Iran

Iranian actress rejects chador, storms off show


Famous Iranian actress Narges Mohammadi was set to host an evening of shows in the small town of Haji Abad last week. But everything turned upside down when the local iman demanded that she wear not just a hijab (or headscarf) but a chador, a cloak-like, full-body covering. Mohammadi is alleged to have been so angry that she stormed out of the show, to the ire of the concert-goers. Read more.
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Rich, bikini-clad Iranians on Instagram: ‘So, where’s the problem?’


Plunging cleavage, mini-skirts, bleached hair and champagne: it’s all there... in the Islamic Republic of Iran. On the Instagram account "Rich Kids of Tehran," young Iranians from the Iranian elite post pictures to show off their bling. The Western media can’t believe its eyes. But in Tehran, it’s basically a non-event. Read more...
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Iranian artists catch foreign galleries’ attention with nudity, sexuality


While artists in Iran aren’t allowed to show nudes – at least not in public – they’re finding that portraying naked or overtly sexual women is helping them get into galleries abroad. Our Observer, an Iranian artist who has worked in European art galleries, has watched this become a growing trend. Read more...
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The Iranian commander on the frontline against IS


Iranian commander Qassem Soleimani has reportedly been caught on camera in the Iraqi city of Amerli, fuelling rumours that the top military mastermind is in the frontline city, working with the United States to push back militants from the Islamic State organization (IS). Read more...
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Dancing Iranian woman: how to create a buzz out of nothing


A video of an Iranian woman removing her hijab and dancing has been widely shared by news media in the past few days. Fox News contributor Lisa Daftari (who is Iranian-American) wrote an article praising the woman’s courage, calling the “new, viral” video “the latest example of women defying the Islamic republic’s strict religious code.” But the video is at least four years old. Moreover, it is very likely that the woman had no idea her personal video was being uploaded to YouTube. Read more...
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With or without headscarf? Iranian press divided over maths prize winner


A woman without a veil against the backdrop of an Iranian flag - this image in itself is surprising for the conservative Islamic Republic. So when the Iranian president tweeted a photo of mathematician Maryam Mirzakhani, who became the first woman to win the Fields Medal on Wednesday, it created shock waves. Read more...
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Comic strips: Iran militia's weapon in its war on sex, drugs and alcohol


Iran’s fearsome Basij militia – a paramilitary squad loosely attached to the revolutionary guard – is hard at work imparting morality on the country’s youth. Using illustrated stories that mimic the style of comic strips, they aim to deter Iranians from living a ‘sinful’ Western lifestyle. Read more...
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Iran allows rare opposition protest – against Israel


Ever since the Islamic Revolution in 1979, the Iranian government has organized anti-Zionist protests on the last Friday of Ramadan, known as Quds Day (‘Jerusalem Day’). The event typically included chants of “down with Israel” and “down with the USA”. This year, however, the government allowed a different kind of anti-Israel protest to be held a few days early – a more peaceful one, organised by opposition activists. Read more...
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World Cup finals: What Iranians didn’t get to see


On Sunday night, the final game of the World Cup was broadcast in Iran, but with a few seconds delay. That’s the amount of time censors needed to get rid of images they disapproved of… including the statue of Christ the Redeemer. Read more...
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From oasis to wasteland: how Iran's Hamoun Wetlands dried up


The Iranian province of Sistan and Baluchestan, once known as 'Iran’s granary', and home to the Hamoun Wetlands, is now a dustbowl. In the place of what was once a thriving oasis, powerful sandstorms have buried villages and ruined livelihoods. Read more…
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