AP: An Iranian man who sought asylum in Australia after converting from Islam to Christianity has been deported to Tehran - where rights activists say his change of religion could endanger his life, a refugee advocacy group said Wednesday. The man, in his 30s, was placed on a flight late Tuesday from Sydney to Dubai, from where he would be transported to Iran, said Ian Rental, a spokesman for the Refugee Action Coalition.
Iran Focus: Paris, Jan. 13 - Nobel Peace prize laureate Shirin Ebadi said today she had been summoned by Iran's hardline judiciary, risking arrest if she did not attend. "I have received a summons to a revolutionary court," she told the French news agency, AFP. The summons says Ebadi must present herself to courts within the next three days to explain herself, otherwise she would be arrested.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 13 Sixteen Iranian students were killed when a fire broke out in a school in western Iran at midday. Reports confirm that the fire broke out in Safilan village's local school in Chahar Mahale Bakhtiari province (west Iran) after a schoolteacher attempted to turn on a gas heater which was near flammable liquids which caught fire upon contact.
Associated Press: The European Union resumed trade talks with Iran on Wednesday, more than 18 months after they were frozen because of concerns over Tehran's nuclear program. The EU agreed to reopen talks on a trade deal after Iran agreed last year to suspend uranium enrichment and related activities that had sparked fears it was seeking to develop nuclear weapons.
Reuters: U.N. inspectors will visit a military base in Iran on Thursday which Washington says may be part of a covert atomic arms bid, but they will have only partial access to the site, a senior Iranian official said.
The team of the inspectors from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) arrived in Iran on Wednesday to conduct a programme of inspections which include the Parchin military facility southeast of Tehran.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 12 - A woman sentenced to death for killing a senior police officer who tried to rape her has been pardoned by the victim's family according to a judiciary official, the Associated Press reported Wednesday. Afsaneh Nowrouzi was ordered to pay the family of Colonel Behzad Moghaddam $62,500 as blood money in order to escape the execution.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 12 In a meeting with Japan's ambassador to Tehran, Iran's Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) secretary said, "Iran will start enriching uranium in the near future". Hassan Rowhani, Iran's nuclear point-man in negotiations with the European Union's big three added, "Iran will not allow other countries to pursue a halt in its (nuclear) enrichment".
The Guardian: The EU will today defy the US and resume trade talks with Iran in the hope of opening up one of the world's fastest-growing countries to greater foreign investment.
The talks, broken off 19 months ago, are being revived after the agreement between Iran and Britain, France and Germany that the Islamic republic would suspend its uranium enrichment and reprocessing activities for military purposes.
AFP: The EU said Tuesday it will resume trade talks with Iran this week after Tehran agreed to suspend uranium enrichment, but the bloc vowed to keep up pressure in areas of concern including the Islamic state's nuclear plans. Talks on a trade and cooperation agreement, suspended 18 months ago, will resume Wednesday, but in parallel EU negotiators will restart political talks on key issues including human rights and weapons of mass destruction.
AFP: About 120,000 Iraqis living in neighboring Iran can participate in landmark national elections this month, UN officials said Tuesday, but the main Iraqi Shiite party criticized restrictions imposed on voters. About 70 voting stations will be set up in six large cities including Tehran, poll organizer Kate Pryce told a press conference, with registration scheduled for January 17 to 23 and voting from January 28 to 30.
Seven News: The federal government will try to deport an Iranian asylum seeker from Australia after three unsuccessful attempts to force him to leave, a refugee group said.
The man, in his 30s, fled Iran for Australia four years ago after converting from Islam to Christianity - an offence punishable by death in his home country, according to the Refugee Action Collective. But the federal government has rejected his bid for asylum and he has exhausted all possible appeals.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 11 - Two foreigners were deported from Iran for practicing the Bahai faith according to an Iranian official. These individuals, one a European and the other a Latin American, travelled to and from Iran over the past five years posing as traders and tourists, secretly attracting youths to their sect through economic activities, the official said.
Iran Focus: Baghdad, Jan. 11 - Twelve Iranians were arrested by Iraqi police yesterday in the city of al-Kut, south of Baghdad. The individuals who crossed the Iran-Iraq border travelled without valid visas.
Iraqi authorities had demanded in recent weeks that Tehran shut down illegal crossings between the 1500km border.
Los Angeles Times: As Iraq lurches toward elections this month, its neighbor Iran is emerging as one of the hottest campaign issues. Iraq's outspoken defense minister fired one of the first salvos last month, charging that the front-running slate, the Shiite Muslim-dominated United Iraqi Alliance, was controlled by Tehran and was determined to "build an Islamic dictatorship and have turbaned clerics rule in Iraq." The minister, Hazem Shaalan, is a Shiite, but is running on a rival, more secular slate.
Iran Focus: Tehran, Jan. 10 - Irans Friday Prayers Leader for the city of Urumiyeh (northwest Iran) demanded a harsher crackdown on mal-veiling in the Islamic republic.
Hojatolislam Gholamreza Hassani speaking to a state-run news agency accused security forces of acting too softly on women who do not fully cover their hair, calling the issue the root of Irans social problems.
CBC News: Supporters of an Iranian man scheduled for deportation from Canada continued their hunger strike outside a government immigration office Saturday. Ali Reza Monemi, 28, says he will face further danger if he's sent back to Iran, but last March, an Immigration Canada ruling concluded he would not face unusual treatment or punishment if returned to Iran, and ordered him deported.