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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.

Photo of members of the Iranian paramilitary volunteer forces (Basij)

Members of Iranian paramilitary volunteer forces (Basij) during a meeting with Iranian Supreme leader



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.

It's no accident that officials of the Islamic Republic are discreetly looking for a hideaway and refuge for themselves in socialist-run Venezuela.

Iranians battle against tyranny

Islamism — a radical political agenda that seeks legitimacy in religion — is the tumor of the Middle East. It began to grow in the mid-20th century and has expanded almost unchecked, spreading its hatred of Western liberalism with all the propaganda tools of the modern world. Not confining itself to that cursed region, its metastasis has taken the form of intimidation inside Western societies and worldwide terrorism.

The Islamic Republic that came to power in Iran in 1979 is its epicenter. The apparent variants of the fundamentalist ideology are only masks for a single hatred of freedom and the urge to subjugate.

Iran's regime has used the nation's resources over four decades to strengthen and promote radicalism, though naturally, thanks to freedom, Western states were better able to fight its influence than the downtrodden societies of the Middle East.

The end of that regime may yet help to usher in another one of those peaceful periods.

After the September 11 attacks, the United States and Europe blocked the Islamist inroad, but only into their own lands. The Middle East continues to heave under the weight of the oppression of Islamism, even as its tentacles reach far beyond the region.

Just as many Europeans will see Ukraine's resistance as a defensive war on their behalf, so the world must see the resolve of Iranians to free themselves from tyranny as a similar battle on behalf of regional and international peace. The end of that regime may yet help to usher in another one of those peaceful periods.

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How A Xi Jinping Dinner In San Francisco May Have Sealed Mastercard's Arrival In China

The credit giant becomes only the second player after American Express to be allowed to set up a bank card-clearing RMB operation in mainland China.

Photo of a hand holding a phone displaying an Union Pay logo, with a Mastercard VISA logo in the background of the photo.

Mastercard has just been granted a bank card clearing license in China.

Liu Qianshan


It appears that one of the biggest beneficiaries from Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to San Francisco was Mastercard.

The U.S. credit card giant has since secured eagerly anticipated approval to expand in China's massive financial sector, having finally obtained long sought approval from China's central bank and financial regulatory authorities to initiate a bank card business in China through its joint venture with its new Chinese partner.

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Through a joint venture in China between Mastercard and China's NetsUnion Clearing Corporation, dubbed Mastercard NUCC, it has officially entered mainland China as an RMB currency clearing organization. It's only the second foreign business of its kind to do so following American Express in 2020.

The Wall Street Journal has reported that the development is linked to Chinese President Xi Jinping's meeting on Nov. 15 with U.S. President Joe Biden in San Francisco, part of a two-day visit that also included dinner that Xi had with U.S. business executives.

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