Arash Azizi

  • Three Decades After Khomeini’s Death, His Clan Rules From the Sidelines

    “Your smile smells of someone who stays, so stay! Make me a poet again, make me fall in endless love.” These cheesy lines are from a Persian language Instagram post on May 25 by Fatemeh Daneshpajooh dedicated to the 21st birthday of her husband, Ahmad. 

    They could be any ordinary couple, but the husband’s last name gives it away. Ahmad Khomeini is a great-grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, the founder of the Islamic Republic. 

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  • Here’s How Protests and Strikes Are Leading Change in Iran

    What do farmers in Esfahan, unemployed youth in Rafsanjan, teachers and students in Hamadan, and fraud victims in Kerman all have in common? On the face of it, not much other than being Iranian. But there is another commonality: They all staged protests on the same day, December 12.  

    Reporting on Iran tends to focus on the country’s nuclear program or squabbling of its leaders, while the diverse array of protests that regularly erupt across the country go underreported. 

    In the last twelve months, hardly a single day has passed without protests about the government, corruption, and the dwindling state of the economy. US-reimposed sanctions have hit the Iranian economy hard and the economic policies of President Hassan Rouhani have done little to take care of the poor— though this is no surprise since his government is dominated by ministers who support policies...

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  • Ahmadinejad Tried Making a Comeback—Until Iran’s Judiciary Stepped In

    As is the norm for most authoritarian regimes, fortunes rise and fall quickly for men of power in Iran. But the former chief of staff and vice president of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had it coming for a long time.

    As the closest confidante of the former president, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei has long been despised by much of the Iranian ruling elite for leading a supposed “deviant current,” and advocating a strange mix of ascetic mysticism, Iranian nationalism, Shia millenarianism, and anti-establishment sentiment.

    After years of controversy, Mashaei was finally arrested last March. He was charged with “collusion against national security,” “propaganda against the regime,” and “insulting...

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  • Could Releasing Iran’s Green Movement Leaders Help Reformists?

    It all started with a rumor. By July 28, many Iranians discussed the imminent release of the Green Movement leaders—Mir-Hossein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi—who are under house arrest since early 2011 for leading the 2009 post-election protests. Karroubi’s son, Hossein, said that a “credible source” had informed him that Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) had ruled in favor of releasing the trio. “They said that if the Supreme Leader doesn’t declare an opinion in the next ten days, the council’s ruling will be executed,” Hossein told Ensaf News.

    The ruling...

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