When the world gets closer.

We help you see farther.

Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter.

Already a subscriber? Log in .

You've reached your limit of one free article.

Get unlimited access to Worldcrunch

You can cancel anytime .


Exclusive International news coverage

Ad-free experience NEW

Weekly digital Magazine NEW

9 daily & weekly Newsletters

Access to Worldcrunch archives

Free trial

30-days free access, then $2.90
per month.

Annual Access BEST VALUE

$19.90 per year, save $14.90 compared to monthly billing.save $14.90.

Subscribe to Worldcrunch

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.

Photo of a plane landing at Tehran airport

A view on the Mehrabad Airport Terminal in Tehran


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.

One refuge may be socialist Venezuela, run by Iran's authoritarian ally President Nicolás Maduro.

The regime's top destination

An unnamed source at Tehran's Imam Khomeini Airport told Kayhan-London that currently three flights a day were taking off with "a considerable amount of cargo" bound for Venezuela.

The source said: "these people get their suitcases out in hours, with fewer passengers and flights. This began about two weeks ago, and we see these movements about two or three times a day."

Why would Islamic officials now want to flee to a delectably "indecent" land of bikinis and booze?

"Initially," the source said, "my colleagues and I thought these were embassy employees, though we noticed their car number plates didn't belong to any embassy. We don't know what they are shifting, and whether they are leaving the country with all the luggage or not. Because they won't let us examine closely. We just know that in past weeks, every day there are three to four flights to Venezuela."

Venezuela President Nicolas Maduro with his Iranian counterpart Ebrahim Raisi during a visit in Tehran

Iranian Presidency/ZUMA

Special flights

If the cargo belongs to officials, presumably they will follow sooner or later. The Daily Express, a London paper, reported in late October on rumors of Iranian politicians looking for UK, Canadian and Swiss passports as they seek to flee Iran. Its report also described special flights leaving Tehran outside the standard airport schedule.

In mid-October, the website Flightradar24 also observed an increase in "suspect" flights from Iran for places like Georgia and Belarus. In late October, Britain's Foreign Office minister (a deputy foreign secretary) assured the House of Commons the ministry would examine rumors of Iranian officials trying to settle in the UK.

Iran's protests erupted in mid-September after the suspected police killing of a woman over herhijab headscarf, which is just one of the harsh rules the Islamic Republic has enforced since 1979.

Why, anyone may wonder, would Islamic officials now want to flee to Venezuela — a delectably "indecent" land of beaches, bikinis and booze?

You've reached your limit of free articles.

To read the full story, start your free trial today.

Get unlimited access. Cancel anytime.

Exclusive coverage from the world's top sources, in English for the first time.

Insights from the widest range of perspectives, languages and countries.


Look At This Crap! The "Enshittification" Theory Of Why The Internet Is Broken

The term was coined by journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the fatal drift of major Internet platforms: if they were ever useful and user-friendly, they will inevitably end up being odious.

A photo of hands holding onto a smartphone

A person holding their smartphone

Gilles Lambert/ZUMA
Manuel Ligero


The universe tends toward chaos. Ultimately, everything degenerates. These immutable laws are even more true of the Internet.

In the case of media platforms, everything you once thought was a good service will, sooner or later, disgust you. This trend has been given a name: enshittification. The term was coined by Canadian blogger and journalist Cory Doctorow to explain the inevitable drift of technological giants toward... well.

The explanation is in line with the most basic tenets of Marxism. All digital companies have investors (essentially the bourgeoisie, people who don't perform any work and take the lion's share of the profits), and these investors want to see the percentage of their gains grow year after year. This pushes companies to make decisions that affect the service they provide to their customers. Although they don't do it unwillingly, quite the opposite.

For the latest news & views from every corner of the world, Worldcrunch Today is the only truly international newsletter. Sign up here.

Annoying customers is just another part of the business plan. Look at Netflix, for example. The streaming giant has long been riddling how to monetize shared Netflix accounts. Option 1: adding a premium option to its regular price. Next, it asked for verification through text messages. After that, it considered raising the total subscription price. It also mulled adding advertising to the mix, and so on. These endless maneuvers irritated its audience, even as the company has been unable to decide which way it wants to go. So, slowly but surely, we see it drifting toward enshittification.

Keep reading...Show less

The latest