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August 28 2014
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The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran


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First-ever European luxury train to set off Iran journey

- The first European private train to enter Iran will make a two-week journey from Budapest to Tehran in October. The first "Golden Eagle-Danube Express" train, which comprises 13 lavishly-decorated wood-paneled 1950s carriages and berths for about 70 guests, will set off from Budapest on October 15. 8/27/14

The Middle East's Unfinished Wars

- The predictions of doom in the Middle East that are dominating thinking in the foreign policy commentariat of Washington and other capitals over the spread of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) could use a little perspective. -James A. Russell 8/27/14

Iran Says Modifying Arak Reactor To Ease Western Concerns

- Iranian media say Tehran has started to modify its Arak heavy water reactor and limit plutonium output to allay Western concerns that the Islamic republic could be seeking nuclear weapons capability. 8/27/14

Tehran mayor distances himself from gender segregation plan

- Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, who has stirred controversy with his plan to segregate male and female public servants, declared on Tuesday that he is in essence against gender segregation. 8/27/14

What Else Can Iranian Americans Learn From Successful Minorities?

- In a 2012 article titled Iranian Americans, Take a Lesson, Trita Parsi invited the Iranian American Community to learn three lessons from the Jewish American community. I believe there are many other lessons that we can learn from successful minorities such as Jewish Americans and in here I like to discuss two of them -Nader Habibi 8/27/14

Extremist Iranian group can't patrol without permits

- Iran's interior minister says that Hezbollah motorcycle patrols must attain legal permits before they can carry out any patrolling duties. Khabaronline reports that Minister Rahmani Fazli told a press conference on Tuesday August 26 that the activities of Ansar-e Hezbollah, including their motorcycle patrols, cannot be allowed without the appropriate legal permits. 8/27/14

US Coast Guard Craft Fires Warning Shot at Iranian Dhow

- A U.S. Coast Guard vessel operating in international waters in the Persian Gulf fired today on an Iranian dhow in what U.S. military officials described as a defensive move after the crew of the Iranian vessel turned a machine gun on the Americans with hostile intent. -U.S. Department of Defense 8/27/14

Iran Speaks More Softly But Keeps Building Bigger Sticks

- "Iran's military strategy is defensive" and designed to "deter an attack, survive an initial strike, retaliate against an aggressor and force a diplomatic solution" while avoiding major concessions, says the unclassified executive summary of a congressionally mandated Pentagon report submitted to lawmakers on July 7. -Tony Capaccio, Bloomberg 8/27/14

Iranian Minister: Saudi Talks 'Constructive'

- Iran's deputy foreign minister said he held "positive and constructive" talks with Saudi Arabia's foreign minister on Tuesday where Islamist militancy in Iraq -- which both countries view as a threat -- was one of the topics discussed. -Reuters 8/27/14

Iran 'Provided' Weapons To Iraqi Kurdish Forces To Fight IS

- The Iraqi Kurdish leader says Iran has provided weapons and ammunition to Iraqi Kurdish forces to fight Islamic State (IS) militants. Masud Barzani, the president of the semiautonomous Kurdish region, made the comment during a joint news conference with visiting Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on August 26. 8/26/14

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Ali Karimi Bucket Challenge

Iranian Scientist Wins UNESCO Biology Award - An Iranian researcher and scientist of the country's Royan Institute won the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO)-Equatorial Guinea International Prize for the first time in the history. Professor Hossein Baharavand from the Stem Cell Research Center of Royan Institute was qualified to win the 2014-2015 UNESCO-Equatorial Guinea International Prize. 8/26/14

Israel's "Qualitative Military Edge": Blank Checks, No Balance? - This month the Wall Street Journal reported that the Obama administration had slowed the shipment of Hellfire missiles to Israel after it bombed a UN school in Gaza on Aug. 3 with the US-made weapon. The White House has insisted that weapons transfers to Israel have not been suspended or halted, and that the administration is only "taking extra care to look at these shipments." -Marsha B. Cohen 8/26/14

Will Rouhani's Iran economic stimulus package work? - In mid-July, nearly a year after President Hassan Rouhani took office, his administration introduced a package of economic reforms with the objective of moving the economy out of stagflation. The so-called stimulus package has tried to address key challenges in the Iranian economy... -Bijan Khajehpour, Al-Monitor 8/26/14

Drone downed in Iran was not launched from Israel - One day after the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps announced that it had downed an Israeli drone, the IRGC reported that the operation range of the drone indicates that it did not come from Israel but rather was launched from one of the countries in the region. 8/26/14

Iran: Students must repay illegally granted bursaries - Iran's Minister of Justice has announced that students who received bursaries illegally will have to pay for the costs of their studies. IRNA reports that Mostafa PourMohammadi was addressing the controversial issue of bursaries that were illegally granted to ineligible students under the former administration when he said: "A committee has been established to handle the irregularities." 8/26/14

Another rare deer killed under protection in Lorestan, Iran - An unknown assailant has shot and killed a rare yellow deer being kept in the Khoramabad Zoo. The head of Iran's Environment and Wildlife Watch reported on August 24 that the deer died from a shot to its shoulder despite efforts by zoo officials to save it. 8/26/14

In Iran, love is rarely a many-splendoured thing - Like an increasing number of Iranians, Mahnaz divorced after marrying young because of the pressures of a conservative society that she feels often ignores a relationship's most important ingredient: love. -Arthur MacMillan, AFP 8/26/14

How to Ensure a Thriving Caliphate - Think of the new "caliphate" of the Islamic State, formerly the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS), as George W. Bush and Dick Cheney's gift to the world (with a helping hand from the Saudis and other financiers of extremism in the Persian Gulf). How strange that they get so little credit for its rise, for the fact that the outlines of the Middle East, as set up by Europe's colonial powers in the wake of World War I, are being swept aside in a tide of blood. -Patrick Cockburn, Tom Dispatch 8/26/14

U.S. and Iran Hit ISIS, Ignore Each Other - With ISIS over-running Syrian bases, the time might seem right for a grand alliance against the Islamic State. But so far, the U.S. isn't talking to Iran or Syria's armies. -Daily Beast 8/26/14

Why UNESCO recognition eludes Iran's Mount Damavand - Iranian nature lovers must delay their hopes of having Mount Damavand, one of the country's most distinctive features, recognized by the UNESCO World Heritage Centre. The head of Iran's Cultural Heritage and Tourism Organization says the registration of Mount Damavand on the Natural and Cultural World Heritage list will not be possible unless several government bodies collaborate on the project. 8/25/14

Iran releases pictures of downed Israeli 'Hermes' drone - The Israeli spy drone shot down by Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) is an Israeli-made Hermes drone, says an Iranian commander. The unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV) can operate within a radius of 800 kilometers and is capable of flying 1,600 kilometers without refueling, said Commander of the IRGC's Aerospace Division Brigadier General Amirali Hajizadeh on Monday. 8/25/14

Obama Mulling Broader Strikes Against ISIS? - This week's video-taped beheading of a U.S. journalist by the Islamic State of Iraq and al-Sham (ISIS) has spurred renewed calls for President Barack Obama to broaden Washington's military efforts to strike the terrorist group, including in Syria. -Jim Lobe 8/25/14

Ali Karimi takes on Ice Bucket Challenge - Former Iranian international and Bayern Munich midfielder Ali Karimi took on the Ice Bucket Challenge and posted the video on his Instagram on Friday. The challenge, which was born in Massachusetts, comes from the former Boston College baseball player Pete Frates. Frates was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis, also known as Lou Gehrig's disease, in 2012. 8/25/14

Iran holds conference on ancient philosopher Avicenna - Iran has hosted a conference on the philosophy of the Islamic physician and philosopher Avicenna in the country's midwest city of Hamedan. Organized by the Avicenna Cultural and Scientific Foundation, the one-day conference was held to commemorate the ancient scientist Avicenna (Ibn Sinna) on Iran's National Physicians' Day, August 23. 8/25/14

Iranian FM visits Baghdad, says Iran fully backs new Iraqi PM - Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has reiterated Tehran's position that Iran fully supports new Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi. In a meeting with al-Abadi in Baghdad on Sunday, Zarif also said Iran attaches great value to the Iraqi people's choice of prime minister. 8/25/14

Political Prisoners at Evin Transferred into Quarantine without Explanation - Twenty-seven political prisoners have been transferred from Evin Prison's Ward 350 to quarantine, where they are now being held in conditions tantamount to clear and serious ill treatment. 8/23/14

Iran Politics: Central Contradiction Remains - A vote in Iran's parliament on Wednesday resulted in the dismissal of President Rouhani's minister of science. The vote was a shock but also an important message: the main contradiction in Iran remains between the hardliners and supporters of democracy. -Morteza Kazemian 8/23/14

Learn about the role of UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran - Dr. Ahmed Shaheed is the current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in the Islamic Republic of Iran. How do UN human rights mechanisms encourage all countries, including Iran, to uphold human rights? 8/23/14

Interview with Mahta Moghaddam of Jet Propulsion Laboratory - Where are you from? "I was born in Iran and moved to the US when I was 16 years old." What did you want to be growing up? "Always wanted to be a scientist and an explorer. I was extremely interested in the origins of life and universe, the origins of Earth - how it was formed and how it functioned." -JPL 8/23/14

Iran: Riot police arrest protesting mine workers - Riot police were deployed at the Bafgh Iron Ore Mine on Wednesday August 20 in response to miner protests. According to ILNA, one of the protesting workers reported that police tried to break up the demonstrations and arrested 16 workers. 8/23/14

A Ministerial Impeachment in Tehran - After a year of relative political calm, initiated by the presidential election of Hassan Rouhani, and their seeming marginalization, the hard-line MPs close to the Steadfastness Front, estimated at no more than 50, were able to break the ranks of conservatives and draw enough support from the caucus that supported Ali Larijani's speakership to remove Faraji-Dana, the minister deemed closest to the reformists and largely supported by the university students and faculty. -Farideh Farhi 8/22/14

Female Iranian-American photojournalist freed on bail - The Washington Post reports that its female photojournalist who was detained by Iranian authorities a month ago has now been released on bail. The daily has refrained from releasing the name of the photojournalist upon the request of her family; however, it has indicated that she holds dual Iranian-U.S. citizenship. 8/22/14

Wind Storm kills five in Khuzestan, Iran - Severe winds in Khuzestan Province in southwestern Iran have killed five and injured 35. The head of Provincial Crisis Management reported to IRNA on Thursday August 21 that one person in Andimeshk, one in Baghmalek and three more in Dezfool were killed under toppled walls and trees or by falling from heights. 8/22/14

Israeli Democracy Evaporates While Gaza Burns - The wanton destruction Israel is wreaking in Gaza right now, its blatant declarations that it will never relinquish control of most of the West Bank, and its adamant refusal to recognize that Palestinians, whether citizens or not, are entitled to the same basic human, civil and, yes, national rights as anyone else, all make outside interference imperative. -Mitchell Plitnick 8/22/14

Meet Aref Mohammadi, the Elwy Yost of Persian film: Fiorito - Mohammadi is a Toronto-based filmmaker and writer who also reviews Iranian films; He was a recent winner at the Canadian Ethnic Media Association awards -Toronto Star 8/22/14

Iranian quake victims demand help from visiting minister - Victims of the recent earthquake in the Mormori region of Ilam Province protested during the visit of the Minister of Roads and Urban Development and demanded the provision of aid and resources needed to overcome their ordeal. 8/21/14

Report details century of fatal air accidents in Iran - Iran's Deputy Minister of Roads and Urban Development reported on Wednesday August 20 that the average age of the Iranian air fleet exceeds 20 years, and in the past 100 years to date, two thousand Iranian have died in air accidents. 8/21/14

Moderate Iranian Science Minister Ousted By Parliament - Iranian lawmakers have dismissed the Islamic republic's science minister in a blow to moderate President Hassan Rohani. Conservative legislators targeted Science, Research and Technology Minister Reza Faraji Dana over his support for teachers who are seen as pro-Western or protested after Iran's disputed 2009 presidential election. 8/21/14

France Wants Arabs, Iran, UN Security Council to Tackle Islamic State - France said on Wednesday it wanted the permanent members of the U.N. Security Council and regional countries, including Arab states and Iran, to coordinate action against the militant group Islamic State, the insurgents who control parts of Iraq and Syria. -VOA 8/21/14

Iranian woman scientist selected member of COMEST - Azam Iraji Zad, faulty member of Sharif University of Technology Physics Department was selected as member of the World Commission on the Ethics of Scientific Knowledge and Technology (COMEST). According to Public Relations Department of National Elites Foundation, she is the first Iranian scientist admitted to the commission. 8/21/14

New Iranian Science Minister named following impeachment - President Hassan Rohani appointed Mohammad Ali Najafi to replace Reza Farajidana at the helm of the Ministry of Science and Technology today, after Parliament voted to impeach Farajidana. 8/21/14

Jailed Iranian journalist out on bail after two months - Jailed Iranian journalist Saba Azarpeyk has been released on bail after two months in custody. Azarpeyk's lawyer told ISNA that Azarpeyk's family posted bail of 200 million toumans for her release, which occurred at 2 PM. Azarpeyk was arrested in May and charged with propaganda activities against the regime. 8/21/14

Policy Memo: New Senate Bills Concerning Iran Nuclear Negotiations - In the last week of July, three separate pieces of legislation were introduced in the Senate that, if passed, would have a significant impact on nuclear negotiations with Iran. -Tyler Cullis and Jamal Abdi, NIAC 8/21/14

Tying the Knot in Today's Iran - Over 11 million eligible Iranians are unmarried, according to official statistics. The government has repeatedly expressed concern over the low rate of marriage in the country over the past few years, and has encouraged single people to tie the knot. -Mehrnaz Samimi, Huffington Post 8/21/14

OMID Foundations 10th Anniversary Celebrations in San Francisco Bay Area - The OMID Bay Area Committee is excited to invite you to our 1st Annual Banquet at the Computer History Museum in Mountain View on Sunday, September 28th at 6:30pm. Marjaneh Halati, the founder and president of Omid Foundations will be present, along with live music, dancing, light dinner, live/silent auction and drinks. 8/20/14

Famed Iranian Poet Simin Behbahani Dies At 87 - Simin Behbahani, one of Iran's most prominent literary figures and a vocal human rights defender who was targeted with censorship and smear campaigns by Iranian authorities, has died in Tehran. She was 87. 8/20/14

Public Offers Support for Obama's Iraq Intervention - Despite rising criticism of his foreign policy - even from his former secretary of state - President Barack Obama's decision last week to carry out airstrikes against Islamic State militants in northern Iraq enjoys relatively strong public support, at least so far. -Jim Lobe 8/20/14

Iran: Coroner's office concerned by increase in suicides - The head of Iran's coroner's office says 4,055 people committed suicide in the country last year and the number of suicides is on the rise. The Coroner's Office announced last year that there has been a 14-percent increase in the number of suicides across the country. 8/20/14

Paying the price for sanctions: The customers with Iranian links being ditched by British banks - HSBC and others deny discrimination, but have hefty fines led to some banks being far too cautious? -Maria Tadeo, Independent 8/20/14

Fifi Howls from Happiness: A Documentary on Iranian Artist Bahman Mohassess - Mitra Farahani's lyrical documentary explores the enigma of provocative artist Bahman Mohassess, the so-called "Persian Picasso," whose acclaimed paintings and sculptures dominated pre-revolutionary Iran. Irreverent and uncompromising, a gay man in a hostile world, Mohassess had a conflicted relationship with his homeland-revered by elites in the art scene and praised as a national icon, only to be censored later by an oppressive regime. 8/19/14

Maliki is Gone: Now What? - Nouri al-Maliki is no longer Iraq's prime minister, but his departure does not mean that Iraq's problems will be resolved easily or soon. A basic change must first occur in Iraq's domestic politics, the power struggles within its different ethnic and sectarian components, and the behavior of regional and international actors towards Iraq. -Shireen T. Hunter 8/19/14

Iran: Dozens Unlawfully Held in City's Prisons - Several dozen prisoners in a northern city are serving prison terms for exercising their basic rights, Human Rights Watch said in a report released today. Iranian authorities should immediately and unconditionally release all political prisoners, Human Rights Watch said. 8/19/14

Final deal possible only if 5+1 lifts UN sanctions: Iran - The Iranian foreign minister has said that a comprehensive nuclear deal can be reached only if the 5+1 group (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) annuls the sanctions resolutions imposed against Iran by the UN Security Council. 8/19/14

Iran Lawmakers Urge Ministry To Condemn 'Rights Abuses' In Riot-Hit U.S. Town - The unrest in the U.S. state of Missouri sparked by the fatal police shooting of a black teenager is being played up by Iranian hardliners, with several lawmakers calling on the Foreign Ministry to react and highlight what they describe as blatant human rights abuses in the United States. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/19/14

Airport dogs detect hidden drug shipment headed from Tehran to London - The head of Iran's Airport Police announced that 120 kg of opium headed for London was sniffed out by their dogs. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Sunday August 17, Hassan Mehri told reporters that the opium shipment was found by their dogs during a routine patrol of shipments at Imam Khomeini Airport. 8/19/14

Iranian photographers face the lash after criticising official's book - Two photographers in Iran have been sentenced to a total of 75 lashes after criticising an illustrated book published by a local official. Both men, who are from Qazvin province, were put on trial when Mohammad-Ali Hazrati, the head of the local cultural heritage organisation, felt insulted by the negative reviews the pair had written in separate posts online about his photography book, "Qazvin, the Land of Times Past". -Saeed Kamali Dehghan 8/19/14

Strong Quake Hits Western Iran, 250 Injured - The number of people wounded in the 6.1-magnitude earthquake in Abdanan, in this western province, Monday morning has risen to 250, latest reports said. The strong tremor hit three western and southwestern provinces of Ilam, Lorestan and Khuzestan at 07:02 hours local time (0232 GMT) and was also felt in the neighboring provinces. 8/18/14

Iran volleyball team loses to U.S. in four-match series - Iran volleyball team lost its last match against the U.S. in the USAV Cup four-match series on Sunday. The U.S. beat Iran in straight sets (25-18, 25-22, 25-19) before a crowd of 3,610 at the Bren Center at UC Irvine. 8/18/14

Iran Says It Will Accept Nuclear Monitoring Only Under Treaty - Iran said it will accept monitoring of its nuclear program as called for in the global non-proliferation treaty, but not any inspections beyond that. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Sunday that any inspection beyond the legal framework of the treaty "would be a precedent, against the interests of all developing countries." 8/18/14

Iran's air routes ready to receive more foreign flights - Iranian air space is ready to receive more foreign flights, said Managing Director of Aviation Operation Control Department of Iranian Civil Aviation Organization Saeed Akbari said. "Flights passing across Iranian air space have doubled," Akbari said, adding the country is set for attracting more flights across its air space. 8/18/14

Tehran is a halfpipe: Entrepreneur makes skateboards in Iranian basement - M.J. Rahimi has mastered some of the world's most popular skateboarding tricks. A music lover's haven Iran's hoteliers cash in on tourism boom Turkish Airlines soaring Qatar counts cost of the 2022 World Cup But the one skill that's fast making Rahimi a recognized name is crafting skateboards inside his basement in the Iranian capital of Tehran. -CNN 8/18/14

Honoring a young woman who gave life to others in her death - A tragic plane crash in Tehran on Sunday August 10 that took the life of 37 people onboard. But unknown to many is how this crash also claimed the life of a young Iranian woman on the ground as well. Moments before the crash, Hadiseh Ghasemi, 21, a Tehran University student, was riding a taxi in the area. This is when the driver heard the sound of the plane and noticed it is coming down and could possibly hit his taxi. 8/17/14

Amano hails Iran's resolve for cooperation with IAEA - Director General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Yukiya Amano has hailed Iran's resolve to settle issues pertaining to its nuclear energy program through cooperation with the nuclear agency. 8/17/14

Vital Tehran dams on the verge of running dry - Tehran Province's waterworks department reports that most important dams in the province will run out of water in 37 days. At least 12 large cities in the country are faced with serious water shortages, which means 23 million people will have to face the consequences. 8/17/14

Iran to end organ transplants for foreigners - Iran's Minister of Health has announced that organ transplants for non-Iranians will be banned by the end of September. He cited the long waiting lists for Iranians seeking organ transplants as the main reason for the new regulation. 8/17/14

Iranian Math Genius's Photos Too Racy For Media Back Home - "No hair, no ears, no neck." That's how one journalist described a front-page portrait of Iranian mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani that an Iranian newspaper digitally doctored to obscure her hair and skin to placate censors in the Islamic republic. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 8/16/14

Profiting From Iranophobia? - Eli has a new blog post on The Nation's website today that provides additional details about the curious - one is tempted to say incestuous - relationship between the staff of United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI) and the corporate interests of billionaire gold and silver investor, Thomas Kaplan. -Jim Lobe 8/16/14

Iranian FM says nuclear solution will take full 4 months - Iran's foreign minister said on Friday August 15 that it is "unrealistic" to think that the nuclear dispute between Iran and the 5+1 will be resolved before the end of the four-month extension allotted for the talks. 8/16/14

Iranian-Arab activists draw harsh sentences - Preliminary court has sentenced four Iranian-Arab activists in Ahwaz to heavy prison terms after they had already spent more than two and a half years in jail. Hassan Abiyat was sentenced to life imprisonment, Aidan Beyt was sentenced to 10 years and Khaled Obeydavi and Jasem Soadi were each sentenced to five years in prison. 8/16/14

Is Turkmenistan Losing Iran As A Gas Customer? - It appears Turkmenistan is about to lose its second-best customer for natural gas, Iran. Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said on August 11 that his country no longer needed gas from Turkmenistan. Zanganeh went so far as to say, "Iran is importing Turkmen gas just because it is important to promote political and economic relations with Turkmenistan." -RFE 8/15/14

SUMMON THE EXORCIST - So far over two-thousand dead and perhaps ten-thousand or more injured and half a million made homeless, all non-combatants or bystanders save a couple of hundred actual Hamas fighters. This was in Gaza, the world's largest and most densely populated concentration camp, cut off from the rest of the world and under attack during the past three weeks by Israel's Zio-Nazi Likud regime. -Kam Zarrabi 8/14/14

Words Take Flight in Persian Calligraphy at Sackler Gallery - During a prolific 200-year period in the 14th-16th centuries, four master calligraphers invented one of the most aesthetically refined forms of Persian culture: nasta'liq, a type of calligraphy so beautiful that for the first time the expressive form of the words eclipsed their meaning. "Nasta'liq: The Genius of Persian Calligraphy," opening Sept. 13 at the Smithsonian's Arthur M. Sackler Gallery, displays 20 rarely seen masterworks... 8/14/14

Iran's divorce rate rises - The head of Iran's Land and Document Registry says that in the past three months, there has been a four-percent increase in the rate of divorce compared to the same period last year. 8/14/14

Iranian Becomes First Woman to Win Math's Top Prize - An Iranian-born mathematician has become the first woman to win the prestigious mathematics prize known as the Fields Medal. Maryam Mirzakhani will receive the award, widely considered the Nobel Prize for math, at a ceremony in Seoul, South Korea, Wednesday. 8/13/14

Judge Ashley Tabaddor Files Suit against Department of Justice for Violating First Amendment and Civil Rights Act of 1964 - The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) was today informed of a suit filed against the United States Department of Justice (DOJ) by Judge Ashley Tabaddor, an immigration judge for the U.S. Immigration Court. In this suit, Judge Tabaddor challenges an order that indefinitely recuses her from hearing cases involving Iranian nationals, citing that the order violates her First Amendment rights of free speech and association. 8/13/14

Iran and the U.S. sign MOU to boost Volleyball standards - Iran's Volleyball Federation President, Mohammad Reza Davarzani and his U.S counterpart signed memorandum of understanding in Los Angeles on Monday in order to expand cooperations. Iran's men national volleyball team is in California for a four-game tour against the U.S. 8/13/14

Washington's Sketchy Pro-Israel/Anti-Iran Camp - My colleague Eli Clifton has a new piece up at Salon about the pro-sanctions group United Against a Nuclear Iran (UANI) and its somewhat murky links to a billionaire precious-metals investor named Thomas Kaplan. I suggest everyone check it out -Ali Gharib 8/13/14

Strategic research center to formulate new plan for music in Iran - The Center for Strategic Research (CSR) has been assigned the task of formulating a new plan to replace the Plan for Music in Iran, which was made by cultural officials under former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. "There is a consensus among officials, experts and musicians that the present plan is unacceptable," Mohammadreza Fazeli said. "The experts say that proper professional supervision was not provided for formulating the plan," he added. 8/13/14

Bridge 2014 High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges - Berkeley, CA - For the first time, seasoned entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley and Iran will convene to explore the opportunities and challenges of high tech entrepreneurship in Iran and its impact on the country's ongoing economic development. Bridge 2014 will raise awareness about the critical need to build educational bridges and promote the culture of "Entrepreneurs without Borders". 8/12/14

UANI, Silver Futures, and Confrontation with Iran - Along with AIPAC and the Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD), one of the most active groups that have promoted a policy of confrontation with Iran has been United Against Nuclear Iran (UANI), headed by a former Bush administration representative (under John Bolton) to the UN, Mark Wallace. -Jim Lobe 8/12/14

Iranian MPs Vote To Ban Vasectomies, Punish Contraception Advocates - Iran's parliament has voted to ban vasectomies and other permanent forms of birth control in an attempt to increase the country's birthrate. The legislation would ban vasectomies and impose punishments for encouraging contraceptive services and abortions. 8/12/14

Photos: Plane crashes near Tehran's Mehrabad Airport; 39 dead - Thirty-nine people were killed and nine were injured in a plane crash near Tehran's Mehrabad Airport on Sunday, and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani immediately ordered the transport minister to prepare a comprehensive report on the cause of the incident. 8/11/14

Photos: Iran-USA volleyball match at USC in Los Angeles - Olympian Matt Anderson had 23 points and the U.S. men's national team beat Iran 27-25, 25-21, 27-29, 25-17 in the opening match of the USA Volleyball Cup at USC's Galen Center on Saturday night. The series of exhibitions between the two teams are preparation for the upcoming FIVB World Championship later this month in Poland. 8/11/14

A Pipeline From A Land Of Water To A Land Of Oil - Iran is looking for more water and some Iranian officials believe the place to get it is from Tajikistan. The problem is how to get the water from Tajikistan's mountains to Iran, several hundred kilometers away. -RFE 8/9/14

An Experience: Photos of Iranian Women With And Without Veils - Photographer Marziyeh Heydarzadeh has captured snapshots of Iranian women posing at a holly site with and without veils. A short paragraph published with "this experience" states that "hijab, in addition to being a cultural and religious value, indicates differences between those who want to preserve their dignity and those who easily overlook this." The story does not mention how the women felt after this experience, and if they left the site with or without the veil... 8/6/14

Congressional Backlash on Iran is a Problem for Europe, Too - In recent weeks, hard-line members of the US Congress have stepped up their game of obstructing diplomacy with Iran. Resolving the Iranian nuclear conflict has been used as a chip in domestic politics rather than a foreign policy issue pursued through a multilateral track.-Ellie Geranmayeh 8/1/14

Jailing of returning Iranian journalists called part of anti-Rohani plan - Hossein Mirdamadi, the father of jailed journalist Serajeddin Mirdamai, says the judge in his son's case has said that he will be made an example so that other journalists will not think of returning to Iran. 8/1/14

Jason Rezaian's Mother Pleads for Her Son's Release - Mary Rezaian, the mother of Jason Rezaian, the Washington Post reporter who was detained in Iran last week with his wife Yeganeh Salehi without charge or access to a lawyer, makes a heartfelt plea to Iranian authorities in this video to release her two loved ones. -Jasmin Ramsey 7/31/14

Column: Free Jason Rezaian, Other Iranian American Detainees - All Iranian Americans who travel to Iran know they face a certain amount of risk. Obliged to use Iranian passports instead of obtaining visas like other Americans, Iranian Americans can easily be barred from leaving the country and become pawns in the three-decade-old U.S.-Iran confrontation as well as in Iran's complicated domestic political battles. The latest such pawn appears to be Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian. -Barbara Slavin 7/30/14

Iran Is World's Leading Jailer Of Female Journalists And Netizens - The arrest on 22 July of two journalists and a photographer, including the Tehran correspondent of the Washington Post and his Iranian wife, brings to 65 the number of news providers behind bars in Iran. They include 10 women, of whom three are foreign nationals, making Iran the world's leading jailer of female journalists and netizens. 7/29/14

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Iranian Volleyballers Finish 4th In World League

Art

Photos: University Dissertation Presented On The Wall!

Literature

Mahmud Dowlatabadi's book telling story of Hasanak the Vizier published

Travel

Iran's 5200-year-old Shahr-e Sukhteh (Burnt City) joins UNESCO World Heritage List

Environment

The Biggest Mideast Crisis You Probably Don't Know Enough About

Entertainment

2014 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Winners Announced

Music

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?

Book

A book by Meghan Nuttall Sayres: "Love and Pomegranates: Artists and Wayfarers on Iran"

Event

The 2014 IAAB Summer Leadership Institute Returns to the South in July

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last updated on Wed Aug 27 14:47:43 GMT 2014