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TOPIC: iran

In The News

Russia Pounds Ukraine, Mongolia Coal Protests, AI Chatbot Record

👋 བཀྲ་ཤིས་བདེ་ལེགས།*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Russia has launched its eighth large-scale wave of airstrikes on Ukraine, anti-government protesters try to storm Mongolia's State Palace and an AI-powered chatbot wins over a million humans in record time. Meanwhile, Francesca Mannochi for Italian daily La Stampa reports on the dramatic situation in Somalia, hit by unprecedented drought.

[*Tashi delek - Tibetan]

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An End To The Hijab Law? Iranian Protesters Want To End The Whole Regime

Reported declarations by some Iranian officials on revising the notorious morality police patrols and obligatory dress codes for women are suspect both in their authenticity, and ultimately not even close to addressing the demands of Iranian protesters.

-Analysis-

The news spread quickly around Iran, and the world: the Iranian regime's very conservative prosecutor-general, Muhammadja'far Montazeri, was reported to have proposed loosening the mandatory headscarf rules Iran places on women in public.

Let's remember that within months of taking power in 1979, the Islamic Republic had forced women to wear headscarves in public, and shawls and other dressings to cover their clothes. But ongoing protests, which began in September over the death of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini while in police custody over her headscarf, seem to instead be angling for an overthrow of the entire 40-year regime.

Che ba hejab, che bi hejab, mirim be suyeh enqelab, protesters have chanted. "With or without the hijab, we're heading for a revolution."

Montazeri recently announced that Iran's parliament and Higher Council of the Cultural Revolution, an advisory state body, would discuss the issue of obligatory headscarves over the following two weeks. "The judiciary does not intend to shut down the social security police but after these recent events, security and cultural agencies want to better manage the matter," Montazeri said, adding that this may require new proposals on "hijab and modesty" rules.

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Russia Defies Oil Price Cap, Iran’s Morality Police In Limbo, Tasmanian Tiger Mystery

👋 Aniin!*

Welcome to Monday, where a new Western price cap on Russia kicks in, conflicting reports are swirling about the fate of Iran’s “morality police,” and a thylacine mystery gets solved. Meanwhile, Beate Strobel in German daily Die Welt introduces us to the working world’s new ailment that is like burnout with a dose of denial: burn-on.

[*Ojibwe, Canada]

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Iran-Israel Proxy War? Israeli Military May Send High-Tech Missiles To Kyiv

Sending Ukraine advanced weaponry would be a response from Israel to reports that Tehran is sending ballistic missiles to Moscow.

Israeli state media corporation Kan 11, citing the head of the National Security Council of Israel, Eyal Hulat, reported that Israel might transfer high-tech missiles to Ukraine if Iran supplies ballistic missiles to Russia.

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The Washington Post reported last month that Tehran could supply such missiles to Moscow, as well as Russia beginning to produce Iranian-designed drones on its own territory. Russia’s Chief of the Defense Intelligence Kirill Budanov stated that Moscow could use Iranian short-range ballistic missiles against Ukraine, which would have no effective means of combating Iranian rockets of this type.

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In The News
Laure Gautherin, Emma Albright, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Java Quake Death Toll Jumps, Defiant Iranian Soccer Players, Monster Goldfish

👋 Kaixo!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where the death toll in Indonesia’s earthquake rises to 252, the Iranian soccer team refuses to sing their national anthem in apparent support of protests, and holy carp, that’s a nice catch. Meanwhile, Suman Mandal in Indian website The Wire looks at how the deaths of migrant workers and Qatar's poor human rights record will linger over the World Cup.

[*Basque]

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Geopolitics
​Elahe Boghrat

Will Iran's Uprising Trigger An Islamic Reformation Across The Middle East?

The showdown between Iranian protesters and the clerical regime is another episode in a decades-long clash of theocracy and Western-style secular modernity. Its outcomes will reverberate across the entire Islamic world, so the West needs to pay attention.

-Analysis-

The Middle Ages returned to the Middle East in 1979, when Iran became an Islamic Republic. Like Europe in previous centuries, this regime, which succeeded a secular, Westernizing monarchy, turned religion into "a business”, as described by the 20th-century Iranian writer Ahmad Kasravi — who was himself murdered by a fanatic.

Islamists were present in the region before the ayatollahs took power in Tehran, but they had no government with which to impose their dogmas — excluding certain traditionalist countries such as Pakistan or Saudi Arabia.

In Europe, modernity arose in reaction to the Catholic Church's oppression and crimes. But in the Middle East, the mosque became the response to an influx of Western modernity that made traditional, and mostly Muslim, societies face certain historical contradictions. Traditionalism and religion — and even superstitions and bigotry — were briefly hidden behind a thin, modernizing façade, the values of which were barely understood, let alone put to use for social progress.

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In The News
Renate Mattar, Emma Albright, Sophia Constantino and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Ukraine Cities Targeted, Xi v. Trudeau, Lego Eiffel

👋 Բարև*

Welcome to Thursday, where Russia continues major airstrikes of Ukrainian cities, the Republicans win control of the U.S. House of Representatives with a slim majority, and Lego releases its tallest set ever. Meanwhile, Global Press Journal zooms in on an unlikely leading candidate ahead of next year’s presidential election in Zimbabwe.

[*Barev - Armenian]

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Geopolitics
Firoozeh Nordstrom

Is Elon Watching? How Chaos At Twitter Could Impact Iranian Protesters

Two anonymous Iranian Twitter users spoke about their hopes that Iran's protests could hasten the end of the unpopular regime, and what Elon Musk's takeover of the the platform could mean for them.

The world has been paying special attention to the scope and endurance of anti-state protests in Iran that erupted in September after the death in police custody of 22-year-old Mahsa Amini. A key to maintaining momentum and attention has been social media, with users and activists eager to stay in contact and communicate around what many in Iran hope will be the movement to end the 40-year Islamist reign.

Social media's role in resisting oppressive regimes dates back to the protests of the Arab Spring, and more than 10 years later, Twitter in particular (with the option to have an anonymous account) is being used again in Iran.

However, since Elon Musk's takeover of the platform, serious concerns have been raised about whether the platform will survive. Ciaran O’Connor, senior analyst at the Institute for Strategic Dialogue, said in an interview that "If Twitter was to ‘go in the morning’, let's say, all of this—all of the firsthand evidence of atrocities or potential war crimes, and all of this potential evidence—would simply disappear."

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In The News
✍️ Newsletter by Sophia Constantino, Bertrand Hauger and Anne-Sophie Goninet

Zelensky At G20, China COVID Riots, 8 Billion Humans

👋 Grüezi!*

Welcome to Tuesday, where Ukraine is the focus as G20 meeting kicks off in Bali, protests against COVID restrictions turn violent in China, and human population crosses the 8-billion threshold. And hold that green smoothie: for German daily Die Welt, alternative medicine specialist Edzard Ernst dispels misconceptions about all things detox.

[*Swiss German]

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Geopolitics

Unnerved By Protests, Tehran Is Now Hounding Foreign Embassies And Iranian Ex-Pats

Amid increasing tensions prompted by ongoing anti-government protests, reports from Tehran show increased surveillance of some foreign embassies. Iranian agents are said to be particularly curious about visas to get out of the country.

As anti-government protests in Iran persist, well-informed sources in Tehran say state authorities have begun tracking and intimidating more targets it deems suspicious, which now includes intensified surveillance of foreign embassies.

One source told Kayhan London this week that Iranian employees of the British and German embassies have received threatening calls from unidentified private numbers, thought to be Iranian security officials, summoning them for questioning The practice of sinister invitations to undocumented interrogations has become standard in the 40-year regime of Iran's Islamic Republic.

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In The News
Anna Akage, Bertrand Hauger and Emma Albright

Unit Of 500 Mobilized Russians Wiped Out,  Putin's "No Front Line" Lie Exposed

If not cannon fodder, many of the reservists are facing shortages of food, weapons and promised payments.

More than 500 mobilized Russian reserve soldiers called up from the Voronezh region were sent to the Ukrainian front lines in Luhansk, where they were decimated in recent days by the Ukrainian army, according to a report in Russian independent publication Verstka

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According to the newspaper, only 31 members of the mobilized unit managed to survive in the battle in the contested eastern region of Ukraine. Those who weren’t killed are reportedly hiding in abandoned buildings in a neighboring village, where they have called their relatives in Russia seeking help to get out of Ukraine.

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Geopolitics
Kayhan-London

Report: As Iranian Protests Continue, Regime Officials Are Fleeing To Venezuela

Reports from Tehran suggest that some senior officials may be "quietly" taking exile in the South American nation led by Nicolas Maduro, a trusted ally of the Iranian regime.

As the Iranian public persists with weeks of angry protests against the country's clerical regime, reports from Tehran's airport suggest some senior officials may have begun to pack their bags and leave the country.

Ordinary Iranians will wonder where they could go to hide, given Tehran's relative lack of friends and allies around the world. They may travel to countries the regime has helped in past decades — even if they are not the first-choice destinations for anyone keen to enjoy their ill-gotten gains. A quick look around the world map limits the choices.

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