Trump pulls U.S. out of Iran nuclear deal

“I am announcing that the United States will withdraw from the Iran nuclear deal,” President Donald Trump announced to a room of reporters at the White House today. Read the rest

Paypal blacklists payments for a World Socialists pamphlet about the Iranian opposition

The Struggle Against Imperialism and for Workers' Power in Iran is a $3.50 pamphlet by Keith Jones of the Socialist Equality Party of Canada; published by Mehring Books and distributed by the World Socialist Web Site. Read the rest

Iran's mass protests were triggered by publication of a budget that revealed the costs of Shia evangelism

For more than a month, Iran has been rocked by mass demonstrations in its major and outlying cities, but the origin of these protests has been obscure. Read the rest

Tehran's police tell women that violations of religious dress codes will henceforth be treated as civil offenses, not criminal offenses

Iranian president Hassan Rouhani campaigned for re-election last year on a reform platform, and in the wake of his successful campaign, the police in the Iranian capital of Tehran have notified women that failures to adhere to the country's brutal religious dress-code will be treated as civil offenses and punished with fines, not jail sentences. Read the rest

Iran sucks at censoring apps, so the Persian diaspora is using them for unfiltered political discussion

With a (symbolic) (but it's a potent symbol) election looming in Iran, the global Persian diaspora is not lacking for news organs that are producing the kind of unfiltered political news that would get you jailed or killed in Iran. Read the rest

Sassy Trump Remembers Cake He Ate While Bombing Iraq Or Syria or Something

God Bless America, God Bless Sassy Trump, and God Bless Peter Serafinowicz. Read the rest

Cyber-arms dealers offer to sell surveillance weapons to undercover Al Jazeera reporters posing as reps of South Sudan and Iran

Companies in the EU and China have been caught offering to commit fraud to launder sales of mass surveillance weapons to Al Jazeera reporters posing as representatives of autocratic regimes under sanction for gross human rights abuses; these weapons would allow their users to target and round up political dissidents for arbitrary detention, torture and murder. Read the rest

Sean Spicer claims that Houthi rebel assault on Saudi frigate was an Iranian attack on a US warship

Houthi rebels from Yemen attacked a Saudi frigate; White House spokesman Sean Spicer falsely claimed that this was Iranian forces attacking a US Naval ship and thus an act of war; no one from the White House press corps corrected him or followed up. Read the rest

The hacker who took over San Francisco's Muni got hacked

Last week, the San Francisco Municipal Light Rail system (the Muni) had to stop charging passengers to ride because a ransomware hacker had taken over its network and encrypted the drives of all of its servers. Read the rest

Women competitors must wear hijabs at chess world championship, oddly awarded to Iran

If you thought soccer's world cup being awarded to baking-hot Qatar marked the zenith of sporting corruption, give FIDE a chance: the international chess federation's forthcoming world championship is headed to Iran, and women players must wear the hijab to compete. UK tabloids quote leading women chess players as threatening to quit the tournament rather than obey.

US women's champion Nazi Paikidze said: ‘It is absolutely unacceptable to host one of the most important women's tournaments in a venue where, to this day, women are forced to cover up with a hijab.

‘I understand and respect cultural differences. But, failing to comply can lead to imprisonment and women's rights are being severely restricted in general. It does not feel safe for women from around the world to play here.’

She added: ‘If the situation remains unchanged, I will most certainly not participate in this event.’

It's insane, but entirely in keeping with FIDE's brainier-than-thou shiftiness, to think that Tehran is a good place to host the key event on their highly-politicized mind game's calendar. For starters, there's a current U.S. government travel warning telling citizens not to go there at all.

(I would go, but wear a Burka) Read the rest

Iranians connected to phishing attempt on tortured Syrian activist

Former Syrian National Council vice-president Nour Al-Ameer fled to Turkey after being arrested and tortured by the Assad regime -- that's when someone attempted to phish her and steal her identity with a fake Powerpoint attachment purporting to be about the crimes of the Assad regime. Read the rest

Why did Iran's Lake Urmia just change from bright green to blood red?

Between April and July, Iran's salty Lake Urmia changed from a bright green color to a blood red. NASA's Aqua satellite captured the image above and reported on the science behind the strange transformation. According to NASA, the periodic color change is caused by micro algae producing carotenoids that help with photosynthesis and act as antioxidants and Halobacteriaceae, a bacteria in very salty water that releases "a red pigment called bacteriorhodopsin that absorbs light and converts it into energy for the bacteria." From NASA:

The color changes have become common in the spring and early summer due to seasonal precipitation and climate patterns. Spring is the wettest season in northwestern Iran, with rainfall usually peaking in April. Snow on nearby mountains within the watershed also melts in the spring. The combination of rain and snowmelt sends a surge of fresh water into Lake Urmia in April and May. By July, the influx of fresh water has tapered off and lake levels begin to drop.

The fresh water in the spring drives salinity levels down, but the lake generally becomes saltier as summer heat and dryness take hold. That’s when the microorganisms show their colors, too. Careful sampling of the water would be required to determine which organisms transformed the lake in 2016, but scientists say there are likely two main groups of organisms involved: a family of algae called Dunaliella and an archaic family of bacteria known as Halobacteriaceae.

While Lake Urmia has shifted from green to red and back several times in recent years, trends suggest that a red Urmia could become increasingly common.

Read the rest

Iranian soccer star suspended for wearing SpongeBob pants

Sosha Makani, 29, was goalkeeper of Tehran's Persepolis soccer club. But not any more, after Iranian morality police saw him photographed in a pair of SpongeBob Squarepants pants.

“Sosha suspended for six months because of yellow trousers,” read the headline of Varzesh3, an Iranian sports news agency. “SpongeBob [trousers] cause six-month suspension for Sosha,” said the online news agency Asriran. ... Last month, Iranian news agencies reported that Makani, who played for Iran’s national football team at the 2014 World Cup, was being scrutinised by the authorities over his trousers.

Read the rest

Massive email leak reveals the worst bribery scandal in history

Reporters from Fairfax Media and The Huffington Post obtained a huge trove of email from Unaoil, a business run by a rich Monaco family, that reveal that the family ran a corrupt bribery empire that spanned the world's oil-producing states, and that they world with companies like Rolls-Royce, Halliburton, Leighton Holding, Samsung and Hyundai, to rig contracts through a system of bribes and kickbacks that looted the national treasuries of some of the world's poorest countries. Read the rest

U.S. expected to charge Iran in network attacks on banks and New York dam

The Obama administration will formally charge Iranian hackers for a coordinated campaign of digital attacks in 2012 and 2013 on several U.S. banks and a New York dam, Reuters reported today. The charges are expected to be announced Thursday. Read the rest

Iran: We snarfed up “13,000 pages of data” from detained Navy sailors' devices

The government of Iran claims to have obtained “thousands of pages of information” from devices used by the U.S. Navy sailors briefly detained in January. Read the rest

Nude statues at Rome museum covered to not embarrass Iranian president

Classical nude statues at Italy's Capitoline Museum were covered up this week in anticipation of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani's visit. Some politicians and art critics called out the stupidity. From The Telegraph:

The president’s aides were also reportedly anxious that he not be photographed too close to a giant bronze statue of the Roman emperor Marcus Aurelius on horseback.

The Iranians objected to what one Italian newspaper delicately described as “the attributes” or genitalia of the huge horse, which dates from the second century AD.

Read the rest

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