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Iran (Islamic Republic of)

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Isolation by the West fuels a tech startup boom in Iran
5 June 2017 - The Islamic Republic remains in many ways cut off economically from the rest of the world. Big-name Western brands shun the market for fear of violating sanctions that remain in place even after the country's landmark 2015 nuclear deal with world powers. In their place, a surprisingly active tech startup scene has sprung up. It's driven by a growing number of Iranian millennials who see their country of 80 million people not as an isolated outcast but as a market ripe with opportunity. (more)

Iran: UN chief hails Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action as 'historic achievement'
21 July 2016 - In a statement on Wednesday, the UN chief congratulated Iran and the participants in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on the first anniversary of the 'historic achievement' and commended progress made so far. On 20 July last year, the Council adopted resolution 2231 (2015), endorsing the JCPOA under which Iran pledged that it would not seek, develop, or acquire nuclear weapons. (more)

Iran says good commercial relations with Britain can resume
4 February 2016 - Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on Thursday that good economic and commercial relations could resume with Britain. 'Iran and Britain have had traditionally good commercial and economic relations and I think those can resume,' Zarif said at Chatham House in London. 'We need to work together on moving the political relations forward.' (more)

British Airways to resume flights to Iran
3 February 2016 - British Airways will resume direct flights from London to Tehran from July, renewing links with the Iranian capital after sanctions were lifted. The British airline followed Air France-KLM in confirming its intention to restart flights to Tehran after Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for the lifting of U.S., EU and United Nations sanctions in January. British Airways said it had a long history of flying to Tehran and offered its first scheduled flights to the city in 1946. (more)

Deals and warm words flow as Iran President visits Europe
26 January 2016 - Italy and Iran signed billions of dollars of business deals on Monday at the start of a visit to Europe by Iranian President Hassan Rouhani aimed at rebuilding his nation's ties with the West after years of economic sanctions. Heading a 120-strong delegation of business leaders and ministers, Rouhani will spend two days in Rome before flying to France on Wednesday, looking to polish Tehran's diplomatic credentials at a time of turmoil in the Middle East. A pragmatist elected in 2013, Rouhani championed the 2015 accord under which Iran curbed its nuclear program in return for the end of U.N., EU, and some U.S. sanctions this month. (more)

Iranian leader gives Pope rug, wants Pope Francis to pray for him
26 January 2016 - Iran's President and Pope Francis have exchanged gifts and wishes for hope and prayers after they met privately at the Vatican. Pope Francis shook hands warmly with President Hassan Rouhani, who is trying to shape a role as regional conflict solver for Iran after the recent nuclear accord led the West to lift sanctions. (more)

Iranian President Rouhani begins 4-day European visit
26 January 2016 - Italy's Premier said Monday that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, kicking off the first state visit to Europe by an Iranian President in nearly two decades, 'can play a fundamental role in the stability' of the Middle East. Iran's President Rouhani told reporters the political talks leading to the nuclear deal could provide the blueprint for pursuing peace in the Middle East. Europe was Iran's largest trading partner before the sanctions, and a range of business and trade deals are on the table. The trip is also aimed at expanding tourism as Rouhani's administration is planning to diversify its revenue sources. (more)

Pope asks Iran to work for Mideast peace
26 January 2016 - Pope Francis met Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in the Vatican on Tuesday and urged Tehran to work with other Middle East states to promote peace. Despite being an Islamic republic, Iran has good relations with the Holy See and the Vatican has been seeking to use its influence with Teheran to help bring peace to the Middle East. (more)

US, EU lift sanctions against Iran amid landmark nuke deal
16 January 2016 - The U.N. nuclear agency certified Saturday that Iran has met all of its commitments under last summer's landmark nuclear deal, crowning years of U.S.-led efforts to crimp Iran's ability to make atomic weapons. For Iran, the move lifts Western economic sanctions that have been in place for years, unlocking access to $100 billion in frozen assets and unleashing new opportunities for its battered economy. (more)

Iran starts taking nuclear centrifuges offline
2 November 2015 - Iran has begun shutting down uranium enrichment centrifuges under the terms of a deal struck with six world powers in July on limiting its nuclear program, Tehran's atomic energy chief said on Monday during a visit to Tokyo. (more)


Success of Maharishi's Programmes
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Weapons do not make Iran invincible: A surprising method to reduce conflict
23 October 2012 - Invincibility is a commendable goal--but can powerful weapons really provide an invincible defense shield? writes Dr David Leffler, executive director of the Center for Advanced Military Science, in Iranian.com. 'Invincible' means 'incapable of being defeated', he says. Military strategists everywhere acknowledge that conventional means of defense are powerless to protect the nation completely against modern destructive technologies. Iran's leaders today have the option to consider and adopt a new, surprising, and scientifically verified method--Invincible Defense Technology (IDT), which has absolutely nothing to do with high-tech defense systems, bullets, bombs, or killing. In fact, it has the potential to diminish the role of these approaches in the provision of national and international security. . . . IDT is the best way for Iran to counter its daunting challenges of internal and external security. (more)

Iran: The First International Congress on Meditation
13 July 2006 - During an historic conference in Iran, entitled First International Congress on Meditation, Dr Hussain Khan presented the benefits of the Transcendental Meditation Programme. (more)


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Schools close under blanket of smog in Iranian capital
19 December 2015 - Schools across Tehran will be closed on Sunday (20 December) and residents have been warned to stay at home as a thick smog of pollution hangs in the air, officials said on Saturday. Outdated vehicles and inconsistent enforcement of emissions regulations are the main drivers of pollution in Iranian cities, which officials have blamed for thousands of deaths from respiratory illnesses. (more)

Iran says sentences Washington Post reporter and bureau chief Rezaian to prison
22 November 2015 - An Iranian court has sentenced Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian to a prison term, the state news agency said on Sunday quoting the judiciary spokesman, a case that is a sensitive issue in contentious U.S.-Iranian relations. Jason Rezaian, 39, is the paper's Tehran bureau chief and has both U.S. and Iranian citizenship. The Washington Post said last month that the verdict, issued soon after Iran raised hopes of a thaw in its relations with the West by striking a nuclear deal with world powers including Washington, was 'vague and puzzling'. In the indictment, Iranian authorities said Rezaian had written to U.S. President Barack Obama and called it an example of contacting a 'hostile government', the Post said. (more)

Iran's supreme leader bans negotiations with the United States
7 October 2015 - Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Wednesday banned any further negotiations between Iran and the United States, putting the brakes on moderates hoping to end Iran's isolation after reaching a nuclear deal with world powers in July. His statements directly contradict those of moderate Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, who says his government is ready to hold talks with the United States on how to resolve the conflict in Syria, where the two countries back opposing sides. Khamenei often invokes an unspecified 'enemy' when talking about Western powers, particularly the United States and Israel, which he suspects of plotting to overthrow the Islamic Republic. (more)

Drug abuse in Iran rising despite executions, police raids
12 February 2015 - Officials say methamphetamine production and abuse of hard drugs are skyrocketing in Iran despite potentially lethal criminal penalties for users if they are caught. The increase is partly because Iran is the main gateway for the region's top drug exporter, Afghanistan -- and partly because Iranian dealers are profiting so handsomely. Anti-narcotics and medical officials say more than 2.2 million of Iran's 80 million citizens already are addicted to illegal drugs, including 1.3 million on registered treatment programmes. They say the numbers keep rising annually, even though use of the death penalty against convicted smugglers has increased, too, and now accounts for more than nine of every 10 executions. (more)

Methamphetamine use soars in Iran as lifestyles speed up
8 December 2014 - Women in headscarves and men in tatty clothes puff on a glass pipe as smoke swirls around their faces. The pictures published by Iranian media and blogs in recent months are a sign of a new drug epidemic: shishe, or methamphetamine. In less than a decade, methamphetamine use has skyrocketed in Iran to the point where now about 345,000 Iranians are considered addicts, according to official statistics. Struggling university students have begun abusing it to stay up longer and try to boost their performance in school. Women have been sold the drug in beauty salons with the promise that it will help them lose weight, according to local media reports. (more)

Acid attacks in Iran sharpen row over Islamic dress and vigilantism
5 November 2014 - It is a question all Iranians are asking: who is stalking the streets of Isfahan, throwing acid into women's faces? The crimes coincided with the passage of a new parliamentary bill that allows private citizens to enforce 'morality' laws. The bill has sparked a clash between hardline politicians, who overwhelmingly support it, and moderates including President Hassan Rouhani. The split is an illustration of the wider political challenges Rouhani faces from his hardline opponents. cid attacks are rare in Iran and authorities, including conservative clerics, were quick to condemn them. Suspicions have fallen on religious vigilante groups. (more)

Iran importing missile-grade ore from Germany, France
2 July 2013 - Exploiting a loophole in Western sanctions, Iran is importing a high grade of refined alumina ore from several European countries including Germany and France that Tehran could be using to make armour parts and missile components. Alumina is a refined version of the raw ore bauxite. It is typically used to make aluminium, but in its high purity or 'chemical grade' form, it has non-metal applications that have sensitive military uses. Export data from independent firm Global Trade Information Services showed that between January 2012 and March 2013, around 4,000 tonnes of alumina had been sold to Iran mostly from Germany and France, but also from Slovenia, Italy, Hungary, and Belgium. Experts and traders say the high price paid of $700-$1,000 a tonne and relatively low amounts involved indicated the exports were most likely high purity chemical grade alumina. Earlier this year, Switzerland-based commodities giant Glencore Xstrata said it had done nothing wrong when they engaged in alumina-for-aluminum swap deals with Iran. Another Swiss group Trafigura was involved in similar deals. (more)

Iran to strengthen naval presence over disputed islands
4 November 2012 - Iran will increase its naval presence in the Gulf to strengthen its authority over three islands which the United Arab Emirates says are its territory, Tehran said on Sunday. The islands sit near oil shipping routes at the mouth of the strategic Strait of Hormuz and the challenge over their sovereignty is a constant threat to Iran's fragile relations with its Arab neighbours. The 41-year-old dispute between Shi'ite Muslim Iran and the Sunni UAE over the islands -- Greater and Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa -- has nationalist and ethnic overtones and was inflamed when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visited Abu Musa in April. (more)

Five facts about 'Flame'
28 May 2012 - Researchers may have gleaned new information about the extent to which nations are engaged in cyber warfare with the discovery of a virus known as Flame. Kaspersky Lab, which on Monday claimed credit for uncovering Flame, believes the virus may be the work of the same nation or nations that built the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear programme in 2010. Here are five key facts about Flame, according to researchers with Kaspersky Lab: (more)

Powerful 'Flame' cyber weapon found in Iran
28 May 2012 - Security experts said on Monday a highly sophisticated computer virus is infecting computers in Iran and other Middle East countries and may have been deployed at least five years ago to engage in state-sponsored cyber espionage. Evidence suggest that the virus, dubbed Flame, may have been built on behalf of the same nation or nations that commissioned the Stuxnet worm that attacked Iran's nuclear programme in 2010. Cyber security experts said the discovery publicly demonstrates what experts privy to classified information have long known: that nations have been using pieces of malicious computer code as weapons to promote their security interests for several years. Some experts speculated that the discovery of the virus may have dealt a psychological blow to its victims, on top of whatever damage Flame may have already inflicted to their computers. 'If a government initiated the attack it might not care that the attack was discovered,' said Klimburg of the Austrian Institute for International Affairs. 'The psychological effect of the penetration could be nearly as profitable as the intelligence gathered.' (more)

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