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Carton 150: Cause of Death

The untimely July 4 death of prominent Iranian director Abbas Kiarostami in Paris, following several unsuccessful operations between March and July 2016 in Iran, has raised public debate and government attention to issues never addressed before. Show More Summary

Cartoon 149: Worthless Versus Valuable “Likes”

At a June 23, 2016 public meeting with poets chosen and invited by his administration, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei said: “I have heard that some publish their poetry on the Internet. For example, someone wrote something that is worthless, but imagine that it receives several thousand ‘likes!’ Those ‘likes’ are worthless. What gives worth […]

Names of Mass Execution Victims in Iran Still Not Released

Only 10 of the 20 Sunni Prisoners Killed Are Identified by Authorities Iran is withholding the names of ten of the twenty Sunni prisoners who were executed in Rajaee Shahr Prison in the city of Karaj on August 2, 2016 even though the prosecutor general and the Intelligence Ministry have made statements on the executions. […]

Radical Iranian Newspaper Suspended for Lewd Sexual Slurs against Actors

The weekly Ya Lesarat, the official publication of the ultraconservative vigilante group Ansar-e Hezbollah, has been suspended by Iran’s Press Oversight Committee for printing a sexual smear campaign about actors’ wives. “Using such rude language, which has no place in our culture, amounts to a violation of the Press Law, therefore this publication has been […]

Iran Executes Kurdish Prisoner despite Claim of Forced Confession

As Many As 20 Others May Have Been Executed Too Kurdish prisoner Shahram Ahmadi was hanged in the courtyard of Iran’s Rajaee Shahr Prison today, August 2, 2016, at 4:53 p.m., according to a member of his family. The execution took place despite the fact that the prisoner stated the entire case against him was […]

Lawyers Still Languishing in Jails in Iran for Defending Dissidents Under Rouhani’s Watch

Campaign Pledges Three Years Ago to Free Political Prisoners Now Ring Hollow Dozens of human rights lawyers who have been imprisoned for years in Iran for defending civil rights and political prisoners, remain behind bars three years after President Hassan Rouhani came to office, despite his campaign pledge to free political prisoners. Some have been […]

Ninety-two Student Groups in Iran Criticize Rouhani for Unfulfilled Promises

Ninety-two university student groups have issued a joint letter to President Hassan Rouhani criticizing the persistent “atmosphere of fear and intimidation” in Iran’s universities following a spate of attacks and sabotage against peaceful...Show More Summary

Hindbeh Bil-Zeyt or Italian Dandelion in Olive Oil

I have recently moved to Sicily, in search of sunshine and a place that reminds me of home (Lebanon & Syria) but where I do not have to worry about ISIS! I am being facetious of course but Italy seems a safer bet than the Middle East these days and the great thing about Sicily,... View Article

“Who is to blame for Syria’s nightmare?” By Ehsani2

Who is to blame for Syria’s nightmare? By Ehsani2 For Syria Comment, July 31 Once the popular demonstrations of the Arab spring brought down the leaders of Tunisia and Egypt, many Syrians assumed that they could bring down President Assad just as quickly. Show More Summary

150 Boys and Girls Arrested in Crackdown on Co-ed Parties

One hundred fifty young girls and boys were arrested for attending an “inappropriate mixed-gender” birthday party near the city of Tehran, according to an announcement by the police commander of western Tehran province. The arrests are the latest in an ongoing crackdown on mixed-gender parties that has resulted in the detainment of scores of young […]

Reformist Newspaper Editor’s Prison Sentence Reduced on Appeal

The seven-year prison sentence of reformist newspaper editor Ehsan Mazandarani has been reduced to two years on appeal, his brother-in-law Sam Hosseini told the International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran. “We are happy that the Appeals Court reduced the harsh sentence against Ehsan, but we still expect him to be freed because he has […]

“What the Rebel Loss of Aleppo Will Mean for Syria,” by Landis, Heras, Lund & Abdulhamid

What the Rebel Loss of Aleppo will mean for Syria? Four Analysts respond – Joshua Landis, Nicholas Heras, Aron Lund and Ammar Abdulhamid Aleppo Reenforces Regime Claims to Be Able to Retake Most of Syria By Joshua Landis – Director,Show More Summary

Iran’s Intelligence Ministry Interferes in Case of Imprisoned Christian

Case Exposes Judiciary’s Lack of Independence Iran’s Intelligence Ministry has directly interfered in the case of imprisoned Christian convert Maryam (Nasim) Naghash Zargaran—who has been on hunger strike to persuade the authorities to consider her for early release—in another example of the Judiciary’s lack of independence. Show More Summary

Real Target of Tehran’s Demand for Apple to Open Office in Iran is US Sanctions

Tehran’s recent ultimatum to Apple, the US tech giant, to open up an office in Iran or face a ban on Apple products in the country, was presented as a bid to end the loss of tax revenue from millions of iPhones smuggled into Iran, but its real goal is to break through the wall […]

Arrested Iranian-American from San Diego Held Incommunicado and without Access to Lawyer

Charges and Whereabouts of Robin (Reza) Shahini Unknown Iranian-American Robin (Reza) Shahini, the latest victim of a string of arrests and prolonged detainments of dual nationals who have travelled to Iran, was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards’ Intelligence Organization in the city of Gorgan, 255 miles east of Tehran, and has been held without access to a […]

“Educating Syrian Refugees in Turkey,” by Salih Yasun

The Educational Opportunities and Challenges of Syrian Refugee Students in Turkey: Temporary Education Centers and Beyond By Salih Yasun For Syria Comment, July 25, 2016 Almost 3,000,000 Syrians have fled to Turkey since the Syrian uprising began. Show More Summary

Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi: A Syrian Hezbollah Formation

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi An emblem of Liwa al-Imam al-Mahdi (The Imam Mahdi Brigade): “Liwa al-Imam Mahdi: The Imam Ali Battalion. The Islamic Resistance in Syria.” Note the classic extended arm and arm associated foremost with Hezbollah and the Iranian Revolutionary Guard Corps. Show More Summary

The Boy Beheaded by Zinki Fighters, Abdullah Tayseer, Who Was He? – By Ehsani2

The Boy Beheaded by Zinki Fighters, Abdullah Tayseer, Who Was He? By Ehsani2 For Syria Comment, July 22, 2016 The video of the beheading of the young Syrian boy by the Zanki group in Aleppo caused widespread public shock. Since the appearance...Show More Summary

Iran’s Conservatives Lash Out at New Female Fashion Trends

Iran’s anti-vice squads, also referred to as the morality police, are particularly busy in the hot summer months when Iranian women wear lighter clothes and are less observant of the mandatory hijab. But this year the squads are focusing on a new “threat:” women wearing clothes with large English words on them.  On National Hijab […]

Kata’ib al-Jabalawi: A Pro-Assad Militia from Homs

By Aymenn Jawad Al-Tamimi Emblem of Kata’ib al-Jabalawi. The top reads: “Syrian Arab Republic.” The bottom: “Katibat al-Jabalawi” (al-Jabalawi Battalion, interchangeable with Kata’ib al-Jabalawi). The person in the centre of the emblem is one Mazen Jabalawi, about whom more below. Show More Summary

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