Also by Michael Scollon
February 09, 2024
Little Room For Negotiation Between Iran And U.S. Amid Middle East Tensions
There is little room for negotiation between the United States and Iran to settle their dangerous disputes in the Middle East. Analysts explain why Washington and Tehran are not about to sit down and work out their differences amid rising tensions.
January 28, 2024
Kim Jong Un's 'Infidel' Hairstyle A Fashion Sin Under New Taliban Rules
The Taliban is known for a lot of things, but its affinity for Western -- and now communist -- hair fashion isn't one of them. In its latest rules, the hard-line Islamist group has warned barbers in Afghanistan not to provide haircuts that make their customers look like the "infidels."
January 19, 2024
Iran Showcases Capabilities, Limits With Missile Strikes
In missile strikes this week, Iran showed the lengths it will take to strike its enemies. But the attacks, which targeted extremists and an alleged spy base in neighboring states, do not mark a change in Tehran's tried and true strategy of letting proxies directly take on its biggest foe, Israel.
January 12, 2024
'Separate' They Stand: Despite Iran's Support, Huthi Rebels' Independence Gives Tehran Cover
Despite Iran's backing for and weapon supplies to the Huthi rebel group in Yemen, analysts say the two maintain enough separation to prevent Tehran from being drawn into a wider Middle East conflict and for the Huthis to act with independence.
January 07, 2024
Iranian Economy Buoyed By 'Dark Fleet' Oil Shipments To China
Iran keeps its struggling economy afloat with the help of a "dark fleet" that ferries illegal oil shipments to China. But the clandestine trade comes with huge risks, leaving Tehran vulnerable to wildly fluctuating oil prices, Chinese demand, and ongoing international sanctions.
January 04, 2024
As Tehran Vows Revenge For Deadly Bombings, Iranians Complain About Distractions To Their Security
As the Iranian authorities vow a harsh response in revenge for the deadliest attack in Iran since the Islamic Revolution, many Iranians are questioning whether Tehran's focus on policing hijab compliance and the military involvement abroad have left citizens exposed to dangers at home.
December 25, 2023
West On Course For More Engagement With Taliban, But Normalized Relations A Long Way Off
The West's engagement with the Taliban has seen a revival due to the urgent need to deliver humanitarian aid to crisis-stricken Afghanistan. But engagement does not mean recognition of a government steadfast in its refusal to reverse its policies on women and human rights.
December 06, 2023
At-Risk Afghans Face Deportation Despite Being In U.S. Visa Pipeline
Afghans who fled to Pakistan after the Taliban seized power in their home country more than two years ago and are on the path to immigration to the United States are facing arrest and deportation despite being flagged for protection.
November 29, 2023
Classified Document On Iran's 'Hijab Guards' Unveils Government Cover-Up
An Iranian newspaper's publication of a classified document outlining the state's plans to deploy thousands of "volunteers" to enforce the country's hijab law has revealed a cover-up over responsibility for the intrusive squads of women harassing commuters.
November 20, 2023
Iran's Proxies, Partners Flex Weapons-Manufacturing Capabilities In Middle East
As fighting in the Gaza Strip threatens to spill over into a broader regional conflict, Iran's plan to help its extremist allies acquire the ability to manufacture their own weapons and hone their battlefield capabilities is coming together.
November 07, 2023
Fired Iranian Professor Says High-Tech Surveillance, Dismissals Used To 'Impose Silence' At Universities
Behrouz Chamanara, a professor at Kurdistan University in western Iran, was arrested, interrogated, and ultimately dismissed after the authorities suspected he and other professors were pushing students to participate in antiestablishment protests.
November 05, 2023
Prominent Iranian Religious Scholar Says Hijab Law Should Be Abolished, Urges Authorities To Stop Inciting Violence
In an exclusive interview with RFE/RL's Radio Farda, prominent Iranian religious scholar Sedigheh Vasmaghi accused hard-liners in the Islamic republic of using violence against civilians to ensure all orders are followed "without question" and said those who oppose the government should not face bloodshed.
November 02, 2023
Iran Has Reasons To Avoid Selling Missiles To Russia After Sanctions Expire
Russia and Iran say they're free to trade missile technology now that UN sanctions barring such cooperation have expired. But while some worry they could expand their trade into more advanced weaponry and know-how, experts suggest that not much will change from the current reality.
October 10, 2023
Emboldened Iran Counts Victories As Anti-Israel Investments Pay Off
Iran has officially denied responsibility for the massive attack pulled off by Hamas against Israel. But Tehran still relishes in what it sees as a great victory showcasing its investments in Sunni and Shi'a proxies, the export of the Islamic Revolution, and the disruption of Arab-Israeli relations.
September 13, 2023
How Mahsa Amini's Death Became A Rallying Call For Thousands Of Iranians
After Iranian authorities responded forcefully to demonstrations following the death of Mahsa Amini a year ago, public anger exploded into nationwide protests. Hundreds of demonstrators followed Amini to the grave amid a brutal state crackdown.
September 08, 2023
Iranian Protester Dies After Being Told 'You'll Never Leave Prison Alive'
Javad Ruhi, who was arrested and handed three death sentences after being spotted in a video dancing during protests in Iran, died under suspicious circumstances in prison last week. A source close to his family said Ruhi never stood a chance of getting out of prison alive.