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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.
Veiled women walking down a brown arched concrete corridor.
Roshanak Astaraki

Will Iran Reignite With The Anniversary Of Mahsa Amini's Death?

Iran's regime has tightened its grip on the population ahead of the September 16 one-year anniversary of the death that set off the country's biggest revolt of recent years.


Two weeks ahead of the anniversary of the killing of Mahsa Amini, the teen girl reportedly beaten to death in a Tehran police station for not abiding by dress codes, the Islamic Republic of Iran faces a complex situation. The chief concern is a possible renewal of protests, to mark Amini's death one year earlier on Sep. 16, 2022.

The anniversary arrives amid the unrelenting worsening of economic conditions and the consequent public discontent. The situation is fueling tensions among politicians.

Anticipating unrest, in recent weeks the regime has intensified its repression of activists and of grieving relatives of the victims of police violence during the protests. Iranian leaders have warned that they won't stand for any trouble.

The Intelligence Minster Ismail Khatib declared recently that "the enemy had plans" to revive the protests, urging for greater cohesion among the security forces and state media. Officials are keeping a particularly close eye on universities.

Iran's supreme leader, Ali Khamenei, had a similar warning when he addressed a gathering of Revolutionary Guards commanders: the "enemies" were relentlessly stoking trouble, "one day with elections as an excuse; another day it's fuel and another day, women."

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Photograph of Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi visiting an exhibit  celebrating the achievements of the country's defence industry.
Hamed Mohammadi

Cash-Strapped Iran Ramps Up A Favorite Old Business: Taking Hostages For Ransom

Is the Biden administration following President Obama's counterproductive recipe of handing Tehran large sums of cash hoping for good conduct and a tepid détente?


With the mediation of states like Switzerland, Qatar and Oman, the Islamic Republic of Iran and the administration of U.S. President Joe Biden have provisionally agreed on the liberation of five U.S.-Iranian dual nationals held in Iran in exchange for the release of $6 billion in frozen Iranian funds.

Three of the detainees, Siamak Namazi, Morad Tahbaz and Emad Sharqi, have already served about half of their prison sentences for spying. The other two detainees have not been named, with both sides refusing to divulge their identities.

The unwritten deal has yet to be finalized. Provisionally, the prisoners have been taken from the Evin prison in Tehran to a hotel, where they are staying under guard. A U.S. State Department spokesman, Vedant Patel, said he hoped the deal would come through as part of wider, diplomatic moves to defuse tensions between the United States and Islamic Iran.

The two sides are believed to be talking through some bigger issues like an end to rocket attacks on U.S. forces in the region, and Iran keeping uranium enrichment to below 60%, or steering clear of a nuclear bomb. It is part of a grand — if under-the-table — bargain which President Biden hopes to reach with the Iranian ayatollahs, preferably before the next U.S. election.

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Photo purportedly showing a director of Iran's state broadcasting body in a "state of intimacy" with a female employee of the organization.
Kayhan London

After Gay Sex Tape, Iran Regime Now Faces "State Of Intimacy" Revelations Of Woman In Hijab

A scandal of the secret gay life of a senior Tehran official set off ricocheting accusations in the regime. Now compromising photos have emerged of a top state broadcasting manager with a female employee, who nonetheless kept her hair covered. The piousness of the Islamic Republic is ever more called into question.

This article was updated August 21, 2023 at 5:35 p.m.

The Islamic Republic of Iran, a state that touts itself as a defender of morality, is facing more revelations about the sexual shenanigans of its officials. Like the circulation of a gay sex tape earlier this summer, an Instagram profile named as Radio Gilan is behind the X-rated disclosures, meant above all to show the vile hypocrisy of a regime that beats, imprisons and even executes ordinary folks for deviating from Islamic moral norms.

In the latest incident, Radio Gilan has published pictures, purportedly showing a director of the state broadcasting body in a "state of intimacy" with a female employee of the organization. Whatever else might have happened, as the pictures show, at least she kept her Islamic headscarf hijab on!

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Three Iranian women wearing printed red headscarves take part in a ceremony for Aras Geopark to receive UNESCO designation in Jolfa, East Azerbaijan, Iran
Hamid Shirvani

Helpless At Home, Friendless Abroad: How Can Iranians Bring About Change?

With the suppression of last year's anti-regime protests in Iran, its people can barely stomach the West's resumption of its business-as-usual approach with the Islamic Republic. The key to challenging the renewed status quo, the author writes, may very well lie with the country's women.


LONDON — The world is familiar with the Iranian regime's terroristic activities beyond Iran's frontiers. Inside the country for over 40 years now, a corrupt and cynical leadership has used religion as an excuse to suppress rights and run a once-prosperous country into the ground. While two thirds of Iranians are living in relative or abject poverty, the state continues to plow billions of dollars into a contested nuclear program that compounds that poverty and stokes tensions with neighbors and the West.

What could change all this? If I had to choose a single word as an answer, that would be women.

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Photo of a girl hiding her face in front of a mosque in Mehran, Iran

Honor Killings In Iran: Parents Suffocate "Child Bride" Daughter

A 15-year-old girl is murdered by her parents in Iran, three years after her arranged marriage, in yet another possible "honor" killing the Islamic Republic is loath to punish.

The Persian-language daily Etemaad has reported this week another murder of a young woman in Iran, which stands out for its shocking details in the context of the Iranian plague of so-called "honor killings."

A 15-year-old girl was killed by her parents, just outside the northwestern town of Khoy near the borders of Turkey and Azerbaijan. The parents have reportedly admitted to suffocating their daughter, named as Raheleh, with a pillow before tying a scarf around her neck, throwing her body in a garden shed and calling neighbors to report her death as a suicide, the newspaper reported Sunday.

Neighbors told the daily that Raheleh's older sister had previously tried to kill herself.

The gruesome case was another case of both femicide and filicide in Iran, and of underage marriage, a phenomenon that appears to be both prevalent and increasingly approved by Iran's government authorities.

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Chinese President Xi Jinping holds a welcoming ceremony for visiting President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Ebrahim Raisi.
Hamed Mohammadi

Why Iran Is Relying Ever More On Russia And China

Iran can expect few real economic benefits from joining the China-dominated SCO, but its leaders hope China and Russia will help the regime tighten its grip at home.


After trying for years, the Islamic Republic of Iran finally joined the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), the Asian security partnership founded in 2001 and based in Beijing. The Islamic Republic's first stab at joining this gathering was in the second half of 2008, when the populist President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad attended a summit of SCO leaders. He returned after his contested reelection in 2009.

The organization first emerged in 1996 as the Shanghai 5, consisting of China, Russia, Kazakhstan, Tajikistan and Kyrgyzstan, then expanding to include Uzbekistan, India and Pakistan. Its stated goals include political, economic and security cooperation between members and promoting peace and security with other regional states. Some observers saw it as a reaction to the fall of the Soviet Union and bid to block the spread of "velvet" revolutions and NATO influence in an area that was broadly part of the communist eastern bloc.

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A woman waves the Iranian flag sitting on a trafifc light.
Yusef Mosaddeqi

Iran's Protests Sealed The Bond Between Expats And Those Who Never Left — Now What?

Mass protests which lasted for months in Iran last year galvanized Iranians at home and abroad, in a way not seen since the 1979 revolution. That unity must be maintained as political capital for the next time Iranians challenge the Islamic Republic.


From the 1979 revolution that brought Iran's Shia clerics to power, to the mass protests of late 2022, Iranians came to accept the idea of an intrinsic divide between those living in post-revolutionary Iran, and those who fled or have simply left during the decades since.

The regime's own propaganda eagerly fueled visions of a hostile, if worthless, population living abroad: supposedly without roots or identity, 'Westoxicated,' to cite one of the regime's cherished terms, selfish, superficial and above all, oblivious to the realities of life in Iran.

Many inside Iran must have absorbed the negative narrative on expatriates, or kharejneshinan, given the regime's relentless hate-mongering, and judging by the resentful treatment Iranians visiting from abroad have sometimes received. Many will have been chided for abandoning their country or "knowing nothing" of the struggles of those who have lived out decades of their lives in a homeland that has become stifling. Others may have been accused of visiting Iran for cheaper medical treatments, or to relive the good old days for a few weeks, before returning to better lives abroad.

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Photo of the Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei speaking during a meeting with members of the Iranian government and the country's top officials in Tehran, Iran.
Reza Khoshhal

Why Reviving The Iranian Nuclear Deal May Really Be Aimed At Russia — By Both Sides

The Biden administration's bid to revive a nuclear agreement with Iran is seen by some as a "weak" approach to exercising power in the Middle East. However, it may be an attempt to restrict Russia's strategic influence inside Iran, which may serve both the West and Tehran.


LONDON — Iran's Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has recently made public comments suggesting qualified backing for a revived nuclear deal with the West. It's a significant shift in Tehran's stance, but requires a closer look.

The bitter reality of Iran's nuclear program is that it has become a bargaining chip in Russia's hand. For years now, the Russians have deftly exploited every crisis involving the program, openly and secretly, and most notably in the talks leading to the 2015 pact with the 5+1 Powers. Iranian officials are fully aware of Russia's self-serving involvement in this strategic sector, which is in a state of technical dependence on Russia.

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Like a bossy doorman, it controls all supplies and circulation in and out of the Iranian program. This is the result of the decisions taken by two of the Islamic Republic's policy-making bodies, namely the Supreme National Security Council over two periods, and the Foreign Policy Higher Council, which effectively gave Russia technical control of the nuclear program.

Khamenei may have had this dependency in mind when, in 2018, he ordered uranium to be enriched beyond 60% (closer to the grade needed for weaponry). Ostensibly the order was a response to U.S. pressures, but it may well have been a bid to recover some of the keys Russia has held in this sector for 30 years, in spite of the technical and financial challenges of doing so.

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