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Iran's Divorce Rate, A State Secret?

Looking at a bridal shop in Tehran
Looking at a bridal shop in Tehran

TEHRAN — Iranian officials may restrict publication of the country's latest divorce statistics so as not to distress the public, which has long been taught that early and lasting matrimony is a key to social harmony.

"There have already been enough divorce statistics. Citing more won't solve the problems," Ali Akbar Mahzun, of the demographics department at the national registration office, was quoted as saying in the Tehran-based reformist daily Arman-e Emrooz.

Kurosh Mohammadi, an expert in social problems, told Arman that restricting figures would only undermine trust in the authorities and hamper the country's response to what public bodies are effectively considering a social ill, not unlike crime and vices.

Another newspaper, Shargh, reported that the move would be technically illegal given existing access-to-information laws. Hiding the numbers would also contradict President Hassan Rohani's promise to boost civic rights and transparency.

Mahzun, the registration official, later tried to clarify his statement, telling Shargh that he doesn't want to keep the divorce figures a secret, per se, but thinks they should be available only on a need-to-know basis. Access, in other words, should be restricted to government offices and government-approved researchers — not the press.

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Geopolitics

How Ukraine Keeps Getting The West To Flip On Arms Supplies

The open debate on weapon deliveries to Ukraine is highly unusual, but Kyiv has figured out how to use the public moral suasion — and patience — to repeatedly shift the question in its favor. But will it work now for fighter jets?

Photo of a sunset over the USS Nimitz with a man guiding fighter jets ready for takeoff

U.S fighter jets ready for takeoff on the USS Nimitz

Pierre Haski

-Analysis-

PARIS — In what other war have arms deliveries been negotiated so openly in the public sphere?

On Monday, a journalist asked Joe Biden if he plans on supplying F-16 fighter jets to Ukraine. He answered “No”. A few hours later, the same question was asked to Emmanuel Macron, about French fighter jets. Macron did not rule it out.

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Visiting Paris on Tuesday, Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksïï Reznikov recalled that a year ago, the United States had refused him ground-air Stinger missiles deliveries. Eleven months later, Washington is delivering heavy tanks, in addition to everything else. The 'no' of yesterday is the green light of tomorrow: this is the lesson that the very pragmatic minister seemed to learn.

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