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This week’s front page editor


Sunny Hundal is openDemocracy’s social media editor.

Constitutional conventions: best practice

Iran embodies 21st-century world politics: a geriatric, Islamic, post-revolutionary, nuclear state amidst a youthful, idea-hungry, proto-democratic, networked society. Iranians - from Tehran to Los Angeles via Berlin - rethink their country’s identity and future on openDemocracy.

Iran’s nuclear programme and the battle of the oligarchies

A contest of domestic elites with differing interests and strategic visions is a crucial, neglected element pervading Tehran's nuclear diplomacy.

Iran behind the conciliatory veil

Right-wing US and Israeli venom against the outline agreement is one thing; genuine concern about the Islamic regime’s Shia expansionism and human-rights record is however another.

A Gulf in understanding

The outline Iran nuclear deal has highlighted divisions in the region—not just between majority Shia and Sunni states but between those supporting the status quo and those challenging it.

Iran nuclear deal: keeping hope of peace alive

Conservatives in the US, Israel and Iran itself are all opposed to the outline nuclear accord. So it looks like progress.

Iran celebrates historic nuclear deal—all eyes now on supreme leader

A quarter-century on from the 'Islamic' revolution, Iran's beleaguered economy and its reformist leader desperately need a deal to end sanctions. But will the ideologically-driven Khamenei allow it?

Iran’s hidden prisoners

Those arrested in Iran after the presidential election of June 2009 join the detainees from earlier moments of repression. The blogger and openDemocracy author Hossein Derakhshan is one of the latter. The anniversary of his incarceration is being marked by efforts to publicise his case, reports David Hayes.

(This article was first published on 30 October 2009. Hossein Derakhshan was released from prison on 19 November 2014)

Iran nuclear deal: the fall-out

The interim nuclear deal between the western powers and Iran faces significant domestic and international challenges. But after long hostility it may prove a trust-building stepping-stone to a larger agreement.

Iran and human rights: a new landscape

The Iranian president's forthcoming visit to the United States is an opportunity to highlight the continued repression under his regime, says Omid Memarian.

Iran, women in the frame

Iranian women have played an active role in social and educational life since the revolution of 1979. There are now signs of a conservative backlash against their presence, says Sanam Vakil.

Iran's nuclear file and human dignity

Iranians are enduring great hardship as a result of economic sanctions. The absence of progress in nuclear negotiations makes their situation even tougher. The link between these two issues is the key to Iranians' future, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.

America's war on Iran: the plan revealed

The United States is more seriously preparing for military action against Iran than is widely realised. An attack - obviating the need for one by Israel - may not be immediate and is not yet certain, but it is being intensively planned. 

Iran, domestic tension and foreign policy

The prospect of a military attack on Iran to disable the country's nuclear facilities is being intensively considered in Tehran. But the internal tensions between rival factions - especially supporters of the supreme leader and of the president - are an obstacle to a coherent response, says Omid Memarian. 

Iran in the straits?

How are recent events in Iran to be interpreted? History has a lot to teach us, argues David Madden

The middle east and war over Iran

The Arab world is remaking itself. But even as its states cope with multiple domestic challenges they also face a choice over how to respond to a prospective American and Israeli attack on Iran, says Tarek Osman.

Iran, the Arab revolts, and Syria

The Iranian leadership and official media portray the Arab spring as a “great Islamic awakening” targeted at the west and Israel. The turmoil in Syria explodes this narrative, says Sadegh Zibakalam.

A war on Iran: the delusive logic

The arguments for and against an armed attack on Iran by the United States - or Israel - are sharpening. The increasing tension that surrounds the issue could itself precipitate a conflict that would be far lengthier than its advocates believe.

Iran and America: components of crisis

Washington's charge that high-level Iranian cadres were planning an attack in the United States signals the real possibility of dangerous confrontation between old adversaries.

Tehran: glimpses of freedom

Iranians in 2009 led the kind of street-protest that was in 2011 to inspire their Arab neighbours. Now, repression rules in Tehran. But in the textures of everyday life as much as in political or cultural currents the gulf between people and regime is evident, finds R Tousi.

Iran's green movement: life, death, rebirth

The movement sparked by Iran's fraudulent election of 2009 is history. The potential exists now for a bolder and clearer opposition to emerge, says Nazenin Ansari.

Egypt, and the post-Islamist middle east

The portrayal of Egypt’s uprising in terms of its potential capture by Islamists is doubly misleading, says Asef Bayat: for this misses both the true character of the people’s movement and the transformation of the Arab world’s religious politics.

Iran's women: a movement in transition

The women’s movement for gender equality in Iran has for thirty years been at the heart of wider political struggles in the Islamic Republic. Sanam Vakil tracks three major phases in its development and identifies the ingredients of a fourth.

Iran: surface truths, inner lives

There is calm and normality to be found in everyday urban Iran. But a series of conversations reveals a more fluid picture, finds R Tousi in Tehran.

Iran, sanctions and war: fuel of crisis

The international sanctions on Iran reinforce conservative rule. The threat of a military attack by the United States or Israel offers no aid to democratic advance. The result is a standoff on the edge of escalation, says Rasool Nafisi.

Iran: a political calculus

Iran’s hardline leadership is skilled at using external threats to its own advantage. By learning the lesson the United States could aid Iran's people and strengthen its democracy, says Omid Memarian.

Brazil-Turkey and Iran: a new global balance

The tripartite nuclear-fuel agreement signed in Tehran is a watershed in the emerging configuration of a multipolar world, says Mariano Aguirre of the Norwegian Peacebuilding Centre.

How to make peace with Iran

The case for diplomatic engagement rather than military confrontation with Iran is well-founded in principle and achievable in reality, says Arshin Adib-Moghaddam.

Iran: torch of fire, politics of fun

The doctrinal contempt of Islamist regimes for popular festivals such as the Iranian nowrooz (new year) extends to suspicion of every expression of spontaneous life. The result is to conjure the very rituals of resistance they fear, says Asef Bayat. 

The children of Iran: lives in tumult

The emotional and psychological impact on children of the political crisis in Iran is an important and neglected issue, say S Deghati & Linda Herrera. 

Iran: from protest to politics

The contest between Iran’s state and the opposition movement that arose after the presidential election of June 2009 is now at a critical point. How confident is the regime, where is the “green movement” going, and what should the international community do? openDemocracy writers examine the impasse.

Iran: a phantom victory

The Iranian state has won a round in the battle against the opposition "green movement". But the war of survival continues, says Sanam Vakil.

Iran: a time to rethink

Iran’s opposition movement must draw the lessons of its months of activism since the 2009 election and map a coherent political strategy, says Nazenin Ansari.

(This article was first published on 17 February 2010)

Iran 2010-11: four scenarios and a nightmare

The path to a resolution of Iran’s internal political crisis and its international nuclear confrontation is uncertain. Volker Perthes outlines four possible ways forward.

Voices of a new Iran

The young student protesters flocking in defiance onto the streets and campuses of Iran are prepared to fight until the end, says R Tousi.

Iran's pre-revolutionary rupture

The continuing, defiant protest-wave in Iran accentuates the ferocious crisis of legitimacy at the regime’s heart. The epic events of 2009 are at a historic turning-point, says Nazenin Ansari.
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