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May 27 2015
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US Urges Greater Transparency in Journalist's Trial in Iran

- The United States is pressing Iran for more information about Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who went on trial Tuesday on charges including espionage. The State Department, human rights advocates and Rezaian's family have expressed concerns about Iran's lack of transparency in the case. 5/27/15

Iran's Anti-Semitism: Irrational or Irrelevant?

- Last week, the journalist Jeffrey Goldberg published an interview with President Obama. It's a fascinating read, and Goldberg's write-up as well as the full transcript are entirely worth your time. The interview focuses on Obama's Middle East policies and, for an area where, in general, those policies are not going so well (a gross understatement), Obama has a firm grasp of the topics at hand. -Ali Gharib 5/27/15

Iran's Persepolis bids farewell to AFC Champion League after loss to Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal

- Iran's Persepolis lost to Saudi Arabia's Al-Hilal 3-0 in the AFC Champions League's round of 8. Suffered from a late defeat to Persepolis in Tehran, Al-Hilal won the Iranian club team 3-0 Tuesday night in Riyadh's King Fahad Stadium. 5/27/15

Iranian Cartoon Contest Lampoons IS, Alleged Backers

- These are just some of the cartoons displayed at an exhibition launched in several Tehran art galleries over the weekend that highlights atrocities committed by Islamic State (IS) militants -- and accuses the United States, Israel, and Saudi Arabia of backing the Sunni-led extremist fighters. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 5/27/15

Iran brings sweet treat to 100 countries

- Iran has its own treat recipe for chocolate lovers and clients in more than 100 countries have a sweet tooth for Iranian candies. As the supplies are tucked in with great relish, the industry keeps a low profile but secretary of the Chocolate, Sweets and Biscuits Association Jamshid Maghazei says Iran's chocolate sales outstrip twice its car exports in value. 5/27/15

IRGC tests speedboats cruising at 110 knots per hour

- The commander of the naval forces of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) says the forces have tested indigenous speedboats that can cruise at 110 knots (203 kilometers) per hour. Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi made the remarks during a national conference on the development and construction of speedboats in Tehran on Tuesday. 5/27/15

The Persian dream: An in-depth look at the Iranian startup scene

- In our haste to keep looking East for new tech frontiers, we forget the burgeoning innovations coming out of Middle East, like Iran -e27 5/27/15

Rouhani clashes with Iranian clergy over women arrested for 'bad hijab'

- In his remark last year that "you can't send people to heaven by the whip", President Rouhani expressed a belief that citizens should not be forced into "good" behaviour, and in two recent speeches he skirted the issue of hijab, provoking a critical response from Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader, and from senior members of the clergy. -Guardian 5/27/15

The forgotten land of colours: a trip through Iran's Persian Gulf

- Colourful mountains in shades of pink, red, purple and yellow overlook shorelines where turtles and flamingos roam or sunbathe. This is Hormuz island in the Persian Gulf, the mostly forgotten land of colours in the Strait of Hormuz, 5km from the mainland, and southeast of Bandar Abbas, major port and capital of the province of Hormuzgan. -Guardian 5/27/15

Spy Trial of Washington Post Reporter Begins in Iran

- The espionage trial of Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian began Tuesday in Iran with the proceedings closed to the public, and ended about two hours later, according to news media. The state-run IRNA news agency said the trial was being held in a Revolutionary Court, which typically hears cases involving national security. 5/26/15

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Psychologist Rejects the 12 Million Figures but Agrees: Iranian Society Suffers from Depression and Leans Towards Violence - A member of Iran's parliamentary committee on health and treatment announced that 12 million Iranians suffer from mental illnesses and added, "But despite the large number of individuals with mental issues, there are only 40,000 hospital beds for them." In the past too, many other specialists had spoken of a shortage of beds and other facilities needed for those suffering from psychological illnesses. -Niusha Saremi 5/26/15

Paper: US investors visit Tehran Stock Exchange - A foreign delegation of asset managers, including Americans, have visited Tehran Stock Exchange for the second time in recent weeks as interest is building in a country being billed as the latest attractive emerging market. 5/26/15

Iran opens caricature exhibition on ISIL - Iran inaugurated a caricature exhibition on ISIL (Islamic Caliphate). The exhibition has already invited participants to send their caricatures on ISIL. 1072 works by 356 artists from 43 countries were sent to the secretariat of the exhibition. 5/26/15

Tehran-Moscow talks on S-300 successful: Iran official - "Negotiations on the delivery of the S-300 [missile system] to Iran has been successful", Iran's Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian said on Monday during a press conference after a meeting with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Mikhail Bogdanov in the Russian capital, Moscow. 5/26/15

A Missed Nonproliferation Opportunity - Last week the latest quinquennial review conference for the Nuclear Nonproliferation Treaty (NPT) ended as a failure, without issuing a formal statement or report. The single biggest snag concerned whether to call for the convening of a conference on a Middle Eastern nuclear weapons free zone (MENWFZ). -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 5/26/15

New 'Silk Road' could alter global economics - Beginning with the marvelous tales of Marco Polo's travels across Eurasia to China, the Silk Road has never ceased to entrance the world. Now, the ancient cities of Samarkand, Baku, Tashkent, and Bukhara are once again firing the world's imagination. -USA Today 5/26/15

Israel and Iran: So much in common - Israel has much to learn from its adversary about controlling its citizens' social media habits, but it's going in the 'right' direction. -Zvi Bar'el, Haaretz 5/26/15

NIAC Condemns Senator Graham's Racist Statement, Demands Apology - The National Iranian American Council, the largest Iranian-American grassroots organization in the United States, strongly condemns Senator Lindsey Graham's (R-SC) comments that "Iranians are liars" and demands an apology to the Iranian-American community. 5/25/15

How the Uncertain Outcome of Nuclear Talks with Iran Has Taken Its Economy Hostage - I recently returned from a six-week trip to Iran. While the primary purpose of my trip was to visit family and friends, I also made some general enquiries into the state of the country's stagnant economy. These included informal discussions with various strata of economic agents or market players: manufacturers, bankers, shopkeepers, miners, farmers, livestock breeders, workers, teachers, and more. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh 5/25/15

US did nothing to stop Ramadi fall to ISIL: Iranian Commander Soleimani - Soleimani, who is the commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps' Quds Force, said that while the Ain al-Asad air base hosting US fighter jets was very close to Ramadi, the American military forces took no action to stop the ISIL militants fighting to take over the Iraqi city. 5/25/15

Iran raises penalties for hunting endangered species - Iran's Department of the Environment reports that new changes to wildlife protection laws include significantly higher fines for hunting protected species. The head of Hunting and Fishing reports that poachers will pay 100 million toumans for hunting the Asiatic cheetah and 80 million toumans for hunting the Persian leopard. 5/25/15

'Desert Dancer' Chronicles Iranian Underground Dance Troupe - Iranian Afshin Ghaffarian dreams of becoming a dancer from a young age. He hacks into YouTube and watches dancers like Michael Jackson and Rudolf Nureyef. But dancing is illegal in the Islamic Republic. Desert Dancer by filmmaker Richard Raymond is based on the true story of Ghaffarian and his friends, who form an underground dance troupe in an abandoned building. -Penelope Poulou, VOA 5/25/15

Iran scraps subsidized gasoline allowance - Iranian motorists will see a monthly allotment of 60 liters of subsidized gasoline canceled from Tuesday. From Tuesday, every driver will pay 35 cents per liter at gas stations, officials said. 5/25/15

Does Iran Control Iraq? - Saudi, Israeli and US neoconservative voices warn us tirelessly that Iran's imperial sway has now come to dominate the governments of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and now Yemen, and still threatens Bahrain. -Graham E. Fuller, LobeLog 5/25/15

Iran: Female activists meet to protest Mohammadi's arrest, women's problems - In an initiative by the Association of Women Citizens, a group of Iranian women calling themselves the "Friends of Nargess Mohammadi" gathered at the Tehran home of the prominent human rights activist to express their concern about her health in prison. 5/23/15

The GCC Summit: A Missed Opportunity - While hailing the so-called "framework agreement" on the nuclear deal with Iran reached in Lausanne on 2 April 2015 as a great political achievement, President Barack Obama also announced that he would invite the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) leaders to Washington and to Camp David to inform them about the deal and allay their fears. -Farhang Jahanpour 5/23/15

Iran government permits 'unofficial' US trade link - The Iranian government has given the green light to private business owners to forge trade ties with their American counterparts, an official said on Saturday. Head of Iran Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture Gholamreza Shafei said the government had "advised" for initial connection between the two countries' private sectors before formal trade links could take shape. 5/23/15

UN Says Iranian Aid Boat For Yemen Offloaded In Djibouti - United Nations officials in the port of Djibouti say they have taken charge of aid cargo carried by an Iranian boat that was headed for war-torn Yemen. The vessel -- the Iran Shahed -- was carrying 2,500 tons of food aid for Yemen that will now be distributed by the UN World Food Program. 5/23/15

Iranian students starting to use drugs at lower age - Iran's Drug Control Headquarters report that the age when Iranian students start to use drugs is now as low as 15. Hamid Serami, a spokesman for the Drug Control office, told the Seda va Sima network that one percent of the country's school age children are addicted to drugs. 5/23/15

Obama Prioritizes Security over Democracy in Middle East - In an impressively detailed report on the president's budget request for FY2016, experts at the Project on Middle East Democracy (POMED) make it clear that President Obama has prioritized the security of authoritarian regimes in the Middle East over domestic political reform. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog 5/23/15

Iranian journalist Ahmad Zeidabadi banished to exile after completing prison term - Ahmad Zeidabadi, a jailed Iranian journalist who reached the end of his prison term on Thursday May 21, was immediately transferred to Gonabad to serve out the exile portion of his sentence. 5/22/15

Iranian Writer Prosecuted for Facebook Posts Critical of State Censorship - Authorities in Iran are prosecuting another writer on national security charges for signing statements and writing posts that criticized state censorship on the Facebook page of the Iranian Writers' Association. 5/22/15

US sanctions airlines for selling jets to Iran - The US government has imposed sanctions on two aviation companies in Iraq and the UAE for selling used commercial aircraft to Iran. The Treasury Department designated Iraq-based Al-Naser Airlines and Sky Blue Bird Aviation in the United Arab Emirates as sanctions violators. 5/22/15

PAAIA Hosts a Collaborative Dialogue between the Iranian and American Medical and Public Health Communities - In support of increased collaboration between the medical and public health communities of the United States and Iran, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA) is hosting a luncheon today that brings together two Chancellors from Iran's leading medical/health universities with distinguished Iranian American doctors from the New York Metropolitan area. 5/22/15

Iranian exiles respond in unexpected ways to idea of U.S.-Iran nuclear talks - After years of staying aloof from public debate, Iranian Americans - one of the nation's most affluent and educated immigrant groups -- are emerging as an unexpected and articulate constituency for U.S. diplomatic engagement with the ayatollahs. -Pamela Constable, Washington Post 5/22/15

Exxon lobbies US government on Iran sanctions - Exxon Mobil is reported to have stationed lobbyists to push the envelope on Iran sanctions with the US government as Western companies are jostling for access to the Middle East country's massive oil and gas fields. 5/22/15

Iranian cultural official fired after ancient hill is destroyed in Dezfool - The head of Cultural Heritage, Handicrafts and Tourism in Dezfool has been dismissed for failing to protect the ancient hills of Chogha Mish against the adverse effects of development. 5/22/15

Much More Is Needed From Iran Hawks to Oppose a Nuclear Deal - Senate hawks like Lindsey Graham (R-SC) and Mark Kirk (R-IL) do not like diplomacy with Iran. Graham has repeatedly threatened war with Iran, whereas Kirk prefers to starve the Iranian people. Yet, given that most Americans do not want another military adventure in the Middle East, and largely support a negotiated nuclear deal with Iran, the hawks are pivoting. -Ryan Costello, NIAC 5/22/15

Putting Strategic Interests First with Iran - It is striking how often opponents of a nuclear agreement with Iran resort to an ethical non-sequitur. They are fond of arguing that, because the Iranian government tortures political prisoners or supports entities that commit violent acts for political ends, the same government is bound to breach whatever non-proliferation pledges it may offer. -Peter Jenkins 5/21/15

Iran, P5+1 begin 2nd day of nuclear talks in Vienna - Representatives from Iran and the P5+1 group of countries have opened the second day of a new round of nuclear talks in the Austrian capital, Vienna. The nuclear negotiations on Thursday were held at two different levels in the Austrian capital city. 5/21/15

President Rouhani stresses Iran's peace discourse - Iran's President Rouhani restated his policy of peace and dialogue on Wednesday. Addressing a meeting of businessmen and investors in Tabriz, capital of the East Azerbaijan Province, President Rouhani restated his policy of peace and dialogue on Wednesday. 5/21/15

Was the US-GCC Summit Worth It? - It is too early to judge whether the results of last week's summit between President Barack Obama and leaders of the six Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) countries will become "footprints on the sands of time." The summit did achieve what Obama most needed--the Arabs' formal endorsement of the P5+1 talks with Iran on the latter's nuclear program. -Robert E. Hunter, LobeLog 5/21/15

Iran opens its largest glass production plant - Iran has launched a glass fabrication plant described as the country's largest, with President Hassan Rouhani calling on local producers to raise their competitiveness. Sahand Float Company in Tabriz in northwestern Iran will produce 220,000 tonnes of flat glass per year for building, automotive, security and decoration use. 5/21/15

US architect of Iran economic isolation warns sanctions could backfire - Richard Nephew, a former senior US official who was instrumental in constructing the global sanctions wall around Iran, is now warning that Washington's fondness for sanctions as a foreign policy tool could have serious repercussions for the US. -Julian Borger, Guardian 5/21/15

Threat of 'Snapback' Could Limit Firms' Iran Deals - At the heart of the recent deal between the U.S. and other powers and Iran over its nuclear program is the issue of how and when sanctions will be removed. The Obama administration has described a deal that would see economic sanctions removed only if Iran is abiding by its commitments to restrict its nuclear activity. -Teresa Welsh, US News 5/21/15

Iran builds Mideast's highest swing bridge - Iran has unveiled the Middle East's highest suspension bridge in the lap of nature in the northwestern Ardabil province, known for its magnificent pastures, hot mineral springs and towering mountains. The bridge over the river of Khiyav Chai in Meshginshhar is 345 meters long, suspended 80 meters above the ground. 5/20/15

Iran's Supreme Leader: No Access to Scientists, Military Sites - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Wednesday Tehran would not accept "unreasonable demands" by world powers during negotiations over its disputed nuclear program, including giving international inspectors access to his country's scientists or military sites. 5/20/15

Israel ordered to pay Iran $1.1 billion: Report - An Israeli oil company has been ordered by a Swiss court to pay $1.1 billion to Iran in compensation in a long-standing legal battle related to a joint venture before the Islamic Revolution, the IRNA news agency says. 5/20/15

Critic of Iran's Supreme Leader to spend another year in solitary - Mostafa Tajzadeh, a prominent political prisoner and former deputy interior minister, was not released at the end of his six-year sentence and has to serve another sentence. The Human Rights Activists News Agency reported on Monday that Tajzadeh's six-year prison sentence has ended. 5/20/15

NEGIN: A Play in Farsi at Stanford University - Published in 2005, Negin potrays the predicament of women in contemporary Iran. It is the saga of a young woman put on trial by those who love her dearly. It is the tale of a society that, with good intentions, pushes its victims to the verge of destruction and then blames them for their suffering. 5/20/15

Iranian prisons inquiry in peril after MPs meet with security officials - Only days after Parliament announced that it would conduct an inquiry into the state of prisons across the country, there is talk of canceling the initiative. 5/20/15

"Nahid" director denies connection with "A Separation" - "Nahid" director Ida Panahandeh has denied the existence of any connection between the leading character in her movies with that in Asghar Farhadi's Oscar-winning drama "A Separation". Nahid is competing with 18 other movies in the Un Certain Regard section at the Cannes film festival. 5/19/15

Young Iranian Activist Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for Facebook Postings and Peaceful Protest - A young civil activist who has been held at Evin Prison since October 2014 has been sentenced to seven years in prison at her interrogator's urging, a source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran, for her Facebook postings and her participation in peaceful gatherings. 5/19/15

Iraqi Battle Plans Altered By IS Capture Of Ramadi - The capture of the Iraqi Sunni city of Ramadi by Islamic State (IS) militants has fundamentally changed how war is being waged against the extremists in Iraq's Sunni areas. As long as government forces had controlled Ramadi, the pro-government Sunni tribal leaders of Anbar Province were opposed to the presence of Iranian-backed Shi'ite militia in the area. -RFE 5/19/15

Iran spells out conditions for US oil firms - An official says Iran's oil and gas is open to American investment but US companies have to tie up with Iranian companies under certain terms."From the government's standpoint, there is no limitation for oil investment by the Americans in Iran," deputy Minister of Petroleum Amir Hossein Zamaninia said, the Mehr news agency reported. 5/19/15

Iran: Basij Militia Unveils Messaging App that Gives State Access to All Conversations - The Basij paramilitary organization, a subsidiary of the Revolutionary Guards (IRGC), announced the launch of its new messaging service for mobile phones, "Salam," which will give state officials full access to any content flowing across the service. 5/19/15

Iranians puff on US 'cancer sticks' - Iranians puff on 65 billion sticks of cigarette a year, leaving families with a bill of more than $200 million in medical expenses. Contraband supplies have a big share in the bad habit. According to official figures, 24 billion sticks are smuggled into the country with US brands being in high demand. 5/19/15

In a Middle East racked by turmoil Iranians have fallen in love with stability - Iranians look at turmoil across the Middle East and North Africa and claim they recognise the benefits they enjoy at home now -Middle East Eye 5/19/15

Artist Shirin Neshat Captures Iran's Sharp Contrasts In Black And White - Shirin Neshat, the most famous contemporary artist to come from Iran, is playing with her rambunctious Labrador puppy in her airy Manhattan apartment. "Ashi, Ashi, come here!" she calls. The puppy is black. Neshat's apartment is white - white floors, white bookshelves and a long, white leather couch. -Neda Ulaby, NPR 5/19/15

Iranian Parliamentarians Discover Brussels - In 2010, when Iran's then-minister of foreign affairs Manouchehr Mottaki visited the European Parliament in Brussels, he was greeted by protests from MPs. Some of them, known for their close links with the exiled Iranian dissident group Mojaheddeen-e Khalk (MEK), carried the picture of Neda Soltan, a young Iranian woman killed during the protests following the fraudulent presidential elections of 2009. -Eldar Mamedov 5/18/15

Farhang Hosts Its Largest Nowruz Extravaganza To Date - With a record breaking 10,000 plus visitors at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art (LACMA) on Sunday, March 22, 2015, Farhang Foundation's 7th Annual Nowruz (The Iranian New Year) Celebration in collaboration with LACMA was the Foundation's largest Nowruz celebration since inception. 5/18/15

Iran confident of quick oil output recovery - Deputy Oil Minister Rokneddin Javadi says Iran's oil exports could return to the pre-sanctions level over a period of three or four months. Talking to IRNA in Kuala Lumpur, the official said Iran must ramp up production to four million barrels per day, of which 2.3 million to 2.5 million bdp would go to exports. 5/18/15

Portraits of Young Men and Women Affected by Iran's Marriage Crisis - For Life Alone, Tehran-based photographer Majid Farahani takes an intimate and humanizing glimpse at the decreasing rate of marriage in Iran, focusing his gaze not on the statistics but on the young people whose lives are directly affected by what some are calling the country's "marriage crisis." -Feature Shoot 5/18/15

Iran plans massive rail network - Iran wants to splurge up to $8 billion over the next six years to expand its rail network, Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Netmatzadeh said. The country is struggling to catch up with its runaway urbanization which has generated daunting challenges both for the state planners and the populace. 5/18/15

Israeli Defense Minister Invokes Hiroshima and Nagasaki In Response to Iran Question - Speaking at a conference in Jerusalem nearly two weeks ago, the Israeli Defense Minister Moshe Yaalon invoked the American decision to drop nuclear bombs on Japan in World War II in response to a question about "dealing with a threat like Iran." -Ali Gharib 5/17/15

Iranian-American Artist Farrin Rahimi at Silicon Valley Open Studios - Every creation is a journey. Along that road, you will feel, you will think, you will go up and down and even will go to the point of forgetting it all. But that will never change the existence of the original seed. So it might go away, but eventually will come back if you are not done with it in any form. 5/17/15

Two Faulty Objections to an Iran Deal - The closing months of an Iran nuclear deal were always bound to bring a hailstorm of criticisms from opponents of diplomacy. Well, it's happening -- and maybe "hail" isn't the right kind of storm: critics of a deal seem be throwing shit up against a wall and seeing what they can get to stick. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog 5/17/15

Iranian Officials Re-Affirm Facebook Will Remain Completely Blocked in Iran - Despite the Iranian government's stated intention to move towards the selective blocking of Internet content ("smart filtering"), a top government official proclaimed that the social networking giant Facebook would continue to be completely blocked in Iran. 5/16/15

"No Books, No Book Fair," Says Publisher of Banned Books - Iranian publisher Shahla Lahiji has boycotted the annual Tehran International Book Fair for the fourth year running, to protest the government's refusal to issue licenses to her publishing house. "Since 2014, I have suggested 55 books for publication, but none of them have been issued a license. .." 5/15/15

Studies of Ancient Iran Receive Support from Farhang Foundation - Farhang Foundation, a non-religious, non-political and not-for-profit foundation established in 2008 to celebrate and promote Iranian art and culture, has generously pledged to support UC Irvine's Sasanika: Late Antique Iran Project with a yearly, recurring gift. 5/15/15

Iranian poet Mohammad Ali Sepanlou passes away at 75 - Prominent Iranian poet and literary critic Mohammad Ali Sepanlou passed away yesterday night in Jam hospital in Tehran. May his soul rest in peace. Born in 1940 in Tehran, Sepanlou, graduated from Tehran University's Faculty of Law in 1963. He was one of the founding members of the Writers Association of Iran. 5/13/15

Iranian Professors Urge Government To Butt Out - Agroup of 700 Iranian university teachers have sent a letter to the government calling for an end to what they say is "unprecedented interference" in the internal affairs of universities. 5/12/15

U.S. Senate Calls On Iran To Free Jailed Americans - The U.S. Senate May 11 unanimously passed a resolution calling on Iran to release three jailed Americans and help locate a fourth. The lawmakers urged Iran to free Saeed Abedini, Amir Hekmati, and Jason Rezaian, and cooperate with the U.S. government to locate and return former FBI agent Robert Levinson, who went missing in Iran eight years ago. 5/12/15

Teacher Protests Sweep Iran despite Threats by Officials Not to Participate - Another nationwide protest by Iranian teachers swept through dozens of cities throughout Iran on May 7, with thousands taking to the streets to draw attention to wages that are below the poverty line. 5/12/15

Iran trade team in rare US visit - Iran's media reported on Sunday that a 15-member delegation comprising Iranian traders, entrepreneurs and artists is in a rare visit to the United States. The visit - which officials say started two weeks ago and is expected to end next week - has been arranged by a US-based non-governmental institution called Learning. 5/11/15

Man Arrested In Iran After Woman's Death Sparks Violence In Kurdish City - A day after riots were reported over the unexplained demise of a young chambermaid in Mahabad, the capital of Iran's West Azerbaijan province, local authorities announced that an individual has been detained over the death, which happened earlier this week. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 5/9/15

Eminent Iranian Poet and Filmmaker Repeatedly Interrogated by Intelligence Ministry - Iran's Intelligence Ministry has repeatedly summoned and interrogated the well-known Iranian poet, documentary filmmaker, and member of the Board of Directors of the Iran Writers Association, Baktash Abtin, in recent days, and interrogations over his work and professional associations are likely to continue prior to his case being sent to court. 5/9/15

Prospects for Saudi-Iranian Detente Bleak - Some optimistic analysts mistakenly believe that Iran and Saudi Arabia are heading toward a mutual understanding over a new regional security architecture based on a balance of powers between them and their allies. Instead, because the current situation is rife with tensions, regional competition between Iran and its Arab rivals will likely escalate. -Mehdi Jedinia 5/9/15

Critics slam frightening nature of Iranian activist's arrest - The arrest of Iranian human rights activist Nargess Mohammadi has triggered criticism from activists both inside and outside Iran. The Association of Women Citizens has written an open letter condemning the "sudden and unannounced" arrest of Mohammadi, saying: "Why did the officers, rather than summoning Mohammadi, swarm her house and create an atmosphere of fear." 5/9/15

Photos: Bayazid Bastami's tomb in the desert city of Shahroud - Catching a glimpse of Iranian-Islamic architecture: The tomb of Bayazid Bastami in Shahroud, Semnan province of Iran, attracts many interested people. 5/5/15

Tirgan Returns for Its Biennial Celebration This Summer 2015 - Tirgan, the world's largest Iranian arts and culture festival returns to the Harbourfront Centre in Toronto, Canada, this summer from August 20-23, 2015. The festival's ancient roots can be seen in a programme which showcases the tremendous ethnic diversity within Iran and celebrates the country's music, dance, theatre, cinema, literature, visual arts and cuisine. The central theme of "Homeland" unites the festival programme of Tirgan 2015. 5/4/15

Ariana's Persian Kitchen: World Premiere on Nat Geo People on May 8th - Ariana Bundy, an award winning Iranian-American chef and cookbook author of 'Pomegranates & Roses', visits the vast and fascinating country of Iran to re-discover her heritage. From the lush green mountains of the Caspian sea, to the golden deserts of Yazd, Ariana eats her way through Persian delicacies in Bazaars, pastry shops, restaurants, and people's homes. 5/2/15

Verifying Iran's Nuclear Commitments - On April 22, in the latest of a long line of congressional testimonies on Iran's nuclear program, the president of the Institute for International Science and Security, David Albright, issued a challenge to the six powers seeking a comprehensive resolution of the nuclear dispute with Iran. -Peter Jenkins 4/28/15

Tehran's Nature Bridge wins Architizer A+Awards - The global architectural award program The Architizer A+Awards has selected Iran's Tabiat (Nature) Bridge as one of the winners in +Engineering category. Tabiat Bridge was designed in order to improve access for pedestrians between two public parks, which are divided by highways. 4/25/15

FIVB Volleyball Men's World League 2015: U.S. to host Iran in Los Angeles - The U.S. Men's Volleyball Team, the 2014 FIVB World League champion, will begin defense of the title in Southern California and Hoffman Estates, Ill., this summer. USA Volleyball will host Iran at the Galen Center in Los Angeles (May 30-31) 4/21/15

Iranian Artist Parviz Tanavoli's 'Heech Garden' Exhibit Mixes Old With New - It has been 39 years since Parviz Tanavoli, one of Iran's most well-known contemporary artists, held a solo exhibit in the United States. Today, the creator of "Heech" (the Persian word for naught or nothing) walks around ruminating his memories in the "garden of his naughts" at the Davis Museum in Massachusetts. -Sara Dehghan, VOA 4/17/15

Iran beats the United States to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup - Iranian wrestlers overpowered the US squad competing on home soil to win the 2015 Freestyle Wrestling World Cup. Iran's wrestling team managed to beat the Americans 5-3 on Sunday at the Forum in Los Angeles to win the prestigious international title for a fourth time in a row. 4/13/15

Photos: Nature Bridge in Tehran - Inaugurated in 2014, Iran's largest pedestrian bridge called "Tabiat Bridge" (Nature Bridge) has a unique structure designed by Leila Araghian. The design of this three-level, 2,000-Ton Structure pedestrian bridge is inspired by ancient Iranian architecture in which, bridge was not just a crossing path, linking 2 sides of a river or valley, but a place to stay, relax and enjoy beautiful views. 4/6/15

iBRIDGE Berlin Conference - High Tech Entrepreneurship in Iran: Opportunities and Challenges - iBRIDGE Berlin is a three-day event to be held on June 4-6, 2015 in Berlin, Germany that is organized by iBRIDGES. It will bring together European and American entrepreneurs and their counterparts in Iran to explore the role that a high-tech entrepreneurial ecosystem can play in Iran's economic development and diversification. The event will be comprised of keynote speeches, panel discussions, and workshops, as well as visits to local incubators in Berlin. 03/30/15

2015 Farhang Short Film Festival Winners Announced - Maryam Farahzadi's The Role of Each Fret (Iran) was this year's winning short film and awarded the top prize of $10,000. Commotion (Osyan) (Canada) by KAJART was the runner up and recipient of the $5,000 award. Rounding out the top three was Ali Azimi's & Arash Ashtiani's Prelude (Pishdaramad) (UK), which nabbed the $3,000 award. 03/28/15

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Why We Have Fish For Nowruz?

Sports

Netherlands wins Indoor Hockey World Cup, Iran finishes 4th

Art

Exhibition at Stanford: She Who Tells a Story: Women Photographers from Iran and the Arab World

Literature

Famed Iranian Poet Simin Behbahani Dies At 87

Travel

The Citadel of Furg in Birjand

Environment

Iran's wetlands: A smile amid grief

Entertainment

Award-winning Taxi filmmaker on art and politics in Iran

Music

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?

Book

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

Event

IAAB's Persian Language Educators' Symposium - May 23rd-24th in Berkeley, California

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last updated on Wed May 27 14:27:36 GMT 2015