Stories about Iran

Dear Pakistan, let America and Saudi Arabia fight over oil prices because it works in your favour!

Oil prices are way down these days. Crude oil prices have fallen by more than $50 per barrel in international markets in the last six months. From $115 in the middle of June, 2014, the price of a barrel of crude oil has fallen to $65, as of the second week of December. On November 27, 2014, the prices took a definitive downward turn when Saudi Arabia – the largest and strongest member of the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) – refused to mitigate production. And since none of the other OPEC nations are cutting back, there isn’t a way to eliminate the current ...

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The colours of Kashmir

The harud (autumn) is when the hustle and bustle in Kashmir villages begin with the season of harvest. The green turns to gold and then to russet and red; leaves fall to melodious cracking sounds under the feet of passers-by beneath the shades of the Chinar (maple) trees. Autumn, the indication of a long winter season in Kashmir, is marked by a crimson yellow on the Chinar trees. In Kashmir, the season in September, October and November can be dry, wet or windy. With the decrease in temperature, it’s the season when the maple trees turn into bonfires and leaves start falling from them. [caption id="" align="alignnone" ...

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Talking out loud – Islam needs a reboot

At the very outset, let me clarify that I am neither a religious scholar nor do I have disciplined knowledge about the Muslim faith. The views expressed in this article are purely based on the perspective that one has developed over the course of the past many years. This is by no means a critique of a faith that millions of folks all over the world follow. To begin with, as paradoxical and contradictory it may sound, amidst all this opulent irreverence, the Muslims claim that there is a ‘back-to-religion’ movement the world over, as a reaction to the incessant indulgence ...

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In Iran, a woman cannot watch a volleyball match?

The two recent alarming incidents of women rights abuse in Iran has awestruck the entire world, and yes, as cynical as it may sound, like all the other stories, these two shall be forgotten soon as well. One woman named Reyhaneh Jabbari gets executed for murdering her alleged rapist and the other British-Iranian woman, Ghoncheh Ghavami has been sentenced to one year in prison for watching a volley ball match. Yes, watching a “volley ball” match is a crime in Iran. The authorities deny this to be the reason for her detention and are accusing her of “spreading propaganda against the state”. Yes ladies ...

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Dear Iran, self-defense is not murder

The world celebrates and praises Malala Yousafzai – a Pakistani girl whose claim to fame was a bullet to her head, her fault being her desire to seek education – and while the world talks of empowering women, the world is perhaps ignorant of the plight of another young woman fighting for her life in neighbouring country, Iran. This brave, young woman happens to be 26-year old Reyhaneh Jabbari who can be put to death any time now, as her 10-day delay in execution ended last Wednesday. Her crime was stabbing a man to death, a man who tried to rape her. It was in ...

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Why US is leading the war against ISIS

One of the ironies of geopolitics today is that, after spending the last decades complaining about US interference or the various interventions in the Middle East, everyone is now waiting for the US to lead in the conflict against ISIS. In ISIS we have a phenomenon that, for once, is uniting in a common cause every other state in the region, whether Sunni, Shia or secular. We also have regional players that, in principle, should be able to lead from the front on this issue, like Turkey, Saudi Arabia, even Iran – if it comes to it. A coalition of ...

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Dear US, before fixing the world, fix yourself!

At a time when the United States forces are grappling with the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) scourge, it may not be the most appropriate moment to write this. However, recent events, such as the incident in Ferguson, Missouri, happening within the US, have prompted many to ask a rather critical question – does the US really need to go to foreign lands, sacrifice lives, dole out billions and play the role of a fixer when the country itself is domestically faced with issues of monstrous importance? As international affairs have significantly evolved, Washington continues to tow a somewhat outdated line. ...

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Is the ISIS really in our backyard?

One day, you see shalwar-kameez clad Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) fighters in Iraq and Syria, and the next day you hear news of their fighters infiltrating Pakistan. Is there any connection? According to the Foreign Office (FO) of Pakistan there isn’t. Obviously. The FO, on Wednesday, denied reports regarding the presence and infiltration of ISIS, also known as ‘Daesh’, in Khyber-Pakhtunkhwa (K-P) and FATA region. But did this denial ring any surprising bells? After all, the same FO, along with the authorities, was oblivious to Osama bin Laden’s presence in Abbottabad for many years, leave aside the ISIS. Yet, one has to ...

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The clash of civilisations: Is the ISIS promoting Islamophobia in Europe?

The Islamic State or IS (formerly known as the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, ISIS) was born during the turmoil of Iraq – which was a melting pot of jihadist movements – in 2003 after the American invasion. However, it was only in June when the world really took notice of this eccentric organisation after militants with black flags took the strategically important city of Mosul and claimed it to be a part of their ‘caliphate’, defeating the Iraqi Army almost at will. According to conservative figures, the current number of IS fighters is estimated to be somewhere around 20,000 ...

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Is America undermining Pakistan’s importance as an ally?

United States strategic shift to the Asia Pacific from the Middle East thanks to President Barack Obama’s Asia Pivot has certainly changed the entire Middle Eastern geopolitical calculus. We are now witnessing a time period when, for the first time in history, the United States is on the verge of becoming energy sufficient as it surpassed Saudi Arabia in oil production in October, 2013. This happened while the wrapping up of military campaigns in the greater Middle East is translating into reduced military spending ergo, reduced military might in the said region. These two events are significant as they are a contributing factor in the reshaping of the US ...

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