• 2020-10-09

    In this interview, Malihe Razazan spoke to Human Rights Watch (HRW) Iran Researcher Tara Sepehri Far about Nasrin Sotoudeh's hunger strike and the criminalization of peaceful protests in Iran. Sotoudeh is an Iranian human rights lawyer, who was arrested in 2010 and started her second hunger strike this year in August to protest the inhumane treatment of Iranian political prisoners during the COVID pandemic. Courtesy of Voices of the Middle East and North Africa (VOMENA).

  • 2020-10-08

    Iran has released prominent rights activist Narges Mohammadi, according to a report by an Iranian news agency, which said her 10-year sentence had been reduced.

  • 2020-10-07

    The Iranian public is more concerned about the government’s mismanagement of the economy, failure to protect them in the face of the disastrous coronavirus pandemic, and incapacity to neutralize the impact of the U.S.-imposed sanctions. Accordingly, those who may have leadership aspirations, including Rouhani, Chief Justice Ebrahim Raisi, Hassan Khomeini (grandson of Ruhollah Khomeini), and Mojtaba Khamenei (son of Ali Khamenei), alternate between aligning themselves with or blaming each other and the IRGC for Iran’s chronic problems. But none of the leadership hopefuls can seize power in Iran without IRGC support, and any future leader of the Islamic Republic will, for all practical purposes, be beholden to the IRGC. The IRGC will also most likely decide the fundamental tenet of Iran’s behavior toward the United States. Regardless of the outcome of the November U.S. presidential election, Washington and Tehran will remain at odds over the IRGC’s vision for the Islamic Republic as a regional hegemon. In this regard, there will most likely be a greater degree of continuity than change in Iran’s behavior. Notwithstanding the pandemic, those engaged in formulating U.S. policy toward the Islamic Republic should look beyond Khamenei, shift the focus away from potential individual leadership candidates, and pay more attention to the likely transformation of the Islamic Republic into a military-style dictatorship, albeit one with a clerical figurehead.

  • 2020-10-06

    US intelligence officials have concluded that Iran prefers a Joe Biden win come November. And why wouldn’t it? Biden has vowed to return to the Iran deal, the nuclear agreement that was forged when he served as vice president to Barack Obama. […] Even before Trump won in 2016 and began steps to pull the US out of the JCPOA in 2018, Tehran was grumbling that Washington wasn’t holding up its end of the bargain and was continuing to block trade with the Islamic Republic. No matter who wins on November 3, there may be more continuity than change in US-Iran relations.

  • 2020-10-01

    Imprisoned Iranian human rights lawyer Nasrin Sotoudeh has been awarded the Right Livelihood Award in recognition of her 'unrelenting commitment to justice’. The prize, which is awarded by the Right Livelihood Foundation based in Stockholm, is known as the ‘alternative Nobel prize’ and celebrates those ‘offering practical and exemplary answers to the most urgent challenges facing us today’.

  • 2020-09-30

    Headlines around the world have heralded a “strategic alliance” between Iran and China. A raft of secret deals on the sale of discounted oil, the provision of 5G communications technology, and the deepening of the military partnership, are presumed to challenge American hegemony in the Middle East. But there is no alliance in the offing. While Iran has a unique place in China’s Middle East strategy, the partnership that China has with the Islamic Republic is carefully calculated and the renewed negotiations between China and Iran are in fact a continuation of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) signed in January 2016. The CSP does not reflect China’s intention to elevate its relationship with Iran above others across the Middle East. On the contrary, China is seeking to balance its ties with Iran and with states that see themselves locked in regional competition with the Islamic Republic. As such, the CSP must be viewed within a wider regional context. The authors compared China’s engagement with Iran in trade, investment, and security cooperation with five other countries: Saudi Arabia, the United Arab Emirates (UAE), Iraq, Turkey, and Pakistan. Compared with the region at large, China’s engagement with Iran has lagged behind its engagement with other countries. Despite the rhetoric of both Iranian and Chinese policymakers, the privileged status of an alliance remains out of reach for Iran, which finds itself seeking to rectify its position within Chinese bilateral relationships in the Middle East: the last among equals.

  • 2020-09-30

    Prince Reza Pahlavi presented his “new covenant” in a live broadcast. He said his speech was a “response to the innumerable messages of those of you who are rightly worried about Iran and its future.” He said his motivation was “to establish a system in which power is never monopolized by one individual or one group. Every Iranian across the country, irrespective of gender, ethnicity, religion, ideology, lifestyle, must accept responsibility and share equally in decision making in their future and that of the country. One-man rule and pyramidal power structures, in today’s world, are not sufficient to meet the needs of a pioneering and dynamic society.”

  • 2020-09-24

    More than 100 Iranians from around the world have penned a letter to United Nations Secretary General Antonio Guterres, expressing concern about an upcoming deal between Iran and China which they say will erode Iranian sovereignty. The co-signatories are a remarkable group of luminaries from all walks of life: artists, former cabinet ministers, scholars and journalists.

  • 2020-09-20

    Iranian Health Minister Saeed Namaki announced on Saturday that the country plans to buy 20mln doses of coronavirus vaccine from an Indian company, while Iranian firms also continue their efforts to produce the vaccine. […] He added that Iran is endeavoring to develop and supply the vaccine, and noted, “Of course, our research teams in the country are working round-the-clock to produce the vaccine and we have pinned much hope on their positive results.” Also, earlier today, Iranian Vice-President for Science and Technology Sorena Sattari said that 6 prominent companies in Iran have been activated to produce coronavirus vaccine, adding, “The health ministry will declare good news in this regard.”

  • 2020-09-16

    Monday, September 14th marked the 35th day of Nasrin Sotoudeh’s hunger strike, which she began over a month ago in protest of prison conditions, the risk of prisoners contracting Covid-19, and the plight of political prisoners who have been wrongly targeted and held in Iranian prisons for countless years. Sotoudeh, a renowned Iranian lawyer and human rights activist is all too familiar with the cruelties of the Iranian judiciary, which has imprisoned her on various spurious charges over many years, blocked her bank accounts to bring financial strain on her family, and recently detained her 20-year old daughter who was released on bail. 

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