Stories about Iran

Modi-Obama or Nawaz-Jinping: Which should be worried?

We are lucky to have a neighbour like the People’s Republic of China, a country which has always stood with us unconditionally. I have always been fascinated with our relationship with them. While the Chinese president’s visit to Pakistan is making headlines these days, I feel that we should revisit our historic relationship and the strong bond we have developed so far. Pakistan was the first Muslim country which accepted China in 1950 and ended diplomatic relations with Taiwan. Then, in 1962, the Sino-Indian border conflict took place, which laid the foundation of a strong friendship that was to change the course ...

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Four things that Saudi airstrikes in Yemen put into perspective

The unprecedented Saudi onslaught against the Houthi rebels in Yemen has taken many by surprise. As speculation grows over further escalation in the region, so does uncertainty regarding the nature of Saudi’s intervention in the conflict. While a broader Middle Eastern conflict marred by bitter tribal rivalries, petty grievances and a never ending quest for democracy pans out in the coming days, here’s a quick look at four things that the Saudi airstrikes in Yemen help put in perspective. Nothing brings the Arabs closer than Iran Arab unity is a utopian idea, which despite being well-founded in literature has yet to materialise. On rare occasions, this ...

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Dealing with Iran – Tearing down the walls of hatred and animosity

So we finally have a preliminary agreement, a structural framework on Iran’s nuclear program and a culmination of eight long days of talks in Lausanne, Switzerland that continued well past the self-imposed March 31 deadline. The talks involve representatives from Iran and the P5+1 – a group comprising of the United States, Britain, China, Russia, France and Germany. An inside source, who happens to be a part of the negotiation process, tells me that negotiators have been sitting on their butts for a week now, making an honest effort to push through the never-ending, long drawn conversations and arguments. While most are used to sitting ...

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Mr Nawaz Sharif, the Saudi-Yemeni conflict is not our war to fight

As the Houthi rebels strengthen their stranglehold over the country, amid the surreptitious flight of the Yemeni president, Abed Rabbo Mansour Hadi, the long raging civil war in Yemen has finally come into the international spotlight. Pakistan is, once again, at crossroads with Saudi Arabia, who is attempting to suck in inter-ethnic, inter-religious, and intra-sectarian conflicts into their black hole. The prospects of petro-dollars coupled with the longstanding romance between the Sharifs and Sauds, buoyed by a rise of the Pakistan Army as a bulwark against both domestic as well as international terrorism, in recent times, might have made the temptation of joining the Saudi alliance irresistible, but it is an alliance ...

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Will Israel always manage to reign supreme over the US?

The romantic flame between Washington and Tehran, which had reignited last year in the form of the historic phone call between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, has been dampened. The tentative deal between the US and Iran, limiting Iran’s nuclear program for around a decade before easing up on restrictions has raised strong opposition from Israel. On invitation of a Republican congressman, which was condemned by the White House, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made his way to Washington. The stage was set, the world was watching, and Netanyahu was going to put up a good show for the hottest ticket in town. Netanyahu, who ...

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10 great foreign language films that we should all watch

While all of us have seen classic Hollywood, Bollywood and Lollywood blockbusters, many of us are unaware of a lot of amazing movies that have been directed by foreign film industries which are equally worthy of our attention. Therefore, I have come up with a list of 10 such foreign movies which I believe everyone should watch in order to appreciate cinematic finesse and art of other regions as well. Seven Samurai – Japan, 1954 Photo: IMDb Akira Kurosawa is an auteur in the broadest sense. His work has influenced many people including the likes of Francis Ford Coppola, George Lucas and ...

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Perhaps Pakistan can learn from Austria’s madrassas

A year before a mosque in Kanpur (pre-partition India) was razed by our British overlords to pave way for a road, and while a Jinnah-less Muslim League was yet to overhaul its objectives – which until then asserted that ‘the party shall work towards manifesting a sense of loyalty to Britain’ – to work towards creation of a Muslim majority state (Pakistan was still a very distant idea), Austria passed a remarkably inclusive law, setting an example for the rest of the European countries. In 1912, Habsburg Emperor Franz Joseph passed an act guaranteeing its small minority of Muslims royal patronage by making Islam ...

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“We are not at war with Islam. We are at war with people who have perverted Islam.”

Was Obama mincing words when he refused to pin the ‘Islamist’ tag on to terrorism? His unequivocal statement that the war on terror was against people perverting Islam drew him a lot of flak from a predictable group who see the world as black and white, and discern no shades (not 50) of grey.  In any case, why would the West be at war with Islam when many Muslims are doing a pretty darned good job of it themselves? Look around, groups like ISIS, Boko Haram, and Al Qaeda are painting towns, villages, cities, and actual battlefields red with blood; mostly of their own countrymen and ...

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Is ISIS funded by Israel? Does that even matter?

 “Let our position be absolutely clear, any attempt by any outside force to gain control of the Persian Gulf region will be regarded as an assault on the vital interests of the United States of America and such an assault will be repelled by any means necessary, including military force” – President Jimmy Carter, State of the Union address 1980. Islam, Judaism and Christianity are the three mightiest religions on the globe… and then there is oil. The American interest in the region is obvious; the American clout in the region is obvious; the American biases in the region are obvious and ...

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In Manto’s words, this is what Pakistan’s relationship with Saudi looks like

We live in strange times. Saudi Arabia’s ageing despot has finally died. The difference between then and now of course is that Saudi visits are hardly as honest and just as scarcely the bearer of good news for Pakistan’s perpetually-indebted elite. If in the 1950s they brought some hope for the poor along with gold, now these visits carry a heavy price tag, despite assurances to the contrary from the country’s financial mandarins after the latest Saudi bequest of $1.5 billion in a scarcely-entertaining drama at the national level. And the heavy price-tag might end up consuming Pakistan itself. Our dependence on Saudi oil, remittances ...

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