Sunnis and Shias in Islam
How the Sunni-Shia split shaped the Islamic world throughout history
Toby Matthiesen's new book, "The Caliph and the Imam", explores both the origins of the Sunni-Shia divide, what the two branches of Islam have in common and how the split has shaped the Islamic world
War in the Middle East
What's China's stance on the Israel-Hamas conflict?
Beijing is seeking to mediate in the war between Israel and Hamas. China has condemned both parties' violence. Despite this, public hostility towards Israel prevails
Hamas violently forces detour from Saudi-Israel momentum
With its surprise attack against Israel, Hamas has violently shifted the world's eyes back to the Palestinians and dealt a severe blow to momentum to secure a landmark U.S.-brokered deal between Israel and Saudi Arabia
Tehran dismisses university lecturers
University lecturers critical of the regime are being dismissed, while those loyal to the regime are being rehired: Tehran's Islamic regime is apparently reshaping the country's universities even more strictly according to its own ideas. By Iman Aslani
Iran and Mahsa Amini, one year on
Tehran's power base is fading
Prominent voices from within the Islamic Republic's inner circle of power – once spokesmen for the most radical factions – are now vehement in their criticism of Ali Khamenei, Iran's Supreme Leader. They used the first anniversary of Mahsa Amini's death to drive home their condemnation. By Ali Sadrzadeh
The Islamic Republic's dilemma
Iran's deal last spring with Saudi Arabia, brokered by China, highlighted the emergence of an unstable equilibrium in the Islamic Republic's foreign policy. Amin Naeni and Ali Fathollah-Nejad explore the inherent tensions
Mahsa Amini: one year on
Tehran has lost the battle for credibility
One year after Mahsa Amini died in police custody, sparking nationwide protests, the Iranian regime has quashed all displays of public discontent. But the 2022 protest movement was not a lost cause and its impact on Iranian history cannot be undermined, writes Leela Jacinto
Why a friendlier Middle East is more dangerous for activists
Authoritarian governments often harass and hinder their critics, even if those people are outside the country. As former enemies become friends in the Middle East, will they cooperate to shut down opposition voices? By Cathrin Schaer
Iran's authoritarian dress code
Tehran seeks to enforce hijab rules again
The hijab is not just a piece of clothing. This traditional headscarf holds deep cultural and political significance in Iran. The Islamist regime demands that women wear it for the sake of morality and order. Nonetheless, a considerable number of women have stopped doing so entirely. By Shora Azarnoush
Who wants to invest in Syria now?
Recent events may indicate the world wants to start doing business with Syria again, despite its government being accused of war crimes. But, asks Cathrin Schaer, how likely is it China, the EU and Gulf states will start spending big there?
Shia clerics in Iran
"Save Islam" – or just the mullahs?
Are the Shia clergy disappearing as a pillar of Iranian society, degenerating into a mere power apparatus? Nationwide attacks, vilification and the murder, or attempted murder, of mullahs are becoming more frequent. Every turban wearer is seen as representing and symbolising the hated regime. By Ali Sadrzadeh
What the Islamic Republic's propaganda tells us
Challenging one of the Islamic Republic's most identifiable symbols – the hijab – with some breathtaking, iconographic feminist art, Iran's activists have wrested ownership away from the clerics with regard to who represents the nation, defines its present and shapes its future. Essay by Kevin L. Schwartz & Olmo Goelz