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Iran

Geopolitics

Iranians Can Only Topple The Dictatorship With Help From The West

Inside Iran, people are risking their lives to fight the oppressive Islamic Republic. Now, they need support from compatriots abroad and Western democracies to bring an end to this decades-long fight for democracy.

-OpEd-

For years now, the fate of Iran has been a concern for many Iranians living abroad as migrants or exiles, regardless of their political views or socio-cultural origins.

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How A Drone Strike Inside Iran Exposes The Regime's Vulnerability — On All Fronts

It is still not clear what was the exact target of an attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory in central Iran. But it comes as Tehran authorities appear increasingly vulnerable to both its foreign and domestic enemies, with more attacks increasingly likely.

-Analysis-

PARIS — It's the kind of incident that momentarily reveals the shadow wars that are part of the Middle East. No one has claimed responsibility for the attack by three armed drones Saturday night on an arms factory complex north of Isfahan in central Iran.

But the explosion was so strong that it set off a small earthquake. Iranian authorities have played down the damage, as we might expect, and claim to have shot down the drones.

Nevertheless, three armed drones reaching the center of Iran, buzzing right up to weapons factories, is anything but ordinary in light of recent events. Iran is at the crossroads of several crises: from the war in Ukraine where it's been supplying drones to Russia to its nuclear development arriving at the moment of truth; from regional wars of influence to the anti-government uprising of Iranian youth.

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That leaves us spoiled for choice when it comes to possible interpretations of this act of war against Iran, which likely is a precursor to plenty of others to follow.

Iranian authorities, in their comments, blame the United States and Israel for the aggression. These are the two usual suspects for Tehran, and it is not surprising that they are at the top of the list.

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Iranian "Justice" At Work: Executions For Protesters, Leniency For Honor Killings

After hanging at least four anti-government protesters, Islamic Iran's judiciary decided, not for the first time, to give a short jail term to a man who murdered his "unruly" wife last year.

-Editorial-

Iran's regime has no qualms about executing those it deems the "undesirables" of the nation: political opponents, criminals and most recently anti-state protesters, often using the courts to issue extravagant charges against those it sends to be hanged.

And yet the same judiciary has recently given an eight-year jail sentence to a young man who murdered his wife in 2022. This was a notorious case of "honor killing" reported in February that year in the southern city of Ahwaz.

The convict, Sajjad Heidarnava, became a figure of macabre evil on social media when he was shown smiling and displaying his 17-year-old wife's severed head as a trophy in the neighborhood. His victim, Mona Heidari, had married Heidarnava, her cousin, some years earlier but insisted on a divorce before being killed.

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End-Of-Regime Vibe? Supreme Leader Keeps Referring To Shah's Final Days

In recent weeks, Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader, has made repeated references to the end of Iran's last regime in 1979. It may be a sign the country is indeed approaching another kind of revolution.

-Analysis-

Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has ordered his forces to clamp down with renewed vigor on the remains of the mass protests that erupted across Iran in mid-September. Initially a reaction to police brutality, these turned into the biggest anti-state protests of the Islamic Republic's 40-year history.

And they continue, in spite of thousands of arrests, more than 500 deaths on the streets and in custody, and four hangings. There was also outrage in Britain and across the world after the execution of British-Iranian Alireza Akbari, who had been sentenced to death.

All of this has angered the leader. In a speech in Tehran last week, Khamenei called the protests "treason" aimed at destroying Iran's "security, production of knowledge, economic output and tourism."

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Geopolitics
Kayhan-London

How Europe Can Help Iranian Protesters, Right Now — Blacklist The Revolutionary Guards

The European Union has been hesitant to classify Iran's national security force as a terrorist organization because of fears of a reprisal.

-Analysis-

Three years after a U.S. airstrike on the Iranian Revolutionary Guards general Qasem Soleimani, the European Union is considering whether or not to list the Revolutionary Guards, the force responsible for Iran's national security, as international terrorists. Soleimani and several collaborators were killed in a drone strike outside Baghdad, ordered by the administration of President Donald J. Trump.

The Trump administration asked the Europeans to list the Guards as terrorists as it had done, but was met by the opposition of the then-German chancellor, Angela Merkel, French President Emmanuel Macron and Britain's former Prime Minister Boris Johnson. Now, three years on, the Europeans have reached the same point as the Trump administration.

On Jan. 2, Britain's Daily Telegraph reported on the United Kingdom's intention to list the Guards as terrorists within weeks, in reaction to the Islamic Republic's suspected attempts in past months to kill or kidnap individuals on UK soil. Germany has in turn restricted ties with the Iranian regime and recently advised dual nationals or Iranian residents in Germany not to travel back to Iran, lest they be impeded from leaving.

Elements in the Iranian regime have singled out Germany and the United States as two states fomenting months of anti-regime protests, which the Islamic Republic insists are a plot rather than indicating mass discontent against it.

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Ideas
Elahe Boghrat

Iran's Tale Of Two Revolutions, 1979 & 2022 — And What To Look For Now

The revolt in Iran began in protest of police brutality and the Islamic Republic's rotten structures, but quickly became a "revolution of minds," hastening the rise of a national community united in its resolve to live in a free and lawful state.

-OpEd-

The revolutionary uprising of Iranians against the clerical regime of the Islamic Republic did not end with the last days of 2022.

Two of the movement's defining traits have been its nature and essence, as shown in protesters' slogans and initiatives, as well as the support of the international community — something the world, watching protesters' courage and resilience, couldn't refuse.

But one of the demands made by the Iranian defenders of democracy still hasn't received meaningful support from Western governments: their call to investigate the residency rights given to families of Islamic Republic officials in Western countries.

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Geopolitics
Kayhan-London

Why Iran's Regime Is Cracking Down On Celebrities Now

The arrest Saturday of prominent actress Taraneh Alidoosti in Tehran is part of a wider move by Iran's embattled regime to turn its fury on artists, entertainers and athletes in an attempt to stifle their public support for weeks of anti-state protests.

Angered by the world's reactions to its brutal crackdown on weeks of mass protests, Iran's clerical regime has turned on both prominent and less prominent voices and faces in the arts and sports, to silence their support for the protests. The regime has come to characterize any backing of the popular movement as "hostile propaganda."'

On Saturday, actress Taraneh Alidoosti was arrested in Tehran, considered internationally the highest profile figure targeted.

Alidoosti had posed online without her mandatory headscarf, or hijab, and was arrested following her denunciation of the first execution of a protestor, 23-year-old Mohsen Shekari. She had warned authorities to "expect the consequences" of his killing.

According to fellow filmmaker Mani Haghighi, Alidoosti has had a consistent and clear track record on human rights, and on the protests that erupted in the wake of the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who had let her headscarf slip on the street.

In remarks broadcast on Voice of America, Haghighi, a friend of Alidoosti, also mocked the Iranian Culture Minister Muhammadmehdi Ismaili for asking artists to "resume their artistic activities" amid the protests.

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Society
Kayhan-London

Iran Clerics Denounce "Foolish" Executions of Protesters, A Rare Critique Of Regime

In an unusual challenge to Iran's senior leaders from Shia clerics in the country, a group of theologians and jurists in Qom say the state has been incompetent and had no right to execute protesters. At least two Iranian demonstrators have been executed this month, with the latest publicly hanged on a crane.

TEHRAN — Following the recent hangings of at least two Iranian detainees charged with attacking state agents during Iran's ongoing mass protests, a group of well-known Shia clerics have publicly challenged the validity of the capital charges cited by prosecutors and the state's right to execute protesters.

The objections were raised by the Assembly of Qom Seminary Teachers and Researchers, a clerical grouping of reformist clerics well-respected among Muslim leaders even if they have little direct sway over the leadership. They questioned the very legal basis of the death sentences the state is keen to mete out with the backing of the country's supreme leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei.

The statement published earlier this week, was a very rare show of support for ordinary Iranians from anyone associated with the regime. Parliament has taken the side of authorities, and the only dissenting clerics have been from Sunni-inhabited districts, where the regime has been particularly harsh with protesters.

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Ideas
Kayhan-London

Why The Fate Of Iran (Like Ukraine!) Is About Something Much Bigger

Just as Ukrainians are defending the sovereignty of Europe's borders and the right to democracy, the Iranians risking their lives to protest are fighting a bigger battle for peace across the Middle East.

-OpEd-

Tumult has been a constant in human societies, alternating between periods of war and peace. Iran, my country, has had more than its fair share of turmoil.

It is universal to be hopeful that the peaceful periods would be prolonged by increased freedom in society brought about by scientific, economic and legal progress.

And it has, but mostly in the West and in countries in south-east Asia. There, they have used the force of economic development to assure their citizens a measure of peace and security, with or without democracy. This certainly is not the case in the Middle East, in many African countries and even in Latin American states run by the "anti-imperialist" Left.

Many of these places have, among other troubles affecting them, become the den of that violent and vicious ideology, Islamism.

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Geopolitics
Kayhan-London

Sham Trial, Public Hanging: The Method To Iran's "Exemplary" Execution Of Protester

By executing a protester after a rapid trial, Iran's clerical regime has taken its clampdown on the once-in-a-generation uprising to a new level. Observers fear there are more to come soon.

-Analysis-

Iranians were infuriated by the Islamic judiciary's execution Thursday morning of a 23-year-old protester, Mohsen Shekari. Opposition media and Iranians on social media called it murder. The public hanging, on charges that Shekari took part in the stabbing of a state agent in Tehran, showed the regime is hellbent on crushing weeks of protests and silencing calls for regime change.

Shekari was arrested in protests in downtown Tehran on Sept. 25, and convicted of having injured a state security agent with a knife. The formal charges against him — and various other jailed protesters — was "waging war on God" a part of the Iranian penal code that is punishable by death, though he barely was afforded minimal legal proceedings. According to reports, Shekari was not given the right to select his own lawyer, nor was he given a chance to defend himself at the sentencing trial.

An informed source told Kayhan-London that when a lawyer sought to take up Shekari's defense, prosecutors told him Shekari had waived his right to choose a lawyer. So the court assigned him one who was no doubt obedient to the judiciary.

There were various discrepancies in the case. The state agent stabbed in Tehran that day was reportedly wearing nothing to indicate his status as law enforcement — although he was busy beating demonstrators — nor was there even evidence to prove that Shekari had stabbed him.

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Geopolitics
Worldcrunch

Iran Confirms First Execution Of A Protester

Iranian authorities have begun prosecuting multiple demonstrators arrested at recent mass protests, accusing them of the gravest crimes that are punishable by the death penalty. Authorities said a man arrested at a Tehran protest in October was hanged Thursday.

Updated Dec. 8, 11:30 a.m CET

Iran's clerical regime, which has faced persistent anti-state protests since mid-September, is activating a tried-and-tested mechanism for terminating opposition: executions.

In recent days the judiciary has leveled the gravest charges in its juridical arsenal at dozens of detained protesters, namely "waging war on God" (muhariba) and "spreading corruption in the land" (afsad fi al-arz).

On Thursday, Iranian state media reported for the first time that the regime has executed a man arrested during the uprising. The man was accused of injuring a paramilitary officer at a protest in Tehran, and sentenced to death in late October for "waging war on God," reports Mizan Online, a state-run news agency. The hanging took place Thursday morning.

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Society
Kayhan-London

An End To The Hijab Law? Iranian Protesters Want To End The Whole Regime

Reported declarations by some Iranian officials on revising the notorious morality police patrols and obligatory dress codes for women are suspect both in their authenticity, and ultimately not even close to addressing the demands of Iranian protesters.

-Analysis-

The news spread quickly around Iran, and the world: the Iranian regime's very conservative prosecutor-general, Muhammadja'far Montazeri, was reported to have proposed loosening the mandatory headscarf rules Iran places on women in public.

Let's remember that within months of taking power in 1979, the Islamic Republic had forced women to wear headscarves in public, and shawls and other dressings to cover their clothes. But ongoing protests, which began in September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody over her headscarf, seem to instead be angling for an overthrow of the entire 40-year regime.

Che ba hejab, che bi hejab, mirim be suyeh enqelab, protesters have chanted. "With or without the hijab, we're heading for a revolution."

Montazeri recently announced that Iran's parliament and Higher Council of the Cultural Revolution, an advisory state body, would discuss the issue of obligatory headscarves over the following two weeks. "The judiciary does not intend to shut down the social security police but after these recent events, security and cultural agencies want to better manage the matter," Montazeri said, adding that this may require new proposals on "hijab and modesty" rules.

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