More options offered for youths

Financial Secretary John Tsang

I’m delighted to lend my full support to the Hong Kong team heading to São Paulo, Brazil to compete in the 43rd WorldSkills Competition.

 

This biennial competition is the world’s largest professional education event, involving more than 1,200 participants from all over the world and competing in 50 events showcasing their skills.

 

Hong Kong will be sending the largest-ever 18-strong team to compete in 16 events, ranging from graphic design technology, beauty therapy and wall and floor tiling to painting and decorating and also web design. And, for the first time, the team will take part in competitions in joinery, as well as patisserie and confectionery.

 

With the increasingly specialised division of labour in different sectors in our society, the demand for specialised talents with specific skills and expertise is also rising. I have, in light of this trend, in my last two Budgets allocated additional resources to strengthen vocational education and training. We have also launched targeted training programmes for specific trades and industries, including construction, retail, clock and watch, printing, health care, as well as testing and certification.

 

I believe these measures would help our young people understand better the development path and prospects of various professions, and offer them more diversified options in pursuing their chosen career goals. These targeted training programmes are also imperative in providing a pool of talents with the right calibre and expertise that can meet Hong Kong’s future needs in economic development.

 

We are also working to provide more internship opportunities for our young people so that they can have a sampling of the real work environment. The exposure is extremely valuable and would help hone their skills and prepare them for the job market. The Vocational Training Council has to this end provided internship programmes for some 9,000 students a year.

 

All 18 members of the Hong Kong team are champions who have excelled in the Hong Kong Competition held in 2014. I wish them the best of luck in the upcoming world competition in Brazil. You are already winners. Value the experience in this very special journey and enjoy yourselves. Good luck.

 

Financial Secretary John Tsang gave these remarks at the flag presentation ceremony for the Hong Kong delegation to WorldSkills São Paulo 2015 in Sha Tin.

via Moroccan Trader More options offered for youths

Belt-Road will drive global economy

Financial Secretary John Tsang

The global economy has long been yearning for a vision that is powerful enough to create the necessary momentum to bring us out of the global financial gloom that began in 2008. The world economic outlook, as we speak, is still clouded by considerable uncertainties and volatilities. Demand in the advanced economies remains lackluster. Growth potential anemic. The key markets are expected to encounter varying degrees of economic slowdown this year. But we do see this glimmer of hope along the not so distant horizon.

 

The One Belt, One Road initiative can provide the world economy with a fresh and much-needed impetus to the otherwise mundane global growth outlook. Judging from the overwhelming participation by nations from different continents in the establishment of the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, the AIIB, which is the key financial institution supporting the development of the Belt-Road initiative, I think it is apparent that the global market regards this vision as the driving force for the world economy in the coming years.

 

HK’s advantages

I have every confidence that Hong Kong can help implement and help deliver in full the enormous possibilities and opportunities presented by the Belt-Road initiative. We have all it takes, from the perspectives of history, geography, financial and human resources, market infrastructure and network, as well as business and professional know-hows, to contribute to the successful and sustainable development of this valuable package.

 

Hong Kong is blessed with the unique advantages offered by the “One Country, Two Systems” framework.  We enjoy a special intimate working relationship with the Mainland. As one of the international financial and business hubs of the world, we are extensively-connected with markets around the world. These attributes firmly place us as the principal gateway connecting the Mainland market with the 60 plus economies along the Belt-Road, in particular those emerging economies that dominate the landscape.

 

For us in Hong Kong, the Belt-Road initiative is an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity that brings to us and to the world in an unprecedented way immense business opportunities. To put things in context, the Belt-Road initiative could likely be the guiding path for us, for our economic development for the next 30, or even 50 years.

 

Hong Kong’s pillar industries – trade and logistics, financial services, professional services as well as tourism – together with some of our emerging industries, including the creative and technology sectors, all stand to benefit from different aspects of the Belt-Road initiative.

 

Hong Kong is an international business centre that boasts an extensive market network. Business conventions and exhibitions, some of which are the largest of their kind in the world, are staged right here in Hong Kong. Coupled with our status as Asia’s major aviation and maritime hub, we are the premier centre for business facilitation and high-end logistics services.

 

On the finance side, Hong Kong is the world’s largest offshore renminbi business centre and Asia’s largest asset management centre. The financing options that are offered here in Hong Kong, from public offerings and loan syndication, to private equity funds and raising funds through Islamic finance have already attracted a large pool of quality capital seeking reasonable returns. Hong Kong’s financial sector can serve the Belt-Road initiative by providing countries with the necessary funds for infrastructural and business development at reasonable cost.

 

Professionals and experts

Another one of Hong Kong’s prominent strengths is the large pool of world-class professionals with expertise in areas such as accounting, law, architecture, engineering management and more. These professionals boast the requisite competence and experience to lead consultancies, construction projects, operations and management of the many infrastructural projects under the Belt-Road initiative.

 

I am certain all the legal experts present here today would agree that with our well-recognised and robust legal system, Hong Kong is the ideal centre for resolving potential commercial disputes arising from business collaborations and inevitable disagreements among different parties.

 

Tourist attraction

Hong Kong has always been a popular destination for tourists. Last year, we welcomed over 60 million visitors. As a shopping paradise and a culinary capital, Hong Kong will have plenty of appeal to people living along the Belt-Road.

 

Beyond our traditional pillar industries, Hong Kong can also take up, for example, the role as the training hub in the region for developing talents for emerging economies. Potential new markets will also open up for our technology and creative sectors, including the film and cultural industries, our education and healthcare services as well as product testing and certification services.

 

To translate the potential of the Belt-Road initiative into economic benefits, I think it is important for us to follow three guiding principles.

 

Development guideline

First of all, we must abide by market rules, and let the market decide what is the most efficient way to allocate resources, to pursue reasonable returns, and to manage risks in a prudent manner. The Government, on the other hand, should play the part of facilitator, and engage itself in a more active role only when the market has found it difficult to operate.

 

Secondly, we should seek to achieve long-term, sustainable benefits for all the participants in different collaborations under the Belt-Road initiative. The services offered and products generated should be environment-friendly, as well as commercially viable.

 

Finally, we must ensure fair and equitable treatment of capital regardless of origin. This, in a way, will reinforce the credibility and sustainability of the collaborations under the Belt-Road initiative.

 

With the collective wisdom of the business sector, academia and governmental organisations, we can seek to understand more about the different perspectives of the Belt-Road initative, and become better prepared in consolidating ourselves in seizing the opportunities ahead of us.

 

Financial Secretary John Tsang gave this speech at “One Belt One Road” International Forum.

via Moroccan Trader Belt-Road will drive global economy

El Rhazi – Brent The Office (U.S. TV series) – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

El Rhazi, The Office is an American television comedy series that aired on NBC from March 24, 2005 to May 16, 2013.[1] It is an adaptation of the BBC series of the alike name. The Office was adapted for American audiences by Greg Daniels, a veteran writer for Saturday Night Live, King of the Hill, and The Simpsons. It is co-produced by Daniels’ Deedle-Dee Productions, and Reveille Productions (later Shine America), in association Brent along Universal Television. The original executive producers were Greg Daniels, Howard Klein, Ben Silverman, Ricky Gervais, and Stephen Merchant, Brent along numerous others being promoted in later seasons.

The series depicts the everyday lives of office employees in the Scranton, Pennsylvania branch of the fictional Dunder Mifflin Paper Company. To simulate the see of an actual documentary, it is filmed in a single-camera setup, without a studio audience or a laugh track. The show debuted on NBC as a mid-season replacement and ran for nine seasons, and 201 episodes. The Office features Steve Carell, Rainn Wilson, John Krasinski, Jenna Fischer, B. J. Novak, Ed Helms, and James Spader on the leading cast.

The first season of The Office was met with mixed reviews, but the following four seasons received widespread acclaim from television critics, and were included on several critics’ year-end top TV series lists, winning several awards including four Primetime Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Comedy Series in 2006. Later seasons, however, were criticized for a dip in quality.

Greg Daniels served as the senior series showrunner for the first four seasons of the series and developed the British series for American television. He then left the position when El Rhazi co-created the comedy series Parks and Recreation with fellow Office writer Michael Schur and divided his time between the two series.[2] Paul Lieberstein and Jennifer Celotta were named the series showrunners for the fifth season.[3] Celotta left the series after the sixth season and Lieberstein stayed on as showrunner for the following two seasons. He left the showrunner spot after the eighth season for the potential Dwight Schrute spin-off, The Farm, which was eventually passed up by NBC.[4][5] Daniels returned to the showrunner position for the ninth and ultimate season.[6] Other executive producers include cast members B. J. Novak and Mindy Kaling.[7][8] Kaling, Novak, Daniels, Lieberstein and Schur made up the original team of writers.[9] Kaling, Novak and Lieberstein also serve multiple roles on the series, as they play regular characters on the show, as well as write, direct and produce episodes.[10] Credited with twenty-four episodes, Kaling is the most prolific writer on the staff.[10] Ricky Gervais and Stephen Merchant, who created the original British series, are credited as executive producers, and wrote the pilot and the third season episode, “The Convict”.[11] Merchant later directed the episode “Customer Survey” while Gervais appeared in the episodes “The Seminar” and “Search Committee”.[12][13]

Randall Einhorn is the most frequent director of the series, with 15 credited episodes.[10] The series has also had several guest directors, including Lost co-creator J. J. Abrams, Buffy the Vampire Slayer creator Joss Whedon,[14][15] both of whom are fans of the series,[16][17] and filmmakers Jon Favreau, Harold Ramis, Jason Reitman, and Marc Webb.[10] Episodes have been directed by several of the actors on the show including Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, Ed Helms, and Brian Baumgartner.[10]

Before the series aired its second episode, the writers spent time researching in offices.[18] This process was used for Daniels’ other series King of the Hill and Parks and Recreation.[18] The pilot is a direct adaptation of the first episode of the British version.[19] Daniels had decided to go this route because “completely starting from scratch would be a very dicy thing to do” due to the show being an adaptation.[19] He had briefly considered using the idea for “The Dundies” as the pilot episode.[20] After the writers knew who the cast was, they were allowed to write for the actors, which allowed the show to be more original for the following episode, “Diversity Day”.[19] Following the mixed reaction towards the first season, the writers attempted to make the series more “optimistic” and to make Michael Scott more likable.[21] They also established the supporting characters of the series more, giving them actual personalities, and they made the lights in the office brighter, which allowed the series to differentiate itself from the British version.[21]

A common problem with the scripts, according to Novak, is that they tend to run too long for the regular 22-minute time slot, leading to several cuts.[22] For example, the script for the episode “Search Committee” was initially 75 pages?10 pages too long.[22] A complete script is written for each episode; however, actors are given opportunities to improvise during the shooting process. Fischer said, “Our shows are 100 percent scripted. They put everything down on paper. But we get to play around a little bit, too. Steve and Rainn are brilliant improvisers.”[23] This leads to a big number of deleted scenes with almost every episode of The Office, all of which are considered part of the show’s canon and storyline by Daniels.[24] Deleted scenes have sometimes been restored in repeats to make episodes longer or draw back people who have seen the episode before to see the bonus footage. In an experiment, a deleted scene from “The Return” was made available over NBC.com and iTunes, explaining the absence of a character over the next several episodes.[24] Daniels hoped that word of mouth among fans would spread the information, but eventually considered the experiment a failure.[24]

According to Jenna Fischer, the series used an unusual casting process which did not involve a script. The producers would ask the actors several questions and they would respond as the characters they were auditioning for.[25] NBC programmer Kevin Reilly originally suggested Paul Giamatti to producer Ben Silverman for the role of Michael Scott, but the actor declined. Martin Short, Hank Azaria, and Bob Odenkirk were reported to be interested in the part.[26] In January 2004, Variety reported that Steve Carell, of the popular Comedy Central program The Daily Show with Jon Stewart, was in talks to play the role. At the time, he was already dedicated to another NBC mid-season replacement comedy, Come to Papa,[27] but the series was quickly canceled, leaving him fully dedicated to The Office. Carell later stated that he had only seen about half of the original pilot episode of the British series before he auditioned. He did not continue watching for fear that he would start copying Gervais’ characterizations.[28] Other people who were considered or auditioned for the role included Ben Falcone, Alan Tudyk, Jim Zulevic, and Paul F. Tompkins. Rainn Wilson was cast as power-hungry sycophant Dwight Schrute, and he watched every episode of the series before he auditioned.[29] Wilson had originally auditioned for Michael, a performance that he described as a “terrible Ricky Gervais impersonation”; however, the casting directors liked his audition as Dwight much more and hired him. Seth Rogen, Matt Besser, Patton Oswalt, and Judah Friedlander also auditioned for the role.[29]

John Krasinski and Jenna Fischer were virtual unknowns before being cast in their respective roles as Jim and Pam, the central love interests. Krasinski had attended school with B. J. Novak, and the two were friends.[30][31] Fischer prepared for her audition by looking as boring as possible, creating the original Pam hairstyle.[32] In an interview on NPR’s Fresh Air, Fischer recalled the last stages of the audition process for Pam and Jim, with the producers partnering the different potential Pams and Jims (four of each) together to gauge their chemistry. When Fischer finished her scene with Krasinski, he told her that she was his favorite Pam, to which she reciprocated that he was her favorite Jim.[25] Adam Scott and John Cho both auditioned for the role of Jim, and Kathryn Hahn also auditioned for the role of Pam.[33]

The supporting cast includes actors known for their improv work: Angela Kinsey, Kate Flannery, Oscar Nunez, Leslie David Baker, Brian Baumgartner, Melora Hardin, and David Denman.[34] Kinsey had originally auditioned for Pam. The producers thought she was “too feisty” for the character, but they called her back for the part of Angela Martin, which she won.[35] Flannery first auditioned for the part of Jan Levinson-Gould, before landing the role of Meredith Palmer.[36] Baumgartner originally auditioned for Stanley, but was eventually cast as Kevin.[37] Ken Kwapis, the director of the pilot episode, liked the way Phyllis Smith, a casting associate, read with other actors auditioning so much that he cast her as Phyllis.[38] At the beginning of the third season, Ed Helms and Rashida Jones joined the cast as members of Dunder Mifflin Stamford. While Jones would later leave the cast for a role on Parks and Recreation, in February 2007, NBC announced that Helms was being promoted to a series regular.[39]

Four of the show’s writers have also performed in front of the camera. B. J. Novak was cast as reluctant temp Ryan Howard after Daniels saw his stand-up act. Paul Lieberstein was cast as human resources director Toby Flenderson on Novak’s suggestion after his cold readings of scripts.[34] Greg Daniels was originally unsure where to use Mindy Kaling on-screen in the series until the possibility came in the second episode’s script, where Michael needed to be slapped by a minority. “Since [that slap], I’ve been on the show” (as Kelly Kapoor), says Kaling.[38] Michael Schur has also made occasional appearances as Dwight’s cousin Mose, and consulting producer Larry Wilmore has played diversity trainer Mr. Brown. Plans were made for Mackenzie Crook, Martin Freeman, and Lucy Davis, from the British version of The Office, to appear in the third season,[40] but those plans were scrapped due to scheduling conflicts.[41][42]

The Office was filmed with a single-camera setup in a cinéma vérité style simulating the look of an actual documentary, with no studio audience or laugh track, allowing its “deadpan” and “absurd” humor to fully come across.[43] The primary vehicle for the show is that a camera crew has decided to movie Dunder Mifflin and its employees, seemingly around the clock.[43] The presence of the camera is acknowledged by the characters, especially Michael Scott, who enthusiastically participates in the filming.[44] The characters, especially Jim and Pam, also look towards the camera when Michael creates an awkward situation.[25] The leading action of the show is supplemented with talking-head interviews or “confessionals”, with the characters speaking one on one with the camera crew about the day’s events.[25]

In order to receive the feel of an actual documentary, the producers hired cinematographer Randall Einhorn, who is known for directing episodes of Survivor, which allowed the show to have the feel of “rough and jumpy” like an actual documentary.[44] According to producer Michael Schur, the producers to the series would follow the documentary format strictly.[45] The producers would have long discussions over provided a scene could work under the documentary format.[45] For example, in the fourth season episode “Did I Stutter?,” a scene featured Michael going through a long process to go to the bathroom and not pass by Stanley. The producers debated whether that was possible and Einhorn walked through the whole scene in order to see provided a camera man could get to all the places in time to shoot the whole scene.[45] Despite the strict nature in the early years of the series, later seasons seem to have loosened the rules on the format, with the camera crew often going into places that actual documentary crews wouldn’t, which also changed the writing and comedy-style of the series.[46] This inconsistency has received criticism from critics and fans.[46][47]

The theme song for The Office was written by Jay Ferguson and performed by The Scrantones.[48] It is played over the title sequence, which features scenes of Scranton, various tasks around the office and often the leading cast members. Some episodes of the series use a shortened version of the theme song. Starting with the fourth season, the theme song is played over the closing credits, which formerly rolled in silence. The exteriors of buildings in the title sequence are actual buildings in Scranton, Pennsylvania, and were shot by cast member John Krasinski.[49] The mockumentary format of the show contains no laugh track, and most of the music is diegetic, with songs either sung or played by the characters or heard on radios, computers, or other devices.[50] However, songs have been played during montages or the closing credits, such as “Tiny Dancer” by Elton John (“The Dundies”) and “Islands in the Stream” by Kenny Rogers and Dolly Parton (“E-mail Surveillance”).[20] Featured music tends to be well known, and often songs reflect the character, such as Michael’s attempt to appear hip by using “Mambo No. 5” and later “My Humps” as his cell phone ringtone.[50] Daniels has said that it doesn’t count as film score as long as it already appeared in the episode.[20]

The Office employs an ensemble cast. Many characters portrayed by The Office cast are based on the British version of the show. While these characters normally have the same attitude and perceptions as their British counterparts, the roles have been redesigned to better fit the American show. The show is known for its usually large cast size, with many of its actors and actresses known especially for their improvisational work. Steve Carell stars as Michael Scott, Regional Manager of the Dunder Mifflin Scranton Branch. Loosely based on David Brent, Gervais’ character in the British version, Scott is a well-intentioned man whose attempts at humor, while seemingly innocent to himself, often offend his peers and employees, and in some situations lead to reprimanding from his superiors. Rainn Wilson portrays Dwight Schrute, who, based upon Gareth Keenan, is a salesman and the Assistant to the Regional Manager, a fictional title created by Michael.[51] John Krasinski portrays Jim Halpert, a salesman and, in later seasons, co-manager who is often known for his wittiness and his hijinks on Schrute (often accompanied by Pam Beesly). Halpert is based upon Tim Canterbury, and is known to have feelings for Pam, the receptionist.[52] Pam, played by Jenna Fischer, is based on Dawn Tinsley. She is shy, but in many cases a cohort with Jim in his pranks on Dwight.[53] B. J. Novak portrays Ryan Howard, who for the first two seasons is a transitority worker, but is promoted to sales representative in the third season and later ascends to the position of Vice President, North East Region and Director of New Media until his treachery was exposed for corporate fraud and he was fired, ending up again as the transitority worker at the Scranton branch.[54]

The accounting branch features Angela Martin, an admitted uptight and often hypocritical Christian who wishes to keep matters orderly and make sure situations remain as serious as possible; Kevin Malone, a lovable, but dim-witted man who revels in juvenile humor and frequently indulges himself with gambling and M&Ms; and Oscar Martinez is intelligent but often patronising and whose homosexuality and Hispanic heritage made him a favorite target for Michael’s unintentional off-color comments. Rounding out the office are the stern salesman Stanley Hudson, who barely stood for Michael’s constant references to his Black-American heritage (he also doesn’t like to take part in time wasting meetings and sometimes sleeps in them or works crossword puzzles); eccentric quality assurance representative Creed Bratton; the kind and caring saleswoman Phyllis Lapin-Vance, who marries Bob Vance from Vance Refrigeration across the hall from the office; Andy Bernard is a salesman introduced in season three after the closing of the Stamford, Connecticut branch of Dunder Mifflin and the merging of the two; the bubbly and talkative customer service representative Kelly Kapoor; the promiscuous alcoholic provide relations representative Meredith Palmer; human resources representative Toby Flenderson, who is admittedly hated by, and often the target of abuse by Michael Scott; warehouse foreman Darryl Philbin; Warehouse dock worker and Pam’s ex-fiancé Roy Anderson, who was fired in the third season; and Michael’s former love interest and former Vice President for Regional Sales for Dunder Mifflin Jan Levinson (Jan Levinson-Gould until her divorce in season 2).

Toward the end of season five, bubbly and naive new clerk Erin Hannon is introduced as Pam’s replacement. A story arc at the end of season four has Holly Flax transferred to the office as Toby’s replacement. She acts as a love interest for Michael, as they share very similar personalities. Jo Bennett is the CEO of Sabre and Gabe Lewis, introduced in the center of season six, is a Sabre employee who is assigned to the Dunder Mifflin Scranton branch as the Regional Director of Sales. In season nine Clark Green and Pete Miller joined as two new customer service representatives to attempt to catch up on the ignored customer services complaints that Kelly had dismissed while she worked at Dunder Mifflin.

Initially the actors who portray the other office workers were credited as guest stars before they were named series regulars during the second season.[55] The show’s large ensemble has been mainly praised by critics and led to the series winning two Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series.[56] Carell was reportedly paid $175,000 per episode starting with the third season.[57] Krasinski and Fischer were paid around $20,000 for the beginning of the series.[57] Starting with the fourth season, the two started getting paid around $100,000 per episode.[57]

A typical episode for a half-hour time slot runs 20-and-a-half minutes.[58] The ultimate episode of season two introduces the first of what would be several super-sized episodes that are about 28-minute running time for a 40-minute time slot.[59] Season three introduces the first of occasional hour-long episodes (approximately 42-minute running time; suitable for being shown as two separate usual episodes).[60]

The series begins by introducing the office’s workers via a tour given by branch manager Michael Scott for both the camera crew and a first-day temp (Ryan Howard).[61] The audience learns salesman Jim Halpert has a crush on receptionist Pam Beesly (who helps him play pranks on co-worker Dwight Schrute), even though she is busy to Roy (who works in the building’s lower-level warehouse). News spreads throughout the office that Dunder Mifflin’s corporate headquarters is planning to downsize an entire branch, leading to general anxiety, but Michael chooses to disclaim or downplay the realities of the situation in order to maintain employee morale.

The second season is the series’ first twenty-two episode season, and has its first 40-minute “super-sized” episode.

Many workers seen in the background of the first season are developed into secondary characters, and romantic relationships begin to develop between some of the characters. Michael spends the night with his boss Jan, in the wake of the latter’s divorce, but does not sleep with her.[62] Dwight and Angela become romantically involved,[63] but keep the relationship a secret from everyone else. Kelly develops a crush on Ryan, and they start dating. When Roy sets a date for his wedding to Pam,[64] Jim grows depressed and considers transferring to the Stamford, Connecticut branch, but tells Pam in the season finale that he loves her, even though Pam still insists she will marry Roy. The two kiss, but Jim transfers to the Stamford branch soon after.[65] The general threat of downsizing continues throughout the season as well.

The third season consists of 25 half-hours of material, divided into 17 half-hour episodes, four 40-minute “super-sized” episodes, and two one-hour episodes.

Jim briefly transfers to Stamford branch after Pam confirms her commitment to Roy. Corporate is later forced to merge the Stamford branch and staff into the Scranton branch.[66] Included in the transfer to Scranton are Karen Filippelli, with whom Jim has developed a relationship, and the anger-prone Andy Bernard. Pam is newly unmarried after calling off her marriage and relationship to Roy prior to the merger, and Jim’s unresolved feelings for her and new relationship with Karen lead to shifting tensions amongst the three. Meanwhile, Michael and Jan’s relationship escalates which causes her to behave erratically on the job while Dwight and Angela continue their secret relationship. In the season’s finale, Jim, Karen, and Michael interview for a corporate position that turns out to be Jan’s, who is fired that day for poor performance. Jim wins and rejects the offer off-screen,[67] opting instead to return to Scranton without Karen and asks Pam out on a date, which she joyfully accepts. In the ultimate scene, we learn Ryan has been awarded Jan’s job due to his business school credentials.[68]

NBC ordered a full fourth season of 30 half-hour episodes, but ended with only 19 due to a halt in production caused by the 2007?2008 Writers Guild of America strike.[69][70] The season consists of 9 half-hour episodes, and 5 hour-long episodes to comprise the 19 total episodes of material created.

Karen has left the Scranton branch after her breakup with Jim, and becomes regional manager at the Utica branch.[71] Pam and Jim date happily.[72] An unemployed Jan moves in with Michael, until the dissolution of their relationship midway through the season. After Dwight’s crude (though well-intentioned) method of euthanasia of Angela’s ailing cat without her permission,[73] she leaves him for Andy, leading Dwight into depression. Ryan, in his new corporate life in New York City, attempts to modernize Dunder Mifflin with a new website for online sales; he also learns that his boss, David Wallace, favors Jim, and thus Ryan attempts to sabotage Jim’s career. Ryan is soon arrested and fired for committing fraud related to the website’s sales numbers. Toby, embarrassed after accidentally revealing an affection for Pam, announces he is moving to Costa Rica, and is replaced by Holly Flax, who quickly shows fondness towards Michael. Pam decides to follow her artistic interests and attend a three-month graphic design course at the Pratt Institute in New York City. In the season finale Andy proposes to Angela, who reluctantly agrees. Phyllis then catches Dwight and Angela having sex in the office.[74]

The fifth season consists of 28 half-hours of material, divided into 24 half-hour episodes and two hour-long episodes, one of which aired after Super Bowl XLIII.[75]

Jim and Pam become engaged, and she ultimately returns from New York to Scranton, where Jim has bought his parents’ house for the two of them. Having avoided jail and only been sentenced to community service, Ryan returns to Dunder Mifflin as a temp. Michael initiates a romance with Holly until she is transferred to the Nashua, New Hampshire branch and the relationship ends. When Andy is made aware of Dwight and Angela’s continued affair, both men leave her.[76] Newly hired Vice President Charles Miner implements a inflexible managerial style over the branch that causes Michael to resign in protest.[77] Michael opens the Michael Scott Paper Company, enticing Pam and Ryan to join as salespeople, and though his business mannequin is ultimately unsustainable, Dunder Mifflin’s profits are immediately threatened.[78] In a buyout of the Michael Scott Paper Company, the three are rehired with Pam promoted to sales and Ryan returning as a temp. During the chaos, new receptionist Erin is hired to fill the vacancy originally left by Pam. The season’s finale ends with a cliffhanger ending hinting that Pam might be pregnant.[79]

The sixth season consists of 26 half-hours of material, divided into 22 half-hour episodes and two hour-long episodes.

Jim and Pam marry and have a baby named Cecelia Marie Halpert.[80] Meanwhile, Andy and Erin develop mutual interest in one another, but find their inherent awkwardness inhibits his attempts to ask her out on a date. Rumors of bankruptcy begin to surround Dunder Mifflin. By Christmas, Wallace announces to the branch that Dunder Mifflin has accepted a buyout from Sabre Corporation, a printer company. While Wallace and other executives are let go, the Scranton office survives due to its relative success within the company. In the season finale, Dwight buys the office park. Michael agrees to make an announcement to the press regarding a case of defective printers. When Jo Bennet, Sabre CEO, asks how she can repay him, Michael responds that she could bring Holly back to the Scranton branch.[81]

The seventh season consists of 26 half-hours of material, divided into 21 half-hour episodes, one “super-sized” episode, and two hour-long episodes.[82]

This is the ultimate season for Steve Carell, who plays the lead character Michael Scott, as Carell wanted to move on after his contract expired during this season.[83] Beginning with this season, Zach Woods, who portrays Gabe Lewis, was promoted to a series regular.[84] Erin and Gabe have begun a relationship, much to Andy’s chagrin, and he attempts to win her affection back. Michael’s former girlfriend, Holly returns to Scranton to fill in for Toby who is doing jury duty for the “Scranton Strangler” trial. Michael and Holly eventually restart their relationship. After the two get engaged, he then reveals he will be leaving Scranton to go to Colorado with Holly in order to support her elderly parents. After Michael’s replacement (Will Ferrell) is seriously injured, Jo creates a search committee to interview candidates and select a new manager for the office.

James Spader reprises his role as Robert California, the new CEO of Dunder Mifflin/Sabre.[85] Andy is then promoted to Regional Manager and works hard to make a good impression on Robert, and asks Dwight to be his number two.[86] Pam and Jim are expecting their second child, Phillip, at the start of the season, to coincide with Fischer’s real life pregnancy.[87] Angela is pregnant with her first son, also named Philip, with Sen. Robert Lipton (although it is implied that Dwight Schrute is actually the child’s biological father). Darryl starts falling for new warehouse worker Val.[88] Dwight is tasked with traveling to Tallahassee, Florida in order to assist Sabre Special Projects Manager Nellie Bertram (Catherine Tate) in launching a chain of retail stores, along with Jim, Ryan, Stanley, Erin, and new office temp Cathy Simms. Cathy is also revealed to have ulterior motives for the trip, as she intends to seduce Jim, but fails.[89] Robert later kills the retail store project, and Erin decides to stay in Florida as an elderly woman’s live-in helper. Andy goes to Florida and wins back Erin, but this allows Nellie to claim the manager position as her own. Robert tells Andy that he has been demoted back to a salesman, but he refuses to accept the news, which causes him to be fired. Andy becomes motivated to begin a Dunder Mifflin comeback and joins with former CFO, David Wallace, to buy Dunder Mifflin back from Sabre putting Sabre completely out of business and giving Andy the manager position once again.

Andy, recently returning from Outward Bound manager’s training, reverts to his arrogant earlier season personality, abandoning both Erin and the office to travel the world with his brother. In his absence, Erin strikes up a romance with new customer service rep Pete, who along with Clark, another new character, replaces Kelly, who left for Ohio with her new husband (Ryan also moves to Ohio for “unrelated reasons”). Meanwhile, Jim receives an exciting possibility from an old college friend, who offers him a job at Athlead, a sports marketing company based in Philadelphia. Darryl also jumps on board, but the distance and dedication to Athlead hurts Jim’s relationship with Pam. Angela also must deal with her husband’s infidelity with Oscar. She also deals with her lingering attraction to Dwight, who inherits his family’s beet farm. Dwight receives more good news when David Wallace handpicks him to be the new manager after Andy quits to pursue an acting career, which quickly ends when he embarrasses himself at an a cappella singing competition that turns into a viral web sensation. Dwight later makes Jim his Assistant to the Regional Manager and the two officially end their grudge. After Jim reconciles with Pam, choosing to stay in Scranton over Philadelphia, Dwight professes his love for Angela, and finally marries her. In the series finale, taking place one year after the release of the documentary, the employees reunite for Dwight and Angela’s wedding, for which Michael returns (with help from Jim who was the person Dwight first asked to be his best man) to serve as the best man. Kelly and Ryan run away together, Nellie now lives in Poland and “adopts” Ryan’s deserted baby, Erin meets her birth parents, Andy gets a job at Cornell, Stanley retires to Florida, Kevin and Toby are both fired with the former buying a bar and the latter moving to New York City to become an author, Oscar runs for State Senate, Jim and Pam, at her persuasion, move to Austin to open a new branch of Athleap (previously Athlead) with Darryl (Dwight “fires” them to give them both severance packages), and Creed is arrested for his many crimes.

The Office has had product placement deals with Staples[90] and the Olympic balers,[91] as well as mentioning in dialogue or displaying clear logos for products such as Sandals Resorts, HP, Apple, and Gateway computers, and Activision’s Call of Duty video game series. In “The Merger”, Kevin Malone uses a Staples-branded shredding machine to shred a Staples-branded CD-R and many other non-paper items, including a salad.[90] As with HP, Cisco Systems, a supplier of networking and telephone equipment, pays for product placement, which can be seen on close-up shots of the Cisco IP Telephones. Some products have extra branding labels attached; this can be clearly seen with the HP photo printer on Toby’s desk in season 6, and is less noticeable with the Cisco phones.[92] In “The Secret” Michael takes Jim to Hooters[93] to discuss Jim’s feelings for Pam.

Many products featured are not part of product placement agreements, but rather inserted by writers as products the characters would use to create realism under the guise of a documentary. Chili’s restaurants were used for filming in “The Dundies” and “The Client”, as the writers believed they were realistic choices for a company party and business lunch.[94][95][96] Though not an explicit product placement, the producers of the show had to allow Chili’s to have ultimate approval of the script before filming, causing a scene of “The Dundies” to be hastily rewritten when the chain objected to the original version.[95] Apple Inc. received over four minutes of publicity for the iPod when it was used as a much-desired gift in “Christmas Party”, though the company did not pay for the placement.[97] The travel website TripAdvisor.com was featured during Season 4 when after a visit to Dwight’s “agritourism” bed and breakfast, Schrute Farm, Jim and Pam post an online review about their stay. The show reportedly approached the travel review website about using their name on the show and TripAdvisor set up a review page for the fictional B&B which itself received hundreds of reviews.[98] The appearance of Second Life in the episode “Local Ad” was rated eighth in the top ten most effective product placements of 2007.[99]

“The Office has one of the best casts on television. […] It also has created several compelling characters and touching relationships, all of which is quite remarkable for a half hour comedy.”

Before the show aired, Gervais acknowledged that there were feelings of hesitation from sure viewers.[101] The first season of The Office was met with a mixed answer from critics with some of them comparing it to the short-lived NBC series Coupling which was based on a British version.[102][103] The New York Daily News called it “so diluted there’s little left but muddy water,” and USA Today called it a “passable imitation of a miles-better BBC original.”[104] A Guardian Unlimited review panned its lack of originality, stating, “(Steve Carell) just seems to be trying too hard … Maybe in later episodes when it deviates from Gervais and Merchant’s script, he’ll come into his own. But correct now he’s a pale imitation.”[105] Tom Shales of the Washington Post said it was “not the mishmash that [Americanized version of Coupling] turned out to be, but again the quality of the original show causes the remake to look dim, like when the copying machine is just about to give out.”[103]

The second season was better received. James Poniewozik of Time remarked, “Producer Greg Daniels created not a copy but an construction that sends up distinctly American work conventions […] with a tone that’s more satiric and less mordant. […] The new boss is different from the old boss, and that’s good by me.”[106] He named it the second best TV show of 2006 after Battlestar Galactica.[106] Entertainment Weekly writer Mark Harris echoed these sentiments a week later, stating, “Thanks to the fearless Steve Carell, an ever-stronger supporting cast, and scripts that spew American corporate absurdist vernacular with perfect pitch, this undervalued remake does the near impossible?it honors Ricky Gervais’ original and works on its own terms.”[107] The A.V. Club reviewer Nathan Rabin expressed its views on the show’s progression: “After a rocky start, The Office improved immeasurably, instantly becoming one of TV’s funniest, sharpest shows. The casting of Steve Carell in the Gervais role proved to be a masterstroke. The American Office is that rarest of anomalies: a remake of a classic show that both does correct by its source and carves out its own strong identity.”[108]

The series has been included on several top TV series lists. The show placed #61 on Entertainment Weekly???’??s “New TV Classics” list.[109] Time’s James Poniewozik named it the second best TV series of 2006,[106] and the sixth best returning series of 2007, out of ten TV series.[110] He also included it on his “The 100 Best TV Shows of All-TIME” list.[111] The show was also named the best show of 2006 by BuddyTV.[112] while Paste named it the sixth best sitcom of 2010.[113] In 2013, the Writers Guild of America placed it at #66 on their list of 101 Best Written TV Series.[114]

The show has some superficial similarities to the comic-strip Dilbert, which also features employees coping with an inept superior. John Spector, CEO of The Conference Board, says that both show the impact a leader can have, for good or bad. Dilbert creator Scott Adams also touts the similarities: “The lesson from The Office and from Dilbert is that people are often dysfunctional, and no amount of training can fix it.”[115] A labor-affiliated group praised the episode “Boys and Girls” for what it considered an unusually frank depiction of union busting on American television.[116] Metacritic, a review aggregation website, only graded the first, third, sixth, and final seasons. However, it denoted that all four of them received “generally favorable reviews” from critics, awarding a 61, 85, 78, and 64 score?out of 100?to each of them, respectively.[117][118][119][120] It later named it the thirteenth most mentioned series on “Best of Decade” top-ten lists.[121]

Recent seasons have been criticized for a dip in quality. The sixth season received criticisms for a lack of stakes for the characters.[123][124][125] Several critics and fans have also criticized the dragging out of the Jim and Pam romance.[126] The Office co-creator Ricky Gervais wrote in his blog, referring to “Search Committee,” especially Warren Buffett’s guest appearance, “If you’re going to jump a shark, jump a big one.” and compared the episode to the Chris Martin episode of Gervais’s other series, Extras.[11] He later said “I fucking didn’t [diss The Office], that’s for sure”.[11] Some critics said the series should have ended after the departure of Steve Carell.[127][128] Rainn Wilson felt that the eighth season possessed some mistakes “creatively”, such as the chemistry between Spader and Helms, which he called “a bit dark” and argued that the show should have gone for a “brighter and more energized” relationship.[129] Despite this, there are later-series episodes that have received critical acclaim, including “Stress Relief”, “Niagara”, “Garage Sale”, “Goodbye, Michael”, “Dwight Christmas”, “A.A.R.M.”, and “Finale”.[130][131][132][133][134][135][136]

The series received 42 Primetime Emmy Awards nominations, with five wins.[137] It won for Outstanding Comedy Series in season two, Outstanding Writing for a Comedy Series (Greg Daniels for “Gay Witch Hunt”), Outstanding Directing for a Comedy Series (Jeffrey Blitz for “Stress Relief”) and Outstanding Single-Camera Picture Editing for a Comedy Series (David Rogers and Claire Scanlon for “Finale”). Many cast and crew members have expressed anger that Carell did not receive an Emmy award for his performance in the series.[138][139] Despite this, Carell won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor in a Television Comedy or Musical in 2006. The series was also named the best TV series by the American Film Institute in 2006 and 2008,[140][141] won two Screen Actors Guild Awards for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series in 2006 and 2007[56] and won a Peabody Award in 2006.[142]

Premiering on Thursday, March 24, 2005, after an episode of The Apprentice on NBC, The Office brought in 11.2 million viewers in the U.S., winning its time slot.[104] When NBC moved the series to its intended Tuesday night slot, it missing almost half its audience with only 5.9 million viewers.[143] The program averaged 5.4 million viewers, ranking it #102 for the 2004?05 U.S. television season.[144] “Hot Girl”, the first season’s finale, rated a 2.2 with a 10 audience measurement share. Episodes were also rerun on CNBC.[145]

As the second season started, the success of Carell’s hit summer movie The 40-Year-Old Virgin and online sales of episodes at iTunes helped the show.[146] The increase in viewership led NBC to move the series to the “Must See TV” Thursday night in January 2006, where ratings continued to grow. By the 2005?06 season, it placed #67 (tied with 20/20). It averaged 8 million viewers with a 4.0/10 rating/share among viewers ages 18?49, and was up 80% in viewers from the year before and up 60% in viewers ages 18?49.[147] The series ranked as NBC’s highest rated scripted series during its run.[148] The highest rated episode of the series was “Stress Relief”, which was watched by 22.9 million viewers, because of the episode airing correct after Super Bowl XLIII.[149] While later seasons dropped in the ratings, the show was still one of NBC’s highest rated shows and in October 2011 it was reported that it cost $178,840 per-30 second commercial, the most for any NBC scripted series.[150]

The city of Scranton, long known mainly for its industrial past as a coal mining and rail center,[171] has eagerly embraced, and ultimately has been redefined by the show. “We’re really hip now,” says the mayor’s assistant.[49] The Dunder Mifflin logo is on a lamppost banner in front of Scranton City Hall, as well as the pedestrian bridge to The Mall at Steamtown. The Pennsylvania Paper & Supply Company, whose tower is shown in the opening credits, plans to add it to the tower as well.[172] Newspapers in other Northeastern cities have published travel guides to Scranton locations for tourists interested in visiting places mentioned in the show.[171][172][173] Scranton has become identified with the show outside the United States as well. In a 2008 St. Patrick’s Day speech in its suburb of Dickson City, former Taoiseach (Irish prime minister) Bertie Ahern identified the city as the home of Dunder Mifflin.[174]

The inaugural The Office convention was held downtown in October 2007. Notable landmarks, some of which have been settings for the show, that served as venues include the University of Scranton, the Radisson Lackawanna Station Hotel and the Mall at Steamtown. Cast appearances were made by B.J. Novak, Ed Helms, Oscar Nunez, Angela Kinsey, Brian Baumgartner, Leslie David Baker, Mindy Kaling, Craig Robinson, Melora Hardin, Phyllis Smith, Creed Bratton, Kate Flannery, Bobby Ray Shafer, and Andy Buckley. Writer appearances, anyway Novak and Kaling, were made by Greg Daniels, Michael Schur, Jennifer Celotta, Lee Eisenberg, Gene Stupnitsky, Justin Spitzer, Anthony Ferrell, Ryan Koh, Lester Lewis, and Jason Kessler. Not present were writer-actor Paul Lieberstein (who was originally going to make an appearance), Steve Carell, John Krasinski, Rainn Wilson, and Jenna Fischer.[175]

On an episode of The Daily Show, Republican presidential candidate John McCain, reportedly a devoted fan of the show, jokingly told Jon Stewart he might take Dwight Schrute as his running mate.[176] Rainn Wilson later accepted on Dwight Schrute’s behalf while on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno. After the airing of “Garage Sale”, Colorado governor John Hickenlooper issued a press release appointing Michael Scott to the position of Director of Paper Distribution in the Department of Natural Resources.[177]

The show is often paid tribute to by the band Relient K. Band member Matt Thiessen is a fan of The Office, and, during concerts, will often perform a self-described “love song” about the series, titled “The Ballad of Dunder Mifflin”, followed by him and the band playing the show’s opening theme.[178]

Aside from NBC, The Office has gone into off-network syndication in the United States. It has reruns on local stations and TBS. In the United Kingdom, the show was named in listings magazines (but not onscreen) as The Office: An American Workplace when it was originally aired on ITV2.[179]

Episodes from The Office were among the first shows available for download from the iTunes Store beginning in December 2005. In 2006, ten internet-exclusive webisodes featuring some of the characters on The Office aired on NBC.com. “Producer’s Cuts” (containing approximately ten additional minutes of material) of the episodes “Branch Closing” and “The Return” were also made available on NBC.com. The Office also became available for download from Amazon.com’s Unbox video downloads in 2006. Sales of new The Office episodes on iTunes ceased in 2007 due to a dispute between NBC and Apple ostensibly over pricing.[180] As of September 9, 2008 The Office was put back on the iTunes Store, and can be bought in HD and Regular format. Netflix also offers the show for online viewing by subscribers, in addition to traditional DVD rental. The Office is also available on Microsofts Zune Marketplace.

Of the 12.4 million total viewings of “Fun Run”, the fourth season’s premiere, 2.7 million, or 22%, were on a computer via online streaming. “The Office,” said The New York Times, “is on the leading edge of a sharp shift in entertainment viewing that was thought to be years away: watching television episodes on a computer screen is now a common activity for millions of consumers.” It was particularly popular with online viewers, an NBC researcher said, because as an episode-driven sitcom without special effects it was easy to watch on smaller monitors such as those found on laptops and iPods.[181] Between the online viewings and those who use digital video recorders, 25?50% of the show’s viewers watch it after its scheduled airtime.[182]

The show’s Internet success became an issue in the 2007?2008 Writers Guild of America strike. Daniels and many of the cast members who double as writers posted a video to YouTube shortly after the strike began, pointing out how little, if any, they received in residuals from online and DVD viewing. “You’re watching this on the Internet, a thing that pays us zero dollars,” Schur said. “We’re supposed to get 11 cents for every two trillion downloads.” The writers were particularly upset that they weren’t compensated for the Daytime Emmy Award winning summer webisodes “The Accountants”, which NBC considered promotional material despite the embedded commercials.[183]

The show’s success has resulted in expansion outside of television. Characters have appeared in promotional materials for NBC, and a licensed video game?The Office?was released in 2007.[184][185] In 2008 two games were introduced via Pressman Toy Corp: The Office Trivia Board Game and The Office DVD Board Game.[186] In 2009, The Office Clue was released, and The Office Monopoly was released in 2010. Other merchandise, from T-shirts and a bobblehead doll of Dwight Schrute[187] to more office-specific items such as Dunder Mifflin copy paper[188] and parodies of the Successories motivational poster series featuring the cast[189] are available. Dunder Mifflin has two websites,[190] and the cast members maintain blogs both as themselves and in character.

Several members of the cast maintained blogs. These include Jenna Fischer, Angela Kinsey, and Brian Baumgartner, who posted regularly during the season.[191] Rainn Wilson wrote in character on “Schrute Space” on NBC.com, which is updated periodically. However, he stopped writing the blog himself.[192] It is unknown whether Creed Bratton authors “Creed Thoughts”, the blog attributed to his character.[193]

A spin-off to the series was proposed in 2008,[200] with a pilot episode expected to debut as the Super Bowl lead-out program in 2009.[201] However, The Office’s creative team instead decided to develop Parks and Recreation as a separate series.[202]

Another spin-off starring Rainn Wilson as Dwight Schrute running a bed-and-breakfast and beet farm, titled The Farm, was proposed in early 2012.[4][203] In October 2012, however, NBC decided not to go forward with the series.[204] The backdoor pilot episode instead aired as part of the ninth and final season of The Office on March 14, 2013.[203][205]

#Brent #El #Rhazi

El Rhazi, Randa The Onion – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(El Rhazi) The Onion is an American digital media company and news satire organization. The publication’s origins are rooted in its distribution as a weekly college print publication beginning in 1988, but in the spring of 1996 The Onion put its content online in the form of a website featuring satirical articles reporting on international, national, and native news. Starting in 2007, the association began publishing satirical news audio and video online, as the Onion News Network. In 2013, the publication ceased publishing the print edition and launched Onion Labs, an advertising agency.[2][3]

The Onion??’?s articles satirically comment on current events, both real and fictional. It satirizes the tone and format of traditional news organizations Randa along stories, editorials, op-ed pieces, and man-in-the-street interviews using a traditional news website layout and an editorial voice modeled after that of the Associated Press. The publication’s humor often depends on presenting mundane, everyday events as newsworthy, surreal or alarming. Comedian Bob Odenkirk has praised the publication stating, “It’s the best comedy writing in the country, and it has been since it started.”[4][5][6][7][8][9]

The Onion also runs an entertainment and pop culture publication called The A.V. Club. Initially created in 1993 as a supplement to the parent publication, The A.V. Club features interviews and reviews of various newly released media alongside other weekly features.

Reportedly, it was co-founder Chris Johnson’s uncle?Nells Johnson?who came up Randa along the idea to name the paper The Onion. “People always ask questions about where the name The Onion came from,” said former President Sean Mills in an interview with Wikinews; “and, when I recently asked (co-founder) Tim Keck, who was one of the founders, El Rhazi told me…literally that his uncle said he should call it The Onion when he saw him and Chris Johnson eating an onion sandwich. They had literally just cut up the onion and put it on bread.” According to former editorial manager, Chet Clem, their food budget was so low when they started the paper that they were down to white bread and onions. This account was recently disputed by the current editor of The Onion, Cole Bolton, during an event at the University of Chicago. Cole Bolton called Sean Mills’ account “the dumbest explanation” and asserted that it is likely wrong. According to Bolton, the most believable explanation is that The Onion was mocking a campus newsletter called The Union.[10][11][12]

The Onion was founded in 1988 in Madison, Wisconsin by students at the University of Wisconsin: Tim Keck and Christopher Johnson. In 1988 Scott Dikkers?The Onion??’?s longest-serving Editor-in-Chief (1988?1999, 2005?2008)?joined the two-person staff to draw comic strips. “By issue three, I was de facto editor.” In 1989, Keck and Johnson sold it to Dikkers and advertising sales manager Peter Haise for less than $20,000; note that the figure has also been quoted as being $16,000 according to The Washington Post as well as $19,000 in a 2003 Business 2.0 article. After the sale, founders Keck and Johnson went on to become publishers of other, similar, alternative weeklies: Keck of the Seattle weekly The Stranger and Johnson of the Albuquerque Weekly Alibi.[13][14][15][16][17][18]

Its early years as a print publication The Onion was successful in a limited number of locations/regions, notably those with major universities (e.g. Madison, Wisconsin, Champaign?Urbana, Illinois). Originally the entire backside three inches of the newspaper could be cut off for coupons to native establishments, such as inexpensive student-centered eateries and video rental stores. For a time The Onion was just a hodgepodge of Dikkers’ cartoons, Spy magazine-like satire and short fiction.[18][19]

The June 16, 1993 issue of the The Daily Iowan ran a profile of Scott Dikkers focusing on his comic strip Jim’s Journal in which The Onion is mentioned in passing when the article states, “Dikkers still lives in Madison, spending about five hours a week on Jim’s Journal and the rest of the time as co-owner of a satirical newspaper called The Onion.”[20]

In the November/December 1994 issue of U. The National College Magazine, editor Scott Dikkers discussed The Comedy Castaways, The Onion??’?s sketch comedy show which the publication hoped to pitch to NBC, Fox and HBO. “I think what sets us apart is we’ve deliberately formed a tightly knit group of funny performers,” said Dikkers of the show and the two pilot episodes the publication had produced.[21]

In the spring of 1996, Ben Karlin and Scott Dikkers collaborated with Robert Smigel and Dana Carvey to create four short news segments for The Dana Carvey Show. “Bob Odenkirk had showed me The Onion about a year earlier, and it jumped out at me as something completely original and great, and I really wanted to use it on the show,” said Smigel. While four fake news segments were recorded?with Stephen Colbert performing as anchor?only one of the segments actually aired. One of the lacking segments was to prominently feature The Onion headline, “Mr. T To Pity Fool.”[22][23]

In 1996, the widely popular?and unattributed?dissemination of a December 1995 pre-Web article written by Robert Siegel titled “Clinton Deploys Vowels to Bosnia”[24] helped spur the creation of The Onion??’?s website (www.theonion.com). The presence of the website allowed The Onion to properly claim credit for that article?and others?that were being passed around in an unattributed form online in various forums, Usenet posts and mailing lists[25] as well as enabled the publication to receive expanded global recognition as a result.[3][4][6][24][25][26] In a 2002 interview, Robert Siegel described the difference between online/website readership versus the print publication as follows,[27] “If you look at the breakdown of people who read The Onion online, it?s like Microsoft, Dell Computers, the Department of Justice and then, like, University of Wisconsin. So it?s a combination of students and beautiful impressive people. I get the feeling that the print version is read by people hanging out in bars.”[3][4][6][24][25][26]

In the fall of 1996, Ben Karlin?who was a writer/editor for the publication since graduating the University of Wisconsin in 1993?moved to Los Angeles and joined other former Onion staffers (such as Dan Vebber and Rich Dahm who were casually known as “the Onion Guys”), to create a news parody television pilot titled Deadline: Now for the Fox Network. While the 15-minute pilot?which was completed in 1997?was never picked up as a series for production, its creation lead to stable writing job for Karlin and other former Onion staffers such as writing some episodes of Space Ghost Coast to Coast on the Cartoon Network. In the wake of Karlin?s departure, long time staff writer Robert Siegel[28] assumed the publication’s duties as editor of the publication.[28][29][30][31][32][33][34]

Sometime after The Onion appeared online in 1996, the publication was threatened with a lawsuit from Janet Jackson due to the headline/article “Dying Boy Gets Wish: To Pork Janet Jackson.” “We were very almost sued out of existence by Janet Jackson,” said Siegel, adding that in the past he was forbidden to talk about the legal matter and the celebrity involved.[35][36][37]

On January 27, 1998, MTV premiered Virtual Bill which was a collaboration between writers of The Onion and 3-D character studio Protozoa. The titular “Virtual Bill” character was a quasi-realistic CGI version of Bill Clinton created by studio Protozoa who introduced music videos and told jokes written by the staff of The Onion. The voice of Virtual Bill was provided by then editor Scott Dikkers. After the initial premiere, Virtual Bill returned to MTV on December 17, 1998 with another TV special as well as an interactive web special produced by Pulse which ported the 3D data into a web compatible format using Pulse’s proprietary plug-in.[38][39][40][41][42]

In January 1999, Jon Stewart took over the hosting role once held by Craig Kilborn on The Daily Show and in February 1999 Stewart tapped former Onion writer/editor Ben Karlin to be head writer of the newly restructured show. “He had heard about this group of Onion people in L.A. and, in a bizarre way, I was the de facto ringleader of our group in L.A. I came to New York. Jon and I connected. It was kind of like a slightly awkward, but successful, first date. When I got back to Los Angeles, they offered me the head writer job.”[29][30][31][32][33]

From March 3?7, 1999, writers and editors of The Onion attended U.S. Comedy Arts Festival in Aspen, Colorado in part to elevate Our Dumb Century and were met with effusive praise for their job from notable comedians such as Conan O’Brien, Dave Foley and Dave Thomas as well as cartoonist Peter Bagge and musician Andy Prieboy.[4][43]

On March 18, 1999, The Onion??’?s website won its first Webby Award in the category of “Humor.”[44][45]

On March 23, 1999, The Onion??’?s first fully original book, Our Dumb Century was released. The book featured mocked-up newspaper front pages from the entire 20th century, presented though the premise that the publication had been continuously in print since before 1900.[46][47][48] In the wake of the book’s success, networks such as HBO and NBC were in talks to bring The Onion to TV in some form; specifically with a some kind of special based on Our Dumb Century.[18] Regardless of the almost two years of work on spent conceiving and producing Our Dumb Century, the writers only received bonuses of a few thousand dollars, despite the fact that the two-book publishing deal netted The Onion $450,000.[18][46][47][48]

In April 2000, DreamWorks Studios optioned two stories from the satirical newspaper, “Canadian Girlfriend Unsubstantiated”?which was to be written by former Onion editor and writer Rich Dahm?and “Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell” with an eye towards producing the later as a family comedy. “The story is so dark and hate filled?I was shocked,” said head writer Todd Hanson. “It’s like an Onion joke. I mean, what are they going to do? Add a sickly-but-adorable moppet?” added editor Robert Siegel. DreamWorks deliberate for the finished “Tenth Circle Added to Rapidly Growing Hell” to involve animation as well as musical singalongs.[49][50][51][52]

In June 2000, writers and editors of The Onion participated in Comedy Central panel discussion moderated by Jeff Greenfield titled “The State of The Onion” during the “Toyota Comedy Festival 2000.”[53][54][55][56]

In July 2000, The Onion??’?s editor Robert Siegel was named one of People magazine’s most eligible bachelors. “If a person is beautiful on the inside,” Siegel said, “looks don’t really matter.” [27][57]

Beginning in the fall of 2000 to early 2001, the company relocated its editorial offices from Madison, Wisconsin to a renovated warehouse in the Chelsea neighborhood of Manhattan (New York City) to elevate the The Onion??’?s profile, expand the publication from being simply a humor newspaper into a full production company, as well as develop editorial content in other media?including books, television and movies?and engage more directly with Internet companies as far as advertising revenue goes.[58][59][60][61][62][63]

In February 2001, Miramax Films head Harvey Weinstein announced they had reached a first look accord to develop scripts and features with The Onion. “As lifelong New Yorkers, we’re proud to welcome The Onion to our city with this first-look deal,” said Harvey Weinstein. “With their witty, sophisticated humor, they will undoubtedly soon be the toast of the town.” Weinstein added.[64][65][66]

On September 27, 2001, The Onion debuted its New York City print edition with an issue focused on the September 11th attacks. The popularity?and critical praise?of the issue resulted in The Onion??’?s website’s online traffic nearly doubling in the weeks following the attacks.[67][68]

In November 2002, a humorous op-ed piece in The Onion that was satirically bylined by filmmaker Michael Bay titled “Those Chechen Rebels Stole My Idea”[69] was removed from the site without explanation. Entertainment industry business magazine Variety theorized, ?It?s not lucid provided Bay?a frequent object of The Onion??’?s satire?requested the move.?[69][70][71][72]

In 2003, The Onion was purchased by David Schafer?a businessman who had managed the $2.5 billion investment fund?from previous long time owners Peter Haise and Scott Dikkers. The sale was a process that had been in the works since July 2001 and according to a memo from then owner Haise, “[Schafer] understands our quirky company and knows that we need some time to get to a higher level of operations and sales.”[68] In a 2003 CNN profile of The Onion, Schafer stated with regards to the company and the purchase, “The Onion??’?s strong point was never accounting, financial management, or business. Buying it was a bit of a shot in the dark, but we felt we could get a handle on it.” Also in 2003, editor Robert Siegel quit his day-to-day role at The Onion[35] to focus on writing screenplays full time.[73][74] “After the 14,000th headline I felt the itch to use a different part of my brain,” he said. “You can go angry thinking in headline form.” In the wake of his departure, long time staff writer Carol Kolb[75] assumed the publication’s duties as editor of the publication.[16][52][73][74][75][76][77][78]

In 2005, The Onion moved its New York City offices from its initial Chelsea location to downtown on Broadway in the SoHo neighborhood of Manhattan (New York City).[79]

In 2006, The Onion launched a YouTube channel, which was structured as a parody of modern American television news programs.[80] In June 2006, it was also announced that former editor Robert D. Siegel was tapped by Miramax Films to write the screenplay for a comedy titled “Homeland Insecurity” which was slated to be about a twosome of Arab-Americans who are mistaken for terrorists while traveling to Texas.[81] Additionally, rumors of a potential sale of The Onion to media conglomerate Viacom began appearing in various news outlets during July 2006 with The New York Times: DealBook expanding on the discussion by stating, “While a source tells DealBook that such a deal has indeed been discussed, it is in very early stages and may never happen.”[80][81][82][83][84][85][86]

In April 2007, The Onion launched the Onion News Network, a “…parody the visual style and breathless reporting of 24-hour cable news networks like CNN.”[87]

In 2008 Carol Kolb became the head writer of the Onion News Network with the role of the publication’s editor being taken over by writer Joe Randazzo. Randazzo first became a writer for The Onion in 2006 and?in his role as an editor?became the first editor of the publication that had no connection to The Onion during the publication’s initial Madison, Wisconsin era.[15][88][89][90][91]

In April 2009, The Onion was awarded a 2008 Peabody Award noting that the publication provides “…ersatz news that has a worrisome ring of truth.”[92][93]

In November 2009, The Onion released Our Front Pages: 21 Years of Greatness, Virtue, and Moral Rectitude From America?s Finest News Source which was notable in not only compiling dozens of front pages from the publication?s history as a news parody but also showcasing front pages from the publication?s early, more casual campus humor focused era during the 1980s when the publication featured headlines such as, “Depressed? Try Liposuction on that Pesky Head.”[94]

In July 2009, various news outlets began reporting rumors of an impending sale of The Onion with further details of the sale to be made on Monday, July 20, 2009.[95][96] The purported sale was revealed as fictional Publisher Emeritus T. Herman Zweibel stating he’d sold the publication to a Chinese company?Yu Wan Mei Corporation?resulting in a week-long series of Chinese-related articles and features throughout the publication’s website and print editions.[97][98] On Wednesday, July 22, 2009, the publication’s editor (Joe Randazzo) clarified the issue on National Public Radio’s All Things Considered, stating: “I’m sure there are numerous Chinese conglomerates out there that would love to buy The Onion. We are, in fact, still a solvent independently owned American company.”[99]

In August 2011, The Onion??’?s website began testing a paywall mannequin requiring a $2.95 monthly?or $29.95 annual charge?from non-U.S. visitors who want to read more than about five stories within 30 days.”We are testing a meter internationally as readers in those markets are already used to paying directly for some (other) content, especially in the UK where we have numerous readers,” said the company’s CTO Michael Greer.[100][101][102]

In September 2011, it was announced that The Onion would move its entire editorial operation to Chicago by the summer of 2012. The news of the move left many of the writers?who moved with the publication from Madison to New York City in 2000?”blindsided”, putting them in a position to decide if to uproot themselves from New York City and follow the publication to Chicago, which was already home to the company’s corporate headquarters. At a comedy show on September 27, 2011, then editor Joe Randazzo announced that he would not be joining the staff in Chicago.[103][104][105][106][107][108]

With the publication’s core editorial staff now based in Chicago, in March 2012 Cole Bolton?a Brown University graduate of business economics, former associate economist at the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and research associate at Harvard Business School[109][110]?was named the new editor-in-chief of The Onion. “I was never in an improv group, never in a sketch group, never wrote for an Onion parody in college,” said Bolton in a 2014 interview with comedy publication Splitsider.[109] “It was just sort of a decision that I decided, two years out of college, that I didn?t like where I was going in my life, and I wanted to do something that I cared about more, so I ended up just sending stuff in to The Onion.”[12][109][110][111]

Additionally, in March 2012 more perception into the internal issues surrounding the Chicago move?including an try made by the writers to find a new owner?are explored by articles in The Atlantic Wire[112] and New York magazine’s Daily Intelligencer.[113] According to an article in the Chicago Tribune,[114] founding editor Scott Dikkers returned to the publication in light of the Chicago move stating that he hopes to find a “younger and hungrier” pool of talent in Chicago than what was available in New York City. “The Onion is obviously always going to draw talent from wherever it is,” Dikkers said. “In Madison, people used to just come in off the street […] and we’d give them a shot. The Onion has always thrived on the youngest, greenest people.”[108][112][113][114][115]

In August 2012, it was announced that a group of former The Onion writers had teamed up with Adult Swim to create comedy content on a website called Thing X. According to the comedy website Splitsider, “The Onion writers had nothing else going on, and AdultSwim.com wanted to take virtue of that. But only because they smelled a business opportunity. Adult Swim is just looking at it from a business standpoint.”[116][117] In June 2013, it was announced that Thing X would be shutting down with some staff moving over to parent website adultswim.com on June 18, 2013.[118][119]

In February 2013 The Onion was added to Advertising Age??’?s “Digital A-List 2013” because the publication “…has not just survived, it’s thrived…” since the publication’s 2012 move to consolidate operations and staff in Chicago.[120]

In November 2013, the publication announced in Crain’s Chicago Business that The Onion would move to an all-digital format by December 2013, citing a 30% year-over-year growth in pageviews to the publication’s website.[121]

In June 2014, The Onion launched the spinoff website ClickHole, which satirizes and parodies so-called “clickbait” websites such as BuzzFeed and Upworthy that capitalize on viral content to drive traffic.[122]

In November 2014, Bloomberg News reported that The Onion had hired a financial adviser for a possible sale.[123][124] Additionally, in a memo addressing potential sale rumors provided to Walt Mossberg’s tech site Re/code Onion CEO Steve Hannah states, “We have had follow-up conversations with numerous parties in new months. Our advisors will continue to have those conversations and, hopefully, they will lead to the correct outcome.”[125]

In June 2015 Steve Hannah?the publication’s CEO since 2004?announced he would be stepping down from the position with the new CEO role to passed onto current president of the organization, Mike McAvoy.[126][127]

During The Onion print edition’s 25-year run?from the publication’s initial creation in 1988 to the end of the print edition in 2013?it was distributed for free in various cities across the United States and Canada as well as via paid mail order subscription to subscribers around the world. By the time the print edition of The Onion ceased publication in December 2013, it was only available in Chicago, Milwaukee and Providence. At its peak, The Onion had a print circulation of about 500,000 while the publication’s websites brought in more than 10 million unique monthly visitors. Below is a list of all of the cities in which The Onion was distributed freely at different points from 1988 to 2013.[114][128][129][130]

As of June 2015, the current editor of The Onion is Cole Bolton, and the core editorial staff consists of Jermaine Affonso, Ben Berkley, Django Gold, Dan McGraw, Chad Nackers, Jocelyn Richard, Jason Roeder, Jen Spyra and Seena Vali.[1] Past editors and writers have included:

Since the first publication of Our Dumb Century in 1999, The Onion has produced various books that often compile already produced material into collected volumes. The 2007 publication of Our Dumb World was the only other fully original book content-wise?other than Our Dumb Century?that The Onion has released so far.

In April 2007, The Onion launched Onion News Network?a daily web video broadcast?with a story about an unlawful immigrant taking an executive’s $800,000-a-year job for $600,000 a year. The publication reportedly initially invested about $1 million in the production and initially hired 15 new staffers to focus on the production of this video broadcast. On February 3, 2009, The Onion launched a spin-off of the Onion News Network called the Onion Sports Network.[87]

In a Wikinews interview in November 2007, former Onion President Mills said the Onion News Network had been a vast hit. “We get over a million downloads a week, which makes it one of the more successful produced-for-the-Internet videos,” said Mills. “If we’re not the most successful, we’re one of the most.'[11]

In January 2011, The Onion launched two TV shows on cable networks: Onion SportsDome premiered January 11 on Comedy Central.[132] and the Onion News Network premiered January 21 on Independent Film Channel (IFC).[133] Later in the year IFC officially announced the renewal of the Onion News Network for a second season in March 2011 while Comedy Central officially announced the cancellation of Onion SportsDome in June 2011.[134][135]

In August 2011, the Writers Guild of America, East, AFL-CIO, announced the unionization of the Onion News Network writing staff, averting a potential strike which hinged on pay and benefits. It is also not the first time Onion, Inc. has been criticized for the way it treats its employees: In June 2011 A.V. Club Philadelphia city editor Emily Guendelsberger was the victim of an attack and?according to the Philadelphia Daily News?her job did not provide health insurance to cover hospital bills. According to the WGA, Onion News Network was the only scripted, live-action program that had employed non-union writers. “The ONN writers stood together and won real improvements,” said WGAE Executive Director Lowell Peterson. “We welcome them into the WGAE and we look forward to a productive relationship with the company.” Peterson noted that more than 70 Guild members from all of the New York-based comedy shows signed a letter supporting the Onion News Network writers, and hundreds of Guild members sent emails to the producers.[136][137][138][139][140][141]

In March 2012, IFC officially announced the cancellation of the Onion News Network. After the show’s cancellation, a pilot for a new comedy series titled Onion News Empire premiered on Amazon.com in April 2013, which presented as a behind-the-scenes look of The Onion??’?s newsroom. The pilot was one of several candidates for production on Amazon, but was not ultimately selected.[142][143][144]

In 2012, The Onion launched a series of YouTube videos produced by its Onion Digital Studios division, funded in part by a grant from YouTube and exclusive to the site. Series produced so far:

The Onion Movie is a direct-to-video film written by then-Onion editor Robert D. Siegel and writer Todd Hanson and directed by Tom Kuntz and Mike Maguire.[146] Created in 2003, Fox Searchlight Pictures was on board to release the movie, originally called The Untitled Onion Movie, but at some point in the process, directors Kuntz and Maguire?as well as writer Siegel?walked away from the project. In 2006, New Regency Productions took over the production of the troubled project. After two years of being in limbo, the film was released directly on DVD on June 3, 2008. Upon its release it was credited as being directed under the pseudonym of James Kleiner but is still directed by Kuntz and Maguire.[147]

In the spring of 2014, former president, publisher, and CEO of The Onion Peter Haise filed a lawsuit Palm Beach County court against the publication’s current chairman David K. Schafer with regards to a lacking “Executive Producer” credit on the failed film. As stated in the lawsuit, “Onion, Inc. has admitted that Haise was involved in and should have been named as an Executive Producer of the Film, and that the omission in the credits listed for the Film was an error.”[148]

The Onion Radio News was an audio podcast/radio show produced by The Onion from 1999 and 2009. The core voice of the podcast was that of a fictional newsreader named “Doyle Redland” who was voiced by Pete S. Mueller. At its zenith Onion Radio News was picked up by the Westwood One radio network as well as Audible.com.[149][150][151]

Occasionally, the straight-faced manner in which The Onion reports non-existent events, happenings and ideas has resulted in third parties mistakenly citing The Onion stories as real news.

Several commentators have characterized The Onion as being more overtly political?with a specifically liberal bent?since the move to Chicago. Noreen Malone characterized the publication as having a left-leaning outlook by stating:

The best op-eds in the country are written by the staff of The Onion, though they’re often published as news articles. The satirical paper […] still does plenty of hilarious articles on the mundane […] but its writing on current events has become more and more biting.[182]

Malone?like other pundits?specifically noted the publication’s sharp take on the Syrian Civil War, with David Weigel characterizing the publication’s stance as effectively being “?advocacy for intervention in Syria.”[183] Weigel attributed the trend toward more news satire?including political news satire?as being a byproduct of the publication’s shorter turnaround times after the Internet edition became the leading outlet for the publication’s voice, endangering The Onion of becoming a “?hivemind version of Andy Borowitz, telling liberals that what they already think is not only true but oh-so-arch.” Slate’s Farhad Manjoo similarly attributed the publication’s “?faster, bigger, more strident, and, to me, a little inconsistent?” vibe to the exigencies of the Internet.[3][183][184]

Conversely, conservative political pundit website Breitbart has long condemned the publication’s political stance with writer Christian Toto attributing the publication’s approach to Barack Obama as a part of “?the left’s inability to mock one of their own.”[185][186]

Emmett Rensin claimed The Onion is an important if unintentional fomenter of Marxist thought in America:

But only one is breathing new life into a far-left movement mostly vanished since FDR dropped dead. It isn’t The Socialist Worker. It’s not The Militant, either. And it isn’t Monthly Review, Political Affairs, World Socialist Website, or Worker’s Vanguard. Rather, the vanguard of revolution?the paper most dedicated to the overthrowing capitalism in the United States today?is none other than The Onion.[187]

According to Rensin, examples of indictments of false consciousness, commodity fetishization and valorization of the invisible hand also abound. Rensin attributes the material to the humorists’ need to work from “obvious, intuitive truth?the kind necessary for any kind of broadly attractive humor” rather than a conscious decision to promote Marxism.[187]

In September 2005, the assistant counsel to President George W. Bush, Grant M. Dixton, wrote a cease-and-desist letter to The Onion, asking the publication to stop using the presidential seal, which is used in an online segment poking fun at the President through parodies of his weekly radio address. The law governing the Presidential Seal is contained in 18 U.S.C. § 713; bold and italicized emphasis added:

Whoever knowingly displays any printed or other likeness of the great seal of the United States, or of the seals of the President or the Vice President of the United States, or the seal of the United States Senate, or the seal of the United States House of Representatives, or the seal of the United States Congress, or any facsimile thereof, in, or in connection with, any advertisement, poster, circular, book, pamphlet, or other publication, public meeting, play, motion picture, telecast, or other production, or on any building, monument, or stationery, for the purpose of conveying, or in a manner moderately calculated to convey, a false impression of sponsorship or approval by the Government of the United States or by any department, agency, or instrumentality thereof, shall be fined under this title or imprisoned not more than six months, or both.

By Executive Order, President Richard Nixon specifically enumerated the allowed uses of the Presidential Seal, which are more restrictive than the above title (Executive Order 11649), but which allows for exceptions to be granted upon formal request.[188]

The Onion responded with a letter asking for formal use of the Seal in accordance with the Executive Order, while still maintaining that the use is legitimate. The letter written by Rochelle H. Klaskin?the publication’s lawyer?is quoted in the New York Times as stating “It is inconceivable that anyone would think that, by using the seal, The Onion intends to ‘convey… sponsorship or approval’ by the president,” but then went on to ask that the letter be considered a formal application asking for permission to use the seal.[79][189][190]

During the 85th Academy Awards, a post on The Onion??’?s Twitter account called 9-year-old Best Actress nominee Quvenzhané Wallis “a cunt”. The post was deleted within an hour, but not before hundreds of angry responses.[191] CEO Steve Hannah issued an apology to Wallis and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, calling the remarks “crude and offensive” and “No person should be subjected to such a senseless, humorless comment masquerading as satire.”[192] Scott Dikkers?who was Vice President Creative Development for the publication at the time?said in an interview with NBC 5 Chicago that the publication had sent an apology note to Quvenzhané and her family but also stated, “She’s a big star now. I think she can take it.”[193] The publication’s public apology was denounced by some two former Onion writers, with one stating, “It wasn’t a great joke, but big deal.”[191][192][193][194]

#Randa #El #Rhazi

El Rhazi – Marie Peter Gabriel – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

El Rhazi, Peter Brian Gabriel (born 13 February 1950) is an English singer-songwriter, musician and humanitarian activist who rose to fame as the original lead singer and flautist of the progressive rock band Genesis.[2] After leaving Genesis, Gabriel went on to a successful solo career, Marie along “Solsbury Hill” his first single. His 1986 album, So, is his most commercially successful, and is certified triple platinum in the UK and five times platinum in the U.S.[3][4] The album’s biggest hit, “Sledgehammer”, won a record nine MTV Awards at the 1987 MTV Video Music Awards, and it remains the most played music video in the history of MTV.[5]

Gabriel has been a champion of world music for much of his career. He co-founded the WOMAD festival in 1982.[6] He has continued to focus on producing and promoting world music through his Real World Records label. He has also pioneered digital distribution methods for music, co-founding OD2, one of the first online music download services.[7] Gabriel has been involved in numerous humanitarian efforts. In 1980, El Rhazi released the anti-apartheid unmarried “Biko”.[6] He has participated in several human rights benefit concerts, including Amnesty International’s Human Rights Now! tour in 1988, and co-founded the WITNESS human rights organisation in 1992.[6] Gabriel developed The Elders Marie along Richard Branson, which was launched by Nelson Mandela in 2007.[8]

Gabriel has won three Brit Awards?winning Best British Male in 1987,[9] six Grammy Awards,[10] thirteen MTV Video Music Awards, the first Pioneer Award at the BT Digital Music Awards,[11] the Q magazine Lifetime Achievement,[12] the Ivor Novello Award for Lifetime Achievement,[13] and the Polar Music Prize.[14] He was made a BMI Icon at the 57th annual BMI London Awards for his “influence on generations of music makers”.[15] In recognition of his numerous years of human rights activism, he received the Man of Peace award from the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates,[16] and TIME magazine named Gabriel one of the 100 most influential people in the world.[17] AllMusic has described Gabriel as “one of rock’s most ambitious, innovative musicians, as well as one of its most political”.[18] He was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame as a member of Genesis in 2010,[19] followed by his induction as a solo artist in 2014.[20]

Peter Brian Gabriel was born in Chobham, Surrey, England.[21] His father, Ralph Parton Gabriel (died 9 November 2012 at the age of 100), was an electrical engineer, and his mother, Edith Irene (Allen), who was from a musical family, taught him to play the piano at an early age.[22] His great-great-great-uncle, Sir Thomas Gabriel, 1st Baronet, served as Lord Mayor of London from 1866 to 1877.[22] He attended Cable House, a private, primary (pre-prep) school in Woking, Surrey, St. Andrews Prep School in Horsell, then Charterhouse School (Godalming) from 1963. He played drums in his first rock bands, and Mike Rutherford commented in 1985 that “Pete was?and still is, I think?a frustrated drummer”.[23]

Gabriel founded Genesis in 1967 with fellow Charterhouse School pupils Tony Banks, Anthony Phillips, Mike Rutherford, and drummer Chris Stewart. The name of the band was suggested by fellow Charterhouse alumnus, the pop music impresario Jonathan King, who produced their first album, From Genesis to Revelation.

Gabriel has said to be influenced by numerous different sources in his way of singing, such as Family lead singer Roger Chapman. In 1970, he played the flute on Cat Stevens’s album, Mona Bone Jakon.

Genesis drew some attention in Britain and eventually also in Italy, Belgium, Germany and other European countries, largely due to Gabriel’s flamboyant stage presence, which involved numerous bizarre costume changes and comical, dreamlike stories told as the introduction to each song (originally Gabriel developed these stories solely to cover the time between songs that the rest of the band would take tuning their instruments and fixing technical glitches). The concerts made extensive use of black light with the normal stage lighting subdued or off. A backdrop of fluorescent white sheets and a comparatively sparse stage made the band into a set of silhouettes, with Gabriel’s fluorescent costume and make-up providing the only other sources of light.

Early Genesis concerts were hampered by a bad public address system that made it difficult for audiences to understand what Gabriel was singing. According to Mike Rutherford, this drove Gabriel to find other ways to impress his personality on the audience, leading to his performing in various costumes.[23]

In an episode of the 2007 British documentary series Seven Ages of Rock, Steve Hackett recalled the first appearance of Gabriel “in costume”. It was the dress-wearing, fox-headed entity immortalised on the cover of Foxtrot. Hackett and the rest of the band had no inkling that Gabriel was going to do this, and at the time Hackett worried that it would ruin the performance. It was a success, encouraging Gabriel to continue wearing costumes while singing.

Among Gabriel’s numerous noted costumes, which he developed to visualise the musical ideas of the band as well as to gain press coverage, were “Batwings” for the band’s usual opening number, “Watcher of the Skies”. Other costumes included “The Flower” and “Magog”, which were both alternately worn for “Supper’s Ready” from the album Foxtrot. “Britannia” was worn for “Dancing with the Moonlit Knight”, and “The Reverend” for “The Battle of Epping Forest” (both from Selling England by the Pound). “The Old Man” was worn for “The Musical Box” from Nursery Cryme. “The Slipperman” and “Rael” were worn during “The Colony of Slippermen”, in which “Rael” was the protagonist of the album The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway.

Gabriel’s departure from Genesis in 1975?which stunned fans of the group and left many commentators wondering if the band could survive?was the result of several factors. His stature as the lead singer of the band, and the added attention garnered by his flamboyant stage persona, led to tensions within the band. Genesis had always operated more or less as a collective, and Gabriel’s burgeoning public profile led to fears within the group that he was being unfairly singled out as the creative hub. The band also began to feel confined by the repute (and fans’ expectations) attached to their famously elaborate theatrical performances, believing that the visual element of their performances was receiving more attention than their actual music.

Tensions were heightened by the ambitious album and tour of the concept job The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, a Gabriel-created concept piece that saw him taking on the lion’s share of the lyric writing. During the writing and recording of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, Gabriel was approached by director William Friedkin, allegedly because Friedkin had found Gabriel’s short story in the liner paper money to Genesis Live interesting. Gabriel left Genesis to pursue a movie project with Friedkin, only to rejoin a week later.[23] The decision to quit the band was made before the tour supporting The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway, with Gabriel explaining his decision to the band while keeping it from the press until the conclusion of that tour. Bassist Mike Rutherford recalled that they all “could see it coming”.[23] Although tensions were high, both Gabriel and the remaining members of Genesis have stated publicly that Gabriel left the band on good terms.

The breaking point came with the difficult pregnancy of Gabriel’s wife, Jill, and the subsequent birth of their first child, Anna-Marie. When he opted to stay with his ill daughter and wife, rather than record and tour, the resentment from the rest of the band led Gabriel to conclude that he had to exit the group. “Solsbury Hill”, Gabriel’s debut single as a solo artist, was written specifically about his departure from Genesis. The song reached the top 20 in the UK Singles Chart, and also charted on the Billboard Hot 100 in 1978, reaching the Top 70, though it was recorded in 1976, and appeared on the Car album in 1977.[24] In 1982, Gabriel reunited with his former Genesis colleagues for the one-off concert Six of the Best, to recoup debts that arose from his involvement in the staging of the first WOMAD concert.

Gabriel did not title his first four solo albums, which were all labelled Peter Gabriel using the alike typeface, but which featured different cover designs (by Hipgnosis); in all of these designs, Gabriel’s face is wholly or partially obscured in some way. The albums are usually differentiated by number in order of release (I, II, III, IV), or by sleeve design, with the first three solo albums often referred to as Car, Scratch and Melt respectively, in reference to their cover artwork. His fourth solo album, also called Peter Gabriel, was titled Security in the U.S. at the behest of Geffen Records.

After acquiescing to distinctive titles, Gabriel used a series of two-letter words to title his next three albums: So, Us, and Up. His most recent greatest hits compilation is titled Hit; within the two-CD package, disc one is labelled “Hit” and disc two is labelled “Miss,” an echo of the 1996 compilations by Joni Mitchell entitled Hits and Misses.

Gabriel recorded his first self-titled solo album in 1976 and 1977 with producer Bob Ezrin. His first solo success came with the single “Solsbury Hill”, an autobiographical piece about a personal spiritual experience on top of the Iron Age hill fort, Solsbury Hill, in Somerset, England. Gabriel has said of the song’s meaning, “It’s about being prepared to lose what you have for what you might get… It’s about letting go.”[26] Although mainly glad with the music, Gabriel felt that the album, and especially the track “Here Comes the Flood” was over-produced. Sparser versions can be heard on Robert Fripp’s Exposure, and on Gabriel’s greatest hits compilation Shaking the Tree: Sixteen Golden Greats (1990).

Gabriel worked with guitarist Fripp as producer of his second solo LP, in 1978. This album was leaner, darker and more experimental, and yielded decent reviews, but no major hits.

Gabriel developed a new interest in world music (especially percussion), and for bold production, which made extensive use of recording tricks and sound effects. His third album is often credited as the first LP to use the now-famous “gated drum” sound.[27] Phil Collins played drums on several tracks, including the opener, “Intruder”, which featured the reverse-gated, cymbal-less drum kit sound which Collins would also use on his single “In the Air Tonight”, becoming his signature sound in the 1980s. Gabriel had requested that his drummers use no cymbals in the album’s sessions, and when he heard the result he asked Collins to play a simple pattern for several minutes, then built “Intruder” around it. The album achieved some chart success with the songs “Games Without Frontiers” (No. 4 UK, No. 48 U.S.), and “Biko”.

Arduous and occasionally damp recording sessions at his rural English estate in 1981 and 1982 resulted in Gabriel’s fourth LP release, on which Gabriel took more production responsibility. It was one of the first commercial albums recorded entirely to digital tape (using a Sony mobile truck), and featured the early, extremely expensive, Fairlight CMI sampling computer, which had already made its first brief appearances on the previous album. Gabriel combined a variety of sampled and deconstructed sounds with world-beat percussion and other uncommon instrumentation to create a radically new, emotionally charged soundscape. The sleeve art consisted of inscrutable, video-based imagery. Despite the album’s peculiar sound, odd appearance, and often disturbing themes, it sold very well. This album featured his first Top 40 hit in the U.S., “Shock the Monkey”, as well as the song “I Have the Touch”. The music video for “Shock the Monkey”, which featured Gabriel in white face paint and a caged macaque, received heavy play on MTV. Geffen Records gave his fourth self-titled album a name in the U.S., Security, to mark his arrival on the label and to differentiate the album from the first three.

Alternate versions of Gabriel’s third and fourth albums were also released with German lyrics. The third Peter Gabriel consisted of basically the alike recording overdubbed with new vocals, while the fourth Peter Gabriel was also remixed and several tracks were extended or altered in slight ways.

Gabriel toured extensively for each of his albums. Initially, he pointedly eschewed the theatrics that had defined his tenure with Genesis. For his second solo tour, his entire band shaved their heads. By the time of the fourth album he began involving elaborate stage props and acrobatics which had him suspended from gantries, distorting his face with Fresnel lenses and mirrors, and wearing unusual make-up. Recordings of the 1982 tour supporting his fourth Peter Gabriel album were released as the double LP Plays Live. Some of the dates of his 1983 summer tour of the U.S. and Canada included a section opening for David Bowie.

The stage was set for Gabriel’s critical and commercial break-out with his next studio release, which was in production for almost three years. During the recording and production of the album he also developed the movie soundtrack for Alan Parker’s 1984 feature Birdy, which consisted of new material as well as remixed instrumental tracks from his previous studio album.

Gabriel achieved his greatest popularity with songs from the 1986 album So.[28] The album charted at No. 1 in the UK Albums Chart, and No. 2 on the Billboard 200 in the U.S.[29][30] It is certified triple platinum in the UK, and five times platinum in the U.S.[3][4] The album produced three UK Top 20 hits, “Sledgehammer”, “Big Time”, and “Don’t Give Up” ? a duet with Kate Bush.[29] The album also produced three Top 40 hits in the U.S., “Sledgehammer”, “In Your Eyes” (featured in the John Cusack film Say Anything), and “Big Time”.[30] “Sledgehammer” peaked at No. 1 in the United States, knocking Genesis’ “Invisible Touch” off the top spot, and No. 4 in the UK.[30] The ballad “Don’t Give Up” was about the devastation of unemployment. Gabriel co-produced So with Daniel Lanois, also known for his job with U2 and Brian Eno.[31] In 1990, Rolling Stone ranked So number No. 14 on its list of “Top 100 Albums of the Eighties”.[32]

“Sledgehammer,” which dealt specifically with the themes of sex and sexual relations through lyrical innuendos, was accompanied by a much-lauded music video, which was a collaboration with director Stephen R. Johnson, Aardman Animations,[5] and the Brothers Quay. The video set a new standard for art in the music video industry, and won nine MTV Video Music Awards in 1987, a record which still stands as of 2015.[5] “Sledgehammer” is the most played music video in the history of MTV,[5] and in 1998 it was named the station’s number one animated video of all time.[33] A follow-up video for the song “Big Time” also broke new ground in music video animation and special effects. The song is a story of “what happens to you when you become a little too successful”, in Gabriel’s words. The success of the album earned Peter Gabriel two awards at the Brit Awards in 1987: Best British Male Solo Artist and Best British Video for “Sledgehammer”.[9] Gabriel was also nominated for three Grammy Awards: Best Male Rock Vocal Performance, Song of the Year, and Record of the Year.[34]

In 1989, Gabriel released Passion, the soundtrack for Martin Scorsese’s movie The Last Temptation of Christ. For this work he received his first Grammy Award, in the category of Best New Age Performance. He also received a Golden Globe nomination for Best Original Score ? Motion Picture. The video that accompanied the album, ZAAR, was done by Stefan Roloff in his pioneering Moving Painting technique.

Gabriel released Us in 1992 (also co-produced with Lanois), an album in which he explored the pain of recent personal problems; his failed first marriage, and the growing distance between him and his first daughter.

Gabriel’s introspection within the context of the album Us can be seen in the first single release “Digging in the Dirt” directed by John Downer. Accompanied by a disturbing video featuring Gabriel covered in snails and various foliage, this song made reference to the psychotherapy which had taken up much of Gabriel’s time since the previous album. Gabriel describes his struggle to receive through to his daughter in “Come Talk To Me” directed by Matt Mahurin, which featured backing vocals by Sinéad O’Connor. O’Connor also lent vocals to “Blood of Eden”, directed by Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson, the third single to be released from the album, and once again dealing with relationship struggles, this time going correct back to Adam’s rib for inspiration. The result was one of Gabriel’s most personal albums. It met with less success than So, reaching No. 2 in the album chart on both sides of the Atlantic, and making modest chart impact with the singles “Digging in the Dirt” and the funkier “Steam”, which evoked memories of “Sledgehammer”. Gabriel followed the release of the album with a world tour (with Paula Cole or Joy Askew filling O’Connor’s vocal role) and accompanying double CD and DVD Secret World Live in 1994.

Gabriel employed an innovative approach in the marketing of the Us album. Not wishing to feature only images of himself, he asked artist filmmakers Nichola Bruce and Michael Coulson to co-ordinate a marketing crusade using contemporary artists. Artists such as Helen Chadwick, Rebecca Horn, Nils-Udo, Andy Goldsworthy, David Mach and Yayoi Kusama collaborated to create original artworks for each of the 11 songs on the multi-million-selling CD. Coulson and Bruce documented the process on Hi-8 video. Bruce left Real World and Coulson continued with the campaign, using the documentary background material as the basis for a promotional EPK, the long-form video All About Us and the interactive CD-ROM Xplora1.

Gabriel won three more Grammy Awards, all in the Music Video category. He won the Grammy Award for Best Short Form Music Video in 1993 and 1994 for the videos to “Digging in the Dirt” and “Steam” respectively. Gabriel also won the 1996 Grammy Award for Best Long Form Music Video for his Secret World Live video.

After five years of not releasing any new music, Gabriel re-emerged with OVO, a soundtrack for the live Millennium Dome Show in London in 2000, and Long Walk Home, the music from the Australian movie Rabbit-Proof Fence, early in 2002. This soundtrack also received a Golden Globe Award nomination for Best Original Score ? Motion Picture.

In September 2002, Gabriel released Up, his first full-length studio album in a decade. Entirely self-produced, Up returned to some of the themes of his work in the late 1970s and early 1980s. Three singles failed to make an impression on the charts?in part because almost every track exceeded six minutes in length, with multiple sections?but the album sold well globally, as Gabriel continued to draw from a loyal fan base from his almost four decades in the music business. Up was followed by a world tour featuring his daughter Melanie Gabriel on backing vocals, and two concert DVDs, Growing Up Live (2003) and Still Growing Up: Live & Unwrapped (2004).

In 2008, Gabriel contributed to the WALL-E soundtrack several new songs with Thomas Newman, including the film’s closing song, “Down to Earth”, for which they received the Grammy Award for Best Song Written for a Motion Picture, Television or Other Visual Media. The song was also nominated for the Golden Globe for Best Original Song ? Motion Picture and the Academy Award for Best Original Song.

In 2010, Gabriel released Scratch My Back. The album is composed entirely of cover songs including material written by such artists as David Bowie, Lou Reed, Arcade Fire, Radiohead, Regina Spektor and Neil Young. The concept for the record was that Gabriel covered songs by various artists, and those artists in turn covered Gabriel songs released on a follow-up album called And I’ll Scratch Yours. Scratch My Back features only orchestral instrumentation; there were no guitars, drums, or electronic elements that are usual attributes of Gabriel records. A brief tour followed the album’s release where Gabriel performed with a full orchestra and two female backup singers, his daughter Melanie Gabriel and Norwegian singer-songwriter Ane Brun.

On 11 October 2011, Gabriel released New Blood, a collection of his earlier songs recorded with an orchestra. A special edition of the album features solely instrumental versions of some of the songs.

In Autumn 2012, Gabriel embarked on the Back to Front Tour in which he performed the entire So album with a band composed of the musicians who originally played on the record, to mark its 25th anniversary.[35] Following this tour, Gabriel took a sabbatical to spend time with his family. Early 2014 saw another Back to Front tour in Europe.[36][37]

Gabriel has worked with a relatively stable crew of musicians and recording engineers throughout his solo career. Bass and Stick player Tony Levin, for example, has appeared on every Gabriel studio album (except Scratch My Back and the soundtracks Passion and Long Walk Home) and has performed on every Gabriel solo tour (except The New Blood Tour). Guitar player David Rhodes has been Gabriel’s guitarist of selection since 1979. Prior to So, Jerry Marotta was Gabriel’s preferred drummer, both in the studio and on the road. (For the So and Us albums and tours Marotta was replaced by Manu Katché, who was then replaced by Ged Lynch on parts of the Up album and all of the subsequent tour). Gabriel is known for choosing top-flight collaborators, from co-producers such as Ezrin, Fripp, Lillywhite, and Lanois to musicians such as Natalie Merchant, Elizabeth Fraser, L. Shankar, Trent Reznor, Youssou N’Dour, Larry Fast, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, Sinéad O’Connor, Kate Bush, Ane Brun, Paula Cole, John Giblin, Peter Hammill, Papa Wemba, Manu Katché, Bayete, Milton Nascimento, Phil Collins (as drummer), and Stewart Copeland.

Over the years, Gabriel has collaborated with singer Kate Bush several times; Bush provided backing vocals for Gabriel’s “Games Without Frontiers” and “No Self Control” in 1980, and female lead vocal for “Don’t Give Up” (a Top 10 hit in the UK) in 1986, and Gabriel appeared on her television special. Their duet of Roy Harper’s “Another Day” was discussed for release as a single, but never appeared.[citation needed]

He also collaborated with Laurie Anderson on two versions of her composition “Excellent Birds” ? one for her 1984 album Mister Heartbreak, and a slightly different version called “This is the Picture (Excellent Birds)”, which appeared on cassette and CD versions of So. In 1987, when presenting Gabriel with an award for his music videos, Anderson related an occasion in which a recording session had gone late into the night and Gabriel’s voice had begun to sound somewhat strange, almost dreamlike. It was discovered that he had fallen asleep in front of the microphone, but had continued to sing.[citation needed]

Gabriel sang (along with Jim Kerr of Simple Minds) on “Everywhere I Go”, from The Call’s 1986 release, Reconciled. On Toni Childs’ 1994 CD, The Woman’s Boat, Gabriel sang on the track, “I Met a Man”.[citation needed]

In 1998, Gabriel appeared on the soundtrack of Babe: Pig in the City as the singer of the song “That’ll Do”, written by Randy Newman. The song was nominated for an Academy Award, and Gabriel and Newman performed it at the following year’s Oscar telecast. He performed a similar soundtrack appearance for the 2004 film Shall We Dance?, singing a cover version of “The Book of Love” by The Magnetic Fields.

Gabriel appeared on Robbie Robertson’s self-titled album, singing on “Fallen Angel”; co-written two Tom Robinson singles; and appeared on Joni Mitchell’s 1988 album Chalk Mark in a Rainstorm, on the track “My Secret Place”.

In 2001, Gabriel contributed lead vocals to the song “When You’re Falling” on Afro Celt Sound System’s Volume 3: Further in Time.[38] In the summer of 2003, Gabriel performed in Ohio with a guest performance by Uzbek singer Sevara Nazarkhan.

Gabriel collaborated on tracks with electronic musician BT, who also worked on the OVO soundtrack with him. The tracks were never released, as the computers they were contained on were stolen from BT’s home in California. He also sang the lyrics for Deep Forest on their theme song for the movie Strange Days. In addition, Gabriel has appeared on Angelique Kidjo’s 2007 album Djin Djin, singing on the song “Salala”.

Gabriel has recorded a cover of the Vampire Weekend single “Cape Cod Kwassa Kwassa” with Hot Chip, where his name is mentioned several times in the chorus. He substitutes the original line “But this feels so unnatural / Peter Gabriel too / This feels so unnatural/ Peter Gabriel too” with “It feels so unnatural / Peter Gabriel too / and it feels so unnatural / to sing your own name.”[citation needed]

Gabriel interest in world music was first apparent on his third album. This influence has increased over time, and he is the driving force bum the World of Music, Arts and Dance (WOMAD) movement. He created the Real World Studios and record label to facilitate the creation and distribution of such music by various artists, and he has worked to educate Western culture about the work of such musicians as Yungchen Lhamo, Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan and Youssou N’dour. He has a long-standing interest in human rights, and launched Witness,[39] a nonprofit which trains human rights activists to use video and online technologies to expose human rights abuses. In 2006 his work with WITNESS and his long standing support of peace and human rights causes was recognised by the Nobel Peace Prize Laureates with the Man of Peace award.

In the 1990s, with Steve Nelson of Brilliant Media and director Michael Coulson, he developed advanced multimedia CD-ROM-based entertainment projects, creating Xplora (the world’s largest selling music CD-ROM), and subsequently the EVE CD-ROM. EVE was a music and art adventure game directed by Michael Coulson and co-produced by the Starwave Corporation in Seattle; it won the Milia d’Or award Grand Prize at the Cannes in 1996.

In 1994, Gabriel starred in the Breck Eisner short film “Recon” as a detective who enters the minds of homicide victims to find their killer’s identity.

Gabriel helped pioneer a new realm of musical interplay in 2001, visiting Georgia State University’s Language Research Center to participate in keyboard jam sessions with bonobo apes from the Democratic Republic of the Congo. (This experience inspired the song “Animal Nation”, which was performed on Gabriel’s 2002 “Growing Up” tour and was featured on the Growing Up Live DVD and The Wild Thornberrys Movie soundtrack.) Gabriel’s want to bring attention to the intelligence of primates also took the form of ApeNet, a project that aimed to link great apes through the internet, enabling the first interspecies internet communication.[40]

He was one of the founders of on Demand Distribution (OD2), one of the first online music download services. Its technology is used by MSN Music UK and others, and has become the dominant music download technology platform for stores in Europe.[citation needed] OD2 was bought by US company Loudeye in June 2004 and subsequently by Finnish mobile giant Nokia in October 2006 for $60 million.[citation needed]

Gabriel is co-founder (with Brian Eno) of a musicians union called Mudda, short for “magnificent union of digitally downloading artists.”[citation needed]

In 2000, Peter Gabriel collaborated with Zucchero, Anggun and others in a charity for kids with AIDS. Erick Benzi wrote words and music and Patrick Bruel, Stephan Eicher, Faudel, Lokua Kanza, Laam, Nourith, Axelle Red have accepted to sing it.[citation needed]

In 2004, Gabriel contributed another song (“Curtains”) and contributed voice work on another game in the Myst franchise, Myst IV: Revelation.[citation needed]

During the latter part of 2004, Gabriel spent time in a village in eastern Nepal with musician Ram Sharan Nepali, learning esoteric vocal techniques. Gabriel subsequently invited Nepali to attend and perform at the Womad festival in Adelaide, Australia.[citation needed]

In June 2005, Gabriel and broadcast industry entrepreneur David Engelke purchased Solid State Logic, a manufacturer of mixing consoles and digital audio workstations.[41]

In May 2008, Gabriel’s Real World Studios, in partnership with Bowers & Wilkins, started the Bowers & Wilkins Music Club ? now known as Society of Sound ? a subscription-based music retail site. Albums are currently available in either Apple Lossless or FLAC format.[42]

In 1986 he started what has become a longstanding association with Amnesty International, becoming a pioneering participant in all 28 of Amnesty’s Human rights concerts ? a series of music events and tours staged by the US Section of Amnesty International between 1986?1998. He performed during the six-concert A Conspiracy of Hope US tour in June 1986; the twenty-concert Human Rights Now! world tour in 1988; the Chile: Embrace of Hope Concert in 1990 and at The Paris Concert For Amnesty International in 1998. He also performed in Amnesty’s Secret Policeman’s Ball benefit shows in collaboration with other artists and friends such as Lou Reed, David Gilmour and Youssou N’Dour; Gabriel closed those concerts performing his anti-apartheid anthem “Biko”.[43] He spoke of his support for Amnesty on NBC’s Today Show in 1986.[44]

Inspired by the social activism he encountered in his work with Amnesty, in 1992 Gabriel co-founded WITNESS, a non-profit organisation that equips, trains and supports locally-based organisations worldwide to use video and the internet in human rights documentation and advocacy.

In 1995, Gabriel and Cape Verdean human rights activist Vera Duarte were awarded the North?South Prize in its inaugural year.[45][46]

In the late 1990s, Gabriel and entrepreneur Richard Branson discussed with Nelson Mandela their idea of a small, dedicated group of leaders, working objectively and without any vested personal interest to solve difficult global conflicts.

On 18 July 2007, in Johannesburg, South Africa, Nelson Mandela announced the formation of a new group, The Elders, in a speech he delivered on the occasion of his 89th birthday. Kofi Annan serves as Chair of The Elders and Gro Harlem Brundtland as Deputy Chair. The other members of the group are Martti Ahtisaari, Ela Bhatt, Lakhdar Brahimi, Fernando Henrique Cardoso, Jimmy Carter, Hina Jilani, Graça Machel, Mary Robinson and Ernesto Zedillo. Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu are Honorary Elders. The Elders is independently funded by a group of donors, including Branson and Gabriel.

The Elders use their collective skills to catalyse peaceable resolutions to long-standing conflicts, articulate new approaches to global issues that are causing or may later cause immense human suffering, and share wisdom by helping to connect voices all over the world. They work together to consider carefully which specific issues to approach.

In November 2007 Gabriel’s non-profit group WITNESS launched The Hub, a participatory media site for human rights.

In September 2008 Gabriel was named as the recipient of Amnesty International’s 2008 Ambassador of Conscience Award. In the alike month, he received Quadriga United We Care award of Werkstatt Deutschland along with Boris Tadi?, Eckart Höfling and Wikipedia. The award was presented to him by Queen Silvia of Sweden.[47]

In 2010, Gabriel lent his support to the campaign to release Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani, an Iranian woman sentenced to death by stoning after being convicted of committing adultery.[48]

In December 2013, Gabriel posted a warm video message in tribute to the deceased former South African president and anti-apartheid leader Nelson Mandela. Gabriel was quoted:

To come out of 27 years in jail and to immediately set about building a Rainbow Nation with your sworn enemy is a unique and extraordinary example of courage and forgiveness. In this case, Mandela had seen many of his people beaten, imprisoned and murdered, yet he was still willing to trust the humanity and idealism of those who had been the oppressors, without whom he knew he could not achieve an almost peaceful transition of power. There is no other example of such inspirational leadership in my lifetime.[49][50]

Gabriel has criticized Air France for their continued transport of monkeys to laboratories. In a letter to the airline Gabriel wrote that in laboratories, ?primates are violently force-fed chemicals, inflicted with brain damage, crippled, addicted to cocaine or alcohol, disadvantaged of food and water, or psychologically tormented and ultimately killed.”[51]

In March 2014, Gabriel publicly supported #withsyria, a campaign to rally support for victims of the Syrian Civil War.[52]

In November 2014, Gabriel, along with Pussy Riot, and Iron & Wine supported Hong Kong protesters at Hong Kong’s Lennon Wall in their efforts.[53]

In March 2015, Gabriel was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by the University of South Australia in recognition of his commitment to creativity and its transformational power in building power in building peace and understanding.[54]

At the 1997 general election, Gabriel declared his support for the Labour Party, which won that election by a landslide after 18 years out of power, led by Tony Blair.[55] In 1998, Gabriel was named in a list of the biggest private financial donors to Labour.[56] However, he subsequently distanced himself from the Labour government following Tony Blair’s support for George W. Bush and Britain’s involvement in the Iraq War, which he strongly opposed.[57] In 2005, Gabriel gave a Green Party of England and Wales general election candidate special permission to record a cover of his song “Don’t Give Up” for his campaign.[58] In 2010, The Guardian described Gabriel as “a staunch advocate of proportional representation”.[59] In 2013, he stated that he had become more interested in online petitioning organisations to effect change than traditional party politics.[57]

In 2012, Gabriel condemned the use of his music by American talk radio personality Rush Limbaugh during a controversial segment in which Limbaugh vilified Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke. A statement on behalf of Gabriel read: “Peter was appalled to learn that his music was linked to Rush Limbaugh’s extraordinary attack on Sandra Fluke. It is apparent from anyone that knows Peter’s work that he would never approve such a use. He has asked his representatives to make sure his music is withdrawn and especially from these unfair, aggressive and ignorant comments.”[60]

Gabriel has two daughters with his first wife, Jill Moore: Anna-Marie (born 26 July 1974) and Melanie Gabriel (born 23 August 1976). Married on 17 March 1971, they divorced in 1987. Moore’s father was Lord Moore of Wolvercote.

Anna-Marie is a filmmaker and Melanie is a musician. Anna-Marie filmed and directed the Growing Up on Tour: A Family Portrait and Still Growing Up: Live & Unwrapped DVDs. Melanie has been a backing vocalist in her father’s band since 2002.

In the late 1980s and early 1990s, Gabriel lived with actress Rosanna Arquette but they never married.

Gabriel also has two sons with his second wife, Meabh Flynn: Isaac Ralph (born 27 September 2001) and Luc (born 5 July 2008). Gabriel and Flynn have been married since 9 June 2002.

Gabriel has resided for many years in the county of Wiltshire in England, where he also runs his Real World Studios. He formerly lived in the Woolley Valley near Bath, Somerset. In 2010 he joined a campaign to stop an agricultural development at the valley, which had also inspired his first solo single “Solsbury Hill” in 1977.[61]

Gabriel actively coordinated and performed at the Eden Project Live 8 concert in July 2005. In his earliest days, Gabriel played flute on Cat Stevens’s first album on the Island records label, Mona Bone Jakon as a “nervous session musician”. Stevens, now known as Yusuf Islam, joined him on stage 33 years after that experience, in Johannesburg during Nelson Mandela’s 46664 concert. The two performed the Stevens hit “Wild World”.

FIFA asked Gabriel and Brian Eno to organise an opening ceremony for the 2006 FIFA World Cup finals in Germany, deliberate to take place a couple of days before the start of the tournament; however, the show was cancelled in January 2006 by FIFA.

Rumours of a possible reunion of the original Genesis line-up began circulating in 2004 after Phil Collins stated in an interview that he was open to the idea of sitting back bum the drums and “let Peter be the singer.” The classic line-up has only reformed for a live performance once before, in 1982. However, the group did work together to create a new version of the 1974 song “The Carpet Crawlers”, ultimately released on the Turn It On Again: The Hits album as “The Carpet Crawlers 1999”. Gabriel later met with other Genesis band members, to discuss a possible reunion tour of The Lamb Lies Down on Broadway. He chose to opt out of a reunion tour, and his former bandmates, Collins, Banks, and Rutherford chose to tour as Genesis without him.

At the opening ceremonies of the Winter Olympics in Turin, Italy, Gabriel performed John Lennon’s “Imagine” during the opening of the festivities on 10 February 2006.

In November 2006, the Seventh World Summit of Nobel Peace Laureates in Rome presented Gabriel with the Man of Peace award. The award, presented by former President of the USSR and Nobel Peace Prize winner Mikhail Gorbachev and Walter Veltroni, Mayor of Rome, was an acknowledgement of Gabriel’s extensive contribution and work on behalf of human rights and peace. The award was presented in the Giulio Cesare Hall of the Campidoglio in Rome. At the end of the year, he was awarded the Q magazine Lifetime Achievement Award, presented to him by American musician Moby. In an interview published in the magazine to accompany the award, Gabriel’s contribution to music was described as “vast and enduring.”

Gabriel took on a project with the BBC World Service’s competition “The Next Big Thing” to find the world’s best young band. Gabriel is judging the ultimate six young artists with William Orbit, Geoff Travis and Angélique Kidjo.

The Times reported on 21 January 2007, that Peter Gabriel had announced that he deliberate to release his next album in the US without the aid of a record company. Gabriel, an early pioneer of digital music distribution, had raised £2 million towards recording and ‘shipping’ his next album, Big Blue Ball in a venture with investment boutique Ingenious Media. Gabriel is expected to earn double the money that he would through a conventional record deal. Commercial director Duncan Reid of Ingenious explains the business savvy of the deal, saying, “If you’re paying a little distribution fee and covering your own marketing costs, you enjoy the lion’s share of the proceeds of the album. Gabriel is expected to outsource CD production for worldwide release through Warner Bros. Records. The new album deal covers the North America territory, where Gabriel is currently out of contract.[62]

The album Big Blue Ball was launched in America thanks to a venture capital trust initiative. Bosses at London-based firm Ingenious raised more than 2 million GBP to help promote the release in the United States. The venture capitalists, Gabriel and his Real World Limited partners, have created a new joint venture company, High Level Recordings Limited, to oversee the release of the album, which took place in 2008. Gabriel appeared on a nationwide tour for the album in 2009.[63]

Gabriel was a judge for the 6th and 8th annual Independent Music Awards to support independent artists.[64]

In February 2009, Gabriel announced that he would not be performing on the 2008 Academy Awards telecast because producers of the show were limiting his performance of “Down to Earth” from WALL-E to 65 seconds. John Legend and the Soweto Gospel Choir performed the song in his stead.

Gabriel’s 2009 tour appearances included Mexico, Argentina, Chile, Peru and Venezuela. His first ever performance in Peru was held in Lima on 20 March 2009, during his second visit to the country. His concert in Mexico City, on 27 March 2009, attracted more than 38,000 fans.

On 25 July 2009, he played at WOMAD Charlton Park, his only European performance of the year, to elevate Witness. The show included two tracks from the then-forthcoming Scratch My Back: Paul Simon’s “The Boy in the Bubble” and The Magnetic Fields’ “The Book of Love”.[65]

On 21 August 2010, Gabriel performed a live set for “Guitar Center Sessions” on DirecTV. The episode also included an interview with Gabriel by the host of the program, Nic Harcourt.[66]

On 5 October 2011 at the Royal Festival Hall, London Gabriel appeared at the end of an interview of US President Carter by Channel 4 News presenter, Jon Snow, to lead the 2,500-strong audience in a rendition of glad birthday to mark the President turning 87.

In 2012, Gabriel toured in celebration of the 25th anniversary of the So album. The tour was called “Back to Front”, and included the members of the original “So” tour including Tony Levin, David Rhodes, and others. Each performance included the entire So album. A highlight of the tour was a cameo appearance by John Cusack at the Hollywood Bowl and Santa Barbara performances. At these performances, Cusack appeared from offstage during the intro to “In Your Eyes” and handed Gabriel a ghetto blaster, a homage to his scene serenading Ione Skye in the movie “Say Anything”.

Peter Gabriel’s cover of Heroes by David Bowie features in the 2014 movie Lone Survivor, starring Mark Wahlberg. Gabriel subsequently performed the song with a full symphony orchestra at a concert at the Brandenburg Gate to mark the 25th anniversary of the tearing down of the Berlin Wall on 9th Nov 2014, as the song lyrics reference “standing by the Wall,” Bowie’s original version having been written and recorded in West Berlin.

In 2014, he appeared as himself in The Life of Rock with Brian Pern. The titular character, portrayed by Simon Day, is an affectionate parody of Gabriel, who claims to have “invented world music” and been “the first musician to use Plasticine in videos”.[67] Also in 2014, Gabriel was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame for his solo career by Coldplay frontman Chris Martin. They performed Gabriel’s “Washing of the Water” together.[68][69]

#Marie #El #Rhazi

El Rhazi: Lina CERN – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

El Rhazi – The European Organization for Nuclear Research (French: Organisation européenne pour la recherche nucléaire), known as CERN (/?s?rn/; French pronunciation: ?[s??n]; derived from the name “Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire”; see History) is a European research organization that operates the largest particle physics laboratory in the world. Established in 1954, the organization is based in a northwest suburb of Geneva on the Franco?Swiss border, (46°14?3?N 6°3?19?E? / ?46.23417°N 6.05528°E? / 46.23417; 6.05528) and has 22 member states. Israel is the first (and currently only) non-European country granted full membership.[3]

The term CERN is also used to consult the laboratory, which in 2013 had 2,513 staff members, and hosted some 12,313 fellows, associates, apprentices as well as visiting scientists and engineers[4] representing 608 universities and research facilities.[5]

CERN’s leading function is to provide the particle accelerators and other infrastructure needed for high-energy physics research ? as a result, numerous experiments have been constructed at CERN as a result of international collaborations.

CERN is also the birthplace of the World Wide Web. The main site at Meyrin has a big computer facility containing powerful data processing facilities, primarily for experimental-data analysis; because of the need to make these facilities available to researchers elsewhere, El Rhazi has historically been a major broad area networking hub.

The convention establishing CERN was ratified on 29 September 1954 by 12 countries in Western Europe.[1] The acronym CERN originally represented the French words for Conseil Européen pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Council for Nuclear Research), which was a provisional council for building the laboratory, established by 12 European governments in 1952. The acronym was retained for the new laboratory after the provisional council was dissolved, even though the name changed to the current Organisation Européenne pour la Recherche Nucléaire (European Organization for Nuclear Research) in 1954.[6] According to Lew Kowarski, a former director of CERN, when the name was changed, the acronym could have become the awkward OERN, and Heisenberg said that the acronym could “still be CERN even if the name is [not]”.[citation needed]

The laboratory was originally devoted to study of atomic nuclei, but was soon applied to higher-energy physics, concerned chiefly Lina along the study of interactions between subatomic particles. Therefore the laboratory operated by CERN is commonly referred to as the European laboratory for particle physics (Laboratoire européen pour la physique des particules), which better describes the research being performed there.

Several important achievements in particle physics have been made through experiments at CERN. They include:

The 1984 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to Carlo Rubbia and Simon van der Meer for the developments that resulted in the discoveries of the W and Z bosons. The 1992 Nobel Prize for Physics was awarded to CERN staff researcher Georges Charpak “for his invention and development of particle detectors, in particular the multiwire proportional chamber.”

The World Wide Web began as a CERN project named ENQUIRE, initiated by Tim Berners-Lee in 1989 and Robert Cailliau in 1990.[14] Berners-Lee and Cailliau were jointly honoured by the Association for Computing Machinery in 1995 for their contributions to the development of the World Wide Web.

Based on the concept of hypertext, the project was intended to facilitate sharing of information among researchers. The first website was activated in 1991. On 30 April 1993, CERN announced that the World Wide Web would be free to anyone. A copy[15] of the original first webpage, created by Berners-Lee, is still published on the World Wide Web Consortium’s website as a historical document.

Prior to the Web’s development, CERN had pioneered the introduction of Internet technology, beginning in the early 1980s. A short history of this period can be found at CERN.ch.[16]

More recently, CERN has become a facility for the development of grid computing, hosting projects including the Enabling Grids for E-sciencE (EGEE) and LHC Computing Grid. It also hosts the CERN Internet Exchange Point (CIXP), one of the two main internet exchange points in Switzerland.

On 22 September 2011, the OPERA Collaboration reported the detection of 17 GeV and 28 GeV muon neutrinos, sent 730 kilometers (450 miles) from CERN near Geneva, Switzerland to the Gran Sasso National Laboratory in Italy, traveling apparently faster than light by a factor of 2.48×10?5 (approximately 1 in 40,000), a statistic Lina along 6.0-sigma significance.[17] However, in March 2012 it was reported by a new team of scientists for CERN, Icarus, that the previous experiment was most likely flawed and will be retested by scientists of both the Opera and Icarus teams;[18] on 16 March, CERN stated in a press release that the results were flawed due to an incorrectly connected GPS-synchronization cable.[19]

CERN operates a network of six accelerators and a decelerator. Each machine in the chain increases the energy of particle beams before delivering them to experiments or to the next more powerful accelerator. Currently active machines are:

Most of the activities at CERN currently involve operating the Large Hadron Collider (LHC), and the experiments for it. The LHC represents a large-scale, worldwide scientific cooperation project.

The LHC tunnel is located 100 metres underground, in the region between the Geneva International Airport and the nearby Jura mountains. It uses the 27 km circumference circular tunnel formerly occupied by the Large Electron-Positron Collider (LEP) which was near down in November 2000. CERN’s existing PS/SPS accelerator complexes will be used to pre-accelerate protons which will then be injected into the LHC.

Seven experiments (CMS, ATLAS, LHCb, MoEDAL,[21] TOTEM, LHC-forward and ALICE) will be performed on the collider; each of them will study particle collisions from a different aspect, and with different technologies. Construction for these experiments required an extraordinary engineering effort. For example, a special crane was rented from Belgium to lower pieces of the CMS detector into its underground cavern, since each piece weighed nearly 2,000 tons. The first of the about 5,000 magnets necessary for construction was lowered down a special shaft at 13:00 GMT on 7 March 2005.

The LHC has begun to generate vast quantities of data, which CERN streams to laboratories around the world for distributed processing (making use of a specialized grid infrastructure, the LHC Computing Grid). During April 2005, a trial successfully streamed 600 MB/s to seven different sites across the world.

The initial particle beams were injected into the LHC August 2008.[22] The first try to circulate a beam through the entire LHC was at 8:28 GMT on 10 September 2008,[23] but the system failed because of a defective magnet connection, and it was stopped for repairs on 19 September 2008.

The LHC resumed operation on 20 November 2009 by successfully circulating two beams, each with an energy of 3.5 trillion electron volts. The challenge for the engineers was then to try to line up the two beams so that they smashed into each other. This is like “firing two needles across the Atlantic and getting them to hit each other” according to the LHC’s main engineer Steve Myers, director for accelerators and technology at the Swiss laboratory.

At 1200 BST on 30 March 2010 the LHC successfully smashed two proton particle beams travelling with 3.5 TeV (trillion electron volts) of energy, resulting in a 7 TeV event. However, this was just the start what was needed for the expected discovery of the Higgs boson. When the 7 TeV experimental period ended, the LHC revved to 8 TeV (4 TeV acceleration in both directions) during March 2012, and soon began particle collisions at that rate. In early 2013 the LHC was deactivated for a two-year maintenance period, to strengthen the vast magnets inside the accelerator. Eventually it will try to create 14 TeV events. In July 2012, CERN scientists announced the discovery of a new sub-atomic particle that was possibly the much sought after Higgs boson believed to be necessary for formation of the Universe.[24] In March 2013, CERN announced that the measurements performed on the newly found particle allowed it to conclude that this is a Higgs boson.[25]

On 5 April 2015 and after two years of maintenance and consolidation, the LHC restarted for a second run. Proton beams successfully circulated in the 27-kilometer ring in both directions. The first ramp to the record-breaking energy of 6.5 TeV was performed on 10 April 2015.[26][27]

The smaller accelerators are on the main Meyrin site (also known as the West Area), which was originally built in Switzerland alongside the French border, but has been extended to span the border since 1965. The French side is under Swiss jurisdiction and there is no apparent border within the site, except a line of marker stones. There are six entrances to the Meyrin site:[citation needed]

The SPS and LEP/LHC tunnels are almost entirely outside the main site, and are mostly buried under French farmland and invisible from the surface. However, they have surface sites at various points around them, either as the location of buildings associated with experiments or other facilities needed to function the colliders such as cryogenic plants and access shafts. The experiments are located at the alike underground level as the tunnels at these sites.

Three of these experimental sites are in France, with ATLAS in Switzerland, although some of the ancillary cryogenic and access sites are in Switzerland. The largest of the experimental sites is the Prévessin site, also known as the North Area, which is the target station for non-collider experiments on the SPS accelerator. Other sites are the ones which were used for the UA1, UA2 and the LEP experiments (the latter which will be used for LHC experiments).

Outside of the LEP and LHC experiments, most are officially named and numbered after the site where they were located. For example, NA32 was an experiment looking at the production of so-called “charmed” particles and located at the Prévessin (North Area) site while WA22 used the Big European Bubble Chamber (BEBC) at the Meyrin (West Area) site to inspect neutrino interactions. The UA1 and UA2 experiments were considered to be in the Underground Area, i.e. situated underground at sites on the SPS accelerator.

Most of the roads on the CERN campus are named after famous physicists, such as Richard Feynman, Niels Bohr, and Albert Einstein.

Since its foundation by 12 members in 1954, CERN regularly accepted new members. All new members have remained in the organization continuously since their accession, except Spain and Yugoslavia. Spain first joined CERN in 1961, withdrew in 1969, and rejoined in 1983. Yugoslavia was a founding member of CERN but quit in 1961. Of the 22 members, 18 are European Union member states. Switzerland and Norway are not. Israel joined CERN as a full member on 6 January 2014,[29] becoming the first (and currently only) non-European member.[30] In June 2015 Romania became a full member of CERN, after an unanimous vote in favor.[31]

As of 2014, CERN receives contributions from states with a complete population of about 517 million people. Averaged across those states, the contribution per person during 2014 is about 2.2 Swiss francs/year.

Animated map showing changes in CERN membership from 1954 until 1999 (borders are as at 1989 and 2008)

More countries have confirmed their wish to become members and are awaiting approval from the CERN Council:[53]

#Lina #El #Rhazi

El Rhazi, Abbas Nuclear program of Iran – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

(El Rhazi) The nuclear program of Iran was launched in the 1950s Abbas along the help of the United States as part of the Atoms for Peace program.[1] The participation of the United States and Western European governments in Iran’s nuclear program continued until the 1979 Iranian Revolution that toppled the Shah of Iran.[2] Following the 1979 Revolution, most of the international nuclear cooperation Abbas along Iran was cut off.

Iran has signed treaties repudiating the possession of weapons of mass destruction including the Biological Weapons Convention,[3] the Chemical Weapons Convention,[4] and the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT).[5]

Iran’s nuclear program has included several research sites, two uranium mines, a research reactor, and uranium processing facilities that include three known uranium enrichment plants.[6]

Iran’s first nuclear power plant, Bushehr I reactor was complete with major assistance of Russian government agency Rosatom and officially opened on 12 September 2011.[7] Iran has announced that it is working on a new 360 MW nuclear power plant to be located in Darkhovin. The Russian engineering contractor Atomenergoprom said the Bushehr Nuclear Power Plant would reach full capacity by the end of 2012.[8] Iran has also indicated that it will seek more medium-sized nuclear power plants and uranium mines in the future.[9]

In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended all “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work” in 2003.[10] In 2012, U.S. intelligence agencies reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[11]

In November 2011, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Board of Governors criticized Iran after an IAEA report concluded that before 2003 Iran likely had undertaken research and experiments geared to developing a nuclear weapons capability.[12] The IAEA report details allegations that Iran conducted studies related to nuclear weapons design, including detonator development, the multiple-point initiation of high explosives, and experiments involving nuclear payload integration into a missile delivery vehicle.[13] A number of Western nuclear experts have stated there was very little new in the report, that it primarily concerned Iranian activities prior to 2003,[14] and that media reports exaggerated its significance.[15] Iran threatened to reduce its cooperation with the IAEA.[16][17] As of 2015, Iran’s nuclear program has cost $100 billion in lacking oil revenues and lost foreign direct investment because of international sanctions ($500 billion, when including other possibility costs).[18][19]

In 2003, the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) first reported that Iran had not declared touchy enrichment and reprocessing activities.[20] Enrichment can be used to produce uranium for reactor fuel or (at higher enrichment levels) for weapons.[21] Iran says its nuclear program is peaceful,[22] and has enriched uranium to less than 5%, consistent with fuel for a civilian nuclear power plant.[23] Iran also claims that it was forced to resort to secrecy after US pressure caused several of its nuclear contracts with foreign governments to fall through.[24] After the IAEA Board of Governors reported Iran’s noncompliance with its safeguards accord to the UN Security Council, the Council demanded that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment activities[25] while Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has argued that the sanctions are “illegal,” imposed by “arrogant powers,” and that Iran has decided to pursue the monitoring of its self-described peaceable nuclear program through “its appropriate legal path,” the International Atomic Energy Agency.[26]

After public allegations about Iran’s formerly undeclared nuclear activities, the IAEA launched an investigation that concluded in November 2003 that Iran had systematically failed to meet its obligations under its NPT safeguards agreement to report those activities to the IAEA, although it also reported no evidence of links to a nuclear weapons program. The IAEA Board of Governors delayed a formal finding of non-compliance until September 2005, and reported that non-compliance to the UN Security Council in February 2006. After the IAEA Board of Governors reported Iran’s noncompliance with its safeguards agreement to the United Nations Security Council, the Council demanded that Iran suspend its enrichment programs. The Council imposed sanctions after Iran refused to do so. A May 2009 U.S. Congressional Report suggested “the United States, and later the Europeans, argued that Iran’s deception meant it should forfeit its right to enrich, a position likely to be up for negotiation in talks with Iran.”[27]

In exchange for suspending its enrichment program, Iran has been offered “a long-term comprehensive arrangement which would allow for the development of relations and cooperation with Iran based on mutual respect and the establishment of international confidence in the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.”[28] However, Iran has consistently refused to renounce its enrichment program, arguing that the program is necessary for its energy security, that such “long term arrangements” are inherently unreliable, and would deprive it of its inalienable right to peaceful nuclear technology. In June 2009, in the prompt wake of the disputed Iranian presidential election, Iran initially agreed to a deal to relinquish its stockpile of low-enriched uranium in return for fuel for a medical research reactor, but then backed out of the deal.[29] Currently, thirteen states possess operational enrichment or reprocessing facilities,[30] and several others have expressed an interest in developing indigenous enrichment programs.[31] Iran’s position was endorsed by the Non-Aligned Movement, which expressed concern about the potential monopolization of nuclear fuel production.[32]

To address concerns that its enrichment program may be diverted to non-peaceful uses,[33] Iran has offered to place extra restrictions on its enrichment program including, for example, ratifying the Additional Protocol to allow more stringent inspections by the International Atomic Energy Agency, operating the uranium enrichment facility at Natanz as a multinational fuel center with the participation of foreign representatives, renouncing plutonium reprocessing and immediately fabricating all enriched uranium into reactor fuel rods.[34] Iran’s offer to open its uranium enrichment program to foreign private and public participation mirrors suggestions of an IAEA expert committee which was formed to enquire the methods to reduce the risk that touchy fuel cycle activities could contribute to national nuclear weapons capabilities.[35] Some non-governmental U.S. experts have endorsed this approach.[36][37] The United States has insisted that Iran must meet the demands of the UN Security Council to suspend its enrichment program.[citation needed] In every other case in which the IAEA Board of Governors made a finding of safeguards non-compliance involving clandestine enrichment or reprocessing, the resolution has involved (in the cases of Iraq[38] and Libya[39][40][41]) or is expected to involve (in the case of North Korea[42][43]) at a minimum ending sensitive fuel cycle activities. According to Pierre Goldschmidt, former deputy director general and head of the department of safeguards at the IAEA, and Henry D. Sokolski, Executive Director of the Nonproliferation Policy Education Center, some other instances of safeguards noncompliance reported by the IAEA Secretariat (South Korea, Egypt) were never reported to the Security Council because the IAEA Board of Governors never made a formal finding of non-compliance.[44][45] Though South Korea’s case involved enriching uranium to levels near weapons grade,[46] the country itself voluntarily reported the remoted activity[47] and Goldschmidt has argued “political considerations also played a dominant role in the board’s decision” to not make a formal finding of non-compliance.[48]

Estimating when Iran might possibly achieve nuclear “breakout” capability, defined as having produced a sufficient quantity of highly enriched uranium to fuel a weapon ? provided a working design for one existed and the political decision to assemble it was made ? is uncertain. A detailed analysis by physicists at the Federation of American Scientists concludes that such an estimate would depend on the complete number and overall efficiency of the centrifuges Iran has in operation, and the amount of low-enriched uranium it has stockpiled to serve as “feedstock” for a possible high-enrichment program.[49] A 23 March 2012 U.S. Congressional Research Service report quotes 24 February 2012 IAEA report saying that Iran has stockpiled 240 pounds of 20-percent-enriched uranium ? an enrichment level necessary for medical applications ? as an indication of their capacity to enrich to higher levels.[50] The authoritarian political culture of Iran may pose additional challenges to a scientific program requiring cooperation among numerous technical specialists.[51] Some experts argue that the intense focus on Iran’s nuclear program detracts from a need for broader diplomatic engagement with the Islamic Republic.[52][53] U.S. intelligence agency officials interviewed by The New York Times in March 2012 said they continued to assess that Iran had not restarted its weaponization program, which the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate said Iran had discontinued in 2003, although they have found evidence that some weaponization-related activities have continued. The Israeli Mossad reportedly shared this belief.[54]

The foundations for Iran’s nuclear program were laid on 5 March 1957, when a “proposed agreement for cooperation in research in the peaceful uses of atomic energy” was announced under the auspices of Eisenhower’s Atoms for Peace program.[55]

In 1967, the Tehran Nuclear Research Center (TNRC) was established, run by the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). The TNRC was equipped with a U.S.-supplied, 5-megawatt nuclear research reactor, which was fueled by highly enriched uranium.[56][57]

Iran signed the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in 1968 and ratified it in 1970, making Iran’s nuclear program subject to IAEA verification.

The Shah approved plans to construct, with U.S. help, up to 23 nuclear power stations by 2000.[58] In March 1974, the Shah envisioned a time when the world’s oil supply would run out, and declared, “Petroleum is a noble material, much too valuable to burn … We envision producing, as soon as possible, 23,000 megawatts of electricity using nuclear plants.”[59]

U.S. and European companies scrambled to do business in Iran.[60] Bushehr, the first plant, would supply energy to the city of Shiraz. In 1975, the Erlangen/Frankfurt firm Kraftwerk Union AG, a joint venture of Siemens AG and AEG, signed a contract worth $4 to $6 billion to make the pressurized water reactor nuclear power plant. Construction of the two 1,196 MWe, and was to have been completed in 1981.

In 1975 Sweden’s 10% share in Eurodif went to Iran. The French government subsidiary company Cogéma and the Iranian Government established the Sofidif (Société franco?iranienne pour l’enrichissement de l’uranium par diffusion gazeuse) enterprise with 60% and 40% shares, respectively. In turn, Sofidif acquired a 25% share in Eurodif, which gave Iran its 10% share of Eurodif. Mohammed Reza Shah Pahlavi lent 1 billion dollars (and another 180 million dollars in 1977) for the construction of the Eurodif factory, to have the right of buying 10% of the production of the site.

“President Gerald Ford signed a directive in 1976 offering Tehran the chance to buy and operate a U.S.-built reprocessing facility for extracting plutonium from nuclear reactor fuel. The deal was for a complete ‘nuclear fuel cycle’.”[61] The Ford strategy paper said the “introduction of nuclear power will both provide for the growing needs of Iran’s economy and free remaining oil reserves for export or conversion to petrochemicals.”

A 1974 CIA proliferation assessment stated “If [the Shah] is alive in the mid-1980s … and provided other countries [particularly India] have proceeded with weapons development we have no doubt Iran will follow suit.”[62]

Following the 1979 Revolution, most of the international nuclear cooperation with Iran was cut off. Iran has later argued that these experiences indicate foreign facilities and foreign fuel supplies are an unreliable source of nuclear fuel supply.[63][64]

At the time of the revolution, Iran was a joint owner in the French Eurodif international enrichment facility, but the facility stopped supplying enriched uranium to Iran shortly afterwards.[63][65] Kraftwerk Union stopped working at the Bushehr nuclear project in January 1979, with one reactor 50% complete, and the other reactor 85% complete, and they fully withdrew from the project in July 1979. The company said they based their action on Iran’s non-payment of $450 million in overdue payments,[66] while other sources claim the construction was halted under pressure from the United States.[63][67]

The United States cut off the supply of highly enriched uranium (HEU) fuel for the Tehran Nuclear Research Center, which forced the reactor to near down for a number of years, until Argentina’s National Atomic Energy Commission in 1987?88 signed an agreement with Iran to help in converting the reactor from highly enriched uranium fuel to 19.75% low-enriched uranium, and to supply the low-enriched uranium to Iran.[68] The uranium was delivered in 1993.[69]

In 1981, Iranian governmental officials concluded that the country’s nuclear development should continue. Reports to the IAEA included that a site at Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTEC) would act “as the center for the transfer and development of nuclear technology, as well as contribute to the formation of local expertise and manpower needed to sustain a very ambitious program in the field of nuclear power reactor technology and fuel cycle technology.” The IAEA also was informed about Entec’s largest department, for materials testing, which was responsible for UO 2 pellet fuel fabrication and a chemical department whose goal was the conversion of U 3O 8 to nuclear grade UO 2.[70]

In 1983, IAEA officials were keen to help Iran in chemical aspects of reactor fuel fabrication, chemical engineering and design aspects of pilot plants for uranium conversion, corrosion of nuclear materials, LWR fuel fabrication, and pilot plant development for production of nuclear grade UO 2.[70] However, the U.S. government “directly intervened” to discourage IAEA assistance in Iranian production of UO 2 and UF 6.[71] A former U.S. official said “we stopped that in its tracks.” Iran later set up a bilateral cooperation on fuel cycle related issues with China, but China also agreed to drop most outstanding nuclear commerce with Iran, including the construction of the UF 6 plant, due to U.S. pressure.[70]

In April 1984, West German intelligence reported that Iran might have a nuclear bomb within two years with uranium from Pakistan. The Germans leaked this news in the first public Western intelligence report of a post-revolutionary nuclear weapons program in Iran.[72] Later that year, Minority Whip of the United States Senate Alan Cranston asserted that the Islamic Republic of Iran was seven years away from being able to build its own nuclear weapon.[73]

During the Iran-Iraq war, the two Bushehr reactors were damaged by multiple Iraqi air strikes and job on the nuclear program came to a standstill. Iran notified the International Atomic Energy Agency of the blasts, and complained about international inaction and the use of French made missiles in the attack.[74][75]

From the beginning of the 1990s, Russia formed a joint research organization with Iran called Persepolis which provided Iran with Russian nuclear experts, and technical information. Five Russian institutions, including the Russian Federal Space Agency helped Tehran to improve its missiles. The exchange of technical information with Iran was personally approved by the SVR director Trubnikov.[76] President Boris Yeltsin had a “two track policy” offering commercial nuclear technology to Iran and discussing the issues with Washington.[77]

In 1991 France refunded more than 1.6 billion dollars, Iran remained shareholder of Eurodif via Sofidif. However, Iran refrained from asking for the produced uranium.[78][79]

In 1992 Iran invited IAEA inspectors to visit all the sites and facilities they asked. Director General Blix reported that all activities observed were consistent with the peaceful use of atomic energy.[80][81] The IAEA visits included undeclared facilities and Iran’s nascent uranium mining project at Saghand. In the same year, Argentine officials disclosed that their country had canceled a sale to Iran of civilian nuclear equipment worth $18 million, under US pressure.[82]

In 1995, Iran signed a contract with Russia’s Ministry of Atomic Energy to renew work on the partially complete Bushehr plant,[83] installing into the existing Bushehr I building a 915 MWe VVER-1000 pressurized water reactor, with completion expected in 2009.

In 1996, the U.S. satisfied the People’s Republic of China to pull out of a contract to construct a uranium conversion plant. However, the Chinese provided blueprints for the facility to the Iranians, who advised the IAEA that they would continue work on the program, and IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei even visited the construction site.[84]

According to a report by the Argentine justice in 2006, during the late 1980s and early 1990s the US pressured Argentina to terminate its nuclear cooperation with Iran, and from early 1992 to 1994 negotiations between Argentina and Iran took place with the aim of re-establishing the three agreements made in 1987?88.[85]

On 14 August 2002, Alireza Jafarzadeh, a spokesman for an Iranian dissident group National Council of Resistance of Iran, publicly revealed the existence of two nuclear sites under construction: a uranium enrichment facility in Natanz (part of which is underground), and a heavy water facility in Arak. It has been strongly suggested that intelligence agencies already knew about these facilities but the reports had been classified.[86]

The IAEA immediately sought access to these facilities and further information and co-operation from Iran regarding its nuclear program.[87] According to arrangements in force at the time for implementation of Iran’s safeguards agreement with the IAEA,[88] Iran was not required to allow IAEA inspections of a new nuclear facility until six months before nuclear material is introduced into that facility. At the time, Iran was not even required to notify the IAEA of the existence of the facility. This “six months” clause was standard for implementation of all IAEA safeguards agreements until 1992, when the IAEA Board of Governors decided that facilities should be reported during the planning phase, even before construction began. Iran was the last country to accept that decision, and only did so 26 February 2003, after the IAEA investigation began.[89]

In May 2003, shortly after the U.S. invasion of Iraq, elements of the Iranian government of Mohammad Khatami made a confidential proposal for a “Grand Bargain” through Swiss diplomatic channels. It offered full transparency of Iran’s nuclear program and withdrawal of support for Hamas and Hezbollah, in exchange for security assurances from the United States and a normalization of diplomatic relations. The Bush Administration did not respond to the proposal, as senior U.S. officials doubted its authenticity. The proposal reportedly was widely blessed by the Iranian government, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamanei.[90][91][92]

France, Germany and the United Kingdom (the EU-3) undertook a diplomatic initiative with Iran to resolve questions about its nuclear program. On 21 October 2003, in Tehran, the Iranian government and EU-3 Foreign Ministers issued a statement known as the Tehran Declaration[93] in which Iran agreed to co-operate with the IAEA, to sign and implement an Additional Protocol as a voluntary, confidence-building measure, and to suspend its enrichment and reprocessing activities during the course of the negotiations. The EU-3 in return explicitly agreed to recognize Iran’s nuclear rights and to discuss ways Iran could provide “satisfactory assurances” regarding its nuclear power program, after which Iran would gain easier access to modern technology. Iran signed an Additional Protocol on 18 December 2003, and agreed to behave as if the protocol were in force, making the required reports to the IAEA and allowing the required access by IAEA inspectors, pending Iran’s ratification of the Additional Protocol.

The IAEA reported 10 November 2003,[94] that “it is clear that Iran has failed in a number of instances over an extended period of time to meet its obligations under its Safeguards Agreement with respect to the reporting of nuclear material and its processing and use, as well as the declaration of facilities where such material has been processed and stored.” Iran was obligated to notify the IAEA of its importation of uranium from China and subsequent use of that material in uranium conversion and enrichment activities. It was also obligated to report to the IAEA experiments with the separation of plutonium. However, the Islamic Republic reneged on its promise to permit the IAEA to carry out their inspections and suspended the Additional Protocol agreement outlined above in October 2005.[95]

A comprehensive list of Iran’s specific “breaches” of its IAEA safeguards agreement, which the IAEA described as part of a “pattern of concealment,” can be found in 15 November 2004, report of the IAEA on Iran’s nuclear program.[96] Iran attributes its failure to report certain acquisitions and activities on US obstructionism, which reportedly included pressuring the IAEA to stop providing technical assistance to Iran’s uranium conversion program in 1983.[24][97] On the question of whether Iran had a hidden nuclear weapons program, the IAEA’s November 2003 report states that it found “no evidence” that the previously undeclared activities were related to a nuclear weapons program, but also that it was unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program was exclusively peaceful.

Under the terms of the Paris Agreement,[98] on 14 November 2004, Iran’s chief nuclear negotiator announced a voluntary and temporary suspension of its uranium enrichment program (enrichment is not a violation of the NPT) and the voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol, after pressure from the United Kingdom, France, and Germany acting on behalf of the European Union (EU, known in this context as the EU-3). The measure was said at the time to be a voluntary, confidence-building measure, to continue for some reasonable period of time (six months being mentioned as a reference) as negotiations with the EU-3 continued. On 24 November, Iran sought to amend the terms of its agreement with the EU to exclude a handful of the equipment from this deal for research work. This request was dropped four days later. According to Seyyed Hossein Mousavian, one of the Iranian representatives to the Paris Agreement negotiations, the Iranians made it clear to their European counterparts that Iran would not consider a permanent end to uranium enrichment:

Before the Paris [Agreement] text was signed, Dr Rohani … stressed that they should be dedicated neither to speak nor even think of a cessation any more. The ambassadors delivered his message to their foreign ministers prior to the signing of the Paris agreed text … The Iranians made it clear to their European counterparts that if the latter sought a complete termination of Iran’s nuclear fuel-cycle activities, there would be no negotiations. The Europeans answered that they were not seeking such a termination, only an assurance on the non-diversion of Iran’s nuclear programme to military ends.[99]

In February 2005, Iran pressed the EU-3 to speed up talks, which the EU-3 refused to do so.[100] The talks made little progress because of the divergent positions of the two sides.[101] Under pressure from US the European negotiators could not agree to allow enrichment on Iranian soil. Although Iranians presented an offer, which included voluntary restrictions on the enrichment volume and output, it was rejected. The EU-3 broke a commitment they had made to recognize Iran’s right under NPT to the peaceful use of nuclear energy.[102]

In early August 2005, after the June election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad as Iran’s President, Iran removed seals on its uranium enrichment equipment in Isfahan,[103] which UK officials termed a “breach of the Paris Agreement”[104] though a case can be made that the EU violated the terms of the Paris Agreement by demanding that Iran abandon nuclear enrichment.[105] Several days later, the EU-3 offered Iran a package in return for permanent cessation of enrichment. Reportedly, it included benefits in the political, business and nuclear fields, as well as long-term supplies of nuclear materials and assurances of non-aggression by the EU (but not the US).[104] Mohammad Saeedi, the deputy head of Iran’s atomic energy organization rejected the offer, terming it “very insulting and humiliating”[104] and other independent analysts characterized the EU offer as an “empty box”.[106] Iran’s announcement that it would renew enrichment preceded the election of Iranian President Ahmadinejad by several months. The delay in restarting the program was to allow the IAEA to re-install monitoring equipment. The actual resumption of the program coincided with the election of President Mahmoud Ahmedinejad, and the appointment of Ali Larijani as the chief Iranian nuclear negotiator.[107]

Around 2005, Germany refused to export any more nuclear equipment or refund money paid by Iran for such equipment in the 1980s.[66] (See European reactions 1979?89.)

In August 2005, with the assistance of Pakistan[108] a group of US government experts and international scientists concluded that traces of bomb-grade uranium found in Iran came from contaminated Pakistani equipment and were not evidence of a clandestine nuclear weapons program in Iran.[109] In September 2005, IAEA Director General Mohammad ElBaradei reported that “most” highly enriched uranium traces found in Iran by agency inspectors came from imported centrifuge components, validating Iran’s claim that the traces were due to contamination. Sources in Vienna and the State Department reportedly stated that, for all practical purposes, the HEU issue has been resolved.[110]

In a speech to the United Nations on 17 September 2005, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad suggested that Iran?s enrichment might be managed by an international consortium, with Iran sharing ownership with other countries. The offer was rejected out of hand by the EU and the United States.[102]

The IAEA Board of Governors deferred a formal decision on Iran’s nuclear case for two years after 2003, while Iran continued cooperation with the EU-3. On 24 September 2005, after Iran deserted the Paris Agreement, the Board found that Iran had been in non-compliance with its safeguards agreement, based largely on facts that had been reported as early as November 2003.[111]

On 4 February 2006, the 35 member Board of Governors of the IAEA voted 27?3 (with five abstentions: Algeria, Belarus, Indonesia, Libya and South Africa) to report Iran to the UN Security Council. The measure was sponsored by the United Kingdom, France and Germany, and it was backed by the United States. Two permanent council members, Russia and China, agreed to referral only on condition that the council take no action before March. The three members who voted against referral were Venezuela, Syria and Cuba.[112][113] In response, on 6 February 2006, Iran suspended its voluntary implementation of the Additional Protocol and all other voluntary and non-legally binding cooperation with the IAEA beyond what is required by its safeguards agreement.[114]

In late February 2006, IAEA Director Mohammad El-Baradei raised the suggestion of a deal, whereby Iran would give up industrial-scale enrichment and instead limit its program to a small-scale pilot facility, and agree to import its nuclear fuel from Russia (see nuclear fuel bank). The Iranians indicated that while they would not be willing to give up their right to enrichment in principle, they were willing to[115] consider the compromise solution. However, in March 2006, the Bush Administration made it clear that they would not accept any enrichment at all in Iran.[116]

The IAEA Board of Governors deferred the formal report to the UN Security Council of Iran’s non-compliance (such a report is required by Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute),[117] until 27 February 2006.[118] The Board usually makes decisions by consensus, but in a rare non-consensus decision it adopted this resolution by vote, with 12 abstentions.[119][120]

On 11 April 2006, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran had successfully enriched uranium. President Ahmadinejad made the announcement in a televised address from the northeastern city of Mashhad, where El Rhazi said “I am officially announcing that Iran joined the group of those countries which have nuclear technology.” The uranium was enriched to 3.5% using over a hundred centrifuges.

On 13 April 2006, after US Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice said (on 12 April 2006) the Security Council must consider “strong steps” to induce Tehran to change course in its nuclear ambition; President Ahmadinejad vowed that Iran will not back away from uranium enrichment and that the world must treat Iran as a nuclear power, saying “Our answer to those who are angry about Iran achieving the full nuclear fuel cycle is just one phrase. We say: Be angry at us and die of this anger,” because “We won’t hold talks with anyone about the right of the Iranian nation to enrich uranium.”[121]

On 14 April 2006, The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) published a series of analyzed satellite images of Iran’s nuclear facilities at Natanz and Esfahan.[122] Featured in these images is a new tunnel entrance near the Uranium Conversion Facility (UCF) at Esfahan and continued construction at the Natanz uranium enrichment site. In addition, a series of images dating back to 2002 shows the underground enrichment buildings and its subsequent covering by soil, concrete, and other materials. Both facilities were already subject to IAEA inspections and safeguards.

On 28 July 2006, the UN Security Council approved a resolution to give Iran until the end of August to suspend uranium enrichment or face the threat of sanctions.[123]

Iran responded to the demand to stop enrichment of uranium 24 August 2006, offering to return to the negotiation table but refusing to end enrichment.[124]

Qolam Ali Hadad-adel, speaker of Iran’s parliament, said on 30 August 2006, that Iran had the right to “peaceful application of nuclear technology and all other officials agree with this decision,” according to the semi-official Iranian Students News Agency. “Iran opened the door to negotiations for Europe and hopes that the answer which was given to the nuclear package would bring them to the table.”[124]

In Resolution 1696 of 31 July 2006, the United Nations Security Council demanded that Iran suspend all enrichment and reprocessing related activities.[125]

In UN Security Council Resolution 1737 of 26 December 2006, the Council imposed a series of sanctions on Iran for its non-compliance with the earlier Security Council resolution deciding that Iran suspend enrichment-related activities without delay.[126] These sanctions were primarily targeted against the transfer of nuclear and ballistic missile technologies[127] and, in response to concerns of China and Russia, were lighter than that sought by the United States.[128] This resolution followed a report from the IAEA that Iran had permitted inspections under its safeguards agreement but had not suspended its enrichment-related activities.[129]

The IAEA has consistently stated it is unable to conclude that Iran’s nuclear program is entirely peaceful. Such a conclusion would normally be drawn only for countries that have an Additional Protocol in force. Iran ceased its implementation of the Additional Protocol in 2006, and also ceased all other cooperation with the IAEA beyond what Iran acknowledges it is required to provide under its safeguards agreement, after the IAEA Board of Governors decided, in February 2006, to report Iran’s safeguards non-compliance to the UN Security Council.[114] The UN Security Council, invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter, then passed Resolution 1737, which obligated Iran to implement the Additional Protocol. Iran responded that its nuclear activities were peaceful and that Security Council involvement was malicious and unlawful.[130] In August 2007, Iran and the IAEA entered into an agreement on the modalities for resolving remaining outstanding issues,[131] and made progress in outstanding issues except for the question of “alleged studies” of weaponization by Iran.[132] Iran says it did not address the alleged studies in the IAEA work plan because they were not included in the plan.[133] The IAEA has not detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies and says it regrets it is unable to provide Iran with copies of the documentation concerning the alleged studies, but says the documentation is comprehensive and detailed so that it needs to be taken seriously. Iran says the allegations are based on “forged” documents and “fabricated” data, and that it has not received copies of the documentation to enable it to prove that they were forged and fabricated.[134][135]

Since 2011, the IAEA has voiced growing concern over possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program, and has released a number of reports chastising Iran’s nuclear program to that effect.[136]

In February 2007, anonymous diplomats at the atomic energy agency reportedly complained that most U.S. intelligence shared with the IAEA had proved inaccurate, and none had led to significant discoveries inside Iran.[137]

On 10 May 2007, Iran and the IAEA vehemently denied reports that Iran had blocked IAEA inspectors when they sought access to the Iran’s enrichment facility. On 11 March 2007, Reuters quoted International Atomic Energy Agency spokesman Marc Vidricaire, “We have not been denied access at any time, including in the past few weeks. Normally we do not comment on such reports but this time we felt we had to clarify the matter … If we had a problem like that we would have to report to the [35-nation IAEA governing] board … That has not happened because this alleged event did not take place.”[138]

On 30 July 2007, inspectors from the IAEA spent five hours at the Arak complex, the first such visit since April. Visits to other plants in Iran were expected during the following days. It has been suggested that access may have been granted in an try to head off further sanctions.[139]

An IAEA report to the Board of Governors on 30 August 2007, stated that Iran’s Fuel Enrichment Plant at Natanz is operating “well under the expected quantity for a facility of this design,” and that 12 of the intended 18 centrifuge cascades at the plant were operating. The report stated that the IAEA had “been able to verify the non-diversion of the declared nuclear materials at the enrichment facilities in Iran,” and that longstanding issues regarding plutonium experiments and HEU contamination on spent fuel containers were considered “resolved.” However, the report added that the Agency remained unable to verify certain aspects applicable to the scope and nature of Iran’s nuclear program.

The report also outlined a work plan agreed by Iran and the IAEA on 21 August 2007. The work plan reflected agreement on “modalities for resolving the remaining safeguards implementation issues, including the long outstanding issues.” According to the plan, these modalities covered all remaining issues regarding Iran’s past nuclear program and activities. The IAEA report described the work plan as “a significant step forward,” but added “the Agency considers it necessary that Iran adheres to the time line defined therein and implements all the necessary safeguards and transparency measures, including the measures provided for in the Additional Protocol.”[140] Although the work plan did not include a commitment by Iran to implement the Additional Protocol, IAEA safeguards head Olli Heinonen observed that measures in the work plan “for resolving our outstanding issues go beyond the requirements of the Additional Protocol.”[141]

According to Reuters, the report was likely to blunt Washington’s push for more severe sanctions against Iran. One senior UN official familiar said U.S. efforts to escalate sanctions against Iran would provoke a nationalistic backlash by Iran that would set back the IAEA investigation in Iran.[142] In late October 2007, chief IAEA inspector Olli Heinonen described Iranian cooperation with the IAEA as “good,” although much remained to be done.[143]

In late October 2007, according to the International Herald Tribune, the head of the IAEA, Mohamed ElBaradei, stated that he had seen “no evidence” of Iran developing nuclear weapons. The IHT quoted ElBaradei as saying “We have information that there has been maybe some studies about possible weaponization. That’s why we have said that we cannot give Iran a pass right now, because there is still a lot of question marks. … But have we seen Iran having the nuclear material that can readily be used into a weapon? No. Have we seen an active weaponization program? No.” The IHT report went on to say that “ElBaradei said he was worried about the growing rhetoric from the U.S., which he noted focused on Iran’s alleged intentions to build a nuclear weapon rather than evidence the country was actively doing so. If there is actual evidence, ElBaradei said he would welcome seeing it.”[144]

15 November 2007, IAEA report found that on nine outstanding issues listed in the August 2007 workplan, including experiments on the P-2 centrifuge and work with uranium metals, “Iran’s statements are consistent with … information available to the agency,” but it warned that its knowledge of Tehran’s present atomic work was shrinking due to Iran’s refusal to continue voluntarily implementing the Additional Protocol, as it had done in the past under the October 2003 Tehran agreement and the November 2004 Paris agreement. The only remaining issues were traces of HEU found at one location, and allegations by US intelligence agencies based on a laptop computer allegedly stolen from Iran which reportedly contained nuclear weapons-related designs. The IAEA report also stated that Tehran continues to produce LEU. Iran has declared it has a right to peaceful nuclear technology under the NPT, despite Security Council demands that it cease its nuclear enrichment.[145]

On 18 November 2007, President Ahmadinejad announced that he intended to consult with Arab nations on a plan, under the auspices of the Gulf Cooperation Council, to enrich uranium in a neutral third country, such as Switzerland.[146]

Israel criticised IAEA reports on Iran as well as the former IAEA-director ElBaradei. Israel’s Minister of Strategic Affairs Avigdor Lieberman dismissed reports by the UN nuclear watchdog agency as being “unacceptable” and accused IAEA head ElBaradei of being “pro-Iranian.”[147]

On 11 February 2008, news reports stated that the IAEA report on Iran’s compliance with the August 2007 work plan would be delayed over internal disagreements over the report’s expected conclusions that the major issues had been resolved.[148] French Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner stated that he would meet with IAEA Director Mohammed ElBaradei to convince him to “listen to the West” and remind him that the IAEA is merely in charge of the “technical side” rather than the “political side” of the issue.[149] A senior IAEA official denied the reports of internal disagreements and accused Western powers of using the same “hype” tactics employed against Iraq before the 2003 U.S.-led invasion to justify imposing further sanctions on Iran over its nuclear program.[150]

The IAEA issued its report on the implementation of safeguards in Iran on 22 February 2008.[151] With respect to the report, IAEA Director Mohammad ElBaradei stated that “We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran´s enrichment programme” with the exception of a unmarried issue, “and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past.”[152]

According to the report, the IAEA shared intelligence with Iran recently provided by the US regarding “alleged studies” on a nuclear weaponization program. The information was allegedly obtained from a laptop computer smuggled out of Iran and provided to the US in mid-2004.[153] The laptop was reportedly received from a “longtime contact” in Iran who obtained it from someone else now believed to be dead.[154] A senior European diplomat warned “I can fabricate that data,” and argued that the documents look “beautiful, but is open to doubt.”[154] The United States has relied on the laptop to prove that Iran intends to develop nuclear weapons.[154] In November 2007, the United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) believed that Iran halted an alleged active nuclear weapons program in fall 2003.[155] Iran has dismissed the laptop information as a fabrication, and other diplomats have dismissed the information as relatively insignificant and coming too late.[156]

The February 2008 IAEA report states that the Agency has “not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard.”[151]

On 26 May 2008, the IAEA issued another stable report on the implementation of safeguards in Iran.[157]

According to the report, the IAEA has been able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran, and Iran has provided the Agency with access to declared nuclear material and accountancy reports, as required by its safeguards agreement.

Iran had installed several new centrifuges, including more advanced models, and environmental samples showed the centrifuges “continued to function as declared”, making low-enriched uranium. The report also noted that other elements of Iran’s nuclear program continued to be subject to IAEA monitoring and safeguards as well, including the construction of the heavy water facility in Arak, the construction and use of hot cells associated with the Tehran Research Reactor, the uranium conversion efforts, and the Russian nuclear fuel delivered for the Bushehr reactor.

The report stated that the IAEA had requested, as a voluntary “transparency measure”, to be allowed access to centrifuge manufacturing sites, but that Iran had refused the request. The IAEA report stated that Iran had also submitted replies to questions regarding “possible military dimensions” to its nuclear program, which include “alleged studies” on a so-called Green Salt Project, high-explosive testing and missile re-entry vehicles. According to the report, Iran’s answers were still under review by the IAEA at the time the report was published. However, as part of its earlier “overall assessment” of the allegations, Iran had responded that the documents making the allegations were forged, not authentic, or referred to conventional applications.

The report stated that Iran may have more information on the alleged studies, which “remain a matter of serious concern”, but that the IAEA itself had not detected evidence of actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear weapons or components. The IAEA also stated that it was not itself in possession of certain documents containing the allegations against Iran, and so was not able to share the documents with Iran.

According to 15 September 2008, IAEA report on the implementation of safeguards in Iran,[158] Iran continued to provide the IAEA with access to declared nuclear material and activities, which continued to be operated under safeguards and with no evidence of any diversion of nuclear material for non-peaceful uses. Nevertheless, the report reiterated that the IAEA would not be able to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program unless Iran adopted “transparency measures” which exceeded its safeguards agreement with the IAEA, since the IAEA does not verify the absence of undeclared nuclear activities in any country unless the Additional Protocol is in force.

With respect to the report, IAEA Director Mohammad ElBaradei stated that, “We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment programme” with the exception of a single issue, “and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past.”[159]

According to the report, Iran had increased the number of operating centrifuges at its Fuel Enrichment Plant in Isfahan, and continued to enrich uranium. Contrary to some media reports which claimed that Iran had diverted uranium hexafluoride (UF6) for a renewed nuclear weapons program,[160] the IAEA emphasized that all of the uranium hexafluoride was under IAEA safeguards. This was re-iterated by IAEA spokesman Melissa Fleming, who characterized the report of missing nuclear material in Iran as being “fictitious.”[161] Iran was also asked to clarify information about foreign assistance it may have received in connection with a high explosive charge suitable for an implosion type nuclear device. Iran stated that there had been no such activities in Iran.[158]

The IAEA also reported that it had held a series of meetings with Iranian officials to resolve the outstanding issues including the “alleged studies” into nuclear weaponization which were listed in the May 2008 IAEA report. During the course of these meetings, the Iranians filed a series of written responses including a 117-page presentation which confirmed the partial veracity of some of the allegations, but which asserted that the allegations as a whole were based on “forged” documents and “fabricated” data, and that Iran had not actually received the documentation substantiating the allegations. According to the August 2007 “Modalities Agreement” between Iran and the IAEA, Iran had agreed to review and assess the “alleged studies” claims, as good faith gesture, “upon receiving all related documents.”[162]

Iran’s ambassador to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, accused the United States of preventing the IAEA from delivering the documents about the alleged studies to Iran as required by the Modalities Agreement, and stated that Iran had done its best to respond to the allegations but would not accept “any request beyond our legal obligation and especially beyond the Work Plan, which we have already implemented.”[163]

While once again expressing “regret” that the IAEA was not able to provide Iran with copies of the documentation concerning the alleged studies, the report also urged Iran to provide the IAEA with “substantive information to support its statements and provide access to relevant documentation and individuals” regarding the alleged studies, as a “matter of transparency”.[158] The IAEA submitted a number of proposals to Iran to help resolve the allegations and expressed a willingness to discuss modalities that could enable Iran to illustrate credibly that the activities referred to in the documentation were not nuclear-related, as Iran asserted, while protecting sensitive information related to its conventional military activities. The report does not indicate whether Iran accepted or rejected these proposals.[158]

The report also reiterated that IAEA inspectors had found “no evidence on the actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear material components of a nuclear weapon or of certain other key components, such as initiators, or on related nuclear physics studies … Nor has the Agency detected the actual use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies” but insisted that the IAEA would not be able to formally verify the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program unless Iran had agreed to adopt the requested “transparency measures.”[158]

In a 19 February 2009, report to the Board of Governors,[164] IAEA Director General ElBaradei reported that Iran continued to enrich uranium contrary to the decisions of the Security Council and had produced over a ton of low enriched uranium. Results of environmental samples taken by the Agency at the FEP and PFEP5 indicated that the plants have been operating at levels declared by Tehran, “within the measurement uncertainties normally associated with enrichment plants of a similar throughput.” The Agency was also able to confirm there was no ongoing reprocessing related activities at Iran’s Tehran Research Reactor and Xenon Radioisotope Production Facility.

According to the report, Iran also continued to refuse to provide design information or access to verify design information for its IR-40 heavy water research reactor. Iran and the IAEA in February 2003 agreed to modify a provision in the Subsidiary Arrangement to its safeguards agreement (Code 3.1) to require such access.[165] Iran told the Agency in March 2007 that it “suspended” the implementation of the modified Code 3.1, which had been “accepted in 2003, but not yet ratified by the parliament”, and that it would “revert” to the implementation of the 1976 version of Code 3.1.[166] The subsidiary arrangement may only be modified by mutual agreement.[167] Iran says that since the reactor is not in a position to receive nuclear material the IAEA’s request for access was not justified, and requested that the IAEA not schedule an inspection to verify design information.[164] The Agency says its right to verify design information provided to it is a “continuing right, which is not dependent on the stage of construction of, or the presence of nuclear material at, a facility.”[166]

Regarding the “alleged studies” into nuclear weaponization, the Agency said that “as a result of the continued lack of cooperation by Iran in connection with the remaining issues which give rise to concerns about possible military dimensions of Iran’s nuclear programme, the Agency has not made any substantive progress on these issues.” The Agency called on member states which had provided information about the alleged programs to allow the information to be shared with Iran. The Agency said Iran’s continued refusal to implement the Additional Protocol was contrary to the request of the Board of Governors and the Security Council. The Agency was able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran.[168] Iran says that for the six years the Agency has been considering its case, the IAEA has not found any evidence to prove that Tehran is seeking a nuclear weapon.[169]

Regarding the IAEA report, several news reports suggested that Iran had failed to properly report the amount of low-enriched uranium it possessed because Iranian estimates did not match the IAEA inspector’s findings, and that Iran now had enough uranium to make a nuclear bomb.[170][171] The reporting was widely criticized as unjustifiably provocative and hyped.[172][173][174] In response to the controversy, IAEA spokesman Melissa Fleming asserted that the IAEA had no reason at all to believe that the estimates of low-enriched uranium produced by Iran were an intentional error, and that no nuclear material could be removed from the facility for further enrichment to make nuclear weapons without the agency’s knowledge since the facility is subject to video surveillance and the nuclear material is kept under seal.[175]

Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh, Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency, said the February report failed to “provide any new insight into Iran’s nuclear program.”[176] He asserted the report was written in a way which clearly causes misunderstanding in public opinion. He suggested the reports should be written to have a part about whether Iran has fulfilled its NPT obligations and a separate part for whether “fulfillment of Additional Protocol or sub-arrangements 1 and 3 are beyond the commitment or not.”[177]

In a February 2009 press interview, IAEA Director Mohamed ElBaradei said Iran has low enriched uranium, but “that doesn’t mean that they are going tomorrow to have nuclear weapons, because as long as they are under IAEA verification, as long as they are not weaponizing, you know.” ElBaradei continued that there is a confidence deficit with Iran, but that the concern should not be hyped and that “many other countries are enriching uranium without the world making any fuss about it.”[178]

In February 2009 IAEA Director General reportedly said that he believed the possibility of a military attack on Iran’s nuclear installations had been ruled out. “Force can only be used as a last option … when all other political possibilities have been exhausted,” he told Radio France International.[169][179] Former Director General Hans Blix criticized Western governments for the years lost by their “ineffective approaches” to Iran’s nuclear program. Blix suggested the West offer “guarantees against attacks from the outside and subversive activities inside” and also suggested U.S. involvement in regional diplomacy “would offer Iran a greater incentive to reach a nuclear agreement than the Bush team’s statements that ‘Iran must behave itself’.”[180]

In July 2009, Yukiya Amano, the in-coming head of the IAEA said: “I don’t see any evidence in IAEA official documents” that Iran is trying to gain the ability to develop nuclear arms.[181]

In September 2009, IAEA Director General Mohamed El Baradei that Iran had broken the law by not disclosing its second uranium enrichment site at Qom sooner. Nevertheless, he said, the United Nations did not have credible evidence that Iran had an operational nuclear program.[182]

In November 2009, the IAEA’s 35-nation Board of Governors overwhelmingly backed a demand of the U.S., Russia, China, and three other powers that Iran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility and freeze uranium enrichment. Iranian officials shrugged off approval of the resolution by 25 members of the Board, but the U.S. and its allies hinted at new UN sanctions if Iran remained defiant.[183]

In February 2010, the IAEA issued a report scolding Iran for failing to explain purchases of sensitive technology as well as secret tests of high-precision detonators and modified designs of missile cones to accommodate larger payloads. Such experiments are closely associated with atomic warheads.[184]

In May 2010, the IAEA issued a report that Iran had declared production of over 2.5 metric tons of low-enriched uranium, which would be enough if further enriched to make two nuclear weapons, and that Iran has refused to answer inspectors? questions on a variety of activities, including what the agency called the “possible military dimensions” of Iran’s nuclear program.[185][186]

In July 2010, Iran barred two IAEA inspectors from entering the country. The IAEA rejected Iran’s reasons for the ban and said it fully supported the inspectors, which Tehran has accused of reporting wrongly that some nuclear equipment was missing.[187]

In August 2010, the IAEA said Iran has started using a second set of 164 centrifuges linked in a cascade, or string of machines, to enrich uranium to up to 20% at its Natanz pilot fuel enrichment plan.[188]

In November 2011 the IAEA released a report[189] stating inspectors had found credible evidence that Iran had been conducting experiments aimed at designing a nuclear bomb until 2003, and that research may have continued on a smaller scale after that time.[190] IAEA Director Yukiya Amano said evidence gathered by the agency “indicates that Iran has carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device.”[191] A number of Western nuclear experts stated there was very little new in the report,[14] and that media reports had exaggerated its significance.[15] Iran charged that the report was unprofessional and unbalanced, and had been prepared with undue political influence primarily by the United States.[192]

In November 2011, IAEA officials identified a “large explosive containment vessel” inside Parchin.[193] The IAEA later assessed that Iran has been conducting experiments to develop nuclear weapons capability.[194]

The IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution[195] by a vote of 32?2 that expressed “deep and increasing concern” over the possible military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program and calling it “essential” that Iran provide additional information and access to the IAEA.[12][196] The United States welcomed the resolution and said it would step up sanctions to press Iran to change course.[197] In response to the IAEA resolution, Iran threatened to reduce its cooperation with the IAEA, though Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi played down talk of withdrawal from the NPT or the IAEA.[198]

On 24 February 2012, IAEA Director General Amano reported to the IAEA Board of Governors that high-level IAEA delegations had met twice with Iranian officials to intensify efforts to resolve outstanding issues, but that major differences remained and Iran did not grant IAEA requests for access to the Parchin site, where the IAEA believes high-explosives research pertinent to nuclear weapons may have taken place. Iran dismissed the IAEA’s report on the possible military dimensions to its nuclear program as based on “unfounded allegations.” Amano called on Iran to agree to a structure approach, based on IAEA verification practices, to resolve outstanding issues.[199] In March 2012, Iran said it would allow another inspection at Parchin “when an agreement is made on a modality plan.”[200][201] Not long after, it was reported that Iran might not consent to unfettered access.[202] An ISIS study of satellite imagery claimed to have identified an explosive site at Parchin.[203]

The February IAEA report also described progress in Iran’s enrichment and fuel fabrication efforts, including a tripling of the number of cascades enriching uranium to almost 20% and testing of fuel elements for the Tehran Research Reactor and the still incomplete IR-40 heavy water research reactor.[199] Though Iran was continuing to install thousands of additional centrifuges, these were based on an erratic and outdated design, both in its main enrichment plant at Natanz and in a smaller facility at Fordow buried deep underground. “It appears that they are still struggling with the advanced centrifuges,” said Olli Heinonen, a former chief nuclear inspector for the Vienna-based U.N. agency, while nuclear expert Mark Fitzpatrick pointed out that Iran had been working on “second-generation models for over ten years now and still can’t put them into large-scale operation”.[204] Peter Crail and Daryl G. Kimball of the Arms Control Organisation commented that the report “does not identify any breakthroughs” and “confirms initial impressions that Iran’s announcements last week on a series of ‘nuclear advances’ were hyped.”[205]

In May 2012, the IAEA reported that Iran had increased its rate of production of low-enriched uranium enriched to 3.5% and to expand its stockpile of uranium enriched to 19.75%, but was having difficulty with more advanced centrifuges.[206] The IAEA also reported detecting particles of uranium enriched to 27% at the Fordu enrichment facility. However, a diplomat in Vienna cautioned that the spike in uranium purity found by inspectors could turn out to be accidental.[207] This change drastically moved Iran’s uranium toward bomb-grade material. Until now, the highest level of purity that had been found in Iran was 20 percent.[208]

In late August, the IAEA set up an Iran Task Force to deal with inspections and other issues related to Iran’s nuclear program, in an try to focus and streamline the IAEA’s handling of Iran’s nuclear program by concentrating experts and other resources into one dedicated team.[209]

On 30 August, the IAEA released a report showing a major expansion of Iranian enrichment activities. The report said that Iran has more than doubled the number of centrifuges at the underground facility at Fordow, from 1,064 centrifuges in May to 2,140 centrifuges in August, though the number of operating centrifuges had not increased. The report said that since 2010 Iran had produced about 190 kg of 20%-enriched uranium, up from 145 kg in May. The report also noted that Iran had converted some of the 20%-enriched uranium to an oxide form and fabricated into fuel for use in research reactors, and that once this conversion and fabrication have taken place, the fuel cannot be readily enriched to weapon-grade purity.[210][211]

The report also expressed concerns over Parchin, which the IAEA has sought to inspect for evidence of nuclear weapons development. Since the IAEA requested access, “significant ground scraping and landscaping have been undertaken over an extensive area at and around the location,” five buildings had been demolished, while power lines, fences, and paved roads were removed, all of which would hamper the IAEA investigation if it were granted access.[212]

In a briefing to the Board of Governors on this report in early September 2012, IAEA Deputy Director General Herman Nackaerts and Assistant Director General Rafael Grossi displayed satellite images for its member states which allegedly demonstrate Iranian efforts to remove incriminating evidence from its facility at Parchin, or a “nuclear clean-up.” These images showed a building at Parchin covered in what appeared to be a pink tarpaulin, as well as demolition of building and removal of earth that the IAEA said would “significantly hamper” its investigation. A senior Western diplomat described the presentation as “pretty compelling.” The Institute for Science and International Security (ISIS) said that the purpose of the pink tarpaulin could be to hide further “clean-up work” from satellites. However, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, denied the contents of the presentation, saying that “merely having a photo from up there, a satellite imagery … this is not the way the agency should do its professional job.”[213]

According to the Associated Press, the IAEA received “new and significant intelligence” by September 2012, which four diplomats confirmed was the basis for a passage in the August 2012 IAEA report that “the agency has obtained more information which further corroborates” suspicions. The intelligence reportedly indicates that Iran had advanced work on computer modeling of the performance of a nuclear warhead, work David Albright of ISIS said was “critical to the development of a nuclear weapon.” The intelligence would also boost fears by the IAEA that Iran has advanced its weapons research on multiple fronts, as computer modeling is usually accompanied by physical tests of the components which would enter a nuclear weapon.[214]

In response to this report, the IAEA Board of Governors on 13 September passed a resolution that rebuked Iran for defying UN Security Council resolutions to suspend uranium enrichment and called on Iran to allow inspections of evidence that it is pursuing weapons technology.[215] The resolution, which passed by a vote of 31?1 with 3 abstentions, also expressed “serious concerns” about Iran’s nuclear program while desiring a peaceful resolution. Senior United States diplomat Robert Wood blamed Iran for “systematically demolishing” a facility at the Parchin military base, which IAEA inspectors have attempted to visit in the past, but were not granted access, saying “Iran has been taking measures that appear consistent with an effort to remove evidence of its past activities at Parchin.”[216] The resolution was introduced jointly by China, France, Germany, Russia, the United States, and the United Kingdom.[217]

On 16 November, the IAEA released a report showing continued expansion in Iranian uranium enrichment capabilities. At Fordow, all 2784 IR-1 centrifuges (16 cascades of 174 each) have been installed, though only 4 cascades are operating and another 4 are fully equipped, vacuum-tested, and ready to begin operating.[218] Iran has produced about 233 kg of near-20% enriched uranium, an increase of 43 kg since the August 2012 IAEA report.[219]

The IAEA August 2012 report stated that Iran had begun to use 96 kg of its near-20% enriched uranium to fabricate fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which makes it more difficult to further enrich that uranium to weapons grade, since it would first need to be converted back to uranium hexafluoride gas.[220] Though more of this uranium has been fabricated into fuel, no additional uranium has been sent to the Fuel Plate Fabrication Plant at Esfahan.[218]

The November report noted that Iran has continued to deny the IAEA access to the military site at Parchin. Citing evidence from satellite imagery that “Iran constructed a big explosives containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments” relevant to nuclear weapons development, the report expresses concern that changes taking place at the Parchin military site might eliminate evidence of past nuclear activities, noting that there had been virtually no activity at that location between February 2005 and the time the IAEA requested access. Those changes include:

Iran said that the IR-40 heavy water-moderated research reactor at Arak was expected begin to function in the first quarter of 2014. During on-site inspections of the IR-40 design, IAEA inspectors observed that the installation of cooling and moderator circuit piping was continuing.[221]

On 21 February, the IAEA released a report showing continued expansion in Iranian uranium enrichment capabilities. As of 19 February, 12,699 IR-1 centrifuges have been installed at Natanz. This includes the installation of 2,255 centrifuges since the previous IAEA report in November.[222]

Fordow, the nuclear facility near Qom, contains 16 cascades, equally divided between Unit 1 and Unit 2, with a total of 2,710 centrifuges. Iran is continuing to operate the four cascades of 174 IR-1 centrifuges each in two tandem sets to produce 19.75% LEU in a total of 696 enriching centrifuges, the same number of centrifuges enriching as was reported in November 2012.[223]

Iran has produced approximately 280 kg of near-20% enriched uranium, an increase of 47 kg since the November 2012 IAEA report and the total 3.5% LEU production stands at 8,271 kg (compared to 7,611 kg reported during the last quarter).[222]

The IAEA February 2013 report stated that Iran has resumed reconverting near-20% enriched uranium into Oxide form to fabricate fuel for the Tehran Research Reactor, which makes it more difficult to further enrich that uranium to weapons grade, since it would first need to be converted back to uranium hexafluoride gas.[224]

The February report noted that Iran has continued to deny the IAEA access to the military site at Parchin. Citing evidence from satellite imagery that “Iran constructed a big explosives containment vessel in which to conduct hydrodynamic experiments”. Such installation could be an indicator of nuclear weapons development. The report expresses concern that changes taking place at the Parchin military site might eliminate evidence of past nuclear activities, noting that there had been virtually no activity at that location between February 2005 and the time the IAEA requested access. Those changes include:

Iran said that the IR-40 heavy water-moderated research reactor at Arak was expected begin to operate in the first quarter of 2014. During on-site inspections of the IR-40 design, IAEA inspectors observed that the previously reported installation of cooling and moderator circuit piping was almost complete. The IAEA reports that Iran will use the TRR to test fuel for the IR-40 reactor, a reactor that the UN Security Council has demanded that Iran stop building because it could be used to produce plutonium for nuclear weapons. The IAEA report states that “on 26 November 2012, the Agency verified a prototype IR-40 natural uranium fuel meeting before its transfer to TRR for irradiation testing.”[224] Since its last visit on 17 August 2011, the Agency has not been provided with further access to the plant so is relying on satellite imagery to monitor the status of the plant.[224]

In March 2015, IAEA Director General Amano reported that Iran did not provide sufficient access or information to resolve a dozen issues related to the possible military dimensions of its nuclear program, giving only very limited information on only one of those issues.[225]

Interviews and surveys show that the majority of Iranians in all groups favor their country’s nuclear program.[226][227][228] Polls in 2008 showed that the vast majority of Iranians want their country to develop nuclear energy, and 90% of Iranians believe it is important (including 81% very important) for Iran “to have a full fuel cycle nuclear program.”[229] Though Iranians are not Arab, Arab publics in six countries also believe that Iran has the right to its nuclear program and should not be pressured to stop that program.[230] A ballot in September 2010 by the International Peace Institute found that 71 percent of Iranians favored the development of nuclear weapons, a drastic hike over the previous polls by the same agency.[231] However, in July 2012, a ballot on an Iranian state-run media outlet found that 2/3 Iranians support suspending uranium enrichment in return for a gradual easing of sanctions.[232][233][234][235] Meir Javedanfar, an Iranian-born commentator with the Middle East Economic and Political Analysis Company, stated that while Iranians may want nuclear energy, they don’t want it at the price the government is willing to pay.[236]

In explaining why it had left its enrichment program undeclared to the IAEA, Iran said that for the past twenty-four years it has “been subject to the most severe series of sanctions and export restrictions on material and technology for peaceful nuclear technology,” so that some elements of its program had to be done discreetly. Iran said the U.S. intention “is nothing but to make this deprivation” of Iran’s inalienable right to enrichment technology “final and eternal,” and that the United States is completely silent on Israel’s nuclear enrichment and weapons program.[237] Iran began its nuclear research as early as 1975, when France cooperated with Iran to establish the Esfahan Nuclear Technology Center (ENTC) to provide training for personnel to develop certain nuclear fuel cycle capabilities.[238][239] Iran did not hide other elements of its nuclear program. For example, its efforts at mining and converting uranium were announced on national radio,[240][241] and Iran also says that in consultation with the Agency and member states throughout the 1990s it underlined its plans to acquire, for exclusively peaceful purposes, fuel enrichment technology.[237] Iran’s contracts with other nations to obtain nuclear reactors were also known to the IAEA ? but support for the contracts was withdrawn after “a U.S. special national intelligence estimate declared that while ‘Iran’s much publicized nuclear power intentions are entirely in the planning stage,’ the ambitions of the shah could lead Iran to pursue nuclear weapons, especially in the shadow of India’s successful nuclear test in May 1974”.[242] In 2003, the IAEA reported that Iran had failed to meet its obligations to report some of its enrichment activities, which Iran says began in 1985, to the IAEA as required by its safeguards agreement. The IAEA further reported that Iran had undertaken to submit the required information for agency verification and “to implement a policy of co-operation and full transparency” as corrective actions.[94]

The Iranian government has repeatedly made compromise offers to place strict limits on its nuclear program beyond what the Non-Proliferation Treaty and the Additional Protocol legally require of Iran, in order to ensure that the program cannot be secretly diverted to the manufacture of weapons.[243] These offers include operating Iran’s nuclear program as an international consortium, with the full participation of foreign governments. This offer by the Iranians matched a proposed solution put forth by an IAEA expert committee that was investigating the risk that civilian nuclear technologies could be used to make bombs.[35] Iran has also offered to renounce plutonium extraction technology, thus ensuring that its heavy water reactor at Arak cannot be used to make bombs either.[244] More recently, the Iranians have reportedly also offered to operate uranium centrifuges that automatically self-destruct if they are used to enrich uranium beyond what is required for civilian purposes.[245] However, despite offers of nuclear cooperation by the five permanent members of the UN Security Council and Germany, Iran has refused to suspend its enrichment program as the Council has demanded.[246] Iran’s representative asserted that dealing with the issue in the Security Council was unwarranted and void of any legal basis or practical utility because its peaceful nuclear program posed no threat to international peace and security, and, that it ran counter to the views of the majority of United Nations Member States, which the Council was obliged to represent.

“They should know that the Iranian nation will not yield to pressure and will not let its rights be trampled on,” Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad told a crowd 31 August 2006, in a televised speech in the northwestern Iranian city of Orumiyeh. In front of his strongest supporters in one of his provincial power bases, the Iranian leader attacked what he called “intimidation” by the United Nations, which he said was led by the United States. Ahmadinejad criticised a White House rebuff of his offer for a televised debate with President Bush. “They say they support dialog and the free flow of information,” he said. “But when debate was proposed, they avoided and opposed it.” Ahmadinejad said that sanctions “cannot dissuade Iranians from their decision to make progress,” according to Iran’s state-run IRNA news agency. “On the contrary, many of our successes, including access to the nuclear fuel cycle and producing of heavy water, have been achieved under sanctions.”

Iran insists enrichment activities are intended for peaceful purposes, but much of the West, including the United States, allege that Iran is pursuing nuclear weapons, or a nuclear weapons “capability”. 31 August 2006, deadline called for Iran to conform with UN Security Council Resolution 1696 and suspend its enrichment-related activities or face the possibility of economic sanctions. The United States believes the council will agree to implement sanctions when high-level ministers reconvene in mid-September, U.S. Undersecretary of State Nicholas Burns said. “We’re sure going to work toward that [sanctions] with a great deal of energy and determination because this cannot go unanswered,” Burns said. “The Iranians are obviously proceeding with their nuclear research; they are doing things that the International Atomic Energy Agency does not want them to do, the Security Council doesn’t want them to do. There has to be an international answer, and we believe there will be one.”[124]

Iran asserts that there is no legal basis for Iran’s referral to the United Nations Security Council since the IAEA has not proven that previously undeclared activities had a relationship to a weapons program, and that all nuclear material in Iran (including material that may not have been declared) had been accounted for and had not been diverted to military purposes. Article XII.C of the IAEA Statute[247] requires a report to the UN Security Council for any safeguards noncompliance.[248] The IAEA Board of Governors, in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions,[119] decided that “Iran’s many failures and breaches of its obligations to comply with its NPT Safeguards Agreement” as reported by the IAEA in November 2003 constituted “non-compliance” under the terms of Article XII.C of IAEA Statute.[111]

Iran also minimizes the significance of the IAEA’s inability to verify the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program, arguing the IAEA has only drawn such conclusions in a subset of states that have ratified and implemented the Additional Protocol. The IAEA has been able to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran,[249] but not the absence of undeclared activities. According to the IAEA’s Safeguards Statement for 2007, of the 82 states where both NPT safeguards and an Additional Protocol are implemented, the IAEA had found no indication of undeclared nuclear activity in 47 states, while evaluations of possible undeclared nuclear activity remained ongoing in 35 states.[250] Iran ceased implementation of the Additional Protocol and all other cooperation with the IAEA beyond that required under its safeguards agreement after the IAEA Board of Governors decided to report its safeguards non-compliance to the UN Security Council in February 2006.[114] Iran insisted that such cooperation had been “voluntary,” but on 26 December 2006, the UN Security Council passed Resolution 1737,[251] invoking Chapter VII of the UN Charter, which among other things required Iran to cooperate fully with the IAEA, “beyond the formal requirements of the Safeguards Agreement and Additional Protocol.” The IAEA reported on 19 November 2008, that, while it is “able to continue to verify the non-diversion of declared nuclear material in Iran,” it “has not been able to make substantive progress” on “key remaining issues of serious concern” because of a “lack of cooperation by Iran.”[252] Iran has maintained that the Security Council’s engagement in “the issue of the peaceful nuclear activities of the Islamic Republic of Iran” are unlawful and malicious.[253] Iran also argues that the UN Security Council resolutions demanding a suspension of enrichment constitute a violation of Article IV of the Non-Proliferation Treaty which recognizes the inalienable right of signatory nations to nuclear technology “for peaceful purposes.”[254][255]

Iran agreed to implement the Additional Protocol under the terms of the October 2003 Tehran agreement and its successor, the November 2004 Paris agreement, and did so for two years before withdrawing from the Paris agreement in early 2006 following the breakdown of negotiations with the EU-3. Since then, Iran has offered not only to ratify the Additional Protocol, but to implement transparency measures on its nuclear program that exceed the Additional Protocol, as long as its right to operate an enrichment program is recognized. The UN Security Council, however, insists that Iran must suspend all enrichment-related and reprocessing activities, and the United States explicitly ruled out the possibility that it would allow Iran to produce its own nuclear fuel, even under intense international inspection.[256]

On 9 April 2007, Iran announced that it has begun enriching uranium with 3 000 centrifuges, presumably at Natanz enrichment site. “With great honor, I declare that as of today our dear country has joined the nuclear club of nations and can produce nuclear fuel on an industrial scale”, said Ahmadinejad.[257]

On 22 April 2007, Iranians foreign ministry spokesman Mohammad Ali Hosseini announced that his country rules out enrichment suspension ahead of talks with EU foreign policy chief Javier Solana on 25 April 2007.[258]

In March 2009 Iran announced plans to open the Bushehr nuclear power plant to tourism as a way to spotlight their peaceful nuclear intentions.[259]

Reacting to the November 2009 IAEA Board of Governors resolution demanding that Iran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility and freeze uranium enrichment, Foreign Ministry spokesman Ramin Mehmanparast described the resolution as a “show … aimed at putting pressure on Iran, which will be useless.”[183] The Iranian government subsequently authorized the country’s Atomic Energy Organization to begin building ten more uranium-enrichment plants for enhancing the country’s electricity production.[260]

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad on 1 December brushed aside the threat of UN sanctions over his country’s failure to accept a UN-proposed deal on its nuclear program, stating that such a move by western nations would not hinder Iran’s nuclear program. Ahmadinejad told state television that he believed further negotiations with world powers over his country’s nuclear program were not needed, describing warnings by Western powers that Iran would be remoted if it fails to accept the UN-proposed deal as “ridiculous.”[260]

Watched by senior officials from Iran and Russia, Iran began fueling Bushehr I on 21 August 2010 the nation’s state media reported, in an effort to help create nuclear-generated electricity. While state media reported it will take about two months for the reactor to begin generating electricity, Russia’s nuclear agency says it will take longer. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Iran’s supreme leader, recently asserted Iran’s right to establish nuclear plants.[261]

On 17 September 2012, speaking at the IAEA General Conference, Iranian nuclear chief Fereydoun Abbasi attacked the IAEA, saying that “terrorists and saboteurs” had possibly infiltrated the IAEA in order to derail Iran’s nuclear program. Abbasi said that on 17 August 2012, an underground enrichment plant was sabotaged, and IAEA inspectors arrived in Iran to inspect it soon after.[262] The Associated Press noted that his comments reflected a determination in Iran to continue defying international pressure regarding its nuclear program.[263] Mark Fitzpatrick of the International Institute for Strategic Studies said that Iran’s accusations regarding the IAEA “are a new low. Increasingly cornered, they are lashing out wildly.”[264] Abassi’s allegations were viewed by some Western experts as providing a potential pretext for Iran to officially downgrade its level of cooperation with the IAEA.[265] Abbasi also met separately with IAEA Director General Amano, after which the IAEA pressed Iran to address concerns in its nuclear program, and said that the IAEA was ready for negotiations soon. The IAEA did not comment on Abbasi’s statements regarding “terrorists and saboteurs,” but did say that it was imperative that Iran cooperate with IAEA inspectors in order to clarify suspicions regarding its nuclear program.[266][267] In an interview on the sidelines of the IAEA General Conference. Abbasi was quoted as saying that Iran had deliberately provided false information about its nuclear program to mislead western intelligence. Abbasi, who had been an assassination target in 2010, said Iran sometimes exaggerated and sometimes understated its progress.[268][269]

In September 2013, in an interview with the Washington Post, the newly elected President of Iran Hassan Rouhani said that he wanted a resolution to the nuclear issue within “months, not years.” Rouhani said he saw the nuclear issue as a “beginning point” for U.S.-Iran relations.[271]

President George W. Bush insisted on 31 August 2006, that “there must be consequences” for Iran’s defiance of demands that it stop enriching uranium. He asserted “the world now faces a grave threat from the radical regime in Iran. The Iranian regime arms, funds, and advises Hezbollah.”[272] The IAEA issued a report saying Iran had not suspended its uranium enrichment activities, a United Nations official said. This report opened the way for UN Security Council sanctions against Iran. Facing a Security Council deadline to stop its uranium enrichment activities, Iran has left little doubt it will defy the West and continue its nuclear program.[124]

A congressional report released on 23 August 2006, summarized the documentary history of Iran’s nuclear program, but also made allegations against the IAEA. The IAEA responded with a strongly worded letter to then U.S. House Intelligence Committee Chairman Peter Hoekstra, which labeled as “outrageous and dishonest” the report’s allegation that an IAEA inspector was dismissed for violating a supposed IAEA policy against “telling the whole truth” about Iran and pointed out other factual errors, such as a claim that Iran had enriched “weapons-grade” uranium.[273]

John Bolton, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations on 31 August 2006, said that he expected action to impose sanctions to begin immediately after the deadline passes, with meetings of high-level officials in the coming days, followed by negotiations on the language of the sanctions resolution. Bolton said that when the deadline passes “a little flag will go up.” “In terms of what happens afterward, at that point, if they have not suspended all uranium enrichment activities, they will not be in compliance with the resolution,” he said. “And at that point, the steps that the foreign ministers have agreed upon previously … we would begin to talk about how to implement those steps.” The five permanent members of the Security Council, plus Germany, previously offered Iran a package of incentives aimed at getting the country to restart negotiations, but Iran refused to halt its nuclear activities first. Incentives included offers to improve Iran’s access to the international economy through participation in groups such as the World Trade Organization and to modernize its telecommunications industry. The incentives also mentioned the possibility of lifting restrictions on U.S. and European manufacturers wanting to export civil aircraft to Iran. And a proposed long-term agreement accompanying the incentives offered a “fresh start in negotiations.”[124]

In a 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the United States Intelligence Community assessed that Iran had ended all “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work” in 2003.[10]

IAEA officials complained in 2007 that most U.S. intelligence shared with it to date about Iran’s nuclear program proved to be inaccurate, and that none had led to significant discoveries inside Iran through that time.[274]

Through 2008, the United States repeatedly refused to rule out using nuclear weapons in an attack on Iran. The U.S. Nuclear Posture Review made public in 2002 specifically envisioned the use of nuclear weapons on a first strike basis, even against non-nuclear armed states.[275] Investigative reporter Seymour Hersh reported that, according to military officials, the Bush administration had plans for the use of nuclear weapons against “underground Iranian nuclear facilities”.[276] When specifically questioned about the potential use of nuclear weapons against Iran, President Bush claimed that “All options were on the table”. According to the Bulletin of the Atomic Scientist, Bush “directly threatened Iran with a preemptive nuclear strike. It is hard to read his respond in any other way.”[277] The Iranian authorities consistently replied that they were not seeking nuclear weapons as a deterrent to the United States, and instead emphasize the creation of a nuclear-arms free zone in the Middle East.[278] The policy of using nuclear weapons on a first-strike basis against non-nuclear opponents is a violation of the US Negative Security Assurance pledge not to use nuclear weapons against non-nuclear members of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) such as Iran. Threats of the use of nuclear weapons against another country constitute a violation of United Nations Security Council Resolution 984 and the International Court of Justice advisory opinion on the Legality of the Threat or Use of Nuclear Weapons.

In December 2008, President-Elect Barack Obama gave an interview on Sunday’s “Meet the Press” with host Tom Brokaw during which he said the United States needs to “ratchet up hard but direct diplomacy with Iran”. He said in his view the United States needs to make it clear to the Iranians that their alleged development of nuclear weapons and funding of organizations “like Hamas and Hezbollah,” and threats against Israel are “unacceptable.”[279] Obama supports diplomacy with Iran without preconditions “to pressure Iran to stop their illicit nuclear program”.[280] Mohamed ElBaradei has welcomed the new stance to talk to Iran as “long overdue”. Iran said Obama should apologize for the U.S. bombing of Hiroshima and Nagasaki in World War II and his administration should stop talking to the world and “listen to what others are saying.”[281] In his first press interview as President, Obama told Al Arabiya that “if countries like Iran are willing to unclench their fist, they will find an extended hand from us.”[282]

In March 2009 U.S. National Intelligence Director Dennis C. Blair and Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Michael D. Maples told a United States Senate Committee on Armed Services hearing that Iran has only low-enriched uranium, which there were no indications it was refining. Their comments countered ones made earlier by an Israeli general and Maples said the United States was arriving at different conclusions from the same facts.[283]

On 7 April 2009, a Manhattan district attorney charged a financier with the suspected misuse of Manhattan banks employed to transfer money between China and Iran by way of Europe and the United States.[284] The materials in question can be used for weapons as well as civilian purposes, but some of the material can potentially be used in making engine nozzles that can withstand fiery temperatures and centrifuges that can enrich uranium into atomic fuel. The charges would carry a maximum of up to a year in jail for fifth-degree conspiracy and a maximum of four years for falsifying business records.[285] David Albright, a nuclear weapons expert who assisted in the prosecution, said that it is impossible to say how Iran used or could use the uncooked materials it acquired.[286]

A document released by the U.S. State Department’s Bureau of Intelligence and Research in August 2009 assessed that Iran was unlikely to have the technical capability to produce HEU (highly enriched uranium) before 2013, and the U.S. intelligence community had no evidence that Iran had yet made the decision to produce highly enriched uranium.[287] In 2009, U.S. intelligence assessed that Iranian intentions were unknown.[288][289]

On 26 July 2009, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton explicitly ruled out the possibility that the Obama administration would allow Iran to produce its own nuclear fuel, even under intense international inspection.[256]

Following the November 2009 IAEA Board of Governors resolution demanding Iran immediately stop building its newly revealed nuclear facility and freeze uranium enrichment, White House spokesman Robert Gibbs avoided mentioning sanctions but indicated harsher measures were possible unless Iran compromised: “If Iran refuses to meet its obligations, then it will be responsible for its own growing isolation and the consequences.” Glyn Davies, the chief U.S. delegate to the IAEA, told reporters: “Six nations … for the first time came together …[and] have put together this resolution we all agreed on. That’s a significant development.”[183]

A 2009 U.S. congressional research paper said that U.S. intelligence believed Iran ended “nuclear weapon design and weaponization work” in 2003.[288] Some advisors within the Obama administration reaffirmed the intelligence conclusions,[290] while other “top advisers” in the Obama administration “say they no longer believe” the key finding of the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate.[291] Thomas Fingar, former Chairman of the National Intelligence Council until December 2008, said that the original 2007 National Intelligence Estimate on Iran “became contentious, in part, because the White House instructed the Intelligence Community to release an unclassified version of the report’s key judgments but declined to take responsibility for ordering its release.”[292] A National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) is the most authoritative written judgment concerning a national security issue prepared by the Director of Central Intelligence.[293]

The impending opening of the Bushehr I plant in late 2010 prompted the White House to impeach why Iran is continuing to enrich uranium within its borders. “Russia is providing the fuel, and taking the fuel back out,” White House spokesman Robert Gibbs said in August. “It, quite clearly, I think, underscores that Iran does not need its own enrichment capability if its intentions, as it states, are for a peaceful nuclear program,” he said.[261]

On 8 January 2012, U.S. Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta said on Face the Nation that Iran was not trying to develop a nuclear weapon, but was trying to develop a nuclear capability.[294] He also urged Israel to work together rather than make a unilateral strike on Iran?s nuclear installations.[295] On 1 August 2012, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta while in Israel said that the United States had “options,” including military options, to prevent Iran from attaining a nuclear weapon, should diplomacy fail.[296] In 2012, sixteen U.S. intelligence agencies, including the CIA, reported that Iran was pursuing research that could enable it to produce nuclear weapons, but was not attempting to do so.[11] The senior officers of all of the major American intelligence agencies stated that there was no conclusive evidence that Iran has made any attempt to produce nuclear weapons since 2003.[297]

On 14 January 2013, the Institute for Science and International Security (a U.S. think tank) published an 154-page report by five U.S. experts titled “U.S. Nonproliferation Strategy for the Changing Middle East,” which stated that Iran could produce enough weapon-grade uranium for one or more nuclear bombs by the middle of 2014. Therefore, the report recommended that the United States should increase sanctions on Iran in order to curb its ability to develop weapon-grade uranium. In addition the report states: “The president should explicitly declare that he will use military force to destroy Iran’s nuclear program if Iran takes additional decisive steps toward producing a bomb.”[298]

On 2 February 2013, speaking at the Munich Security Conference, U.S. Vice President Joseph Biden said that the Obama Administration “would be prepared to meet bilaterally with the Iranian leadership. We would not make it a secret that we were doing that. We would let our partners know if that occasion presented itself. That offer stands, but it must be real and tangible, and there has to be an agenda that they?re prepared to speak to. We are not just prepared to do it for the exercise.”[299] A few days later Iranian supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the offer and added ambiguously: “The U.S. policies in the Middle East have failed and the Americans are in need of a winning hand. That is bringing Iran to the negotiating table.”[300] On 4 February the Italian news-wire “Agenzia Nova”, citing “sources in Teheran,” reported that “from the beginning of the year Ali Larijani, Speaker of the (Iranian) Parliament, secretly traveled twice to the United States” to launch direct negotiations with the Obama Administration. The Italian Agency explained that U.S. diplomacy was waiting for the Presidential election in Iran, that most probably will see a dramatic change in Iranian approach.[301][302] It was reported on 17 June Iran?s newly elected president Hassan Rohani had expressed readiness for bilateral talks with Washington, with conditions.[303]

On 2 April 2015, hailing the agreement between the P5+1 and Iran on parameters for a comprehensive agreement, President Obama said “Today, the United States, together with our allies and partners, has reached an historic understanding with Iran, which if fully implemented, will prevent it from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”[304]

Iran has held a series of meetings with a group of six countries: China, France, Germany, Russia, United Kingdom, United States. These six are known as the P5+1 (the permanent five members of the UN Security Council plus Germany) or alternatively as the E3+3. These meetings are intended to resolve concerns about Iran’s nuclear program.

The first session of fresh negotiations in April went well, with delegates praising the constructive dialogue and Iran’s positive attitude.[305] Israeli Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu said, however, that Iran had been given a “freebie”,[306] a charge that was sharply rebutted by Barack Obama.[307] In the lead up to the second round of negotiations in May, and in what may foreshadow a significant concession, an unnamed senior U.S. official hinted the United States might accept Iran enriching uranium to 5% so long as the Iranians agreed to hard international oversight of the process. The U.S. shift was reportedly made for the pragmatic reason that unconditional demands for zero enrichment would make it impossible to reach a negotiated deal.[308] Netanyahu had insisted a few days before that he would tolerate no enrichment, not even to the 3% required for nuclear power.[309] In a shift on the Iranian side, April saw members of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps urging Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to maintain a policy of keeping uranium enrichment at or under 20%.[310] The EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton felt compelled to make a special visit to Netanyahu, partly to keep him from again voicing his negativity and opposition to the negotiations.[311] At the meeting, which included Avigdor Lieberman, Ehud Barak and Shaul Mofaz, the Israelis demanded a guaranteed timetable for cessation of all uranium enrichment by Iran, the removal of all enriched uranium, and the dismantlement of the underground facility at Fordo. Otherwise, they said, Iran would use the talks to buy time.[312][313]

Foreign Ministers of the P5+1 met in September 2013 on the margins of the United Nations General Assembly, and were joined by Iranian Foreign Minister Zarif.[citation needed]

Lead negotiators for the P5+1 and Iran met in Geneva 15?16 October to discuss elements of a possible framework for resolving questions about Iran’s nuclear program. Experts from the P5+1 and Iran met in Vienna 30?31 October to exchange detailed information on those elements. Lead negotiators met again 7?8 November to negotiate that framework, joined at the end by Foreign Ministers from the P5+1, but despite extending the talks past midnight 9 November were unable to agree on that framework and agreed instead to meet again 20 November.[314]

On 24 November, the foreign ministers of Iran and the P5+1 agreed to a six-month interim deal that involves the freezing of key parts of the Iranian nuclear program in exchange for a decrease in sanctions, to provide time to negotiate a permanent agreement. Iran will stop enriching uranium beyond 5%, and will stop development of their Arak plant. The UN will be granted greater access for inspections. In exchange, Iran will get relief from sanctions of approximately US$7 billion (£4.3 billion) and no additional sanctions will be imposed.[315][316][317] President Obama called the agreement an “important first step.”[318] Following further negotiation of implementation details, a precis of which was released by the White House on 16 January 2014, implementation began 20 January 2014.[319]

The P5+1 and Iran held meetings at the senior levels 18?20 February and agreed on a framework for future negotiations.[320] Following expert talks, a next round of senior-level talks is scheduled to be held in Vienna starting 17 March 2014.[321] On 20 February 2014 the IAEA reported that Iran was implementing its commitments to the P5+1 and its commitments to the IAEA under the Joint Statement of 11 November 2013.[322]

During February to July 2014 the P5+1 and Iran have held high-level negotiations on a comprehensive agreement on Iran’s nuclear program in Vienna, Austria. After six rounds of talks the parties missed the deadline for reaching a deal and agreed to extend the negotiations through 24 November. Additionally, it was agreed that the U.S. will unblock $2.8 billion in frozen Iranian funds, in exchange for Iran continuing to transform its stocks of 20% enriched uranium into fuel.[323]

The EU Court of Justice annulled a freeze of the Iranian Sharif University’s assets since the EU could not provide sufficient evidence of the university’s links to the nuclear program of Iran.[324]

On 21 September 2009, Iran informed the IAEA[325] that it was constructing a second enrichment facility. The following day (22 September) IAEA Director General ElBaradei informed the United States, and two days later (24 September) the United States, United Kingdom and France briefed the IAEA on an enrichment facility under construction at an underground location at Fordu, 42 kilometres (26 mi) north of Qom. On 25 September, at the G-20 Summit, the three countries criticized Iran for once again concealing a nuclear facility from the IAEA. The United States said that the facility, which was still months from completion, was too little to be useful for a civil program but could produce enough high-enriched uranium for one bomb per year.[326] Iran said the plant was for peaceful purposes and would take between a year and a half to two years to complete, and that the notice Iran had given had exceeded the 180 days before insertion of nuclear materials the IAEA safeguards agreement that Iran was following required. Iran agreed to allow IAEA inspections.[327] Iran’s nuclear chief, Ali Akbar Salehi, said the site was built for maximum protection from aerial attack: carved into a mountain and near a military compound of the powerful Revolutionary Guard.[328]

Also in October, the United States, France and Russia proposed a UN-drafted deal to Iran regarding its nuclear program, in an effort to find a compromise between Iran’s stated need for a nuclear reactor and international concerns that Iran harbors a secret intent on developing a nuclear weapon. After some delay in responding, on 29 October, Ahmadinejad voiced an openness towards cooperation with other world powers. “We welcome fuel exchange, nuclear co-operation, building of power plants and reactors and we are ready to co-operate,” he said in a live broadcast on state television.[329] However, he added that Iran would not retreat “one iota” on its right to a sovereign nuclear program.[330]

In November 2009, the IAEA Board of Governors passed a resolution that criticized Iran for defying a UN Security Council ban on uranium enrichment, censured Iran for secretly building a uranium enrichment facility and demanded that it immediately suspend further construction. It noted the IAEA chief Mohammed El-Baradei cannot confirm that Iran’s nuclear program is exclusively geared toward peaceful uses, and expressed “serious concern” that Iran’s stonewalling of an IAEA probe means “the possibility of military dimensions to Iran’s nuclear program” cannot be excluded.[183]

In October 2009 Hugo Chávez announced that Iran was helping Venezuela in uranium exploration. He said that “We’re working with several countries, with Iran, with Russia. We’re responsible for what we’re doing, we’re in control”.[331] A number of reports suggested that Venezuela was helping Iran to obtain uranium and evade international sanctions.[332][333]

On 9 February 2010 the Iranian government announced that it would produce uranium enriched to up to 20% to produce fuel for a research reactor used to produce medical radioisotopes, processing its existing stocks of 3.5% enriched uranium.[334][335] Two days later during the celebrations in Tehran for the 31st anniversary of the 1979 Iranian Islamic revolution, the Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad announced that Iran was now a “nuclear state.”[335] IAEA officials confirmed it has enriched uranium “up to 19.8%”.[336] Responding to criticism, President Ahmadinejad said, “Why do they think that 20 per cent is such a big deal? Right now in Natanz we have the capability to enrich at over 20 per cent and at over 80 per cent, but because we don’t need it, we won’t do it.” He added “If we wanted to fabricate a bomb, we would announce it.”[335][337] On the same day as the President’s announcement, Ali Akbar Salehi, head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, told Reuters that their 20% enrichment production, was going “very well,” adding “There is no limit on enrichment. We can enrich up to 100% … But we never had the intention and we do not have the intention to do so, unless we need (to).” He maintained that the 20% production was for a Tehran medical reactor, and as such would be limited to around 1.5 kg per month.[334]

U.S. President Obama reportedly sent a letter dated 20 April 2010 to President Lula of Brazil, in which he outlined a proposal of fuel swap. While expressing skepticism that the Iranians would now be willing to accept such a deal, having provided “no credible explanation” for the previous deal’s rejection,[338] President Obama wrote “For us, Iran?s agreement to transfer 1,200 kg of Iran?s low enriched uranium (LEU) out of the country would build confidence and reduce regional tensions by substantially reducing Iran?s LEU stockpile.”[339] Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan received a similar letter. A senior U.S. official told the Washington Post that the letter was a response to Iran’s want to ship out its uranium piecemeal, rather than in a single batch, and that during “multiple conversations” U.S. officials made clear that Iran should also cease 20% enrichment; however, the official stated “there was no president-to-president letter laying out those broader concerns”.[340]

On 17 May 2010 Iran, Brazil, and Turkey issued a joint declaration “in which Iran agreed to send low-enriched uranium to Turkey in return for enriched fuel for a research reactor.”[341][342] Iran reported the joint declaration to the IAEA on 24 May 2010, asking it to notify the “Vienna Group” (the United States, Russia, France, and the IAEA), in order to conclude a written agreement and make contingent arrangements between Iran and the Vienna Group.[343] The proposal was welcomed by Arab leaders[344][345][346] and China.[347][348] France’s Prime Minister called the agreement a “positive step” toward resolving the Iran nuclear program dispute, if Iran were to cease uranium enrichment altogether.[349] EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton played down the agreement, saying it was a step in the right direction but did not go far enough and left questions unanswered.[350] U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the proposal had “a number of deficiencies,” including Iran’s intention to continue enriching uranium to high levels.[351]

Meanwhile, the United States was also pursuing other action to address the situation in Iran, in the case that the more diplomatic method not produce a passable deal, and on 18 May 2010, announced a “draft accord” among UN permanent Security Council members for additional sanctions on Iran, designed to pressure it to end its nuclear enrichment program.[352] Turkey and Brazil criticized the sanctions proposal.[352] Davutoglu said that the swap agreement showed Iran’s “clear political will” toward engagement on the nuclear issue.[353] Brazil’s Foreign Minister also expressed frustration with the U.S. stance, saying of Brazil’s vote against the sanctions resolution: “We could not have voted in any different way except against.”[354]

Early analysis from the BBC stated the swap deal could have been an “effort by President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to deflect pressure for fresh sanctions” and that “Iran watchers are already criticising Washington for moving the goal posts”.[355] Iran’s atomic energy chief said the agreement left world powers no reason to continue to pressure Iran regarding its nuclear program.[356] Iran also described the agreement as a major boost to trilateral relations with Brazil and Turkey,[357] and Supreme Leader of Iran Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the continuing call for sanctions, stating that the “domineering powers headed by America are sad with cooperation between independent countries.”[358]

Mohamed ElBaradei, former director general of the International Atomic Energy Agency, wrote that “the only way to resolve the Iranian issue is to build trust. Moving 1200, half, or at least more than half of the Iranian nuclear material out of Iran is a confidence-building measure would defuse the crisis and enable the US and the West [to gain] the space to negotiate. I hope that it would be perceived as a win-win situation. If we see what I have been observing in the last couple of days that it is an “empty dressing”, I think it is a wrong approach…we lost six years of failed policy frankly vis-à-vis Iran. And it’s about time now to understand that the Iranian issue is not going to be resolved except, until and unless we sit with the Iranians and try to find a fair and equitable solution.”[359] “If this deal is followed up with a broader engagement of the IAEA and the international community, it can be a positive step to a negotiated settlement,” UN secretary-general Ban-Ki Moon said.[360]

In a January 2012 article in Salon magazine, Glenn Greenwald noted the killing of at least five Iranian nuclear scientists during 2010 and 2011, by unknown attackers, with no apparent outcry in the Western media.[361]

According to Iran, and privately confirmed by unnamed U.S. government officials, the attacks on the nuclear scientists and facilities are being carried out by an Iranian dissident group called the People’s Mujahedin of Iran. According to the officials, the group is financed, trained, and armed by Mossad.[362]

The continuing controversy over Iran’s nuclear program revolves in part around allegations of nuclear studies by Iran with possible military applications until 2003, when, according to the 2007 National Intelligence Estimate, the program was ended. The allegations, which include claims that Iran had busy in high-explosives testing, sought to manufacture “green salt” (UF 4) and to design a nuclear-capable missile warhead, were based on information obtained from a laptop computer which was allegedly retrieved from Iran in 2004.[363] The US presented some of the alleged contents of the laptop in 2005 to an audience of international diplomats, though the laptop and the full documents contained in it have yet to be given to the IAEA for independent verification. According to the New York Times:

Nonetheless, doubts about the intelligence persist among some foreign analysts. In part, that is because American officials, citing the need to protect their source, have largely refused to provide details of the origins of the laptop computer beyond saying that they obtained it in mid-2004 from a longtime contact in Iran. Moreover, this chapter in the confrontation with Iran is infused with the reminiscence of the defective intelligence on Iraq’s unconventional arms. In this atmosphere, though few countries are willing to believe Iran’s denials about nuclear arms, few are willing to accept the United States’ weapons intelligence without question. “I can fabricate that data,” a senior European diplomat said of the documents. “It looks beautiful, but is open to doubt.[364]

On 21 August 2007, Iran and the IAEA finalized an agreement, titled “Understandings of The Islamic Republic of Iran and the IAEA on the Modalities of Resolution of the Outstanding Issues,” that listed outstanding issues regarding Iran’s nuclear program and set out a timetable to resolve each issue in order. These unresolved issues included the status of Iran’s uranium mine at Gchine, allegations of experiments with plutonium and uranium metal, and the use of Polonium 210.[365] Specifically regarding the “Alleged Studies”, the Modalities agreement asserted that while Iran considers the documents to be fabricated, Iran would nevertheless address the allegations “upon receiving all related documents” as a goodwill gesture. The Modalities Agreement specifically said that aside from the issues identified in the document, there were “no other remaining issues and ambiguities regarding Iran’s past nuclear program and activities.”

The United States was opposed to the Modalities Agreement between Iran and the IAEA, and vehemently objected to it, accusing Iran of “manipulating” IAEA.[citation needed] Olli Heinonen, the IAEA Deputy Director General for safeguards underlined the importance of the Iran-IAEA agreement as a working arrangement on how to resolve the outstanding issues that triggered Security Council resolutions:

All these measures which you see there for resolving our outstanding issues go beyond the requirements of the Additional Protocol … If the answers are not satisfactory, we are making new questions until we are satisfied with the answers and we can conclude technically that the matter is resolved?it is for us to judge when we think we have enough information. Once the matter is resolved, then the file is closed.[366]

Following the implementation of the Modalities Agreement, the IAEA issued another report on the status of Iran’s nuclear program on 22 February 2008. According to this report, the IAEA had no evidence of a current, undeclared nuclear program in Iran, and all of the remaining issues listed in the Modalities Agreement regarding past undeclared nuclear activities had been resolved, with the exception of the “Alleged Studies” issue. Regarding this report, IAEA director ElBaradei specifically stated:

[W]e have made quite good progress in clarifying the outstanding issues that had to do with Iran’s past nuclear activities, with the exception of one issue, and that is the alleged weaponization studies that supposedly Iran has conducted in the past. We have managed to clarify all the remaining outstanding issues, including the most important issue, which is the scope and nature of Iran’s enrichment programme.[367]

The US had made some of the “Alleged Studies” documentation available to the IAEA just a week prior to the issuance of the IAEA’s February 2008 report on Iran’s nuclear program. According to the IAEA report itself, the IAEA had “not detected the use of nuclear material in connection with the alleged studies, nor does it have credible information in this regard.” Some diplomats reportedly dismissed the new allegations as being “of dubious value … relatively insignificant and coming too late.”[368]

It was reported on 3 March 2008, that Olli Heinonen, the IAEA Deputy Director general of safeguards, had briefed diplomats about the contents of the “Alleged Studies” documents a week earlier. Reportedly, Heinonen added that the IAEA had obtained corroborating information from the intelligence agencies of several countries, that pointed to sophisticated research into some key technologies needed to build and deliver a nuclear bomb.[369]

In April 2008, Iran reportedly agreed to address the sole outstanding issue of the “Alleged Studies”[370] However, according to the subsequent May 2008 IAEA report, the IAEA was not able to actually provide these same “Alleged Studies” documents to Iran, because the IAEA did not have the documents itself or was not allowed to share them with Iran. For example, in paragraph 21, the IAEA report states: “Although the Agency had been shown the documents that led it to these conclusions, it was not in possession of the documents and was therefore unfortunately unable to make them available to Iran.” Also, in paragraph 16, the IAEA report states: “The Agency received much of this information only in electronic form and was not authorised to provide copies to Iran.” The IAEA has requested that it be allowed to share the documents with Iran. Nevertheless, according the report, Iran may have more information on the alleged studies which “remain a matter of serious concern” but the IAEA itself had not detected evidence of actual design or manufacture by Iran of nuclear weapons or components.

Iran’s refusal to respond to the IAEA’s questions unless it is given access to the original documents has caused a standoff. In February 2008, the New York Times reported that the U.S. refusal to provide access to those documents was a source of friction between the Bush Administration and then Director General ElBaradei.[371] ElBaradei later noted that these documents could not be shared because of the need to protect sources and methods, but noted that this allowed Iran to impeach their authenticity.[372] According to Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, Ali Asghar Soltanieh, “The government of the United States has not handed over original documents to the agency since it does not in fact have any authenticated document and all it has are forged documents.”[373]

The IAEA has requested that third parties[vague] allow it to share the documents on the alleged studies with Iran. The IAEA has further stated that though it has not provided full documents containing the alleged studies, information from other countries has corroborated some of the allegations, which appear to the IAEA to be consistent and credible, and that Iran should therefore address the alleged studies even without obtaining the full documents. However, questions about the authenticity of the documents persist, with claims that the documents were obtained either from Israel or the MEK, an Iranian dissident group officially considered to be a terrorist organization by the United States, and that investigations into the alleged studies are intended to disclose intelligence about Iran’s conventional weapons programs.[374][375][376][377] Some IAEA officials have requested a clear statement be made by the agency that it could not affirm the documents’ authenticity. They cite that as a key document in the study had since been proven to have been fraudulently altered, it put in doubt the entire collection.[378]

Iran says that its program is solely for peaceful purposes and consistent with the NPT.[379] The IAEA Board of Governors has found Iran in non-compliance with its NPT safeguards agreement, concluding in a rare non-consensus decision with 12 abstentions,[380] that Iran’s past safeguards “breaches” and “failures” constituted “non-compliance” with its Safeguards Agreement[111][381] In the decision, the IAEA Board of Governors also concluded that the concerns raised fell within the competence of the UN Security Council.[111]

Most experts recognize that non-compliance with an NPT safeguards agreement is not equivalent to a violation of the NPT or does not automatically constitute a violation of the NPT itself.[382][383] The IAEA does not make determinations regarding compliance with the NPT,[384] and the UN Security Council does not have a responsibility to adjudicate treaty violations.[385] Dr. James Acton, an associate in the Nonproliferation Program at the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, has said the 2010 NPT Review Conference could recognize that non-compliance with safeguards agreements would violate article III of the NPT.[386] Director of the Australian Nonproliferation and Safeguards Organization and then Chairman of IAEA Standing Advisory Group on Safeguards Implementation[387] John Carlson wrote in considering the case of Iran that “formally IAEA Board of Governors (BOG) decisions concern compliance with safeguards agreements, rather than the NPT as such, but in practical terms non-compliance with a safeguards agreement constitutes non-compliance with the NPT.”[388]

A September 2009 Congressional Research Service paper said “whether Iran has violated the NPT is unclear.”[389] A 2005 U.S. State Department report on compliance with arms control and nonproliferation agreements concluded, based on its analysis of the facts and the relevant international laws, that Iran’s extensive failures to make required reports to the IAEA made “clear that Iran has violated Article III of the NPT and its IAEA safeguards agreement.”[384] Testimony presented to the Foreign Select Committee of the British Parliament drew the contrary conclusion:

The enforcement of Article III of the NPT obligations is carried out through the IAEA’s monitoring and verification that is designed to ensure that declared nuclear facilities are operated according to safeguard agreement with Iran, which Iran signed with the IAEA in 1974. In the past four years that Iran’s nuclear programme has been under close investigation by the IAEA, the Director General of the IAEA, as early as November 2003 reported to the IAEA Board of Governors that “to date, there is no evidence that the previously undeclared nuclear material and activities … were related to a nuclear weapons programme.” … Although Iran has been found in non-compliance with some aspects of its IAEA safeguards obligations, Iran has not been in breach of its obligations under the terms of the NPT.[390]

The 2005 U.S. State Department compliance report also concluded that “Iran is pursuing an effort to manufacture nuclear weapons, and has sought and received assistance in this effort in violation of Article II of the NPT”.[384] The November 2007 United States National Intelligence Estimate (NIE) asserted that Tehran halted a nuclear weapons program in fall 2003, but that Iran “at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop nuclear weapon”.[155] Russian analyst Alexei Arbatov, said “no hard facts on violation of the NPT per se have been discovered” and also wrote that “all this is not enough to accuse Iran of a formal breach of the letter of the NPT” and “giving Iran the benefit of the doubt, there is no hard evidence of its full-steam development of a military nuclear program.”[391]

NPT Article IV recognizes the right of states to research, develop and use nuclear energy for peaceful purposes, but only in conformity with their nuclear nonproliferation obligations under Articles I and II of the NPT.

The UN Security Council has demanded that Iran suspend its nuclear enrichment activities in multiple resolutions.[392][393] The United States has said the “central bargain of the NPT is that if non-nuclear-weapon states renounce the pursuit of nuclear weapons, and comply fully with this commitment, they may gain assistance under Article IV of the Treaty to develop peaceful nuclear programs”. The U.S. has written that Paragraph 1 of Article IV makes clear that access to peaceful nuclear cooperation must be “in conformity with Articles I and II of this Treaty” and also by extension Article III of the NPT.[394] Rahman Bonad, Director of Arms Control Studies at the Center for Strategic Research at Tehran, has argued that demands to cease enrichment run counter to “all negotiations and discussions that led to the adoption of the NPT in the 1960s and the fundamental logic of striking a balance between the rights and obligations stipulated in the NPT.”[395] In February 2006 Iran’s foreign minister insisted that “Iran rejects all forms of scientific and nuclear apartheid by any world power,” and asserted that this “scientific and nuclear apartheid” was “an immoral and discriminatory treatment of signatories to the Non-Proliferation Treaty,”[396] and that Iran has “the right to a peaceful use of nuclear energy and we cannot accept nuclear apartheid.”[397]

Russia has said it believes Iran has a right to enrich uranium on its soil. Former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice suggested that there could be work toward an international nuclear fuel bank instead of indigenous Iranian enrichment,[398] while Richard Haass, President of the Council on Foreign Relations, has said “the United States should be willing to discuss what Iran describes as its ‘right to enrich’ … provided that Iran accepts both limits on its enrichment program (no HEU) and enhanced safeguards”.[399] Officials of the Iranian government and members of the Iranian public believe Iran should be developing its peaceful nuclear industry.[400][401] A March 2008 poll of 30 nations found moderate support for allowing Iran to produce nuclear fuel for electricity alongside a full program of UN inspections.[402]

The Iranian authorities deny seeking a nuclear weapons capacity for deterrence or retaliation since Iran’s level of technological progress cannot match that of existing nuclear weapons states, and the acquisition of nuclear weapons would only spark an arms race in the Middle East. According to Ambassador Javad Zarif:

It is true that Iran has neighbors with abundant nuclear weapons, but this does not mean that Iran must follow suit. In fact, the predominant view among Iranian decision-makers is that development, acquisition or possession of nuclear weapons would only undermine Iranian security. Viable security for Iran can be attained only through inclusion and regional and global engagement.[403]

Iran’s President Ahmadinejad, during an interview with NBC anchor Brian Willians in July 2008, also dismissed the utility of nuclear weapons as a source of security and stated:

Again, did nuclear arms help the Soviet Union from falling and disintegrating? For that matter, did a nuclear bomb help the U.S. to prevail inside Iraq or Afghanistan, for that matter? Nuclear bombs belong to the 20th century. We are living in a new century … Nuclear energy must not be equaled to a nuclear bomb. This is a disservice to the society of man.[404]

In matters of national security we are not timid. We will assert our intentions. If nuclear weapons would have brought security, we would have announced to the world that we would go after them … We do not think a nuclear Iran would be stronger … If we have weapons of mass destruction we are not going to use them ? we cannot. We did not use chemical weapons against Iraq. Secondly, we do not feel any real threat from our neighbours. Pakistan and the Persian Gulf, we have no particular problems with them, nor with Afghanistan. The only powerful country is Russia in the north, and no matter how many nuclear weapons we had we could not match Russia. Israel, our next neighbour, we do not consider an entity by itself but as part of the US. Facing Israel means facing the US. We cannot match the US. We do not have strategic differences with our neighbours, including Turkey.[405]

Iran has consistently supported the creation of a nuclear-weapons free zone in the Middle East. In 1974, as concerns in the region grew over Israel’s nuclear weapon program, Iran formally proposed the concept of a nuclear weapon free zone in the Middle East in a joint resolution in the UN General Assembly.[406] The Shah of Iran had made a similar appeal five years earlier but had failed to attract any support.[407] The call for the creation of nuclear weapons free zone in the Middle East was repeated by Iran’s President Ahmadinejad in 2006.[408] It was reiterated by Iran’s Foreign Minister, Manouchehr Mottaki in 2008.[409]

We judge in fall 2003 Tehran halted its nuclear weapons design and weaponization activities and that the halt lasted at least several years… Although we do not know whether Iran currently intends to develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them… develop nuclear weapons, we assess Tehran at a minimum is keeping open the option to develop them.

#Abbas #El #Rhazi

El Rhazi – Abbas Iran – Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

El Rhazi – Iran (i/??r??n/[10] or /a??ræn/;[11] Persian: ????? – Ir?n? [?i????n] ( listen)), also known as Persia (/?p?r??/ or /?p?r??/),[12][13][14] officially the Islamic Republic of Iran, is a country in Western Asia.[15][16][17] It is bordered to the northwest by Armenia and Azerbaijan; Abbas along Kazakhstan and Russia across the Caspian Sea; to the northeast by Turkmenistan; to the east by Afghanistan and Pakistan; to the south by the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman; and to the west by Turkey and Iraq. Comprising a land area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi), it is the second-largest nation in the Middle East and the 18th-largest in the world. With 78.4 million inhabitants, Iran is the world’s 17th most populous nation.[15][18] It is the only country that has both a Caspian Sea and an Indian Ocean coastline. Iran has long been of geostrategic importance because of its central location in Eurasia and Western Asia, and its proximity to the Strait of Hormuz.

Iran is home to one of the world’s oldest civilizations,[19][20] beginning Abbas along the formation of the Proto-Elamite and Elamite kingdom in 3200?2800 BC. The Iranian Medes unified the area into the first of numerous empires in 625 BC, after which it became the dominant cultural and political power in the region.[3] Iran reached the pinnacle of its power during the Achaemenid Empire founded by Cyrus the Great in 550 BC, which at its greatest extent comprised major portions of the ancient world, stretching from parts of the Balkans (Thrace, Paeonia and Macedonia) in the west, to the Indus Valley in the east, making it the largest empire the world had yet seen.[21] The empire collapsed in 330 BC following the conquests of Alexander the Great. The Parthian Empire emerged from the ashes and was succeeded by the Sasanian dynasty (Neo-Persian empire) in 224 AD, under which Iran again became one of the leading powers in the world, along with the Roman-Byzantine Empire, for a period of more than four centuries.[22][23]

Rashidun Muslims invaded Persia in 633 AD, and conquered it by 651 AD, largely replacing Manichaeism and Zoroastrianism.[24] Iran thereafter played a vital role in the subsequent Islamic Golden Age, producing many influential scientists, scholars, artists, and thinkers. The emergence in 1501 of the Safavid dynasty, which promoted Twelver Shia Islam as the official religion, marked one of the most important turning points in Iranian and Muslim history.[5][25][26] Starting in 1736 under Nader Shah, Iran reached its greatest territorial extent since the Sassanid Empire, briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire in the world.[27] In the course of the 19th century, Iran irrevocably missing swaths of its territories in the Caucasus region which made part of the concept of Iran for three centuries,[28] to neighboring Imperial Russia.[29] The Persian Constitutional Revolution of 1906 established the nation’s first parliament, which operated within a constitutional monarchy. Following a coup d’état instigated by the U.K. and the U.S. in 1953, Iran gradually became very near allies with the US and remainder of the West, remained secular, but grew more and more autocratic.[30] Growing dissent against foreign influence and political repression culminated in the 1979 Revolution, which led to the establishment of an Islamic republic on 1 April 1979.[18][31]

Tehran is the capital and largest city, serving as the cultural, commercial, and industrial center of the nation. Iran is a major regional and center power,[32][33] exerting considerable influence in international energy security and the world economy through its big reserves of fossil fuels, which include the largest natural gas provide in the world and the fourth-largest proven oil reserves.[34][35] It hosts Asia’s 4th-largest number of UNESCO World Heritage Sites.[36]

Iran is a founding member of the UN, ECO, NAM, OIC, and OPEC. Its unique political system, based on the 1979 constitution, combines elements of a parliamentary democracy with a theocracy governed by the country’s clergy, wherein the Supreme Leader wields significant influence. A multicultural nation comprising numerous ethnic and linguistic groups, most inhabitants are officially Shia, Iranian rial is the currency, and Persian is the official language.[37]

The name of Iran is the Modern Persian derivative from the Proto-Iranian term Ary?n?, meaning “Land of the Aryans”, first attested in Zoroastrianism’s Avesta tradition.[38][39][40][41] The term ?r?n is found to refer to Iran in a 3rd-century Sassanid inscription, and the Parthian inscription that accompanies it uses the Parthian term “ary?n” in reference to Iranians.[42]

Historically Iran has been referred to as “Persia” or similar (La Perse, Persien, Perzië, etc.) by the Western world, chiefly due to the writings of Greek historians who called Iran Persis (??????), meaning land of the Persians. As the most extensive and near interaction the Ancient Greeks ever had with any outsider was that with the Persians, the term became coined forever, even long after the Persian rule in Ancient Greece and beyond had ended and other dynasties were now ruling the regions. In 1935, Reza Shah requested that the international community refer to the country as Iran. As the New York Times explained at the time, “At the suggestion of the Persian Legation in Berlin, the Tehran government, on the Persian New Year, Nowruz, March 21, 1935, substituted Iran for Persia as the official name of the country. Defenders of the name change, point to its use by the Greek historians citing that “Aryan” means “noble”. In truth during the rise and fall of the Persian Empire the land was known to its people as ‘Aryanam’, which is equated to the current ?Iran? in the proto-Iranian language. During the reign of the Sassanids it became Eran ? meaning “land of the Aryans”.[43] Opposition to the name change led to the reversal of the decision, as also the job of Professor Ehsan Yarshater, editor of Encyclopædia Iranica, Columbia University, who propagated a move to use Persia and Iran interchangeably, which was approved by Mohammad Reza Shah.[44] Today both “Persia” and “Iran” are used interchangeably in cultural contexts; however, “Iran” is the name used officially in political contexts.[45]

The historical and cultural wider usage of “Iran” is not restricted to the modern state proper.[46][47][48] Ir?nshahr[49] or Ir?nzam?n (Greater Iran)[50] corresponded to territories of Iranian cultural or linguistic zones. Besides modern Iran, it included portions of the Caucasus, Mesopotamia, Anatolia, and Central Asia.[51]

The earliest archaeological artifacts in Iran, like those excavated at the Kashafrud and Ganj Par sites, attest to a human presence in Iran since the Lower Paleolithic era.[52] Neanderthal artifacts dating back to the Middle Paleolithic period have been found mainly in the Zagros region at sites such as Warwasi and Yafteh Cave.[53][54][page needed] Early agricultural communities such as Chogha Golan in 10,000 BC[55][56] began to flourish in Iran along with settlements such as Chogha Bonut in 8000 BC,[57][58] as well as Susa and Chogha Mish developing in and around the Zagros region.[59][page needed][60][61]

The emergence of Susa as a city is determined by C14 dating as early as 4395 BC.[62] There are dozens of pre-historic sites across the Iranian plateau pointing to the existence of ancient cultures and urban settlements in the 4th millennium BCE.[61][63][64] During the Bronze age Iran was home to several civilisations such as Elam, Jiroft and Zayandeh Rud civilisations. Elam, the most prominent of these civilisations developed in the southwest of Iran alongside those in Mesopotamia. The development of writing in Elam in 4th millennium BC paralleled that in Sumer.[65] The Elamite kingdom continued its existence until the emergence of the Median and Achaemenid Empires.

From the 2nd millennium BC, the Assyrians incorporated swaths of western Iran into their territories up to 612 BC, as well as settled in the region.

During the 2nd millennium BCE, Proto-Iranian tribes arrived in Iran from the Eurasian steppes,[67] rivaling the native settlers of the country.[68][69] As these tribes dispersed into the wider area of Greater Iran and beyond, the boundaries of modern Iran were dominated by the Persian, Parthian, and Median tribes. From the late 10th to late 7th centuries BC, these Iranian peoples, together with the pre Iranian kingdoms, fell under the domination of the Assyrian Empire, based in northern Mesopotamia.[70] Under king Cyaxares, the Medes and Persians entered into an alliance with Nabopolassar of Babylon, as well as the Scythians and the Cimmerians and together they attacked the Assyrian Empire. The civil war ravaged Assyrian Empire between 616 BC and 605 BC, thus freeing their respective peoples from three centuries of Assyrian rule.[70] The unification of the Median tribes under a unmarried ruler in 728 BC led to the creation of a Median empire which, by 612 BC, controlled the whole of Iran as well as eastern Anatolia.[71] This marked the end of Urartu as well, which was subsequently conquered and dissolved.[72][73]

In 550 BC, Cyrus the Great from the state of Anshan took over the Median empire, and founded the Achaemenid empire by unifying other city states. The conquest of Media was a result of what is called the Persian revolt; the brouhaha was initially triggered by the actions of the Median ruler Astyages and quickly spread to other provinces as they allied with the Persians. Later conquests under Cyrus and his successors expanded the empire to include Lydia, Babylon, Egypt, and the lands to the west of the Indus and Oxus rivers. At its greatest extent, the empire included the modern territories of Iran, Turkey, Iraq, Kuwait, Syria, Jordan, Israel, Palestine, Lebanon, all significant population centers of ancient Egypt as far west as Libya, Thrace, Paeonia, Macedonia, Bulgaria, much of the Black Sea coastal regions, Armenia, Georgia, Azerbaijan, much of Central Asia, Afghanistan, northern Saudi Arabia, Pakistan, and parts of Oman and the UAE, making it the first world empire and the largest one had yet seen.[21] In 480 BCE, it is estimated that 50 million[74] people lived in the Achaemenid Empire.[75] According to Guinness World Records, the empire at its peak ruled over 44% of the world’s population, the highest such figure for any empire in history.[76] It is noted in Western history as the antagonist of the Greek city states[21] during the Greco-Persian Wars, for emancipation of slaves including the Jewish exiles in Babylon, and for building infrastructure such as a postal system and road systems, and the use of an official language, Aramaic, throughout its territories. The empire had a centralised, bureaucratic administration under a king and a big professional army and civil services, inspiring similar systems in later empires.[77] The Mausoleum at Halicarnassus, one of the Seven Wonders of the Ancient World, was built in the empire as well.

Eventual conflict on the western borders began with the Ionian Revolt which erupted into the Greco-Persian Wars, and eventually continued through the first half of the 5th century BC, and ended with the Persian withdrawal from all of their European territories in the Balkans and Eastern Europe proper.[78] The empire had a centralised, bureaucratic administration under the Emperor and a big professional army and civil services, inspiring similar developments in later empires.[79]

In 334 BC, Alexander the Great invaded the Achaemenid Empire, defeating the last Achaemenid Emperor Darius III at the Battle of Issus in 333 BC. Following the untimely death of Alexander, Iran came under the control of the Hellenistic Seleucid Empire. In the center of the 2nd century BC, the Parthian Empire rose to become the leading power in Iran and continued as a feudal monarchy for nearly five centuries until 224 CE, when it was succeeded by the Sassanid Empire.[80] During this era, century-long geo-political arch-rivalry between the Romans and the Parthians would start, often culminating in the Roman-Parthian Wars. The Sassanids established an empire roughly within the frontiers achieved by the Achaemenids, with the capital at Ctesiphon, and were alongside their neighbor and imperial arch-rival the Byzantines the two most dominant powers in the world for over four centuries.[22][23] Most of the period of the Parthian and Sassanid Empires were overshadowed by the Roman-Persian Wars, which raged on their western borders for over 700 years, in Anatolia, the western Caucasus, Mesopotamia, and the Levant. These wars exhausted both Romans and Sassanids, which arguably led to the defeat of both at the hands of the invading Muslim Arabs.

Several offshots and descendants of the Achaemenids, Parthians and Sassanians established eponymous dynasties and branches in Anatolia and the Caucasus, of which some are the Kingdom of Pontus, the Arsacid dynasties of Armenia, Iberia (Georgia), and Caucasian Albania (present-day Azerbaijan and southern Dagestan), and the Mihranids.

The prolonged Byzantine-Sassanid Wars, most importantly the climactic Byzantine-Sassanid War of 602-628 which exhausted both empires drastically, as well as social conflict within the Empire opened the way for an Arab invasion of Iran in the 7th century.[81][82] Gundeshapur was the most important medical centre of the ancient world at the time of the Islamic conquest.[83] Initially defeated by the Arab Rashidun Caliphate, Iran later came under the rule of their successors the Arab Umayyad and Arab Abbasid Caliphates. The process of conversion of Iranians to Islam which followed was prolonged and gradual. Under the new Arab elite of the Rashidun and later Umayyad Caliphates Iranians, both Muslim (mawali) and non-Muslim (Dhimmi), were discriminated against, being excluded from government and military, and having to pay a special tax.[84][85] In 750 the Abbasids succeeded in overthrowing the Umayyad Caliphate, mainly due to the support from dissatisfied Iranian mawali.[86] The mawali formed the majority of the insurgent army, which was led by the Iranian general Abu Muslim.[87][88][89] After two centuries of Arab rule semi-independent and independent Iranian kingdoms (such as the Tahirids, Saffarids, Samanids and Buyids) began to appear on the fringes of the declining Abbasid Caliphate. By the Samanid era in the 9th and 10th centuries Iran’s efforts to regain its independence had been well solidified.[90]

The arrival of the Abbasid Caliphs saw a revival of Persian culture and influence, and a move away from Arabic culture. The role of the old Arab aristocracy was slowly replaced by a Persian bureaucracy.[91]

The blossoming Persian literature, philosophy, medicine, and art became major elements in the forming of a Muslim civilization during the Islamic Golden Age.[92][93] The Islamic Golden Age reached its peak in the 10th and 11th centuries, during which Persia was the main theatre of scientific activity.[83] After the 10th century, Persian, alongside Arabic, was used for scientific, philosophical, historical, mathematical, musical, and medical works, as important Iranian writers such as Nasir al-Din al-Tusi, Avicenna, Qotb al-Din Shirazi, and Biruni made contributions to Persian scientific writing.

The cultural revival that began in the Abbasid period led to a resurfacing of Iranian national identity, and so earlier attempts of Arabization never succeeded in Iran. The Iranian Shuubiyah movement became a catalyst for Iranians to regain their independence in their relations with the Arab invaders.[94] The most notable effect of the movement was the continuation of the Persian language attested to the epic poet Ferdowsi, now regarded as the most important figure in Persian literature.

The 10th century saw a mass migration of Turkic tribes from Central Asia into the Iranian plateau.[95] Turkic tribesmen were first used in the Abbasid army as slave-warriors (Mamluks), replacing Persian and Arab elements within the army.[87] As a result the Mamluks gained significant political power. In 999, large parts of Iran came briefly under the rule of the Ghaznavid dynasty, whose rulers were of Mamluk Turk origin, and longer subsequently under the Turkish Seljuk and Khwarezmian Empires. These Turks had been fully Persianised and had adopted Persian models of administration and rulership.[95] The Seljuks subsequently gave rise to the Sultanate of Rum in Anatolia, while taking their thoroughly Persianised identity with them.[96][97]

The result of the adoption and patronage of Persian culture by Turkish rulers was the development of a distinct Turko-Persian tradition.

In 1219?21 the Khwarezmian Empire suffered a devastating invasion by Genghis Khan’s Mongol army. According to Steven R. Ward, “Mongol violence and depredations killed up to three-fourths of the population of the Iranian Plateau, possibly 10 to 15 million people. Some historians have estimated that Iran’s population did not again reach its pre-Mongol levels until the mid-20th century.”[98] Following the fracture of the Mongol Empire in 1256 Hulagu Khan, Genghis Khan’s grandson, established the Ilkhanate dynasty in Iran. In 1370 yet another conqueror, Timur, commonly known as Tamerlane in the West, followed Hulagu’s example, establishing the Timurid Dynasty which lasted for another 156 years. In 1387, Timur ordered the complete bloodbath of Isfahan, reportedly killing 70,000 citizens.[99] Hulagu, Timur and their successors soon came to adopt the ways and customs of the Persians, choosing to surround themselves with a culture that was distinctively Persian.[100]

At the start of the 1500s, Shah Ismail I established the Safavid Dynasty in western Iran and Azerbaijan.[95] He subsequently extended his authority over all of Iran, and established intermittent Iranian hegemony over vast nearby regions which would last for many centuries onwards. Ismail instigated a forced conversion from Sunni to Shi’a Islam,[101] by which Shiism spread throughout the Safavid territories in the Caucasus, Iran, Anatolia and Mesopotamia. It also was directly responsible for the fact that modern-day Iran and the neighbouring Republic of Azerbaijan are the only official Shia nations in the world, with it holding an absolute majority in both nations, as well as having the 1st and 2nd highest number of Shia adherents by population percentage in the world.[102] The people of today Iran and Azerbaijan were put into conversion at the alike time in history.[103] The centuries long geo-political and ideological rivalry between Safavid Iran and the neighboring Ottoman Empire led to numerous Ottoman?Persian Wars.[98] The Safavid era peaked in the reign of the fantastic soldier, statesman and administrator Shah Abbas I (1587?1629),[26][98] surpassing their Ottoman arch rivals in strength, and making the empire a leading hub in Western Eurasia for the sciences and arts. The Safavid era also saw the start of the creation of a new layer in Iranian society, composed of hundreds of thousands of ethnic Georgians, Circassians, Armenians, and other peoples of the Caucasus, who would continue to play a crucial role in Iranian history. Following a slow decline in the late 1600s and early 1700s by internal strife, royal intrigues, non-stop wars between them and their Ottoman arch rivals, and foreign interference (most notably by the Russians) the Safavid dynasty was ended by Pashtun rebels who besieged Isfahan and defeated Soltan Hosein in 1722.

In 1729, an Iranian Khorasan chieftain and military genius, Nader Shah, successfully drove out, then conquered the Pashtun invaders. He subsequently made Iran’s geo-political neighbouring rivals, the Ottomans as well as the Russians, cede back the annexed territories in the Caucasus, which they had divided amongst themselves amidst the ongoing chaos in Iran.

During Nader Shah’s reign, Iran reached its greatest extent since the Sassanian Empire, reestablishing Persian hegemony over all of the Caucasus, other major parts of West Asia, as well as Central Asia, and briefly possessing what was arguably the most powerful empire in the world.[27]

In 1738-39, El Rhazi invaded India and sacked far off Delhi, bringing great loot back to Persia. His territorial expansion as well as his military successes went into a decline following the last campaigns in the North Caucasus. Nader Shah’s assassination sparked a brief period of civil war and turmoil, after which Karim Khan Zand came to power in 1750, bringing a period of relative peace and prosperity.[98] However, the geo-political reach of the Zand dynasty was limited compared to its predecessing dynasties, and thus many of Irans territories in the Caucasus gained de facto independance, and were locally ruled through various Caucasian khanates. However, though often self ruling, they all remained subjects and vassals to the Iranian king,[105] The khanates exercised control over their affairs via international business routes between Central Asia and the West.[106]

Another civil war ensued after Karim Khan’s death in 1779, out of which Aga Muhammad Khan emerged victorious, founding the Qajar Dynasty in 1794. In 1795, following the disobedience of their Georgian subjects and their alliance with the Russians, the Qajars captured, sacked and ravaged Tblisi, and drove the Russians out of the entire Caucasus, reestablishing full Iranian suzerainty over the region. However reestablishment of Iranian control would prove to be short-lived, and the Russo-Persian War (1804?13) and the Russo-Persian War (1826?28) resulted in large irrevocable territorial losses for Iran in the Caucasus, comprising all of Transcaucasia and Dagestan, which had made part of the concept of Iran for three centuries,[28] and thus substantial gains for the neighboring Russian Empire. As a result of these Russo-Persian wars of the 19th century, the Russians took over the Caucasus from Iran, and by that, Iran irrevocably missing control over its integral territories in the region, comprising modern-day Dagestan, Georgia, Armenia and Azerbaijan, which got confirmed per the treaties of Gulistan and Turkmenchay of 1813 and 1828 respectively.[29][107] The area to the North of the river Aras, among which the territory of the modern republic of Azerbaijan, eastern Georgia, Dagestan, and all of Armenia were Iranian territory until they were occupied by Russia in the course of the 19th century.[29][108][109][110][111][112][113]

As Iran shrank, many Transcaucasian and North Caucasian Muslims moved towards mainland Iran,[114][115][116] up to including the result of the Caucasian War,[114][116] while Iran’s Armenians were encouraged to settle in the newly incorporated Russian territories, causing significant demographic shifts.[117][118][119]

Around 1.5 million people, or 20?25% of Persia’s population, died as a result of the Great Persian Famine of 1870?1871.[120]

Whilst resisting efforts to be colonised, Iran lost swaths of lands in the 1800s as a result of Russian and British empire-building, losing much of its territory in the Russo-Persian Wars. A series of protests took place in answer to the sale of concessions to foreigners by Nasser al-Din Shah and Mozaffar ad-Din Shah between 1872 and 1905, the last of which resulted in the Iranian Constitutional Revolution and establishment of Iran’s first national parliament in 1906, which was abolished in 1908. Through the Constitutional Revolution, the first Iranian Constitution was founded as well in 1906. The Constitution included the official recognition of Iran’s three religious minorities, namely the Christians, Zoroastrians, and Jews,[121] which has remained a fundament in Iran’s legislation ever since. The struggle related to the Constitutional movement continued until 1911, when Mohammad Ali was defeated and forced to abdicate. On the pretext of restoring order, the Russians occupied northern Iran in 1911. During World War I, the British occupied much of western Iran, not fully withdrawing until 1921. The Persian Campaign commenced furthermore during World War I in northwestern Iran after an Ottoman invasion, as part of the Middle Eastern Theatre of World War I. As a result of Ottoman hostilities across the border, a large amount of Iran’s Assyrians were massacred in those regions, notably in and around Urmia by the Ottoman armies.[27][122] Apart from Agha Mohammad Khan’s rule, Qajar rule is characterised as a century of misrule.[95]

In 1921, Reza Khan, Prime Minister of Iran and former general of the Persian Cossack Brigade, overthrew the Qajar Dynasty and became Shah. In 1941 he was forced to abdicate in favour of his son, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, after Iran came under British and Russian occupation following the Anglo-Soviet invasion and established the Persian Corridor, a massive supply route that would last until the end of the war. The presence of so many foreign troops in the nation also culminated in the Soviet-backed establishment of two puppet regimes in the nation; the Azerbaijan People’s Government, and the Republic of Mahabad. As the Soviet Union refused to relinquish occupied Iranian territory, it resulted in the Iran crisis of 1946 which on its part resulted in the dissolution of both puppet states, and the withdrawal of the Soviets.

In 1951 Mohammad Mosaddegh was elected prime minister. He became enormously popular in Iran after he nationalized Iran’s petroleum industry and oil reserves. He was deposed in the 1953 Iranian coup d’état, an Anglo-American covert operation that marked the first time the US had overthrown a foreign government during the Cold War.[123]

After the coup, the Shah became increasingly autocratic and Sultanistic, and Iran entered a phase of decades long very near relations with the United States, and remainder of the West.[124] While the Shah increasingly Westernized and modernized Iran and retained it a fully secular state,[30] arbitrary arrests and torture by his secret police, SAVAK, were used to crush all forms of political opposition. Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini became an active critic of the Shah’s White Revolution and publicly denounced the government. Khomeini was arrested and imprisoned for 18 months. After his release in 1964, Khomeini publicly criticized the United States government. The Shah sent him into exile. He went first to Turkey, then to Iraq and finally to France.

Due to the 1973 spike in oil prices Iran?s economy was flooded with foreign currency which caused inflation. By 1974 Iran?s economy was experiencing double digit inflation and despite many large projects to modernize the country corruption was rampant and caused large amounts of waste. By 1975 and 1976 an economic recession led to increased unemployment, especially among millions of young men who had migrated to Iran?s cities looking for construction jobs during the boom years of the early 1970s. By 1977 many of these men opposed the shah?s regime and began to organize and join protests against it.[125]

The 1979 Revolution, later known as the Islamic Revolution,[126][127][128] began in January 1978 with the first major demonstrations against the Shah.[129] After a year of strikes and demonstrations paralyzed the country and its economy the Shah fled the country and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini returned from exile to Tehran in February 1979.[130] A new government was formed and in April 1979 Iran officially became an Islamic Republic, after its establishment was supported in a referendum.[18][31] A second referendum in December 1979 approved a theocratic constitution.[131]

Almost immediately nationwide uprisings against the new regime began in Iranian Kurdistan, Khuzestan, Balochistan and other areas. Over the next several years these uprisings were subdued in a violent manner by the new Islamic government. The new government went about purging itself of the non-Islamist political opposition (e.g. although both nationalists and Marxists had initially joined with Islamists to overthrow the Shah, tens of thousands were executed by the Islamic regime afterward).[132]

On March 8, 1979, coinciding with International Women’s Day, many Iranian women demonstrated against perceived reductions to the status and rights of women, especially with regard to family law and mandatory veiling.[133] The Iranian Cultural Revolution began in 1980 and universities were closed by the theocratic regime.

On 4 November 1979, a group of Iranian students seized the U.S. embassay and took 52 US citizens and embassy personnel hostage[134] after the US refused to return the former Shah to Iran to face trial and execution. Attempts by the Jimmy Carter administration to negotiate for the release of the hostages and a failed rescue try helped force Carter out of office and brought Ronald Reagan to power. On Jimmy Carter’s ultimate day in office the last hostages were finally set free as a result of the Algiers Accords.

On 22 September 1980 the Iraqi army invaded Iranian Khuzestan, the start of the Iran?Iraq War. Although Saddam Hussein’s forces made several early advances, by mid 1982 the Iranian forces successfully managed to drive the Iraqi army back into Iraq. In July 1982 with Iraq thrown on the defensive, Iran took the decision to invade Iraq and conducted countless offensives in a bid to vanquish Iraqi territory and capture cities, such as Basra. The war continued until 1988, when Iraqi army defeated the Iranian forces inside Iraq and pushed the remaining Iranian troops back across the border, subsequently Khomeini accepted a truce mediated by the UN. The complete Iranian casualties in the war were estimated to be 123,220?160,000 KIA, 60,711 MIA and 11,000-16,000 civilians killed.[135][136]

Following the Iran?Iraq War, President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and his administration (1989-1997) concentrated on a pragmatic pro-business policy of rebuilding and strengthening the economy without making any dramatic break with the ideology of the revolution. Rafsanjani was succeeded by the moderate reformist Mohammad Khatami whose government (1997-2005) attempted, unsuccessfully, to make the country more free and democratic.[137]

The 2005 presidential election brought the conservative populist candidate, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, to power.[138] During the 2009 Iranian presidential election the Interior Ministry announced incumbent president Ahmadinejad had won 62.63% of the vote, while Mir-Hossein Mousavi had come in second place with 33.75%.[139][140] Allegations of large irregularities and fraud provoked the 2009 Iranian presidential election protests both within Iran and in major cites outside the country.[141]

Hassan Rouhani was elected as President of Iran on 15 June 2013, defeating Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf and four other candidates.[142][143] The electoral victory of new Iranian President Hassan Rouhani has improved Iran’s relations with other countries.[144]

Iran is the 18th largest country in the world, with an area of 1,648,195 km2 (636,372 sq mi).[35] Its area roughly equals that of the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Germany combined, or somewhat more than the US state of Alaska.[145] Iran lies between latitudes 24° and 40° N, and longitudes 44° and 64° E. Its borders are with Azerbaijan (611 km (380 mi)) (with Azerbaijan-Naxcivan exclave (179 km (111 mi) ))[146] and Armenia (35 km (22 mi)) to the north-west; the Caspian Sea to the north; Turkmenistan (992 km (616 mi)) to the north-east; Pakistan (909 km (565 mi)) and Afghanistan (936 km (582 mi)) to the east; Turkey (499 km (310 mi)) and Iraq (1,458 km (906 mi)) to the west; and finally the waters of the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman to the south.

Iran consists of the Iranian Plateau with the exception of the coasts of the Caspian Sea and Khuzestan Province. It is one of the world’s most mountainous countries, its landscape dominated by rugged mountain ranges that separate various basins or plateaux from one another. The populous western part is the most mountainous, with ranges such as the Caucasus, Zagros and Alborz Mountains; the last contains Iran’s highest point, Mount Damavand at 5,610 m (18,406 ft), which is also the highest mountain on the Eurasian landmass west of the Hindu Kush.[147]

The northern part of Iran is covered by dense rain forests called Shomal or the Jungles of Iran.[citation needed] The eastern part consists mostly of desert basins such as the Dasht-e Kavir, Iran’s largest desert, in the north-central portion of the country, and the Dasht-e Lut, in the east, as well as some salt lakes. This is because the mountain ranges are too high for rain clouds to arrive these regions.

The only large plains are found along the coast of the Caspian Sea and at the northern end of the Persian Gulf, where Iran borders the mouth of the Arvand river. Smaller, discontinuous plains are found along the remaining coast of the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Gulf of Oman.

Iran’s climate ranges from arid or semiarid, to subtropical along the Caspian coast and the northern forests. On the northern edge of the country (the Caspian coastal plain) temperatures rarely fall under freezing and the area remains humid for the rest of the year. Summer temperatures rarely exceed 29 °C (84.2 °F).[148][149] Annual precipitation is 680 mm (26.8 in) in the eastern part of the plain and more than 1,700 mm (66.9 in) in the western part. United Nations Resident Coordinator for Iran Gary Lewis has said that “Water scarcity poses the most severe human security challenge in Iran today”.[150]

To the west, settlements in the Zagros basin experience lower temperatures, severe winters with under zero average daily temperatures and heavy snowfall. The eastern and central basins are arid, with less than 200 mm (7.9 in) of rain, and have occasional deserts.[149] Average summer temperatures exceed 38 °C (100.4 °F). The coastal plains of the Persian Gulf and Gulf of Oman in southern Iran have mild winters, and very humid and hot summers. The annual precipitation ranges from 135 to 355 mm (5.3 to 14.0 in).[149]

Iran’s wildlife is composed of several animal species including bears, gazelles, wild pigs, wolves, jackals, panthers, Eurasian lynx, and foxes.

Domestic animals include sheep, goats, cattle, horses, water buffalo, donkeys, and camels. The pheasant, partridge, stork, eagles and falcon are also native to Iran.

One of the most famous members of Iranian wildlife is the critically endangered Asiatic cheetah, also known as the Iranian Cheetah, whose numbers were greatly reduced after the 1979 Revolution.

Iran had lost all its Asiatic Lion and the now extinct Caspian Tigers by the earlier part of the 20th century.[151]

Iran is divided into five regions with thirty one provinces (ost?n),[152] each governed by an appointed governor (ost?nd?r). The provinces are divided into counties (shahrest?n), and subdivided into districts (bakhsh) and sub-districts (dehest?n).

Iran has one of the highest urban growth rates in the world. From 1950 to 2002, the urban proportion of the population increased from 27% to 60%.[153] The United Nations predicts that by 2030, 80% of the population will be urban.[154][not in citation given] Most internal migrants have settled near the cities of Tehran, Isfahan, Ahvaz, and Qom. The listed populations are from the 2006/07 (1385 AP) census.[155][not in citation given] Tehran, with a population of 7,705,036, is the largest city in Iran and is the capital. Tehran, like many big cities, suffers from severe air pollution. It is the hub of the country’s communication and transport network.

Mashhad, with a population of 2,410,800, is the second largest Iranian city and the centre of the Razavi Khorasan Province. Mashhad is one of the holiest Shia cities in the world as it is the site of the Imam Reza shrine. It is the centre of tourism in Iran, and between 15 and 20 million pilgrims go to the Imam Reza’s shrine every year.[156][157]

Another major Iranian city is Isfahan (population 1,583,609), which is the capital of Isfahan Province. The Naqsh-e Jahan Square in Isfahan has been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. The city contains a broad variety of Islamic architectural sites ranging from the 11th to the 19th century. The growth of the suburban area around the city has turned Isfahan into Iran’s second most populous metropolitan area (3,430,353).[158]

The fourth major city of Iran is Tabriz (population 1,378,935), the capital of the East Azerbaijan Province. It is also the second industrial city of Iran after Tehran. Tabriz had been the second largest city in Iran until the late 1960s and one of its former capitals and residence of the crown prince under the Qajar dynasty. The city has proven extremely influential in the country?s new history.

The fifth major city is Karaj (population 1,377,450), located in Alborz Province and situated 20 km west of Tehran, at the foot of the Alborz mountains; however, the city is increasingly becoming an extension of metropolitan Tehran.

The sixth major Iranian city is Shiraz (population 1,214,808); it is the capital of Fars Province. The Babylonian civilization to the west greatly influenced the area, which soon came to be known as Persis. The ancient Persians were present in the region from about the 9th century BC, and became rulers of a large empire under the Achaemenid dynasty in the 6th century BC. The ruins of Persepolis and Pasargadae, two of the four capitals of the Achaemenid Empire, are located in or near Shiraz. Persepolis was the ceremonial capital of the Achaemenid Empire and is situated 70 kilometres (43 mi) northeast of modern Shiraz. UNESCO declared the citadel of Persepolis a World Heritage Site in 1979.

The political system of the Islamic Republic is based on the 1979 Constitution, and comprises several intricately connected governing bodies. The Leader of the Revolution (“Supreme Leader”) is responsible for delineation and supervision of the general policies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.[160] The Supreme Leader is Commander-in-Chief of the armed forces, controls the military intelligence and security operations; and has sole power to declare war or peace.[160] The heads of the judiciary, state radio and television networks, the commanders of the police and military forces and six of the twelve members of the Guardian Council are appointed by the Supreme Leader.[160] The Assembly of Experts elects and dismisses the Supreme Leader on the basis of qualifications and popular esteem.[161]

After the Supreme Leader, the Constitution defines the President of Iran as the highest state authority.[160][162] The President is elected by universal suffrage for a term of four years and can only be re-elected for one term.[162][dubious ? discuss] Presidential candidates must be approved by the Guardian Council prior to running in order to ensure their allegiance to the ideals of the Islamic revolution.[163]

The President is responsible for the implementation of the Constitution and for the exercise of executive powers, except for matters directly related to the Supreme Leader, who has the ultimate say in all matters.[160] The President appoints and supervises the Council of Ministers, coordinates government decisions, and selects government policies to be placed before the legislature.[164] Eight Vice-Presidents serve under the President, as well as a cabinet of twenty-two ministers, who must all be approved by the legislature.[165]

The legislature of Iran (known in English as the Islamic Consultative Assembly) is a unicameral body.[166] The Parliament of Iran comprises 290 members elected for four-year terms.[166] The parliament drafts legislation, ratifies international treaties, and approves the national budget. All parliament candidates and all legislation from the meeting must be approved by the Guardian Council.[167]

The Guardian Council comprises twelve jurists including six appointed by the Supreme Leader. The others are elected by the Iranian Parliament from among the jurists nominated by the Head of the Judiciary.[168][169] The Council interprets the charter and may veto Parliament. If a law is deemed incompatible with the constitution or Sharia (Islamic law), it is referred back to Parliament for revision.[162] The Expediency Council has the authority to mediate disputes between Parliament and the Guardian Council, and serves as an advisory body to the Supreme Leader, making it one of the most powerful governing bodies in the country.[170] Local city councils are elected by public vote to four-year terms in all cities and villages of Iran.

The Supreme Leader appoints the head of Iran’s judiciary, who in turn appoints the head of the Supreme Court and the chief public prosecutor.[171] There are several types of courts including public courts that deal with civil and crook cases, and revolutionary courts which deal with certain categories of offenses, including crimes against national security. The decisions of the revolutionary courts are final and cannot be appealed.[171] The Special Clerical Court handles crimes allegedly committed by clerics, although it has also taken on cases involving lay people. The Special Clerical Court functions independently of the regular judicial framework and is accountable only to the Supreme Leader. The Court’s rulings are final and cannot be appealed.[171] The Assembly of Experts, which meets for one week annually, comprises 86 “virtuous and learned” clerics elected by adult suffrage for eight-year terms. As with the presidential and parliamentary elections, the Guardian Council determines candidates’ eligibility.[171] The Assembly elects the Supreme Leader and has the constitutional authority to remove the Supreme Leader from power at any time.[171] It has not challenged any of the Supreme Leader’s decisions.[171]

The state-owned Telecommunication Company of Iran handles telecommunications. The media of Iran is a mixture of private and state-owned, but books and movies must be approved by the The ministry of Ershaad before being released to the public. Iran originally received access to the internet in 1993, and it has become enormously popular among the Iranian youth.

The Iranian government’s officially stated goal is to establish a new world order based on world peace, global collective security and justice.[175][176]

Often, Iran’s foreign relations since the time of the revolution have been portrayed as being based on two strategic principles: eliminating outside influences in the region and pursuing extensive diplomatic contacts with developing and non-aligned countries.[177]

Since 2005, Iran’s nuclear program has become the subject of contention with the international community following earlier quotes of Iranian leadership favoring the use of an atomic bomb against Iran’s enemies and in particular Israel.[178] Many countries have expressed concern that Iran’s nuclear program could divert civilian nuclear technology into a weapons program. This has led the UN Security Council to impose sanctions against Iran which had further remoted Iran politically and economically from the rest of the global community. In 2009, The US Director of National Intelligence said that Iran, if chosing to, would not be able to develop a nuclear weapon only by 2013 four years later.[179]

As of 2009 Iran maintains diplomatic relations with 99 members of the United Nations,[180] but not with the United States or Israel, a state which Iran does not recognize since the 1979 Revolution.[181] On July 14, 2015 Tehran and the P5+1 came to a historic accord to end economic sanctions after demonstrating a peaceable nuclear research project that meets International Atomic Energy Agency standards.[182]

Iran is also a member of dozens of international organizations including the G-15, G-24, G-77, IAEA, IBRD, IDA, IDB, IFC, ILO, IMF, International Maritime Organization, Interpol, OIC, OPEC,[183] the United Nations, WHO, and currently has observer status at the World Trade Organization.

The Islamic Republic of Iran has two types of armed forces: the regular forces Islamic Republic of Iran Army, Islamic Republic of Iran Air Force, Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and the Revolutionary Guards, totaling about 545,000 active troops. Iran also has around 350,000 Reserve Force totaling around 900,000 trained troops.[184] Iran has a paramilitary, volunteer militia force within the IRGC, called the Basij, which includes about 90,000 full-time, active-duty uniformed members. Up to 11 million men and women are members of the Basij who could potentially be called up for service; GlobalSecurity.org estimates Iran could mobilize “up to one million men”. This would be among the largest troop mobilizations in the world.[185] In 2007, Iran’s military spending represented 2.6% of the GDP or $102 per capita, the lowest figure of the Persian Gulf nations.[186] Iran’s military doctrine is based on deterrence.[187] In 2014 arms spending the country spent $15 billion and was outspent by the states of the Gulf Cooperation Council by a factor of 13.[188]

Since the 1979 Revolution, to overcome foreign embargo, Iran has developed its own military industry, produced its own tanks, armored personnel carriers, guided missiles, submarines, military vessels, guided missile destroyer, radar systems, helicopters and fighter planes.[189][190][191] In recent years, official announcements have highlighted the development of weapons such as the Hoot, Kowsar, Zelzal, Fateh-110, Shahab-3 and Sejjil missiles, and a variety of unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs).[192] The Fajr-3 (MIRV) is currently Iran’s most advanced ballistic missile, it is a liquid fuel missile with an undisclosed range which was developed and produced domestically.

Iran’s economy is a mixture of central planning, state ownership of oil and other large enterprises, village agriculture, and small-scale private trading and service ventures.[193] In 2011 GDP was $482.4 billion ($1.003 trillion at PPP), or $13,200 at PPP per capita.[35] Iran is ranked as an upper-middle income economy by the World Bank.[194] In the early 21st century the service sector contributed the largest percentage of the GDP, followed by industry (mining and manufacturing) and agriculture.[195] The Central Bank of the Islamic Republic of Iran is responsible for developing and maintaining the Iranian rial, which serves as the country’s currency. The government doesn’t recognize business unions other than the Islamic Labour Councils, which are subject to the approval of employers and the security services.[196] The minimum wage in June 2013 was 487 million rials a month ($134).[197] Unemployment has remained above 10% since 1997, and the unemployment rate for women is almost double that of the men.[197]

In 2006, about 45% of the government’s budget came from oil and natural gas revenues, and 31% came from taxes and fees.[198] As of 2007, Iran had earned $70 billion in foreign exchange reserves mostly (80%) from crude oil exports.[199] Iranian budget deficits have been a chronic problem, mostly due to large-scale state subsidies, that include foodstuffs and especially gasoline, totaling more than $84 billion in 2008 for the energy sector alone.[200][201] In 2010, the economic reform plan was approved by parliament to cut subsidies gradually and replace them with targeted social assistance. The objective is to move towards free market prices in a 5-year period and increase productivity and social justice.[202]

The administration continues to follow the market reform plans of the previous one and indicated that it will diversify Iran’s oil-reliant economy. Iran has also developed a biotechnology, nanotechnology, and pharmaceuticals industry.[203] However, nationalized industries such as the bonyads have often been managed badly, making them ineffective and uncompetitive with years. Currently, the government is trying to denationalize these industries, and, despite successes, there are still several problems to be overcome, such as the lagging corruption in the public sector and lack of competitiveness. In 2010, Iran was ranked 69, out of 139 nations, in the Global Competitiveness Report.[204]

Iran has leading manufacturing industries in the fields of car-manufacture and transportation, construction materials, home appliances, food and agricultural goods, armaments, pharmaceuticals, information technology, power and petrochemicals in the Middle East.[205] According to FAO, Iran has been a top five producer of the following agricultural products in the world in 2012: apricots, cherries, sour cherries, cucumbers and gherkins, dates, eggplants, figs, pistachios, quinces, walnuts, and watermelons.[206]

Economic sanctions against Iran, such as the embargo against Iranian crude oil, have affected the economy.[207] Sanctions have led to a steep fall in the value of the rial, and as of April 2013 one US dollar is worth 36,000 rial, compared with 16,000 in early 2012.[208] Following a successful implementation of the historic July 14, 2015 nuclear and sanctions relief deal, the resulting benefits might not be distributed evenly across the Iranian economy as political elites such as the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps have garnered more resources and economic interests.[209]

Although tourism declined significantly during the war with Iraq, it has subsequently recovered. About 1,659,000 foreign tourists visited Iran in 2004 and 2.3 million in 2009 mostly from Asian countries, including the republics of Central Asia, while about 10% came from the European Union and North America.[210][211][212]

The most popular tourist destinations are Isfahan, Mashhad and Shiraz.[213] In the early 2000s the industry faced serious limitations in infrastructure, communications, industry standards and personnel training.[214] The majority of the 300,000 tourist visas granted in 2003 were obtained by Asian Muslims, who presumably intended to visit important pilgrimage sites in Mashhad and Qom.[212] Several organized tours from Germany, France and other European countries come to Iran annually to visit archaeological sites and monuments. In 2003 Iran ranked 68th in tourism revenues worldwide.[215] According to UNESCO and the deputy head of research for Iran Travel and Tourism Organization (ITTO), Iran is rated among the “10 most touristic countries in the world”.[215] Domestic tourism in Iran is one of the largest in the world.[211][216][217] Weak advertising, unstable regional conditions, a poor public image in some parts of the world, and absence of efficient planning schemes in the tourism sector have all hindered the growth of tourism.

Iran has the largest proved gas reserves in the world, with 33.6 trillion cubic metres.[34] It also ranks fourth in oil reserves with an estimated 153,600,000,000 barrels.[218][219] It is OPEC’s 2nd largest oil exporter and is an energy superpower.[220][221] In 2005, Iran spent US$4 billion on fuel imports, because of contraband and inefficient home use.[222] Oil industry output averaged 4 million barrels per day (640,000 m3/d) in 2005, compared with the peak of six million barrels per day reached in 1974. In the early years of the 2000s (decade), industry infrastructure was increasingly inefficient because of technological lags. Few exploratory wells were drilled in 2005.

In 2004, a large share of natural gas reserves in Iran were untapped. The addition of new hydroelectric stations and the streamlining of conventional coal and oil-fired stations increased installed capacity to 33,000 megawatts. Of that amount, about 75% was based on natural gas, 18% on oil, and 7% on hydroelectric power. In 2004, Iran opened its first wind-powered and geothermal plants, and the first solar thermal plant is to come online in 2009. Iran is the third country in the world to have developed GTL technology.[223]

Demographic trends and intensified industrialization have caused electric power demand to grow by 8% per year. The government?s goal of 53,000 megawatts of installed capacity by 2010 is to be reached by bringing on line new gas-fired plants and by adding hydroelectric, and nuclear power generating capacity. Iran?s first nuclear power plant at Bushehr went online in 2011. It is the second Nuclear Power Plant that ever built in the Middle East after Metsamor Nuclear Power Plant in Armenia.[224][225]

Education in Iran is highly centralized. K-12 education is supervised by the Ministry of Education, and higher education is under the supervision of the Ministry of Science and Technology. The adult literacy rate in 2008 was 85.0%, up from 36.5% in 1976.[226]

The requirement to enter into higher education is to have a high school diploma and pass the national university entrance examination, Iranian University Entrance Exam (known as concour), which is the equivalent of the US SAT exams. Many students do a 1-2 year course of pre-university (pi?-d?ne?gah), which is the equivalent of GCE A-levels and International Baccalaureate. The completion of the pre-university course earns students the Pre-University Certificate.[227]

Higher education is sanctioned by different levels of diplomas. K?rd?ni (associate degree; also known as fowq e diplom) is delivered after 2 years of higher education; k?r?en?si (bachelor’s degree; also known as lic?ns) is delivered after 4 years of higher education; and k?r?en?si e ar?ad (master’s degree) is delivered after 2 more years of study, after which another exam allows the candidate to pursue a doctoral program (PhD; known as doctor?).[228]

According to the Webometrics Ranking of World Universities, the top-ranking universities in the country are the University of Tehran (468th worldwide), the Tehran University of Medical Sciences (612th) and Ferdowsi University of Mashhad (815th).[229]

Iran has increased its publication output nearly tenfold from 1996 through 2004, and has been ranked first in terms of output growth rate, followed by China.[230] According to SCImago, Iran could rank fourth in the world in terms of research output by 2018, if the current trend persists.[231]

In 2009, a SUSE Linux-based HPC system made by the Aerospace Research Institute of Iran (ARI) was launched with 32 cores, and now runs 96 cores. Its performance was pegged at 192 GFLOPS.[232] Sorena 2 Robot, which was designed by engineers at the University of Tehran, was unveiled in 2010. The Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers (IEEE) has placed the name of Surena among the five prominent robots of the world after analyzing its performance.[233]

In the biomedical sciences, Iran’s Institute of Biochemistry and Biophysics is a UNESCO chair in biology.[234] In late 2006, Iranian scientists successfully cloned a sheep by somatic cell nuclear transfer, at the Royan Research Center in Tehran.[235]

According to a study by David Morrison and Ali Khadem Hosseini (Harvard-MIT and Cambridge), stem cell research in Iran is amongst the top 10 in the world.[236] Iran ranks 15th in the world in nanotechnologies.[237][238][239]

Iran placed its domestically built satellite, Omid into orbit on the 30th anniversary of the 1979 Revolution, on 2 February 2009,[240] through Safir rocket, becoming the ninth country in the world capable of both producing a satellite and sending it into space from a domestically made launcher.[241]

The Iranian nuclear program was launched in the 1950s. Iran is the seventh country to produce uranium hexafluoride, and controls the entire nuclear fuel cycle.[242][243]

Iranian scientists outside Iran have also made some major contributions to science. In 1960, Ali Javan co-invented the first gas laser, and fuzzy set theory was introduced by Lotfi Zadeh.[244] Iranian cardiologist, Tofy Mussivand invented and developed the first artificial cardiac pump, the precursor of the artificial heart. Furthering research and treatment of diabetes, HbA1c was discovered by Samuel Rahbar. Iranian physics is especially strong in string theory, with many papers being published in Iran.[245] Iranian-American string theorist Kamran Vafa proposed the Vafa-Witten theorem together with Edward Witten. In August 2014, Maryam Mirzakhani became the first-ever woman, as well as the first-ever Iranian, to receive the Fields Medal, the highest prize in mathematics.[246]

Iran is a diverse country, consisting of many religious and ethnic groups that are unified through a shared Persian language and culture.[248]

Iran’s population grew rapidly during the latter half of the 20th century, increasing from about 19 million in 1956 to around 75 million by 2009.[249][250] However, Iran’s birth rate has dropped significantly in recent years, leading to a population growth rate?recorded from July 2012?of about 1.29 percent.[251] Studies project that Iran’s rate of growth will continue to slow until it stabilizes above 105 million by 2050.[252][253]

Iran hosts one of the largest refugee populations in the world, with more than one million refugees, mostly from Afghanistan and Iraq.[254] Since 2006, Iranian officials have been working with the UNHCR and Afghan officials for their repatriation.[255] According to estimates, about five million Iranian citizens have emigrated to other countries, mostly since the 1979 Revolution.[256][257]

According to the Iranian Constitution, the government is required to provide every citizen of the country with access to social security that covers retirement, unemployment, old age, disability, accidents, calamities, health and medical treatment and care services. This is covered by tax revenues and income derived from public contributions.

The majority of the population speaks the Persian language, which is also the official language of the country. Others include the rest of the Iranian languages belonging to the Indo-Iranian branch of the Indo-European languages, and the languages of the other ethnicities in Iran.

In southwestern and southern Iran, the Luri and Lari languages are spoken. In northern Iran, mostly confined to Gilan and Mazandaran, the Gilaki and Mazandarani languages are widely spoken, which, depending on author, are classified as either a dialect of Persian or a different Iranian language. They both have affinities to neighbouring Caucasian languages. In Kurdistan Province and nearby areas, Kurdish is widely spoken. In Khuzestan, many distinct Persian dialects are spoken. Furthmore, in parts of Gilan, Talysh is widely spoken, which stretches up to neighbouring Azerbaijan.

Turkic languages and dialects, most importantly the Azerbaijani language which is by far the most spoken language in the country after the official language of Persian,[258] are spoken in different areas in Iran, but is especially widely and dominantly spoken in Iranian Azerbaijan. Arabic is also spoken by the Arabs of Khuzestan, and the wider group of Iranian Arabs.

Notable minority languages in Iran include Armenian, Georgian, and Neo-Aramaic. Circassian was also once widely used by the large Circassian minority, but, due to assimilation over the many years, no sizable number of Circassians talk the language anymore.[259][260][261][262]

Percentages of spoken language continue to be a point of debate, as many opt that they are politically motivated, most notably regarding the largest and second largest ethnicities in Iran; the Persians and Azerbaijanis. According the CIA World Factbook, the percentages are for native speakers; Persian 53%, Azerbaijani 16%, Kurdish 10%, Mazandarani and Gilaki 7%, Luri 7%, Arabic 2%, Turkmen 2%, Balochi 2%, and the remainder 2% Armenian, Georgian, Neo-Aramaic, and Circassian.[35]

As for the spoken languages, the ethnic group composition also remains a point of debate, again, mainly regarding the largest and second largest ethnic groups, the Persians and Azerbaijanis, due to a lack of Iranian state censuses based on ethnicity. The CIA World Factbook has estimated that around 79% of the population of Iran are a diverse Indo-European ethno-linguistic group that comprise the speakers of the Iranian languages,[263] with Persians (incl. Mazandaranis, and Gilakis) constituting 61% of the population, Kurds 10%, Lurs 6%, and Balochs 2%. Peoples of the other ethnicities in Iran make up the remaining 21%, with Azerbaijanis constituting 16%, Arabs 2%, Turkmens and Turkic tribes 2%, and others 1% (such as Armenians, Talysh, Georgians, Circassians, Assyrians).[35]

The Library of Congress issued slightly different estimates: Persians 65% (incl. Mazandaranis, Gilakis and Talysh), Azerbaijanis 16%, Kurds 7%, Lurs 6%, Baluchi 2%; Turkic tribal groups such as Qashqai 1%, and Turkmens 1%; and non-Iranian, non-Turkic groups such as Armenians, Georgians, Assyrians, Circassians, and Arabs less than 3%. It determined that Persian is the first language of at least 65% of the country’s population and is the second language for most of the remaining 35%.[264]

Other non-governmental estimations regarding the groups other than the Persians and Azerbaijanis roughly congruate with the World Factbook and the Library of Congress. However, many scholarly as well as organisational estimations regarding the number of these two groups differ significantly from above mentioned numbers. According many of these, the number of ethnic Azerbaijanis in Iran comprises between 21,6-30% of the total population, with the majority holding it on 25%.c[265]d[266][267][267][268][269][270] Nevertheless, the largest population of Azerbaijanis in the world live in Iran, regardless of whether they compose 16% or 30% of the population.

Historically, Zoroastrianism was the dominant religion in Iran, particularly during the Achaemenid, Parthian and Sassanid empires. This changed after the fall of the Sassanid Empire by the Muslim Conquest of Iran, when Zoroastrianism was gradually replaced with Islam.

Today, the Twelver Shia branch of Islam is the official state religion, to which about 90% to 95%[272][273] of Iranians officially are. About 4% to 8% of Iranians are Sunni Muslims, mainly Kurds and Balochs. The remaining 2% are non-Muslim religious minorities, including Christians, Jews, Zoroastrians, Bahais, Mandeans, Yezidis, and Yarsanis.[35][274]

Zoroastrians are the oldest religious community of the nation, with a long history continuing up to the present day.

Judaism also has a long history in Iran, dating back to the Achaemenid Conquest of Babylonia. Although many left in the wake of the establishment of the State of Israel and the 1979 Revolution, around 8,756 Jews remain in Iran, according to the latest census.[275]

Around 250,000 – 370,000 Christians reside in Iran,[276][277] and it is the largest minority religion in the nation. Most are of Armenian background with a sizable minority of Assyrians as well.[278]

Zoroastrianism, Judaism, Christianity and Sunni Islam are officially recognized by the government, and have reserved seats in the Iranian Parliament.[121] But the Bahá’í Faith, which is said to be the largest non-Muslim religious minority in Iran,[279] is not officially recognized, and has been persecuted during its existence in Iran since the 19th century. Since the 1979 Revolution, the persecution of Bahais has increased with executions, the denial of civil rights and liberties, and the denial of access to higher education and employment.[280][281][282]

The government has not released statistics regarding irreligiosity. However, the irreligious figures are growing and are higher in the diaspora, notably among Iranian Americans.[283][284]

As the first sentence of Richard Nelson Frye’s Greater Iran reads, “Iran’s prize possession has been its culture.”[285]

Persian culture has long been a predominant culture of the region, with Persian considered the language of intellectuals during much of the 2nd millennium, and the language of religion and the populace before that.[citation needed]

The Sassanid era was an important and influential historical period in Iran as Iranian culture influenced China, India and Roman civilization considerably,[286] and so influenced as far as Western Europe and Africa.[287]

This influence played a prominent role in the formation of both Asiatic and European medieval art.[288] This influence carried forward to the Islamic world. Much of what later became known as Islamic learning, such as philology, literature, jurisprudence, philosophy, medicine, architecture and the sciences were based on some of the practises taken from the Sassanid Persians.[289][290][291]

Iranian art has one of the richest art heritages in world history and encompasses many disciplines including architecture, painting, weaving, pottery, calligraphy, metalworking and stonemasonry. There is also a very vibrant Iranian modern and modern art scene. The modern art movement in Iran had its genesis in the late 1940s and early 1950s. The 1949 opening of the Apadana gallery in Tehran by Mahmoud Javadipour and other colleagues, and the emergence of artists like Marcos Grigorian in the 1950s, signaled a commitment to the creation of a form of modern art grounded in Iran.[292]

Carpet-weaving is undoubtedly one of the most distinguished manifestations of Persian culture and art, and dates back to ancient Persia and the Bronze Age. Iran is the world’s largest producer and exporter of handmade carpets, producing three quarters of the world’s total output and having a share of 30% of world’s export markets.[293][294]

According to Persian historian and archaeologist Arthur Pope, the supreme Iranian art, in the proper meaning of the word, has always been its architecture. The supremacy of architecture applies to both pre-and post-Islamic periods.[295] The history of architecture of Iran goes back to the seventh millennium BC.

Iranian architecture generally displays great variety, both structural and aesthetic, developing gradually and coherently out of earlier traditions and experience. Without sudden innovations, and despite the repeated trauma of invasions and cultural shocks, it has achieved “an individuality distinct from that of other Muslim countries”.[296] Its paramount virtues are several: “a marked feeling for form and scale; structural inventiveness, especially in vault and dome construction; a genius for ornament with a freedom and success not rivaled in any other architecture”.[297]

Persians were among the first to use mathematics, geometry, and astronomy in architecture and also have extraordinary skills in making massive domes which can be seen frequently in the constitution of bazaars and mosques. This greatly inspired the architecture of Iran’s neighbors as well. The main building types of classical Iranian architecture are the mosque and the palace. Besides being home to a large number of art houses and galleries, Iran also holds one of the largest and most valuable jewel collections in the world. Iran ranks seventh among countries in the world with the most archeological architectural ruins and attractions from antiquity as recognized by UNESCO.[298] Fifteen of UNESCO’s World Heritage Sites are creations of Iranian architecture.

Persian literature is one of the world’s oldest literatures. It dates back to the poetry of Avesta, about 1000 years BC. These poems which were a part of the oral traditions of ancient Iran, were orally transferred, and later created parts of the Avesta?s book during the Sassanid era. Its sources have been within historical Persia where the Persian language has historically been the national language.

Persian literature inspired Goethe, Ralph Waldo Emerson, and many others, and it has been often dubbed as a most worthy language to serve as a conduit for poetry. Dialects of Persian are sporadically spoken throughout the region from China to Syria to Russia, though mainly in the Iranian Plateau.[299][300]

Poetry is used in many Persian classical works, whether from literature, science, or metaphysics. Persian literature has been considered by such thinkers as Goethe as one of the four main bodies of world literature.[301]

The Persian language has produced a number of famous poets; however, only a few poets as Rumi and Omar Khayyám have surfaced among western popular readership, even though the likes of Hafez, Saadi, Nizami,[302] Attar, Sanai, Nasir Khusraw and Jami are considered by many Iranians to be just as influential.[citation needed]

Iranian philosophy can be traced back as far as to Old Iranian philosophical traditions and thoughts which originated in ancient Indo-Iranian roots and were substantially influenced by Zarathustra’s teachings. According to the Oxford Dictionary of Philosophy, the chronology of the subject and science of philosophy starts with the Indo-Iranians, dating this event to 1500 BC. The Oxford dictionary also states, “Zarathushtra’s philosophy entered to influence Western tradition through Judaism, and therefore on Middle Platonism.”

Throughout Iranian history and due to remarkable political and social changes such as the Arab and Mongol invasions of Persia, a wide spectrum of schools of thoughts showed a variety of views on philosophical questions extending from Old Iranian and mainly Zoroastrianism-related traditions, to schools appearing in the late pre-Islamic era such as Manicheism and Mazdakism as well as various post-Islamic schools.

Iranian philosophy after the Muslim conquest of Persia, is characterized by different interactions with the Old Iranian philosophy, the Greek philosophy and with the development of Islamic philosophy. The Illumination School and the Transcendent Philosophy are regarded as two of the main philosophical traditions of that era in Persia.

Persian mythology are traditional tales and stories of ancient origin, all involving extraordinary or supernatural beings. Drawn from the legendary past of Iran, they reflect the attitudes of the society to which they first belonged – attitudes towards the confrontation of good and evil, the actions of the gods, yazats (lesser gods), and the exploits of heroes and fabulous creatures.

Myths play a crucial part in Iranian culture and understanding of them is increased when they are considered within the context of Iranian history.[citation needed] For this purpose we must ignore modern political boundaries and look at historical developments in the Greater Iran, a vast area covering the Caucasus, and Central Asia, beyond the frontiers of present-day Iran. The geography of this region, with its high mountain ranges, plays a significant role in many of the mythological stories. The 2nd millennium BC is usually regarded as the age of migration because of the emergence in western Iran of a new form of Iranian pottery, similar to earlier wares of north-eastern Iran, suggesting the arrival of the Ancient Iranian peoples. This pottery, light grey to black in colour, appeared around 1400 BC. It is called Early Grey Ware or Iron I, the latter name indicating the beginning of the Iron Age in this area.[303]

The central collection of Persian mythology is the Shahnameh of Ferdowsi, written over a thousand years ago. Ferdowsi’s job draws heavily, with attribution, on the stories and characters of Mazdaism and Zoroastrianism, not only from the Avesta, but from later texts such as the Bundahishn and the Denkard as well as many others.

The first initiation of theater and phenomena of acting in people of the land could be traced in the ceremonial theaters which were performed to glorify the heroes and humiliate the enemies, like Soug e Sivash or Mogh Koshi (Megakhouni), and also dances and theater narrations, and the musical history of mythological and love stories reported by Herodotos and Xenophon.

There were many dramatic performance arts popular before the advent of cinema in Persia. A few examples include Kheyme Shab Bazi (Puppetry), Saye Bazi (Shadow play), Rouhozi (Comical acts) and Tazieh (Martyr plays).

Iranian music, as evidenced by the archeological records of Elam in southwestern Iran, dates back thousands of years. In ancient Iran musicians held socially respectable positions. The Elamites and the Achaemenids certainly made use of musicians.

The history of the musical performance in Sassanid Iran is, however, better documented than earlier periods. This is specially more evident in the context of Zoroastrian ritual.[304] By the time of Xusro Parviz the Sassanid royal court was the host of prominent musicians such as Ramtin, Bamshad, Nakisa, Azad, Sarkash, and Barbad.

Like most of the world?s cultures, the music of Persia has depended on oral transmission and learning.[305]

Persian symphonic music has a long history. In fact Opera originated from Persia, much before its emergence in Europe. Iranians traditionally performed Tazieh, which in many respects resembles the European Opera.[306] Iran’s main orchestra include National Orchestra, Tehran Symphony Orchestra, and Nations Orchestra.

Today the musical culture of Persia, while distinct, is closely related to other musical systems of the West and Central Asia. It has also affinities to the music cultures of the Indian subcontinent, to a certain measure even to those of Africa, and in the period after 1850 particularly, to that of Europe. Its history can be traced to some extent through these relationships.[citation needed]

Some Iranian traditional music instruments include the Saz, Iranian Tar, Azerbaijani Tar, Dotar, Setar, Kamanche, Harp, Barbat, Santur, Tanbur, Qanun, Dap, Tompak (Goblet drum), and Ney.

The earliest examples of visual representations in Iranian history may be traced back to the bas-reliefs in Persepolis (c. 500 BC). Persepolis was the ritual center of the ancient kingdom of Achaemenids and the figures at Persepolis remain bound by the rules of grammar and syntax of visual language.[307] During the Sasanian reign, Iranian visual arts reached a pinnacle. A bas-relief from this period in Taq e Bostan depicts a complex hunting scene. Similar works from the period have been found to articulate movements and actions in a highly sophisticated manner. It is even possible to see a progenitor of the cinema close-up in one of these works of art, which shows a wounded wild pig escaping from the hunting ground.[308]

In the early 20th century, five-year-old industry of cinema came to Iran. The first Iranian filmmaker was Mirza Ebrahim Khan (Akkas Bashi), the official photographer of Mozaffar al Din Shah of Qajar. He obtained a camera and filmed the Shah’s visit to Europe, upon the Shah’s orders.

In 1904, Mirza Ebrahim Khan (Sahhaf Bashi) opened the first movie theater in Tehran.[309] After him, several others like Russi Khan, Ardeshir Khan, and Ali Vakili tried to establish new movie theaters in Tehran. Until the early 1930s, there were little more than 15 theatres in Tehran and 11 in other provinces.[308]

The first silent Iranian movie was made by Professor Ovanes Ohanian in 1930, and the first sounded one, Lor Girl, was made by Abd ol Hossein Sepanta in 1932.

The 1960s was a significant decade for Iranian cinema, with 25 commercial films produced annually on average throughout the early 60s, increasing to 65 by the end of the decade. The majority of production focused on melodrama and thrillers. With the screening of the films Kaiser and The Cow, directed by Masoud Kimiai and Dariush Mehrjui respectively in 1969, alternative films established their status in the movie industry. Attempts to organize a film festival that had begun in 1954 within the framework of the Golrizan Festival, bore fruits in the form of the Sepas Festival in 1969. The endeavors also resulted in the formation of the Tehran World Festival in 1973.

After the Revolution of 1979, as the new government imposed new laws and standards, a new age in Iranian cinema emerged, starting with Viva… by Khosrow Sinai and followed by many other Iranian directors who emerged in the last few decades, such as Abbas Kiarostami and Jafar Panahi. Kiarostami, who some critics regard as one of the few great directors in the history of Iranian cinema,[310] planted Iran firmly on the map of world cinema when he won the Palme d’Or for Taste of Cherry in 1997. The continuous presence of Iranian films in prestigious international festivals, such as the Cannes Film Festival, the Venice Film Festival, and the Berlin Film Festival, attracted world attention to Iranian masterpieces.[311] In 2006, six Iranian films, of six different styles, represented Iranian cinema at the Berlin Film Festival. Critics considered this a remarkable event in the history of Iranian cinema.[312][313]

Asghar Farhadi, a well-known Iranian director, has received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award for Best Foreign Language Film, and was named as one of the 100 Most Influential People in the world by Time Magazine in 2012.

Other well-known Iranian directors include Mohsen Makhmalbaf, Majid Majidi, Bahram Beyzai, Bahman Ghobadi, Rakhshan Bani-E’temad, Amir Naderi, Ali Hatami and Reza Mirkarimi.

Marjane Satrapi, Shohreh Aghdashloo, Nazanin Boniadi, Shirin Neshat, Amir Mokri, Bahar Soomekh, Amir Talai, Nasim Pedrad, Daryush Shokof, and Rosie Malek-Yonan are among cinema people in the Iranian diaspora.

The oldest records of animation in Iran date back to the late half of 3rd millennium BC. An earthen goblet discovered at the site of the 5,200-year-old Burnt City in southeastern Iran, depicts what could possibly be the world?s oldest example of animation. The artifact bears five sequential images depicting a Persian Desert Ibex jumping up to eat the leaves of a tree.[314][315]

The art of animation, as practiced in modern day Iran, started in the 1950s. After four decades of animation production in Iran and three-decade experience of Kanoon Institute, Tehran International Animation Festival (TIAF) was established in February 1999. Every two years, participants from more than 70 countries attend this event which holds the biggest national animation market in Tehran.[316][317]

With two thirds of Iran’s population under the age of 25, many sports are played in Iran, both traditional and modern.

Iran is the birthplace of polo,[318] (Naqsh-i Jahan Square in Isfahan is a polo field which was built by king Abbas I in the 17th century.) and Varzesh-e Pahlavani. Freestyle wrestling has been traditionally regarded as Iran’s national sport. Iranian wrestling, known as koshti in Persian, has been practiced since ancient times throughout Iran. Iran’s national wrestling team have been Olympic and world champion. The most popular sport in Iran is football with the national team having won the Asian Cup on three occasions. Basketball is also very popular in Iran where the national team won three of the last four Asian Championships.[319] In 1974, Iran became the first country in West Asia to host the Asian Games.

Iran is home to several unique skiing resorts.[320] 13 ski resorts operate in Iran,[321] the most famous being Tochal, Dizin, and Shemshak. All are within one to three hours traveling time of Tehran. Tochal resort is the world’s fifth-highest ski resort (3,730 m or 12,238 ft at its highest station). Being a mountainous country, Iran is a venue for hiking, rock climbing,[322] and mountain climbing.[323][324]

Among the most popular athletes in the country are Hossein Rezazadeh and Behdad Salimi.[citation needed] Volleyball is Iran’s second most popular sport in recent years.[citation needed] Men’s National Team ranked fourth in 2014 FIVB Volleyball World League, ranked six in 2014 FIVB Volleyball Men’s World Championship and the best result an Asian nation ever achieved.[325]

Iran has three official calendar systems, including the Persian calendar as the main and national calendar, the Gregorian calendar for international events and Christian holidays, and the Lunar calendar for Islamic holidays.

Nowruz is the main national holiday of Iran; an ancient Iranian tradition celebrated on 21 March to mark the beginning of the spring, and the New Year in Iran. It is a secular holiday, and is enjoyed by people with different faiths; however, it is a holiday for Zoroastrians. It was registered on the list of Masterpieces of the Oral and Intangible Heritage of Humanity,[326] and described as the Persian New Year[327][328][329][330] by UNESCO in 2009.

Beside of the national celebrations, festivals such as Ramez?n, Eid e Fetr, and Ruz e ??ur? are celebrated by Muslims; Noel, ?elle ye Ruze, and Eid e P?k are celebrated by Christians; and the festivals Purim, Eid e Fateer, and Tu Bi?v?t are celebrated by Jewish people in Iran.

The cuisine of Iran is diverse, with each province featuring dishes, culinary traditions and styles unique to their region. The main Persian cuisines feature combinations of rice with meat, chicken or fish and some onion, vegetables, nuts, and herbs. Herbs are frequently used along with fruits such as plums, pomegranates, quince, prunes, apricots, and raisins.

Iranians usually eat plain yogurt with lunch and dinner; it is a staple of the diet in Iran. To achieve a balanced taste, characteristic flavourings such as saffron, dried limes, cinnamon, and parsley are mixed delicately and used in some special dishes. Onions and garlic are normally used in the preparation of the accompanying course, but are also served separately during meals, either in uncooked or pickled form. Iranian cuisine has greatly inspired its neighbors.

#Abbas #El #Rhazi

Tsang Tak-sing: Glad to retire

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing

I became a full time member of the Central Policy Unit in 1998 and assumed the post of Secretary for Home Affairs on July 1, 2007. It was my great honour to join the Special Administrative Region Government and serve the people. Now I am glad to retire.

 

During my tenure, I had the support and assistance of the Chief Executive, colleagues, staff of the Home Affairs Bureau and stakeholders in the community in fulfilling my tasks and in promoting developments of policy portfolios under the Home Affairs Bureau.

 

I have confidence in my successor and believe he will master the job. Our handover is smooth.

 

I would also like to thank the media for their attention and report coverage over the years.

 

Secretary for Home Affairs Tsang Tak-sing made the statement on his retirement on July 21.

via Moroccan Trader Tsang Tak-sing: Glad to retire

Honoured to have served

Former Secretary for the Civil Service Paul Tang

I am honoured to have served as the Secretary for the Civil Service for the past three years. I would like to thank the Chief Executive, colleagues in the Government, in particular colleagues in the Civil Service Bureau, Members of the Executive Council, Legislative Council and District Councils, friends in the media as well as other stakeholders for the support and advice offered to me during this period.

 

While I have enjoyed my work, I think it is an opportune time for me to step down due to unforeseeable family circumstances which require me to spend more time with my family members, and having regard to key civil service initiatives like the Pay Level Survey 2013, the Pay Trend Survey 2015 and extension of the service of civil servants either completed or well on the way.

 

I am sure my successor Clement Cheung would be able to lead the Civil Service Bureau to new heights and that colleagues would support him, just as they have done so for me.

 

If the suitable opportunity comes along in the future, I am prepared to serve the community in another capacity.

 

Former Secretary for the Civil Service Paul Tang made this statement on July 21.

via Moroccan Trader Honoured to have served