Middle East

By Bozorgmehr Sharafedin and Ellen Francis for Reuters Iran’s government and entities close to the elite Revolutionary Guards have signed major economic contracts with Syria, reaping what appear to be lucrative rewards for helping President Bashar al-Assad regain control of parts of his country from rebels. An opposition group condemned the telecommunications and mining deals

Abandoning a long-standing reticence, Iranians are increasingly candid about their involvement in Syria’s war, and informal recruiters are now openly calling for volunteers to defend the Islamic Republic and fellow Shi’ites against Sunni militants.   With public opinion swinging behind the cause, numbers of would-be fighters have soared far beyond what Tehran is prepared to

My report for Reuters: When Iran took delivery of the first parts of an advanced Russian air defense system this month, it paraded the anti-aircraft missile launchers sent by Moscow to mark Army Day. Tehran had cause to celebrate: the Kremlin’s decision a year ago to press ahead with the stalled sale of the S-300

my reporting for Reuters: Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on Saturday called for closer economic and security ties with China, saying Iran had never trusted the West, as the two countries agreed to increase bilateral trade more than 10-fold to $600 billion in the next decade. Iran’s most powerful figure told Chinese President Xi

My piece for Reuters It is hard to picture¬†Iran‘s nuclear talks with world powers without the beaming face of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif who, in reaching a deal, has shown the power of what Iranians call his ‘smile diplomacy’. The 55-year old career diplomat led Iran’s negotiating team in concluding a deal with world

my Report for Reuters:   President Hassan Rouhani asked Iran’s judiciary on Wednesday to urgently prosecute the people who attacked the Saudi embassy in Tehran in protest at the kingdom’s execution of a prominent Shi’ite cleric. Rouhani’s comments appear to show his determination to reduce tension with Iran’s Sunni Gulf neighbors and continue his attempts

I wrote this artcile for BBC Online. A few years ago, it was almost impossible to find a photograph of Qasem Soleimani. Now Iranian TV channels show documentaries about him, and his picture is on the front page of many newspapers. For Gen Soleimani the time has come to emerge from the shadows and reap

In the BBC’s Dateline London, I tried to explain why the US plan to strike Syria is mainly about stopping Iran – as CIA support for Saddam Hussein to use chemical weapon in 1988 was to stop Iran as well. The British parliament rejects the idea of intervening militarily in Syria. Does this require soul-searching

Stanford University in the United States is going to screen my film on the Supreme Leader of Iran, Ayatollah’s Seal, followed by a discussion on the safety of journalists (more details.) But why now and how are these two issues related? A new wave of harassment against the families of BBC Persian staff living in

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