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Kayhan ("Universe") is a Persian-language daily founded in 1943 and based in Tehran. Its views are considered conservative and representative of Iran's Supreme Leader.
Photo of men and women killed during protests in Iran laid out in Paris

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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Hossein Taeb
Roshanak Astaraki

Dismissal Of Iran Spy Chief Shows A Regime In Disarray

The recent departure of a top Iranian military intelligence chief, supposedly over security lapses and bad decisions, reveals regime weakness in an area key to its survival: espionage and state intelligence.


LONDON — The removal in Iran of the Revolutionary Guards' head of intelligence, Hossein Taeb, was the important event of recent weeks in the Islamic Republic. Taeb was replaced in late June by General Muhammad Kazemi. Three days later, Ibrahim Jabbari was made head of personal security for the Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.

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Photo of the statue of Qassem Soleimani burning in Iran

Why Iranians Are Burning Statues Of Khomeini And Soleimani, Heroes Of The Revolution

With increasing frequency, Iranians are destroying or defacing the monuments of revolutionary and clerical leaders that they have come to loathe as symbols of oppression. It is a dangerous act of protest against the regime, which has called the vandalism "vile."

There has been a sustained — if furtive — trend among disgruntled Iranians to deface, vandalize or destroy monuments raised in honor of prominent figures of the Islamic Republic, in power since 1979. It is a residual form of protest under a regime that allows none. However, rest assured, no harm is done to the country's cultural heritage: It is safe to say the structures in question have no aesthetic value at all.

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 A handout photo made available by the Iranian Army Press Office shows Iranian clerics watching during the second day of a military exercise in Makran sea, south of Iran, 08 November 2021
Shahram Sabzevari

Don't Underestimate Russian Influence Over Iran's Military

Russia's role in in Iranian affairs goes to the highest levels of its military and security structures. But will anyone in Iran dare question Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, in spite of the grave risks to the country's national security?


LONDON — Several sources recently reported on the sale of 24 Russian Su-35 fighter jets to Iran. These were initially to be sold to Egypt, but that deal was thwarted by the threat of U.S. sanctions on Egypt. Since 15 of the planes were reportedly ready for delivery, they may be sent to the Iranian regime in early 2022.

Reports of sales of Russian commercial or military planes to Iran are not new, though some now qualify them as a consolation for Tehran to make amends for Russia's suspected approval of the strikes that have targeted Iranian Revolutionary guards bases, allied militias and Iranian war material in Syria.

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Photo of gas station in Iran

Israel Blamed For Cyberattack On Iran Gas Stations

Gas stations in many Iranian cities had trouble supplying fuel earlier in the week in what was a suspected cyberattack on the fuel distribution system. One Tehran daily on Thursday blamed Israel, which may have carried out similar acts in past years, to weaken Iran's hostile regime.

The incident reportedly disrupted the credit and debit card payments system this time, forcing users to pay cash and higher prices, the London-based broadcaster Iran International reported.

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Passengers line up to enter the Wuhan Railway Station in Wuhan on Wednesday.

Coronavirus — Global Brief: What Happens In Wuhan Matters In Wichita

The insidious path of COVID-19 across the planet is a blunt reminder of how small the world has become. For the coming weeks, Worldcrunch will be delivering daily updates on this crisis from the best, most trusted international news sources — regardless of language or geography. To receive the daily Coronavirus Global Brief in your inbox,sign up here.


And 76 days later…

It was Jan. 23, 2020 when the central Chinese city of Wuhan was cut off from the rest of the world, as government authorities took action to severely restrict people's movements at the epicenter of what was then just the beginning of the burgeoning coronavirus outbreak. On Wednesday, the two-and-a-half-month ban on travel was lifted, ending the world's longest mass quarantine in memory.

That, of course, leaves much time for the rest of the world to count the days shut inside our own homes and cities. But even as each of us monitors our respective local situation, we will all be watching Wuhan closely to see what happens after its landmark "liberation" from coronavirus lockdown.

The international criticism for what were considered draconian measures in Wuhan are no doubt seen in a new light as other countries are now enforcing lockdowns of their own. And now, we will see another real-world experiment as restrictions are eased, providing precious data: to epidemiologists on the resurgence of cases, to economists on how quickly businesses can bounce back, and to all of us on how much it will take to get back to normal after weeks or months in isolation.

There is certainly a lot to learn from the Wuhan example, even if containment measures in different countries have varied widely. In China, the virus has been contained by forcing anyone with a fever and people who had been in close contact with someone believed to be infected into "centralized quarantine." This means that thousands of people were taken from their homes and placed in converted hotels, dorms and classrooms in order to stop transmission, even among family members at home. This has not been the case in most Western countries, where authorities have sought to keep people out of hospitals unless their cases are severe and advised people with symptoms to self-isolate at home.

All this to say that what happens in Wuhan won't necessarily determine what will happen in the rest of the world. If the resurgence of cases depends on how much immunity is already in the population, as some epidemiologists claim, China's efficient containment might eventually prove to be a weak spot. So, even as we count the days, there will be plenty of other data to calculate as well.

Michaela Kozminova


  • Wuhan reopens: Coronavirus lockdown ends after 76 days in the central Chinese city where it was believed to have begun.

  • Toll: Deaths pass 10,000 in France, as the U.S. records highest death toll in a single day with more than 1,800 fatalities, 731 in New York state alone.

  • Europe blocked: Talks of European Union recovery fund to help southern countries, especially Italy and Spain, have stalled after 16 hours, leading the head of the European Research Council to resign, "extremely disappointed by the European response".

  • Polish vote: parliament approves legislation to allow presidential elections in May to be held as a postal ballot.

  • Pyongyang tests: In North Korea, 709 people have been tested and 509 are in quarantine, according to a WHO representative, but the country still reports no cases.

  • Where's El Señor Presidente? Even as Nicaragua continues to promote gatherings and mass events, while President Daniel Ortega has been absent for almost a month.

  • RIP Prine: U.S. raspy-voiced country icon John Prine dies from coronavirus complications in Nashville at age 73.

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Soleimani poster in Tehran on Jan. 6

Next Move Tehran? Iran Buries General, Plots 'Strategic Revenge'

With a battered economy and recent anti-government street protests, can Iran fulfill its promise to avenge the U.S. killing of Qasem Soleimani? Can it afford not to?

Iran and the U.S. have spent the past 48 hours trading threats after an American drone strike Friday that killed General Qasem Soleimani, head of its Revolutionary Guards Quds force. Even as Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Khamenei led prayers at Soleimani's funeral on Monday, the question of how and where Tehran will respond looms over the region and the world.

After Iran's announcement Sunday that they would pull out of the remaining restrictions of the 2015 nuclear accord, the leaders of France, Germany and the UK urged a "deescalation" of tensions in the region. French daily Le Monde described the move as a sign that Tehran will "play two tables," targeting U.S. interests militarily and dividing the broader international community by pursuing its nuclear program.

The question of how and where Tehran will respond looms over the region and the world.

Iranian media has carried non-stop images of mass mournings in Baghdad and Tehran, leaving the impression of unanimous national and regional outrage. Still, it is difficult to gauge both public sentiment, and how exactly Iran's rulers will respond to the assassination of the most iconic and influential military leader of his generation.

The official talk in Tehran has cast left little doubt that it will target the United States and/or American interests around the world. The head of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards, Hossein Salami, was reported as telling state television that Soleimani's killing would entail "a strategic revenge" that would "end U.S. presence in the Middle East." His deputy, Mohammad Naqdi, has likewise said that revenge would be "definitive" and the "Americans are not capable of withstanding an extensive" war. They should "pack" their bases and leave, if "they want to save their lives," the semi-official Fars agency cited him as saying.

Crowds mourning Soleimani in Tehran on Jan. 6 — Photo: Salampix/Abaca/ZUMA

His comments may suggest multiple actions over time rather than a single major strike, in keeping with the country's strategy of waging "asymmetrical" warfare. Fars agency cited one prominent hardliner in Tehran, the editor of the Kayhan newspaper Hossein Shariatmadari, as saying that "America is not sitting in a glass room. It is vulnerable on all sides," which again may suggest hit-and-run tactics or a bomb attack somewhere. Iran has a range of allies and agents like Lebanon's Hezbollah or Iraq's Shia militias, apparently ready to do its bidding.

BBC Persian picked up on a division of opinions among ordinary Iranians concerning the killing. A European-based Iranian listener to the broadcaster who gave her name as Paniz called to say Soleimani did not "deserve this," saying he had worked hard for Iran and fought ISIS and the Taliban (at the height of its caliphate ISIS did not hide its hostility to Iran). A listener named Mas'ud said Iranians were "confused" if they were mourning the Supreme Leader's "right-hand man" just weeks after protesting against the country's "dictatorship." Another listener, Hamidreza, called Soleimani a decisive "shaper" of Iran's regime, saying he could not be deemed as uninvolved in its repressive practices.

No room for diplomacy.

The broadcaster observed on similar divisions on social media, with one user accusing Iranians of suffering from "Stockholm Syndrome" for mourning the general.

Taking a more detached view, Iranian commentators abroad took the incident as a strategic challenge to the regime and its leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Ali Sadrzadeh wrote on Radio Farda, part of Radio Free Europe, that Khamenei was mistaken if he thought President Trump would shy away from war because of upcoming U.S. elections. Any action by Iran, he wrote, would prompt a "heavy" response. He observed that Khamenei was keen to stay in power and must know that war with the United States could "burn down the house."

Another commentator, Ali Afshari, an exiled former student activist, wrote on the same website that the Islamic Republic usually responded to such hostilities "asymmetrically and without haste," and had weaknesses to consider now, including opposition to its influence in Iraq and Lebanon, and a half-battered economy that have prompted popular protests in recent months.

Whatever happens, it's clear that the stakes for Iran and its leaders couldn't be higher. Kayhan newspaper was already hinting at the need to tighten controls on commentary, accusing social networking sites of engaging in Soleimani's "proxy assassination" through hostile propaganda, and urged leaders to push ahead with plans to restrict the internet inside Iran. As for outside the country, the same its editorial made it clear to moderates that with "this act of war," there was "no more room for any diplomacy with the United States."