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KAYHAN-LONDON
Kayhan is a Persian-language, London-based spinoff of the conservative daily of the same name headquartered in Tehran. It was founded in 1984 by Mostafa Mesbahzadeh, the owner of the Iranian paper. Unlike its Tehran sister paper, considered "the most conservative Iranian newspaper," the London-based version is mostly run by exiled journalists and is very critical of the Iranian regime.
​Protesters linked to the Iranian group Mojahedin-e Khalq demonstrate in Whitehall, London
Ideas
Ahmad Ra'fat

Iran: A Direct Link Between Killing Protesters And The Routine Of State Executions

Iran has long had a simple and prolific response to political opposition and the worst criminal offenses, namely death by shooting or hanging. Whether opening fire on the streets or leading the world in carrying out the death penalty, the regime insists that morality is on its side.

-Editorial-

In early September, before Iran's latest bout of anti-government protests sparked by the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, there was another, quieter demonstration: Relatives of several prisoners sentenced to death staged a sit-in outside the judiciary headquarters in Tehran, urging the authorities to waive the sentences. The crowd, which doggedly refused to disperse, included the convicts' young children.

Executions have been a part and parcel of the Islamic Republic of Iran since its inception in 1979. The new authorities began shooting cadres of the fallen monarchy with unseemly zeal, usually after a summary trial. On Feb. 14, 1979, barely three days after the regime was installed, the first four of the Shah's generals were shot inside a secondary school in Tehran.

To this day, the regime continues to opt for death by firing squad for its political opponents; the execution method-of-choice for more socio-economic blights like drug trafficking has been death by hanging.

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Photo of a woman holding a cut lock of her hair in Mahsa Amini protest​ in London
Geopolitics
Roshanak Astaraki

The 'Perfect Storm' Of Iran's Protests May Be Unstoppable

The latest round of anti-regime protests in Iran is different than other in the 40 years of the Islamic Republic: for its universality and boldness, the level of public fury and grief, and the role of women and social media. The target is not some policy or the economy, but the regime itself.

-Analysis-

The death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini in Tehran on Sept. 16, after a possible beating at a police station, has sparked outrage and mass protests in Iran and abroad. There have been demonstrations and a violent attempt to suppress them in more than 100 districts in every province of Iran.

These protests may look like others since 2017, and back even to 1999 — yet we may be facing an unprecedented turning point in Iranians' opposition to the Islamic Republic. Indeed newly installed conservative President Ibrahim Raisi could not have expected such momentum when he set off for a quick trip to New York and back for a meeting of the UN General Assembly.

For one of the mistakes of a regime that takes pride in dismissing the national traditions of Iran is to have overlooked the power of grief among our people.

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Photo of slain Iranian Mahsa Amini
Society
Firouzeh Nordstrom

Mahsa Amini, Martyr Of An Iranian Regime Designed To Abuse Women

The 22-year-old is believed to have been beaten to death at a Tehran police station last week after "morality police" had reprimanded her clothing. The case has sparked the nation's outrage. But as ordinary Iranians testify, such beatings, torture and a home brand of misogyny are hallmarks of the 40-year Islamic Republic of Iran.

-Analysis-

TEHRAN — The death in Iran of a 22-year-old Mahsa Amini — after she was arrested by the so-called "morality police" — has unleashed another wave of protests, as thousands of Iranians vent their fury against an intrusive and violent regime. Indeed, as tragically exceptional as the circumstances appear, the reaction reflects the daily reality of abuse by authorities, especially directed toward women.

Amini, a Kurdish-Iranian girl visiting Tehran with relatives, was detained by the regime's morality patrols on Sept. 13, apparently for not respecting the Islamic dress code that includes proper use of the hijab headscarf. Amini was declared dead two or three days after being taken into custody. Officials say she fainted and died, and blamed a preexisting heart condition. But neither her family nor anyone else in Iran believe that, as can be seen in the mounting protests that have now left at least three dead.

For Amini's was hardly the first arbitrary arrest, or the first suspected death in custody under Iran's Islamic regime.

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The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped
Geopolitics
Hamed Mohammadi

The West Must Face Reality: Iran's Nuclear Program Can't Be Stopped

The West is insisting on reviving a nuclear pact with Iran. However, this will only postpone the inevitable moment when the regime declares it has a nuclear bomb. The only solution is regime change.

-OpEd-

Rafael Grossi, the head of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), the UN's nuclear inspectorate, declared on Sept. 7 that Iran already had more than enough uranium for an atomic bomb. He said the IAEA could no longer confirm that the Islamic Republic has a strictly peaceful nuclear program as it has always claimed because the agency could not properly inspect sites inside Iran.

The Islamic Republic may have shown flexibility in some of its demands in the talks to renew the 2015 nuclear pact with world powers, a preliminary framework reached between Iran and the P5+1 (the U.S., the U.K., China, Russia, France and Germany). For example, it no longer insists that the West delist its Revolutionary Guards as a terrorist organization. But it has kept its crucial promise that unless Western powers lift all economic sanctions, the regime will boost its uranium reserves and their level of enrichment, as well as restrict the IAEA's access to installations.

Talks to renew the 2015 pact have been going on for 16 months. European diplomacy has resolved most differences between the sides, but some crucial sticking points remain.

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Saraya al-Salam soldiers
Geopolitics
Ahmad Ra'fat

Troll Next Door: How Iran Is Provoking Political Violence Inside Iraq

Iran's brazen meddling in Iraqi politics has provoked a parliamentary impasse and clashes between rival militias. And while Tehran may be losing influence in Iraq, it won't let go easily.

-Analysis-

Political violence has been spreading in recent weeks in Iraq, in the form of both street clashes and targeted killings. The situation in Iran's neighboring country is explosive as a showdown between Shia factions threatens to spark a civil conflict. Yet tensions in Iraq go beyond differences over who will form the next government or a power struggle between parties that favor or oppose Iran, the Shia power next door.

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Photo of traffic on a road in Tehran
Geopolitics
Roshanak Astaraki

What A Nuclear Deal Could Mean For Iran's Broken Economy

Ordinary Iranians are hoping for a speck of economic relief and nothing more, if Tehran can sign a nuclear deal with world powers that could alleviate longstanding sanctions.

-Analysis-

As the fate of talks on Iran's nuclear activities remains uncertain, millions of Iranians are hoping, cautiously, that a deal with the West could help alleviate a range of socio-economic problems. Some economic agents hope a deal to renew the 2015 nuclear pact will boost business, travel and spending. Others insist a no-deal is still better than prolonged uncertainty. The question remains, even with a deal that will soften the sanctions on Iran, can Iranians expect even a measure of prosperity in an economy that is restricted, dysfunctional and beset with opaque procedures and massive cronyism?

For over 20 years, the Iranian regime's cat-and-mouse game with the world over its disconcerting nuclear program, suspected money-laundering and support for regional militias and hitmen, have earned it a range of sanctions on Iran's economy and financial system. The regime has furthermore refused to sign the FATF or international pact to block terrorist and criminal finances.

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Why Iran Is Pushing So Hard For A Russian Victory
Geopolitics

Why Iran Is Pushing So Hard For A Russian Victory

The Supreme Leader's advisers in Tehran argue the Islamic Republic must back Russia in Ukraine because Russia is fighting a common enemy: the Western alliance.

-Analysis-

When he welcomed visiting Russian President Vladimir Putin last month, Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei reassured his guest that Moscow rightfully defended itself when invading Ukraine. Speaking in Tehran, Khamenei declared: "Westerners are entirely opposed to a strong and independent Russia," and termed the NATO alliance "a dangerous creature."

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His rambling speech continued, filled with baseless claims about NATO, saying the Western military alliance "knows no limits" and "would have provoked this same war, with Crimea as its excuse," if Putin hadn't acted first.

Hossein Shariatmadari, the editor of the conservative Tehran paper Kayhan, which reputedly reflects the Supreme Leader's thinking, wrote in an editorial a week after Putin's visit and evoked a "celestial perspective" that could see the realities behind "the curtain" of the war. Khamenei, the editor wrote, knows that if America were to win this war, Iran would become its next target, which is why he considers the Russian "resistance" in Ukraine as tied to the Iranian regime's own security.

Thus, he concluded of Khamenei: "logically and naturally, he backs it."

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Iran Nuclear Deal, Another Victim In Putin's Strategy Of Chaos
Geopolitics
Hamed Mohammadi

Iran Nuclear Deal, Another Victim In Putin's Strategy Of Chaos

Nuclear talks between Iran and the West are stalled, as Russia signs deal with Tehran for drones. But does the increasingly isolated Iranian regime risk becoming another Russian vassal like Syria or Belarus?

-Analysis-

On a trip last month to Europe, Iranian Foreign Minister Hossein Amir-Abdollahian spoke at the Vatican about Iran's unfinished talks with the West over its nuclear program. Tehran, he said, had proposed initiatives and shown flexibility in talks that had taken place in Vienna. According to Amir-Abdollahian, it was now time for the Americans to be "realistic" and facilitate a deal to replace the 2015 Iran nuclear deal framework.

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If his position seems to have softened, it can only be with permission from Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei. And that in turn has to do with the country's dire economic conditions. Yet there is also the international context, which has been shaken up by Russia's invasion of Ukraine, though not all is as it seems.

The Iranian regime had notably softened its earlier demands that a deal must be binding for future U.S. administrations and the West must remove the Revolutionary Guards, a branch of the Iranian Armed Forces, from the list of international terrorist organizations.

Still, not all Iranian officials are sold on moderation: Some Western observers believe Amir-Abdollahian's positions are at odds with those of his deputy and chief Iranian negotiator in Vienna, Ali Bagheri Kani, reputedly a hardliner opposed to any negotiation on the nuclear program.

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