Article 20 July 2011

Rivalries and consensus

In recent months there has been much speculation on presidential powers as well as on the way in which they are gradually being stripped away from Iranian president Ahmadinejad. In fact, there is an ongoing dispute between some members of the Khomeinist 'pseudo-parliament,' the Majless, and president Ahmadinejad. In the following article, the author explores the power struggles at the heart of the Iranian regime....
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Article 20 July 2011

The Muslim Brotherhood versus Liberals: a commentary

On 22nd June 2011, Time Magazine published an article which is worth analysing. The title – clean and telling – was “Why the Muslim Brotherhood Are Egypt’s Best Democrats”. The article’s thesis was the following: “Of all political groups to have emerged since the fall of Hosni Mubarak – including the myriad youth movements, secular parties, leftists and remnants of the old National Democratic Party – the Muslim Brotherhood seems...
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Article 29 June 2011

Iran criticises EU sanctions

Iran criticises EU sanctions, claiming that Iran has its own understanding of human rights. The human rights officer of the Iranian state even denies the persecution of the Bahai. It is claimed that Iran represents a role model for the Islamic world....
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Article 21 June 2011

Iran’s defence minister

Iran's defence minister, Ahmad Vahidi, visited Afghanistan to sign a series of joint security agreements. In fact he argued against the presence of the West in Afghanistan, claiming that Iran could guarantee Afghanistan’s security and freedom....
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Article 17 June 2011

Iranian-Afghan marriage

In 1979, following the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, around 6 million Afghans fled to Iran. Most of these refugees worked as cheap labour in Iranian towns or in the countryside. Most of them, however, still today do not have any official status in Iranian society....
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Article 14 June 2011

Iran’s atomic ambitions

Iran's foreign minister accuses America of not desposing of its nuclear bombs. Iran's Revolutionary Guards warn of Iran's nuclear tests. It seems they want the Iranians and the world to get used to the Iranian nuclear bomb....
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14 June 2011

Vernissage: ‘Voices on the rise’

EFD and the Mission of Afghanistan to the EU co-hosted a vernissage of the celebrated photojournalism exhibition 'Voices on the Rise: Afghan women making the news' at the Brussels Press Club. The 50 photographs show a range of professional Afghan women including in politics, government, the media, civil society, the arts and sport. The exhibition remained at the Press Club from 14th June until 15th July. The exhibition is part of a European...
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Article 06 June 2011

Ahmadinejad’s slogan

On 5th and 6th June 2011 Iranian politicians have used the memorial day of Ayatollah Khomeini´s death as an opportunity to call for the end of Israel. For Ahmadinejad, calls for Israel's destruction constitute a "sacred slogan"....
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Article 31 May 2011

Iran’s economic problems

Ali Asghar Soltaniye, Iranian representative at the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) said on 28th May 2011 that international sanctions would not disrupt the Iranian atomic programmes' activities. Furthermore, he defended the Iranian missile programme....
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Article 24 May 2011

Dissenters in Iran

A few weeks ago Fariba Kamalabadi, one of seven former leaders of Iran's Bahai community, used a telephone call to a relative to urge the leaders of the free world to take action. The conversation lasted just one minute: "Right now you should do everything in your power," he urged....
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Article 23 May 2011

The state of Iran’s prisons

Whilst Iran's politicians and representatives invoke the country's "moral" society and state policy both at home and abroad, Iran's prisons are in a deplorable state....
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Article 20 May 2011

Protest globalisation or ideological globalisation?

EFD Senior Fellow Valentina Colombo analyses different points of view on the relationship between the Arab Spring, the Spanish Indignants’ protests and the 2011 Occupy Wall Street movement. Among others, both media and shared ideologies such as anti-Americanism represent the ground common to all these protests....
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Article 16 May 2011

The Arab Spring revolutions to revolutionize

Following the Jasmine and Lotus revolutions, the Arab world knew a general spread of optimism. The opening of the political arena and constitutional changes, respectively in Tunisia and Egypt, were positive signals of an effective result of the popular movements. Nevertheless, as EFD Senior Fellow Valentina Colombo shows, in the aftermath of the Arab Spring, critical problems still exist. Notably, the Muslim Brotherhood grasped the opportunities...
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Article 11 May 2011

Ceasefire or peace?

Kayhan acts as mouthpiece for Iranian Revolutionary Leader Ali Khamenei. On 10th May 2011 the newspaper published a piece criticising the recent agreement between Fatah and Hamas. Hussein Schariati, Kayhan's Editor-in-Chief criticises the 4th May agreement which was signed between Mahmud Abbas and Khaled Mashal....
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Article 10 May 2011

Hezbollah wages ‘Info-war’

Iranian news agency Farsnews has published a series on the "secret information war between Hezbollah and Israel." Farsnews glorifies the Lebanese Hezbollah's secret service which provides particularly important information for military attacks and war....
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Article 09 May 2011

Hezbollah systematically plans terrorist attacks

Lebanese Hezbollah plans its terror attacks systematically. Its organised secret service carries out preparatory work for terrorists. At the same time, Lebanese Hezbollah is championing a totalitarian ideology of Khomeinism....
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Article 03 May 2011

Persecution of the Bahai

Bahai persecution in Iran has a historical dimension that predates the 1979 Islamic Revolution. However, since the establishment of the “Islamic Republic of Iran,” state persecution has become systematic in nature....
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Article 06 April 2011

German firms in Iran

Iran's pseudo-Parliament has decided by majority to create a commission for "specific economic tasks." Indeed, Iranian revolutionary leader Ali Khamenei has already proclaimed the Iranian New Year, which started at the beginning of Spring, as the year of "economic Jihad." Iranians should now work harder, longer and for less salary, it is claimed, in order to defeat imperialism....
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Article 05 April 2011

Tunisia and Syria: The Muslim Brotherhood and the veil

"The hijab is not a duty for Muslim women." This is a quote by Gamal al-Banna, one of the most famous Egyptian theologians, author of many books about Islam and, last but not least, the brother of Hasan al-Banna, the founder of the Muslim Brotherhood. In a recent documentary, shot last November by the Norwegian "Channel 2", Gamal al-Banna pointed out that the Koran only dictates that women must cover their "beautiful parts" with mantles; that i...
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Article 04 April 2011

Towards true citizenship: Young Tunisians in France found the El-Mouwaten (The Citizen) website

On 10th February, I met Selim Jeddi, Habib Sayah and some other young Tunisians living in Paris, who have recently founded the website El-Mouwaten ("The Citizen") following the Jasmine revolution with the aim of helping their country from abroad. Meeting them, I had the feeling that I was missing the point of the transitions taking place in countries like Tunisia and Egypt....
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Article 29 March 2011

The Führer’s Sympathisers

In mid-February, the Iranian News Agency Tabnek, linked to Mohssen Rezai the former Revolutionary Guard General, reported that "Nazi propagandists are once again active in Iran." The Islamist News Agency criticised the fact that no one took action against the Iranian Nazis. Whilst Tabnak is anti-Israeli, it still does not view co-operation between some Islamists and Nazis in a favourable light....
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Article 28 March 2011

Egypt’s constitutional referendum: results and future prospects

On 27th March, following Egypt's constitutional referendum on 19th March, the Al-Sharq Center for Regional and Strategic Studies in Cairo launched the report series "Egypt after 25th January." Whilst this provided an interesting analysis, it could have benefited from a greater objectivity....
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Article 22 March 2011

Arab theatre and contemporary revolutions

Could Arab theatre be a form of contemporary revolution? Could Arab theatre lead the people of the region to ask for greater freedom? I definitely think so. On 21st February 2011, whilst in Kuwait, I was invited to a theatre premiére at Dar al-Athar al-Islamiya, an innovative organisation promoting arts, culture and education and led by Her Highness Shaykha Hussah al-Salem al-Sabah.On stage, actors performed Sulayman al-Bassam's Speaker's Progre...
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Article 22 March 2011

Egypt’s constitutional referendum

After 25th January 2011, 19th March could become an historical date to remember for Egyptians. For the first time after Mubarak's fall, as matter of fact for the first time in modern history, Egyptians have the opportunity to give their opinion on whether to vote "Yes" and amend their constitution, or to vote "No" and abolish it in favour of a completely new one....
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Article 22 March 2011

Letters from Tunis: The Jasmin revolution deserves a place in history

"Today, Tunisia is one of the names of freedom in the world," this sentence was written on Facebook on 15th January, that is, on the day Ben Ali left the country. Started almost by chance, the Jasmin revolution has now spread all over the Arab world: Algeria, Sudan, Mauritania, Oman, Bahrain, Egypt, Yemen, Syria are all on the move....
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Article 22 March 2011

Winds of change in the Middle East

Tunisia's Jasmin revolution and Egypt's Lotus revolution led, respectively, to the fall of the regime of former president Ben Ali, which began in November 1987, and the expulsion of Hosni Mubarak, in office since October 1981. Above all, both have triggered a domino effect in other countries, not only in North Africa, but all over the Middle Eastern region....
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Article 21 March 2011

Letters from Tunis: Tunisia will lift reservations on CEDAW

Tunisian women, their NGOs and their protection afforded by legislation have always been considered an example to follow inside the Arab world. Female adult illiteracy has dropped by 27% since 1980, but at 42% remains significant. Nevertheless, this figure is expected to drop as nearly 100% of girls were enrolled in primary school by 1998. Women currently make up approximately 31% of the workforce....
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Article 17 March 2011

Iran’s Cyber-army

Iran now has a 'Cyber-army' to fight revolutionaries who sow seeds of dissent as well as to combat Iranian exiles who wish to introduce democracy and human rights in Iran. The Iranian regime supports 'liberation movements' which are viewed by European democracies as terrorist groups. Iran claims that its support for these groups is, of course, "moral."...
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Article 11 March 2011

Iran’s women’s movement

The BBC's Persian-language website has published articles by several Iranian men and women living in exile. Their arguments, which are repeated in summary in the following article, highlight the systematic oppression of Iran's women by the country's authorities....
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Press Release 09 March 2011

EFD Senior Fellow, Valentina Colombo, appointed as Islam expert to Italian Islam Committee and PRISNET programme

EFD Senior Fellow and Islamic Studies expert, Valentina Colombo, has recently been appointed as a member of the consultative body "Comitato per l'Islam Italiano" (Italian Islam Committee), reporting to Italy's Interior Ministry. Valentina has also recently become a member of the EU-funded "PRISNET" programme, assisting European and Balkan governments in addressing the challenge of radicalisation in prisons....
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Article 04 March 2011

Iran’s secret service

Hussein Taeb is a cleric holding the religious rank of a Hokatuislam. He is also the Director of the Secret Service Department of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards. Holding a gloomy view of Iran's future, he believes that in around one year the American government wants to stage a "Velvet Revolution," Iranian state media outlet Farsnews reported on 2nd March 2011....
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Article 25 February 2011

Destroying civil society

Whilst Human Rights Organisations complain of extensive human rights abuses in Iran, the country's rulers think they have successfully defeated the uprisings....
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Article 22 February 2011

The third form of totalitarianism

In October 2010, EFD Senior Fellow Wahied Wahdat-Hagh contributed to the Foreign Policy Centre's inaugural Iran Human Rights Review, focusing on the issue of religion. Edited by Tahirih Danesh and Adam Hug, the Review aims to contribute to creating "the main building blocks of a true democracy: a new culture of harmony and trust within Iranian society."...
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Article 18 February 2011

For Arabs, the challenge of democracy starts with the family

For the past few weeks, we've been hearing that the "wall of fear" in Egypt has collapsed. Not to rain on anyone's revolutionary parade, but I beg to differ. What's changed in Egypt is the politics of the state. A big deal, to be sure. Yet a culture of democracy will require piercing something more: the politics of the family. That's where fear begins in much of Arab society. Brian Whitaker, former Middle East editor of The Guardian newspaper...
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Article 17 February 2011

Iranians call for freedom

Monday's demonstrations in Tehran have been nipped in the bud. The police did not allow the tens of thousands of protesters to gather even once. The demonstration was ended before it had really begun....
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Article 12 February 2011

Explosion of beams of light

Iranian News agencies are celebrating the Egyptian revolution, hoping that Iran's Islamic revolution could also be successfully repeated in Egypt. Iranian leaders are citing Khomeini, who called the 1979 revolution "an explosion of beams of light."...
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