Message from Kweku Mandela - Nelson Mandela's grandson - to Nasrin Sotoudeh

Four months after Nasrin was released from her first three-year prison sentence in Evin, Nelson Mandela died in December 2013. ...

Iran’s secular shift: new survey reveals huge changes in religious beliefs

Iran’s 1979 Islamic revolution was a defining event that changed how we think about the relationship between religion and modernity. Ayatollah Khomeini’s mass mobilisation of Islam showed that modernisation by no means implies a linear process of religious decline. ...

Lessons From Three Years in an Iranian Prison

In August 2016, shortly after I was arrested by the Iranian Ministry of Intelligence, one of my interrogators asked me what I thought of the antagonism between Iran and the United States. I told him frankly that like many Americans, I did not believe that Iran and the United States should be enemies. I said that I thought President Barack Obama should visit Tehran and turn a new page in the relationship, just as President Richard Nixon had done by going to Beijing in 1972. The interrogator sneered. The U.S. president would never be welcome in his country, he told me. ...

Iran’s “#MeToo” moment

The ripple effects of the 2017 “#MeToo” movement shook Iranian social media this week as rape allegations were levelled against some of the country’s most prominent figures. The movement, which has led to the arrest of at least one alleged rapist so far, has triggered a broader conversation around sexual violence and harassment — an unspoken topic in Islamic Iran. ...

Authoritarian Survival: Iran's Republic of Repression

In 2019, the Islamic Republic of Iran marked its fortieth anniversary in power. It proudly staged ceremonies to commemorate this milestone, but before the year was out it would face widespread, bitter protests of a sort that have become familiar, denying its legitimacy and demanding an end to undemocratic rule by Shia Muslim clerics. The early months of 2020 brought the regime more high-profile troubles. These included the accidental shootdown of a civilian airliner and now encompass Iranian society's suffering as part of the covid-19 pandemic—a suffering that has grown worse even as top officials have refused to acknowledge the true extent and severity of what the disease has wrought for the people of Iran. ...

The story of Iran, a murdered hacker and me

His tone was frantic. He was scared and paranoid, deleting his WhatsApp messages as soon as I had read them. Masoud Molavi Vardanjani wanted to speak to someone “in Washington”. I was cautious, too. I am just a journalist, I insisted. Who would I know “in Washington”? And how can I even be sure it’s you, I asked, and not some Iranian regime operative up to some trickery? ...

Iran: decades of unsustainable water use has dried up lakes and caused environmental destruction

Salt storms are an emerging threat for millions of people in north-western Iran, thanks to the catastrophe of Lake Urmia. Once one of the world’s largest salt lakes, and still the country’s largest lake, Urmia is now barely a tenth of its former size. ...

MI6, the coup in Iran that changed the Middle East, and the cover-up

The hidden role of a British secret service officer who led the coup that permanently altered the Middle East is to be revealed for the first time since an Observer news story was suppressed in 1985. ...

To Secure His Legacy, Khamenei Is Packing Iran’s Government With Young Radicals

The supreme leader’s youth-washing strategy could keep detente with the United States off the table for years. In just under a year, Iran will elect a new president. Coming after the U.S. election this November, there is some hope that the occasion could usher in improved U.S.-Iranian relations. Yet, given the way Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei has been narrowing the field of candidates, that seems unlikely. ...

Interview with Parviz Mokhtari USRHR member International Committee- Germany

I was raised in a politically active family. My father worked for Iranian railways and at night for “Eteelaat” newspaper. We almost always had daily and weekly journals in our house. ...