Most recent article by: Marcus Michaelsen

An Iranian father with his three children at a playground in Tehran (photo: ISNA)

Family policy in Iran

Children for the revolution

With slogans like "An Iran of 150 million" and "More children, more happiness", the leadership in Tehran is calling for higher birth rates – a U-turn in its family planning policy. What is still unclear is how the desired increase in the size of the population would contribute to solving the country's economic and social problems. By Marcus MichaelsenMore

People using the Internet in Islamabad (photo: B.K. Bangash/AP/dapd)

Internet censorship in Pakistan

Digital self-defence

The government in Pakistan is extending its system of Internet censorship and surveillance. But Pakistani Internet activists are resolute in their defence of freedom of information in the face of state interference and are receiving support from international human rights initiatives. By Marcus MichaelsenMore

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (photo: AFP/Getty Images)

Power struggle in Iran


Rouhani's balancing act

Hardliners in the Islamic Republic of Iran are intent on showing the president where the boundaries of his ambitious domestic reform agenda lie. By Marcus MichaelsenMore

Irans Präsident Hassan Rohani während einer Rede vor dem Parlament in Teheran (photo: Behrouz Mehri/AFP/Getty Images)

Iran and the Syria Conflict

Pragmatism instead of Confrontation

Iran has welcomed the Russian imitative for international control of Syria's chemical weapon arsenal. The fact that President Obama is now pushing for a diplomatic solution to the conflict is also good news for the moderate forces in Tehran, who do not wish to support Assad at any price. By Marcus MichaelsenMore

Wall of Evin prison, Tehran (photo: picture-alliance/dpa)

Iran before the Elections

Hunger Strikes and Love Letters

Four years after the Green Movement protests in Iran and right before presidential elections there, repression against political prisoners and their families is increasing. Maryam Mirza and Marcus Michaelsen reportMore

Activists in Lahore holding placards at a rally on International Women's Day (photo: REUTERS/Mohsin Raza)

Woman and Social Networks in Pakistan

Hostility on the Internet

Women in Pakistan are being harassed and are encountering hostility via social networks on the Internet. At the same time, many women's rights activists see the web as a new way to further their work. By Marcus MichaelsenMore

Tahir ul-Qadri (photo: AFP)

The Pakistani Religious Cleric Tahir ul-Qadri


Manic Street Preacher

His call for a "million man march" in favour of reforms and against corruption has propelled cleric Tahir ul-Qadri to the status of champion of Pakistan's middle classes. Although the protest in Islamabad apparently achieved little, it casts a spotlight on the population's growing displeasure and its dwindling faith in Pakistan's mainstream political parties. By Marcus MichaelsenMore

A woman casting her vote in Tehran, a military soldier with machine gun standing guard (photo: Reuters)

Parliamentary Elections in Iran

A Well-staged Show

The elections to the Iranian parliament on 2 March were strictly monitored by police and security forces. The regime is undoubtedly satisfied with the outcome and claims a healthy turnout. Reformers, on the other hand, have dismissed the elections as an "orchestrated farce". Marcus Michaelsen reportsMore

A woman stands in front of a poster declaring that elections in Iran are for the protection of the country (photo: Mehr)

Iranian Journalists under Pressure

Arrest or Exile

In the run-up to the Iranian parliamentary elections, the regime in Tehran is showing signs of nervousness. More journalists are being arrested as the repression of civil society continues. Marcus Michaelsen reportsMore