Aban 7 1399 - October 28 2020
National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans Reveals Continued Concerns About Discrimination

The Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, today released the findings of its 2020 National Public Opinion Survey of Iranian Americans conducted from September 8th to September 20th of this year, which revealed that more than three-quarters (78%) of respondents expressed concerns about discrimination, citing national rhetoric and policies towards immigrants and Muslims and increased tension between the U.S. and Iran as sources for discrimination. 10/27/20

The 13th Iranian Folk Music Festival to be held online

The 13th edition of Iran's Regional Music Festival will be held online in the southern Iranian city of Kerman from October 31 to November 2, the director of the Kerman branch of Iran Music Association Suraj Yasai said on Monday. The participating artists will be giving their performances every night mainly at the Ganjali Khan Caravanserai, a 17th-century monument in Kerman, and the performances will stream online on the Instagram page of the association, he added. 10/27/20

Iranian hospitals hobbled by sanctions in fight against Covid

In a poor neighbourhood of the historic city of Isfahan, workers toil day and night to build a new hospital as Iran's overwhelmed health system struggles to cope with the soaring number of Covid cases. The work on the 1,000-bed seven-storey Isfahan Eram Center Hospital has been expedited by the devastating impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has highlighted years of underinvestment and decades of inertia in a health system that has also been hobbled by US sanctions. -Najmeh Bozorgmehr, Financial Times 10/27/20

Iran hits record single-day virus death toll

Iran has again hit a record single-day COVID-19 death toll, reporting 346 new deaths. That brings the country's total virus deaths to 33,299, the highest virus toll in the Mideast. Iran Health Ministry spokeswoman Sima Sadat Lari also said Tuesday that daily new coronavirus cases have also hit a record, with 6,968 reported. That brings Iran's total number of infections to 581,824. -AP 10/27/20

'Iranian YouTube' CEO Sentenced To 10 Years Over Video Uploaded By User

The founder and manager of Iran's main video-sharing platform, referred to by some as Iran's YouTube, has been sentenced to 10 years in prison after being convicted of "encouraging corruption" over a video posted by a user. In the video posted on Aparat.com last year, children were asked whether they know how they were born, Iranian media reported. 10/27/20

In a gallery far, far away, Florida Tech students' artwork displayed on satellite in space

A Florida Technical College student is showcasing her art among the stars. Nava Pishgar is studying aerospace engineering and is one of three winners of a national competition hosted by Students for the Exploration and Development of Space and satellite company Planet. The companies asked for participants to produce a work of art for one of Planet's Dove satellites. The Brevard County native says the design is open for interpretation and features some of the elements of Persian art, a nod to her family's roots and to her beloved aunt who is an artist as well and lives in Iran. -Gabriella Nunez, Click Orlando 10/27/20

U.S. Imposes Sanctions on Iran's Oil Sector

The Trump administration is trying to fortify its campaign of maximum pressure against Iran from being reversed by a potential Biden administration. -Pranshu Verma and Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 10/27/20

Can Russia return to Iranian arms market following end of weapons embargo?

A decadelong UN arms embargo against Iran expired Oct. 18, following failed attempts by Washington to keep the ban in place. With the end of the embargo, Tehran can now begin to buy and export arms, including offensive weapons. Yet questions remain about whether or not weapons sales will proceed - and if they do, who will buy and sell? -Kirill Semenov, Al Monitor 10/27/20

Iran investigates case of man killed in police custody

Iranian authorities have vowed to press charges after video emerged of police officers using pepper spray on a man who had already been handcuffed and who later died as a result of the spray. The video of Mehrdad Sepehri handcuffed to a pole and being repeatedly pepper-sprayed and tased shocked many social media users. The incident took place in the northeastern city of Mashhad. The 28-year-old reportedly died on the way to the hospital. -Al Monitor 10/27/20

There's no limit to what Iranian women can do: Football Player Yasaman Farmani

RCSC Charleroi player Yasaman Farmani says that there is no limit to what the Iranian women football players can accomplish. Farmani joined the Belgian top-flight football club from Iran's Malavan in August. She is the wife of Iran international Ali Gholizadeh. They are the first Iranian couple to play at a European based football team. 10/26/20

Wary of angering public, Iran has few ways to contain virus

As coronavirus infections reached new heights in Iran this month, overwhelming its hospitals and driving up its death toll, the country's health minister gave a rare speech criticizing his own government's refusal to enforce basic health measures. -AP 10/26/20

What the US election means for Iranian Americans

For Iranian Americans, the election of Donald Trump was more than an expression of intolerance and ignorance in the United States. It was an assault on their basic civil rights and the existence of their country of heritage. In the past four years, Iranian Americans have been torn from their families, stripped of their bank accounts, and arrested at the border. A continuation of the status quo would make the community an ever-more vulnerable minority, especially as the drums of war against Iran beat louder. - Sina Toossi, Al-Jazeera 10/26/20

National Network of Iranian NGOs formed to promote 'sport for all'

The National Network of Non-Governmental Organizations has been formed in Iran to promote sports, especially cycling, athletics, and swimming, in society. According to IRNA, a memorandum of understanding was signed between the Ministry of Sports and Youth and the Federation of Sport for All on Sunday October 17 to form the network. 10/26/20

Iran Moving Women Political Prisoners to Jails with "Common Criminals"

As part of a new policy to isolate political prisoners by incarcerating them alongside common criminals at various prisons in Iran, three women convicted of national security crimes for opposing Iran's mandatory hijab laws were recently transferred out of Evin Prison's Women's Ward, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. Yasaman Ariyani and her mother Monireh Arabshahi, were transferred to Rajaiee Shahr Prison in Karaj, west of Tehran, and Samaneh Norouz-Moradi to the central prison in Roudsar, northern Iran. -CHRI 10/26/20

Female Cyclist Angers Hard-Liners In Iran By Riding Without Her Hijab

A young Iranian woman who rode a bicycle without wearing a hijab has spurred angry protests by hard-liners in Najafabad, a conservative city in Iran's central province of Isfahan. The unnamed woman was arrested earlier this week. Iranian authorities say her "motives" are being investigated. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 10/26/20

Photos: Saffron harvest in Golestan province, Iran

Vamenan village in Golestan, the northeastern province of Iran is one of the hubs for producing the best saffron in Iran. Many farmers are busy with harvesting saffron flowers at this time of the year. -Mahsa Safari, Mehr News Agency 10/26/20

VIDEO: FDD's online harassment against critics of Trump's State Department

Earlier this month, Responsible Statecraft reported - based on recently obtained documents via a Freedom of Information Act lawsuit - that the hawkish DC think tank Foundation for the Defense of Democracies was at the center of an online harassment campaign funded by the State Department that targeted Americans, including journalists, and human rights advocates, because of their opposition to Donald Trump's Middle East policy. Quincy Institute Multimedia Producer Khody Akhavi breaks the story down -Responsible Statecraft 10/26/20

Chomsky: from nuclear weapons to Iran, Trump's worst threats are dangerously ignored

Noam Chomsky warns that the Trump administration poses a unique threat to humanity, and its most reckless policies are receiving far too little attention. -Aaron Mate, Gray Zone 10/23/20

A #MeToo Awakening Stirs in Iran

The #MeToo movement has hit a nerve among Iran's women. Now accusations against a politically connected celebrity artist are testing the movement in a sexually conservative society dominated by men. -Farnaz Fassihi, New York Times 10/23/20

Sanctions are the one thing Republicans and Democrats can agree on. But they aren't working.

On a good day, Washington, D.C. is best described as a town divided. Republicans and Democrats are at each other's throats on nearly every issue under the sun. A subject as seemingly uncontroversial as wearing a mask can open the floodgates to a torrential flood of partisan fury on both sides of the political aisle. The culture wars, policy disagreements, and ideological clashes are elevated to the umpteenth degree during a presidential election year. But on the subject of economic sanctions, Republicans and Democrats mirror one, big, happy family. -Dan DePetris, Responsible Statecraft 10/23/20

New report shines light on dis- misinformation campaigns by US Gulf allies

At a hastily called press briefing on Wednesday, top U.S. intelligence and law enforcement officials claimed that both Russia and Iran had gained access to personal voter information and that Iran had targeted Democrats in an information operation. According to officials, Iranian actors posed as members of the Proud Boys, a pro-Trump group with ties to white supremacists, and sent threatening emails to Democratic voters telling them to vote for Trump. -Kelly M. McFarland, Responsible Statecraft 10/23/20

Iran: Prisoners Who Reported Abuse Charged

Iranian judiciary authorities are prosecuting human rights defenders for reporting abuse in detention, Human Rights Watch said today. Since September 2020, the authorities have brought charges against two imprisoned activists who had published letters alleging mistreatment. -HRW 10/23/20

Photos: Sar Agha Seyed Village in Southwestern Iran

"Sar Agha Seyed" is a village located 45 kilometers northern Kuhrang County of Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari Province, Iran. Its architect is similar to Masuleh of Gilan Province where houses have been built into the mountain with a stairway structure. -Ahmad Riahi Dehkordi, IRNA 10/23/20

Iraq's prime minister says country on tightrope between US and Iran

Iraq's prime minister, Mustafa al-Kadhimi, has warned that he is being forced into an impossible balancing act between the US and Iran, as he urged Europe to come to the aid of his country's debt-ridden economy. Appointed as prime minister in June, Kadhimi - a British citizen and former journalist - came to power after unprecedented street protests over corruption, and has since governed with a simple programme of early elections, better security and preventing the collapse of his oil-dependent economy. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 10/23/20

Iran Sanctions US Ambassador to Iraq for 'Terrorist' Acts

Tehran-imposed sanctions on the US Ambassador to Iraq, Matthew Tueller, came as a response in a tit-for-tat move after Washington blacklisted Iran's Envoy. Iran's government has answered a move by the United States against the nation's envoy to Baghdad, blacklisting a US official in return. -Sputnik 10/23/20

Trump's quiet war against civilians in Iran continues amid the pandemic

With people in Iran already suffering from the COVID-19 pandemic and crippling U.S. sanctions, the Trump administration earlier this month unveiled yet another set of sanctions that could restrict Iranians' access to food and medicine even further. This move has gone largely unnoticed in the United States, with the first presidential debate passing without mention of Trump's disastrous "maximum pressure" policy on Iran. But for Iranians, it is impossible to ignore. -Niloofar Adnani, Responsible Statecraft 10/22/20

'There Is No Insulin': Desperate Iranians Tweet Calls For Life-Saving Drug

Tens of thousands of diabetics in Iran are said to be facing shortages of insulin, with many such patients and their loved ones complaining that the problem could have life-threatening consequences. Some Iranians have taken to social media to protest the scarcity of insulin pens and highlight their plight or that of loved ones who need daily injections of what they describe as "oxygen" for diabetics. -Golnaz Esfandiari, RFE/RL 10/22/20

More Baha'is Begin Serving Prison Sentences in Iran Simply for Their Beliefs

Farid Zirgi Moghaddam began serving his five-year sentence in the central prison in the city of Birjand, in South Khorasan province in eastern Iran, on October 19, 2020-a prison sentence that was based solely on his belief in the banned Baha'i faith, the Center for Human Rights in Iran (CHRI) has learned. -CHRI 10/22/20

Photos: Khor, brilliant village in desert heart

Having beautiful nature, sunflowers, and hidden colorful opals, the Khor village of Khusf county in Iran's South Khorasan Province shines like a jewel in the heart of the desert. -Mohsen Noferesti, Mehr News Agency 10/22/20

China wins, India loses in Trump's gamble on crushing Iran

India has found itself on the losing end of the Trump administration's gamble in Asia and its "maximum pressure" policy toward Iran. In some ways, the damage may be irreversible, as China is expanding its presence in Iran and moving quickly to fill gaps created by U.S. sanctions. -Fatemeh Aman, Responsible Statecraft 10/22/20

Steve House in Kashan, Iran Wins Golden Plaque

Steve House in Kashan, which is a specialized gallery with a focus on photography, has received a gold license plaque. Mizan Architecture Event, in summer 2020, selected its winners from among 70 architectural projects. Steve House was established in the neighborhood of Kohneh Square in Kashan, near the oldest building in the city, by Hossein Farmani and with the cooperation of Hossein Roshanbakht and Hassan Roshanbakht on June 14, 2019. -Honar online 10/22/20

Russia and Iran obtained US voter data in bid to sow unrest before election, FBI warns

Russia and Iran have obtained some US voting registration information and are attempting to sow unrest in the upcoming election, the government's national intelligence director said in a rare news conference Wednesday night. Democrats immediately took issue with Ratcliffe's emphasis that Iran was sowing disinformation to harm Trump, characterizing the intelligence director as a "partisan hack". -Guardian 10/22/20

Massive war games light up Iran's skies

Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and regular army conducted a joint air defense exercise to test a wide array of military equipment, including missile and radar systems, electronic warfare, reconnaissance and communications tools and monitoring networks. According to military spokesman Abbas Farajpour, the drills were conducted in a vast area including half of Iran's airspace -Al-Monitor 10/22/20

No Matter Who Is U.S. President, Iran Will Drive a Harder Bargain Than Before

U.S. President Donald Trump withdrew from the Iran nuclear agreement in May 2018 with the express purpose of pressuring Iran into negotiating a deal more favorable to the United States. To that end, the United States has pursued a sanctions policy of "maximum pressure" that has inflicted extraordinary damage on Iranian society. Iran's economy contracted by seven percent in 2019-20, and its currency has devalued to a record low. Washington recently imposed still more sanctions on Iran's banking system. -Mohammad Ayatollahi Tabaar, Foreign Affairs 10/21/20

Even if Biden wins US election, time is running out to save Iran nuclear deal

Even if Joe Biden triumphs at the polls, Iran's weakened government may only have a few months to negotiate a revived nuclear deal before facing its own electoral challenge by hardliners who oppose any engagement with the west. The narrow window has prompted calls for Biden to offer a phased approach to rejoining the Iran nuclear deal abandoned by Donald Trump in 2018, in order to show progress before the Iranian presidential election. -Patrick Wintour, Guardian 10/21/20

Nasrin Sotoudeh Transferred to Notorious Gharchak Prison

Nasrin Sotoudeh, the imprisoned human rights attorney, has been moved to the notoriously harsh Gharchak Prison (also spelled Qarchak) in the Iranian city of Varamin, south of Tehran, despite grave medical issues that require her hospitalization, her husband, Reza Khandan said today, October 20, 2020. -CHRI 10/21/20

Payment24 CEO: Criminal in the US, service provider to Iran

To the United States, he is a criminal and a threat to national security. To Iranians cut off from the international financial system by US sanctions, he was an invaluable provider of services many people in other countries take for granted. Last week, Iranian citizen Sajjad Shahidian was sentenced to 23 months in prison by a US federal court in Minneapolis, Minnesota for his role in operating Payment24 - an online financial services company prosecutors say helped Iranians conduct transactions with US-based businesses prohibited under sanctions. -Maziar Motamedi, Al-Jazeera 10/21/20

Armenia Wants Iran's Help, Azerbaijan Says US, Russia, France Not Doing Enough to End Conflict

Armenia is seeking Iran's support in pressuring Azerbaijan, while Azerbaijan also appreciates the Islamic Republic's diplomatic overtures. Both believe that international guarantors France, Russia and the United States are not doing enough to end the conflict in the South Caucasus region. -Newsweek 10/21/20

Why it's a bad idea to 'debate' FDD CEO Mark Dubowitz

An obscure but important controversy erupted recently within the foreign policy community in the nation's capital about whether a former Obama administration official should have participated in a "debate" with the leader of a DC think tank that has been engaged in lying and online harassment of critics while pushing for war and regime change in Tehran for more than a decade. -Ben Armbruster, Responsible Statecraft 10/21/20

A peek into pristine places of Kish Island

Traveling to islands and coastal cities have always been fascinating for tourists. Amongst the Persian Gulf islands, Kish is the more luxurious and developed. Except for its unique nature such as waters and shallow beaches, the tourist attractions of this charming island are due to its rich historical background as well as kind and hospitable people. -Tehran Times 10/21/20

Russia calls for collective security in Persian Gulf, US blames Iran

Russia's foreign minister called for collective efforts Tuesday to prevent a large-scale war in the Persian Gulf and got strong support from all Security Council members except the United States, which called Iran the major culprit and urged that it be held accountable for supporting terrorists and destabilizing the region. -AP 10/21/20

Iran's rial climbs to one-month high after central bank injects cash

The Iranian rial bounced back from record lows to a near one-month high against the U.S. dollar on Tuesday after the central bank said it had injected about $375 million into the market to support the troubled currency. The dollar was selling for about 277,000 rials on the unofficial market, down from 304,500 on Monday, according to foreign exchange site Bonbast.com. -Reuters 10/21/20

PAAIA Applauds Introduction of the Temporary Family Visitation Act

Today, the Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans (PAAIA), a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization serving the interests of the Iranian American community, welcomed the introduction of bipartisan legislation in the U.S. House of Representatives by Reps. Scott Peters (D-CA) and Francis Rooney (R-FL) that establishes a new visa category to allow family members of U.S. citizens and permanent residents to temporarily visit. The new B-3 nonimmigrant visa category created by the Temporary Family Visitation Act (TFVA) will provide an opportunity for family visitations while boosting the U.S. economy. 10/20/20

Anti-Semitism Envoy appears to accuse Jason Rezaian of being an apologist for Iran

A State Department official accused two prominent Iranian-American figures of serving the Iranian regime, including one Iranian-American journalist who had been taken hostage by the Iranian government for nearly two years. "In case you were not 100% sure [congressional candidate Sima Ladjevardian] is an #Iran Regime mouthpiece this endorsement by [journalist Jason Rezaian] puts all doubt to rest," U.S. Deputy Special Envoy to Monitor and Combat Anti-Semitism Ellie Cohanim wrote in a Twitter post on Monday. The tweet has since been taking down. -Matthew Petti, Responsible Statecraft 10/20/20

Iran's strategic Goreh-Jask oil pipeline project nearing completion

Iran's new 1000-kilometer-long Goreh-Jask oil pipeline in the southern Hormozgan province, which will provide the country with an alternative route for crude oil exports that are currently transferred through the Strait of Hormuz, has registered over 60 percent of physical progress and is underway with full force. The project, which is aimed at expanding the oil transport capacity in the south of the country to one million barrels a day, was inaugurated in late June by President Hassan Rouhani. 10/20/20

MEK Invent Conspiracy Theories for Survival

From deep inside its rabbit hole in Albania the MEK has created yet another Alice in Wonderland style fairy tale about Iranian spies and agents coming to get them. In doing so, Maryam Rajavi reminds us exactly why the European Union expelled her and her lieutenants from Europe and sent her into exile in Albania. -Anne Khodabandeh, Iranian.com 10/20/20

The Wunderkind Iranian Director Who Stopped Making Films

The Iranian filmmaker Samira Makhmalbaf is one of the best modern directors, and one of the most precocious of all time, but, even when the repertory houses were in high gear prior to the lockdown, her films were rarely shown. Makhmalbaf made her first feature, "The Apple," in 1997, at the age of seventeen; her second, "Blackboards," came out in 2000, and her third, "At Five in the Afternoon," three years after that. -Richard Brody, New Yorker 10/20/20

Conference: The Life and Work of Shahrokh Meskoob

Scholars discuss the life and work of Shahrokh Meskoob, one of modern Iran's most respected and acclaimed public intellectuals, literary critics, and memoirists. His papers were recently donated to Stanford's Green Library and include hundreds of letters from some of Iran's most prominent intellectuals, thousands of pages of notes, and first drafts of many of his manuscripts. This conference celebrates the launch of the archive. -Stanford Program In Iranian Studies 10/20/20

'Made in Iran' Thrives in Economy Trump Tried to Crush

There can't have been many worse times to start a new business in Iran. Even before officials in the Islamic Republic alerted the public to a major outbreak of the coronavirus, the country started the year in a tense standoff with the U.S. while its economy was being crippled by sanctions. For a trio of design graduates, a captive market of tens of millions of consumers starved of imports made it worth the risk. Their fashion brand, Koi, has sold thousands of crop tops and striped jeans since July. -Golnar Motevalli, Bloomberg 10/19/20

FDD emerges as hub for online harassment against critics of Trump's State Department

The Foundation for Defense of Democracies, a think tank that has promoted U.S. military strikes on Iran and is funded by one of President Donald Trump's biggest campaign megadonors, served as a messaging hub for a controversial taxpayer-funded project, the Iran Disinformation Project, that engaged in harassment of American critics of the Trump administration's foreign policy in the Middle East. -Eli Clifton, Responsible Statecraft 10/19/20

Op-Ed: Americans helped my family emigrate from Iran. That kindness is what makes this country great

My first taste of American greatness was peanut butter. It was in 1965 or so, in Urmia, my hometown in northwest Iran. I was around 3 years old. The peanut butter was a gift from Penny and Richard, two of a handful of Peace Corps volunteers who worked in Urmia in the 1960s. Since President Trump was elected, I have thought a lot about that gift of peanut butter and our president's slogan, "Make America Great Again." -Behrooz Alexander Moghaddam, Los Angeles Times 10/19/20

Do not expect a rush of arms sales to Iran

The 13-year UN arms embargo on Iran is set to expire on 18 October. As part of its maximum pressure campaign against Iran, the Trump administration has vowed to prevent the flow of arms into and out of the country, recently introducing sanctions that target such trade. The United States and its allies in the Middle East maintain that the expiration of the embargo will allow China and Russia to pour weapons into Iran. But this is unlikely to happen in the near term. -Ellie Geranmayeh, Responsible Statecraft 10/19/20

In the age of Covid, sanctions against 'rogue states' just spread the misery

Aggressive measures affecting North Korea, Iran and Venezuela have merely hurt the vulnerable and hardened attitudes -Simon Tisdall, Guardian 10/19/20

IMF reveals 2021 forecasts for oil prices and the Middle East economy

The International Monetary Fund downgraded its outlook for Middle East and Central Asian economic recovery, predicting a 4.1% contraction for the region as a whole - 1.3 percentage points worse than its previous assessment in April - in its latest regional outlook report released Monday. -Natasha Turak, CNBC 10/19/20

Iran hails lifting of 13-year UN arms embargo as 'momentous day'

Iranian officials have hailed the lifting of a 13-year UN arms embargo on their military as a momentous day, claiming they were once again free to buy and sell conventional weapons in an effort to strengthen their country's security. The embargo was lifted on Sunday morning despite US protests and was in line with the five-year timetable set out in the Iran nuclear deal, which was signed in 2015. -Guardian 10/19/20

Months into pandemic, Iran sees worst wave of virus deaths

Iran's capital has run out of intensive care beds as the country confronts a new surge of infections that is filling hospitals and cemeteries alike. The single-day death toll hit a record high three times this week. Eight months after the pandemic first stormed Iran, pummeling its already weakened economy and sickening officials at the highest levels of its government, authorities have not been able to prevent its spread. In a country devastated by American sanctions, the government considers an economic shutdown like the ones imposed in Europe and the United States impossible. -AP 10/16/20

Iranian teams' football rivalry reveals ugly side to the beautiful game

An Asian Champions League match has magnified a bitter feud between Tehran's Persepolis and Esteghlal teams, prompting accusations of collaboration with Saudi Arabia -Saeid Jafari, Middle East Eye 10/16/20

Will Iran let a woman run for president in 2021?

With Iran's June 2021 presidential elections approaching, a perennial public debate over whether women have the right to run for president has resurfaced. In a statement on September 13, Abbas-Ali Kadkhodaei, spokesman of Iran's Guardian Council-which is responsible for vetting candidates for elected office-said that there was no legal impediment to a woman president and that it is possible that this will happen in the future. -Raz Zimmt, Atlantic Council 10/16/20

Iran: Judicial authority bans 'torture'

Iran's judicial authority on Thursday issued an order banning torture, the use of "forced confessions", solitary confinement, illegal police detentions, and other violations of defendants' rights. The "document on judicial security" was signed by Iran's judiciary chief Ebrahim Raisi and released by Mizan Online, the authority's news agency. -AFP 10/16/20

Now is the time for Congress to act on US arms sales

Earlier this year, the U.S. State Department's Office of the Inspector General issued a report confirming what everybody already knew to be true: that the executive branch had failed to adequately consider civilian casualties in the sale of American-made bombs to Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates - sales that proceeded despite congressional efforts to block them. These sales were just the latest in a long string of ill-advised U.S. arms transfers, approved by administrations of both political parties, to abusive governments. -Elena Crespo and Elizabeth Fray, Responsible Statecraft 10/16/20

Ultimatum signals modest US goal in Iraq: Avoid defeat

The threat by Secretary of State Mike Pompeo seemed extreme. The United States would shutter its own embassy in Baghdad if Iraq didn't rein in Shiite militia attacks on American targets. The ultimatum late last month - which came with the promise of a "strong and violent" response if the attacks did not stop - was a stunning admission of weakness, analysts say. And it revealed the scale of the dilemma faced by the U.S. in Iraq, as it seeks to draw down American forces without appearing to be running away under fire from Iran-backed groups. -Scott Peterson, CSM 10/16/20

UNICEF Iran provides COVID-19 supplies for vulnerable children

In response to the request of the Ministry of Interior to address the needs of vulnerable children during the COVID-19 outbreak, UNICEF delivered a number of locally procured hygiene items including 30,000 hand sanitizers, 12,000 sanitizing gels, 30,000 liquid hand soaps, 11,988 sanitary pads, 33,000 detergent powder, 33,000 dishwashing liquid as well as 300,000 masks. 10/15/20

Photos: Squirrel, parrot receive eye treatment in Tabriz, Iran

A parrot and a five-year-old squirrel had cataract surgery on Sunday, October 11, in Tabriz after being diagnosed with the disease. It is the first time in the world that a squirrel receives an eye treatment. The eye surgery of the parrot is also the first such treatment for parrots in Iran. -Maryam Ebrahime, ISNA 10/15/20

"Each rooftop a power plant" scheme to be implemented in Iran

Despite all the incentive packages, there are still consumers which fall on the red side of the spectrum and somehow need to use more electricity; for this group of consumers the Energy Ministry has come up with a new scheme called "each rooftop a power plant" based on which high-consuming households or industries will be encouraged to install rooftop PV stations in order to generate their own electricity. -Ebrahim Fallahi, Tehran Times 10/15/20

The U.S. of A(rms): The Art of the Weapons Deal in the Age of Trump

The United States has the dubious distinction of being the world's leading arms dealer. It dominates the global trade in a historic fashion and nowhere is that domination more complete than in the endlessly war-torn Middle East. There, believe it or not, the U.S. controls nearly half the arms market. From Yemen to Libya to Egypt, sales by this country and its allies are playing a significant role in fueling some of the world's most devastating conflicts. -William D. Hartung, Tom Dispatch 10/15/20

New sanctions on Iran's banks: Crippling or more window dressing?

On October 8, the Trump administration imposed its latest round of sanctions on Iran: bank sanctions it touted in the run-up to the action as crippling and which proponents, including Senators Tom Cotton (R-AK) and Ted Cruz (R-TX), reportedly hope will cause the collapse of Iran's economy. Setting aside the wisdom of trying to collapse an economy in the middle of a COVID-19 resurgence, the goal of blacklisting the rest of Iran's financial sector has been a stalking horse for hardliners for some time. -Brian O'Toole, Atlantic Council 10/14/20

Cleric reopens scars of acid attacks after threatening Iranian women

Threats by an influential hard-line cleric against Iranian women with loose headscarves has opened up old wounds left behind in acid attacks perpetrated by religious extremists. -Al-Monitor 10/14/20

Iran's Covid-19 Death Toll Is Rising. Show Mercy, Mr. Trump.

In 2003, when an earthquake killed thousands in the Iranian city of Bam, President George W. Bush set aside years of animosity and sent an airlift of rescuers and medical supplies. He also temporarily eased some restrictions on sending money and goods to the country. "American people care and we've got great compassion for human suffering," Mr. Bush told CNN in the aftermath of the quake. "It's right to take care of people when they hurt." -New York Times Editorial Board 10/14/20

Iran in shock after 11-year-old boy commits suicide over poverty

The suicide of an 11-year old boy from a destitute family has sent shock waves across Iranian society, further highlighting the questions of growing poverty and state neglect. -Al-Monitor 10/14/20

Trump thinks 'maximum pressure' will change Iran. History says he's wrong.

Trump prefers to use "maximum pressure" in the form of belligerent rhetoric, diplomatic isolation and unilateral sanctions to try to force dramatic changes in Tehran. He insists that regime change isn't his aim, and regularly muses about being able to secure a deal with Iran's leaders within "the first month" of his reelection. But some administration officials have been more candid about their real goals, noting, as Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has put it, that while Iran's government may not change course, "the people can change the government" and that Washington is willing to help them do it. -Philip H. Gordon and Ariane M. Tabatabai, Washington Post 10/14/20

Afghanistan and Iran: From water treaty to water dispute

With an estimated 75 billion cubic metres (BCM) of water annually, Afghanistan is, on paper, a self-sufficient water country. However, the country also "has one of the lowest levels of water storage capacity in the world". Most of the water from its major rivers such as the Amu, Helmand, Harirud-Murghab and Kabul flows to neighbouring countries - Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan and Turkmenistan. Lowy Institute 10/14/20

After two decades of war, it's time to shift our focus on diplomacy

For two decades we have both decided on and then lived with the vision that with the world's most powerful military, we could use it to solve political and security problems far faster and far more effectively than our past resorts to negotiation. The idea was seductive beyond attractive. It built on the experience of World War II and unconditional surrender. According to Colin Powell, when he was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff during the Clinton administration, then-U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Madeleine Albright once asked, "What's the point of having this superb military that you're always talking about if we can't use it?" -Tom Pickering, Responsible Statecraft 10/13/20

Designs by Iranian architects win at WA Awards

Several Iranian architects and interior designers have been honored at the 35th edition of the WA Awards, which is organized by the World Architecture Community. The awards are presented in the two categories of architecture and interior design. "Home", a project by Mohammad-Hossein Mohammadpur Parchebafi won the honor in the student architecture projects. 10/12/20

Iran's delicate balancing act in the South Caucasus

On the first Friday after war resumed between Armenia and Azerbaijan over the disputed Nagorno-Karabakh region, four prayer leaders in Azerbaijani-majority regions of Iran issued a statement offering their full-throttled support for one side in the conflict... The fact that these "emam-e jomehs," or prayer leaders, are personal representatives of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ignited expectations in Baku and Ankara that Iran may be shifting its policy from neutrality to more explicitly supporting Azerbaijan. -Eldar Mamedov, Responsible Statecraft 10/12/20

Mohammad Reza Shajarian embodied the timeless beauty of Persian music

Ivividly remember the first time I met Mohammad Reza Shajarian on a summer afternoon in Berlin in 2011. He was touring Europe, along with his daughter Mojgan and an ensemble of young musicians. For Iranians, this was - along with North America - the only place they could experience their great idol on stage, given that the outspoken maestro of Persian classical music had been banned from performing inside Iran two years earlier. -Marian Brehmer, Guardian 10/12/20

US hits all of Iran's financial sector with sanctions

The Trump administration has blacklisted virtually all of Iran's financial sector, dealing another blow to an economy that is already reeling under U.S. sanctions. The move will deepen tensions with European nations and others over Iran. Thursday's move hits 18 Iranian banks that had thus far escaped the bulk of re-imposed U.S. sanctions and, more importantly, subjects foreign, non-Iranian financial institutions to penalties for doing business with them. Thus, it effectively cuts them off from the international financial system. -AP 10/9/20

'Treating us like garbage': New sanctions announced as many Iranian Americans feel fed up with Trump

While some Iranian Americans fully support President Donald Trump, Nazmiyal is among scores of Iranian Americans who have no loyalty to the repressive regime in Tehran, but who are fed up with a White House that has vilified their homeland, banned their family members from visiting the U.S., and stoked fears of a military conflict. From the Muslim ban to an endless stream of sanctions and saber-rattling, they hear about their relatives suffering in Iran and feel increased hostility in their adopted homeland. -Kim Hjelmgaard Deirdre Shesgreen, USA TODAY 10/9/20

The undeniable cruelty of Trump's 'maximum pressure' on Iran

The Trump administration calls its policy towards Iran one of "maximum pressure." By its latest move, it would more properly be called "siege and starve," as the feigned interest in establishing leverage for comprehensive negotiations with Iran has been replaced by a full-throttle push to pulverize Iran's economy and collapse its social and economic life. -Tyler Cullis, Responsible Statecraft 10/9/20

Trump administration to impose crushing sanctions on Iran in defiance of European humanitarian concerns

The Trump administration has decided to impose new sanctions on Iran's financial sector in defiance of European allies who warned that the move could have devastating humanitarian consequences on a country reeling from the novel coronavirus and an ongoing currency crisis, three officials familiar with the decision said Wednesday. - John Hudson, Washington Post 10/8/20

A calligrapher writes with light to keep tradition alive

Equipped with a light and a camera, Karim Jabbari hopes his work can serve as a link between conservative traditional calligraphy and our augmented reality. 10/7/20

Ahead of US elections, artist group highlights 'devastating impact' of Trump's travel ban three years on

In the run-up to the US presidential election this November, the New York-based human rights non-profit Artistic Freedom Initiative (AFI) is drawing attention to one of President Donald Trump's most controversial acts, Executive Order 13780, the so-called travel ban that prevents people from several Muslim-majority countries from entering the US. -The Art Newspaper 10/7/20

Mother of Iranian Astronomy: In Commemoration of Alenoush Terian

The 100th birth anniversary of the late professor Alenoush Terian, the mother of Iranian astronomy, will be celebrated on October 29. Concurrent with World Science Day for Peace and Development, the ceremony will take place in Tehran. Setting up the first solar physics observatory, launching the first solar telescope, Offering solar physics and astrophysics courses for the first time in the country, and dedicating her house to students are some of the most notable contributions of Terian to the growth of astronomy in Iran. 10/6/20

Photos: Ittihadiyeh House in Tehran

The garden house belonged to Amin ul-Sultan, the prime minister of Nasser al-Din Shah, Muzaffar al-Din Shah, and Mohammad Ali Shah Qajar. The house was bought by Haj Rahim Ittihadiyeh after the death of Amin ul-Sultan. Over time, this historic house was dilapidated and ruined. Now it is owned by the Tehran Municipality and is being renovated. -Davoud Ghahrdar, IRNA 10/6/20

Epic by Iranians: Persepolis football team advance to 2020 ACL final

Persepolis booked a place at the 2020 AFC Champions League final for the second time in three years after beating Al Nassr of Saudi Arabia in a penalty shootout. Persepolis football club advanced to the final with a 5-3 win on penalties against Al Nassr after the West Zone semi-final ended 1-1 after 120 minutes at the Jassim bin Hamad Stadium on Saturday. 10/5/20

Not white enough: 41 years of othering Iranian Americans

It took me three tries to fill out the U.S. Census. It's not a particularly long or complicated form, but this year was different. I pass as white and have always marked white. This year, I checked "Other," wrote in "Iranian," and made my parents do the same. As the Trump administration fights to end the 2020 U.S. Census count and limit those who can be counted, organizations like the National Iranian American Council and Public Affairs Alliance of Iranian Americans have encouraged Iranian Americans to mark "Other" on their forms and write in "Iranian," building off a similar 2010 campaign, "Check it right; you ain't white!" -Sarah Sakha, Responsible Statecraft 10/5/20

Memories, Tales and Folk Songs: Group exhibition in New York by seven female Iranian artists

Roya Khadjavi Projects is pleased to present "Memories, Tales and Folk Songs", a group exhibition by seven female Iranian artists in diaspora including Afsoon, Arghavan Khosravi, Atieh Sohrabi, Farnaz Zabetian, Leila Seyedzadeh, Parastoo Ahovan, and Roxana Manouchehri. 10/2/20

Juergen Teller's Visions of Iran Are Now On View in Berlin

The German photographer Juergen Teller needs no introduction, let alone in W, where his loose, playful, high-exposure portraits have been featured on innumerable covers over the years. Earlier this year, with the fashion industry stalled by the pandemic, Teller directed his attention toward a body of artwork that is far more personal than his frequent campaigns and editorial spreads: the 15,000 iPhone images Teller took with his girlfriend and creative collaborator, Dovile Drizyte, during a 12-day trip through Iran last year. -Cassidy George, W Magazine 10/2/20

Iran's Civilian Population Would Bear Costs of New Trump Sanctions

In the midst of a global pandemic, the U.S. should be looking at how to ease the flow of medicine and food to civilian populations around the globe. However, elements within the Trump administration are instead reported to be considering a proposal championed by the hawkish Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and pro-war Senators that would further escalate pain on Iran's civilian population. -Ryan Costello, Medium 10/1/20

"City of Belqeys" prosperous in late Sassanid, early Islamic eras: Expert

Shahr-e Belqeys ("City of Belqeys"), situated in northeastern Iran, was prosperous during a span of time from the late Sassanid era to early Islamic times, a cultural heritage expert has said. "Though [previous] archaeological excavations at nearby mounts and hilltops put the antiquity of Belqeys at some 6,000 years, it enjoyed prosperity from the late Sassanid to the early Islamic eras," ILNA quoted Hossein Rahmani, director of the Belqeys national heritage, as saying on Tuesday. 9/30/20

NIAC Statement on New Visa Restrictions on Iranian Students

Jamal Abdi, Executive Director of National Iranian American Council Action (NIAC Action), issued the following statement on new restrictions proposed by the Trump administration that would target international students, including a 2 year maximum visa for Iranian students and other nationals of countries whose governments have been designated by the U.S. as state sponsors of terrorism 9/25/20

Academics Against Sanctions

The National Iranian American Council (NIAC) joins dozens of prominent academics in calling on the Treasury Department's Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) to reform overly broad sanctions that hamper academic exchange. The letter comes amid disturbing reports of Iranian students being dropped or deferred by U.S. universities amid new COVID-19 restrictions. -Medium 9/24/20

Iran: The double jeopardy of sanctions and COVID-19

U.S. sanctions have hobbled Iran's response to the pandemic. In March 2020, Iran became the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic outside China. In late February, after hushing up the news of the arrival of the virus, the government admitted to two deaths from the disease in the holy city of Qom. However, by then the pandemic had spread to other parts of the country. Suddenly, Iran's leaders found themselves fighting on two separate fronts: one to save the economy from U.S. sanctions and the other to save lives and the economy from the pandemic. -Djavad Salehi-Isfahani, Responsible Statecraft 9/24/20

Iranian-American Candidates

The 2020 Election may be the most critical vote in our lifetime. It is more important than ever that Iranian Americans and our allies have a powerful voice at the ballot box. And this year, we have an opportunity to elect more Iranian Americans into office than ever before. Below are all the Iranian-American candidates running for office this election. -NIAC Action 9/18/20

Iran's secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs

Iran's 1979 Islamic revolution was a defining event that changed how we think about the relationship between religion and modernity. Ayatollah Khomeini's mass mobilisation of Islam showed that modernisation by no means implies a linear process of religious decline. Reliable large-scale data on Iranians' post-revolutionary religious beliefs, however, has always been lacking. -Pooyan Tamimi Arab & Ammar Maleki, The Conversation 9/11/20

Iranian PhD scholarship recipients granted Australian student visas after waiting on average a year for response

Hundreds of Iran's brightest minds have been waiting for more than a year to take up their university scholarships in Australia but after enquiries from SBS News, many have now been granted their visas. -Catalina Florez, SBS News 9/11/20

Sun Children review - Iranian street kids strike gold

Sun Children, by the Iranian director Majid Majidi, gives us a prison-break drama that is escaping to nowhere, and a knockabout school comedy gone horribly wrong. The acting is broad, the plot gears often creak, but it has guts and heart and a grubby, street-smart charisma. It's one of the finest films playing in this year's Venice competition. -Xan Brooks, Guardian 9/9/20

Photos: Flamingos caught in salt rescued in Lake Urmia

Six flamingo chicks unable to move on the western shore of Lake Urmia due to the salt crystals on their bodies were rescued by environmentalists on Saturday September 5, 2020. Lake Urmia was in danger of drying up. However with mitigation efforts and better rainfall in the last few years, the lake's water level is now at 1.272m and the volume of the water stands at 5.3 billion cubic meters. That's why around 20,000 flamingos have returned to the lake this year. -Taha Asgharkhani 9/8/20

Darak, where desert meets sea, added to Iran's National Heritage list

The coastal village of Darak in the southeastern province of Sistan-Baluchestan has recently been inscribed on the National Heritage list, CHTN reported. Located between the two important port cities of Chabahar and Bandar Abbas, Darak is one of the few places in the world where the sea and the desert meet. Darak or Darag in the local language means settling along the sea. 8/18/20

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last updated on Tue Oct 27 11:26:12 EDT 2020