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October 05 2015
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Photos: German Artist Philipp Geist's "Gate Of Words" Light Up Tehran's Azadi Square

- German artist Philipp Geist's light installation entitled "Gate of Words" pours down colored words of love, peace and freedom on Tehran's Azadi Tower for three days from October 3 to 5. The shining words, in English, German and Persian, move with the live music on the walls of the tower, the German artist said during a press conference held at the tower last Wednesday. 10/5/15

"Oblivion Season" by Iranian director Abbas Rafei crowned best at Universal Film Festival

- Iranian director Abbas Rafei's "Oblivion Season" won the best film award at the Universal Film Festival in Kansas City, Missouri, the organizers announced on Saturday. In addition, the film brought Sareh Bayat the award for best actress. 10/5/15

Persian Tech Entrepreneurs in D.C.

- Persian Tech Entrepreneurs aims to highlight the significant achievements of entrepreneurs within the Iranian American community, while serving as an inclusive platform that champions innovation. Join PTE at their first event in D.C. for a day of fantastic speakers and networking with fellow entrepreneurs. NIAC's own Reza Marashi will be speaking on the 'Business and Government' panel among many other distinguished business professionals. 10/5/15

Former Iranian diplomat still missing in Saudi Arabia: Deputy FM

- A senior Iranian diplomat says the Islamic Republic is seriously pursuing the fate of Iran's former ambassador to Lebanon who remains unaccounted for after the tragic September 24 crush in Mina, Saudi Arabia. 10/5/15

Trendy Tehran: Meet the female entrepreneurs breaking boundaries in Iran

- Mahsa Rezazadeh started her cafe in Tehran seven years ago and now brings in a better wage than her husband, a lawyer. She attributes her success amid a sanctions-shattered Iranian economy to hard work and the fact that however bad things get in Iran, Iranians cannot resist the smell of a home-cooked meal and freshly brewed coffee. -Maryam Babak, International Business Times 10/5/15

The Superpower as Victim

- Given the cluttered landscape of the last 14 years, can you even faintly remember the moment when the Berlin Wall came down, the Cold War ended in a stunned silence of shock and triumph in Washington, Eastern Europe was freed, Germany unified, and the Soviet Union vanished from the face of the Earth? At that epochal moment, six centuries of imperial rivalries ended. Only one mighty power was left. -Tom Engelhardt, LobeLog 10/5/15

Iran holds funerals for victims of human crush in Mina

- Iranians held mourning ceremonies in the capital, Tehran, and other cities for the victims of the tragic human crush of September 24 in Mina, Saudi Arabia, during the Hajj pilgrimage rituals. A large crowd of people attended the funeral ceremonies across the country on Sunday October 4, 2015, 10 days after the tragic incident killed hundreds of pilgrims. 10/4/15

Trial starts for Iranian tycoon accused of keeping oil proceeds

- Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani went on trial on Saturday for embezzlement charges involving the sale of oil. ISNA reports that Zanjani was brought to court under strict security measures on Saturday October 3, adding that his lawyer and two sisters were present in court. 10/4/15

Iran: Facebook Activist Sentenced to Seven Years in Prison for "Insulting the Prophet"

- Soheil Arabi, whose death sentence for "insulting the prophet" was recently struck down by the Supreme Court, has been sentenced to seven and a half years in prison, a source close to the case told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. 10/4/15

Four Iranian Ministers Warns President Of Looming Economic Crisis

- The Mehr News Agency reported on Sunday September 4 that the ministers of the economy, industry, labour and defence have delivered a joint letter to the Iranian president criticizing the "inconsistent policies of government bodies". 10/4/15

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Neekon Festival - San Francisco, California

'Unusual' wheat loadings for Iran in Europe - Ships are scheduled to make unusual loadings of about 60,000 tonnes of wheat for Iran, but overall demand from the country is expected to be very low this year, European traders say. 10/4/15

How the Nuclear Deal Will Give a Huge Boost to Iran's Reformists - When future generations of Iranians and Americans look back at the deal with Iran over its nuclear program in Vienna in July, they will certainly consider it a victory for dialogical diplomacy and patient policy-making. But they will also remember it as an opportunity for Iranian civic actors to enable and empower Iran's civil society space. -Ramin Jahanbegloo , Huffington Post 10/4/15

Curious about Iran's art scene? Here are 3 videos that'll take you up close - Iran has a rich history of painters, artists, and calligraphers. Unfortunately, the Iranian art scene receives little attention - but not because of a lack of contemporary Iranian artists. In fact, the situation is quite the opposite: there are Iranian artists active in almost all categories of art, from contemporary and street art to classical Islamic art. -Frida Lundgren, Your Middle East 10/4/15

First Group Of Iran Hajj Dead Return Home - Iran is welcoming a plane carrying home the first group of Iranian pilgrims killed in last week's stampede during the annual Muslim hajj pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. President Hassan Rouhani was among several senior officials attending a repatriation ceremony Saturday at the Tehran airport as the plane arrived. 10/3/15

Kerry, Zarif Meet At UN To Discuss Syria, Iran Nuclear Deal - U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif held an impromptu meeting at a United Nations gathering of world leaders October 2 to discuss Syria and carrying out the Iran nuclear deal. Kerry and Zarif sent their advisers out of the room to meet alone, then left separately without commenting. 10/3/15

Iran Orders Bahraini Diplomat To Leave In Tit-For-Tat Move - Iranian news media are reporting that Iran's Foreign Ministry has declared Bahrain's second-ranking diplomat in Tehran persona non grata and ordered him out of the country. 10/3/15

Silent Arrogance: Netanyahu at the UN - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his appearance at the United Nations General Assembly today, one day after a speech by Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Nothing of substance is going to change as a result of these speeches. But Netanyahu's in particular offered a good picture of the current state of affairs and why they are what they are. -Mitchell Plitnick, LobeLog 10/3/15

The Destructive U.S.-Backed Campaign in Yemen - The United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (UNHCR) reports that during a six-month period from late March until last week (even before the incident involving the wedding) at least 2,355 civilians had been killed in the fighting in Yemen, with almost two-thirds of the deaths caused by airstrikes conducted by Saudi Arabia and its Gulf Arab allies. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 10/3/15

After the Iran Deal: Getting Beyond Enmity - Why has the United States been so unwilling to take advantage of a closer tie with Iran, the most internally stable nation in the area with a population of roughly 80 million, a post-sanction burgeoning economy with substantial American investment opportunities, and sizable energy resources? Why have we been unwilling to recognize that Iran has legitimate national and religious interests-some quite compatible with our own regional concerns? -Charles Naas 10/2/15

Captain of Iran's Persepolis football team dies of cardiac arrest - Iranian soccer player Hadi Norouzi has lost his life after suffering a heart attack, in what has been described as the second tragedy to strike the Islamic Republic's soccer in nearly a month. 10/2/15

Pars Equality Center Celebrates "Power Of Community" Fundraising Luncheon At SLS Beverly Hills - On Sunday, September 27, 2015, Pars Equality Center - the leading non-profit organization celebrating five years of providing social and legal services to the Iranian-American community - hosted the "Power of Community" Luncheon at the SLS Beverly Hills. Keynote speaker was entrepreneur Farhad Mohit (founder & CEO, Flipagram). 10/2/15

Netanyahu Slams Iran Nuclear Deal at UN - Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu offered a blistering condemnation of the deal between Iran and major world powers aimed at curbing Tehran's nuclear program in a speech to the U.N. General Assembly Thursday in New York. -Margaret Besheer, Mark Snowiss, VOA 10/2/15

NIAC Action Denounces Latest House Effort to Derail Iran Deal - NIAC Action Executive Director Jamal Abdi issued the following statement after the House of Representatives passed H.R. 3457, the "Justice for Victims of Iranian Terrorism Act," a bill that would threaten to kill the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: 10/2/15

Saudi King expresses sympathy to Iran over pilgrim deaths - After days of contentious exchanges between Iranian and Saudi authorities over the tragic incident in Mena that led to the death of thousands of Muslim pilgrims, the Saudi King has reportedly sent a message of condolence to the Iranian government. 10/2/15

Cardin Finally Introduces Still-Weaker Iran Oversight Bill - After a couple of weeks of negotiations with fellow Democrats and (indirectly) with the White House, Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) has finally introduced the latest version of his "Iran Policy Oversight Act of 2015." It is co-sponsored by eight of his most AIPAC-sensitive colleagues, including Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-NY) who, like Cardin, voted with Republicans to reject the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) last month. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 10/2/15

U.S. Supreme Court To Hear Iranian Bank's Appeal Over 1983 Lebanon Attack - The U.S. Supreme Court has agreed to hear an appeal by Iran's central bank against a $1.75 billion judgment over a 1983 bomb attack on a U.S. Marines barracks in Lebanon. 10/2/15

Henry of Arabia - The only person Henry Kissinger flattered more than President Richard Nixon was Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, the Shah of Iran. In the early 1970s, the Shah, sitting atop an enormous reserve of increasingly expensive oil and a key figure in Nixon and Kissinger's move into the Middle East, wanted to be dealt with as a serious person. He expected his country to be treated with the same respect Washington showed other key Cold War allies like West Germany and Great Britain. -Greg Grandin, LobeLog 10/2/15

Why are Iranian husbands standing up for their wives? - Husbands in Iran are taking pictures of themselves declaring their commitment to female equality - and thousands are sharing their messages on Facebook. -BBC 10/2/15

Shell, Total get first gas stations in Iran - Royal Dutch Shell and France's Total are the first foreign companies ever to win access to Iran's retail energy market after getting permit for 200 service stations which they will set up across the energy-rich country. ​ 10/2/15

Iranian government reacts to restrictions on women travelling abroad - After the National Women's Futsal team captain, Nilufar Ardalan, was denied leaving the country to participate in the Asian Championships 2015 because her husband refused to give her permission to leave the country, negative reactions to the legal requirement of a husband's permission for Iranian women seeking to travel abroad continues to make headlines. 10/1/15

Iran Says Hajj Death Toll Hits 464 - Iran's hajj organization said Thursday that 464 Iranians are now confirmed dead after last week's stampede during the annual Muslim pilgrimage in Saudi Arabia. Before Thursday, Iran's total had been half that number with the fate of others unknown since the crush of pilgrims happened outside the city of Mecca last week. Saudi authorities have said the total number of victims is at least 769 people with Iranians making up the largest share. 10/1/15

Conspiracy Theories Fly In Iran Over Deadly Hajj Incident - Tehran has said that negligence and mismanagement by Saudi organizers caused last week's hajj stampede that left at least 464 Iranians dead. The Iranian losses were the largest incurred by any nationality in the deadly crush that took place in the Mina neighborhood of Mecca on September 24, the deadliest tragedy to befall the annual Muslim pilgrimage in 25 years. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 10/1/15

Kayhan Kahlor and Erdal Erzincan to perform at Montalvo Arts Center in Saratoga, California - Four-time Grammy Award nominee Kayhan Kalhor is a legendary musician in the classical Persian tradition, with devoted fans that span the globe. Together with Turkish baglama player Erdal Erzincan, he will explore traditions of improvisation at the nexus of Persian and North Indian music. 10/1/15

Women in Iran Are Ready to Show They Mean Business - Women in Iran are ready to make career gains in a way few of their peers can in the Gulf Arab world. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 10/1/15

Birth anniversary of Royana; Iran's 1st cloned sheep - Iran's first successfully cloned sheep was born on September 30, 2006 from an adult cell in a test tube in a laboratory. Nine years since then, and the country is making rapid progress in the field of biotechnology. 10/1/15

Assad allies, including Iranians, prepare ground attack in Syria: sources - Hundreds of Iranian troops have arrived in Syria in the last 10 days and will soon join government forces and their Lebanese Hezbollah allies in a major ground offensive backed by Russian air strikes, two Lebanese sources told Reuters. 10/1/15

Rouhani's Dual Messages and Iran's Security Strategy - Rouhani's UN message has opened the door on engagement with the US but insists that cooperation on resisting IS is the priority in Syria Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's address at the UN General Assembly and a talk the previous night to about 150 Americans touted the recent nuclear breakthrough as a precedent for further diplomatic accommodation with the United States. -Gareth Porter, Counterpunch 10/1/15

Iran's nuclear deal and the regional countries - Although some regional countries initially opposed the nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 (the United States, Russia, China, United Kingdom, France and Germany), once the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) was signed by the two sides in July 2015, practically all regional countries welcomed it. -Farhang Jahanpour 10/1/15

Eight of Iran's women's football team 'are men', league official claims - Eight of Iran's women's football team 'are men', it has been claimed. The Iranian FA has been branded 'unethical', after it was alleged the players were actually men awaiting sex change operations. -Mirror, UK 10/1/15

AIPAC Spent $14.5 Million on TV Ads during Iran Deal Debate - In the aftermath of Senate Republicans' failed efforts to derail the plan agreed on in July to limit Iran's nuclear program, responsibility has fallen on AIPAC for its inability to persuade a meaningful number of Senate Democrats to join their GOP colleagues in opposing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). To put it bluntly, AIPAC, a group with historically stronger ties to the Democratic Party, failed miserably. -Eli Clifton, LobeLog 10/1/15

The United States and Iran: A Great Rapprochement? - In 1968, as the world was unravelling at the seams, the historian Bradford Perkins published The Great Rapprochement. The book chronicled the U.S. move away from "Anglophobia" and toward "Anglophilia" during the two decades prior to the First World War. Without the "great rapprochement," a product of geopolitical calculations and cultural affinities, the United States may not have allied with Great Britain during the world wars. What a different world it could have been. -Matthew Shannon 9/30/15

Iranian Hard-Liners Criticize Zarif's Handshake With Obama - Hard-liners in Iran are criticizing a handshake and encounter between U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif that, according to a senior White House official, lasted less than one minute. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE 9/30/15

Penelope brings message of peace and friendship to National Museum of Iran - TEHRAN - National Museum of Iran is playing host to the exhibition of "A Statue for Peace: The Penelope Sculptures, From Persepolis to Rome", which features four statutes of Penelope from the collections of the National Museum of Iran and two European museums. 9/30/15

Iranian Judiciary Silent on Status of Tech Expert almost Two Months after His Arrest - Nearly two months after the arrest of information technology expert Arash Zad, who was detained at Imam Khomeini Airport by the authorities as he was leaving Iran on August 1, 2015, officials have released no information as to why he was arrested or the charges that he is being held under. 9/30/15

Hawks Add Arsalan Kazemi To Training Camp Roster - The Atlanta Hawks Basketball Club has signed forward Arsalan Kazemi (are-suh-lahn kah-ZEE-me) to a contract, it was announced today by President of Basketball Operations/Head Coach Mike Budenholzer. Per team policy, terms of the agreement were not disclosed. 9/30/15

The Caspian Horse: 50th anniversary of its rediscovery - his year is the 50th anniversary of the rediscovery of the Caspian horse. The breed is thought to have been the preferred choice of the kings of ancient Persia, with carvings depicting Caspians found at the Achaemenid site of Persepolis. Scholars had unsuccessfully looked for this unique horse for two centuries and eventually the species was thought to be extinct. 9/30/15

Iran: No government fanfare for victorious women's futsal team - The Iranian Women's National Futsal team, which won the Asian Championship Cup last week, arrived in Tehran on Sunday September 27 without any reception from the country's Ministry of Sport. 9/30/15

Iran issues treasury bills for first time - Iran issues its first Islamic treasury bills in a bid to provide stimulus for its market and bring it out of stagnation. At least 400,000 notes with maturity date of March 3, 2016 were issued on Fara Bourse, Iran's over-the-counter market for securities and other financial instruments. 9/30/15

What Happens if Turkey's Next Election Is Still Inconclusive? - On November 1, Turks will head back to the polls to redo their country's inconclusive June elections. That vote stripped Turkey's ruling Justice and Development Party (AKP) of the parliamentary majority it had held since 2002 (the first election in which it stood) and led to months of negotiations over forming a coalition government. -Derek Davison, LobeLog 9/30/15

President Rouhani: Iran Seeks Peace, Development - Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said Monday that the nuclear deal agreed to between the six major powers and Tehran should signal a new era and help lead to peace and stability in the Middle East. Speaking at the annual gathering of world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly, Rouhani said the nuclear deal is "not the final objective, but a development which can and should be the basis of further achievements to come." -Margaret Besheer, VOA 9/29/15

Obama, Zarif 'Shake Hands' At United Nations - U.S. President Barack Obama and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif have reportedly shaken hands on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York. Reuters news agency quoted an unidentified Iranian official as saying the "accidental" event occurred on September 28. 9/29/15

IAAB's YAR Fellowship: An Exciting New Opportunity in Iran - We're excited to share our new and improved itinerary for the YAR Fellowship, our newest groundbreaking program! YAR is a yearlong fellowship program that includes a three-week full-immersion course in Iran, to be held January 4th- 24th, 2016. YAR will bring together advanced undergraduates, recent college grads and graduate students, who will deepen their scholarly, professional and cultural understanding of Iran. 9/29/15

Obama Says U.S. Willing To Work With Russia and Iran To Resolve Syrian War - U.S. President Barack Obama says the United States is prepared to work with Russia and Iran to bring an end to the conflict in Syria but that a resolution to the war must include a "managed transition" away from Syrian President al-Bashar Assad. 9/29/15

Accused Iranian tycoon gets trial date two years after arrest - Almost two years after Iranian tycoon Babak Zanjani was arrested for embezzlement and corruption, his first trial will finally take place on October 3 before Judge Salavati. IRNA reports that Zanjani's lawyer says it is not yet clear whether the trial will be held behind closed doors or not but he adds that his client prefers an open trial in the interest of "public enlightenment". 9/29/15

Russia, Syria, Iran, Iraq to Share Intelligence on Islamic State - Iraq says it will share military intelligence and security information with Syria, Iran and Russia to fight Islamic State. A spokesman for Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said the intelligence group will focus on "monitoring the movements of the terrorists...and degrading their capacity." 9/29/15

Mecca Stampede: Behind Iran's Reaction - The stampede in Mecca has opened the door to criticism of the Saudi monarchy and its management of a religious holiday that brings some two million Muslims to the holy city each year. Unsurprisingly, the loudest critiques have come from the Iranian government. At the heart of Iran's discontent is the sense that the Saudis, through their mismanagement, have deliberately put Iranian pilgrims in harm's way. -Henry Johnson, LobeLog 9/29/15

Russian, Iranian Leaders: Assad Must Remain in Power - Russian President Vladimir Putin and his Iranian counterpart, Hassan Rouhani, have told U.S. media outlets that embattled Syrian President Bashar al-Assad must remain in power to fight terrorism. Speaking to CNN on Sunday, Rouhani said that in driving out terrorists in Syria, "we have no solution other than to strengthen the central authority of that country." -Victor Beattie, VOA 9/28/15

Iranian actress, stage director Homa Rusta dies at 69 - Veteran Iranian actress and stage director Homa Rusta died at a hospital in Los Angeles on Saturday after a long battle with cancer. She was 69. She left the country months ago to receive further treatment in the United States, Persian Media reported on Sunday. 9/28/15

Iranian mothers still denied getting citizenship for children - Iranian Parliament has voted against giving citizenship to the children of Iranian mothers and fathers who are foreign nationals. A spokesman for the Social Commission of Parliament said it is estimated there are one million children born from marriages between Iranian women and foreign nationals and the children's "status remains undefined". 9/28/15

West's actions fomenting violence in Mideast: Iran's President Rouhani - President Hassan Rouhani of Iran has hit out at the West for adopting measures that have fueled tensions in the region. He made the remarks in a Sunday meeting with members of American think tanks in the US city of New York, where he is to take part in the 70th Session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA). 9/28/15

Iranian official denies Superjet deal with Russia - An Iranian official has denied reports that the country had signed contracts to buy Superjet 100 passenger aircraft from Russia. The rebuttal by head of the Civil Aviation Organization (CAO) Ali Abedzadeh came after a Russian news agency alleged that Iran had signed contracts worth $21 billion to buy satellite equipment and aircraft from Russia. 9/28/15

Israel's Opposition to the Nuclear Treaty with Iran - Relations between Iran and Israel go back almost to the foundation of the State of Israel in 1948. Iran was the second Muslim-majority country to recognize Israel as a sovereign state, following Turkey, and the two countries had very close diplomatic and even military cooperation for many decades. -Farhang Jahanpour, IPS 9/28/15

ENTIRE INTERVIEW: Amanpour/Rouhani - This is the full interview and accompanying transcript of CNN's Christiane Amanpour's conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. CHRISTIANE AMANPOUR, HOST: Mr. President, welcome. Welcome to the program. Thank you for joining us. PRES. HASSAN ROUHANI, IRAN (through translator): I thank your program and you for preparing this interview. -CNN 9/28/15

Russia is Back. Get Used to it. - This coming Monday, President Barack Obama will meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin at the UN General Assembly, their first meeting in 15 months. This will be no ordinary occasion, given Russian aggression in Ukraine, the West's sanctions, and a lot of bad blood between the United States and the Russian Federation. -Robert E. Hunter 9/28/15

Iranian women win their first futsal championship - Iran's women's national futsal team has lifted the trophy at the 2015 Asian Football Confederation (AFC) Women's Futsal Championship in Malaysia following a victory over the Japanese side. 9/27/15

Top US, Iranian Diplomats Discuss Syria, Iran Nuclear Deal - The United States sees a "major opportunity" in diplomatic talks at the United Nations to end the bloodshed in Syria and Yemen and to make progress toward achieving peace there. Secretary of State John Kerry gave that optimistic assessment following his talks in New York Saturday with Iran's foreign minister, Mohammad Javad Zarif, ahead of the opening of the annual U.N. General Assembly debate on Monday. -Pamela Dockins, VOA 9/27/15

Iran: Saudi Arabia Should Apologize for Hajj Deaths - Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said Sunday in a statement on his Website, "The Saudis should accept the responsibility and apologize to the Muslims and the victims' families. ... This issue will not be forgotten and the nations will pursue it seriously. ... The Islamic world has a lot of questions." 9/27/15

Film on prophet's childhood chosen as Iran's Oscar entry - Iran is sending Majid Majidi's latest film Mohammad, the Messenger of God to vie for the Oscar for best foreign language film for 2016. The Mehr News Agency reports that from the six films being considered in Iran, Mohammad, the Messenger of God was unanimously chosen. 9/27/15

How Pope Francis US Visit Can Help Boost Diplomacy and Defeat Militarism - Pope Francis's visit to Washington DC could not have been better timed for the Obama administration. Relations with Cuba have been normalized and the Iran nuclear deal has survived the theatrics of the mandated Congressional review. Pope Francis has of course played an important role in many of these wins for President Barack Obama. He helped with the backchannel diplomacy with Havana, he has endorsed the Iran deal and the White House has reportedly also enlisted his offices to help secure the release of three American citizens imprisoned in Iran. -Trita Parsi 9/26/15

Whatever Happened to the Iranian Parliament's JCPOA's Review? - Earlier this week Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appointed Abbas Araghchi, the deputy foreign minister for legal and international affairs and chief nuclear negotiator, to oversee the implementation phase of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The appointment came after Secretary of State John Kerry designated Ambassador Stephen Mull as lead coordinator for JCPOA's implementation on the US side. -Farideh Farhi, LobeLog 9/26/15

Rohani: 'Long Road To Travel' Before U.S.-Iran Ties Normalize - Iranian President Hassan Rohani has said that ties with the United States had improved, but there was a "long road to travel" before their relations could normalize. "The situation has certainly changed," Rohani said on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly in New York to a group of senior editors from media organizations. 9/26/15

Iran: Release Teachers as School Year Begins - The Iranian authorities should immediately release seven teachers apparently detained for peaceful union activities. By stepping up the arrests and sentencing of outspoken teachers in the weeks prior to the start of the school year on September 23, 2015, the authorities appear to be sending a message to other educators not to speak out about their concerns. -Human Rights Watch 9/26/15

US-Iran Talks to Focus on Nuclear Deal, Regional Tensions - Working out ways to implement the Iran nuclear deal and possible discussions of the Syrian conflict will be on the agenda when Secretary of State John Kerry meets with Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif. The two will meet Saturday in New York, where world powers are gathering for the U.N. General Assembly. 9/26/15

Iranian Americans to Hold Press Conference and Vigil in Honor of Shayan Mazroei - The family of slain Iranian-American college student Shayan Mazroei will hold a press conference on Monday, September 28, 12 p.m., at 2955 Main Street in Irvine. Members of the National Iranian American Council (NIAC), Iranian Alliances Across Borders (IAAB) and the local Iranian-American community, will also join together that evening to honor Mazroei during a candlelight vigil at 6 p.m. outside the Orange County District Attorney's Office 9/26/15

UC Davis receives $1.5 million from prominent Iranian-American philanthropist Bita Daryabari - The gift will establish the Bita Daryabari Presidential Chair in Persian Language and Literature and help transform UC Davis into a leading force in teaching, research and outreach that advances global understanding of Persian language and culture. The UC Davis Presidential Chair in Persian Language and Literature position will be awarded to an Iranian studies scholar whose research and teaching will focus on these areas. Funds will also support a colloquium on Iranian culture. 9/25/15

Donya Nasser becomes the First Iranian American U.S. Youth Observer to UN - In July, 2015, Donya Nasser became the first Iranian American to be appointed as the U.S. Youth Observer to the United Nations. An incredibly inspiring young professional, she seeks to galvanize and empower youth to strive to secure equality and justice, and to protect the marginalized. 9/25/15

Mother of Imprisoned Iranian Physicist Writes Letter to Khamenei Pleading for His Freedom - The mother of Omid Kokabee, a physicist imprisoned in Iran since January 2011, has written a letter to the Islamic Republic's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, calling for her son's freedom on the occasion of the start of the new academic year. Omid Kokabee, 32, was a doctoral physics student at the University of Texas, who was arrested at Imam Khomeini Airport on January 30, 2011, as he was about to leave Iran to return to the U.S after visiting his family. 9/25/15

How Europe helped save Obama's historic nuclear deal with Iran - On the surface it might appear that the key players who lobbied lawmakers the hardest for the congressional vote on this issue were the Obama administration and the pro-Israel lobby. However, the role of European members of the P5+1 (France, Germany and the United Kingdom) should not be ignored. These countries influenced the decision of the members of the US Congress both directly and indirectly, and it's possible the deal wouldn't have survived without their efforts. -Nader Habibi 9/24/15

UN Watchdog Reports 'Significant Progress' in Iran Probe - The head of the International Atomic Energy Agency said Monday that "significant progress" has been made in the U.N.'s long-running probe into allegations Iran worked to develop nuclear weapons. Yukiya Amano said he reported to the IAEA's board about his trip to Iran that included visiting the Parchin military site that has been a key focus of the investigation. 9/21/15

War Profits Drive GOP Hawks: Wilkerson on GOP Debate - Lawrence Wilkerson, former chief of staff to United States Secretary of State Colin Powell: But there is a group in this country who will put money behind anyone who looks like he's going to maintain and even push more stridently than before the business of war, if you will. I've recently had a person at the highest levels of power in this land say to me, inside Washington there's a bias toward war. That's absolutely correct. Lots of people made a lot of money off the invasion of Iraq. Lots of people made a lot of money off Afghanistan. 9/20/15

White House Announces New Chief Floral Designer, Iranian-American Florist-Entrepreneur Hedieh Ghaffarian - "I am deeply honored to serve the President and First Lady as the new White House Chief Floral Designer," said Ms. Ghaffarian. "I am humbled by the opportunity to serve in this Administration and will dedicate myself to advancing the tradition of excellence and elegance in the White House." 9/18/15

RECKLESS HYPOCRISY: The Folly of Self-Righteous Indignation - I have been mulling the futility of critiquing America's tragically misguided foreign policy toward the Islamic world, the Middle East, and particularly in dealing with the Islamic Republic of Iran. Of course I would like to believe, and sometimes do even pretend, that my articles or lectures, like those of many other observers and analysts who have similar views, have had an impact, however minute, in bringing about some detectable change of attitude in the public domain. -Kam Zarrabi 9/15/15

The EU's Emerging Post-Deal Iran Strategy - Although the debate in the US on the Iran nuclear deal is heated and ongoing, the EU is quietly forging ahead with its own post-deal Iran strategy. Unlike in the US, there is no need for parliamentary review in the European Parliament or in the national parliaments of the EU member states to make the deal effective. On the same day that the UN Security Council unanimously endorsed the deal, so did the Council of the EU-a body representing the national governments of the EU states. -Eldar Mamedov 9/15/15

Iranian freestyle wrestlers land in 2nd place in world wrestling championships - Iran's national freestyle wrestling team has finished its campaign at the 12th edition of the World Wrestling Championships in the United States, taking the second place at the end of the prestigious international with no gold medal in tally. 9/13/15

The Jewish Community and the Iran Deal - First, of the 28 Jewish members of Congress, 19 effectively voted in favor of the JCPOA, while nine opposed, including the one Jewish Republican (Lee Zeldin) in the House. Of the Democratic opponents, seven Jewish senators supported the deal. Only two Jewish senators--Chuck Schumer and Ben Cardin--opposed it. In the House, 11 Democratic members voted to approve it; nine were opposed. -Jim Lobe 9/13/15

The Fantasy and Folly of the "Better Deal" with Iran - Those in and out of Congress who are working to reject or otherwise scuttle the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) insist that their goal in opposing the nuclear accord isn't war with Iran. Rather, they say that they want to see the U.S. and its partners negotiate a "better" deal with Tehran. -Derek Davison 9/11/15

The Iran Deal and American Jews - Far too much of the analysis of the nuclear deal with Iran has focused on what the American Jewish community and Israeli leaders think, as if those opinions were more important than those of the other Americans, Iranians, and international community at large who are also affected by the deal. -Naomi Dann, Jewish Voice for Peace 9/8/15

Shahrzaad's Tale From Iran's First Woman Filmmaker, Actress, Dancer And Poet To A Wandering Homeless - Shahrzaad's Tale is a story of a lost era and a forgotten star of pre-revolutionary Iranian cinema; it is the story of an accomplished poet, filmmaker and cultural critic who was tragically silenced by the political storms of the period. 9/3/15

Iranian Exiles Embrace Israel's Drive Against Nuclear Deal - Since July 14 when the Vienna nuclear agreement between Iran and P5+1 - the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany - was announced, its opponents have been waging an all-out war against it. In particular, the same pundits who lied to us to lead the United States to a catastrophic war in Iraq are doing the same again, this time against Iran. But, one opposition group is most interesting because it consists of some of the Iranian exiles living in the United States. -Muhammad Sahimi 9/1/15

The Citadel of the Original Royal Avesta in Persepolis - It is said both in the native and foreign sources that the original Avesta "written on 12,000 prepared cow-skins, and with gold ink," was burnt together with other treasures and books when Alexander of Macedonia set Parsgarde (Persepolis) on fire. In other sources, it is said that there were actually two copies, one kept in Shapigan treasury and the other in the "citadel of writings" dejnebeshteh whose exact location had never been found, thus a mystery. -Khoobchehr Keshavarzi 7/27/15

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last updated on Mon Oct 5 14:31:39 GMT 2015