It's hard to see crippling sanctions at a modern shopping mall in north Tehran â€” the shops are stocked, the cafes are full. The latest western electronics â€“ even iPhones and iPads, are available for those who can afford it.
But talk to middle class Iranians and you hear dire stories. They say they suffered as prices on almost everything rose dramatically for two years. International sanctions fueled skyrocketing inflation, estimated at 45 percent. Practically, that means that necessities â€“ bread, rice, soap â€“ got more expensive every month.
Discovering Zara McFarlane's voice is like discovering something exquisite and lush and gorgeous.
(SOUNDBITE OF MUSIC)
ZARA MCFARLANE: (Singing) There you are, though I cannot see your face. I feel you, your presence just entered this place...
LYDEN: Zara McFarlane's latest album is called "If You Knew Her." And she's at our London bureau to talk to us about her music and so that we can get to know here. Zara McFarlane, thank you so much for joining us.
LYDEN: This week, former Miami Dolphin's offensive lineman Jonathan Martin found a new home with his new team, the San Francisco 49ers. Martin tweeted this week that he's beyond blessed about being traded and can't wait to get to work. Jonathan Martin is, of course, the player who was the primary target of taunts and racist insults by his teammates on the Dolphins.
ESPN's Howard Bryant is with us now taking a break from the Indian Wells Tennis Tournament. Hello there Howard.
Bipartisan support dissolved this week for compromise legislation that would have fixed a longstanding problem with the way Medicare pays physicians. Though the bill passed the House of Representatives Friday, it now contains a provision almost certain to invite veto unless a Senate version can quickly nudge the ultimate bill back toward compromise.