What are Iran-made Shahed-136 ‘kamikaze’ drones used by Russia to strike Ukraine?

Low-flying and relatively small, Iran-made Shahed-136 ‘kamikaze’ drones are built to attack ground targets. Image Courtesy: Twitter/ @DefenceU

Ukraine is in a spot since Russia started using Iran-made ‘kamikaze’ drones to counter its recent battlefield losses, as per media reports.

On 23 September 2022, the air raid occurred in the port city of Odesa in southern Ukraine in which at least eight Iran-made ‘Shahed-136’ kamikaze drones were deployed to bomb Odesa, AeroTime Hub reports.

Ukraine’s ministry of defence said that it intercepted six drones while the two damaged an administrative building. A civilian was also killed in the strike.

Hennadii Trukhanov, the Mayor of Odesa, said the ‘loitering munitions’ targeted the city again two days later. While one of the drones was blocked, an administrative building was struck thrice, reports AeroTime Hub.

On 26 September, the Russian forces reportedly used two Shahed-136 drones to hit military objects, a Ukrainian command post said.

“A drone destroyed by air defense forces. Two hit military infrastructure,” Ukraine’s Operational Command South said in a statement.

The drone attack on the military facility triggered a major blaze, however, no fatalities were reported.

“As a result of a large-scale fire and the detonation of ammunition, the evacuation of the civilian population was organised. Preliminarily, there have been no casualties”, Reuters quoted the command as saying.

Sergey Bratchuk, the spokesman of the Odesa regional military administration, also confirmed the attacks by Russian forces on Telegram.

“After the previous night’s enemy attack by kamikaze drones of the “Shahed-136? type, the dark time of the day passed without shelling,” Bratchuk was quoted as saying by ThePrint.

What are the Iran-made kamikaze drones and why have they become a cause of concern for Ukraine? Let’s take a closer look.

ALSO READ: Accident or sabotage? Why are the Russia-Europe Nord Stream pipelines leaking?

Iran’s kamikaze drones

Low-flying and relatively small, Iran’s kamikaze drones are built to attack ground targets. These delta-winged unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) usually fly in pairs and slam into their targets.

Built by the Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company (HESA), Shahed-136, a modern single-use loitering munition, has a range of 2,500 kilometers.

These kamikaze drones by Iran do not use a camera system for navigation or target acquisition and have to depend on a commercial GPS signal, reports inews.co.uk.

These ‘suicide’ drones ability to carry warheads ranges from 5-30 kg.

Justin Bronk, a senior fellow at British think-tank Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), said “the Shahed-136 offer a relatively cheap way for states and some non-state groups to mount long-range attacks on fixed targets (using GPS/INS navigation) or radars (using an anti-radiation seeker).”

Noting the limitations of Shahed, Bronk said the drone’s attack can be foiled if the GPS system is jammed, blocked, or turned off.

Further, its limited warhead capability also poses a constraint. He tweeted the “warhead capacity is small (typically 5-30kg) which limits damage and viable target sets compared to regular bombs, missiles or artillery.”

Iran’s kamikaze-style Shaheds had made headlines earlier when the US had accused the Islamic nation of using these weapons to launch a coordinated attack on Saudi Arabia’s oil industry.

Shahed-136 drones in Ukraine

Renamed as ‘Geran-2’ or ‘Geranium-2’ by Russia, Shahed-136 drones have mostly been dispatched in Ukraine’s Kharkiv region, reports The Wall Street Journal (WSJ).

Colonel Rodion Kulagin, commander of artillery of Ukraine’s 92nd Mechanized Brigade, told WSJ the drones started doing rounds in the sky of the Kharkiv region last week.

Kulagin informed that these drones have destroyed two 152-mm self-propelled howitzers, two 122-mm self-propelled howitzers, as well as two BTR armored infantry vehicles in his brigade’s functioning area alone.

Explaining why the drones are being used mainly in the Kharkiv region, the commander said Moscow no longer has artillery advantage there after the Ukrainian armed forces reclaimed 8,500 square kilometres of land captured by the Russian troops.

Iran-made Shahed-136 ‘kamikaze’ drones are being used by Russia in Ukraine. Image Courtesy: Twitter/@DefenceU

As per the British ministry of defence’s intelligence report, Russia is apparently using these drones for tactical strikes near front lines instead of hitting strategic targets deep into the Ukrainian state, reports WSJ.

Ukraine has so far shot down 18 of these ‘suicide’ drones since last Wednesday and indicated that it is seeking ways to thwart the new threat.

“This is a fairly new weapon… so all the samples that we managed to obtain are being studied by specialists, and the most effective system for countering them will be worked out,” a spokesperson for the Ukrainian military’s southern command was quoted as saying by inews.co.uk.

Should Ukraine worry?

These Iran-made drones could provide Russia with a “potent counterweight” to the high-tech US weapons like Himars missile launchers being used by Ukraine, Scott Crino, founder and chief executive of Red Six Solutions LLC, a strategic consulting firm told WSJ.

“The presence of Shahed-136 in Ukraine war is undoubtedly changing the operational plans of Kyiv,” he said.

Western security officials do not believe Iran’s Shahed-136 ‘kamikaze’ drones can be a ‘game changer’ in the Russia-Ukraine war. AFP (Representational Image)

Further, Crino added, “the sheer size of Ukraine battlefield makes it hard to defend against the Shahed-136.”

However, Western security officials do not believe these drones can be a “game changer” for Russia, reports inews.co.uk.

With inputs from agencies

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

The last brooch worn by the Queen goes on display: Here’s what makes it special

The pin was personally handpicked by the Queen from a number of shortlisted brooches. Image courtesy: Goldsmiths Fair

Queen Elizabeth II was never out in the public without wearing something from her expansive collection of jewellery. From pearl necklaces to diamond tiaras, the Queen was a proud owner of several jewellery pieces that she held very closely.

One of the last pieces of jewellery that the Queen wore in public – the Platinum Jubilee brooch – has been replicated and has gone on display at the Goldsmiths’ Fair in London.

Let’s take a closer look at the details of the brooch.

An 18-carat brooch

Designed by fine jeweller David Marshall, the brooch is made of 18-carat white gold and platinum and has 97 round-cut diamonds as well as seven fancy-cut ones.

According to The Crown Chronicles, the seven fancy-cut diamonds represent the seven decades of the Queen’s reign.

Also read: Explained: Why the demand for corgis has soared in the UK

According to a statement released by Goldsmiths, the pin was personally handpicked by the Queen from a number of shortlisted brooches and was later presented to her by The Goldsmiths’ Company as a gift for her Platinum Jubilee celebrations.

On the back of the brooch is a laser hallmark that includes a very special commemorative Platinum Jubilee mark designed by Fattorini Limited.

The brooch represents the four nations and includes ‘Lily of the Valley’ which is featured in The Queen’s Coronation bouquet. The Queen wore the piece on a jade green Stuart Pravin crepe coat over a silk dress.

The Queen’s brooch collection

According to an article in Vogue, Queen Elizabeth owned approximately 98 different brooches.

At Prince Harry and Meghan Markle’s wedding, the Queen wore the Richmond Brooch made of a large pearl and diamond. While at Prince William and Kate Middleton’s wedding, she wore a brooch called The Lover’s Knot which is shaped as a large bow and is made of tiny diamonds.

In her 2021 Christmas address, she wore a sapphire chrysanthemum brooch as a tribute to her late husband Prince Philip.

Also read: Explained: What is the Royal Vault, where the Queen is laid to rest? Who else is buried there?

According to US Magazine, Queen Elizabeth II wore a diamond and ruby butterfly brooch during her virtual appearance at the United Nations Climate Change Conference in October 2021. The piece was gifted to her by Prince Philip in 1947.

Queen Elizabeth inherited her mother’s Cartier diamond-encrusted palm leaf-shaped brooch in 2002.

Perhaps one of the Queen’s favourite brooches is the Flower Basket one that she has worn on several occasions. It was a gift from her parents following the birth of her first son Charles in 1948.

Brooches at the Queen’s funeral

According to an article by Elle, the seven-year-old daughter of William and Kate Middleton, Princess Charlotte paid a subtle tribute to her great-grandmother at her funeral. She paired her black mourning dress with a diamond brooch in the shape of a horseshoe, as the Queen’s love for horses was widely known.

Queen Consort Camilla wore Queen Victoria’s Hesse Diamond Jubilee brooch. According to a report by People, the heart-shaped pin which features three blue sapphires was a gift given to Queen Victoria by her grandchildren to commemorate the occasion of her Diamond Jubilee.

With inputs from agencies

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Mahsa Amini death: Turkish singer Melek Mosso chops off hair on stage in solidarity with Iranian protestors

File image of Turkish singer Melek Mosso. Instagram/ melekmosso

The protests raging across Iran following the death of the 22-year-old woman Mahsa Amini in police custody, have now spread to other countries. Renowned Turkish singer Melek Mosso showed her solidarity with the protesters in Iran by cutting her hair on stage during one of her concerts. A short clip of the incident is making the rounds of the internet and the singer is being lauded for her brave act.

The now-viral video was posted by a Twitter user, who wrote in the caption, “Turkish singer Melek Mosso cuts off her hair on stage in solidarity with the Iranian women. Thank you, Melek!” And ended with the hashtags, “Mahsa Amini, and Iran Protests 2022.” The video opens with Melek standing on a stage holding a pair of scissors and a mic in each of her hands. While the crowd cheers for her, Melek can be seen chopping her hair off. And as soon as she throws her hair onto the stage, the crowd bursts into clapping, hooting and whistling. However, the Turkish singer didn’t stop in one go, she took another round of scissors to her hair.

As soon as the video went viral, social media users lauded the singer and called her an inspiration. Several internet users claimed that this is the start of the revolution. One user commented, “I think the revolution has begun. This will happen all around the world.”

Another commented, “Wow. So inspirational and brave.”

A third user commented, “Let the ones get up from slumber & feel the beauty of humanity.”

A fourth user commented, “Thanks for being our voice.”

So far, the video has been played more than 231 times and has garnered over 7,000 likes.

Melek has been known to be a vocal supporter of women’s rights. Earlier in 2020, Melek criticised the release of a rapist police officer in Turkey and as a result of the same, she was taken off the stage.

Amini, an ethnic Kurd from the western city of Saqez, was visiting the capital Tehran with her family when she was detained on 13 September. She was detained outside a metro station in Tehran by the morality police. They accused her of breaking the law requiring women to cover their hair with a headscarf, and their arms and legs with loose clothing.

However, police claimed Amini suffered “sudden heart failure” while waiting to be “educated” alongside other women at the facility.

She was declared dead by state television on Friday after having spent three days in a coma.

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Corrupt Iran regime will be eventually toppled, protesters need charismatic leader: Marina Nemat

Marina Nemat is a Toronto-based world-renowned author and human rights advocate who wrote the bestsellers Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed.

As the world was horrified by the brutal torture and murder of Mahsa Amini (22) by Gasht-e-Ershad, or the Iranian morality police, for not wearing the hijab properly and a tsunami of protests gripped Iran, Marina Nemat was reminded of her horrifying experience of defying the Neandertal diktats of Iran’s first spiritual leader Ayatollah Khomeini and the resultant confinement to a hellhole around 40 years ago.

Marina, unlike Mahsa, was fortunate enough to survive but only to have a hellish experience of more than two years in Tehran’s dreaded Evin Prison, where Iran’s political prisoners have been incarcerated since 1972.

At merely 13, Marina, who was a Christian by faith, witnessed the first seismic shift in Iranian politics when the United States (US)-backed Shah Mohammad Reza Pahlavi’s autocratic regime was overthrown and replaced with Khomeini’s Islamic rule on 11 February, 1979, with the big promise of expansion of social and political freedom and the right to self-expression.

However, the second tectonic shift in Iran changed the lives of Marina and her fellow Iranians forever. To their utter dismay, the country plunged into a theocracy within a year with the same revolutionary leaders, who had lured Iranians into a revolt by tapping their grievances against the Shah, choking their few remaining freedoms and rights to death.

“In less than a year, women’s rights to self-expression were stripped away: dancing, singing, holding our boyfriends’ hands in public and wearing bikinis all became largely forbidden activities,” Marina, whose grandmothers had fled to Iran during the 1917 Russian Revolution in search of freedom, wrote in an opinion piece for CNN in November 2021.

The 16-year-old, whose father taught Muslim couples the cha-cha and the tango and mother styled fashionable Muslim women’s hair, felt stifled.

When the rebellious teenager objected to the imposition of fanatical rules, like the forcible wearing of the hijab and the introduction of the Quran in her school, by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and started attending protest rallies, she was arrested along with hundreds of others on 15 January, 1982, and imprisoned at Evin.

Hell awaited her. Marina and her fellow rebellious inmates were interrogated, tied to bare beds and their soles lashed with cables. “I was later led to a mock execution, threatened, and raped,” she wrote in another opinion piece for CNN this month.

While several of her cellmates were executed, Marina was converted and forced to marry one of her interrogators who had fallen in love with her but was assassinated within 15 months. Finally, she was released after more than two years in March 1984.

In 1991, Marina escaped to Canada, rebuilt her life and subsequently became the world-renowned author of two bestsellers Prisoner of Tehran and After Tehran: A Life Reclaimed, published in 30 countries. She has received various awards and has delivered several lectures at high schools, universities and conferences around the world. She teaches memoir writing at the School of Continuing Studies, University of Toronto.

In an email interview, the Toronto-based author and human rights advocate recounts her terrifying experience under Khomeini, how nothing changed even under his successor Ayatollah Khamenei, how the ongoing Iran protests are different from earlier ones and whether the leaderless movement will survive the IRGC brutality and the regime will make some concessions to women.

The Shah had turned increasingly authoritarian but women and minorities still enjoyed basic rights. Khomeini’s jolt was totally unexpected considering that he and his fellow theocrats had fooled Iranians into believing that a better future awaited them. It was a big lie.

“I believe that it was a lie, and so do many others. I believe that from the beginning, Khomeini’s plan was to create a strictly fanatical system based on a backward version of Islam,” Marina says.

“I believe any ideology, including any religion, as history shows us, can be abused and misused in the hands of those who want power and will do anything to get it.”

Even though she believes that Khomeini “had plans to turn Iran into a medieval hell”, she also believes that “many close to him and certainly, the majority of average Iranians who supported him truly believed that Khomeini’s Islamic Republic would be much better than the Shah’s monarchy”.

Marina’s parents, who were very modern and believed in women’s rights and freedom like her, “saw through Khomeini’s lies from the start”.

“They did not believe that he and a group of clergymen with no political, real-world experience would be able to create a stable political system. My parents and many like them who were against the Islamic Republic from the start believed that it would collapse within months,” she recounts.

Subsequently, she and “thousands of young Iranians who had dared to stand up to the new autocratic laws were arrested”.

“Soon many were executed, and the stories of the torture of prisoners travelled far and wide. At the time, Iran was at war with Iraq and anyone who criticised the regime was accused of being Saddam Hussein’s spy–the penalty for which could be death.” According to her, “this situation forced Iranians who mistrusted the regime into silence. And, at the time, there were still many Iranians who believed in Khomeini and supported him especially now that there was a war going on”.

Despite suffering brutal physical torture and interrogation, Marina feels that it was her duty to speak up to “find peace” after “suffering” from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

“I was certainly broken. Very much so. I was devastated, and, without knowing it, I was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder. After my husband Andre, our son, and I escaped Iran and made it to Canada, I tried to put all my focus on survival in our new country.”

Since the family had “very little money”, they “had to work long and hard”. “It took us years to feel like we could make it. When Canada began to feel like home and we became financially stable, I began to show symptoms of PTSD, and that was when I began to write my memories as a form of narrative therapy,” she adds.

But Marina “soon realised that just writing it was not enough”; she had to speak up. “I was a witness to terrible abuses on a massive scale, and it was my duty to speak up in order to find peace.”

Shockingly, things turned worse during the reign of Khamenei. The IRGC and its Basij paramilitary crushed the 2019 protests and killed more than 1,500 protesters and the May 2022 demonstrations met the same fate. But anger against the regime has grown.

“The horrors that Iranians have suffered since 1979 are monumental and immeasurable. We don’t even know all the details of all the atrocities committed by the regime,” she says. “Naturally, under all this pressure, discontent and anger have grown.”

But the current protests are different–they are much larger and have spread to more than 40 cities with women leading them. Besides, most of the protesters are young and were born after 1979. In fact, a fifth Basij volunteer has been killed during the protests.

Incidentally, the late Shah’s son Reza Pahlavi, who is in exile in Washington and has three daughters, has said that most Iranian women are asking for the same rights and freedom “women in the free world experience and exercise”.

Pahlavi, whose grandfather Reza Shah had banned Islamic veils in 1936, told AFP that it is “the first revolution for the women, by the women with the support of the Iranian men, sons, brothers and fathers”.

With women playing a pivotal role in the movement, will it make a difference? Marina feels that “Iranian women were under more pressure since the beginning, and we have seen them being very vocal and visible in protests”.

“The natural flow of history suggests that this rebellion will grow,” she says though “it is impossible to predict when it will become strong and unified enough to topple the armed-to-the-bone and corrupt system of the Islamic Republic. But the time will come–even if not soon”.

But Marina wonders that “if the Islamic Republic falls, what will take its place? “Even though history moves froward, things don’t always work out for the better. The last thing Iranians need is to replace one dictatorship with another.”

Another major difference this time is that the protests have spread to foreign countries. Around 4,000 people protested in Paris and dozens clashed with the police in London chanting “Death to the Islamic Republic”.

Marina believes that that though “protests outside of Iran do matter, but they are not the deciding factor. Change in Iran has to come from within”.

But the protests are also leaderless. Marina believes that it is a big issue. “The major issue right now is that this rebellion does not have a clear leader who can unite a fragmented Iran that is bursting at the seams with ethnic and ideological divisions,” she says.

“Throughout history, Iranians have been known to follow their charismatic leaders to achieve amazing things. We adore and even worship our heroes. So, not having a clear leader is a big issue.”

President Ebrahim Raisi has pledged to “deal decisively” with the protesters. More than 1,200 of them have been arrested and according to Oslo-based Iran Human Rights, 76 killed as against the official death count of 41.

Niloufar Hamedi, an Iranian newspaper journalist who broke the news of Mahsa’s hospitalisation following her arrest was arrested after breaking the news and is in solitary confinement.

Will the protests survive the brutal crackdown? “I don’t know, and I don’t think anyone does,” Marina says adding, “As I said, without a charismatic and unifying leader, this movement might be doomed to fizzle out.”

Marina finds Iran’s accusation that the US and some European countries are supporting the protesters and seeking to destabilise the country “nonsense”.

“After more than 40 years of brutality and murdering Iran’s children, this regime will have to one to blame for its demise than itself,” she adds.

The way the protests are spreading, is there any possibility of the regime making concessions because forcing the protesting women to wear the hijab again will be extremely difficult?

Marina doubts it. “I doubt they would make concessions. Wearing the hijab has always been important to the regime. But if they feel threatened enough, they might back down a bit. We’ll see.”

The writer is a freelance journalist with two decades of experience, and comments primarily on foreign affairs. Views expressed are personal.

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Watch: European Space Agency astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti performs yoga in space

Astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti does yoga at European Space Agency. Twitter/@CosmicKidsYoga

People across the world have been practicing yoga for decades now to stay fit and remain in good shape. While some enjoy yoga in the comfort of their homes, some go to dedicated yoga centres for the same. However, now we have come across a video where an astronaut has performed some quick yoga poses in space. We are talking about European Space Agency (ESA) astronaut Samantha Cristoforetti who is known for sharing videos of her experience during her space stay. In a recent video shared on social media, the astronaut can be seen performing some Cosmic Kids yoga poses inside the International Space Station (ISS).

In the video shared by the Cosmic Kids on their official Twitter handle, the astronaut while following the directions of the instructor Jaime from earth performed the different yoga poses efficiently. “What happens when you try to do yoga in space? Here’s the astronaut doing Cosmic Kids on the ISS!” the caption read.

Watch the video here:

The yoga platform further thanked ESA for the ‘incredible’ opportunity. Notably, the video was also retweeted by the astronaut herself who captioned the video with “Yoga in weightlessness? Done! It’s a bit tricky, but with the right posesand some creative freedom you can do it.”

The ‘space yoga’ video has gone viral on social media and many took to the comment section to applaud the organisation as well as the astronaut. While some lauded the astronaut to take yoga out of people’s comfort zone, some also appreciated the yoga application for their collaboration.

Check some reactions:

Notably, this is not the first time she has shared her space videos on the internet. Earlier on several occasions, the astronaut took the opportunity to share videos of her stay in space with her followers.

Samantha Cristoforetti to command ISS

It is pertinent to note that Samantha Cristoforetti has been recently chosen to command the orbital outpost, the International Space Station, thereafter becoming the first European woman to do so. Since she launched to the ISS in April this year, Samantha has been serving as the lead of the U.S. Orbital Segment.

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Explained: Iran’s gender apartheid and its continued discrimination against women

Women protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died while in police custody in Iran, in front of the Iranian embassy in Argentina. AP

Unrest continues to erupt across Iran following the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, who died after being arrested and reportedly beaten by Iran’s morality police.

The Iranian force took Mahsa (Zhina) Amini into detention on 16 September 2022, for not wearing her hijab according to the rules.

As of 26 September, at least 41 people have been confirmed killed and hundreds have been arrested and wounded in protests that erupted after Amini’s death.

With the exception of bland condemnations, the discrimination against women in Iran is often overlooked while the world focuses on limiting the country’s nuclear capabilities.

Some scholars and activists have criticised international law for its lack of initiative and public action in recognising Iran’s systematic discrimination against women as gender apartheid and acting to prevent it.

But many discriminatory laws, including those forcing women to cover their head and face with a hijab, honour neither tradition nor religion and are applied to women of all ethnicities and faiths.

After all, Amini was not a Shiite woman by ethnicity or religion.

Iran’s gender apartheid

The 1979 Islamic Revolution established a republic that implements similar inhumane policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in South Africa under the government’s former brutal apartheid regime.

The laws and policies in Iran establish and maintain domination by men and the state over women and their right to choose their own clothing or obtain a divorce. Systematic gender inequalities are prescribed legally and enforced by the regime to deny the women the “right to life and liberty” and “basic human rights and freedoms,” which according to Article II of the United Nations’ Apartheid Convention in 1973, are considered “the crime of apartheid.”

For example, according to Article 18 of Iran’s Passport Law, a married woman still needs written permission from her male guardian to travel abroad.

Women in Iran are unable to hold any positions within the judicial, religious and military systems, nor are they able to serve as members of the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Discernment Council or the Guardian Council, the three highest councils in the Islamic Republic.

Women under law cannot be president or supreme leader of Iran. According to Article 115, the president of the Islamic Republic must be elected from among the “religious and political men.”

In addition, the Iranian state has added discriminatory features to the criminal code – one such feature is the principle that the value of a woman is one-half of the value of a man.

That principle applies in matters involving compensation for a killing and in what a son or daughter receives from a family inheritance. They also apply to the weight given to legal testimony or in obtaining a divorce.

Such laws, policies and practices continue to mark women as lesser citizens, legally and socially unequal.

Segregation in daily life

The state also has imposed systematic segregation in schools, hospitals, universities, transportation, sports and other major areas of day-to-day life.

For many decades, Iran’s gender apartheid had relegated women to the back of the bus with a metal bar segregating them from men.

Under the government’s direction, universities have set limits on women’s options and have banned them from many fields of study.

Iran has generally barred female spectators from soccer and other sports stadiums since the 1979 revolution.

Clerics play a major role in decision-making and have argued that women must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men during sporting events.

Under such discriminatory policies, the Persian terms such as za’ifeh, meaning weak and incapable, has found its way into Persian dictionaries as synonyms for “woman” and “wife.”

‘Women, life, freedom’

Iran’s notorious extrajudicial morality police have terrorised women for decades.

Like the articles of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, principles of the morality police are founded on an interpretation of canonical Shiite texts and are implemented through modern tools of control and prosecution.

In international criminal law, specific unlawful acts that are committed within a system of oppression and domination are considered crimes against humanity.

As set out in the UN’s Apartheid Convention, these crimes include denial of basic rights that prevent a racial group or groups from participating in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country.

Most known for the brutal regime in South Africa, apartheid comes from the Afrikaans word meaning “apartness.” It was the ideology that was introduced in South Africa in 1948 and supported by the National Party government.

The compulsory hijab is at the centre of what I call Iran’s extreme gender apartheid, where a misplaced headscarf can result in up to 15 years in prison, lashing, fines and inhumane and unlawful arrest and death.

Several anti-compulsory hijab movements emerge every few years in Iran, such as in the case of Zhina Amini.

In the Kurdish language, her name originates from “jin,” the word for woman and shares a root with the word for life, “jiyan.”

Those Kurdish words are at the heart of the most used slogan by the Kurdish Female Fighters against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and by women across Iran today against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Add in “azadi” — the Kurdish word for freedom — and the slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” means “Women, Life, Freedom” and is resounding among protesters in streets throughout Iran and the world to dismantle the state’s gender apartheid.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Explained: Iran’s gender apartheid and its continued discrimination against women

Women protest against the death of Mahsa Amini, a woman who died while in police custody in Iran, in front of the Iranian embassy in Argentina. AP

Unrest continues to erupt across Iran following the death of a 22-year-old Kurdish Iranian woman, who died after being arrested and reportedly beaten by Iran’s morality police.

The Iranian force took Mahsa (Zhina) Amini into detention on 16 September 2022, for not wearing her hijab according to the rules.

As of 26 September, at least 41 people have been confirmed killed and hundreds have been arrested and wounded in protests that erupted after Amini’s death.

With the exception of bland condemnations, the discrimination against women in Iran is often overlooked while the world focuses on limiting the country’s nuclear capabilities.

Some scholars and activists have criticised international law for its lack of initiative and public action in recognising Iran’s systematic discrimination against women as gender apartheid and acting to prevent it.

But many discriminatory laws, including those forcing women to cover their head and face with a hijab, honour neither tradition nor religion and are applied to women of all ethnicities and faiths.

After all, Amini was not a Shiite woman by ethnicity or religion.

Iran’s gender apartheid

The 1979 Islamic Revolution established a republic that implements similar inhumane policies and practices of racial segregation and discrimination as practised in South Africa under the government’s former brutal apartheid regime.

The laws and policies in Iran establish and maintain domination by men and the state over women and their right to choose their own clothing or obtain a divorce. Systematic gender inequalities are prescribed legally and enforced by the regime to deny the women the “right to life and liberty” and “basic human rights and freedoms,” which according to Article II of the United Nations’ Apartheid Convention in 1973, are considered “the crime of apartheid.”

For example, according to Article 18 of Iran’s Passport Law, a married woman still needs written permission from her male guardian to travel abroad.

Women in Iran are unable to hold any positions within the judicial, religious and military systems, nor are they able to serve as members of the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Discernment Council or the Guardian Council, the three highest councils in the Islamic Republic.

Women under law cannot be president or supreme leader of Iran. According to Article 115, the president of the Islamic Republic must be elected from among the “religious and political men.”

In addition, the Iranian state has added discriminatory features to the criminal code – one such feature is the principle that the value of a woman is one-half of the value of a man.

That principle applies in matters involving compensation for a killing and in what a son or daughter receives from a family inheritance. They also apply to the weight given to legal testimony or in obtaining a divorce.

Such laws, policies and practices continue to mark women as lesser citizens, legally and socially unequal.

Segregation in daily life

The state also has imposed systematic segregation in schools, hospitals, universities, transportation, sports and other major areas of day-to-day life.

For many decades, Iran’s gender apartheid had relegated women to the back of the bus with a metal bar segregating them from men.

Under the government’s direction, universities have set limits on women’s options and have banned them from many fields of study.

Iran has generally barred female spectators from soccer and other sports stadiums since the 1979 revolution.

Clerics play a major role in decision-making and have argued that women must be shielded from the masculine atmosphere and sight of semi-clad men during sporting events.

Under such discriminatory policies, the Persian terms such as za’ifeh, meaning weak and incapable, has found its way into Persian dictionaries as synonyms for “woman” and “wife.”

‘Women, life, freedom’

Iran’s notorious extrajudicial morality police have terrorised women for decades.

Like the articles of the Constitution of the Islamic Republic of Iran, principles of the morality police are founded on an interpretation of canonical Shiite texts and are implemented through modern tools of control and prosecution.

In international criminal law, specific unlawful acts that are committed within a system of oppression and domination are considered crimes against humanity.

As set out in the UN’s Apartheid Convention, these crimes include denial of basic rights that prevent a racial group or groups from participating in the political, social, economic and cultural life of the country.

Most known for the brutal regime in South Africa, apartheid comes from the Afrikaans word meaning “apartness.” It was the ideology that was introduced in South Africa in 1948 and supported by the National Party government.

The compulsory hijab is at the centre of what I call Iran’s extreme gender apartheid, where a misplaced headscarf can result in up to 15 years in prison, lashing, fines and inhumane and unlawful arrest and death.

Several anti-compulsory hijab movements emerge every few years in Iran, such as in the case of Zhina Amini.

In the Kurdish language, her name originates from “jin,” the word for woman and shares a root with the word for life, “jiyan.”

Those Kurdish words are at the heart of the most used slogan by the Kurdish Female Fighters against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, and by women across Iran today against the Islamic Republic of Iran.

Add in “azadi” — the Kurdish word for freedom — and the slogan “Jin, Jiyan, Azadi” means “Women, Life, Freedom” and is resounding among protesters in streets throughout Iran and the world to dismantle the state’s gender apartheid.

This article is republished from The Conversation under a Creative Commons license. Read the original article.

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Artist expresses solidarity with protesting Iranian women, creates ‘unique’ animation on Azadi Tower

Artist creates unique animation on Azadi Tower. Twitter/@HananyaNaftali

The death of a 22-year-old Kurdish woman, Mahsa Amini has sparked a national outrage across the country as a result of which Iranian men and women have come out in large numbers to protest against the incident and further stage their agitation against the unjustified laws by the government for women citizens. In a bid to mark their protests, women across the country have been publicly chopping off their hair and burning their hijabs to display their protest against the government’s draconian laws. They have also been demanding the end of the three-decade rule of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the Supreme Leader.

As a part of this, as massive protests continue to take over the country, women have also received support from various corners of the world. Many came out speaking in support of the women and over the unjustified rules imposed on them.

In one such attempt, a local artist expressed his solidarity with the brave Iranian women through a piece of art created on the iconic Azadi Tower in Tehran.

Artist creates ‘hair’ animation on Azadi Tower.

In his latest creation, the Iranian artist Bahadur Hadizadeh has released an animation showing the Azadi Tower covered by dark long hair blowing in the wind which aims to symbolise the freedom of Iranian women.

Watch the video:

The video has also gone viral on social media and has been shared widely by users who also expressed their support for the women of Iran.

Check some reactions:

It is pertinent to note that the historic architectural landmarks which stand in the capital city of Iran seem to be an ideal choice for this concept. The tower which was built in 1971 symbolises an era of modernity for the country and further its name also translates to the ‘Tower of Freedom’.

The wave of protests came in the wake of the sudden death of the young Mahsa Amini after she was arrested by the Guidance Patrols, or the Gasht-e-Ershad, known as Iran’s ‘morality police’ as her clothes reportedly did not comply with Iranian law. Reports suggest that while remaining in custody, she was subjected to violence which led to her death.

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Watch: Shocking satellite footage shows lightning bolts near Hurricane Ian’s eye

Shocking satellite footage shows lightning bolts near Hurricane Ian’s eye. Twitter/@NOAASatellites

Already having caused widespread damage and flooding across western Cuba, Hurricane Ian has been moving strongly towards Florida as the state prepares for a ‘life-threatening’ storm to pass over before it makes landfall later in the day. As the cyclonic storm is expected to strengthen into a catastrophic Category 4 storm after approaching Florida, shocking images and visuals have also been surfacing on the internet showing the devastating nature of the cyclone. In a video recently shared by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA), the satellite visuals show striking footage of the hurricane as it tears over the Gulf of Mexico.

In the shocking satellite footage which was picked up by both NASA as well as NOAA’s GOES-16 satellite on Tuesday, it shows Hurricane Ian swirling over the southeastern Gulf of Mexico and further picking up numerous lightning bolts around the hurricane’s eye.

Check the video here:

“As Hurricane Ian churns near Cuba, GOES East can see its distinct eye as well as lightning flashing around the storm. Ian is a major Category 3 hurricane that is continuing to strengthen in the southeastern Gulf of Mexico”, the caption read.

Hurricane Ian moves toward Florida after wreaking havoc in parts of western Cuba

Earlier on Tuesday, after growing in strength from a tropical storm to a Category 3 hurricane within a single day, Hurricane Ian tore into parts of western Cuba with storm-force winds and rains. Wreaking havoc on the Pinar del Rio province after making landfall, the hurricane also knocked out power to the entire country, leaving the people in a state of distress.

However, it didn’t stop here and is presently moving strongly toward Florida over Gulf waters where it is expected to strengthen into a catastrophic Category 4 storm.

Keeping in view a prediction that the eye will make landfall in the southern peninsula, the administration has asked the people around the southwest coast of Florida to evacuate and move to safer places.

In its advisory issued late Tuesday night, the National Hurricane Centre said, “On the forecast track, the center of Ian is expected to pass west of the Florida Keys within the next few hours, and approach the west coast of Florida within the hurricane warning area on Wednesday.”

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Russia’s referendums allow for 15% of Ukraine to be annexed: What comes next?

Voting began Friday in four Moscow-held regions of Ukraine on referendums to become part of Russia. AP

The four referendums held by pro-Russian authorities installed in four occupied regions of Ukraine have come to an end, paving the way for the Vladimir Putin-led country to annex more territory.

Hastily arranged votes took place in four areas — Donetsk, Luhansk, Zaporizhia and Kherson – that make up about 15 per cent of Ukrainian territory. As per an Associated Press report, Russia-installed election officials said that 93 per cent of the ballots cast in the Zaporizhzhia region supported annexation, as did 87 per cent in the Kherson region, 98 per cent in the Luhansk region and 99 per cent in Donetsk.

The polls have been branded an escalation of Moscow’s campaign and called a “sham” by Kyiv and its Western allies.

Here’s what Russian state media say will happen next, based on Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014:

Rapid results

Just as the annexation of Crimea has never been recognised by the international community, Kyiv and its allies have vowed not to accept the results.

The Kremlin, however, gave the polls a veneer of respectability by following a superficially legitimate voting process.

According to a BBC report, up to four million people were asked to vote in the war-torn regions, which make up about 15 per cent of Ukraine’s territory.

The referendums asking residents whether they wanted the four occupied southern and eastern Ukraine regions to be incorporated into Russia began on 23 September, often with armed officials going door-to-door collecting votes.

Russian parliament’s role

Now, the Russian parliament, the State Duma, will approve a treaty formally incorporating the four regions into Russian territory.

Over the weekend, Russian state news agencies TASS and Ria Novosti quoted parliament sources as saying an annexation bill could be proposed and approved by the Duma on Wednesday.

The speaker of parliament, Vyacheslav Volodin, said last week he would “support” the integration into Russia of the regions — Luhansk and Donetsk in the east and Zaporizhzhia and Kherson in the south.

The bill will then be approved by the upper house of parliament, the Federation Council. This formality could be completed on Wednesday or Thursday, Russian news agencies say.

Declaration by Putin

Russian president Vladimir Putin is expected on Friday to formally declare the Ukrainian regions to have become a part of Russia, according to Russian news agencies.

This could take the form of an address at the Kremlin to the members of one or both houses of parliament.

TASS said senators had been told to take three COVID-19 tests in preparation for an “important event” on Friday — a prerequisite for everyone who encounters the president at the Kremlin.

There is a possibility, however, that Putin will make an announcement before Friday.

In 2014, he signed a treaty incorporating Crimea into Russia just two days after the Kremlin held a referendum on annexation there.

The signing, at a special ceremony in the Kremlin, took place before the draft treaty had even been submitted to parliament.

With inputs from AFP

Read all the Latest News, Trending News, Cricket News, Bollywood News,India News and Entertainment News here. Follow us on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.