Suspense Abounds in Iran’s Presidential Elections

By Mortezagholi Raissi

BONN | TEHRAN (IDN) – In the run-up to the Presidential elections in Iran on May 19, all but six of the 1600 women and men who were registered as presidential candidates for the twelfth poll since the ‘Islamic Revolution’ that resulted in the toppling of the monarchy on April 1, 1979, have been axed.

The spokesman of the powerful ‘Guardian Council’ announced in an interview with the Iranian television on April 26 that only the six approved candidates fulfilled the requirements for standing for elections to the office of the President.

The Guardian Council consists of 12 persons, 6 of whom are scholars appointed directly by Ayatollah Khamenei, the country’s Supreme Leader, and the other 6 are jurists, who need to be confirmed by the Parliament. However, the chairman of the Council is a confidant of the leader. But all candidates are requited to be local to the regime.

Why Jordan’s Move to Repeal ‘Stone Age’ Rape Law Matters

By Phil Harris

ROME (IDN) – Many girls and young women in a number of countries still live in fear of what has been called “stone age” legislation that allows men to rape and then marry them to avoid prosecution.

One such country is Jordan, where the plight of these actual and potential victims is expected to take a turn for the better after the Jordanian Cabinet recommended repeal of Article 308 of the country’s penal code on April 15.

That recommendation – which would abolish a provision under which sexual assaulters can avoid imprisonment provided they marry their victims – now awaits final approval by Parliament and King Abdullah II.

Yemen, a Hushed Up Imperialist War

By Pier Francesco Zarcone*

ROME (IDN) – The US government intends to increase military aid to Saudi Arabia in its war against Yemen, according to recent reports. For the vast majority of the general public the news may be surprising, given that the ongoing conflict in Yemen is almost “non-news” as a result of the almost complete silence of the mainstream media. More importantly, most people probably do not know the causes.

From monarchy to republic

A summary reconstruction of the troubled and bloody history of Yemen can start in 1962, when a military coup backed by Egypt deposed the last monarch, Zaydi Shiite Muhhammad al-Badr, and the Republic was proclaimed.

But for Nuclear Option Saudi Arms Purchases Increasing

Analysis by Emad Mekay

CAIRO (IDN) – Though nuclear blustering has remained hollow, Saudi Arabia has again increased its weapons imports and stood as the main catalyst for a climb of 10 percent (or $6.6 billion) in global weapons sales in 2015, according to a recent defence report. The rise is the latest sign betraying the level of anxiety in the conservative kingdom over what Saudi officials say is a threat from Iran.

The Saudis have recently been particularly rattled by the advances of Iranian foreign policy in the Middle East. Especially worrisome were the successes of Iranian-backed militias in Iraq and Syria.

Mandela Statue Casts Long Shadow Over Unfree Palestine

RAMALLAH, Palestine (IDN | GIN) – Now that the media circus has moved on, a bronze statue of Nelson Mandela is a curious icon standing impressively tall in the well-to-do city of Ramallah, the economic capital of Palestine.

Weighing two metric tons and rising almost 6 metres towards the sky, the bronze likeness of Mandela stands straight, with his right arm raised and hand in a fist. Created by South African artists Christina Salvodi, Lungisa Khala and Tanya Lee‚ the project was funded by the City of Johannesburg.

The statue took seven months to produce and has been placed on high land for “all the people of Palestine to see,” according to Sowetan Live.

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