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Cartoon Roundup: November 19th

In this week's Cartoon Roundup: Comments on Zarif and the 5+1 nuclear negotiations in Geneva, and Iran's negative economic growth.

Citation Filtered: Iran's Censorship of Wikipedia

Using proxy servers in Iran, researchers Collin Anderson and Nima Nazeri scanned 800,000 Persian language Wikipedia articles. Every blocked article was identified and blocked pages were divided into ten categories to determine the type of content to which state censors are most adverse. In total, 963 blocked articles were found, covering a range of socio-political and sexual content including politics, journalism, the arts, religion, sex, sexuality, and human rights. Censors repeatedly targeted Wikipedia pages about government rivals, minority religious beliefs, and criticisms of the state, officials, and the police. The researchers found dozens of pages that seem to be unintentionally censored by keyword filtering, meaning that they were misidentified as sexual or profane and contained no content likely to offend Iranian authorities.

Citation Filtered: Iran's Censorship of Wikipedia

Using proxy servers in Iran, researchers Collin Anderson and Nima Nazeri scanned 800,000 Persian language Wikipedia articles. Every blocked article was identified and blocked pages were divided into ten categories to determine the type of content to which state censors are most adverse. In total, 963 blocked articles were found, covering a range of socio-political and sexual content including politics, journalism, the arts, religion, sex, sexuality, and human rights. Censors repeatedly targeted Wikipedia pages about government rivals, minority religious beliefs, and criticisms of the state, officials, and the police. The researchers found dozens of pages that seem to be unintentionally censored by keyword filtering, meaning that they were misidentified as sexual or profane and contained no content likely to offend Iranian authorities.

The Infamous Chant

The traditional “Death to America” chant, a defining form of political rhetoric in Iran since the 1979 hostage crisis, has now become a symbol of Iran’s stark political divisions. The Rouhani administration’s softened approach to the United States, and instances such as President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s website post revealing that Ayatollah Khomeini agreed that the “Death to America” slogan should be eliminated, has fostered reformist support for discontinuing the chant. Iranian political hardliners maintain that an uncompromising hostility towards U.S. is an inherent and inviolable characteristic of the revolution’s discourse and do not want it discontinued.

Soft War: A new episode in the old conflict between Iran and the United States

Soft war is synonymous today with the way the Islamic Republic of Iran characterizes its relationship with the West, and is a key concern of Iranian national security policy. Few, however, have seriously undertaken the task of defining what soft war is in concrete terms. This analysis proposes a definition of soft war grounded in Joseph Nye’s concept of ‘soft power’ and the history of Iran’s encounter with the West, particularly the United States. This work can be an aid to policymakers, scholars, and others in better understanding soft war and its implications for Iran’s domestic politics and foreign affairs, in addition to U.S.-Iran relations.

Cartoon Roundup: November 5th

Cartoons commented on US-Iran relations, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the economy.

Cartoon Roundup: October 21st

In this week's Cartoon Roundup: Iran and the West still face obstacles, 5+1 and Iran nuclear negotiations as a table tennis game, Qatar and Iranian water, and reactions to Netanyahu’s jeans comment.

Optimism in Iranian Theater

The theater industry in Iran is riding the wave of optimism across various arts and culture sectors since Hassan Rouhani’s election. While satire and comedy are inseparable from Persian culture, there has been significantly less comedy produced for television, film, and theater over the past few years, which can be attributed to political interference and economic pressures that have stifled the industry and this genre in particular. However, the new administration’s appointment of cultural executives and the optimism among industry insiders has inspired artists to stage comedies and musicals that they might not have produced under the prior administration, such as The Sound of Music and Cinderella.