Robert Tait
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/ 11 June 2007

Iran: minister’s alternative to pre-marital sex

Iran’s interior minister has challenged a social taboo by urging the revival of the ancient Shia practice of temporary marriage to give young people easier legitimate access to sex. Moustafa Pourmohammadi, the minister, said the tradition, known as sigheh, should be promoted to offset a trend towards later marriage, which he said was depriving Iran’s youth of sexual fulfilment.

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/ 12 March 2007

A very public struggle

The bitter rivalry between Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and the country’s leading elder statesman has erupted into a public struggle for control over economic policy. Hashemi Rafsanjani, the president’s most influential opponent, set the scene for a power struggle by telling Iranian journalists that Ahmadinejad’s "trial period is over".

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/ 11 December 2006

Iran to hold Holocaust conference

Iran this week announced details of a conference questioning whether the Holocaust really happened, prompted by an international outcry a year ago when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad described the slaughter of six million Jews by the Nazis as ”myth” fabricated to justify Israel.

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/ 30 October 2006

A weapon of mass production

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has called for a baby boom to almost double the country’s population to 120-million and enable it to threaten the West, as he boasted that the country’s nuclear capacity had increased ”tenfold”. Ahmadinejad told MPs he wanted to scrap birth control policies that discourage Iranian couples from having more than two children.

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/ 20 October 2006

Iran bans fast internet

Iran’s Islamic government has opened a new front in its drive to stifle domestic political dissent and combat the influence of Western culture — by banning high-speed internet links. In a blow to the country’s estimated five million internet users, service providers have been told to restrict online speeds to 128 kilobytes a second.

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/ 19 October 2005

End of the vine

The desolate vista resembles an archaeological ruin, or the shattered aftermath of a devastating military bombardment. Once-proud mud-brick homes are uninhabited and partially reduced to rubble. But this is not a war zone. And the life that bustled here disappeared within the last generation, shrivelled almost out of existence under the stern new order of Iran’s Islamic revolution.