What does community mean in the 21st century?

Community certainly doesn’t mean what is used to mean. As our world becomes more globalized, communities that define themselves based on geographical, tribal or racial kinship will run the risk of falling prey to dangerous ideologies. As democracies lose momentum, these same communities may resort to authoritarian forces in the interest of “survival,” which means that […]

Unveiling Iran

On December 27, 2017, a thirty-two-year-old woman climbed atop a utility box on a busy Tehran block called the Revolution Street. People usually do not clamber on street furniture in Tehran, but this particular sight was odder still for its being a woman with a stick in her hand. Perfectly focused on her task, once she found […]

Why Iran’s execution of Ruhollah Zam should be seen as a warning in the West

On 12 December 2020 an execution took place in Iran that was like no other, even for a country that has the second highest known number of state-sponsored executions in the world. Everything about it – who the victim was and how and why he was apprehended, tried and hanged – holds critical insights for foreign policymakers in the US, […]

Iranian women are staging an offensive against sexual abuse. It’s long over-due

For the past 42 years, Iran’s clerical leadership has defended the regime’s harsh Islamic dress code by claiming that mandatory wearing of the hijab is women’s best defense against men’s sexual advances. Yet over the past few weeks, Iranian women have offered up a devastating rebuttal of that claim — by coming forward to accuse […]

He chose jail over disowning his sister – set an example for all his countrymen

Last fall, Iranian authorities arrested Alireza Alinejad, a 45-year-old father of two, who has not broken any laws, not even according to the officials who jailed him. There would be nothing newsworthy about yet another unwarranted arrest in Iran, except that this one involves an unusual story of familial love, with a brother making a […]

There are two types of hijabs. The difference is huge

In an interview for the April issue of Vogue Arabia, Rep. Ilhan Omar (D-Minn.) said, “To me, the hijab means power, liberation, beauty and resistance.” As two women who once lived with the mandatory hijab in Iran, we hope to bring another perspective to this complex matter by describing our experiences.There are two vastly different kinds of […]

The Flame of Feminism Is Alive in Iran

The revolution that swept through Iran 40 years ago ruptured all diplomatic ties between Iran and the United States. This we know all too well. But another bond, one between Iranian feminists and their American counterparts, was also ruptured, which, unlike the other, occurred in virtual anonymity. In March 1979, days after Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini […]

Why They Stay

Among the world’s endangered minorities, Iranian Jews are an anomaly. Like their counterparts, their conditions categorically refute all the efforts their nation makes at seeming civilized and egalitarian—and so they embody, often without wanting to, all that is ugly and unjust about their native land.But Iran’s Jewish community does something more. It also embodies the […]

Commentary: In post-Khashoggi Saudi, a chance to fill a moral void

As the Trump White House entertains Riyadh’s dubious explanation for the death of Washington Post journalist Jamal Khashoggi, who was killed at the Saudi consulate in Istanbul on Oct. 2, the global business community is filling a vital moral void. Dozens of Western executives have cancelled their attendance at the investor conference nicknamed “Davos in the Desert,” […]