NATO Membership
NATO's special representative for the South Caucasus and Central Asia recently noted that while Azerbaijan cooperates closely with the alliance, its intentions remain unclear. -RFE - 3/23/07

UN Diplomats: Iran Nuclear Sanctions Resolution Ready for a Vote
U.N. diplomats say sponsors of a resolution aimed at imposing more sanctions on Iran for its refusal to stop enriching uranium are ready to put it to a vote. - 3/23/07

Iran's former negotiator airs fresh approach on nuclear talks
A three-pronged approach to negotiations could resolve Iranian dispute with the West over the national nuclear program, former Iranian nuclear negotiator Hossein Mousavian told a seminar on 'disarmament' in Geneva. -IRNA - 3/23/07

The Underestimated, The Unrepentant and The Spring of Persia
They began their efforts in demonizing the Persians in a movie they call it a fiction and comic. They began to put what they call the so called producer’s talent into a script. Technology wise, they probably calculated the film making process in order, but they forgot that the Persians are not for one, but for all seasons. -Abolfazl Moghadam - 3/23/07

Iran Says No U.S. Visa Yet For Ahmadinejad
Tehran says Washington has so far failed to provide a promised visa to Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad so he can address the UN Security Council in New York when it meets to vote on proposed new sanctions against Iran. - 3/23/07

Haale, Blissfully Bridging East & West
The 33-year-old Haale is just beginning to make her mark nationally, but she's a star on the rise. She has played guitar since 1996 but started incorporating Persian lyrics and music into her folk-rock repertoire only at the turn of the millennium. -Washington Post - 3/23/07

New Pacific Commander Says US Will Maintain Advantage Over China
The admiral who will take command Monday of all U.S. forces in the Pacific and Indian Oceans and Asia says he wants to know more about what China plans to do with its rapidly increasing military capability, but he believes it will be a long time before China will be able to challenge the United States militarily. -VOA - 3/23/07

9-Year-Old Canadian Citizen and Iranian Parents Arrive in Toronto After Six Weeks in Texas Immigration Jail
After six weeks in a Texas immigration jail, a nine year-old Canadian citizen and his Iranian parents were released and allowed back into Canada last night. Canadian immigration authorities have granted the boy's parents temporary residency. We speak with their attorney. -Democracy Now - 3/23/07

'Iran link' to violence in Basra
"All the circumstantial evidence points to Iranian involvement in the violence here in Basra which is disrupting the city to a great extent." -BBC - 3/23/07

Norouz in History
The calendar keeps track of months and years. There is no record of calendars and the way people calculated dates in the pre-Achaemenian era. After the Achaemenids, however, two kinds of calendar were created. -Akbar Nemati - 3/22/07

Medieval Muslim Artists Employed Complex Math to Create Patterns
Muslim pattern makers were using highly intricate mathematical and geometrical techniques for creating decorative patterns that were not understood in the western world until well into the 20th century, according to new research. -VOA - 3/22/07

300 Evil-Doers
It’s been said that the movie “300” draws certain analogies about the US and its fight for freedom. People say that the Spartan’s fight with the Persian armies is a lot like the American struggle against the government of Iran, and the fight to bring democracy to a tyrannical state. While this writer would have to agree that there are lots of analogies to be drawn from the story, they are very different from the ones currently being proposed. -Behzad (Robert) Sarmast - 3/22/07

Over 100 nations support South Africa's call for a "time out" on new UN sanctions against Iran
Campaigners claimed today that South Africa’s backing for a 90-day time out before any further sanctions against Iran are considered, has the support of over 100 nations. -CASMII - 3/22/07

Iran UN Mission: Movie 300 is full of deliberate distortions
The Iranian people are outraged by the movie produced by the Warner Brothers Studio titled “300” purportedly about an epic battle fought between the Persian and Greek armies in 480 B.C., but which is full of deliberate distortions and derogatory depictions of ancient Persia. - 3/22/07

Portland Resolution Calls on Congress to Prevent Iran War
On the first day of the Iranian New Year, the City Council of Portland Oregon unanimously passed a resolution urging Congress to prevent the Bush administration from initiating war with Iran. -NIAC - 3/22/07

Afghan opium cultivation shows divergent north-south trends in 2007, UNODC survey shows
Divergent trends characterize opium cultivation in Afghanistan this year, with a pronounced divide between the troubled south of the country and the more stable centre-north, according to a survey by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime and Afghanistan's Ministry of Counter Narcotics. - 3/22/07

US Opposed To The Peace Gas Pipeline
The United States has informed the Indian government that it is opposed to the building of a pipeline to carry gas from Iran to India via Pakistan, US Energy Secretary Samuel Bodman said. -IRNA - 3/22/07

UN Security Council Bargaining Over Iran Sanctions
The United Nations Security Council is due to continue consultations today in an effort to reach agreement on new sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt uranium enrichment. -RFE - 3/22/07

Cultural Barbarians are at the Gate
Presently we Iranian are facing two facets of US militaristic doctrine, on one hand, we can see their exercise of hard power and our country being encircled by US armies to the east, west and south. On the other hand, they are constantly flexing their soft power and there is no day that western media are filled with rumour, exaggerated claims and bare faced lie. -Dr. Bahram Bahrami, UK - 3/22/07

US Official: Russia Pressing Iran on Nuclear Issue
A U.S. State Department official says Russia has begun to exert pressure on Iran to comply with United Nations resolutions to end its nuclear program. He made his comments before a Senate panel Wednesday, as VOA's Deborah Tate reports from Capitol Hill. - 3/22/07

Nasser Zarafshan, Iranian lawyer and human rights defender, released
Lawyer and human rights defender Nasser Zarafshan was released from Evin Prison on 15 March. He had been sentenced to five years’ imprisonment on 19 March 2002, after a secret trial before a military court. -Amnesty International - 3/22/07

Russian official: Bushehr Power Plant to be completed with a two-month delay
An advisor to Russian Federal Atomic Energy Agency said due to financial and technical problems in building Bushehr Power Plant, the plant will be ready at least two months later than the previously scheduled date. -IRNA - 3/22/07

New year fever grips Afghanistan
It is the Afghan New Year, or Nowruz, and the people of Kabul have been celebrating the first sunshine of spring on the city's muddy hillsides. -BBC - 3/22/07

Bolton admits Lebanon truce block
A former top American diplomat says the US deliberately resisted calls for a immediate ceasefire during the conflict in Lebanon in the summer of 2006. -BBC - 3/22/07

Iran In Position To Target U.S. Interests
Senior Iranian leaders repeatedly have vowed to target U.S. interests around the world should their country come under attack from the United States or Israel. Accordingly, Tehran is positioning itself to inflict significant pain on the United States and its allies in multiple countries. -Forbes - 3/22/07

Iranian Americans Welcome Persian New Year March 20
Every culture celebrates the change in seasons in some fashion, but few are as ancient, colorful and full of symbolism as the traditional ceremonies for the beginning of the Persian New Year, or Nowrouz, marking the first day of spring. - 3/21/07

Vision Of Global Gas Cartel Gains Clarity
Speculation over the possible formation of a "gas OPEC" is on the rise as a meeting of top gas-exporting countries approaches. The consortium reportedly will initially include Russia, Iran, Qatar, Venezuela, and Algeria -- which together account for nearly 70 percent of the world's reserves of natural gas. -RFE - 3/21/07

Film On Ancient Persian-Greek Battle Angers Iranians
A Hollywood film with the simple title '300' is arousing anger in Iran. Directed by up-and-coming filmmaker Zack Snyder, the film portrays the ancient battle of Thermopylae, where 300 Greek Spartans barred the way to the grand army of Persian King Xerxes I. The Iranians say the movie gives a distorted view of the Persians as decadent, cruel, and stupid. -RFE - 3/21/07

Russia Denies Withholding Uranium From Iran
Russia has denied reports it threatened to withhold nuclear fuel for Iran's first atomic power plant unless Tehran complies with a U.N. demand to suspend uranium enrichment. VOA's Peter Heinlein reports from U.N. headquarters. - 3/21/07

Web Surfers Vote To Update The World's Wonders
You've probably heard of the Seven Wonders of the World, but how many can you name? If you can't name any, don't feel bad. The list was put together by the ancient Greeks more than 2,000 years ago, and only one of the original seven wonders -- the Great Pyramid of Giza in Egypt -- still exists today. The rest were lost to earthquakes or fires centuries ago. -RFE - 3/21/07

Iranian FM welcomes trilateral talks on nuclear issue
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday welcomed the idea of trilateral Iran-5 Group-UNSC talks to end the discords on the country's nuclear activities for peaceful purposes. The statement was made in a short interview with IRNA after Mottaki's talks with South African President Thabo Mbeki. -IRNA - 3/21/07

19th Spring Sport Games of Iranian Armenians starts in Isfahan
In the 4-day tournament, 340 athletes from provinces of Tehran, Isfahan, West Azerbaijan and Markazi in the fields of basketball (men and women) and football will compete. -IRNA - 3/21/07

Iran: New Year Marked Despite Growing Tensions
It is the same routine every year. Iranians have cleaned their houses, purchased new clothes, and have set their traditional "Haftsin" tables, which includes seven items beginning with the Persian letter "s." -RFE - 3/20/07

Iranian Women Activists Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abasgholizadeh Released
This year, the arrival of Nourouz (the Iranian New Year on March 21) is marked with the release of the last two detained women defenders, Shadi Sadr and Mahboobeh Abasgholizadeh; they were released on March 19. -Campaign to Free Women Rights Defenders in Iran - 3/20/07

U.S.-Iran thaw: Is it for real?
On March 10, the representatives of the United States and Iran faced each other in a regional conference in Baghdad, Iraq. The event has raised crucial questions. Is this a real shift away from the Bush administration’s dogged stance against talking to Iran, allegedly "the world’s greatest sponsor of terrorism"? -R.K. Ramazani - 3/20/07

Iran: For State, Teacher Protests Are Security Matter
Teachers have gathered outside parliament in Tehran on four occasions since their first protest on February 4 to show their dissatisfaction with their salaries and other working conditions. -RFE - 3/20/07

Report: Russia Gives Iran Nuclear Ultimatum
A U.S. newspaper says Russia has told Iran that it will withhold fuel for a nearly completed nuclear power plant, unless Tehran suspends enriching uranium. -VOA - 3/20/07

US Grants Visas to Ahmadinejad, Entourage, for UN Appearance
The Bush administration said Monday it has approved visas for a U.N. visit by Iran's President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and a large contingent of other Iranian officials. The Iranian leader has asked to address the U.N. Security Council when it votes on a resolution tightening sanctions on Iran for refusing to stop enriching uranium. -VOA - 3/20/07

Non-permanent members of the UN Security Council urged to resist bullying on Iran vote
The recognition by the chair of UN Security Council of Iran's right to uranium enrichment was commended today by campaigners in London and Washington who are urging the non-permanent members of the Security Council not to be bullied into voting for further sanctions against Iran this week. -CASMII - 3/20/07

South Africa Seeks to Ease Proposed UN Sanctions On Iran
South Africa is asking the U.N. Security Council to reopen negotiations on a draft resolution increasing penalties against Iran for its nuclear program. The resolution had earlier been agreed on by world powers. Correspondent Peter Heinlein at U.N. headquarters reports the South African request could delay adoption of the measure. -VOA - 3/20/07

Iran Khodro to produce 525,000 cars next year
Managing Director of Iran Khodro Automobile Manufacturing Company Manouchehr Manteqi declared that more than 525,000 automobiles of various models will be manufactured in the Iranian New Year (starting March 21) by this company. -IRNA - 3/20/07

Former Iranian minister proposes Asian formula to Iran's nuclear case
Iran's former Commerce Minister Mohammad Shariatmadari on Monday proposed an Asian solution, involving Japan and China, to Iran's nuclear problem. -IRNA - 3/20/07

Iran to hit back at US ‘kidnaps’
IRAN is threatening to retaliate in Europe for what it claims is a daring undercover operation by western intelligence services to kidnap senior officers in its Revolutionary Guard. -TIMES Online - 3/20/07

Iraq, Iran, and the Lobby
Four years after the invasion of Iraq, and the War Party is still in the driver's seat -Justin Raimondo, Antiwar.com - 3/20/07

Russia issues ultimatum on Iranian nuclear enrichment
Russia has informed Iran that it will withhold nuclear fuel for Iran's nearly completed Bushehr power plant unless Iran suspends its uranium enrichment as demanded by the UN Security Council, European, American and Iranian officials said. -New York Times - 3/20/07

From Achilles to Zeus
What can you learn about ancient Greece from Hollywood? With its latest ancient epic, 300, out next week, we locked Stephen Moss away with a pile of DVDs to gain a classical education, movie-style -Guardian - 3/20/07

Iran Sanctions: Ban on Defense Exports Could Hurt
In 2005, Iran exported around $100 million worth of military hardware. Its defense industrial base has grown significantly and today manufactures a range of systems and platforms, from small arms through shaped explosive charges and rockets to helicopters and aircraft. -World Politics Watch - 3/20/07

Iran must have the Bomb
The proposed new package of United Nations sanctions against Iran is far from being the breakthrough it has been hailed. The world's fourth-largest oil producer has little to fear from modest economic restrictions. If Iran wants nuclear weapons, it is going to get them. The indications are that it does want them, and with good reason. -Guardian - 3/20/07

The 300 Movie: Separating Fact from Fiction
Grossing over 70 million dollars in its first week of release, the movie ÌB" is set to crash into the list of highest grossing Hollywood blockbusters. Its strong opening is a clear indicator of its success with the North American and by implication, European audiences. Although this picture is based on a graphic novel by Frank Miller and directed by Zack Snyder ("Dawn of the Dead"), it is already being portrayed as a "historical" movie, and will be perceived as such by many (less discerning) viewers. More significant however, are the conclusions that are being derived from this picture. -Dr. Kaveh Farrokh - 3/19/07

Dehkhoda Institute: A Hidden National Treasure
Ali Akbar Dehkhoda is well known to all Persian scholars across the world. He was born in Tehran in 1879 and was an accomplished writer and poet. A well known work of his is the 4 volume Amsal va Hekam which includes Persian proverbs. Some of his poems were versed mostly and at times only with pure Persian words. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/19/07

The US, Israel and Iran: An Interview with Sasan Fayazmanesh
Question. How do you evaluate the relationship between the US and Israel at this time? What is this relation based on? Answer: The current relation between the US and Israel, of course, goes beyond the issue of the strength of the "neoconservatives" in the White House. The US Congress, too, has traditionally been, and remains to this day, a close ally of Israel. -Mehran Ghassemi - 3/19/07

Why Such A Fuss Over A Movie? After all, isn't it just a comic-book inspired, computer-generated fantasy?
Just like the Iranians, other people have also their respective ethnic or national legends that serve as sources of nostalgic pride, however historically unfounded or illusory. -Kam Zarrabi - 3/19/07

Is it time for war or peace in the Middle East?
"Approach each new problem not with a view of finding what you hope will be there, but to get the truth, the realities that must be grappled with. You may not like what you find. In that case you are entitled to try to change it. But do not deceive yourself as to what you do find to be the facts of the situation." Bernard M. Baruch (1870 - 1965) -"Approach each new problem not with a view of finding what you hope will be there, but to get the truth, the realities that must be grappled with. You may not like what you find. In that case you are entitled to try to change it. But do not deceive yourself as to what you do find to be the facts of the situation." Bernard M. Baruch (1870 - 1965) -Abbas Bakhtiar - 3/19/07

Acclaimed Iranian Filmmaker Kiarostami Draws Admirers In New York
The first U.S. retrospective of Abbas Kiarostami, probably Iran's best-known modern filmmaker, is attracting considerable interest in New York's Museum of Modern Art (MoMA). -RFE - 3/19/07

Go Tell the Spartans: How the 300 Misrepresents Persians in History
What do you get when you take all the ¡°misfits¡± that inhabit the collective psyche of the white American establishment and put them together in the form of a cartoonish invading army from the East coming to take your freedom away? -Dr. Touraj Daryaee, California State University, Fullerton - 3/19/07

'Axis of Evil' Comedy Tour at Tiburon International Film Festival
In a time when East and West do not seem to understand each other, top stand-up comics of Middle Eastern descent Ahmed Ahmed, Aron Kader, and Maz Jobrani take it upon themselves to single-handedly bridge the gap with an original comedy tour that has become one of the hottest concert tickets in the country. - 3/19/07

Sesang number 1 & Kaoon Peaks (Dokhaharan Expedition Part II of VI)
WEDNESDAY JUNE 14, 2006 - My guide Salim and I had been very tired last night and had slept at 8:00 p.m. (in our tent at the 3650 m, 12000 ft Lehra Saddle). I woke up around 1:00 a.m. and was then just tossing and turning in my sleeping bag. I could see the moon light through the tent. -Nader Honarkhah - 3/19/07

Bushehr is Back on the US Target List
Once again Russians have reneged on their commitment to supply more than 200 tons of low enriched uranium (LEU) for the Bushehr nuclear power plant reactor. -Nader Bagherzadeh, University of California, Irvine - 3/19/07

The Dictator, The Veil and the Nuke
When a few dozen students around UC Santa Cruz were asked what words were brought to mind when they heard ¡°Iran,¡± the responses included oil, sand, burka, Muslim, war and revolution. But there is more to the country than the veil American media often places over it. -Naveed Mansoori, City Hill Press - 3/19/07

Iranian, Armenian Presidents Inaugurate Gas Pipeline
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad and his Armenian counterpart, Robert Kocharian, today formally inaugurated a pipeline that will pump Iranian natural gas to Armenia, RFE/RL's Armenian Service reported. - 3/19/07

Idaho Farmers Make Room for Funky Fruits
If Esmaeil Fallahi has his way, the home of the world-famous Russet potato may soon also welcome persimmons, pistachios, pawpaws, quinces and mulberries. Fallahi grew up on a 1,000-acre fruit farm in Iran, and when he arrived, he was immediately struck by the similarities between the growing conditions in Iran and Idaho. -Washington Post - 3/19/07

1987 chemical attack still haunts Iran
Iraq's deadly assault on the town of Sardasht continues to color the debate about Tehran's defenses. -Borzou Daragahi, Times - 3/19/07

Quakes hit Iranian cities of Firouzabad and Maku
Two earthquakes measuring 4 and 3.7 on the Richter scale jolted the cities of Firouzabad and Maku in the southern and northwestern provinces of Fars and West Azarbaijan Sunday evening and early Monday, respectively. -IRNA - 3/19/07

Family Of Missing Former Iranian Official Accuses Turkey
The two wives and other relatives of former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Ali Reza Asghari, who disappeared in Istanbul last month, gathered outside the Turkish Embassy in Tehran today. - 3/19/07

Norooz, an eternal Iranian tradition
On March 21, after the lapse of thousands of years, Iranians from all walks of life enthusiastically celebrate the Norooz festival, irrespective of their age, language, gender, race, ethnicity, or social status. The word Norooz itself literally means "new day" in the Persian language and the festivity marks the beginning of the solar year as well as the New Year on the Iranian national calendars as well as several others, and usually falls on March 21. -Ali Asghar Pahlavan - 3/18/07

CASMII's Statement and Demands on the US-Iran Standoff
We believe the Western alliance is unfairly singling out Iran with a propaganda campaign that is paving the way for war. The United States and Great Britain label Iran as a threat to peace, even though it is they who have illegally invaded Iraq and destabilized the region. - 3/18/07

Iranian president's trip to New York depends on UNSC meeting: Spokesman
Iranian Government Spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham said President Ahmadinejad's trip to New York depends on the United Nations Security Council's meeting. -IRNA - 3/18/07

Shahram Jazayeri arrested, to be transferred to Tehran
Former inmate passing prison term for financial corruption, Shahram Jazayeri Arab, who had fled the country, was arrested, Information Ministry said on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/18/07

Thousands March in Washington to Protest Iraq War
Thousands of anti-war protestors rallied near the Pentagon Saturday, calling on President Bush to pull American forces out of Iraq. Organizers led the march to what was the site of a pivotal rally against the Vietnam war 40 years ago. -VOA - 3/18/07

Afghanistan: Kabul's Relations With Its Other Neighbor, Iran
The Afghan government and ordinary Afghans are quick to say that most of the destabilizing factors in their country have a foreign origin -- and Pakistan is most likely to be blamed. -RFE - 3/18/07

Quakes jolt towns in Iran's Kerman and Hormuzgan provinces
An earthquake measuring 4.7 degrees on Richter scale jolted surrounding areas of Qala' Ganj in mid southern province of Kerman on Saturday afternoon. -IRNA - 3/18/07

Good news from home: Good Deeds
On a hectic sunny Saturday morning a few weeks before Norouz, I visited the Darmangah Kahyrieh Ghadir Khum - a very busy clinic in the south of Tehran. I met Dr Nassery who runs the clinic from 8-8. This Dr Nassery is the nephew of Dr Nassery who first helped to build this with the help of many gentlemen who are followers of the Imam Ali light and tradition. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/17/07

Open Letter to Farah Diba: "Kindly Come and Do Us a Favor, Oh Lady"
Azadeh Forghani is one of the women¡¯s rights activists who was arrested for peaceful protest on March 4th 2007 in front of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The following open letter was addressed to Farah Pahlavi, the empress of Iran during the reign of Mohammad Reza Pahlavi. Forghani critiques the cooptation of the Iranian women¡¯s rights movement by Farah Pahlavi and opportunistic opposition groups. - 3/17/07

Iran : Arrests of demonstrators continue
Amnesty International is calling on the Iranian authorities to ensure that all persons detained in recent weeks during peaceful demonstrations, such as those which have been held in support of women's rights and by striking teachers, are released immediately and unconditionally. - 3/17/07

Prevent a Military Attack on Iran
Abbas Edalat of Campaign Iran (CASMII) interviewed by Oscar Dahlston for Felix -- Felix: In brief, what compels you to undertake this campaign against sanctions and military intervention in Iran? - 3/17/07

US Will Expedite Visa for Ahmadinejad UN Appearance
The State Department said Friday it will give expedited treatment to a request by Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to address a critical U.N. Security Council session on Iran's nuclear program. The council is poised to tighten sanctions on Tehran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. VOA's David Gollust reports from the State Department. - 3/17/07

The peril of taking on Iran
Iran and the United States are not fated to be enemies. In fact, they share important strategic interests. No one knows what may come from direct, unconditional talks between them. For more than a quarter-century, the United States has refused to consider such talks. -Stephen Kinzer, Boston Globe - 3/17/07

New Trade Centers Fuel Persian Gulf Economy, U.S. Officials Say
New, fast-growing Persian Gulf trade and financial centers attract foreign investment, stimulate regional development and can serve as models of diversified, open economies, U.S. officials say. -USINFO - 3/17/07

Iran's health tourism showcased in Paris Exhibition
Iran held health tourism pavilion in the 31st Paris Exhibition on Tourism Industry which was thronged by visitors for the third day running. According to IRAN correspondent, visitors including Iranians, living in France, expressed their satisfaction with the progress Iran has made in the field of health and medical services. -IRNA - 3/17/07

International Journalists Call Baghdad Security Conference A Good Start
Former Iranian journalist Ali-Reza Nourizadeh, who is now director of the Center for Arab-Iranian Studies in London, says he views the handshake between the U.S. Ambassador to Iraq and Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister as a "good sign." And, Iran hopes the Baghdad conference will pave the way for more serious dialogue in the future. -VOA - 3/17/07

Iran will back Iraqi people, government: UN Envoy
Iranian Ambassador to the UN Mohammad-Javad Zarif said on Friday that Tehran will always support the Iraqi people and government in their efforts to bring peace, stability and development to their country. -IRNA - 3/17/07

Rice imports could cause problems for Iran farmers
Over 400,000 tons of imports could create problems for Iranian farmers, said an official in Tehran on Friday. -MNA - 3/17/07

Petrochemical exports generate $3.2b for Iran
Iran's National Petrochemical Company (NPC) has exported 5.9 million tons of its products valued at $3.2 billion during the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2006). -MNA - 3/17/07

What Was Once a Revolutionary Guard Is Now Just a Mafia
Back in October 1978, none of us in exile with Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini imagined that victory for the Islamic Revolution would be attained only a few months later. It was during those days in Neuf-le-Chateau that the notion of starting a ¡°people¡¯s army¡± first took hold, and expecting that our battle would be a long one, we took as models for our soon-to-be established army the forces in Algeria and Cuba. -Mohsen Sazegara, Forward - 3/17/07

Maybe Iran Supports Terrorists--And Your Point Is?
It is hypocritical because it has been (and still is) a tenet of American foreign policy to back violent anti-Iranian groups. The anti-Iranian Marxist terror group Mujahideen E-Khalq (MEK) enjoys prominent backing from Washington. In the 1980s they were the proxy warriors employed by Saddam and, by extension, his American backers against Iran. -Huffington Post - 3/17/07

A Visit to Hazrat-e Seyed-Al Shohada Charity Hospital in Tehran
As part of my work for Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation (PKCF), I have come to know many interesting people and places. As the Iranian New Year approaches, I am writing these so that Payvand readers can learn how much good work is being done by good people who think of others and try to help them without asking for anything. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/16/07

Norooz Banners in Streets of Irvine, California
For the first time ever, the City of Irvine, California will be putting up 50 Norooz banners on Culver Drive, a major throughway, between 5 and 405 freeways from March 16 until April 2 to commemorate Persian New Year. -Hossein Hosseini, NIPOC - 3/16/07

Resolution against the war on Iran at City Council of Portland and NowRuz celebration
The Portland City Council will consider a resolution in support of friendship between Iran and the United States and in opposition of an escalation of the Iraq war into Iran on Wednesday, March 21, 2007 at 10:15 AM. -American Iranian Friendship Council - 3/16/07

THE TRUTH BEHIND '300'
For many Iranians the cinematic movie '300' may come as a shocking revelation. But to those of us who came up through America's school system, the 'Battle of Thermopylae,' which is what the movie '300' is based on, is as familiar as George Washington's fabled "cherry tree" incident. -Cyrus Kar - 3/16/07

Jimmy Delshad Poised to Become First Iranian American Mayor of Beverly Hills
Beverly Hills Vice-Mayor Jimmy Delshad, an Iranian American endorsed by IAPAC, claimed victory last Friday in his reelection bid for City Council, placing him in line to become the first Iranian American mayor of Beverly Hills. -IAPAC - 3/16/07

Payvand.com partners with Searchles to offer "social search"
We are pleased to let you know, thru our partnership with Searchles (www.searchles.com), we recently added a widget at the bottom of each of our News articles on payvand.com. What does this widget do for you? - 3/16/07

Iranian Lawyer Nasser Zarafshan Released After Five Years In Prison
A prominent Iranian lawyer, Nasser Zarafshan, who represented families of political activists murdered by personnel of the Ministry of Intelligence, has been released from prison after serving a five-year term, Radio Farda reported. - 3/16/07

Iranian Academy of Arts to submit UNESCO declaration against '300'
The Iranian Academy of Arts has prepared a declaration against onscreen Hollywood production of '300' to offer the UNESCO. The film and cinema group of the academy has asked the UNESCO secretary to respond to the destructive acts of Hollywood in distorting history and culture of Iran which is one of the ancient civilizations in the world. -MNA - 3/16/07

Iranian President Asks To Attend UN Sanctions Vote
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad has formally asked to attend a United Nations Security Council meeting during which the council will vote on new sanctions against Iran over its nuclear program. -RFE - 3/16/07

Peaceful use of nuclear energy, Iran's right: FM
Iran's Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said on Friday that Tehran does not intend to have a conflict with the UN but has the right to use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes. Mottaki made the statement while speaking to Italian daily `La Repubblica' on Iran's peaceful nuclear activities. -IRNA - 3/16/07

World Powers Agree on Iran Sanctions at UN
Six world powers are jointly asking the U.N. Security Council to toughen sanctions against Iran for refusing to halt suspicious nuclear activities. But as correspondent Peter Heinlein reports, Iran's leader denounced the sanctions, and asked to address the Council. -VOA - 3/16/07

Duty Bound
When I took my oath of citizenship, choking with emotion, I repeated with thousands of other new citizens: ¡° I will support and defend the Constitution and laws of the United States of America against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same.¡± -Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/16/07

Green Party Challenges Congress on Iran, FBI Abuses, Halliburton, & Iraq
Green Party leaders called on Congress to reverse course and take positive action to (1) limit President Bush's power to attack Iran; (2) prevent future abuses by repealing the USA Patriot Act; (3) hold Halliburton responsible for wartime profiteering; and (4) force an immediate withdrawal of U.S. troops from Iraq by cutting off funding for the war. - 3/16/07

Iran: The Religious Right's New Bugbear
Last Sunday, Pastor John Hagee, the founder of Christians United for Israel, received a rousing reception at the opening dinner plenary of the annual American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) conference. -IPS - 3/16/07

Four oil giants purchase tender documents of Iran's 17 blocks
Four big oil companies purchased the tender documents of 17 oil blocks in Iran, said National Iranian Oil Company's (NIOC) exploration manager in Tehran on Friday. -MNA - 3/16/07

With friends like these, who needs enemies?
I am appalled by reading the article in Payvand titled "An alert to our Compatriots from Iranian Scholars Living Outside Iran: Iran is on the brink of danger". The article seems to be prescribing Iran's need to capitulate to the American and Israeli's demand? -Shahriar Etemadi, Maryland - 3/16/07

House Leadership Squanders Opportunity to Stand Against Preemptive War on Iran
The House leadership's decision to back away from policies that would help prevent an unnecessary military confrontation with Iran is deplorable. While the risk of a US-Iran conflict remains significant, with both Tehran and Washington playing a dangerous game of brinkmanship, once more Congress has squandered a golden opportunity to take a stand against preemptive war. -NIAC - 3/16/07

XERXES
Few true Love Stories in History have determined a People's Destiny, tested Iron Wills or so positively catalyzed a Nation's Identity so as to last centuries and fill in its most glorious chapters as well as inspire artists, poets and writers through the Ages -Darius KADIVAR - 3/15/07

Police Break Up Teachers Demonstration In Iran
Iranian police forces today disrupted a peaceful protest by teachers in front of the parliament building in Tehran. - 3/15/07

Mist of time briefly recedes in Bolaghi Valley
The mist of time has briefly receded in the Bolaghi Valley of southern Iran, revealing secrets of unknown peoples from ancient times, but soon the mysteries may be buried again under the waters of a reservoir of a dam currently under construction. -MNA - 3/15/07

Five Photographers at Silk Road Gallery
The Silk Road gallery is without the doubt one of top places in Tehran for exhibitions of photography. One main reason is that it is solely devoted to photography and works of photographers. Last week we went to a special event at Silk Road where they were exhibiting some of the award-winning and most commercially successful photographers in Iran. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/15/07

U.S. Audience Applauds Latest Film from Iranian Director Panahi
The box-office line waiting for cancellations confirmed it. The Film Society of Lincoln Center's March 12 screening of famed Iranian director Jafar Panahi's film Offside was a sellout. -USINFO - 3/15/07

Hawksbill turtles laying eggs on Qeshm's beaches
Hawksbill turtles, belonging to the Eretmochelys imbricate species, have started laying eggs on southern beaches of the Persian Gulf island of Qeshm. -IRNA - 3/15/07

IAPAC Holds Inaugural Gala in Orange County
The Iranian American Political Action Committee (IAPAC) held its Inaugural Gala in Orange County on Saturday, March 3, 2007. The reception, entitled "Honoring the Contributions of Iranian Americans,"took place at the Island Hotel in Newport Beach, California. - 3/15/07

Iran denies Russia's claim on debt for Bushehr Plant completion
Saeidi reiterated, "As the head of the Russian Federal Atomic Agency is aware, the Iranian side's payments to the Russian contractor has so far been in dollars and rials, therefor he is right in saying that the Iranians have paid no kopek to the Russians, and I can add we have paid them no rubles either within the past eleven years!" -IRNA - 3/15/07

Call for release of four Iranian journalists held in Kurdish northwest
Reporters Without Borders today called for the release of a total of four journalists held in Iran's Kurdish northwest after the arrests of Kia Jahani on 24 February in Marivan and Aso Salah on 8 March in Sanandaj. Two others arrested earlier, Adnan Hassanpour and Kaveh Javanmard, are still being held without being allowed visits. - 3/15/07

300 Sparks an Outcry in Iran
All of Tehran was outraged. Everywhere I went yesterday, the talk vibrated with indignation over the film 300 ¡ª a movie no one in Iran has seen but everyone seems to know about since it became a major box office surprise in the U.S. -Azadeh Moaveni, TIME - 3/15/07

Iran's auto imports increase by over 150%
Iran's auto imports in the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2006) increased by more than 150 percent when compared with the past year, exceeding 26,000 vehicles. -MNA - 3/15/07

Tell Congress to Require Prior Approval to a Military Operation Against Iran
The House of Reprentatives urgently needs to hear from you about stopping additional funding for the war in Iraq to be used for any military operation against Iran. -NIAC - 3/15/07

Ahmadinejad Says UN Security Council Has 'No Legitimacy'
Amid reports that world powers are expected later today to present the Security Council with a new set of sanctions against Iran for its failure to suspend uranium enrichment, Iran's president says the Security Council has "no legitimacy" in enforcing its resolutions. - 3/15/07

Soccer: Iran's national youth lose 1-0 to Saudi Arabia in Olympic preliminary
Iran's National Youth Football Team (under 23) lost an away qualifier football match for China 2008 Olympics one-nil to Saudi hosts in Riyad on Wednesday evening. -IRNA - 3/15/07

UN Powers Reach 'Agreement in Principle' on New Iran Sanctions
Major world powers have agreed in principle on a package of new U.N. penalties against Iran for its suspect nuclear activities. VOA's correspondent at the United Nations Peter Heinlein reports backers of the deal hope to present it to the Security Council Thursday. - 3/15/07

Celebration of Charshahbe Soori ( Fire Festival) by Iranian community at Toronto
More than 10,000 Iranians from babies to seniors, gathered at Mel Lastman Square on March 13, 2007 to celebrate the traditional Charshanbe Soori. The community enjoyed the advantage of early spring weather with dancing and fire works outdoors. -Saeed Soltanpour - 3/15/07

Iranian ambassador says Iranians detained by Americans could be freed next week
The release of the five could pave the way for more cooperation between Tehran and Washington on stabilizing Iraq. Delegates of the two nations held their first direct talks in years at the Baghdad conference which also brought together Iraq's five other neighbors to discuss resolving the Iraq crisis. -AP - 3/15/07

Iran buys 7 Boeing MD-83s
Iran has purchased seven Boeing MD-83 airplanes from a German company, the Iranian Students News Agency quoted the managing director of the import company as saying on Wednesday. -MNA - 3/15/07

Comic-book movie upsets Iran; get a life
The Iranian government and press are outraged at the Hollywood blockbuster ÌB," which they see as serving in some nefarious way "the policy of the U.S. leadership," in the words of the country's largest newspaper. Certainly, President Bush will be heartened that at least somebody is serving his policy, even if it comes with graphic violence, sexuality and nudity. -Scripps News - 3/15/07

Iranians Celebrate Chahar-Shanbeh Soori, Festival of Fire
Last night Iranian people celebrated the ancient festival of fire or Chahar Shanbeh Soori in all Iranian cities. Sorkhie to az man, Zardieh man az to, literally means your redness (health) is mine, my paleness (pain) is yours. This phrase is whispered in Chaharshanbeh Soori, ancient purification ritual, while people jump over the fire. -CHN - 3/14/07

Amnesty International Urgent Action update on Shadi Sadr and Mahbouhbeh Abbasgholizadeh
Prisoners of conscience Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr remain detained in solitary confinement in Section 209 of Evin Prison in Tehran. Zhila Bani Ya'qoub was released on bail on 9 March. Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh is said to suffer from arthritis and migraine, and Shadi Sadr from chronic stomach pain, possibly an ulcer. - 3/14/07

Iran Charges Five From Teachers' Demonstrations
Iran says it has charged five people with "disturbing public security" at demonstrations by teachers in Tehran on March 6 over low wages, Radio Farda reported. -RFE - 3/14/07

Family Calls For Release Of Jailed Iranian Journalist
The family of jailed Iranian journalist, Ali Farahbakhsh, has expressed concern over his health and called for his release, Radio Farda reported. -RFE - 3/14/07

Iran Says Bushehr Dispute Justifies Enrichment Program
Iran has urged Russia to stick to its obligations. The comment comes a day after the state-run Russian company building Iran's first nuclear power plant at Bushehr, Atomstroieksport, said Russia will not deliver uranium fuel this month as earlier planned because of late payments. - 3/14/07

Velayati: International pressure the price to be paid for nuclear fuel cycle
The Supreme Leader's Advisor for International Affairs Ali Akbar Velayati said here Wednesday that putting up with international pressure was the high price the country was to pay for materializing great projects such as development of nuclear energy. -IRNA - 3/14/07

The possibility of easing tension between the US and Iran
Weekend talks between the US and Iran show Bush's shift to engagement: "It may be an icebreaker." That is the way diplomats in Washington are describing the weekend regional talks in Baghdad that brought US and Iranian diplomats face to face for a hand-shake. -CSM - 3/14/07

Iraq Intensifies Efforts to Expel Iranian Group
For three years, thousands of members of a militant group dedicated to overthrowing Iran's theocracy have lived in a sprawling compound north of Baghdad under the protection of the U.S. military. -Washington Post - 3/14/07

Kazakhstan' President Nazarbayev to visit Iran
President Nursultan Nazarbayev of Kazakhstan will visit Iran soon for talks with Iranian leaders, said Kazakh Ambassador to Iran Yerik Utembayev Tuesday. Also, Utembayev Tuesday put Iran-Kazakhstan trade volume at over two billion dollars in 2006. -IRNA - 3/14/07

Another 3000-Year-Old Brazier Discovered in Qom
The fourth brazier dating back to the Iron Age has been discovered in a temple in Qoli Darvish historic site in Qom province. -CHN - 3/14/07

Crippled, Iraq leans on longtime enemy Iran for trade
While the Bush administration works to stop Iran from meddling in Iraq, Iranian air conditioners fill Iraqi appliance stores, Iranian tomatoes ripen on the window sills of kitchens here and white Iranian-made Peugeots sit in Iraqi driveways. -IHT - 3/14/07

Iranians should engage one another before the West engages Iran
To engage or attack? This is the question gripping pundits on US-Iranian relations as the United Nations deadline for Iran's compliance on its nuclear program has come and gone and the United States participated in talks with Iran, Iraq, and Syria, about Iraq's future. -Nazenin Ansari and Jonathan Paris, CSM - 3/14/07

Israel Says Saudi Plan Could Revive Peace Process
Israel is signaling a new willingness to open peace talks on the basis of a Saudi Arabian initiative first proposed five years ago. But as Robert Berger reports from VOA's Jerusalem bureau, Israel sees the plan as a starting point, while the Arabs see it as the end game. - 3/14/07

German aide adds intrigue in case of missing Iranian
More than a month after a former top official in Iran's Defense Ministry went missing while in Turkey, Germany on Tuesday stirred up the mystery of his disappearance and possible collusion with the West. -IHT - 3/14/07

How Can Two Ladies be a Threat to National Security?
I was on my way to a meeting in center of Tehran today when I passed the office that Mahboubeh Abbasgholizadeh and Shadi Sadr used to work in a couple of years ago. I had met them there several times with other female friends to chat and discuss things. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/13/07

PKCF's Vocational School in Bam near completion
The Popli Khalatbari Charitable Foundation (PKCF) launched a special 'Bam Fund' immediately in response to the earthquake of December 2003 with an initial deposit of £100,000 made from the Foundation's capital. - 3/13/07

For Iranian-born Designer, Fashion Is Ticket to American Dream
When Iranian-born fashion designer Behnaz Sarafpour launched her own line of clothing in 2001, industry insiders predicted that her sophisticated dresses, separates and eveningwear would attract the kind of publicity that quickly translates into big sales. -USINFO - 3/13/07

Iran: Ex-President Rafsanjani Becomes Leading Government Critic
Some Iranian commentators have observed a realignment of political forces in recent months, provoked by intense rhetoric from President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's government. The result could be an opposition comprising forces variously described as centrists or pragmatists, on the one hand, and radicals associated with the president on the other. -RFE - 3/13/07

Israel and Iran report: war of words or words of war
Of all of the options available to Israel to address the threat from Iran, the military option is the least desirable according to a new paper published by Chatham House today. - 3/13/07

10 km Long Ancient Wall Discovered near Pasargadae
By Soudabeh Sadigh A 10-kilometer stone wall has been unearthed north of Pasargadae historic site during the excavations of Iran-Japan joint team in Bolaghi Gorge. -CHN - 3/13/07

Norouz Mobarak! Iranian Culture Club celebrates New Year, raises funds for homeland
Members of San Francisco's Iranian community attended a celebration of the Iranian New Year, Friday, at San Francisco State University. The event, organized by the Iranian Culture Club, was held to help promote knowledge about the most celebrated of all Iranian holidays, Norouz, and to help raise funds for those in need in Iran. - 3/13/07

Ahmadinejad trip to New York would legitimize UN decision: analyst
President Mahmud Ahmadinejad should distance himself from his previous stances if he wants to brief the UN Security Council on Iran's nuclear program, international affairs analyst Ali Khorram said in Tehran on Monday. -MNA - 3/13/07

Iranian MPs denounce Hollywood film 300
Iranian members of parliament on Monday deprecated the production and screening of the Hollywood film 300. In a letter to Foreign Ministry and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the MPs stressed the necessity for measures and negotiations to prevent the screening of the anti-Iranian movie in the world especially in Malaysia. -MNA - 3/13/07

Study Calls for More Investment by State Oil Companies
A new study of state-owned oil companies says these so-called National Oil Companies, or NOCs, control most of the world's known energy reserves and hold the key to any increased energy production in the years ahead. - 3/13/07

Russian company says delay in completion of Bushehr plant unavoidable
Spokeswoman of Russian contractor of Bushehr nuclear power plant "Atomstroiexport" said considering the lack of bimonthly financial supply of the project, delay in commissioning and delivering nuclear fuel to Bushehr power plant in unavoidable. -IRNA - 3/13/07

Iranian-American in line to be Beverly Hills mayor
An Iranian-American claimed victory Friday in his run for re-election to the City Council, placing him in line to become the first Persian-born mayor of a community that for decades has been a hub for exiles of Iran's 1979 revolution. -AP - 3/13/07

UN Envoys Draw Closer On Iran Sanctions Resolution
All 15 members of the United Nations Security Council are expected to begin consultations today over the imposition of additional sanctions on Iran for its refusal to halt uranium enrichment. -RFE - 3/13/07

Human Rights Council: Address Abuses in 26 Countries
The Human Rights Council, whose fourth session begins on March 12, has a growing backlog of abuses it must address, Human Rights Watch said in a briefing paper released today. - 3/13/07

Iran to open bank in Iraq
Bank Melli Iran (BMI) will open a branch in Baghdad and other cities southern Iraq in a bid to boost banking ties with the neighboring state, Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported here on Tuesday. -MNA - 3/13/07

Iran's nuclear vision first glimpsed at MIT
The young Iranians arrived in Cambridge in the summer of 1975, part of a historic venture between their government and Massachusetts Institute of Technology to train the first generation of Iranian nuclear scientists. The program began as a symbol of friendship but quickly became a lesson in unintended consequences. -Boston Globe - 3/13/07

OPEC members to meet in Vienna March 14-15
Iranian Oil Minister Kazem Vaziri-Hamaneh left Tehran for Vienna Monday night at the head of a delegation to attend the 144th session of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC). -IRNA - 3/13/07

End of Cowboy Diplomacy, Part II?
It was just nine months ago when Newsweek spoke for the conventional wisdom at that moment when it pronounced "The End of Cowboy Diplomacy." The phrase signaled the apparent victory – at last – of the State Department-led "realist" wing over hawks led by Vice President Dick Cheney and then-Pentagon chief Donald Rumsfeld in gaining control over the foreign policy of President George W. Bush. -Antiwar.com - 3/13/07

A few words on the unethical movie 300 produced by Warner Brothers Company of USA
One more time the world is witnessing the true face of hypocrisy and disrespect towards other cultures by a few who would put their profits before any kinds of rules of decency. One more time the world is witnessing the distortion of facts, unethical behavior of directors such as Zack Snyder. -Abolfazl Moghadam - 3/13/07

Iran releases German prisoner
German citizen Donald Cline who had been imprisoned in Iran for illegal entry into Iran's coastal waters was released in Tehran and handed over to German Embassy officials. -IRNA - 3/13/07

Women's Rights Defenders Now in Solitary Confinement, Deemed A Threat To Iran's National Security
Shadi Sadr and Mahboubeh Abasgholizadeh have been arraigned, charged with being a ¡°threat to national security,¡± and remanded on March 11 by Evin Ward 209 interrogators authorized by the Ministry of Intelligence of Islamic Republic of Iran. Sadr and Abasgholizadeh are the only two women who still remain in custody after their arrest last week. - 3/12/07

Persian Gulf environmental arts in U.S. Green Museum
The Persian Gulf environmental arts festival was displayed at Green Museum, U.S. The festival was introduced as the most attractive and thrilling environmental event among New Year programs in the current year by the directors of the museum. -ISNA - 3/12/07

Prisoners of conscience: A hundred beats
When I was in Tehran this past January I met and wrote about an academic who was actively involved in lobbying against gender discrimination and violence towards women. After an exchange of pleasantries and some unsweetened black tea the professor took out a file of papers. She was working on two campaigns directed at amending some of the repressive laws against women in her country -Fatima Bhutto - 3/12/07

Iran to celebrate World Poetry Day March 21
Literati and literature lovers will come together in the historical Iranian city of Shiraz on March 21 to celebrate World Poetry Day concurrently with the beginning of new Iranian year. -MNA - 3/12/07

Iran Lifts Ban On Leading Reformist Daily
Iranian authorities have lifted a ban on the "Shargh" newspaper, the country's best-selling reformist daily until it was shut down by the country's press watchdog in September. - 3/12/07

In The Arena With Omid Djalili
The Former Student of the University of Ulster, Coleraine in Northern Ireland who earned a degree in English and theater studies, has surely come a long way. Happily married to British actress/director Annabel Knight and father of three children, Omid Djalili¡¯s talent has been finally acknowledged by his fellow compatriots of the Iranian Diaspora -Darius KADIVAR - 3/12/07

Iran: Tehran Remains Suspicious After Baghdad Conference
Iran's Foreign Ministry has called the March 10 Baghdad security conference a good "first step" toward the eventual restoration of peace in Iraq. But individually, Iranian officials have appeared wary of the United States and its motives at the conference. -RFE - 3/12/07

France's FM: Iran Nuke Progress Possible With Firmness, Dialogue
France's foreign minister says he believes progress on the Iranian nuclear crisis is still possible using a combination of firmness and dialogue. -VOA - 3/12/07

Russian delegation in Tehran for talks over Bushehr power plant
A Russian delegation comprising officials and experts of Atomstroiexport, the company that is building the Bushehr nuclear power plant, arrived Monday in Tehran to settle a dispute over an alleged default in payment by Iran for the plant. -IRNA - 3/12/07

US and Iran break ice over Iraq
The one-day conference of Iraq's neighbours, attended by other interested parties including the Americans and British, seems to have passed off as well as anybody expected. -BBC - 3/12/07

Minister puts Iran's foreign debt at over $23b
Iran's foreign debt has reached 23.3 billion dollars, the Economy Minister Davud Danesh-Ja'fari said on Sunday -MNA - 3/12/07

Questions for Abbas Kiarostami: Tales From Tehran
Q: New York’s Museum of Modern Art is screening 32 of your films this month and touting your accomplishments as one of the great film directors of our time. I imagine you are less celebrated back home in Tehran. -New York Times - 3/12/07

Baghdad seeks new relationship with Tehran: Iraqi VP
Iraqi Vice President Tareq al-Hashemi said in Tehran on Sunday that he is visiting Iran to pave the way for a new relationship between Baghdad and Tehran. - 3/12/07

Bush Finds Iraq Conference 'Positive'
President Bush says the Iraq regional conference held Saturday in Baghdad was positive, but he is waiting to see if participants turn their words into action. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports the president spoke in Bogota, Colombia at the midway point of his Latin American tour. - 3/12/07

US should drop preconditions for Iran talks, says Hans Blix
Former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Hans Blix is repeating his call for the second time in a week to drop US-led demands for Iran to unconditionally suspend its enrichment program. -IRNA - 3/12/07

Family Says Missing Former Iranian Official 'Kidnapped'
Relatives of former Iranian Deputy Defense Minister Ali Reza Asghari have reportedly said he was kidnapped by the United States or Israel. - 3/12/07

Iran Says Baghdad Conference On Iraq 'Constructive'
Iran today termed the international conference on Iraq's security held in Baghdad the previous day as "serious and constructive" and pledged support for any effort to help stabilize its neighbor. - 3/11/07

Movie 300: A tale of pure fantasy
Being an Iranian and having heard of all the many negative remarks, petitions, and other complaints, I decided to see the movie 300 for myself while fully prepared to be totally offended. But after stomaching two hours of the most gruesome graphic scenes, I walked out feeling sorrier for the Greeks. -Daniel M Pourkesali - 3/11/07

Iran: Boxoffice numbers stand at $8.6m for the year
Iranian director Tahmineh Milani's "Cease-Fire" broke all the box-office records of the past five years, making over 10 billion rials ($1.07 million) in ticket sales in 122 days. -MNA - 3/11/07

International Forum Seeks Place For Persian-Based Media
More than 60 media representatives from a handful of countries have wrapped up the first day of a conference in the Tajik capital, Dushanbe, on Persian-language media. Organizers hope the three-day gathering will result in the formation of an association of Persian-speaking journalists and find grounds for future cooperation. -RFE - 3/11/07

Underground City of Nooshabad to Open Up to Public in Norouz
After about three years, tourists waiting to see the underground city of Nooshabad can visit this historic sity during Norouz (Persian New Year) Holidays. -CHN - 3/11/07

Telecommunication Company Of Iran to be privatized
"The TCI would be the first gigantic state firm that would be privatized in line with materializing the objectives of Constitution's Article 44, and in accordance with the government's relative ratification." -Taliya News - 3/11/07

Iraq Says Neighbors Can Play Positive Role in Country's Security
At a regional security conference in Baghdad, Iraqi leaders focused on the positive role Iraq's neighbors can play in improving security, but they also warned the country must not be used as a battleground for international conflicts. VOA's Barry Newhouse reports from the Iraqi capital, representatives from the United States and Iran talked with each other during the meeting about security in Iraq. - 3/11/07

Iran Criticizes Russian Company For Nuclear Delays
Iran complained today that financing problems at the Russian contractor building its first atomic plant at Bushehr is behind repeated delays. - 3/11/07

Iran capable of producing 4.2m barrels of oil, 300m cu. m. of gas per day: official
Iran has the potential to produce 4.2 million barrels of oil and 300 million cubic meters of natural gas per day, a report on Saturday quoted the deputy oil minister as saying. -MNA - 3/11/07

AFGHANISTAN: Women's hopes for equality fade
Women's rights have fallen down the agenda behind countering a growing insurgency, tackling opium production and confronting endemic corruption. "Day by day the government's support for women's development fades," said Hangama Anwari, a member of Afghanistan's Independent Human Rights Commission (AIHRC). -IRIN - 3/11/07

Iraqi Supreme Criminal Court to hold trial against MKO ringleaders
The court has evidence of war crimes and involvement in the crackdown on Iraqi people during rule of Iraqi dictator Saddam Hussein by Mujahedin Khalq Organization, al-Mousavi said. -IRNA - 3/11/07

Protesters Aim To Take Over Lawmakers’ Offices, Fight War Funding
Some opponents of the Iraq war are taking their protests straight to Congress — staging “occupations” in lawmakers’ offices on Capitol Hill and in their home communities. -AP - 3/11/07

Iran mediates in Sudan-Chad talks
Iranian Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki mediated in a meeting between Chadian Foreign Minister Ahmad Allam-Mi and Sudanese presidential advisor Mustafa Osman Ismail in Tehran on Thursday. -MNA - 3/11/07

Bushehr power plant's key facilities to be operational by March 13
Buildings housing pumping facilities and the 400-kilovolt power station of Bushehr nuclear power plant will become operational on Tuesday, March 13. -IRNA - 3/11/07

Ex-Weapons Boss: Iran War on Way
The United States is going to war with Iran, according to Scott Ritter, former chief weapons inspector for the United Nations. "He says all options are on the table," said Ritter, "but the president has already made up his mind." -Portsmouth Herald - 3/11/07

US envoy welcomes Iranian delegation to Baghdad
The US Ambassador to Iraq Zalmay Khalilzad on the sidelines of Baghdad meeting on Saturday approached the Iranian delegation and welcomed their attendance in the meeting. According to an informed source, Khalilzad shook hands with members of the Iranian delegation. -IRNA - 3/10/07

Nazri Cooking: How religion and tradition interact
Today is Arbaeen, the 40th day after the death of Imam Hossein, the 3rd Imam in Shia Islam who was martyred in Kabala. This Imam is highly regarded in Iran and many people cook food in his memory (Nazri) and give it to the poor, friends and family. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/10/07

Tahmineh Milani using Persepolis backdrop to promote world peace
Celebrated Iranian filmmaker Tahmineh Milani shot a music video for world peace at Persepolis on Thursday. The film, featuring a number of Iranian children clad in various traditional costumes singing a ballad, is to be showcased at the United Nations and by a number of international television networks. -MNA - 3/10/07

U.S. and Iran have been talking, quietly
The White House insists that the United States won't talk directly with Iran until Tehran suspends its nuclear program. But U.S. officials have been discreetly meeting their Iranian counterparts one-on-one for more than a decade, often under the auspices of the United Nations. -Los Angeles Times - 3/10/07

Iran: 'Pressure Groups' Maintain Role In Politics
There are recent indications in Iran of a resurgence of what some politicians have ominously dubbed the "pressure group." It is a reference to an ill-defined set of people with radical political ideas and intransigent religious beliefs who have in the past exerted their "pressure" by beating people or disrupting meetings. -RFE - 3/10/07

Baghdad Hosts Key Security Conference
Officials from the United States, Iran, and Syria -- plus a dozen other states and regional organizations -- have been meeting in Baghdad. The first-of-its kind conference is aimed at engaging Iraq's neighbors, especially Iran and Syria, in efforts to curb the violence in the country. -RFE - 3/10/07

Russia, China Balk at Tighter Iran Nuclear Sanctions
Russia and China have expressed deep concern about Western proposals for tough financial penalties against Iran for its controversial nuclear program. From U.N. headquarters, VOA's Peter Heinlein reports negotiations on a Security Council sanctions resolution are still in a preliminary stage. - 3/10/07

Iraq hosts security talks amid explosions
Iraq's prime minister Nouri al-Mailiki has issued a stern warning that unless Iraq's neighbours - including Iran and Syria - united to help to shut down networks supplying both Sunni and Shia extremists, Iraq's escalating sectarian bloodshed would inevitably engulf the Middle East. -Guardian - 3/10/07

Iranian Foreign Ministry summons German and Belgian envoys
Foreign Ministry Director for Western European Affairs Ebrahim Rahimpur expressed surprise over the permission given to the terrorist Mojahedin Khalq Organization (MKO) to hold a conference in Belgium. -MNA - 3/10/07

Iran to offer Russia new financial proposal on Bushehr nuclear plant
Tehran will offer Russia a new proposal to resolve the financial problems over the transfer of nuclear fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Deputy Director Mohammad Saeedi said in Tehran on Saturday. -MNA - 3/10/07

Dushanbe To Host Conference Of Farsi Media
Tajikistan will hold a conference of Farsi-speaking media beginning March 11. Over 60 media representatives from countries including Iran, Afghanistan, Uzbekistan, Kazakhstan, and Russia are expected to attend the three-day meeting in the capital, Dushanbe. -RFE - 3/10/07

Dusti Dam to start water supply to Mashhad soon
Iranian Minister of Energy Parviz Fattah announced on Saturday that a major water conveyance project aimed at transferring the water from the Dusti Dam (Friendship Dam) to Mashhad in northeastern Iran will be implemented by next May. -MNA - 3/10/07

Iran ready for 'constructive dialogue' with Argentina on AMIA case
Iran's charge d'affaires in Buenos Aires said Iran is ready to have 'constructive dialogue with good will' with Argentinian government on AMIA dossier. -IRNA - 3/10/07

Arrests fail to halt Iran protest
Police in Iran arrested trade unionists in an unsuccessful attempt to stop thousands of teachers protesting against President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's economic policies outside Iran's parliament, the Guardian has learned. -Guardian - 3/10/07

Iran Under Fire for Crackdown on Women Activists
Amnesty International and Human Rights Watch are accusing Iran of increasing persecution and legal prosecution of women's rights activists. As VOA's Stephanie Ho reports, the two groups held a joint news conference in Washington Thursday to mark International Women's Day. -VOA - 3/9/07

The Persian Empire Strikes Back
The timing for the latest Warner Bros Epic battle movie 300 is clearly unfortunate but maybe not so. Based on Veteran comic book artist Frank Miller¡¯s gory depiction of the ancient Battle of Thermopylae in 480 B.C, that is said to have opposed 300 Spartans to the massive Persian Army of King Xerxes the Great, it is an action packed, sexually provocative and bloody spectacle that clearly deserves its R-Rated label. -Darius KADIVAR - 3/9/07

Fundraising at Tehran's 7th Tir Rehabilitation Center for Girls
Yesterday we went to one of their bazaars, selling handicrafts, some of which the girls had made. We were able to buy several gifts for Norouz, including a lovely little Haft Sin set. Here are some photographs for you! -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/9/07

US Coercion of India against Iran at IAEA
In two crucial votes at the Governors' Board of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), in 2005 and 2006, India voted against Iran. The first time to condemn Iran for not meeting its obligations under the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) and the second time to report Iran's file to the UN Security Council. -Siddharth Varadarajan interviewed by Abbas Edalat - 3/9/07

Iranian Films at The Tiburon International Film Festival
Tiburon- CA: The Tiburon International Film Festival is pleased to announce the following Iranian films at its March 22-30, 2007 festival: Full or Empty, Towards Sunset, On a Friday Afternoon, American Fugitive: The Truth About Hassan, ... - 3/9/07

A Message from Save the Children, USA to the Iranian-American community
I am honored to share with you that, Dr. Nastaran Midramadi Zonozi, an Iranian living in Washington, DC Metropolitan area has been a dedicated supporter of Save the Children since August 2005 and currently serves as the Vice President of Program and Outreach for the Washington DC Leadership Council. - 3/9/07

Iraq: Baghdad Security Conference Takes Shape
The world will be closely watching for signs that international envoys gathered in Baghdad might help ease the crisis in Iraq. Baghdad hosts a security conference beginning on March 10 that includes Iraq's neighbors and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council. -RFE - 3/9/07

Watchdog launched to monitor media bias against Iran
A new media monitoring body was launched today aimed exclusively at highlighting and challenging distorted or misleading reporting on Iran. Launched in the House of Commons the group, part of the Westminster Committee on Iran, will monitor the news media and use a system of ¡°rapid rebuttal¡± to confront political bias where ever it occurs. - 3/9/07

Iran Economy News: New Refineries, Untapped Export Potentials, Oil Revenue
According to Petroleum Ministry officials, Iran is expected to earn around $52 billion in oil revenues during the current Iranian year, ending March. Iran's average crude oil price for the year is expected to stand around $56 per barrel. -Iran Investment Monthly - 3/9/07

London professor offers El-Baradei a private history lesson
Dr Mohamed El-Baradei, the Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has been criticized for not speaking the whole truth about Iran’s nuclear programme. The criticism comes in the wake of Dr El-Baradei’s statement that Iran’s concealment of its nuclear programme for some 18 years sets it apart from all other nations. - 3/9/07

Iran's successful blend: charity, ideology
Iran Thursday marked an annual day of giving to the charity, known as Komiteh Emdad in Farsi, which is named after the founder of Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution. Today, Emdad reaches 4.5 million of Iran's 68 million residents, and by its own tally caters for 92 percent of Iran's poorest people in 52,800 towns and villages. -CSM - 3/9/07

In nuclear dispute with Iran UN atomic watchdog suspends 22 technical aid projects
The Board of Governors of the United Nations atomic watchdog agency today suspended 22 technical aid projects in Iran in conformity with sanctions imposed by the Security Council over a programme that Tehran says is for producing energy but which critics maintain is for making nuclear weapons. - 3/9/07

Iranian women struggle for equality
The one million signature campaign to change the law began with a peaceful protest last June in one of Iran's biggest squares. Women activists sat on the grass and sang feminist songs. Within minutes the police beat them and started firing tear gas and mace spray. -BBC - 3/9/07

US Ready to Raise Iraq Concerns With Iran, Syria
Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice's top Iraqi affairs adviser says U.S. diplomats are prepared to raise concerns over Iraq directly with Iranian and Syrian counterparts at a Baghdad conference Saturday. -VOA - 3/9/07

Afghan, Iranian Security Forces Clash On Border
Officials in Kabul say a clash between Afghan and Iranian border guards in western Afghanistan has left one Afghan and at least one Iranian dead, RFE/RL's Radio Free Afghanistan reported. - 3/9/07

What Would You Do if You Were Iran?
The greatest insight into a difficult and complex matter often comes from an outside observer. In late February the International Atomic Energy Agency announced that Iran had accelerated rather than suspended its uranium enrichment activities. Vice President Dick Cheney, speaking from Australia, immediately warned Tehran, “All options are still on the table.” -Tad Daley, Truthdig - 3/9/07

Campaign to Free Women's Rights Defenders in Iran: Three Women's Rights Defenders Remain in Detention
This year, the International Women's Day is marked by the attack, arrest and detention of women's rights defenders in front of Tehran's Revolutionary Court. On Sunday March 4, thirty three women were arrested following a peaceful demonstration. As of now thirty of these women have been released. Those released confirm that the remaining women— Shadi Sadr, Mahbubeh Abbasgholizadeh, and Jila Baniyaghoub,— are still in ward 209 of Evin Prison - 3/8/07

An Alert to our Compatriots from Iranian Scholars Living Outside Iran: Iran is on the brink of danger
In the immediate aftermath of the U.S. invasion of Iraq, and alarmed by the overthrow of Saddam Hussein¡¯s regime, high-ranking officials of the Islamic Republic offered to negotiate with the Bush administration, recognize Israel, and stop funding Islamic militants in Palestine and Lebanon. More recently, however, the ruling elite has been provoking the United States under the false perception that the U.S. is unable to launch an attack on Iran. -41 Signatories - 3/8/07

Iranian Police Clash With Women's Day Protesters
Police in Tehran today clashed with rights activists who gathered in front of the Iranian parliament to mark International Women's Day. Reports say the crowd -- which included students and women -- was attacked by police with batons. -RFE - 3/8/07

HAPPY INTERNATIONAL WOMEN'S DAY
Yesterday it was raining on and off all the time, but today the sun was bright and the weather was pleasant but the best news of all was that almost all of our friends were released very early this morning at about 2 AM. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/8/07

Camp Ayandeh 2007: IAAB's Iranian-American Leadership Camp
Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) announced in the beginning of February details of its second annual Iranian-American leadership camp, appropriately named Camp Ayandeh. IAAB’s Camp Ayandeh will be held at Hemlock Overlook Center for Outdoor Education in Clifton, Virginia the week of July 1-7, 2007 and is open to rising high school sophomores through graduating high school seniors. - 3/8/07

Iraq: Hopes High For Baghdad Security Conference
Iraqi Prime Minister Nuri al-Maliki says he hopes an international conference hosted by Baghdad will help build a regional consensus on how to end violence in his country. -RFE - 3/8/07

Iran: Ex-Defense Official's Whereabouts Remain A Mystery
The fate of a former Iranian defense official remains a mystery a month after his disappearance in Turkey. At least one Iranian official has suggested that onetime Deputy Defense Minister Alireza Asghari was kidnapped by Western intelligence services. Others have claimed the retired general defected to the West. -RFE - 3/8/07

Open Letter to Senator Feinstein
Dear Senator Feinstein, You are not responding to the following points which I will once more reiterate as concisely as I can. Iran is a member of the Non Proliferation Treaty. According to the terms of the NPT, members have the right to enrich uranium up to a certain level for use in generating electrical power. This is Iran's goal not nuclear weapons. Iran does not have enough electricity. -Brian H Appleton - 3/8/07

Changing Politics in Iran: Jafar Panahi's Offside at The Film Society of Lincoln Center
Hamid Dabashi, Hagop Kevorkian Professor of Iranian Studies at Columbia University and a noted writer on Iranian cinema, will offer his views on the current state of political life in Iran, with special emphasis on recent developments and changes that have generally escaped the notice of foreign media. -Monday, March 12: 7:00 pm - 3/8/07

Suspicious bird flu deaths in Tehran's Pardisan Park
Birds dying under suspicious circumstances have been noted in Tehran's Pardisan Park which could have been caused by an outbreak of bird flu, the Islamic Students NewAgency (ISNA) reported. - 3/8/07

Ahmadinejad challenged for control of Iran's economy
Rafsanjani says his rival has failed to enact reforms. Row erupts after supreme leader shores up president : The bitter rivalry between Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and the country's leading elder statesman has erupted into a public struggle for control over economic policy. -Guardian - 3/8/07

International Women's Day: Irene Khan and Shirin Ebadi call for end to discrimination against women in Iran
On the 98th annual celebration of International Women's Day, we call on the Government of Iran to abolish urgently laws that discriminate against women. - 3/8/07

Iran, Russia Hold Talks Over Bushehr Nuclear Plant
First day of talks between Deputy International Affairs Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and Russian contractor in charge of constructing Iran's Bushehr Nuclear Plant, Atomstroiexport ended Wednesday night. -IRNA - 3/8/07

GC can reject laws contrary to Outlook Plan: Rafsanjani
"According to the Article 44 privatization plan, the Guardian Council can prevent laws which run contrary to the 20-Year Outlook Plan from being approved," Rafsanjani told reporters at a press conference. -MNA - 3/8/07

Iran's annual motor vehicles production to exceed 1 million
Iranian automakers' production in the current Iranian calendar year (March 21, 2006-March 20, 2007), is expected to go beyond one million vehicles, Minister of Industries and Mines Alireza Tahmasbi announced in Tehran on Wednesday. -MNA - 3/8/07

Foreign investments in Iran reaches 13 billion dollars
Deputy minister of economic affairs and finance has announced that the amount of foreign investments in the current Iranian year (started March 21, 2006) has reached 13 billion dollars. -MNA - 3/8/07

US Government Holds Hearings on Iran
Iran remains a top concern for the United States because of Iran's refusal to restrict its nuclear program. The U.S. also accuses Iran of supporting terrorist groups in the Middle East. VOA's Ernest Leong reports. - 3/8/07

UN nuclear agency cuts Iran aid
The UN's nuclear agency, the IAEA, has approved cuts in technical aid to Iran, in line with UN sanctions which were imposed in December. -BBC - 3/8/07

Women in Iran: Repression and resistance
The claim of rights by women in modern Iran builds on the pioneering work of earlier generations, reports Nasrin Alavi. -Open Democracy - 3/8/07

High Commissioner For Human Rights Concerned Over Arrest Of Women Activists In Iran
United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour today expressed strong concern over the arrest by the security police of at least 31 women activists during a peaceful gathering in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran on 4 March. - 3/8/07

Lufthansa flight to Tehran grounded after threat: German official
A Lufthansa airliner bound for Tehran had to be grounded for nearly eight hours at Frankfurt's Rhein-Main Airport on Tuesday, airport authorities told IRNA on Thursday. - 3/8/07

Germany's E.on Wants to Buy Iranian Natural Gas
German energy giant E.on has confirmed it is in talks with Iran to buy natural gas -- although Germany is currently discussing further sanctions over Iran's nuclear program with its allies. -Spiegel - 3/8/07

Sunnis will not be persuaded that Iran is their real enemy
Washington's attempt to pave the way for another invasion by fomenting anti-Shia sectarianism in the Middle East will fail -Guardian - 3/8/07

US ally Musharraf in a tangle over Iran
The intense pressure from Washington on President General Pervez Musharraf of Pakistan to be cooperative in the "war on terror" is yielding dramatic results, although perhaps not of the kind initially anticipated. -Global Research - 3/8/07

Iran: Release Women's Rights Advocates
The Iranian government should immediately release the 26 prominent women's rights activists arrested on March 4, and stop its prosecution and persecution of all women's rights advocates, Human Rights Watch said today. Human Rights Watch is deeply concerned about the health and safety of the detainees, and holds the Iranian government fully responsible for their well-being. - 3/7/07

Iran women in jail hunger strike
A group of Iranian women activists are continuing a hunger strike in prison, after eight of their number were freed. -BBC - 3/7/07

Emergency Summit in Berkeley to Prevent War with Iran
Saturday March 10, 10am-4-pm. The morning session will feature speakers who will offer analysis on the current situation, followed by a question and answer session. The afternoon session will feature discussions on topics such as: Producing more with less, Power of many, Learning from our successes and failures, etc. - Hands Off Iran - 3/7/07

Jafar Panahi on Offside
Many Iranian girls love soccer as much as their countrymen and sport fans all over the world but, they are prevented by law from attending live soccer matches in their country. Inspired by the day when his own daughter was refused entry to a soccer stadium in Iran, Jafar Panahi's OFFSIDE follows a day in the life of a group of Iranian girls attempting to watch their team's World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain at the stadium in Tehran. - 3/7/07

Quake hits western Iran, injuring 35
An earthquake measuring 4.8 on the Richter scale jolted the city of Doroud and its surrounding areas in the western province of Lorestan early Wednesday, injuring some 35 residents. -IRNA - 3/7/07

I love to fight
In a far away place, Hillary Clinton announced her intention to run for president in 2008. She sat on CNN and in her American twang highlighted the problems of the Bush Administration. "Obviously (awb-veeously) they have failed in every possible (pah-sihbel) way: We have to reign in Iran and Syria and it has to be done now." Oh please. This from a country where a woman has never made it to the vice presidency, let alone the presidency? -Fatima Bhutto - 3/7/07

Iran's Market Overview: January 2007
“Jittery” can best describe the market in January 2007. Anxiety over the impact of the sanctions, under United Nations’ Resolution1737, was prevalent among investors. This, coupled with a rise in sell orders by investors to realize quick gains following significant price hikes in some sectors over the last few months, drove the market into a virtual shock mode. -Iran Investment Monthly - 3/7/07

Iran's nuclear confab opens in Isfahan
Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the event, the executive secretary of the conference, Mohammad-Reza Abdi, said that about 500 individuals including the officials of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization (IAEO), university instructors, researchers and students majoring in nuclear sciences and technologies are participating in the ongoing seminar. -IRNA - 3/7/07

Tehran Art Scene: Soraya Amanpour
Soraya Amanpour is an artist with class. Every year or so, this elegant and lovely lady stages an exhibition of the fruits of her joy. Jewellery making, whether it is a modern necklace, an unusual and classy brooch or an eye catching pair of earrings, is her hobby. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/7/07

Eastern Porch of Darius' Palace Discovered in Bolaghi Gorge
Following the discovery of black plinths, archeologists succeeded in pinpointing the location of the eastern porch of a palace denoted to Achaemenid King Darius the Great, found recently in Bolaghi Gorge, Fars province. -CHN - 3/7/07

US State Department's 2006 Report on Human Rights Practices in Iran
U.S. State Department, Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights, and Labor, released the 2006 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices on March 6, 2007. The following is the full text of the Iran country report. - 3/7/07

Iranian-Born Songwriter Begins First Journey Back Home
Iranian-born Fred Nassiri travels back to his native country for the first time in more than 26 years. For the songwriter and philanthropist who travels the world with his musical message of peace, it will be an emotional journey. He says he also hopes to be able to mediate between Iran and the United States on the nuclear stand off. -VOA - 3/7/07

Iran warns of serious response if 5+1 goes extreme
Iran will give a serious response if the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany adopt hard-line approaches toward Iran's nuclear program, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Larijani said in Tehran on Tuesday. -MNA - 3/7/07

Iran's 2006 auto deals with Russia, China worth over $1 billion
Iran has inked three automaking contracts valued at more than $1 billion with Russia and China since the current Iranian calendar year (started March 21, 2006), Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA) reported on Tuesday. -MNA - 3/7/07

Senator Webb's Leash for the Dog of War
If our new Virginia Senator, Jim Webb, didn't impress enough yet with his memorable response to the President's State of the Union address, he's leading the political troops again with a bold measure to rein in the Imperial Presidency. -Scott Harrop - 3/7/07

IMF Executive Board Concludes 2006 Article IV Consultation with the Islamic Republic of Iran
With high oil prices and a significant policy stimulus, the Iranian economy continued to grow strongly in 2005/06 (fiscal year starts March 21). Real GDP growth is estimated at 5½ percent. Oil GDP growth was modest owing to capacity constraints, while non-oil GDP growth was broad-based, reaching 6 percent. -IMF - 3/7/07

Mandating America to Treatment - A Counselor's Perspective
The American psyche, as it were, and its perpetual wars and honeymoons with various peoples of the world, remind me of the cases of domestic violence I see in my work as a psychotherapist. -Shirin Shokouhi, Common Dreams - 3/7/07

Iran: Time for shrewd diplomacy
To maintain its national interests and solve its political problems, the wisest course of action for Iran would be to properly inform the West about the nature of its major strategic interests. -Behnam Elmi - 3/7/07

Information and Communication Technology Underdeveloped in Iran
Iran is among most underdeveloped countries in terms of information and communication technology and the only way to solve this problem is to get rid of the ruling state management over this technology and to move to private management system. -Taliya News - 3/7/07

Iran: Amnesty International appeal for more than 30 women detained following demonstration
More than 30 women are reportedly being held incommunicado without charge in Evin Prison in the capital, Tehran. Amnesty International believes them to be prisoners of conscience, detained solely for participating in a peaceful protest. - 3/6/07

Cheetahs collared for first time in Iran
Wildlife biologists have successfully fitted two Asiatic cheetahs in Iran with Global Positioning Satellite (GPS)collars which would allow scientists to better understand the needs of this critically endangered species and aid efforts to save it from extinction. -IRNA - 3/6/07

Arrested Iranian women were only exercising their constitutional rights
Many of you have seen the news about the arrest of over 30 women activists in Tehran on Sunday.These ladies should not have been arrested at all. Whether we agree with their strategy, whether they are close personal friends, whether they were wise, whether they have children, whether they have been to court before. The fact remains that they were arrested and have been put in prison for no reason apart from exercising their constitutional rights for peaceful gatherings (Section 27). -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/6/07

A Love Letter from Iran
Review of the new book of photographs of Iran: "Iran: A View from Here" by Kamran Ashtary and Tori Egherman -Kamin Mohammadi - 3/6/07

Winners of Etessami Literary Award announced
Expressing gratitude to all women of the country, the jury praised the female literary figures for their wisdom and endeavor which help introduce Iran's female figures to the world. Poetess and writer Parvin Dolatabadi was announced as the veteran literary figure. -MNA - 3/6/07

Iran: Arrests of women may be an attempt to prevent International Women's Day calls for equality
Amnesty International today called for the immediate and unconditional release of over 30 women activists who were arrested on Sunday, 4 March while staging a peaceful demonstration in Tehran. The organization believes the arrests may be intended to deter activists from organizing events to mark International Women's Day on 8 March. - 3/6/07

Iran's rich architecture and rare treasures threatened by possible US strikes
In his quiet office at the British Museum, among the portraits of long-dead explorers and copies of 3,000-year-old inscriptions, one of the greatest experts on the archaeology of the Middle East has a series of maps of Iranian nuclear installations spread out across his desk. -Guardian - 3/6/07

Israel and Iran Share Most Negative Ratings in Global Poll
Most people believe Israel and Iran have a mainly negative influence in the world with almost as many saying the same about North Korea and the United States, according to a BBC World Service poll of 28,000 people across 27 countries. - 3/6/07

US Lawmaker Seeks to Bar Funds for Military Action Against Iran
A U.S. senator has introduced legislation that would prohibit President Bush from spending money on unilateral military action against Iran without the consent of Congress. -VOA - 3/6/07

Iran: Activists Arrested Ahead Of International Women's Day
The arrests are the culmination of a year of increasing pressure on women's rights activists, who have been arrested, summoned to court, threatened, and harassed. Their protests have also been disrupted -- in some cases violently -- and their websites have been blocked. -RFE - 3/6/07

Iran-Venezuela ties founded on joint interests, concerns: Iranian FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said in Tehran on Tuesday that relations between Iran and Venezuela were based on common interests and concerns. Mottaki's remarks came during a meeting with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Nicolas Maduro Moros. -IRNA - 3/6/07

AFGHANISTAN: Severe winter causes more pneumonia child deaths
Doctors in Afghanistan say that a particularly cold winter this year has increased the number of children dying of pneumonia. Thousands of children contract the respiratory illness every winter in Afghanistan, where difficult living conditions and inadequate medical care can make it a fatal illness. -IRIN - 3/6/07

Israel concerned over Iran-Saudi cooperation
Israeli Foreign Minister Tzipi Livni appeared to be criticizing Monday Saudi Arabia for receiving Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Ahmadinejad made his first official visit to meet Saudi King Abdullah in Riyadh on Saturday and the two countries pledge to work for Muslim unity. -IRNA - 3/6/07

Chinese contractors to develop Tehran-Shomal Freeway project: minister
All the problems regarding the participation of the Chinese contractors in the construction of the Tehran-Shomal Freeway project have been resolved, noted the Minister of Roads and Transportation Mohammad Rahmati on Tuesday. -MNA - 3/6/07

Iraq: Official Says Neighbors 'Must Do More'
On March 10, Baghdad will host a meeting of representatives from neighboring countries, as well as regional powers and permanent members of the UN Security Council, to discuss cooperation to improve security in Iraq. Deputy Foreign Minister Labid Abawi discussed the government's expectations for the meeting with RFE/RL Iraq analyst Kathleen Ridolfo. - 3/6/07

Iraq: Silence of the Sadrists
So far the Mahdi Army is lying low. But for how long? The senior Iraqi official credits pressure on Sadr from his former patrons in Iran, as well as from Ayatollah Sistani and the Marjaiyah, the Shia clerical leadership in Najaf. -Newsweek - 3/6/07

Iran's speed queen
As a child she competed with the boys and stole dad's car. Now Laleh Seddigh beats men on the racetrack, defying convention to become a champion driver. Hollywood is chasing her - but not everyone in Tehran welcomes her success. -Guardian - 3/6/07

Iran: Isfahan University to hold nuclear conference
The two day event (Mar.7-8) is organized by University of Isfahan and Iran's nuclear association in cooperation with Iran's nuclear energy organization and the University of Medicine in Isfahan. -ISNA - 3/6/07

Tehran prepared to explain all ambiguities in nuclear talks: envoy
Iran is fully prepared to clear up all remaining ambiguities about its nuclear program in a roundtable negotiation, Iran's Ambassador to the Vienna-based International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Ali-Asqhar Soltanieh told reporters on Monday. -MNA - 3/6/07

Iranian FM reaffirms support for Palestine
Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki on Tuesday reaffirmed Iranian support for Palestinian nation. Mottaki made the remarks in a joint press conference with the Head of Hamas Political Bureau Khaled Meshaal. -IRNA - 3/6/07

Thirty three women's rights defenders arrested in Tehran
Thirty three women's rights defenders were arrested today in Tehran during a peaceful gathering in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran. The gathering was to protest the recent state pressures on women's rights defenders. - 3/5/07

Terrorizing Iranians: How Iranian-Americans can block an attack on Iran
The United States and Iran are closer to war than they have ever been at any time in their tumultuous history. Due to a lethal combination of US policy failures in the Middle East and entrenched political and economic interests at home, the Bush Administration is reportedly preparing to carry out a massive bombing campaign against Iran to set back its nuclear program and degrade its military capabilities. -Dokhi Fassihian - 3/5/07

Voices of Aggression: Exploring Israeli-Iranian Rhetoric
Farhang Jahanpour explores the extreme rhetoric from Israel and Iran, and argues that it should not be allowed to jeopardise the unique history of relationship between these two countries. - 3/5/07

Shedding Crocodile Tears
On Sunday March 4th 2007, more than thirty two women's rights activists were arrested after they had peacefully gathered in front of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran to protest the trial of five of their fellow activists. The five were being tried for "organizing a protest last June against [unequal gender] laws¡­[and for] endangering national security, propaganda against the state and taking part in an illegal gathering." -Golbarg Bashi - 3/5/07

Would Air Strikes Work? Understanding Iran's Nuclear Programme and the Possible Consequences of a Military Strike
Oxford Research Group have published a major new report by Dr. Frank Barnaby. With a foreword by Hans Blix, Would Air Strikes Work? Understanding Iran's Nuclear Programme and the Possible Consequences of a Military Strike concludes that far from stopping Iran from acquiring a nuclear weapon, military attacks would probably accelerate Iran's nuclear programme. - 3/5/07

"Outcasts" eyes Iranian New Year box office
The comedy, which was also written by Dehnamaki, tells the story of Majid Suzuki, a hooligan from southern Tehran who falls in love with Narges, the daughter of Mirza, a pious man. Majid must reform himself to marry Narges. So he decides to head for the battlefront during the Iran-Iraq war and his protégés also follow him. -MNA - 3/5/07

Iran studying its presence in Baghdad meeting: FM
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said here on Monday that Iran was still considering the matter of whether it will send its deputy foreign minister to attend the upcoming security meeting in Baghdad scheduled for March 11. -IRNA - 3/5/07

Iran to host world's strongest men mid-March
The scenic Kish Island in southern Iranian province of Hormuzgan will play host to the world's strongest men in a cutthroat competition "Persian Gulf Grand Prix" on March 15 and 16. -MNA - 3/5/07

ENDURING FRIENDSHIP: Alain Delon and Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi at annual Alzheimer Gala in Paris
French actor Alain Delon and Shahbanou Farah Pahlavi were to meet again for a good cause that each is promoting by their presence: The Annual Alzheimer Gala IFRAD ( International Fund Raising for Alzheimer Disease) that aims at helping Research in curing this disease. -Darius KADIVAR Reports from Paris - 3/5/07

Iran advises IAEA Board of Governors to defend findings on Iran
Responding to a question on possibility of talks between Iran and the US, Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki said, "If the US presents a formal proposal, we will consider it." -IRNA - 3/5/07

Iranian navy chief meets his Indian counterpart
Rear Admiral Sajjad Kouchaki the Naval Chief of the Islamic Republic of Iran met his Indian counterpart Admiral Sureesh Mehta in New Delhi on Monday. The Iranian Navy Chief arrived in New Delhi Sunday evening for a six day official visit to India. -IRNA - 3/5/07

Iran, Saudi Arabia Agree to Fight Sectarian Strife
The leaders of Saudi Arabia and Iran have agreed to work together to end sectarian violence in the region. Leslie Boctor reports from VOA's regional bureau in Cairo on the meeting Saturday between the two leaders. - 3/5/07

Tehran, Riyadh unleash potential of regional convergence
Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's visit to Saudi Arabia and his high-profile talks with King Abdullah on Saturday herald a new horizon of convergence for the two influential Islamic countries. -Hassan Hanizadeh, Tehran Times - 3/5/07

US Prepares For Iraq Conference
The outgoing U.S. ambassador to Iraq, Zalmay Khalilzad, says there are indications Iran may be interested in talking to the United States at the upcoming Iraq conference in Baghdad. VOA's Paula Wolfson reports from the White House, Khalilzad will represent the Bush administration at the talks, which are scheduled for March 10. - 3/5/07

Iran-U.S. negotiations would serve national interests: IRMO official
Talks between Iran and the United States to resolve problems and decrease tension would serve the national interests, Islamic Revolution Mujahidin Organization (IRMO)spokesman Mohsen Armin said in Tehran on Sunday. -MNA - 3/5/07

British Council To Refocus On Middle East, Asia
For more than 75 years, the British Council has promoted British culture and education abroad. Now the council has begun closing many of its European offices, as it shifts its focus and resources to mostly Muslim countries in the Middle East and Asia. -RFE - 3/5/07

NAM, G77 call on UN to drop Iran nuclear issue
The Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) and the Group of 77 have prepared separate statements calling for Iran's nuclear dossier to be removed from the agenda of the UN Security Council, an informed source at the IAEA said on Sunday. -MNA - 3/5/07

IAEA Head Says Iran Nuclear Dispute At 'Stalemate'
At the start of IAEA talks in Vienna, Muhammad el-Baradei said the investigation into Iran's nuclear program remains at a "stalemate" until Iran provides its full cooperation. - 3/5/07

Coming to Terms with Iran
A Review of Hamid Dabashi's Iran: a People Interrupted -Mehdi Hosseini, Third Script - 3/5/07

Iran women arrested over protest
Iran's authorities have arrested more than 32 women activists protesting outside a courthouse in Tehran. -BBC - 3/4/07

Iranian teachers stage seat-in protest in front of Parliament in Tehran
Hundreds of teachers staged a seat-in protest in front of Majlis here Saturday. - 3/4/07

Iranian women denied visa to take part in UN Women's Conference
US refusal to issue visa to Iranian delegation scheduled to attend the 51st conference of the UN Commission on Status of Women in New York was an affront to Iranian women, chairperson of the Center for the Women and Family Affairs Zohreh Tayebzadeh Nouri said on Sunday. -IRNA - 3/4/07

US refuses visas for Iranian women delegation to United Nations
Iran's Foreign Ministry spokesman Mohammad-Ali Hosseini on Sunday condemned the US government for declining visas for members of the all-women Iranian delegation which was to attend the 51st conference of the UN Commission on Status of Women in New York. -IRNA - 3/4/07

New English version of Hafez lyrics published in London
The lyric poems of Iran's Hafez were retranslated by Peter Avery and published in London. In this complete collection, 486 poems have been translated into English for the first time with the cooperation of Iran Heritage Foundation. -MNA - 3/4/07

Weak Advertising Keeps Iran's Tourism Potentials Unknown
Iran enjoys enormous potentials for attracting tourists which, due to weak advertising and lack of information available about this country, have remained unknown for most foreigners, says Prof. O'Gorman from University of Strathclyde, Glasgow. -CHN - 3/4/07

MP discusses status of women researchers in Iran
It will only be possible to draft regulations that properly recognize women's role if women are mentioned in the charters of research institutes like the National Foundation of Elites, the chairperson of the Women's Social and Cultural Committee of the parliament, said in Tehran on Saturday. -MNA - 3/4/07

Iran-Saudi cooperation key to resolving regional issues: experts
International affairs expert Sabah Zanganeh said here on Sunday that Iranian President Mahmud Ahmadinejad's Saturday visit to Saudi Arabia can be the starting point for resolving regional crises. -MNA - 3/4/07

Iran's Parliament approves outlines of the budget bill
IRNA parliamentary correspondent said that out of the 223 members of parliament present in the formal session, 136 MPs voted in favor of the bill, 67 MPs voted against the bill and 13 abstained. - 3/4/07

Four more cities to join Irancell network by year-end
Irancell 2nd Operator network would during current Iranian month, Esfand, provide antenna coverage in Bojnourd, Babol, Amol, and Saqqez cities. -Taliya News - 3/4/07

Film Society Celebrates International Women's Day in Los Angeles
An Evening of Songs, Music, Poetry, Painting, Fact, Fiction, and Film. Special Program In Memoriam Of Forough Farrokhzad - Sunday March 4. - 3/3/07

President Ahmadinejad, King Abdullah discuss issues of mutual interest
President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, who arrived in Riyadh Saturday afternoon, met and conferred with Saudi King Abdullah here Saturday evening. -IRNA - 3/3/07

Iran: Washington Sends Mixed Signals To Tehran, Europe
As the UN Security Council again begins to wrestle with how to answer Iran's refusal to stop uranium enrichment, Washington continues to reserve the right to take unilateral action. U.S. officials say no options are off the table -RFE - 3/3/07

Iran's Judiciary officials dismissed over Jazayeri escape
In response to the escape of embezzler Shahram Jazayeri-Arab, Judiciary Chief Ayatollah Mahmud Hashemi Shahrudi on Saturday dismissed the director of the Economic Affairs Center of the Judiciary, the warden of Evin Prison, and two judges who had been investigating economic corruption in the Jazayeri case. -MNA - 3/3/07

Fighting the Good Fight: Women's Rights Activism in a Time of Crisis
Presented by Women's Learning Partnership (WLP) with the support of the United Nations Populations Fund (UNFPA) at the 51st Session of the Commission on the Status of Women - Tuesday, March 6 - 3/3/07

Fifth international cartoon museum in Iran
The first international cartoon museum of Iran has recently been launched in Tabriz, northeast Iran. After cartoon museums in Canada, Turkey, Bulgaria and Italy, this is the 5th specialized museum on cartoons in the world. -ISNA - 3/3/07

Iran's Parliament starts debating national budget
The president is asking the Majlis to approve a national budget of 2,290 trillion rials (about $248 billion), which is a 19.6 percent rise compared to the current year's budget, which stands at 1,910 trillion rials. -MNA - 3/3/07

Iran's Very Bad N-Word
Iran: how far from the bomb? That was one of the key questions asked of newly confirmed Director of National Intelligence Michael McConnell yesterday at a Senate Armed Forces Committee hearing. -TomPaine.com - 3/3/07

Iran Khodro to capture 50 pc of Syrian car market
Director for the project to set up a Samand auto manufacturing plant in Syria said Saturday that Iran Khodro aims to capture 50 percent of the Syria's 600-million-dollar car market. -IRNA - 3/3/07

Iran's education minister holds talks with Afghan president
Iranian Education Minster Mahmoud Farshidi on the third day of his trip to Afghanistan held discussions with President Hamid Karzai. -IRNA - 3/3/07

Putin's Criticism of US Draws Mixed Reaction
A senior U.S. defense official says Russian President Vladimir Putin's sharp criticism of the United States in a speech last month did not succeed in creating doubts among U.S. European allies. But some analysts believe the speech did strike a chord among many people around the world. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon. - 3/3/07

Israel Protests Planned Russian Missile Sale to Syria
Israel has harshly criticized a plan by Russia to sell advanced anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Syria. Israeli officials say those missiles will eventually wind up in the hands of the Islamic guerrilla group Hezbollah in Lebanon. -VOA - 3/3/07

Archeologists in Search of 29 Achaemenid Governmental Seats
Discovery of one of 30 governmental seats in Nourabad Mamasani, Fars province, which were constructed during Achaemenid dynastic era has encouraged archeologists to undertake further excavations on the ancient path of Persepolis to Susa to find the other 29 centers. -CHN - 3/2/07

Tehran Art Scene: Samila Amir-Ebrahimi's Exhibition at Golestan Gallery
Samila Amir-Ebrahimi is a well known artist who started painting from an early age. She studied art in Paris and Oakland and has taught Art at Tehran University. Besides her painting she has done some sculptures as well. -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/2/07

Rumi is the Answer to All Our Problems: On the Occasion of Moulana Rumi's 800th Birth Anniversary
The fact that Rumi's sweet poems are on our lips seven centuries after his death (and in countries far from his cultural lands) testify to the truth of Rumi's vision and the beauty of his poetry. Rumi is badly needed in our increasingly interdependent world because Rumi's constituency is not a particular creed or community but the human heart. -Rasoul Sorkhabi - 3/2/07

Tehran International Animation Festival: Winners announced
The 5th Tehran International Animation Festival announced the winners during a ceremony at the Institute for Intellectual Development of Children and Young Adults (IIDCYA) Thursday night. -MNA - 3/2/07

Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra Gala Features Behzad Ranjbaran
Hailed as "the most beautiful voice" of our time, American soprano Renée Fleming will perform Behzad Ranjbaran's Songs of Eternity on Tuesday, March 6 with the Fort Worth Symphony Orchestra at Bass Performance Hall. The concert begins at 7 p.m. - 3/2/07

Iran has over 15 million mobile phone subscribers
During the past eleven months the number of subscribers of state SIM cards has increased to 15,158,000. According to Fars News Agency, based on TCI statistic at the end of the 48th week of the present year Tehran Province has the largest number of mobile phone subscribers with 4,854,000 lines active in the province. -Taliya News - 3/2/07

Analysts: US Shows Willingness to Discuss Iraq with Adversaries
The announcement that the United States is willing to discuss the Iraq issue with Iran and Syria in a multinational forum came as a surprise. Until now, the Bush administration has steadfastly refused to talk to the two governments about the issue. As VOA correspondent Gary Thomas reports, administration officials insist there is no change in policy, but expert analysts disagree. - 3/2/07

Iran ratifies two-pricing gasoline supply system
The Joint Budget Committee of Majlis (Iranian Parliament) on Thursday gave the nod to a dual-price system to distribute gasoline nationwide for the next Iranian year (to start March 21, 2007). -MNA - 3/2/07

Biography of Keyan Salari, recipient of Paul & Daisy Soros Fellowship for New Americans
KEYAN SALARI is a joint MD/PhD candidate at Stanford University. He has completed two years of medical school and is currently in the first year of a PhD program in Genetics. MR. SALARI is a 2004 graduate of the University of California, Berkeley, where he earned a BA with honors and high distinction in Molecular and Cellular Biology. - 3/2/07

Persian New Year Festival in Houston
The Third Annual Persian New Year Festival will be held on Sunday March 25, 2007 from 1:00 to 9:00 p.m. at Jones Plaza in downtown Houston, Texas. This program is organized by the Iranian-American Cultural Organization of Houston, a non-profit cultural organization. - 3/2/07

Iran: Officials Put Positive Spin On IAEA Report
Although the February 22 report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said Iran is not in compliance with UN demands to suspend nuclear fuel-making activities, several Iranian officials are saying the report has positive aspects and confirms that Tehran has not broken any nonproliferation rules. -RFE - 3/2/07

Iranian FM names basic grounds for nuclear negotiations
Speaking at a press conference in Madrid, Spain, before his departure to Tehran Thursday evening, the minister said that Tehran believed in solving its nuclear dispute with the West through a diplomatic solution which could only be found by negotiations. -IRNA - 3/2/07

Iranian feminist activist and human rights lawyer Mehrangiz Kar to speak in San Jose on March 8
Iranian Federated Women's Club (I.F.W.C.) and Payvand Cultural School present Key note Speaker Ms. Mehrangiz Kar, the leading feminist activist and human rights lawyer. - 3/2/07

Confidence Building or Building Confidence for Regime Change?
While the US and Iran have numerous disagreements, indisputably, Iran’s desire to have a nascent enrichment facility in Natanz is at the forefront of these discords. Should Iran master this technology, it will profoundly impact America’s pursuit of global hegemony – or as some believe, global imperialism. -Nader Bagherzadeh and Soraya Sepahpour-Ulrich - 3/2/07

US Links Pakistan Agreement With Tribal Leaders to Upsurge in Afghan Attacks
Senior U.S. defense officials said Thursday Pakistan's agreement last year with tribal leaders along the Afghan border has led to an increase in cross-border attacks, and that Pakistan needs to do more to address the problem. VOA's Al Pessin reports from the Pentagon. - 3/2/07

Iran Confirms Ahmadinejad To Visit Saudi Arabia
Iran's ambassador to Saudi Arabia, Mohammad Hosseini, is quoted by Iran's official news agency, IRNA, as saying that during the one-day official trip, Ahmadinejad will meet with King Abdullah and other Saudi officials. - 3/2/07

Iran: Neighbors Worried About Possible War
As the conflict over Iran's nuclear program continues to heat up, many in the region around Iran are concerned about the prospect that the verbal sparring could escalate into armed conflict. -RFE - 3/2/07

Iran: The Private Sector Struggles to Emerge from the State's Shadow
A pivotal power struggle is underway in Iran ’s private sector. For the fist time in 27 years, independent entrepreneurs have an opportunity to gain control of Iran ’s Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Mining, an organization that exerts considerable influences over the country’s economic life. -Eurasianet - 3/2/07

Ahmadinejad, our secret agent in Iran
Iranian president's actions undermine his own country, help Israel -YnetNews, Israel - 3/2/07

The 5th Sadegh Hedayat Literary Award
Sadegh Hedayat is in my opinion the most important modern Iranian writer, an author who is read by both old and young, and by past, present and future generations. It was an absolute delight, therefore, to be invited to the Fifth Annual Sadegh Hedayat Award at the Khaneh Honarmandan (Artists Forum) -Syma Sayyah, Tehran - 3/1/07

U.S. Delegation of Civilian Diplomats Headed to Iran
In the face of increasingly heated rhetoric between the governments of the United States and Iran, the Fellowship of Reconciliation’s (FOR) third interfaith peace delegation will depart for Iran next Wednesday, February 28th. The delegation, which will spent 12 days in Iran, is part of FOR’s ongoing commitment to working for peace, justice, and the nonviolent resolution of conflict. - 3/1/07

Justice Iranian Style: A Happy Ending For The Iranian Jack Abramoff?
Shahram Jazayeri is Iran’s equivalent of Jack Abramoff: Jazayeri was the central defendant in a major corruption case involving 50 defendants, many of them sons of prominent clerics known colloquially as "aqazadeh." -Ali Moayedian - 3/1/07

Sony Pictures Classics will open OFFSIDE on March 23rd in NYC and LA
Many Iranian girls love soccer as much as their countrymen and sport fans all over the world but, they are prevented by law from attending soccer matches or other public sporting events in their country. Inspired by the day when his own daughter was refused entry to a soccer stadium in Iran, Jafar Panahi’s OFFSIDE follows a day in the life of a group of Iranian girls attempting to watch their team’s World Cup qualifying match against Bahrain at the stadium in Tehran. - 3/1/07

Rational Way To Go: Détente With Iran
In the period following the downfall of the Soviet Union, this is the first time that favorable conditions have emerged on the side of the peoples around the world to challenge U.S. hegemony and control. -Ardeshir Ommani - 3/1/07

Lehra Peaks (Dokhaharan Expedition, Part I of VI)
TUESDAY JUNE 13, 2006: Got up in my cousin’s apartment in Tehran (elevation 1450 m, 4800 ft) at 1:00 a.m. I had gone to bed at 11:00 p.m. and had not fallen asleep. Called my guide Salim, packed my last items, went outside and sat in the alley under the trees. There was a near full moon. -Nader Honarkhah - 3/1/07

Iran to participate in Iraq security conference: Larijani
Asked about the fact that the United States will participate in the conference gathering Iraq's neighbors and several major powers, Larijani said, "We believe regional countries can solve the Iraq problem and there is no need for the presence of extra-regional countries. "However, it is Iraqi officials who decide on this." -MNA - 3/1/07

US: No Direct Talks with Iran, Syria at Iraq Meetings
The Bush administration says there will be no direct talks with representatives of Iran and Syria at two upcoming conferences on Iraq. VOA's Paula Wolfson has details at the White House. - 3/1/07

Iranian FM: Larijani-Solana talks prepared grounds for materializing goals
Iranian Foreign Minister Manouchehr Mottaki in a meeting with his Spanish counterpart, Miguel Angel Moratinos on Thursday said that the talks between Iran's top nuclear negotiator, Ali Larijani and EU Foreign Policy Chief Javier Solana have prepared the proper ground for materializing the real goals of both sides. -IRNA - 3/1/07

Iranian Baha'is face continuing discrimination in higher education
growing number of Baha'is admitted to Iranian universities this year have been expelled, powerful evidence that Baha'i students in Iran still face severe discrimination and limited access to higher education. -BWNS - 3/1/07

An ill will involved to deepen conflicts in Mideast: Khatami
is a "will" that is seeking to deepen conflicts in the Middle East region, former president Mohammad Khatami said in Tehran on Wednesday. -MNA - 3/1/07

America's new path on Iraq: talk to Iran
In a shift, the US plans to talk to Iraq's neighbors, including Iran and Syria, about the region. What do key players hope to get? -CSM - 3/1/07

The US has nothing to lose by negotiating with Iran
Agreeing to a parley with Iran wouldn't imply US acceptance of Iran's actions. -CSM - 3/1/07

Turkmenistan: New President Appears To Be Fulfilling Campaign Pledges
Turkmenistan's president, Gurbanguly Berdymukhammedov, made a number of campaign promises, some of which were a surprise. Perhaps equally surprising -- in a country accustomed to disappointment -- is the fact that Berdymukhammedov moved quickly to fulfill some of those pledges -RFE - 3/1/07

Catalyst for Iranian Resistance: US “democracy promoters” and regime change in Iran
The Iranian question is on everyone’s lips at the moment, and judging by the ongoing discussions in both the mainstream and alternative (progressive) media, it is apparent that, one way or the other, the US (and its coalition of willing cronies) has its sights firmly set on bringing regime change to Iran. -Michael Barker, ZNET - 3/1/07

Hans Blix: UNSC will not authorize use of force against Iran
Former UN weapons inspector in Iraq, Hans Blix, said Thursday that the US military buildup in the Persian Gulf was to distract the attention of the international community from the debacle in Iraq and stressed that the Security Council will not give the green signal for use of force against the Islamic Republic. -IRNA - 3/1/07

Afghan refugees in Iran given repatriation extension
A voluntary repatriation programme for thousands of Afghan refugees to return to their home country from Iran has been extended for another year following a meeting by the governments of Iran and Afghanistan and the United Nations refugees agency on Tuesday. -IRIN - 3/1/07

Iran, Sudan Hold Talks in Khartoum
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in Sudan for two days of meetings with his Sudanese counterpart and other officials. The talks are expected to cover the situation in Darfur, Iran's controversial nuclear program, and economic and cultural projects between the two countries. -VOA - 3/1/07

Iraq: Displacements Upset Religious, Ethnic Communities
Increasing sectarian violence is touching all of Iraq's ethnic and religious minorities, even the smallest. RFE/RL correspondent Valentinas Mite spoke with Dana Graber, who is the Iraq displacement specialist within the International Organization for Migration (IOM). - 3/1/07

Iranian Forces Clash With Kurdish Insurgents In Northwest
Iran's Revolutionary Guards have clashed with Kurdish insurgents in West Azerbaijan Province near the Turkish and Iraqi borders. Iran's official IRNA news agency reported today that 17 militants and four soldiers were killed, without specifying when the fighting took place. - 3/1/07

Iran sanctions may target bank
The world’s big powers are debating whether to increase pressure on Tehran’s nuclear programme by targeting Bank Sepah, a leading Iranian bank, with United Nations sanctions. -Financial Times - 3/1/07
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