Features

Corrupt + Brutal + Revolutionary + Immature

July 24, 2019
Maziar Bahari
2 min read
Neshat Jahandar, a female Iranian pilot who has recently completed her final training to become a captain, was praised by Iranians on social media sites
Neshat Jahandar, a female Iranian pilot who has recently completed her final training to become a captain, was praised by Iranians on social media sites
Fars News Agency, an affiliate of the Revolutionary Guards, published a video about the alleged spies, along with photographs of some of the accused
Fars News Agency, an affiliate of the Revolutionary Guards, published a video about the alleged spies, along with photographs of some of the accused
Revolutionary Guards' recent behavior has been both brutal and childish
Revolutionary Guards' recent behavior has been both brutal and childish

There are two characteristics that define the Islamic Republic government. It is brutal and it is corrupt. It is also a revolutionary government, meaning that it is constantly redefining itself and hasn’t reached the maturity you’d expect from a “normal” government. As our colleague Faramarz Davar writes, the Revolutionary Guards “joyriding” around the captured UK tanker the Steno Impero comes across as both brutish and childish. It also presents new challenges for Britain and China, France, Germany and Russia, the remaining signatories to the nuclear deal (the JCPOA), to salvage the agreement. On one hand they know that they can have a rational and sane partner in Rouhani and Zarif, but on the other hand, they’re also reminded every day that it is Iran’s Supreme Leader and the Guards who ultimately run the show in Iran. 

The Islamic Republic also regularly lies and exaggerates. So when Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence announced that it had arrested 17 people spying for the CIA, many people rolled their eyes with disbelief. Yet the capture reminded us of how paranoia dictates so much of the behavior and decision-making of the Iranian government. Whenever it finds itself in a complex political situation, it tends to revert to dramatic conspiracy theories and sensational tales of intrigue, danger and scandal, providing ample opportunities for phony acts of heroism — a tactic that ruins the lives of the people it frames and targets, but also sows deeper distrust among its people and the world. 

It’s always important to point out the good news stories, and this week we highlight the achievements of Neshat Jahandar, a female Iranian pilot who has recently completed her final training to become a captain. Women are not given any encouragement to become pilots in Iran (one of many professions they are discouraged from pursuing), but Jahandar, like many remarkable women before her, has put in incredible amounts of work to reach her goals, and many Iranians went on to social media to show their pride and celebrate her accomplishments.

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Revolutionary Guards’ Seizure of British Tanker Violated International Laws

July 23, 2019
Faramarz Davar
5 min read
Revolutionary Guards’ Seizure of British Tanker Violated International Laws