Dossier: Iran

IS supporters in Mosul on 16 June 2014 (photo: picture-alliance/AP)

Shifting alliances in the Middle East

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My enemy's enemy is my friend

The successes of IS militias are turning the West's established concept of friend and foe on its head. Former rogue nations are emerging as strategic partners, and declared terrorists are becoming allies. By Karim El-GawharyMore

Two photos showing two women wearing different types of veils in front of a holy site in Iran (photo: Mehr)

Moderates versus hardliners in Iran

New freedoms, old prohibitions

Just over a year ago, the cleric Hassan Rouhani was elected president of Iran. Since then, moderate Muslims and radical Islamists have been locked in a permanent clinch. By Bahman NirumandMore

Yukiya Amano, head of the IAEA, and President Hassan Rouhani of Iran during a meeting in Tehran on 17 August 2014 (photo: IRNA)

The Iranian president and his political opponents

Rouhani under fire and on fire

One year into his tenure, Iran's President Hassan Rouhani has entered the first precarious phase of his presidency. The challenges at home are becoming more urgent, his political adversaries more outspoken and the setbacks more frequent and severe. The turf war within Iran's political establishment is intensifying. By Adnan TabatabaiMore

The High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs & Security Policy Catherine Ashton, and Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif (photo: Reuters)

Iran's nuclear programme

Hope Must Go On

In view of the stubborn hurdles on the path to a permanent nuclear treaty, Iran and the five UN veto powers plus Germany have agreed to continue their talks. Hope for a settlement remains. Yet the risks are not necessarily getting any smaller. By Ulrich von SchwerinMore

General Qassem Soleimani, the head of the Iranian Quds Brigade. Photo: Faresnews

Portrait: Qassem Soleimani

The man who pulls the strings

Iran is battling Saudi Arabia for regional supremacy in the Middle East, and is steadily expanding its sphere of influence in Lebanon, Syria and Iraq. Behind the scenes, Qassem Soleimani is a key figure who has had more influence on Iran's foreign policy over the last twenty years than almost anyone else. Martina Sabra reportsMore

US Secretary of State John Kerry on a visit to the Iraqi prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, in Baghdad. Photo: Reuters

The Iraq crisis and the West

The ugly new order in the "Fertile Crescent"

Iraq is in the grip of a devastating inner-Islamic religious war. The conflict has an inherent dynamic that cannot be stopped by presidential wishful thinking or a hurried visit to Baghdad by US foreign minister John Kerry. Stefan Buchen commentsMore

Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maliki (left) during a visit to President Hassan Rouhani in Tehran (photo: AFP)

Iran's role in the Iraq conflict

An ally, but not a puppet

For many Sunnis in Iraq, the country's Shia prime minister, Nouri al-Maliki, is a puppet of Iran. In the West too, the view that Tehran is pulling the strings in Iraqi politics is widely held. But what influence does Tehran really have in Iraq, and what role is it playing in the current crisis? Answers from Ulrich von SchwerinMore

A "Green Movement" protest in Tehran in June 2009 (photo: Reuters)

Five years after Iran's "Green Movement"

Past and present

On 12 June 2009, millions of Iranians began protesting against President Ahmadinejad's re-election. Five years after these protests were violently crushed and the "Green Movement" failed, this chapter of modern Iranian history is still not closed. By Faraj SarkohiMore

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani (photo: Reuters)

One year on from Rouhani's election victory

Surprise and disenchantment

A year on from his election victory, the Iranian president Hassan Rouhani has a success story to show for himself that barely anyone would have expected him to pull off: the breakthrough in the nuclear talks with the West. However, Iran's economic situation remains difficult and there have been few improvements in terms of freedom of speech and human rights. By Ulrich von SchwerinMore

Vahid Hashemian of Iran (centre) challenges Fernando Meira (left) and Miguel of Portugal during the first round match between Portugal and Iran at the 2006 World Cup (photo: ULMER/Florian Eisele)

FIFA World Cup 2014: Iran

Lack of experience is the greatest obstacle

Vahid Hashemian played for the Iranian national squad during the 2006 World Cup in Germany. In an interview with Farid Ashrafian, he recalls the 2006 championship, compares current players with those of his own generation and considers the prospects for Iran in 2014More

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

Zahra Ali (photo: private)

Book review: Zahra Ali's "Islamic Feminisms"

Female emancipation based on the spirit of Sharia

In 2012, the French sociologist Zahra Ali published a book entitled "Féminismes islamiques" (Islamic Feminisms), a compilation of ground-breaking articles by female Muslim scholars and activists from around the world. It has just been published in German translation. Claudia Kramatschek read the bookMore

A Muslim and a Jew stand side by side (photo: Getty Images)

Interview with Benjamin Stora

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The history of relations between Jews and Muslims

The French-language book "Histoires des relations entre juifs et musulmans, des origines à nos jours" (The history of relations between Jews and Muslims, from their origins to the present day) is encyclopaedic in both its scope and length. Some 120 top specialists worked under the direction of Abdelwahab Meddeb and Benjamin Stora to rebuild more than 13 centuries of coexistence between Jews and Muslims. Nathalie Galesne spoke to Benjamin Stora about the bookMore

A poster of Abdul Fattah al-Sisi seen in central Cairo. It reads "Sisi, son of Egypt. You are free. Son of freedom" (photo: Reuters)

Terrorism and repression in the Arab world

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On Islam, anti-terrorism and fascism

One of the reasons why there is little outcry over the repression practised by secular governments in the Arab world is that there is a lack of empathy for those who are affected by it, writes Charlotte WiedemannMore

Mohammad-Reza Shajarian (centre) performing on stage with the Shahnaz Ensemble in Dubai in February 2011 (photo: AP)

Music and power in Iran

An instrument of propaganda and control

In her essay, Maria Koomen examines the important role played by music in the history of Iran, in particular since the Islamic revolution of 1979More

Iranian female students (photo: Massoud Schirazi)

The University of Tehran

Winds of change blowing over the campus

As president of the University of Tehran, Farhad Rahbar made many enemies with his hard-line approach. His successor, Mohammad Hossein Omid, who started work in February, is seen as the great "hope" for the nation's most famous university. By Massoud SchiraziMore

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