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March 30 2015
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Zoor Khane: History and Techniques of the Ancient Martial Art of Iran


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Iran Talks Get Tougher as Deadline Looms

- Two top foreign ministers helping to negotiate a nuclear deal with Iran are sounding confident that an agreement can be reached by Tuesday's deadline. Germany's Frank-Walter Steinmeier said Sunday that several elements are missing, and Iran has to be more flexible. But he said he believes Iran wants the talks to end. -Al Pessin, VOA 03/30/15

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

Iran Nuclear Deal: Can One Dare Hope?

- After 36 years of hostility between Iran and the West and 13 years of nuclear negotiations, first involving Iran and the European Troika (Britain, France and Germany), followed by the P5+1 (the above countries plus the United States, Russia and China), it seems that finally one can start to be optimistic and hope that a long, dark chapter will come to an end. -Farhang Jahanpour 03/30/15

An Iranian model of altruism, volunteerism, philanthropy and scholarship in the Diaspora

- The devotion of one's intellectual and material resources to the betterment of human society has been emphasized in Persian/Iranian literature, culture and religions since the earliest times. Mithraism, Zoroastrianism, Mazdakism, Manichaeism and more recently Islam have all pursued this path. The prolific output of Persian poetry and prose is replete with recommendations to serve society as best as one can. Endowments (vaqhf) for the benefit of society have a long history in the Iranian world that preceded Islam. -Davood Rahni, New York 03/30/15

Portrait of a Nation: From the harems of the Qajars to the Iran-Iraq War - a history of photography in Iran

- The emergence of photography in Iran dates back to the mid-19th century, shortly after its invention in Europe in 1839. There have been academic debates regarding the exact date, but according to the remarkable collection of historic photographs in the Golestan Palace in Tehran, the very first photographic images taken in Iran can be dated between 1839 and 1842. -Sanaz Jamloo 03/30/15

Progress Reported on Iran Nuclear Deal, but No Agreement

- The United States and five other world powers moved toward an agreement with Iran to limit Tehran's nuclear development program, but have yet to reach a final accord. Diplomats meeting Sunday in Lausanne, Switzerland, reported Tehran has shown a willingness to cut the number of nuclear centrifuges it operates to fewer than 6,000 and ship most of its enriched uranium stockpiles to Russia for storage. -VOA 03/29/15

The Probable Historical Origin of the so-called Islamist Terrorists

- No doubt, since the sudden appearance of the group called Daesh or ISIS in the last summer, their rapid progress and spread shocked all of us throughout the world, wondering ever since who are they? -Roya Monajem, Tehran 03/29/15

Los Angeles City Hall Celebrates Nowruz

- On Friday, March 20th, the Los Angeles City Hall celebrated Nowruz alongside the Iranian American community for the eleventh year in a row. Beginning in 2004 with the support of PAAIA Board Member Pouria Abbassi and Congressman Tony Cardenas, the Nowruz celebration at Los Angeles City Hall has become an annual tradition expressing the city's gratitude for the contributions of their Iranian American residents. 03/29/15

UN Keeps Pressure on Iran for its Rights Failures

- March 27, 2015-The United Nations Human Rights Council voted today to renew the mandate of Dr. Ahmed Shaheed, the UN Special Rapporteur on the situation of human rights in Iran, signaling the international community's continued concern over the state of human rights in Iran. The resolution to renew the mandate received 20 votes in favor, 11 against, and 16 abstentions. 03/29/15

Capitol Hill Developments on Iran and Israel

- The following are excerpts from the latest legislative update from Americans for Peace Now. It provides a summary of a number of Iran- and Israel-related issues and developments on Capitol Hill. Congress is now on spring break and won't be back in session until the second week of April. -Lara Friedman, LobeLog 03/29/15

Featured Video

The Role of each Tone from Maryam farahzadi on Vimeo.

The Role of each Tone by Maryam Farahzadi

Iranian Screenwriter, TV Producer Jailed In Tehran - A former screenwriter and producer with Iran's state-controlled television has been in jail in Tehran for the past two months. Mostafa Azizi, who moved to Canada in 2010, had returned to Tehran to visit his relatives when he was arrested in February and transferred to the notorious Evin prison. 03/29/15

Saudi Airstrikes In Yemen Raise Specter Of Iranian Retaliation - Saudi Arabia's airstrikes against Houthi rebels in Yemen have raised fears of a proxy war and direct conflict between Tehran and rival Riyadh. But some analysts say this is unlikely - and caution there are other concerns much more pressing. 03/29/15

Iran Nuclear Talks Intensify - Senior diplomats from several of the so-called P5+1 nations dealing with Iran's controversial nuclear ambitions are arriving in Lausanne Saturday where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have been meeting for talks aimed at reaching a framework deal by Tuesday's deadline. 03/28/15

Obama in the Middle East: Condominium Or Equilibrium? - In the last 48 or so hours, U.S. warplanes began bombing Islamic State (ISIS or IS) targets in and around Tikrit in support of the Iran-backed and Shi'a-led Iraqi government. At the same time, Washington provided unspecified intelligence and logistical support to a Saudi-led attack (if not invasion) against Houthi forces in Yemen. Coincidence? -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 03/28/15

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

French, German FMs Join Nuclear Iran Talks In Lausanne - The French and German foreign ministers, Laurent Fabius and Frank-Walter Steinmeier, have joined U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iran's Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Lausanne, Switzerland, for talks on Tehran's nuclear program. 03/28/15

Photos: Norouz travelers flock to the ancient ruins of Persepolis - One of the favorite destinations for Iranians traveling during the Persian New Year Norouz holidays is the the ancient ruins of Persepolis (Takht-e Jamshid). Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire (ca. 550-330 BCE). Persepolis is situated 70 km northeast of the modern city of Shiraz in the Fars Province of modern Iran. 03/28/15

Dollar continues to lose against Rial as hopes for nuclear deal grow stronger - Iran's exchange markets on Saturday saw a fresh drop in the rates of the US Dollar against the Rial in what many believe is the result of a growing business optimism toward the results of Iran-P5+1 nuclear talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne. 03/28/15

Iran, US Continue Nuclear Talks Ahead of Deadline - U.S. and Iranian negotiators are set Friday to continue a final round of talks on Tehran's nuclear program, as a March 31 deadline to reach a framework deal draws closer. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Thursday with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif in Lausanne, Switzerland. Both sides have expressed optimism a deal can be reached. 03/27/15

Iran President Speaks With French, British, Russian Leaders - Iranian President Hassan Rohani spoke by telephone March 26 with the leaders of France, Britain, and Russia in an attempt to break an impasse that has held up a nuclear deal between Iran and world powers. 03/27/15

Iran, P5+1 hold deputy-level nuclear talks in Lausanne - Iran and the P5+1 group of countries have held a new round of talks at the deputy level in Switzerland to bridge differences on the outstanding issues pertaining to Tehran's nuclear program. Representatives of Iran and the United States, France, Britain, Russia, China and Germany took part in the Thursday talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne. 03/27/15

Following Outcry at UMass Amherst, Another U.S. University Revises Policy on Iranian Students - In response to outreach from the National Iranian American Council, one more university is taking steps to ensure that its enforcement of sanctions and other restrictions against Iran do not unduly discriminate against Iranian students. 03/27/15

Iranian Film "13" to screen at Tiburon International Film Festival - Struggling to deal with his parent's divorce and constant abuse at school, thirteen-year-old Behmani lashes out. He finds solace in a group of older street kids. They treat him as an adult and as one of their own. He soon gets in over his head when he becomes entangled in their own complex lives. 03/27/15

House Letter is Careful to Leave Door Open For Iran Deal - In a signal of a shifting political landscape in Congress for nuclear talks with Iran, a House letter sent to the President and endorsed by the hawkish American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) outlines a position closer to the Obama Administration approach rather than the hardline demands favored most prominently by Benjamin Netanyahu. -Jamal Abdi and Ryan Costello, NIAC 03/27/15

Journalist Who Backed Rohani Flees Iran - An Iranian journalist who campaigned for President Hassan Rohani and who had traveled to Lausanne with Iranian negotiators to cover talks on Tehran's nuclear program is seeking political asylum in Switzerland. Amir Hossein Motaqi, editor of Iran's ISKA news agency, told RFE/RL he decided to seek asylum after being hampered in his journalistic work by Iranian officials. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 03/27/15

Celebration of Nowruz at City Hall in San Francisco - Celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year on Friday, March 27 at 6 p.m. at San Francisco City Hall with the diverse Bay Area community. This is a commitment by members of the community with the support of Ross Mirkarimi, San Francisco Sheriff and Iranican Inc a 501c3 non-profit in the Bay Area. 03/26/15

Iran, US kick off fresh nuclear talks - Iranian and US diplomacy chiefs have kicked off a fresh round of talks in the Swiss city of Lausanne as part of broader negotiations between Iran and six world powers aimed at clinching a final deal over Tehran's nuclear program. 03/26/15

The plausible normalization of U.S.-Iran Diplomatic Relations: Who are the losers and winners? - As the nuclear negotiations between the P+5 countries and Iran approach the deadline of March 31st, two divergent groups have emerged worldwide which envision the possible outcome as contrary or affirmatory to their special interests. Whereas the ones opposing such a breakthrough are highly organized, well financed and combatively vocal, those gaining from the plausible affirmative outcome are agnostically ambivalent or low keyed in ensuring their voices are clearly and loudly heard. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan 03/26/15

Fearing Success of the Iranian Nuclear Agreement - Those determined to kill any agreement with Iran have trotted out a succession of rationales for doing so but have kept their focus firmly fixed on the U.S. Congress. That is hardly surprising, given that both houses of Congress are now controlled by the anti-Obama party and Congress is where the lobby that acts on behalf of the right-wing government in Israel exerts its power most directly. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 03/26/15

When singing is a revolutionary act: the women challenging Iran's fear of female creativity - "How can we sing without the colour of the female voice?" This is the question at the heart of No Land's Song, a new documentary by the Iranian director Ayat Najafi. The film follows the director's sister, Sara Najafi, a singer and composer who is attempting to host a concert of female singers in Tehran. -Anna Leszkiewicz, New Statesman 03/26/15

Momeni Foundation is accepting applications for the year 2014 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. The Financial Assistance Scholarship is available to all college students of Iranian descent regardless of citizenship or country of residency. 03/26/15

Iran Condemns Saudi-Led Air Strikes In Yemen - Iran has condemned regional rival Saudi Arabia for launching air strikes against Shi'ite Huthi rebels in Yemen, calling it a "dangerous step" that would exacerbate the upheaval in the Arabian Peninsula nation. Iran's Foreign Ministry said on March 26 that military action would "further complicate the situation" and "remove opportunities for a peaceful resolution" in Yemen. 03/26/15

Talking to Golnaz Esfandiari, English-Language Journalism's 'Bridge' to Iran - Based in Washington, DC, Golnaz Esfandiari is a senior correspondent at Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty, and one of the few journalists based outside of Iran writing in English about the nuances and intricacies of Iranian society and politics. -Global Voices 03/26/15

Challenging Iran's women's rights narrative - Earlier this month, Shahindokht Molaverdi, Iran's Vice President for Women and Family Affairs, led an official delegation to the United Nations in New York to attend the 59th session of the Commission on the Status of Women. -Faraz Sanei, CNN 03/26/15

Resolving the Remaining Issues in Iran Talks - Iran and the P5+1 (the five permanent member states of the UN Security Council and Germany) left the negotiating table in Lausanne last week without agreeing to a path toward a Comprehensive Joint Plan of Action (CJPOA). They are scheduled to resume their talks on March 26. The most pressing issues remain: -Adnan Tabatabai, LobeLog 03/25/15

Event in New York: "A Spring Voyage to Celebrate Iranian and American Fusion" - Persian Arts Festival is proud to announce its 9th annual Nowruz celebration, Night of Melodic Wanderlust, a spring voyage to celebrate Iranian and American fusion, MC'ed by comedienne Susan Peret, featuring Persian-Americana rock from three of the city's hottest bands. The highly-anticipated event will take place at NYC's premier global music venue Drom on Friday, March 27 at 7:00pm ET. 03/25/15

US Officials React to Allegations of Israeli Spying - U.S. President Barack Obama said when it comes to the negotiations to secure an agreement ensuring Iran does not get a nuclear weapon, the U.S. has been briefing the U.S. Congress on developments as well as Israel and other partners around the world. 03/25/15

Lies, Spin, and Campaign Rhetoric - A headline in Monday's New York Times tells us, "Netanyahu Aides Cite Iran as Source of U.S. Tensions." Talk about the Great Satan! These coolly analytical aides understand that Tehran is responsible for all the evils that afflict the Middle East and give the US a giant headache. And if we concentrate on worrying about Iran, maybe we'll forget about the Palestinians. -Henry Precht, LobeLog 03/25/15

Meet Our Man in Tehran - In a new video series, Thomas Erdbrink, the Tehran bureau chief for The New York Times, interviews the people of Iran, a country that is slowly changing and where nothing is as it seems. This is the first video in a seven part series rolling out over the next 7 weeks. 03/25/15

Iran, North Korea, and the Congress that Says No - Negotiators are rushing to meet an end-of-March deadline to reach a nuclear framework deal with Iran. The Obama administration and its P5+1 partners (the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) are willing to lift economic sanctions as long as Iran agrees to substantially curb its nuclear program for at least 10 years. -John Feffer, LobeLog 03/25/15

Another Likud Republican: Jeb Bush Pledges "Unwavering" Support for Bibi - More evidence that multi-billionaire casino magnate Sheldon Adelson has effectively gained control of the Republican Party leadership came today with Florida Gov. Jeb Bush's assertion that his "support for Israel and Prime Minister Netanyahu is unwavering..." -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 03/25/15

Report of Pars Equality Center's 5th Annual Nowruz Gala - Pars Equality Center (PEC)- a Bay Area-based non-profit organization providing social and legal services to the Iranian-American community-celebrated its 5th Annual Nowruz/Persian New Year Gala at San Francisco's Marriott Waterfront Burlingame Hotel on March 15, 2015. 03/24/15

Israel Reportedly Spying on Iranian Nuclear Talks - As the United States and a group of five other world powers held nuclear negotiations with Iran, U.S. ally Israel used espionage to glean details of the secret talks and work behind the scenes to scuttle any potential agreement, according to a report posted late Monday by The Wall Street Journal. -VOA 03/24/15

Persian Music Reverberates in New York at Spring Vernal Equinox - Exhilaratingly transfixed by the Persian music, the audience ascended into introspective trance and awe, thereby transcending borders, cultures, histories, minds and bodies at the ArtsWestchester in White Plains New York Saturday night. -Davood Rahni 03/24/15

Cost of Living Increased by 20-50 Percent In The Last Iranian Year - According to government statistics, the rate of inflation dropped in the Persian calendar year that is ending on March 21th. But a look at media news agency reports along with the pronouncements made by authorities, cost of living continued to rise in the last twelve month period. In fact, a new wave of price hikes is expected to hit the pockets of ordinary Iranians in the coming year that begins on March 21st. -Nazanin Kamdar 03/24/15

Wounded from terror attacks in Yemen treated in Iran - A number of people wounded in the suicide attacks in Yemen on Friday March 20 have been transferred to Iran for treatment. On Friday, two mosques in Sanaa, the Yemeni capital, were targeted by suicide attacks that killed 137 people and left 340 wounded. Sanaa and a number of northern parts of Yemen are currently under Hothi control. 03/24/15

Iran's South Pars revenues to hit $127bn in a couple of years: Official - The head of National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) says annual energy revenues from the South Pars supergiant in the Persian Gulf will reach USD127 billion within a couple of years. 03/24/15

Russian-Iranian Relations in the Shadow of Ukraine - Prior to Russia's annexation of Crimea in early 2014, Washington's relations with Moscow were never worse than Washington's relations with Tehran after the 1979 revolution. Indeed, occasionally in the 1990s and 2000s Russian-American relations seemed to be improving while Washington's ties to Tehran remained poor. -Mark N. Katz, LobeLog 03/24/15

Netanyahu's misrepresentation of Iran - I believe that the congressional invitation to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to a joint meeting of Congress was misguided, since he was totally unaware of the ideological outlook of Iran and ignorant of Iran's conflict with the forces of ISIS. His talk was sheer propaganda about Iran. He said that "Iran's founding document pledges death, tyranny and the pursuit of jihad." -Professor R.K. Ramazani 03/23/15

Obama says Iran falling short in nuclear talks - U.S. President Barack Obama says Iran has not yet agreed to what he feels is necessary to achieve a final nuclear agreement. In an interview with Huffington Post, Obama commented on the progress of the nuclear talks with Iran, saying: "They have not yet made the kind of concessions that are I think going to be needed for a final deal to get done. But they have moved, and so there's the possibility." 03/23/15

Too Clever by Half: Netanyahu Strengthens Obama's Hand - When the British say that someone is "too clever by half," they are not paying a compliment. This week, that expression can be applied to the thrice-and-future prime minister of Israel, Benjamin Netanyahu. -Robert E. Hunter 03/23/15

Iran on course to regain OPEC position - Industry observers say Iran is able to reclaim its position as the second largest oil producer in OPEC once US-led sanctions are lifted. Iran has said it could add a million barrels to daily oil production shortly after a deal to lift sanctions. 03/23/15

Azerbaijanis Strive to Build Civil Society Away from Home - The space for freedom of expression in Azerbaijan is now roughly the same size as a jail cell, watchdog groups say. Azerbaijani rights activists and journalists are accordingly fleeing the country in growing numbers. -Nargiz Rashid, EurasiaNet 03/23/15

Iran, US fight it out in a nutty war - Iran dominates the world market for exports of split-shelled pistachios but it is facing a stubborn competition from the Americans. Raw, roasted, salted and savory, the Iranian nibble has no rivals for quality but the US has ousted the Middle Eastern country as the largest producer of pistachio nuts. 03/23/15

Update on Iran-Related Legislation - The following is the latest update from Americans for Peace Now. It provides a summary of a number of Iran-related issues, including the latest legislation in Congress. -Lara Friedman, LobeLog 03/23/15

The 47 Republican Ronin Take on Iran - In traditional Japanese culture, a samurai without a master is known as a ronin. The most popular tale featuring these leaderless samurai is the 18th-century Chusingura. It tells of a feudal lord who must commit ritual suicide after assaulting the court official who had insulted him. Of the lord's several hundred retainers, 47 loyal samurai plot their revenge on the haughty court official. -John Feffer, LobeLog 03/23/15

Britain, France, Germany, U.S. Affirm Unity In Iran Nuclear Talks - Britain, France, Germany, and the United States have affirmed their "unity of purpose" in the Iran nuclear talks, saying the Islamic Republic had to take "difficult decisions." The Western powers' top diplomats met in London on March 21 to discuss progress in negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program. 03/22/15

Nowruz Resolution Introduced in the U.S. Congress - On March 18, 2015, Congressman Michael M. Honda (CA-17th) introduced a resolution in honor of the Iranian New Year into the House of Representatives. The legislation recognizes the cultural and historical significance of Nowruz and wishes Iranian Americans, the people of Iran, and all those who celebrate the holiday a prosperous new year. 03/22/15

Let us be bravely and benevolently united for the Joys of Nowruz (New Year) - In some millennia ago, in regard to the process of Creation our ancestors wrote: "Temporal time was created from Endless, Eternal Time. The reason was that in order to defeat Ahriman (Evil), Hormozd (God the creator) created Time. For Ahriman will only be defeated through war. The battleground is where the strategy for the war is figured out." -Khoobchehr Keshavarzi, Tavoos 03/22/15

Kerry to Iran: It's Time for Tough Decisions on Nuclear Program - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry called on Iran to make difficult decisions now to enable agreement on the future of its nuclear program by the deadline at the end of this month. He told reporters in Lausanne, Switzerland, Saturday that important gaps remain in reaching an agreement. "Fundamental decisions have to be made now, and they don't get any easier as time goes by," Kerry said. -Al Pessin, VOA 03/22/15

Iranian Children's Rights Activist Charged with "Acting against National Security" - Civil and children's rights activist Atena Daemi has been formally charged, after six months of "temporary detention" in Evin Prison, a source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. 03/22/15

Irans's National Football coach grounded for tax evasion - Carlos Queiroz, the Portuguese head coach of Iran's National Football Team, has been banned from leaving Iran on the charge of tax evasion. Queiroz was reportedly informed of the travel ban at Imam Khomeini International Airport, as he was setting out for Austria with the national team to take part in two friendly games, but he has now returned to Tehran. 03/22/15

Iran's Green Movement: Jaras new site shutting down though goal still unmet - Jaras began operation in July of 2009 outside of Iran. In a statement, the website reports that its aim had been to continue operating the news and analysis website until the house arrest of the Green Movement leaders in Iran was ended. It adds, however, that "religious despotism has shown greater endurance". 03/22/15

In Nowruz message to Iranian People and Leaders, Obama Urges Progress on Nuclear Deal - President Obama sends best wishes to everyone celebrating Nowruz. In his video message, the President speaks directly to the people and leaders of the Islamic Republic of Iran about a path of greater opportunity for the Iranian people. 03/20/15

Iranian cartoonists mark Persian New Year 1394! - Nowruz marks the first day of spring and the beginning of the Iranian year. It is celebrated on the day of the astronomical vernal equinox, the start of spring in the northern hemisphere. This year Nowruz starts on Friday March 20th at 2245 UTC. Here is a selection of works by Iranian cartoonists on the occasion of Nowruz. 03/20/15

Videos: Persian New Year, Norouz - Nowruz, "New Day", is the holiest and most joyful festival of the Zoroastrian year and the most important national festival for all Iranians. Its celebration is recorded from the Achaemenian period around 500 BCE. 03/20/15

Europe stepping up its game on Iran - A decisive stage in the nuclear talks is approaching, as world powers aim to reach a political agreement with Iran this month. Europeans have cautiously but noticeably stepped up their game to safeguard the negotiations and, ultimately, their future relations with Iran. -Ellie Geranmayeh 03/20/15

Iran's Influence in Iraq Deeper Than Assumed - Just five years ago, the United States was involved in nearly every aspect of Iraq's life, from economic reconstruction to political development to military cooperation. Now, analysts say, regional power broker Iran dominates the Iraqi landscape. -Sharon Behn, VOA 03/20/15

Happy Nowruz and Spring Solstice - Nowruz is regarded as the birthday of our Blue Planet Earth; Since the time immemorial; Celebrating the history of human existence; On her bosom with spring flourishing trees and blossoms; In hope of Rebirth; In the way Forough Farokhzad recounts in her poem; Let's read it together while remembering... -Roya Monajem, Tehran 03/19/15

Artists from 12 countries team up to celebrate Nowruz in Berlin - Artists from twelve countries will come together at the Ethnological Museum in Berlin on March 21 to celebrate Nowruz, the Iranian New Year festival. The artists are from Iran, Turkey, Azerbaijan, India, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, Afghanistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan and Iraq, all of which observe Nowruz as a national celebration. 03/19/15

Nowruz, the New Year at the spring vernal equinox - The flower buds of yellow, violet, red and white crocuses of saffron bulbs intermingled with the blossoms of daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and Persian violets herald the arrival of Nowruz. The Persian New Year, a rebirth and rejuvenation, rightly occurs on the spring vernal equinox. -Davood Rahni 03/18/15

Americans broadly support direct negotiations with Iran: Poll - As Iran and the United States are holding intense talks about Tehran's nuclear program in the Swiss city of Lausanne, a new poll shows that Americans broadly support direct negotiations with Iran. According to a CNN/ORC International Poll, direct diplomatic negotiations between Iran and the US are broadly popular as 68 percent of the total 1,009 respondents voted in favor of the talks. 03/17/15

The Times Errs on Iran Weaponization - A recent piece in The New York Times purports to explain why Iran has not been clear about its nuclear bomb aspirations. The article tries to link this alleged silence to the successful agreements in the P5+1 negotiations that have begun again in Switzerland. However, the article is based on misconceptions, innuendo, and technical ignorance. -Robert Kelley 03/17/15

White House Warns Senate Republicans To Stop Interfering With Iran Nuclear Negotiations - The White House wants Congress to stop interfering in the negotiations with Iran about its nuclear capabilities. White House Chief of Staff Dennis McDonough warned Congress in a letter sent late Saturday that pending legislation requiring congressional approval for any deal reached with Iran about its nuclear capabilities could have a "profoundly negative impact" on the negotiations. 03/15/15

Why We Have Fish For Nowruz? - Fish as a significant symbolic entity has a long history in Mesopotamia, where they believed that the earliest civilization was formed by men who came out of the sea in form of fish. There are also fish-like creatures that often appear as protectors in mythologies. In Iran, fish as a symbolic creature is documented from the 8th century BC, in Elam. -Massoume Price, Culture Of Iran 03/14/15

Photos: Iranian Assyrians hold rally, condemn ISIL crimes - Hundreds of Iranian Assyrians have held a demonstration in Tehran, condemning the crimes perpetrated by ISIL militants against religious minorities in Iraq and Syria. They gathered in front of the United Nations headquarters on Thursday to condemn the dreadful killings of civilians, especially Assyrians, in Iraq and Syria. 03/14/15

Proposed Iranian Laws Are Setback for Women - Proposed new laws in Iran would restrict women's access to birth control and jobs, according to human rights group Amnesty International. The group expressed alarm at two bills, moving through Iran's parliament, that aim to arrest the country's plunging birth rate and declining population, seen in Tehran as major threats to the Islamic Republic's future. -Henry Ridgwell, VOA 03/14/15

Fifty Pro-Diplomacy Organizations Urge Senate to Reject Dangerous Iran Legislation - Washington, DC - On the heels of a series of political stunts on Capitol Hill that have heightened partisanship and threatened to sabotage nuclear negotiations with Iran, 50 organizations sent a letter to the Senate today warning against legislation that would entrust Congress with expanded powers to block an eventual nuclear deal. 03/13/15

Nowruz Day at the White House - The Nowruz reception at the White House held on March 11, 2015 by all accounts was a great success. Invited dignitaries, professors and scholars, exchange students, entrepreneurs, government officials and artists, i.e., four generations of Americans with heritage mainly from Iran, as well as those from Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Azarbaijan, Iraq's Kurdistan and the Parsis of India among a number of other nationalities were invited to the extravagant reception. -David Rahni 03/13/15

Pars Equality Center Celebrates 5th Anniversary With Official Opening Of Daryabari Iranian Community Center And Annual Nowruz Gala - In honor of the 5th anniversary of Pars Equality Center - a Bay Area-based non-profit organization providing social and legal services to the Iranian-American community-there will be two seminal celebratory events: the 5th Annual Nowruz Gala on Saturday, March 14, 2015, and the highly anticipated Official Opening of the Daryabari Iranian Community Center-the new permanent home for PEC-on Thursday, April 16, 2015. 03/11/15

Iranian musicians band together against concert meddling - The Iranian music community has launched a campaign, calling on all musicians and music lovers to stand up against the cancellation of concerts and recent restrictions imposed on all forms of music activities. 03/10/15

Netanyahu's Insulting, Dangerous and Divisive Speech: Wrong in Detail and Wrong in Substance - After all the huffing and puffing and all the aroused expectations about the speech by the Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to the joint session of US Congress, the speech proved a great disappointment and even an embarrassment. -Farhang Jahanpour 03/9/15

Iranian American Women's Leadership Conference - The Iranian American Women Foundation is set to host its next Women's Leadership Conference May 3rd in San Francisco! Once again, IAW Foundation is bringing women together to INSPIRE, EMPOWER and CONNECT 03/9/15

What Will Iran Do When the Sun Sets on a Nuclear Agreement? - Opponents of a nuclear deal with Iran have been stressing a new fear: the deal's "sunset" provisions will result in Iran acquiring a nuclear weapon capability. This will pose an existential threat to Israel. This concern rests in part on a misunderstanding. All the signs are that the sun will set only on a few of the agreement's provisions. -Peter Jenkins 03/7/15

Vigilante Violence: The Acid Attacks against Women in Iran and the State's Assault on Women's Rights - The Iranian Parliament should immediately withdraw the pending Plan to Promote Virtue and Prevent Vice, which explicitly calls for Basij militias to enforce strict hijab (female dress), the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran said today. This plan not only violates the rights of all Iranian women, it also presents a clear and present danger to their continued safety. 03/7/15

Survey Shows Strong Majority Support for Obama Approach on Iran - According to a new poll, a strong majority of the U.S. public supports an agreement that would limit Iran's enrichment capacity and impose highly intrusive inspections on Tehran's nuclear program in exchange for the lifting of sanctions against the Islamic Republic. The survey was released Tuesday as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu tried to persuade Congress to derail such a deal. -Jim Lobe 03/4/15

Iran's Neoliberal Austerity-Security Budget - President Hassan Rouhani submitted Iran's 1394 (the Persian New Year begins on 21 March 2015) Budget Bill to the Iranian Parliament this last December. The budget was put together before the sharp fall in oil prices and before the nuclear negotiations failed to reach the expected "comprehensive" deal on November 24, 2014. -Hooshang Amirahmadi 02/16/15

Photos: Village Students in Chabahar Looking For Philanthropists To Help Their Schools - These photos are from the schools at Kamb and Tiss Koopan villages in the district of Chabahar town in Iran's Sistan and Baluchestan province. At the age of the internet, the students at these schools are still deprived of the basic educational facilities. With their their government having failed them, these students have now turned to philanthropists and asking for their help so their schools can meet the minimum educational standards. 02/12/15

Photos: Iranian village of Esfidan - Esfidan is a village located in Bojnourd County, North Khorasan Province in southeastern Iran. Due to its interconnected architecture, Esfidan village is known as the Masouleh of Iran's Eastern part. Masouleh is another village in north of Iran worldly known for its beautiful urban architecture. -Maryam Davarnia 02/11/15

Photos: Iran Successfully Sends 'Fajr' Satellite into Orbit - Iran successfully sent domestically-made Fajr (Dawn) satellite into orbit on Monday as the country prepares to mark National Day of Space Technology. This is the fourth homegrown satellite launched successfully into space by the Iranian experts at the Defense Ministry's Aerospace Industries Organization and Iran Electronics Industries. 02/2/15

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last updated on Mon Mar 30 13:55:06 GMT 2015