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Iranian Cleric v. Jewish Marlboro Man

TEHRAN One of this country's most prominent conservative clerics has chided Iranians for an array of modern "vices," including divorce and choosing to marry later, which he said could draw God's wrath on Iran. In his Friday sermon in the capital, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati also singled out Marlboro cigarettes that he said were imported by a Jewish-owned company.

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A cigarette vendor in Tehran — Photo: Kamshots

Jannati, secretary of the Guardian Council, which must approve all legislation and elections, declared in Tehran's weekly congregational prayers, "I am warning you our situation is not good and am concerned God will make us suffer."
Among the vices he enumerated were "usury, bribery, administrative corruption, the prevalence of divorce," Jaam-e Jam, the website of the state broadcaster reported.
The cleric declared that there was a 1979 revolution in Iran because the people "wanted the rule of justice, spirituality and God, and this system needs piety today." Is it right, he asked, for doctors "to ask for a little something under the table," a reference to accusations of bribery in the medical field.
The cleric, a firm ally of Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, is known for his prolific denunciations of many things inside and outside Iran. On Friday, he asked why Iran was importing Marlboro cigarettes. "A Jewish firm imports Marlboros, and they give people 12 million of these cigarettes," Jannati said. "That is not right."

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Wealthy Russians Are Back To Buying Real Estate In Europe — Sanctions Be Damned

After the start of the war in Ukraine, Russian oligarchs and other rich individuals turned to the real estate markets in Dubai and Turkey. Now Russian buyers are back in Europe. Three EU countries in particular are attracting buyers for their controversial "golden visa" program.

Photo of a sunset on villas on a hillside in Benahavis, Spain

Villas in Benahavis, Spain, a country that has enticed Russians with a so-called "golden visa" program.

Eduard Steiner

BERLINWestern sanctions imposed after the start of Russia's war against Ukraine have made financial outflows from Russia much more difficult — and paradoxically have also helped to strengthen Russia's economy, as the renowned economist Ruben Enikolopov recently noted in an interview for the online media "The Bell".

So while sanctions have not completely prevented these financial flows, they played a role in changing their direction.

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It was notable in real estate purchases during the first year of the war: as Russian buyers moved away from the previously coveted European market to the United Arab Emirates (UAE), as well as to Turkey or the South Caucasus and even Southeast Asia.

Instead of "Londongrad", where the high- to middle-income earners from Vladimir Putin's empire turned for the previous two decades, people suddenly started talking about "Dubaigrad."

But this trend now seems to have peaked, with unexpected signs that Russians are back on the European real estate market.

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