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May 28 2016
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The Ayatollah Begs to Differ: The Paradox of Modern Iran


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Look up Tehran! There is an art gallery above you!

- Tehran looks very different now; if you are walking the streets of the Iranian capital these days, make sure to turn your eyes upward, or you will miss the chance to see the biggest art gallery in existence. 5/27/16

IAEA Verifies Iran's Compliance With Nuclear Accord

- The UN nuclear agency has verified Iran's compliance with the landmark nuclear agreement, dubbed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reached between Tehran and the P5+1 group of countries in July 2015. 5/27/16

A Model Returns to Iran for a Stylish Trip Through Her Native Country

- Watching Leila Rahimi strike a pose in the gardens of Iran's oldest palaces and mansions, you would never suspect that 15 years had lapsed since the Iranian-American model and illustrator had visited her birth country. In her vibrant head wrap and flow-y tunic, she appeared right at home. -Vogue 5/27/16

Oil Prices Soar Over $50 A Barrel For First Time In 2016

- The price of premium crude oil has surged over $50 a barrel for the first time this year in Asian trading, giving a boost to the economies of oil producers from Russia and Kazakhstan to Iran and Iraq. 5/27/16

U.S. House Votes To Bar Future Heavy-Water Purchases From Iran

- The U.S. House has voted to bar the U.S. government from purchasing heavy water from Iran in the future, undercutting President Barack Obama's nuclear pact with Tehran. The House attached the prohibition to an essential funding bill for the U.S. Energy Department with a 251-168 vote. 5/27/16

U.S. Opposes Bail For Wealthy Trader In Iran Sanctions Case

- U.S. prosecutors have opposed a wealthy gold trader's request to be released on bail while he awaits trial for violating U.S. sanctions against Iran, saying his "immense" resources makes him a flight risk. 5/27/16

From ancient Persian poetry rises 'Feathers of Fire,' billed as largest shadow-theater play

- Rahmanian's new project is the shadow puppet production "Feathers of Fire," which bills itself as the largest shadow play ever performed. The story is culled from the "Shahnameh," an ancient book of epic Persian poetry that Rahmanian adapted into a lavishly illustrated book for a modern audience in 2013. -Los Angeles Times 5/27/16

Penelope Cruz, Javier Bardem in Talks to Star in Asghar Farhadi's Spanish-Language Film

- Iranian director Asghar Farhadi, who just won two awards at Cannes for his Tehran-set drama "The Salesman" (Forushande), is resetting his untitled Spanish-language movie with Penelope Cruz and Javier Bardem in advanced talks to star. -Variety 5/27/16

Fabulous Finds: The Smallest Tea House in Tehran, Iran

- Through the hustle and bustle of the Grand Bazaar of Tehran, there's a little tea house belonging to a man who's kindness coupled with his communication skills leaves you for a long conversation after a cup of lip burning tea. Haj Kazem looks like a humble guy, but just chatting with him for a few minutes reveals how educated and worldly he is. -Matin Lashkari, Travestyle 5/27/16

The Litigious Society's Latest Take on Terrorism

- The recent passage by the U.S. Senate of a bill labeled the Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act elicited cheers from those wanting to see any kind of significant bipartisan action in Congress. The bill is intended to amend existing law regarding sovereign immunity to make it easier for U.S. citizens to haul foreign governments into U.S. court for involvement in the 9/11 terrorist attacks; Saudi Arabia is the unnamed but obvious target. -Paul R. Pillar, LobeLog 5/27/16

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Iran Human Rights, the Regional Context and Constructive Criticism

US Lawmakers Ask: Is White House Catering to Iran? - Nearly a year after world powers announced the historic Iran nuclear deal, and four months after the agreement was implemented, U.S. lawmakers remain deeply skeptical of the deal and its broader implications. -Pamela Dockins, VOA 5/26/16

Can OPEC Agree on Oil Production Policy? - The fall in the price of oil from $115/barrel in mid-2014 to $27/barrel this year has had a devastating impact on petro-states all over the world. Whereas the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, the world's top oil producer and exporter, cut production in the 1980s to raise oil prices, officials in Riyadh have been determined to avoid a repeat of this experience, which cost Saudi Arabia market share. Yet the kingdom has paid a major price for this geopolitically motivated oil production policy... -Alex Stout 5/26/16

Imprisoned Iranian Physicist Given Two-Week Medical Furlough After Losing Cancerous Kidney - Imprisoned physicist Omid Kokabee has been granted a two-week medical furlough upon payment of five billion rials ($164,000 USD) bail, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. 5/26/16

The Neocon-Liberal Hawk Convergence is Worse Than I Thought - Late last month, I published a post entitled "Hillary's Foreign Policy: A Liberal-Neoconservative Convergence?" that featured the announcement of a new report by the Center for a New American Security (CNAS) to be rolled out May 16. I was traveling that day, so I missed the formal launch and only got around to reading the report this past weekend. It was even worse than what I had anticipated. -Jim Lobe, LobeLog 5/26/16

End of an Art Form? The Persian Rug May Not Be Long for This World - For centuries, Iran's famed carpets have been produced by hand along the nomad trail in this region of high plains around the ancient city of Shiraz... But high-quality production of hand-woven carpets is no longer sustainable on the migration route of the nomads, said Hamid Zollanvari, one of Iran's biggest carpet makers and dealers. -Thomas Erdbrink, NY Times 5/26/16

Austria's Oberbank and Raiffeisen Bank connected to Iran market - A senior Iranian trade official says Austria's Oberbank and Raiffeisen Bank International (RBI) are now connected to Iranian banks. Tehran Chamber of Commerce Chairman Masoud Khansari said that the two Austrian banks have started opening letters of credit (LCs) for Iranian businesses, facilitating trade transactions between the two countries. 5/26/16

Saudi Arabia Has a Plan B to Try to Stop Iran's Economic Rise - Saudi Arabia couldn't stop the Iran nuclear deal from being signed. Plan B is to limit Iran's ability to reap its benefits. The kingdom is mobilizing its Gulf allies to make sure that, more than four months after the lifting of sanctions on the Islamic Republic, Iran's opening-up to the global economy doesn't go smoothly. -Bloomberg 5/26/16

Iranian appetite for German goods prompts surge in first-quarter exports - German exports to Iran, especially of machines and equipment, rose significantly in the first quarter following the removal of international sanctions against the Islamic Republic, government data showed on Thursday. -Reuters 5/26/16

How a singles column changed a Persian-Jewish girl's life - My parents came to L.A. from Shiraz, Iran after the 1979 Iranian Revolution. My father worked two jobs -- as a rabbi at a shul, and at a car yard in Anaheim. And my mother worked three jobs -- as a nightly mikveh lady, elder caretaker and mother. They always made sure my siblings and I had everything we needed... -Chaya Leah Esakhan, SCPR 5/26/16

U.S. Examining Whether Indian Port Deal With Iran Violates Sanctions - U.S. senators have questioned whether India's deal to develop a port in Iran violates international sanctions, and the State Department said it is examining the question. "We have been very clear with the Indians [about] continuing restrictions on activities with respect to Iran," Assistant Secretary of State Nisha Desai Biswal told the Senate Foreign Relations Committee on May 24. 5/25/16

'Homeland' actress: Iran, free jailed British-Iranian mother - Once, I hoped to return to Iran. Like Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, the woman who now sits in an Iranian jail, I longed to visit family, friends, the land of my birth. Her arrest last month, the latest in a string of arrests of dual nationals lured back to Iran, has thrown cold water on my hopes, for now. The oppressors, for the moment, have won. -Nazanin Boniadi, CNN 5/25/16

Iranian cartoonist wins top award at contest in Vianden, Luxembourg - Iranian cartoonist Mohammad Habibi has won first prize at the 9th International Contest of Caricature and Cartoon in Vianden, Luxembourg. The theme of the contest was "My Home Is My Castle", which focused on refugees in the world. 5/25/16

Kurdish Political Prisoner in Iran on Hunger Strike to Protest New Charges - Mohammad Sediq Kaboudvand, a prominent Kurdish human rights activist who is in his ninth year of incarceration at Tehran's Evin Prison, has gone on hunger strike to protest the new charges that have been brought against him. 5/25/16

World Bank to award loans to Iran's SMEs - Iran said on Tuesday that it has started preliminary talks to obtain loans worth a total of at least $1.5 billion from the World Bank for the country's small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). 5/25/16

People of Iran - When I talk about Iran, I should start with the people...they are amazing...it may turn out as a cliche`, but it will surprise you, even if you've heard it before. Simply because it touches your deep human need to meet good people and feel at home, even when you're away. -Altography by Alexander Nachev 5/25/16

Iran working on new transit link to EU - Iran says it is working on a new combined transit route that would link its southern port city of Bandar Abbas to Europe through CIS countries. Officials in Tehran said on Tuesday that the country is working on a plan to create a combined transit route that would pass through its territory as well as several Central Asian countries before reaching Europe. 5/25/16

Review: A Persian Renaissance at Shiraz Kitchen in Elmsford - Sit down at Shiraz Kitchen in Elmsford and you'll know you're in a different kind of restaurant. On the table, right next to the salt and pepper, is a large shaker of sumac. The spice's tart, dusky flavor is just one of many Persian tastes to enjoy at this 7-year-old Iranian restaurant, which is experiencing a renaissance since its new owner, Reza Parhizkaran, took the reins a little over a year ago. -New York Times 5/25/16

India Cements Role in Iran with Chabahar Deal - Indian prime minister Narendra Modi made his first-ever visit to Iran on Sunday. It was also the first visit by an Indian head of state since the Iranian nuclear deal last year. Topping Modi's agenda were two key agreements-the trilateral transit pact between India, Iran and Afghanistan and the bilateral contract between India and Iran on the first phase of development of the Chabahar port. -Sumitha Narayanan Kutty 5/24/16

Kamancheh Master Kayhan Kalhor Plays in Tehran amid Conservative Backlash against Concerts - After six years of silence in Iran, music of kamencheh master Kayhan Kalhor blared out in Vahdat Concert Hall once more. On Saturday night, May 21, Kalhor and his ensemble performed to a full hall of ardent fans in Tehran. 5/24/16

Iran helped Syria hold Daesh back: Soleimani - The Commander of the Quds Force of Iran's Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) Major General Qassem Soleimani says Daesh terrorists would have overrun Syria if it were not for Iran's assistance. 5/24/16

Hard-Liner Elected Head Of Iran's Powerful Assembly Of Experts - Iran's Assembly of Experts has chosen hard-liner Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati to head the powerful body that is responsible for electing and overseeing the work of Iran's supreme leader. 5/24/16

The Future (of a Nuclear Deal) - The problem today is that while the U.S. can claim it has accomplished its goal with the JCPOA-namely that Iran, having shipped out most of its enriched uranium stockpile, essentially shuttered one impenetrable (to conventional weaponry) facility and taken out the core of a reactor, is in no position to go nuclear anytime soon-Iran and some of its former business partners, especially the Europeans who were party to the deal, argue that U.S. laws and unilateral sanctions are presenting major obstacles to their being able to do business with each other. -Hooman Majd, LobeLog 5/24/16

Iran Says It Will 'Speed Up' Case Of Jailed Advocate For Internet Freedom - For the first time, Iran has officially acknowledged that it has imprisoned a U.S. permanent resident who advocates for Internet freedom. Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari said Tehran "will try to speed up" the case of Lebanese citizen Nizar Zakka, who disappeared in Tehran in September after attending a government-sponsored conference. 5/24/16

How Leonardo DiCaprio became unlikely champion in Iran - Iranians were elated when they discovered that actor Leonardo DiCaprio had shared on his Instagram account a photo of Iran. DiCaprio, a champion environmentalist, republished The Weather Channel's photo of drying Lake Urmia to bring attention to climate change. -Holly Dagres, Al-Monitor 5/24/16

Asghar Farhadi, Shahab Hosseini awarded at Cannes Film Festival - The Iranian film "The Salesman" by Oscar-winning filmmaker Asghar Farhadi received two awards, for Best Screenplay and Best Actor, won by Iranian actor Shahab Hosseini. 5/23/16

Iran, India agree to expand relations: President Rouhani - Heading a high-ranking delegation, Modi arrived in the Iranian capital on Sunday. The Indian prime minister was accorded an official welcome in Tehran at the start of a two-day visit to make a case for India's space in Iran's market following the lifting of sanctions. 5/23/16

Iran, India, Afghanistan sign Chabahar transit agreement - Iran, India and Afghanistan sign a key trilateral deal, known as the Chabahar agreement, to establish a strategic transit and transport route connecting the three countries. The agreement was signed in the presence of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Afghan President Ashraf Ghani in the Iranian capital of Tehran on Monday. 5/23/16

Convention on the Legal Status of the Caspian Sea and positions of Iran - The Caspian littoral states (Iran, Russia, Azerbaijan, Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan) have been working on a document called "draft convention on the legal status of the Caspian Sea" for the last several years in numerous meetings at various levels including the summit conferences of the heads of states and governments. They have not yet succeeded to reach a consensus on all important articles of such a document which are related to the criteria for delimitation of the Caspian Sea. -Bahman Aghai Diba 5/23/16

Posters on streets help to promote environmental culture: artist - One of the most important steps needed to be taken towards having a better environment is to raise public awareness and artistic works ranging from films to paintings and graphic designs as a global language can set the scene for such accomplishment. -Maryam Qarehgozlou, Tehran Times 5/23/16

Something Better: Musings on the legacy of the age-old Iranian art of escapism - ...But when all is said and done, we know that we will always slip through those cracks and slide between those fingers; we, Iranians, of the burnt generation and golden years, of the centuries of darkness and silence, of the wine-drenched tongues of bards - Joobin Bekhrad, Reorient 5/23/16

Iran wins 5th crown in Greco-Roman wrestling world cup - Iran has for the fifth time won the Greco-Roman wrestling world cup after defeating Russia in the finals of the 34th edition of the games. The Iranian outfit overcame the Russian squad 8-0 in Iran's southern city of Shiraz on Friday. 5/22/16

India PM in Tehran to strike agreement on Chabahar Port development - Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi has arrived in the Iranian capital Tehran at the head of a large delegation to boost economic and political ties with Tehran. Modi landed in Tehran on Sunday for a two-day visit with Iranian officials. He was welcomed by Iran's Economy Minister Ali Tayebnia at Tehran's Mehrabad Airport. 5/22/16

The Past, the Present, and the Bridge: Ali Dehbashi's Bukhara Magazine - IT'S 9 A.M. on a cool but sunny Tehran morning in the spring. We sit in a corner of a garden in Bagh-e Ferdows, upper Valiasr Street, one of the only few homes of the early Pahlavi era that have not yet been razed to make way for an apartment building, or a high rise. There are sycamore trees all around us, once ubiquitous in the vast orchards that ran through this area. -Los Angeles Review of Books 5/22/16

Local Villagers in Iran Revived the Once Drying Lake Bazangan - Covering an area of about 52 hectares in its glory days, Bazangan or "Kol Bibi" Lake is located east of the very wealthy city of Mashhad and is the largest natural lake in north east of Iran. The local and federal authorities never even started a "save lake Bazangan" initiative, no governmental or international aid was made available and the Iranian Department of the Environment did absolutely nothing. 5/22/16

Tehran Calls On U.S. To Encourage Investment In Iran - Iran's foreign minister has called on the United States to encourage investors to engage with Tehran. Speaking at a news conference in Tehran a day after Western powers said they back legal business with Iran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that "more serious and concrete actions must be taken" by the United States to spur investment in Iran. 5/22/16

Cannes: Why Asghar Farhadi's 'The Salesman' Signals a Post Nuclear Deal Cinematic Resurgence in Iran - Asghar Farhadi's return to Cannes with his well-received "The Salesman" comes after the Iranian auteur's Paris-set "The Past" vied for a Palme d'Or in 2013. It also marks his somewhat unexpected return to shooting in Iran after "A Separation." -Nick Vivarelli, Variety 5/22/16

UN Experts Outraged By Jailing Of Iranian Rights Activist - A group of United Nations officials have expressed outrage about the conviction and sentencing of a leading human rights activist in Iran on charges that include membership in a campaign for the abolition of the death penalty. 5/22/16

Hill Update: National Defense Authorization Act - As we have over the past few months, LobeLog is posting excerpts from the Legislative Round-up published weekly when Congress is in session by the inimitable Lara Friedman of Americans for Peace Now about what Congress is up to and what individual members are saying, particularly about Israel-Palestine and Iran. -LobeLog 5/22/16

How an Iranian woman snuck into a football stadium only open to men - A young Iranian woman has become a star among fans of the Persepolis football team after she snuck into a match, which women are forbidden to attend. She took to social media to show how she disguised herself as a man to get in. -France 24 5/22/16

North Korea and the GCC - North Korea has had a relatively short and somewhat complicated relationship with the countries of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC). Despite the lack of an energy relationship, North Korea does interact with the GCC in three realms. It maintains an official diplomatic relationship with five of the six countries, primarily through its embassy in Kuwait. It sends laborers to work in many of the GCC countries. And it is involved, somewhat tangentially, in military affairs in the region as well. -John Feffer, LobeLog 5/22/16

US, Europe to Clear Up Rules for Doing Business with Iran - The United States and three key European allies -- Britain, France, and Germany -- say they want to eliminate any confusion about what investment and business deals with Iran are permitted after the nuclear deal. -Ken Schwartz, VOA 5/20/16

Concerts of Popular Iranian Musicians Canceled Due to Pressure from Religious Conservatives - Two of Iran's top musicians have been prevented from performing in the city of Neyshabour and other locations in northeastern Khorasan Razavi Province by the local prosecutor. Iran's House of Music, an independent association of musicians, has written a letter to Judiciary Chief Sadegh Amoli Larijani protesting the ongoing disruption of sanctioned musical performances. 5/20/16

Take Action: Urge your Representative to oppose the VISA Act - House Republicans are moving forward with the next discriminatory visa law inspired by the bigoted rhetoric of our decaying political atmosphere. -NIAC Action 5/20/16

Iran Judiciary Vows to Punish Former President's Daughter for Upholding Baha'i Rights - A high-ranking member of the Iranian Judiciary has said that action will be taken against Faezeh Hashemi, the outspoken daughter of prominent former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, following her meeting with Baha'i leader Fariba Kamalabadi and other well-known civil rights activists in Tehran last week. 5/20/16

Animal Cruelty Punishable by Flogging and Imprisonment in Iran? - In lack of a law that specifically deals with curtly towards animals, Iran judiciary is now making up stances for those accused of aggravated animal abuse. In the latest example an accused that abused a dog and caused bodily harm to the animal was sentenced to two months in prison in the northern city of Astara. 5/20/16

Why the Iranian Nuclear Deal Is at Risk of Unraveling - Today, nearly six months after the deal was implemented, Iran is still waiting for those benefits. The country can't access most of the estimated $100 billion it holds in foreign banks. The reason: U.S. laws, which weren't included in the nuclear deal, are still highly restrictive. -Jonathan Broder, Newsweek 5/20/16

Israel defense minister quits, warns of "extremist" takeover - Yaalon told reporters that "Israel is a healthy society" with a "sane majority" that is tolerant of minorities and strives for a liberal and democratic society. "But to my great dismay extremist and dangerous elements have taken over Israel, also over the Likud party, and are shaking the house and threatening to hurt its inhabitants," he said. -Washington Post 5/20/16

Confessions of a Dangerous Model - A film about an interrogation session was aired by the media inside Iran. In it the Tehran Prosecutor General, is interrogating a woman, a famous fashion model: Elham Arab. Elham Arab is a female bridal fashion model that stirred much controversy when she made a guest appearance in a TV program called Mah-e Asal (Honeymoon). She is now the subject of a publicly aired interrogation and prosecution. 5/19/16

Lawyers say OFAC not clearing Iran sanctions ambiguities - Criticisms are rising against the US Treasury Department for what lawyers say is its failure to clear up the ambiguity caused by a maze of overlapping sanctions and exemptions over Iran trade issues. At the center of criticisms is the Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control, known as OFAC. 5/19/16

Anti Death Penalty Activist Sentenced to 10 years in Prison in Iran - Narges Mohammadi, human rights and anti death penalty activist who is the vice president of the Defenders of Human Rights Center in Iran was sentenced to 16 years in prison. On 18 May 2015, Judge Abolghasem Salavati who heads the 15th division of Tehran Islamic Revolutionary Court stretched the already long prison sentence of Narges Mohammadi by sentencing her to 16 years in prison. 5/19/16

Iranian Political Activist Tabarzadi Arrested - Iran has reportedly rearrested political activist and journalist Heshmatollah Tabarzadi, who was released last year after spending more than five years in jail for his outspoken criticism of the Iranian establishment. His son said Tabarzadi had "very likely" been arrested on May 17 and reportedly was transferred to the special wing of a Tehran prison notorious for housing political prisoners for the country's intelligence service. The reason for his arrest is unclear. 5/19/16

Iran's oil exports at highest level since 2012 - The latest market figures show that oil exports in April reached the highest level in over four years - a yet another indication that the country is regaining the share of the market it lost as a result of the sanctions at a faster pace than expected. 5/19/16

Iranian-Turkish Businessman Seeks Bond in Sanctions Evasion Case - WASHINGTON- Lawyers for an Iranian-Turkish national arrested in March on charges of conspiring to evade U.S. sanctions against Iran have asked a federal court to set a $50 million bond for his release until trial. Reza Zarrab is one of three people charged in what prosecutors allege was a five-year scheme involving millions of dollars in transactions on behalf of the Iranian government and businesses. -Chris Hannas, VOA 5/19/16

An Ayatollah's Daughter Prompts a Debate on Religious Persecution in Iran - A house visit by a daughter of a prominent ayatollah to a female leader of the persecuted Bahai religious minority touched off a debate this week in Iran about the harsh treatment of a group deemed pagans and impure by the country's dominant clerics. -Thomas Erdbrink, NY Times 5/19/16

Iran's Government and Revolutionary Guards Battle for Control of Economy - President Hassan Rouhani wants to make way for foreign deals and investment by limiting the business role taken on by the Revolutionary Guards when sanctions isolated Iran. -WSJ 5/19/16

President Rouhani: Croatia can be gateway to Iran's ties with Europe - "Croatia can be the gate of our relations with the European Union due to historical and cultural commonalities between the two countries and its geographical status," Rouhani said during a press conference with Croatian President Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic in Tehran. 5/18/16

Iran's Fashion Industry under Assault; Details of Arrests of Models by Revolutionary Guards Surface - Eight people working in Iran's fashion industry have been arrested and formally charged in an industry wide crackdown led by the Revolutionary Guards. Cases have also been opened on another 29 people, and most of the 170 fashion industry workers who have been targeted during the past six months have also been interrogated, an informed source told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. 5/18/16

Kering, Cannes honor Iranian Filmmaker Ida Panahandeh - Kering, a leading world company for apparel and accessories, and the Cannes Film Festival honored Iranian filmmaker Ida Panahandeh with the Women in Motion young talent award on Sunday. 5/18/16

IMF Warns Iran Not To Rely Only On Oil Revenue To Boost Economy - A top International Monetary Fund official warned Iran not to count on a big jump in oil revenue to boost its economy, but said it should seek other opportunities to re-engage with the global economy. "I speak here today at a pivotal moment for Iran's economy," said IMF Deputy Managing Director David Lipton in a speech at the Central Bank of Iran on May 17 during a two-day visit to Tehran. 5/18/16

Iran's Parliament Seeks Compensation From U.S. For 'Moral Damages' - In an apparent tit-for-tat move, Iran's outgoing parliament has passed a bill that requires the government to seek compensation from the United States for "material and moral damages" due to U.S. policies toward Tehran over the past six decades. 5/18/16

New director of IRIB says change in news programs high on agenda - The new director of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB), Abdol-Ali Ali-Asgari, has said that making a couple of major changes to new programs is high on the agenda. Speaking to the reporter after his inauguration on Tuesday, he also said that IRIB will turn its main focus on producing educative programs. 5/18/16

Iran Arrests 8 for 'Un-Islamic' Online Modeling - Iranian police have cracked down on women posting pictures of themselves online with their hair uncovered. Eight female models who posted photos of themselves uncovered have been arrested and charged with "un-Islamic acts." Women in Iran have been required to cover their hair in public ever since the 1979 revolution. 5/17/16

Preserving Persia's glorious past: Persepolis exhibition showcases Oriental Institute's ongoing work in ancient Iran - Today the Oriental Institute remains the nation's premier center for the study of ancient Iran, and its scholars hope the Persian Empire will play an important role in its future archaeological research. "No other American university has the depth on Persia and Iranian archaeology that the University of Chicago has," says Gil Stein, director of the Oriental Institute, who was among the half-dozen institute scholars who spoke last year at an international conference in Tehran. 5/17/16

French Foreign Ministry Staffer with Dual Citizenship Awaits Appeal on Prison Sentence in Iran - Nazak Afshar, an employee of France's Foreign Ministry who holds Iranian and French citizenship, is awaiting a ruling on her appeal against a six-year prison sentence issued by Judge Abolqasem Salavati of Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court on unspecified charges. 5/17/16

Tehran Billboards To Display Famous Artworks - Over 2000 billboard ads will be replaced with images by Pablo Picasso, Rene Magritte and Henri Matisse and reproductions of traditional Persian miniatures, carpets, calligraphy and many more for ten days, turning the face of the city into a huge art gallery. 5/17/16

Regime Changers and War Hawks Dominate Congressional Iran Deal Hearing - It didn't take long for the much remarked upon New York Times Magazine profile of Obama foreign policy adviser Ben Rhodes to reach a height that all probing news stories might aspire to: spurring Congressional hearings to investigate wrongdoing on the part of the government. -Ali Gharib, LobeLog 5/17/16

IMF deputy director to meet high ranking Iranian officials - The International Monetary Fund's second in command is to meet with the Governor of the Central Bank of Iran Valiollah Seif, Iran's Oil Minister Bijan Zangeneh, and other senior officials. The IMF's First Deputy Managing Director David Lipton, who arrived in Tehran on Sunday, is also set to meet private sector representatives, bankers, academics and students during his two-day visit. 5/16/16

Historic Iranian village of Abyaneh strained by influx of tourists - Officials of the historic village of Abyaneh say they are faced with a tsunami of tourists. Mohammad Adeli told ISNA that the village faces a tsunami of tourists especially on weekends and holidays. 5/16/16

Esteghlal Khuzestan stands atop Persian Gulf League podium - Esteghlal Meli-Sanati Khuzestan Football Club, commonly known as Esteghlal Khuzestan, has won the championship of Iran's Persian Gulf Pro League, formerly known as Iran Pro League (IPL), following a well-deserved victory over Isfahan-based Zob Ahan. 5/14/16

Lack of Medical Attention: "Progressive Premeditated Murder" of Political Prisoners - They did not want to transfer prisoners to the hospital so they brought the hospital to the prison. The planned building of a hospital in Evin Prison was the mark of the judiciary's reluctance to transfer sick prisoners to hospitals outside of the prison. That plan, however, like many other projects undertaken by the Islamic Republic, lacked the necessary preparatory studies and assessments and was ultimately reduced to a clinic. -Ehsan Mehrabi 5/14/16

Where Iran Sanctions Relief Falls Short - Over the last few weeks, the debate about supposed U.S. obstruction of sanctions relief has reached a fever pitch. Secretary of State Kerry has brushed off criticism from Europe and Iran, making it clear that the US stands by its obligations under JCPOA. He has stated that US sanctions are used as "an excuse" to hide the fact that some European companies "don't want to do business or they don't see a good business deal." -Esfandyar Batmanghelidj 5/13/16

Maryam Mirzakhani, First Iranian Woman to be Elected to the National Academy of Sciences - Maryam Mirzakhani, a Professor of Mathematics at Stanford University, was recently elected to the National Academy of Sciences. One of the highest honors for scientists in the United States, new members are elected by current members based on their distinguished and continuing achievements in original research. 5/13/16

Iranian Political Prisoners Turn to Life-Threatening Hunger Strikes to Protest Unjust Sentences - The imprisoned spokesman of the Iranian Teachers' Trade Association, Mahmoud Beheshti Langroudi, was hospitalized on May 8, 2016 after falling seriously ill from a 17-day hunger strike. The imprisoned teacher's rights activists Esmail Abdi and Jafar Azimzadeh, who are also on hunger strikes, are in poor health as well, an informed source told the Campaign. 5/11/16

Iranian women barred from provincial stages as classical concert tours - The third leg of Shahram and Hafez Nazeri's Persian classical music concert tour is set to kick off in Isfahan on May 19 and 20, and the group's female musicians have been banned from appearing on stage. 5/10/16

Husband Of Detained British-Iranian Woman Calls On Britain To Bring Her Home - The husband of a British-Iranian charity worker detained in Iran for more than a month has called on British authorities to bring her home. "The cruelty of the situation seems both outrageous and arbitrary -- that a young mum and baby can be treated as some national security threat is absurd, far outside any reality our family was familiar with," Zaghari-Ratcliffe's husband, Richard Ratcliffe, said in a statement. 5/10/16

Iranian Journalists Face Growing Threats and Intimidation by Authorities - Iran's Intelligence Ministry officials are increasingly harassing and threatening independent journalists in an apparent move to dissuade them from feeling emboldened by reformist and centrist candidates' gains in the county's recent Parliamentary elections. 5/8/16

Women in Iran's Parliament: Opportunities and Challenges - Iran's tenth parliament will begin its term in June boasting many firsts, including the highest number of female parliamentarians. In Iran's first round of parliamentary elections, 14 female MPs were elected, and, according to the results of Iran's run-off parliamentary elections held on April 29, an additional four women have been elected as MPs. 5/6/16

Statue of Persian poet Omar Khayyam unveiled at the University of Oklahoma - On March 30, 2016, the University of Oklahoma President David L. Boren announced a $4 million gift for the College of International Studies, and the establishment of a new center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies. At the announcement, Boren also unveiled one of OU's newest pieces of artwork, "Omar Khayyam," inspired by the Persian polymath, mathematician, astronomer, philosopher and poet of the Islamic Golden Age. 4/25/16

Announcing The 8th Annual Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival Celebrating Iranian Heritage - Now in its eighth year, the 2016 Farhang Foundation Short Film Festival has officially been announced. Calling on filmmakers worldwide to submit short films visualizing some aspect of Iranian art,culture, and heritage, Farhang Foundation's annual online short film festival offers contestants the opportunity to compete for $10,000 (first prize), $5,000 (second prize), and $3,000 (third prize). 4/20/16

U.S. Calls On Iran To Release Father, Son Jailed Without Charges - The United States has called for the release of two Iranian-American citizens detained without charge in Tehran. Family members say businessman Siamak Namazi was arrested in October while his father Baquer, 80, was detained last month. Both men are believed to be in Tehran's notorious Evin prison. 03/19/16

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last updated on Fri May 27 14:58:33 GMT 2016