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American sentenced to death in Iran for espionage

Iran announced today that it had sentenced Amir Mirzaei Hekmati, 28, to death on charges of spying for the CIA. Hekmati, an American of Iranian descent who formerly worked as a translator for the U.S. military, claims that his trip to Iran was to visit his grandmother. Hekmati is the first U.S. citizen to be sentenced to death by Iran since the 1979 Revolution and has been imprisoned since August. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Jan 9, 2012 - 60 comments

Sarah Shourd Speaks Out

In one of the year's closely watched stories, American hikers Josh Fattal and Shane Bauer were released from prison in Iran, following the release of a third hiker, Sarah Shourd. Here, Shourd explains for the first time why she thanked Iran after her ordeal—and the response from global Iranians.
posted by josher71 on Dec 27, 2011 - 93 comments

Iran-Contra 25 years on

Peter Kornbluh, of the National Security Archive, has written an article about Iran-Contra coinciding with the release of the Reagan/Bush 'criminal liability' evaluations(contains video of Reagan's testimony). Confused about what exactly the Iran-Contra affair was? Here you go. [more inside]
posted by AElfwine Evenstar on Nov 28, 2011 - 43 comments

Subway Surprise, Tehran

"Things didn’t happen as I imagined. On the one hand, with the situation in Tehran, I expected the police to arrest me. I also thought that the resulting dress wouldn’t be aesthetically pleasing to the eye. But it turned out to be more homogenous than I envisaged. Most of the passengers wanted to communicate with me and participate in the project. And I enjoyed this attention and collaboration. The point wasn’t their understanding of the project. I didn’t want anything to be imposed on the audience or participants. I wanted ordinary people to encounter their own personalities without any preconceptions about contemporary art. More than anything, I wanted something to emerge that is shared — between me and everyday metro passengers." The story of fashion student Shirin Abedinirad who conceived and carried out an unusual (and unusually bold) performance art experiment by asking Tehran metro passengers to donate their rubbish to pin on her dress. [more inside]
posted by taz on Nov 16, 2011 - 10 comments

"We don’t see things as they are; we see things as we are." - Anaïs Nin

The IAEA report on Iran has been leaked to the public. But are the new allegations "a game changer"... or, even new, for that matter?
posted by markkraft on Nov 11, 2011 - 38 comments

Zimmerman Telegram 2.0?

Following a months-long investigation, the Department of Justice has announced the existence of a well-funded plot "conceived, sponsored and directed" by "high-ranking members of the Iranian government" to assassinate Saudi Arabian ambassador Adel Al-Jubeir on U.S. soil in conjunction with informants in Mexican drug cartel Los Zetas. The "Hollywood" plot, revealed in an afternoon press conference and described in a detailed 21-page complaint [PDF], is alleged to have involved an attack on the Saudi and Israeli embassies in Washington, D.C. One suspect, naturalized American citizen Arbab Arbabsiar, has been arrested, while co-conspirator and Quds Force member Gholam Shakuri remains at large. Iranian officials were quick to label the charges a "fabrication" intended to distract from America's economic troubles.
posted by Rhaomi on Oct 11, 2011 - 251 comments

I am surprised they have the time, what with all the mustache twirling and damsel distressing

Bloomberg markets report Koch Brothers Flout Law - Getting Richer With Secret Iran Sales. Apparently, they knew this story was coming and began pre-butting it last week.
posted by shothotbot on Oct 2, 2011 - 108 comments

Al Qaeda to Iran: Stop Spreading Conspiracy Theories about 9/11

The latest issue of Al Qaeda in the Arabian Peninsula's Inspire magazine is finally here, with a special edition for the 10th anniversary of 9/11. This issue has gotten some traction in the media for its feature story, "Iran and the Conspiracy Theories" You can view excerpts at Public Intelligence, download the entire magazine as a PDF, or simply read the Iran article after the jump. Please note that this magazine contains images of 9/11 and other conflicts that may be triggers for some people. [more inside]
posted by 2bucksplus on Sep 28, 2011 - 49 comments

Hacker Rattles Security Circles

“My country should have control over Google, Skype, Yahoo, etc.,” he said by e-mail. “I’m breaking all encryption algorithms and giving power to my country to control all of them.” Is an independent Iranian hacker trying to help his government spy on its people?
posted by beisny on Sep 12, 2011 - 24 comments

What humans are doing in space these days

Hey, remember the ISS, that space station the Space Shuttle helped build before the shuttle was retired? Turns out humans might have to vacate that nifty space station for a bit. [more inside]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Aug 30, 2011 - 93 comments

DigiNotar SSL certificate compromise

Two days ago a user asked Google about a strange warning he was getting when trying to access Gmail from Iran. Turns out he was getting a fraudulent SSL certificate that was issued incorrectly for *.google.com by DigiNotar, a Dutch certificate authority. It seems likely this was a deliberate man-in-the-middle attack to snoop email in Iran. This attack is the second SSL certificate compromise in a year (previously), pointing to a fundamental design flaw in Internet security. [more inside]
posted by Nelson on Aug 30, 2011 - 45 comments

Stux to be you

In-depth pieces in Vanity Fair and Wired detail the structure and impact of the Stuxnet worm, and what it means for the future of cybersecurity. (Previously)
posted by Horace Rumpole on Jul 11, 2011 - 43 comments

Letters to Hoder

Letters to Hoder [via mefi projects]
posted by Brandon Blatcher on Jun 11, 2011 - 17 comments

Iranian Internet 2.0: The First Halal Internet

Iran has a conflicting relationship with the internet. On one side, a large portion of the population are online, and even President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had a well-publicized blog in 2006 (though it now seems to be offline). Then there was Iran's internet revolution in 2009, when there were country-wide internet censorship that was countered by use of web proxies. Later that same year, a company affiliated with the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps purchased a majority share in the nation's telecommunications monopoly. The fact that IRGC was involved with a for-profit company was not news, as IRGC has long been involved in Iran's economy, but their role in communications was more troubling. The latest news causing a stir is a "halal" internet for Iran, "an internet that conforms to Islamic principles, to improve its communication and trade links with the world," according to a quote from head of economic affairs with the Iranian presidency, Ali Aqamohammadi. [more inside]
posted by filthy light thief on May 31, 2011 - 32 comments

Iran and the West

While not being an outright example of a clash of civilizations in the Huntingtonian sense, elements of cultural misunderstanding and fears about the system-challenging tendencies of Iran do affect Western perceptions and influence Western behavior toward Iran. Furthermore, these kinds of reciprocal identity-based fears and projections of the other side’s presumed malevolent intentions tend to be mutually reinforcing. The risk is that they eventually become self-fulfilling prophecies.
Iran and the West - Regional Interests and Global Controversies [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by klue on May 23, 2011 - 4 comments

Reflex: to act without thinking

Who is Reflex Responses Management Consultancy LLC? Only "the Premier Security Consultant and Training supplier for the United Arab Emirates," of course. Frequently referred to as R2, the company specializes in nuclear facility security, special-forces operations, revolt quelling, cybersecurity, and (somehow) protecting the U.A.E from Iran with one battalion of foreign mercenaries. Oh, and it's led by Erik Prince, formerly of Blackwater (now Xe). [more inside]
posted by postel's law on May 14, 2011 - 19 comments

I Scheme with Genie

Ahmadinejad allies charged with sorcery. Several people said to be close to the president and his chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, have been arrested in recent days and charged with being "magicians" and invoking djinns (spirits). Increasingly, there is a rift between the President and his Supreme Leader.
posted by East Manitoba Regional Junior Kabaddi Champion '94 on May 7, 2011 - 142 comments

Vanguard of American Journalism

Current TV previously & previously, the media company founded by Al Gore after the 2000 election, has picked up the kinds of in depth long form journalism being rapidly dropped by major networks, but has been tantalizingly unavailable for those without cable; until now. They have been putting their Vanguard episodes up on their website and on YouTube. [more inside]
posted by Blasdelb on Apr 30, 2011 - 24 comments

A Fatwa Against Pets

The Latest Enemies of Iran: Dogs and Their Owners [more inside]
posted by PepperMax on Apr 19, 2011 - 34 comments

Pakistan's Secret Dirty Little War

Pakistan's Secret Dirty Little War
posted by lalochezia on Mar 29, 2011 - 34 comments

Comodo Registration Authority compromised

The circumstantial evidence suggests that the attack originated in Iran. Every time you see a little lock icon in your browser and are using HTTPS connections, odds are you're using a site whose certificate was signed by an Certificate Authority like VeriSign, Comodo, or Thawte. This week, SSL certificate provider Comodo announced that one of its accounts had been compromised. The attacker used the account to generate 9 bogus certificates to use for 7 well-known domains. While the breach was discovered and the certificates were revoked, it does raise questions about the chain of trust for all SSL certificates. [more inside]
posted by fifteen schnitzengruben is my limit on Mar 24, 2011 - 49 comments

Kotatsu Cat is watching you

A kotatsu is a piece of furniture used in Japan, consisting of a short table, a heating element attached to the underside of the table, a blanket or light futon to cover the table to the floor, and a flat surface on top. As Japanese houses are usually poorly insulated and not centrally heated, kotatsus are considered a cost-saving alternative to space heaters. • Example: five people sharing one. • It's called a korsi in Persia. • How to make a kotatsu.Cats seem to love them, as do dogs. • Kotatsu vs. Stepladder.
posted by not_on_display on Jan 27, 2011 - 59 comments

2010: The Year in Data Breaches

Wikileaks may have been the big news, but there were numerous other data breaches in 2010. [more inside]
posted by These Premises Are Alarmed on Dec 28, 2010 - 26 comments

How Caviar Turned Out To Be Halal

A look at how fatwas are issued, and how Iranian authorities were able to change the classification of caviar from haram (forbidden for Muslims to eat) to halal (permissible for Muslims to eat) in order to retake the caviar industry from the Soviets. [PDF]
posted by reenum on Dec 9, 2010 - 26 comments

The Iranian revolution in its singularity

Foucault in Iran: Revolution, Entropy and Equality By way of introduction to the Wu Ming Foundation's (previously) re-vamped blog, one of their more substantive essays re-assessing Foucault's notorious enthusiasm for the Iranian revolution.
posted by Abiezer on Nov 30, 2010 - 11 comments

Greatest Hungarian Iranologist

Sándor Kégl, master of languages (via mr)
posted by kliuless on Oct 26, 2010 - 15 comments

Iran 101

Iran – a Primer brings together 50 top experts —both Western and Iranian—to offer comprehensive but concise overviews of Iran’s politics, economy, military, foreign policy, and nuclear program. Overview.
Editor Robin Wright on The Challenge of Iran [more inside]
posted by adamvasco on Oct 18, 2010 - 24 comments

Oh, Ahmadinejad!

The BBC breathlessly reports a new Iranian wonder weapon. Except that it is not new. Not Iranian either. And possibly not much of a weapon... [more inside]
posted by Skeptic on Sep 28, 2010 - 58 comments

"A networked, weak-tie world is good at things like helping Wall Streeters get phones back from teen-age girls."

Small Change: Why The Revolution Will Not Be Tweeted. Earlier this summer, Golnaz Esfandiari examined the "Twitter Devolution" in Iran*. Anne Applebaum commented on the Twitter revolution that wasn't in Moldova last spring. [more inside]
posted by availablelight on Sep 27, 2010 - 46 comments

Case is that you?

Sometime its seems like you're living in a William Gibson novel. Was Stuxnet Built to Attack Iran's Nuclear Program?
posted by Long Way To Go on Sep 22, 2010 - 51 comments

Needle program exchange

The Haystack application aims to use steganography to hide samizdat-type data within a larger stream of innocuous network traffic. Thus, civilians in Iran, for example, could more easily evade Iranian censors and provide the world with an unfiltered report on events within the country. Haystack earned its creator Austin Heap a great deal of positive coverage from the media during the 2009 Iranian election protests. The BBC described Heap as "on the front lines" of the protesters' "Twitter revolution", while The Guardian called him an Innovator of the Year. Despite the laudatory coverage, however, the media were never given a copy of the software to examine. Indeed, not much is known about the software or its inner workings. Specialists in network encryption security were not allowed to perform an independent evaluation of Haystack, despite its distribution to and use by a small number of Iranians, possibly at some risk. As interest in the project widens and criticisms of the media coverage and software continue to mount, Heap has currently asked users to cease using Haystack until a security review can be performed.
posted by Blazecock Pileon on Sep 13, 2010 - 31 comments

An interesting look at a post-presidency Fidel Castro.

The Atlantic’s Jeffery Goldberg gets an opportunity to sit down with former Cuban President Fidel Castro. [more inside]
posted by g.i.r. on Sep 9, 2010 - 39 comments

They Made It In Iran

"Ramin and Rokni Haerizadeh on making art about sex and politics in the Middle East..." and how they fled and what they're up to now. More images here.
posted by artof.mulata on Sep 8, 2010 - 1 comment

Iranian Typography

Iranian Typography Now makes a nice appetiser to a book like Graphic Design from the Arab World and Persia (annoyingly small flash gallery) where calligraphy goes digital and comes alive as it collides with graphic design, art, graffiti, and even light.
posted by Slyfen on Sep 3, 2010 - 5 comments

Journeyman Pictures

Journeyman Pictures has uploaded nearly 4000 videos to YouTube. Many of these are trailers for the documentaries they sell, but they have also posted hundreds of full-length videos. Most are for short documentarie, but there are a lot of features too. It's somewhat daunting to explore, but the playlists are a good place to start, and so are the shows: Features, Shorts, News and Savouring Europe, a European travelogue series. Here's a few interesting ones: Gastronauts, about French culinary students working to make astronaut food more palatable, Demon Drummers, about student Kodo drummers, India's Free Lunch, about the effects of free school lunches on Indian society, The Twitter Revolution, about YouTube and Twitter's role in the 2009 Iranian uprising, Europe's Black Hole, about Transnistria, the breakaway region of Moldova, Small Town Boy, about a gay male carnival queen in a small town in England, The Vertigo of Lists, Umberto Eco talks about the ubiquity of lists in modern culture and Monsters from the Id, about scientists in the science fiction films of the Fifties.
posted by Kattullus on Aug 24, 2010 - 10 comments

"Israel is our only hope as the post-American president is aiding and abetting a nuclear Iran. Barack Obama is enabling Iran’s Islamic bomb" - Pamela Geller

As the "ground zero mosque" story approaches bipartisan consensus, thanks to unexpected statements by Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (joining a growing opposition), several journalists trace the origins of how the Park 51 community center became(warning: CNN) a toxic subject. What they found was Pamela Geller, a blogger at Atlas Shrugs, who has some very interesting vlogs. You may previously know her from this cozy 2006 interview with Bush's infamous anti-UN UN ambassador John Bolton.
posted by mek on Aug 18, 2010 - 439 comments

The Point of No Return

The Point of No Return. In the gap between Washington’s and Jerusalem’s views of Iran lies the question: who, if anyone, will stop Iran before it goes nuclear, and how? As Washington and Jerusalem study each other intensely, here’s an inside look at the strategic calculations on both sides—and at how, if things remain on the current course, an Israeli air strike will unfold.
posted by lullaby on Aug 11, 2010 - 91 comments

Hey, Ayatollah, leave those kids alone!

The Pink Floyd rock music classic "Another Brick in the Wall (pt. 2)" has been transformed by a Canadian band to reflect dissent young Iranians have for their government. Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters gave Blurred Vision permission to use the song. Proceeds will go to Amnesty International.
posted by gman on Aug 6, 2010 - 31 comments

Sometimes I forget how lucky I am, not living in Iran.

Iranian kids brush off the government's approved hair cuts. For shame! A video at Al Jazeera's channel about hair drama in Iran. Read the Youtube comments if you have an intolerance-tolerant stomach.
posted by Tarumba on Jul 23, 2010 - 24 comments

Iranian woman will not be stoned, but may be hanged

After an international campaign was launched by her children, Sakineh Mohammadi Ashtiani will not be stoned to death. But she still faces death by hanging. Now she's been ordered to give the names of the people campaigning for her. She has also been advised to tell her children to remain silent, or they will be arrested. [more inside]
posted by lexicakes on Jul 21, 2010 - 43 comments

Is it tinfoil hat time again already?

The recent bombing of a a Shi’ite mosque in SE Iran by the Sunni Muslim rebel group Jundullah raises again the question of whether the US is in bed with the enemy. The Groups leader Abdolmalek Rigi was recently executed by the Iranians.
In 2007 ABC News reported on The Secret War Against Iran.
"Some former CIA officers say the arrangement is reminiscent of how the U.S. government used proxy armies, funded by other countries including Saudi Arabia, to destabilize the government of Nicaragua in the 1980s”.
posted by adamvasco on Jul 16, 2010 - 15 comments

The Spy Who Ran Back to the Cold

On June 6th, Shahram Amiri - an Iranian nuclear scientist -- appeared on a YouTube video claiming he was abducted by US and Saudi authorities in Medina, drugged and flown to the US. On June 7th, a second video on Youtube appeared where he, or someone claiming to be him, said he was fine, studying in the US. (The U.S. government has no official comment but cited him as a source on Iran's nuclear program.) A 3rd video backed the first. Now Pakistan says Amiri is in hiding in its Washington embassy's Iranian interests section under asylum and making arrangements to get back to Iran. How he got there, and why, is a mystery. [more inside]
posted by msalt on Jul 13, 2010 - 25 comments

The Blogfather

Last year's unprecedented election protests in Iran, would never have been possible if it hadn't been for the pioneering efforts of their country's "Blogfather," (Metafilter's own) Hossein "hoder" Derakhshan. Hoder literally founded the Persian blogging movement in 2001 ("Weblogistan") that gave Iranians a way to speak out about their government on the internet and eventually would provide a global voice to the protesters. But for the last 600 days, Hoder has been imprisoned, interrogated and tortured by the Iranian government, ostensibly on charges he was spying for Israel. In reality his arrest was probably retaliation for "remarks he allegedly made on his blog about a key Shiite cleric and the third infallible Imam of Shiism." Yesterday, he had his first trial. But his plight is not unique. [more inside]
posted by zarq on Jun 24, 2010 - 31 comments

'BP And The Axis Of Evil'

'BP And The Axis of Evil': Adam Curtis provides some historic information on the Anglo-Perisan Oil Company, later the Anglo-Iranian Oil Company, later BP. [more inside]
posted by robself on Jun 23, 2010 - 15 comments

Misreading Tehran

Misreading Tehran: Leading Iranian-American writers revisit a year of dreams and discouragement. "With a full 12 months now between us and the election, the time is ripe to start revisiting the hype and hope in a year of writing: which stories were overblown, what stories were missed entirely, and what can be gleaned about Iran's annus horribilis from a more thorough understanding. FP asked seven prominent Iranian-Americans, deeply immersed in both the English- and Persian-language media, to look through the fog of journalism at what actually happened in Tehran -- and why so many of us got it so wrong." [Via]
posted by homunculus on Jun 8, 2010 - 29 comments

For Neda

For Neda. "For Neda reveals the true story of Neda Agha-Soltan, who became another tragic casualty of Iran's violent crackdown on post-election protests on June 20, 2009. Unlike many unknown victims, however, she instantly became an international symbol of the struggle: Within hours of Agha-Soltan's death, cell phone photographs of her blood-stained face were held aloft by crowds protesting in Tehran and across the world. With exclusive access to her family inside Iran, the documentary goes to the heart of who Neda was and what she stood for, illuminating the larger Iranian struggle for democratic freedoms through her powerful story." [more inside]
posted by homunculus on Jun 4, 2010 - 7 comments

The Israeli Threat

"Immediately after an attack by Israel, and even with no Iranian response, the United States is likely to begin significant defensive deployments to the region. Its attempts over a period of a year to negotiate with the Iranians make the Obama Administration more vulnerable to domestic pressures to be strong in its reaction to an Israeli strike.

At an early stage after an Israeli attack, the United States would be faced with deciding whether to passively await casualties or to attack Iranian military capabilities on its own. The United States would probably decide to finish the job on Iranian nuclear facilities and destroy as much as possible of Iran’s capability to project combat power."
The Israeli Threat: An Analysis of the Consequences of an Israeli Strike on Iranian Nuclear Facilities [PDF]. [more inside]
posted by klue on May 25, 2010 - 127 comments

Boobies! FOR SCIENCE

Whenever a natural disaster happens, there are people eager to blame it on other people who are behaving in ways they don't like. Well, in the wake of an Iranian cleric blaming immodestly dressed women for causing an earthquake, there's a push-up proposal to test this hypothesis. [more inside]
posted by rmd1023 on Apr 23, 2010 - 96 comments

Rocking the Middle East

Iraq gave us the heavy-metal band Acrassicauda (previously), who have recently relocated to the US and released their first EP. In Iran, indie-pop is a dangerously subversive underground phenomenon, with innocuous-sounding twee-pop bands hiding from persecution by the authorities. And now Afghanistan has Kabul Dreams, a duo who dress in skinny jeans and cardigans and write songs inspired by British guitar bands like Oasis, Radiohead and The Beatles.
posted by acb on Apr 1, 2010 - 6 comments

How corporations help governments spy on their people

How Nokia helped Iran "persecute and arrest" dissidents is a short article from Ars Technica that neatly summarizes how Nokia allowed Iran to arrest protestors and how corporations become involved in deals like these.
posted by The Devil Tesla on Mar 4, 2010 - 36 comments

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