Stories about Iran

Zakir Naik has a large following in Pakistan: Should we be alarmed?

Indian preacher Dr Zakir Naik has come under a lot of scrutiny after it emerged that the terrorists who carried out the terrorist attack in Dhaka on July 1st may have been radicalised by his preaching. Zakir Naik’s Peace TV Bangla has been banned by the Bangladeshi government as a result. Peace TV has an ubiquitous presence all over South Asia, including Pakistan. Zakir Naik is seen as having taken over the mantle of Ahmad Deedat, a preacher who was wildly popular in the VCR age. Zakir Naik is said to be “Deedat Plus,” a title given to him by ...

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Novus Ordo Seclorum – Hindsight

“The more things change, the more they stay the same. Boundaries shift, new players step in, but power always finds a place to rest its head. History is written by the victor and here I am thinking we’ve won. You bring down one enemy and they find someone even worse to replace him. Locations change, the rationale, the objective. Yesterday’s enemies are today’s recruits. Train them to fight alongside you, and pray they don’t eventually decide to ‘hate’ you for it, too.” – General Shepherd. If you have ever been a fan of the First-Person shooter genre, you must have ...

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Is the Chabahar Port agreement failing India?

Indo-Iran relations have been abuzz these days. Modi’s take away from Tehran, baskets of agreements and the trilateral agreement between India, Iran and Afghanistan, has caused panic in Islamabad. There are ample reasons for this panic: these agreements and memorandums of understanding (MOUs) are an index of India’s increasing influence in West Asia and Central Asia and a means to outflank Pakistan. However, these agreements do not make the ground for any facile assumption that Modi’s take away from Tehran has better positioned India vis-à-vis Pakistan or Afghanistan. All these agreements appear good on paper but, in practice, they face a lot of resistance. The real challenge ...

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Will Pakistan learn from its mistakes with Afghanistan to save its ties with Iran?

Even though tensions between Islamabad and Kabul over the Torkham border crossing are yet to be settled, Pakistan has laid the foundation of “Pakistan Gate” near the Iranian border in Taftan. The gate is said to check any illegal trade occurring via Iran, and also help the border guards effectively manage and monitor the border crossing. What makes this gate different from the one in Torkham is that it is not only built with mutual consent from both Pakistan and Iran – but also on special demand from Tehran, as it has already built a gate of its own ...

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He told his parents he was gay. They started grieving and looking for a “cure”

“I fell a-weeping, and I cried, ‘Sweet youth, Tell me why, sad and sighing, Thou dost rove These pleasant realms? I pray thee speak me sooth What is thy name?’ He said, ‘My name is Love.’ Then straight the first did turn himself to me And cried, ‘He lieth, for his name is Shame, But I am Love, and I was wont to be Alone in this fair garden, Till he came Unasked by night; I am true Love, I fill The hearts of boy and girl with mutual flame.’ Then sighing, said the other,  ‘Have thy will, I am the love that dare not speak its name.’” From Two Loves By Lord ...

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The US drone program in Pakistan killed over 200 children, how is it any different from the APS massacre?

Last week saw a lot of flurried comments once again condemning US drone strikes in Pakistan. Chief of Army Staff (COAS) General Raheel Sharif in a meeting with United States Ambassador to Pakistan, David Hale, on May 25, 2016, expressed concerns over the US drone strike in Balochistan on May 23rd in which Afghan Taliban chief Mullah Akhtar Mansoor was reportedly killed.    Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif had criticised the US drone strikes earlier, describing them as a violation of Pakistan’s sovereignty. In an adjournment motion submitted by Pakistan People’s Party (PPP) spokesman Senator Farhatullah Babar to the Senate, he said the issue would alter the security calculus ...

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Will Chabahar Port reap greater benefits than Gwadar Port?

A whiff of competition is in the air. It is swirling through every nook and cranny and drawing battle lines in its wake. The buzzword on the tip of everyone’s tongue is Chabahar Port, the distant and impoverished cousin of Gwadar Port. The frightening mix of antagonism and optimism has paved the way for increased polarisation. At this stage, our vision of both projects and their intentions have been blinkered. Sceptics believe the long-awaited trilateral agreement among Iran, Afghanistan and India to develop Chabahar Port poses a threat to efforts to boost the untapped potential of Gwadar Port. On the other ...

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What Donald Trump gets wrong about North Korea

One of Donald Trump’s latest contributions to the 2016 presidential contest is an offer to talk with Kim Jong-un, the North Korean dictator who keeps 25 million people enslaved and commands an arsenal that some experts say could have more than 20 nuclear weapons by the end of this year.  “I would speak to him,” the presumed Republican nominee told Reuters in an interview. “I would have no problem speaking to him.” Such an overture would be a major shift in American policy. No sitting American president has ever met a North Korean leader. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright met Mr Kim’s father, Kim Jong-il, on ...

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Will the Muslim women in India find protection in the courts?

One may accuse Trupti Desai’s symbolic entry to the Haji Ali Dargah, Mumbai, and her earlier attempt to enter the Shani Shingnapur temple, as a well thought out publicity stunt highlighting her political intentions. However, one has to grant her and her organisation, Bhumata Ranrangini Brigade, due credit for their gumption to take on religious clerics and other religious organisations. Her determination resulted in the decadent old custom that prevented women from entering places of worship, into the public domain. It is indeed a sad commentary that even after 69 years of India’s independence; Indian women have to fight for their rights. Women have to constantly fight ...

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Iran and the clash of modern civilisation

The Iranian Revolution of 1979 ended 2,500 years of uninterrupted monarchical rule and ever since then, the country has been hit with a series of sanctions that have had a huge impact on it economically and politically, leading to relative isolation. With changing political winds and shifting strategic alignments, the sanctions have been eased considerably, thereby allowing Iran to once again participate more actively in global matters. This gradual reintegration of Iran into the world community has been one of the big geopolitical stories over the last few months. Iran is undoubtedly a significant nation. It is strategically located, has huge energy reserves, a rich cultural ...

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