Stories about Iran

Is Pakistan willing to jeopardise its relations with Iran for Saudi Arabia?

It was shocking to hear Defence Minister Khwaja Asif proudly confirm that the government has agreed to the Saudi request and will allow former army chief General (retd) Raheel Sharif to command the Saudi-led military alliance of 34 Muslim nations to fight terrorism. However, observers are concerned that the coalition could be used for future conflicts against Iran and its ally Yemen.  The National Assembly had earlier agreed that it would not be in the country’s interest to take sides in the present war between Saudi Arabia and Yemen (Iran’s ally), and had decided that Pakistan would stay neutral in the ...

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As a Muslim, I strongly support the right to ban the veil

I was raised as an observant Muslim in a British family. Women, I was taught, determine their own conduct — including their ‘veiling’. We’d cover our hair only if we freely chose to do so. That’s why I’m baffled by the notion that all good Muslim women should cover their hair or face. My entire family is puzzled by it too, as are millions like us. Not until recent years has the idea taken root that Muslim women are obliged by their faith to wear a veil. It’s a sign, I think, not of assertive Islam, but of what happens ...

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Can Asghar Farhadi bag another Oscar for The Salesman?

The Salesman is the new Iranian film by master filmmaker, Asghar Farhadi.  The story revolves around an Iranian couple (Shahab Hosseini and Taraneh Alidoosti) who after an earthquake, are forced to move into a new apartment. They both work as actors and are relatively happy with their current situation. But tragedy strikes when an intruder invades their home in the absence of the husband and he is now in search for the culprit. Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini in Forushande (The Salesman). Photo: Habib Majidi/IMDb Taraneh Alidoosti and Shahab Hosseini in Forushande (The Salesman). Photo: Habib ...

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Russia will never sabotage its alliance with Iran for Donald Trump

As I write these lines, Washington is abuzz with the news of Donald Trump’s top security advisor, Michael Flynn’s resignation. The White House is trying to clean up the mess Flynn’s rather over-zealously erratic act created, ending up in critics looking at the election victory in a whole new light.  Ironically, Trump saw in Flynn the capability to penetrate the Russian iron curtain by virtue of his connections with Moscow. Ironically also, it was Flynn who had put Iran on an unexplained and unelaborated ‘notice’ early February – an ill-conceived, rhetoric ridden, flash in the pan type of a half-step that really just reiterated Washington’s unsavoury ...

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Are the voices of the world enough to end the absurdity behind the #MuslimBan?

The media went on overdrive when Donald Trump, immediately after inauguration, followed through on his promise for a “total and complete shutdown of Muslims”. The New York Times reported:  “The president’s order… suspended entry of all refugees to the United States for 120 days, barred Syrian refugees indefinitely and blocked entry into the United States for 90 days for citizens of seven predominantly Muslim countries: Iran, Iraq, Libya, Somalia, Sudan, Syria and Yemen.” When The Express Tribune asked if I wanted to write a blog on the Muslim ban, I started taking notes, and by the time I finished a draft, ...

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Should the Wheaton College Professor have been suspended for wearing a hijab?

Whether in Islamic theocracies or places with visible minority Muslim populations, from China to the United Kingdom, the hijab twists conservatives and liberals in their support or opposition to dress normally associated with fundamental religion. We see bullies “rip off” hijabs; one such incident recently took place in New York City. On the other extreme, groups like the Taliban declare, “wear hijab or be disfigured.” And they carry out such threats. Nushin Arbabzadah summed up this contrast in The New York Times: “Women may want to express ‘solidarity’ with Muslim women by covering up. But Muslim women don’t need to cover up. This act ...

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A Kabaddi World Cup without Pakistan is like a football world cup without Brazil

And here we go again.  Or not go, to be precise in this particular case. The Kabaddi World Cup was just a couple of days away from kickstarting and yesterday the International Kabaddi Federation (IKF) announced that Pakistan has been barred from competing in the event. Do I need to mention the reason? Well, for those living on Mars and completely oblivious to what is happening in their neighbouring planet, the on-going escalation in the tension between the Asian neighbours, Pakistan and India, has resulted in this unfortunate exclusion of our national team. A major event for the sport, the World Cup ...

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Is Brahamdagh Bugti right in applying for asylum in India?

It’s popularly said that times change and so do people, but sometimes after years of changes, a lot does not change at all. In classical warfare, the shrewd commander would keep a force at the front as a façade and keep a surprise for his enemy. The surprise could be an ambush from the side, moats prepared to drown the infantry, a fire hazard to cut one part of the infantry from the other and create a kill zone and so on. Modern warfare introduced more brazen tactics such Hitler’s blitzkrieg, which caused massive damage to the Allied forces. It also gave us the ...

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Imran Khan risks being on the wrong side of history

With the encirclement of the South China Sea having been completed by the US and her allies (Japan and Australia), the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has become crucial to China – more than Pakistan as well. India’s play on the other hand is not just post-Uri theatrics. With the recently acquired civilian nuclear technology and its offer to provide a base to Baloch separatists (Baramdagh Bugti citizenship case), it’s evident that our neighbours are willing to play hardball on behalf of the US, in order to up the ante on Pakistan. Add to this, the far from amiable attitude of our western neighbours (Afghanistan and Iran) ...

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The onus to end the Syrian crisis now lies on Russia and the US

The Syrian crisis is becoming increasingly complex and intractable due to the civil war – which was triggered by a repressive government led by Bashar al Assad – who let loose a reign of terror on protesters fighting for civil liberties and democratic reforms. Eventually it escalated into an armed conflict, one that was subsequently upstaged by two powerful superpowers – Russia and the United States. The whole narrative of the civil war changed when Russia helped out their ally, Assad, (who was facing defeat at the hands of the rebels) by supplying him with artillery, tanks and strike aircraft. Iran, on the other hand, sent Hezbollah fighters to augment the Syrian ...

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