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Khamenei Azerbaijan

Bahram Farrokhi

Iran, The Day After: Here's What Could Happen If The Ayatollahs Fall

Finding themselves amid a range of strategic, economic and regional interests, Iranians in a post-regime future will have to deftly maneuver their country toward a peaceful, constitutional state. Bahram Farrokhi writes about the good, the bad and the worst-case scenarios.


Three months of mass protests against Iran's clerical regime last year, while brutally put down, raised hopes among millions of Iranians for an end to the Islamic Republic's stifling 40-year rule. They also raised fears of chaos and speculations about what might follow — the good, the bad and the worst-case scenarios — if the iron-fisted regime were to end.

Let's consider what some of these scenarios may look like.

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Did Russia Have A Hand In The Hamas Attack?

Russia has both the means and potentially motivation for triggering mayhem in the Middle East, including the benefits of distracting the West from its war in Ukraine.

Updated October 10, 2023 at 5: 10 p.m.


The remarkable success of Saturday's surprise attack by Hamas across the border into Israel has sparked widespread speculation about foreign involvement. The complexity of the operation, believed to have killed at least 700 Israelis thus far with more than 2,100 wounded and dozens taken hostage, is raising suspicion that it could have only been carried out with the aid of outside planning, money and manpower.

Initial reports suggested that Iran may have played a part in facilitating the assault. On Tuesday, Iran's Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei declared that there was no Iranian involvement in the Palestinian militant group's attack, which has killed more than 1,000 Israelis.

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Others instead are pointing at Russia, accused of involvement in the Hamas operation, though concrete evidence has thus far not been cited.

Writing in the Israeli newspaper Yedioth Ahronoth, retired British Army Colonel Richard Kemp said that “unwilling to engage directly with NATO, Putin is instead fueling conflicts between Azerbaijan and Armenia, Serbia and Kosovo, West Africa, and now Israel.”

Chairman of the Estonian Parliament's Foreign Affairs Committee, Marko Mihkelson, told Estonian National Television that the involvement of Russia and Iran in the attack is indicated by its timing as well as the fact that “both Moscow and Tehran maintain contacts with Hamas.”

Russia-Hamas relations are longstanding and active, with Moscow hosting a Hamas delegation in March this year. They met with Russian Foreign Minister Sergey Lavrov, who subsequently warned that Hamas' "patience" with Israel was "running out." Hamas leaders also visited Russia in May and September 2022.

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Lina Attalah

Women, Life, Freedom: Iranian Protesters Find Their Voice

In the aftermath of the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini, who was arrested by the morality police mid-September for not wearing her hijab properly, many Iranians have taken the streets in nationwide protests. Independent Egyptian media Mada Masr spoke to one of the protesters.

On September 16, protests erupted across Iran when 22-year-old Mahsa Amini died in custody after being arrested and beaten by morality police for her supposedly unsuitable attire. The protests, witnesses recount, have touched on all aspects of rights in Iran, civil, political, personal, social and economic.

Mada Masr spoke to a protester who was in the prime of her youth during the 2009 Green Movement protests. Speaking on condition of anonymity due to possible security retaliation, she walked us through what she has seen over the past week in the heart of Tehran, and how she sees the legacy of resistance street politics in Iran across history.

MADA MASR: Describe to us what you are seeing these days on the streets of Tehran.

ANONYMOUS PROTESTER: People like me, we are emotional because we remember 2009. The location of the protests is the same: Keshavarz Boulevard in the middle of Tehran. The last time Tehranis took to these streets was in 2009, one of the last protests of the Green Movement. Since then, the center of Tehran hasn’t seen any mass protests, and most of these streets have changed, with new urban planning meant to make them more controllable.

Remembering 2009 triggers many things, such as street strategies, tactics and the way we could find each other in the middle of the chaos. But this is us now, almost at the back. Up front, there are many younger people, especially girls. They are extremely brave, fearless and smart.

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Iran-Azerbaijan Tensions: How Khamenei Overplayed Islamic Ties

Azerbaijan's flourishing ties with Turkey and Israel threaten Iran's regional trade and strategic security after Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei overestimated his ability to woo Azerbaijan leader, Ilham Aliev, because both nations are predominantly Shia Muslim.


Iran's Revolutionary Guards have sent armored and artillery units for maneuvers Friday close to the Islamic Republic's northern border with the Republic of Azerbaijan.

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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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Ahmad Ra'fat and Hamed Mohammadi

Plan B? Why Iran Thinks It Has The West Cornered On Nuclear Deal

The U.S. is calling for "imminent" return to talks. But Tehran has made advances on its nuclear program that could force the West to accept, in a new pact, its bomb-making capacity, which Iran will "freeze" if Western powers lift sanctions.


It was a declaration of excessive optimism. Speaking in Doha on Sep. 30, the European Union's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, said that nuclear negotiations with Iran would resume "within an acceptable period of time." Talks on reviving the 2015 pact to keep checks on Iran's nuclear program had ground to a halt before June's election of the very conservative Ibrahim Raisi as Iran's president. That has left the country under international sanctions, and its contested nuclear activities without outside supervision.

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In The News
Anne-Sophie Goninet, Jane Herbelin and Bertrand Hauger

Pandora Papers, Japan’s New PM, Spicy Medicine Nobel

👋 Bom dia!*

Welcome to Monday, where the financial secrets of the rich and powerful are exposed in a massive data leak, the two Koreas get on the phone for the first time in months, Japan has a new prime minister and there's a spicy Nobel prize winner for medicine. For Paris-based daily Les Echos, we have Anna Rousseau reporting on how fashion-famous France is finally starting to catch up with the plus-size market.


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FOCUS: Russia-Ukraine War
Anna Akage

Why Iran Has Decided To Arm Russia, And The Price To Pay

After months of trading barbs with Ukraine's allies in the West, Tehran is now fully engaged alongside Moscow in the conflict, most notably with supplies of so-called Kamikaze drones. Although the fact that Iran still denies its activities is a sign that the partnership is loaded.


In Ukraine, they’ve been nicknamed “mopeds” for the sound of their motors as they terrorize from the air. The Shahed-136 kamikaze drones striking Kyiv, Lviv, Dnipro, and Odessa are also the most visible sign that Iran has officially entered the war in Ukraine as an active military partner for Russia.

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These drones, which have a range of more than 1,000 kilometers, are being launched from Crimea and Voronezh in southwestern Russia. They cost far less than missiles, and although they don't have the same destructive power, they can kill humans and disable critical infrastructure at any moment on any street in any Ukrainian city.

U.S. intelligence, which had warned this past summer that Russian President Vladimir Putin was set to buy a large batch of drones, are now reporting that Iran is also planning to sell ground-to-ground ballistic missiles to Moscow. On top of this, there are multiple reports that Iran is sending military advisors to train Russians to use their weapons.

After limiting itself in the first months of the war to rhetorical barbs aimed at Ukraine’s allies in the West, the past two weeks have thus seen a major escalation of Tehran’s role alongside Moscow.

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Jordi Joan Baños

A Visit To Shusha, A Ghost City Marked By Culture And Ethnic Cleansing

The capture of the city sealed last year's Azerbaijani victory against the Armenians — the latest change of control after a century of war and ethnic cleansing.

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