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Iran Frees Activist Blogger Hossein Derakhshan

THE LEVANT – An activist known as the “blogfather” of Iran has finally been released from prison in his homeland after six years. Iranian-Canadian blogger Hossein Derakhshan has been pardoned by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei. He was arrested in 2008 on suspicion of spying for Israel, then sentenced to …

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Iran: Ruling on Official Linked to Protester Deaths

THE LEVANT – An Iranian Supreme Court ruling barring from government positions a former judiciary figure linked to protester deaths after the disputed 2009 presidential election is a step toward justice, but far from adequate. In 2010 a parliamentary committee had found Mortazavi responsible for the deaths of three persons due …

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Iraqi PM in Tehran for crisis talks on IS

THE LEVANT – Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi arrived in Tehran late Monday on his first visit to Iran since taking office after the crisis triggered by the advance of Islamic State militants. Iraqi state television said Abadi, whose country remains beset by IS, arrived shortly before midnight for talks …

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Iran warns Turkey against aggravating regional tensions

THE LEVANT – Iran warned neighbouring Turkey Thursday against doing anything that might aggravate tensions in the region, after the parliament in Ankara voted to authorise military intervention in Syria and Iraq. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke by telephone with his Turkish counterpart, Mevlut Cavusoglu, and “criticised the method …

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Iran to help Lebanon fight extremism

THE LEVANT – Iran will supply the Lebanese army with military equipment to be used in fighting Muslim extremist groups, a visiting senior Iranian official said on Tuesday. The announcement marks the first time that Iran has said it would give Lebanon military assistance. Tehran has offered help in the …

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Lives of detained Sufi journalists in the balance

THE LEVANT – Reporters Without Borders – Reporters Without Borders is very worried about the many journalists and netizens who continue to be detained despite suffering serious ailments, and condemns the lack of adequate medical treatment in the prisons where they are held. There is currently a great deal of concern …

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Iran’s supreme leader undergoes prostate surgery

THE LEVANT – Iran’s supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei successfully underwent prostate surgery it was announced Monday, in an unprecedented public statement about his health, which has long been the subject of speculation. The 75-year-old cleric, who has ruled since the death in 1989 of the Islamic republic’s founder Ayatollah …

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Iran downs Israeli drone near nuclear site

THE LEVANT – Iran’s elite Revolutionary Guards said Sunday its forces shot down an Israeli drone as it approached an Iranian nuclear site, without offering further details. Israeli officials could not be immediately reached for comment. The statement comes as Iran negotiates with world powers over its nuclear program and hard-liners …

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US worries about Iran alleged military activities

THE LEVANT – A classified assessment by the US Pentagon has claimed that Iran is increasing its military capabilities, exercisesand buildup of weapons in and near the Strait of Hormuz According to the summary, a copy of which was obtained by Bloomberg News, the Iranian government “has adjusted some of its …

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Earthquake in Iran claims lives

THE LEVANT – A strong 6.1 magnitude earthquake struck the province of Ilam in western Iran on Monday, causing injuries and damage, Iranian state television said, but there were no immediate reports of fatalities. The US Geological Survey reported the magnitude of the quake at 6.3 and said its epicentre …

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War of the Shia – Iran gags Shia scholars in Iran –

THE LEVANT – By Catherine Shakdam – While western media, or rather corporate media have faced harsh criticism over the past weeks on their bias coverage of Gaza in keeping with their network’s political discourse and affiliations, it so happens that Iran has conducted a comprehensive media repression campaign against …

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The Shadow Government in Qom

By Dr. Haytham Mouzahem for Islamist Gate Seminary Teachers in the city of Qom, known as Hawza, is becoming a shadow government in Iran as it supervises the work of the president, government, media and other institutions in the country. The establishment makes sure that the red lines of the Shiite …

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Tehran: Significant gaps remain in nuclear talks

A top Iranian nuclear negotiator says significant disagreements remain in the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1 aimed at reaching a comprehensive agreement on Tehran’s nuclear energy program. “There are differences in almost all important issues and we have not been able to narrow the gaps in any [such] issues,” Iran’s …

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