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January 26 2015
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Reset: Iran, Turkey, and America's Future


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A Portal Between Tehran and NYC: Open For Conversation

- Without a doubt, the lack of diplomatic relations between the US and Iran creates a serious hurdle for Iranians and Americans to meet one another. But artists in NYC and Tehran launched a project, known as Portals, that solves that problem. 01/25/15

Bread gets more expensive in Iran as controls loosen

- Bread prices have gone up once again in Tehran and other cities as the second phase of deregulating bread prices begins. The Mehr News Agency reports that on Saturday January 24, the second phase of lifting the cap on bread prices will be implemented. 01/25/15

Middle Eastern Turmoil and the Scaremongering on Iran

- It has not been a smooth month for those who want to keep Iran in pariahdom forever and thus seek to kill any international agreement on Iran's nuclear program. The sanctions bill that is the deal-killers' principal vehicle at the moment and is in the Senate banking committee has not been attracting the hoped-for Democratic co-sponsors. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 01/25/15

We are very close to nuclear agreement: President Rouhani

- Iranian president Hassan Rouhani says the country is "very close" to clinching a deal with global powers on its nuclear program. At a Sunday meeting with visiting Croatian Foreign Minister Vesna Pusic, Rouhani said that Iran has been involved in satisfactory negotiations with P5+1. 01/25/15

Allies, Lawmakers and Officials Warn Against New Iran Sanctions

- Key allies, policymakers and members of Congress have recently warned about the impact that new Iran sanctions legislation would have on efforts to reach a comprehensive nuclear deal with Iran. -Ryan Costello, NIAC 01/25/15

Photos: Iran's Nature Cleaners

- The 46th provincial program of Iran's Nature Cleaners took place in Toushan Village in Gorgan, with the participation of over 60 eco-friendly citizens. The organization comprises people who volunteer to clean up rubbish discarded in nature. -Mohammad Cheraghali 01/25/15

Iranian Foreign Minister Summoned To Explain Walk With Kerry

- Iranian state media reported on January 25 that parliament has summoned Foreign Minister Javid Zarif to appear and explain his recent stroll with U.S. counterpart John Kerry during nuclear negotiations in Geneva. 01/25/15

Poet of Persia

- For one with knowledge of Parviz Tanavoli's status as one of the most important and highest-grossing contemporary Iranian artists, it is difficult, to say the least, to match the man in the flesh with his grandiose reputation. -Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient 01/25/15

Iranian school principal latest victim of violence near Pakistani border

- Media sources in Iran report that a school principal was killed in Saravan in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan. The Entekhab website reports that unknown assailants shot and killed school principal Kamal Gomshad Zehi while he was on his way to work in the southern region of Sistan-Baluchistan. 01/25/15

Obama's State of the Union Address and its Bearing on US/Iran Relations

- When it comes to America's foreign policies, It's too bad that trying to do what's good for America is so often blocked by special interest groups and elected officials who owe their positions, hence their loyalties, to influence peddlers with different agendas. Watching the proceedings of January 21st Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearings on C-SPAN exemplified this tragic state of affairs. -Kam Zarrabi 01/24/15

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Female Asiatic Cheetah, 3 Cubs Sighted In Turan National Park - Head of Khar Turan National Park in Shahrud has announced the sighting of four new Asiatic Cheetahs, including a female and her three cubs. Ali Akbar Ghorbanlou told Mehr News that the frequent sightings of Asiatic cheetahs have considerably raised the hopes among environment and wildlife lovers. 01/24/15

Iranian Acid-Attack Punishment Delayed As Physicians Refuse To Administer Sentence - In a very rare ruling, a man who threw acid on another man in Tehran about a decade ago has been sentenced to be blinded based on the Islamic eye-for-an-eye retribution law. But his punishment has been delayed as physicians have refused to administer the sentence, according to an Iranian judicial official who recently spoke to domestic media. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/24/15

Oil price rise after Saudi ruler's death is seen as temporary - Oil prices went up following the news that Malek Abdullah had passed away. Reports indicate that the rise in prices is temporary and Saudi Arabian oil policies will not change before the OPEC meeting in June. 01/24/15

King Abdullah's Mixed Legacy - King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz of Saudi Arabia, who died early Friday morning at the age of 90 or 91, left a very mixed legacy - stability, prosperity, and widespread popularity at home, but war and crisis all around the kingdom's borders and a foreign policy in disarray. -Thomas Lippman, LobeLog 01/24/15

Iran announces record gas production - Iran said on Saturday that it has been able to produce a total of 105 million cubic meters of sweet gas per day (mcm/d) from five prioritized projects in the country's energy hub of South Pars from June 2013. 01/24/15

U.S. is prime destination for Iran's international mail - Iranian Postal Services announced that the highest volume of outgoing mail it handles goes to the United States. IRAN reports that the head of Iranian Postal Services, Hossein Mehri, told reporters on Wednesday January 21 that the largest amount of incoming mail arrives from Germany, China and England. 01/24/15

Iran loses to Iraq in penalties, misses Asian Cup semis - Iranian national football team has missed the chance to play in the Asian Cup semifinals after it suffered a defeat to Iraq in the penalty shootouts. The two west Asian neighbors faced each other in Canberra Stadium on Friday in the most fascinating match of the competition that saw Iraqi eagles win the game 7-6 in the penalty shootouts. 01/23/15

Photos: Students sahve heads in sympathy with teacher diagnosed with cancer - Mohammadreza Ghaderi, a physical education teacher in an elementary school in Hamedan and a cycling champion in Iran and Asia, has recently been diagnosed with cancer. To express sympathy with their teacher, the school's students shaved their heads bald. 01/23/15

Iranian teachers begin strike to protest wages, inadequate budget - Teachers from across Iran have begun a strike in the past two days to protest their wages as well as reports that the education ministry will only get a 14-percent budget increase in the coming year. 01/23/15

Iran's Security Forces Block Service To Remember Republics' First PM - Security forces prevented a special commemoration service planned for the twentieth anniversary of the passing of the Islamic Republic's first prime minister, Mehdi Bazargan. Commemoration services for Bazargan were banned over the past seven years under the administration of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Bazargan passed away in Zurich in 1995 at the age of 87. 01/23/15

Chutzpah Squared, Bibi and Boehner - As Mitchell Plitnick pointed out on Wednesday, House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to speak to a joint session of Congress on February 11, although now it appears that Bibi would like to put off the occasion until March 3, when AIPAC will be holding its annual policy conference and unleashing its 12,000-plus attendees on Capitol Hill. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 01/23/15

Saudi Arabia's Controversial Death Sentence - Last October, Saudi Arabia's Special Criminal Court sentenced Sheikh Nimr Baqir al-Nimr-a popular Shi'ite cleric and outspoken political dissident-to death. This was not an ordinary criminal trial, even considering Saudi Arabia's liberal use of capital punishment. -Giorgio Cafiero, LobeLog 01/23/15

Looking Beyond a Nuclear Agreement with Iran - After more than three decades of estrangement, the US and Iran aren't likely to quickly normalize their relationship even if-which is still a big if-they reach a nuclear deal in the coming weeks or months. The animosity and mutual distrust run too deep, according to new policy brief released by the Center for New American Security (CNAS) Friday. -David Shams 01/22/15

Opinion: Deepening Israel-Iran Conflict Likely to Bring More Violence - Two developments this week linked to the long-running conflict between Israel and Iran are likely to generate even more violence and uncertainty at a time when threats are already multiplying from Sunni Muslim extremists. -Barbara Slavin, VOA 01/22/15

Iranian Judiciary Shuts Down Newspaper for Publishing "I am Charlie Too" Quote - Two days after the conservative Iranian newspaper Kayhan demanded judicial authorities close down reformist newspaper Mardom-e Emrooz, which was only in operation for 16 days, the newspaper was shut down by orders from Branch 2 of Media Court of the Iranian Judiciary for publishing "I'm Charlie" on its front page. 01/22/15

Iran's Hard-Liners Irked By Zarif's Geneva Stroll With Kerry - A 15-minute stroll in Switzerland with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has landed Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in hot water. The two men took a stroll in downtown Geneva and along the Rhone River on January 14 as part of bilateral talks to reach a lasting deal over Iran's nuclear program. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/22/15

Latest attack in Sistan-Baluchistan kills three - A police officer and two other people were killed in an armed attack in Sistan-Baluchistan Province, the head of the province's security forces reports. Hossein Rahimi told the Fars News Agency on January 21 that police officers were called to the scene of a road accident but upon arrival the officers were shot at from the vehicle. 01/22/15

Hills, hairpins, harmonies: On the road in Iranian Kurdistan - "Yavash, yavash," the small, gray-haired doctor says, leaning across from the passenger seat to put a hand on his friend's shoulder, imploring him to slow down the black Toyota as we approach another hairpin bend in the dusty road. -CNN 01/22/15

Boehner, Netanyahu conspire to push war on Iran - House Speaker John Boehner has invited Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu to address Congress next month about negotiations with Iran, a visit that would come right at the time that Congress is debating controversial bills that would tighten Iranian sanctions. -Jay Bookman, AJC 01/22/15

Iranian Ex-Vice President Sentenced To 5 Years In Prison - Iran's Supreme Court has sentenced a former vice president to five years and three months in prison and ordered him to pay a fine of 10 billion rial ($360,000). Rahimi was a top aide to Mahmud Ahmadinejad, who was president from 2005 to 2013. 01/22/15

Iran's IRGC Warns Israel Following Air Strike That Killed Iranian Commander - The commander of Iran's Revolutionary Guards (IRGC) warned on January 20 that Israel should expect "devastating thunderbolts" in response to the January 18 air strike in Syria that killed an IRGC general and several members of the Lebanese Hizballah militia. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/21/15

Obama Says 'Shadow Of Crisis Has Passed' - In his annual State of the Union address on January 20, Obama said: "Our diplomacy is at work with respect to Iran...But new sanctions passed by this Congress, at this moment in time, will all but guarantee that diplomacy fails..That is why I will veto any new sanctions bill that threatens to undo this progress. The American people expect us to only go to war as a last resort, and I intend to stay true to that wisdom." 01/21/15

War On Satellite Dishes: 6,000 Receivers Destroyed In Shiraz, Iran - Six thousand satellite receivers and dishes have been destroyed in a stadium in the city of Shiraz, according to reports by Iranian news agencies that posted photos of the police action, in the latest phase of Iran's ongoing war on banned satellites. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 01/21/15

Iran football players warned: Don't take selfies with female fans in Australia - Iranian football players have been warned not to take selfies with female fans in Australia, as it is against the country's "moral principles." The Telegraph reported that officials in Iran have been shocked at the dress code of local Australian women, which starkly contrasts with strict Islamic-dress requirements -Mashable 01/21/15

Iran will face no problem even with $25 oil: Finance Minister - Iranian Finance and Economic Affairs Minister Ali Tayyebnia says the administration will face no problem even if oil price drops to $25 a barrel. "For the time being, predicting oil price fluctuations is not possible. So, the administration is preparing itself to deal with any probable situation," 01/21/15

Iran, Russia agree to solve S300 missile system issue - The Iranian and Russian defense chiefs agreed on Tuesday to expand defense relations in order to resolve the issue concerning the S-300 air defense missile systems. In 2010 Russia refused to deliver the missile systems under a pressure by West. Russian Defense Minister Sergey Shoigu visited Iran on Wednesday. 01/21/15

Iran asks UN for help with increasingly arid climate - The head of Iran's Department of the Environment says forecasts indicate that dry weather and a lack of precipitation in Iran will increase eleven fold by 2050. 01/21/15

Josh Block Misrepresents New Iran Sanctions Bill In SOTU Talking Points - I just received a copy of the talking points Josh Block, the head of the Israel Project, distributed to journalists and pundits ahead of tonight's State of the Union address. The talking points, which are focused exclusively on pushing Iran sanctions and attacking the Obama administration, have some...serious problems. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog 01/21/15

Iran's Supreme Leader regrets prevailing discrimination in U.S. - In a message posted on his official twitter account on the occasion of the Martin Luther King Day, the Leader also marked the birthday of the prominent American civil rights activist and lamented that minorities are still treated unfairly in the United States. 01/21/15

Theresa May accused of jeopardising Iran embassy deal - Home Secretary Theresa May has been accused by the Foreign Office of blocking attempts to reopen the British embassy in Tehran by refusing to back down on her immigration demands. Mrs May is said to be delaying progress by refusing to reopen a visa office at the embassy - a key demand by Tehran - until 4,000 Iranians are deported from Britain. -Telegraph 01/21/15

Iranian-Swiss Woman Nominated For Oscar For Her Short Film "Parvaneh" - Iranian-Swiss film director and screenwriter Talkhon Hamzavi has been nominated for an Oscar at the 87th Academy Awards in the Short Film (Live Action) category for her work "Parvaneh" along with the producer Stefan Eichenberger. 01/20/15

Photos: People in Varzaneh Pray For Rain - When all else fails, turn to God -- The people of the farming town of Varzaneh gathered on Friday January 16 to pray for rain. Like other countries in the region, Iran has been dealing with severe drought and water shortages in the last few years. Many farmers have lost their jobs or are on the verge of doing so. -- Will God hear the people of Varzaneh? -Hamidreza Dastjerdi 01/20/15

Iran lauds meeting with Kerry for advancing nuclear talks - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told IRNA that in his meeting with U.S. State Secretary John Kerry, they discussed the details of an agreement to finalize the nuclear negotiations. 01/20/15

First Iranian-made electric car "Sabrina" unveiled - Iranian carmaker Diyar Khodro has launched trial production of the electric car, which is projected to be produced in large scale in the next Iranian calendar year, starting on March 21, the Fars news agency reported. The car can travel more than 250 kilometers per charge. 01/20/15

Why WaPo Gets the Iran Sanctions Fight Wrong - With the fight over whether to pile on more Iran sanctions heating up in D.C., the Washington Post has weighed in. It will not come as a surprise to regular readers of the editorial board that the paper is holding its usual liberal-hawk line: the editors tacitly endorse Congress's push for more pressure on Iran. -Ali Gharib 01/20/15

Basij students in Tehran protest Charlie Hebdo cover - A group of Basij students gathered in front of the French embassy in Tehran on Monday January 19 to protest the latest Charlie Hebdo magazine cover depicting the Muslim Prophet. Protesters called for the closure of the French Embassy. 01/20/15

Photos: Gucci shines as Iran wins group contest in Asian Cup - Iran has defeated United Arab Emirates 1-0 to win the group stage of the Asian cup Australia 2015. A late header by Reza Ghoochannejad put Carlos Queiroz's men on top of group C of the games in Brisbane on Monday. 01/19/15

Iran Nuclear Talks End With 'Limited' Progress - Diplomats say the January 18 nuclear talks between Iran and world powers in Geneva have ended with "limited progress." Representatives of Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city. 01/19/15

AIC Statement: Menendez-Kirk Sactions Bill - While Iranian and American officials are negotiating over the nuclear issue, the US Congress is pushing for new sanctions legislation. Even before it is finalized, drafts of the "Nuclear Weapon Free Iran Act of 2015," co-sponsored by Senators Bob Menendez (D-NJ) and Mark Kirk (R-IL), are in circulation. This threat of potential new sanctions has sparked an intense public debate between Republican and pro-sanctions Democratic Senators on one side and the Obama administration on the other. -American Iranian Council 01/19/15

Terrorist Attacks on Charlie Hebdo - Despite all the reporting and commentary on the terrorist attacks on the Paris offices of the satirical magazine Charlie Hebdo, political pundits and mainstream media have failed to shed any light on some of the submerged factors that might have provoked those heinous attacks. Indeed, the simplistic and politically expedient explanations such as "incompatibility" of Islam with the modern world or "good vs. evil" have shed more heat than light on the issue. -Ismael Hossein-zadeh 01/19/15

Iran's Clean Air Day: Ebtekar vows no leniency for polluting industries - The Department of Environment spares no leniency for polluting industries, the department's chief Masoumeh Ebtekar said on Sunday. Addressing a gathering on the occasion of the "Clean Air Day" in Tehran on Sunday, Ebtekar also admitted that the metropolis of Tehran is still grappling with heavy air pollution. 01/19/15

Iran's IRGC confirms killing of its general in Syria's Golan - Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) confirms the killing of one of its generals in an Israeli airstrike on the occupied Golan Heights in Syria that also killed six members of the Lebanese resistance movement, Hezbollah. 01/19/15

Tehran, Moscow ink deal to build 2 more nuclear plants in Iran: Salehi - Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi says Tehran and Moscow have signed an agreement for the construction of two more nuclear power plants in the Islamic Republic, Press TV reports. 01/19/15

A Sanity Check from London on Iran - Those who want to maintain endless tension and animosity between the United States and Iran, and who thus have been endeavoring to kill any diplomatic agreement between the two countries, are racing ahead with their latest project and will be very busy during the week ahead. That project, the AIPAC-promoted Kirk-Menendez sanctions bill, will be the subject of a Senate banking committee hearing, with only anti-agreement witnesses so far announced, on Tuesday, to be followed by the committee's mark-up of the bill on Thursday. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 01/19/15

Photos: Rouhani unveils smuggled Iran artifacts returned from Belgium - Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has opened an exhibition showcasing hundreds of ancient Iranian artifacts returned to the country from Belgium after decades of legal battles. The artifacts were displayed at the National Museum of Iran on Saturday in the presence of Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials. 01/18/15

Iran, World Powers Hold Fresh Talks In Geneva - Iran and world powers began a new round of talks in Geneva to discuss Tehran's nuclear program. Representatives from Iran and the so-called P5+1 group of nations -- China, France, Russia, the United Kingdom, and the United States, plus Germany -- met for closed-door talks at the EU diplomatic mission in the Swiss city on January 18. 01/18/15

US, Britain Oppose New Iran Sanctions - President Barack Obama is calling on the U.S. Congress to hold off slapping new sanctions on Iran, saying penalties at this point could derail nuclear negotiations and raise the risk of war. The president's warning came after two days of meetings with visiting British Prime Minister David Cameron. -Luis Ramirez, VOA 01/17/15

Iranian reformists make plans for 2016 parliamentary elections - Iranian reformists gathered on Thursday January 15 to prepare for the parliamentary elections announced this week for March 2016. The Coordination Council of the Reformist Front issued a statement calling for guarantees that the elections will be free and fair. 01/17/15

Iran Calls For 'Political Will' To Advance Nuclear Talks - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif says "political will" is needed to make progress in negotiations over Iran's nuclear program but that he believes such progress is "possible." Zarif returned to Geneva late on January 16 following talks in Paris with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius. 01/17/15

New Iranian school policy welcomes Afghan children - Iran's Education Minister says the administration's new policy states that no Afghan child should be denied the right to education in Iran. Ali Asghar Fani told Fars News: "Our objective is to give Afghan students a chance to be educated and empowered in our schools so they can return to their countries with the best of abilities." 01/17/15

EU, Iran hold high profile talks - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held meetings with German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Berlin and EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels on Thursday. 01/17/15

In defense of freedom of expression - The Wednesday edition of Charlie Hebdo (a week after the barbaric attack by two deranged terrorists on its premises) carried a cartoon of Prophet Muhammad, with a caption "Je Suis Charlie", with a tear drop on his face announcing, "all is forgiven". It is not clear who is forgiven and for what, but if it refers to the terrorists it certainly is not appropriate. -Farhang Jahanpour 01/16/15

Deciphering Iran's Strategic Vision - With nuclear negotiations between Iran and six world powers set to resume on January 18 in Geneva, no breakthrough in the talks is in sight. This deadlock begs the questions: what is the logic behind Iranian foreign policy, and why do Iran's policymakers appear so intractable in the face of an unprecedented sanctions regime? -Sina Toossi 01/16/15

US, Iran Envoys Hold Unscheduled Late-Night Meeting - GENEVA-U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry spent all day Wednesday in Geneva talking about Iran's nuclear program with Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif. They held morning and afternoon sessions and an unscheduled evening meeting, for which Kerry postponed a flight to Bulgaria. A U.S. official said the talks were substantive. -Pamela Dockins, VOA 01/15/15

US Journalist Jason Rezaian Indicted by Tehran Revolutionary Court, Says Prosecutor - During a press conference today, Tehran Prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi told reporters that the imprisoned Washington Post correspondent, Jason Rezaian, has been indicted and that his case has been forwarded to a Tehran Revolutionary Court. The Prosecutor's announcement, after 170 days of "temporary detention" of the journalist, did not include a statement about the charges Rezaian is facing. 01/15/15

NIAC Warns Against Diplomacy-Killing Senate Sanctions - The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) is deeply concerned by reports that the Senate will begin considering new Iran sanctions next week and warns that passage of new Iran sanctions into law would violate the Joint Plan of Action (JPOA) and dramatically reduce, if not eliminate, the prospect of striking a comprehensive nuclear accord. 01/15/15

The Origin of Islamic radical fundamentalism and its plausible eradication - Global resurgence of violent Islamic fundamentalism can only be circumvented with full comprehension and acknowledgment of what has historically gone wrong, and the educational achievements, socio-economic empowerment, indigenous political progress, and blind justice leading to equality in the Muslim countries. -Rachel Eliasi Kohan, 01/15/15

Filmmaker asks Iranian officials to watch "A Few Cubic Meters of Love" - Filmmaker Nader Talebzadeh has asked Iranian officials to watch "", a drama on migration and love directed and produced by Afghan brothers Jamshid Mahmudi and Navid Mahmudi who have lived in Iran for the past 30 years. 01/14/15

Islamic Reformation: The Antidote to Terrorism - The horrific terrorist attack on the French satirical publication Charlie Hebdo has once again raised the question about violence and Islam. Why is it, some ask, that so much terrorism has been committed in the name of Islam, and why do violent jihadists seek justification of their actions in their religion? -Emile Nakhleh, LobeLog 01/14/15

GRAND HYPOCRISY: Where is Solidarity When it really Matters? - The impressive show of solidarity in Paris over the weekend was, at least in the mind of this observer, one of the greatest open exhibitions of mass hypocrisy anywhere. No, I am not in any way condoning the terrorist acts by some extremist elements against the publishers of some silly, distasteful and blatantly racist cartoons. -Kam Zarrabi 01/13/15

Lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh on the State of Human Rights in Iran - Nasrin Sotoudeh, the Iranian lawyer and human rights activist, was jailed in Iran from 2010 to 2013 for the charge of "acting against national security". During her imprisonment, she went on several hunger strikes to force the authorities to accept her legitimate demands. 01/13/15

Iran's NPT Withdrawal Option - The risk of failure in the ongoing negotiations with Iran over its nuclear program has increased after the most recent meetings in Oman and Vienna. The resolution of the key remaining points of contention-about Iran's enrichment capacity and, even more problematic, the timetable for lifting sanctions-calls for daring political decisions from both negotiating teams that run counter to the positions of their respective establishments. -Francois Nicoulaud 01/13/15

Yes, Words Can Hurt You: They Just Did! An Essay on Freedom of Expression - It is a pity that the entire world doesn't subscribe to some unified code of conduct or civilizational values - some code of conduct such as the Golden Rule, doing unto others as you'd have done unto you. To be even more specific; wouldn't it be nice if the whole world subscribed to OUR codes of conduct in order to avoid disagreements and confrontations? Unfortunately that's not the way our species has evolved! -Kam Zarrabi 01/11/15

Make Sure Iranian Americans Are Counted- Tell the Census Bureau You Support the MENA Test - In October of 2014, the U.S. Census Bureau announced it will test a new Middle Eastern or North African (MENA) ethnic category as part of its mid-decade research for possible inclusion in the 2020 Census. The Census Bureau is now soliciting public comments in the Federal Register on the MENA category. 01/10/15

Tehran Visit Leaves Former U.S. Congressman 'Guardedly Optimistic' - Jim Slattery, a former congressman from Kansas, made a rare visit to Tehran last month in which he addressed a conference on extremism and held discussions with Iranian officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and President Hassan Rohani's chief of staff, Mohammad Nahavandia. Slattery told RFE/RL's Golnaz Esfandiari that his visit left him guardedly optimistic about the prospects of a nuclear deal with Iran. 01/9/15

Photos: The Sistan Bread - Traditional bread making is still practiced in many villages across Iran. These photos by Hamed Gholami show the bread making process by the women in Sistan and Baluchestan province, from grinding the wheat to preparing the dough and baking the bread in the mud ovens. 01/6/15

Rare brown bear killed in road accident in Iran - A brown bear died on Friday January 2 after a road accident occurred between Ardebil and Parsabad in northwestern Iran. ISNA reports that the news was confirmed by the head of the Ardebil Department of the Environment, who said that despite the efforts of rangers, the rare animal died some hours after the collision due to the severity of its injuries. 01/6/15

President Rouhani Urges End to Iran's Isolation - "We want a sustainable, comprehensive and continued development. It is not possible to say we want economic development but want to be politically restrictive," said Rouhani, speaking at Iran's first National Economy Conference in Tehran. 01/5/15

Two Endangered Persian Leopards Die Within 10 Days - In less than ten days, two dead leopards have been found in east and west of Golestan province. The leopards are believed by Department of Environment experts to having died of hunger; they further speculate that the motorway crossing the national park would also play a role in the deadly incident. 01/1/15

The Nuclear Negotiations: The Melting Strategy and the Missiles Time Bomb - Given the secrecy of the P5+1 negotiations on Iran's nuclear program, it is hard to surmise the concessions being made or the structure of a final settlement. However, one thing is becoming increasingly clear: the path to a nuclear deal will involve many "mini deals" by which Iran's nuclear program will be slowly "melted" away to a symbolic level in return for a measured release of its frozen oil money and lifting of some sanctions. -Hooshang Amirahmadi 12/30/14

Photos: Iranian two-seat electric vehicle unveiled - A two-seater electric vehicle built by a group of students and professors in Qazvin Islamic Azad University was unveiled in Azad University of Tehran. The newly-unveiled plug-in car has a width of 120cm and its length is 2m, which can reduce parking problems on the streets of Tehran. Moreover, The car does not produce any pollution. 12/30/14

Photos: The Grief of Bam Citadel - Bam Citadel (Arg-e Bam) is the largest adobe building in the world, located in Bam, a city in Iran's southeastern province, Kerman. Bam Citadel was almost completely destroyed by an earthquake in 2003. After 11 years and despite various restoration operations, ruin scars remain on the Citadel. -Hamid Sadeghi 12/29/14

Photos: The Citadel of Furg in Birjand - The Citadel of Furg, or Arg e Furg, is a citadel from the 12th century, located in Iran's South Khorasan province 90 km east of the city of Birjand. The citadel was founded by Meerza Muhammad Rafiee Darmiany I (Lama). Materials used in the building include stone, brick, clay, gypsum, lime and mortar (Sarouj). -Mohsen Nofresti 12/28/14

Photos: Iranian Army Test Fires Shalamcheh Missiles In Drills - The Iranian Army's air defense units have shot down three unmanned aerial vehicles on the third day of major military exercises code-named Mohammad Rasoulallah (Mohammad, the Messenger of God) in southern parts of the country. 12/28/14

Pardis Sabeti and Team of Ebola Fighters Recognized by TIME as 2014 Person of the Year - Iranian American and award-winning computational geneticist at Harvard University,Pardis Sabeti, along with other Ebola fighters, were named TIME magazine's 2014 Person of the Year. The Ebola fighters were chosen for their bravery and stepping-up during a time when many others were reluctant to do so. 12/24/14

Photos: Iran Honors Its Fallen Jewish Soldiers - Iran is well-known for its stinging anti-Israeli rhetoric and refusal to recognize what it calls the "Zionist regime." So, it might have come as a surprise when officials in Tehran unveiled a monument honoring Iranian-Jewish soldiers who died in action during the Iran-Iraq War of the 1980s. -Frud Bezhan, RFE 12/20/14

Persian Architectural Element Windcatcher Featured On Iranian Currency - The picture of famous windcatcher of Aghazadeh House is printed on the Iranian bill as the Iranian unique structure is going to be registered in world heritage list of UNESCO. The windcatcher of this house is considered as one of the most beautiful and original windcatchers with a height of 18 meters and 19 vents to adjust the temperature even when there is no wind in the region. 12/18/14

The IAEA Faces a Major Credibility Test - On December 11, the spokesman for the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) confirmed that his agency was, as Gareth Porter asserted on this website earlier this month, not interested in accepting a recent invitation by Iran to visit Marivan, at least at this time. -Robert Kelley, LobeLog 12/15/14

Why Hasn't the IAEA Followed Up Iran's Inspection Offer? - When Iran offered last month to allow the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) to visit the Marivan region near the border with Iraq, the IAEA might have been expected to respond with alacrity to the opportunity. -Gareth Porter, LobeLog 12/8/14

Photos: Saffron Farms in Ghaenat, Iran - Iran has long been a significant source of high-quality saffron production and export which accounts for up to 95 percent of saffron production in the world. These photos by Mohsen Noferesti show saffron farming in the city of Ghaenat in northeastern Iran. 12/4/14

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Pembroke College Celebrates Official Openning Of Shahnama Centre for Persian Studies With $2M Endowment By Philanthropist Bita Daryabari

Rights

Jailed Iranian activists assess government's record on rights

General

Iranian Activists, Intellectuals Express Support For Nuclear Deal

Iranian-American

Iran Nuclear Talks Extended: A Perilous Slippery Slope

Politics

37 Organizations to Congress: Quit Playing Politics with Deal to Prevent Iran War

Economy

Stewarding the Deal: Business Diplomacy and Iran's Private Sector

Culture

Polo match is held in Isfahan's historic Naqsh-e Jahan Square to prompt UNESCO to register the sport in Iran's name

Sports

Iran ranks first in 2014 Greco-Roman Wrestling World Championship

Art

Unnatural Selection: Installation by Pantea Karimi and Amber Stucke

Literature

Famed Iranian Poet Simin Behbahani Dies At 87

Travel

Photos: Rock castle of Sirjan

Environment

Who is failing Iran's forests, Environment Department or Parliament?

Entertainment

A Girl Walks Home Alone at Night: An Iranian Vampire Western

Music

A New Life For Iran's Orchestras?

Book

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

Event

Focus Iran: Contemporary Photography and Video Exhibition in Los Angeles

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last updated on Mon Jan 26 14:14:44 GMT 2015