• 2020-05-14

    The history and historiography of Iranian socialism and communism are myriad, plurivocal, and inevitably contentious. Like almost all national histories of socialism, they abound in emancipatory horizons, tales of unstinting bravery, and the unflappable conviction that things might have been otherwise. The first stirrings of social democracy in cities such as Tabriz during the Constitutional Revolution (1905–11), the Soviet Republic of Gilan (1920–21), the creation of the Communist Party of Iran, the activities of the group of fifty-three, the establishment of the Tudeh (Masses) Party in the course of the Allied occupation (1941-1946), and the revolutionary guerrilla campaigns of the 1970s, stand among a multitude of examples. The scholarship collectively attests to the immense importance of socialist intellectuals, parties, organizations, and movements, as well as the role they played throughout twentieth-century Iran’s politics and history. These histories feature various casts of heroes, villains, and renegades. They are imbued with tragic pathos, sectarian polemics, and lost futures. They have been characterized by unparalleled courage, commitment, and sacrifice in the struggle for revolutionary transformation, democracy, and radical equality. Yet they have also fallen foul of dubious trade-offs, miscalculations, intra-organizational violence, and blunders, as well as the perennial challenge of survival in the face of implacable and brutal state repression—first under the Pahlavis and subsequently in the shadow of the Islamic Republic. 

  • 2020-04-22

    Iran reported its first confirmed cases of SARS-CoV-2 infections on 19 February 2020 in the city of Qom, probably brought to the country by merchants who had travelled to China, and in the following days became a center of the spread of the virus in the region, as well as the second-worst affected country in the world. In the first week of March, Iran reported dozens of dead and hundreds infected each day, next only to China as the pandemic’s epicenter. At the same time, the government closed schools, universities, shopping centers, bazaars, holy shrines, and cancelled public events and festival celebrations. As confirmed cases mounted, health ministry announced that checkpoints would be placed between cities to limit travel. The unprecedented situation has left Iran in need of masks, respirators and other medical equipment, but imports are virtually impossible due to unilateral U.S. trade sanctions. 

  • 2020-04-17

    „In the recent days, the Iranian regime mouthpiece Kayhan has devoted several editorials to explaining to the Iranian public why the coronavirus pandemic has befallen the world and the lessons that the world should derive from it. In an April 6, 2020 editorial the daily postulated that the coronavirus is a product of the godless Western civilization, which takes pride in science for its own sake and which also created the atom bomb and chemical weapons. 

  • 2020-04-07

    Mohsen Rezaee, secretary of the Iranian regime's Expediency Council whose members are appointed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and whose role it is to advise him, published an article on April 2, 2020 via the Fars news agency. In the article, Rezaee, who is also a former commander of Iran's Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), discussed the ramifications of the coronavirus pandemic for the world. He stated that the pandemic had exposed the malady infecting humankind – the sick world order based, according to him, on the liberal, capitalist West and on the American values of freedom and democracy. He said that in the wake of the pandemic, the Western order will make way for a new world order whose center of gravity will be Asia. Revolutionary Iran, he added, will play a unique role in leading the new world, and to this end it must advance the values of the Islamic revolution in order to cure all humanity's ills. ...

  • 2020-03-29

    As the proportion of patients infected with COVID-19 continues to rise in Iran, Masih Daneshvari Hospital in Tehran is facilitating access to COVID-19 convalescent plasma for use in patients with COVID-19 infections. This is while a number of the medical staff in the hospital are among the plasma donors who have been infected and have recovered recently. 

  • 2020-03-27

    On February 19, the health ministry announced that two elderly people in Qom had died from the coronavirus. On February 23, Iran’s health minister Saeed Namaki blamed an Iranian merchant from Qom who had frequently traveled between Iran and China. On March 25, Alireza Raeesi, Iran's deputy health minister, claimed that COVID-19 was brought to Iran by Chinese nationals who studied and worked in Qom. Many of them studied at Al Mostafa University, a state-funded seminary with many international students. Raeesi added that Iranian students returning to Gilan from Wuhan may have created a second epicenter, which spread independently from the outbreak in Qom.

  • 2020-03-15

    The Iranian ambassador to the United Kingdom, Hamid Baeidinejad, welcomed a new approach by London toward the possible release of Nazanin Zaghari-Ratcliffe, speaking in an interview with Iranian Etemad newspaper. [...] Besides, Baeidinejad revealed that authorities of Iran and the UK are in talks regarding a multibillion debt owed by the United Kingdom to the Islamic republic, and looking at novel ways to get the debt paid. The United Kingdom owes Iran roughly 400 billion pounds ($490 mln) for Chieftain tanks, which it sold to Tehran in the last century but never delivered.

  • 2020-02-24

     This rebuke, however, does not mean that the system is about to crumble. There is no evidence that Iranians are willing to compound their current woes with major and bloody disruption that a new revolution would bring. However hopeless many may feel about the prospects of reform, there is no credible alternative to the Islamic Republic in sight. The heir to the Pahlavi dynasty, the so-called “crown prince” Reza Pahlavi and Mojahedeen-e Khalk (MEK), a widely despised exiled cult, qualify as such only in febrile imagination of neoconservative schemers. Such grassroots opposition as there exists, like the association of “United Students,” both called for boycott of the elections and denounced the “corrupt monarchical opposition” on their Telegram channel. This lack of alternatives means that the international community will have to deal with Iran as it is, not as it would like it to be. The task will become even more difficult if the conservatives, with wind in their sails, will succeed in capturing the presidency in the next year’s elections — the one institution of the state still controlled by the moderates around the President Hassan Rouhani. For all the divisions among the conservatives and focus on economic issues, it is safe to assume that their foreign policy will be more defiant towards the West. They will feel less compunction about abandoning the JCPOA for good and withdrawing Iran from the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT), all this accompanied by more assertive regional posturing and more repressive domestic environment.

  • 2020-02-21

    Over the past few weeks, the Trump administration has turned up the heat on Tehran. Way up. As part of a “maximum pressure” campaign aimed at curbing the malign international activities of Iran’s ruling regime, the White House has dramatically intensified sanctions, blacklisted the country’s clerical army, and put foreign buyers of Iranian crude on notice that they need to pull out of the Iranian market or face potentially catastrophic consequences.

  • 2020-02-20

    With the campaign season ending Thursday morning, the countdown to the 11th vote for the Islamic Consultative Assembly has begun. For over a week, candidates were trying hard to appeal to nearly 58 million Iranians who are eligible to cast votes in the country of 83 million.

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