Middle East

10:01pm

Wed January 25, 2012
Middle East

Growing Pressures Prompt Plunge In Iranian Currency

An Iranian man counts banknotes after exchanging a gold coin for cash in Tehran on Monday. Gold coins were being exchanged for over 10 million rials as the Iranian currency continues to lose value against the U.S. dollar.
Atta Kenare AFP/Getty Images

The value of Iran's currency — which had been sliding steadily for months — took another plunge this week. Faced with new economic sanctions from the U.S. and Europe, the rial now seems to be in free fall.

But at least part of the dive could be linked to currency manipulation by the government itself in an effort to fund candidates in upcoming elections.

In images posted on the Internet, hundreds of Iranians are seen gathered outside the headquarters of the Bank Melli in Tehran Monday. They wanted to buy dollars, but there were no dollars to be had.

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5:45am

Tue January 17, 2012
The Two-Way

Egypt's Wael Ghonim: 'Revolutions Are Processes ... It Will Take Time'

Originally published on Tue January 17, 2012 5:50 am

Wael Ghonim talking with reporters on Feb. 8, 2011, in Cairo's Tahrir Square as protests there continued.
Khaled Desouki AFP/Getty Images
  • NPR's Steve Inskeep talks with Wael Ghonim

It's been nearly a year since Google executive Wael Ghonim became one of the faces of the Arab Spring as his online organizing efforts and his arrest helped draw people and attention to the demands by many Egyptians for reform — a movement that led to the toppling of President Hosni Mubarak's regime.

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3:42pm

Mon January 2, 2012
Middle East

Saudi Arabia Enforces Gender Law In Lingerie Shops

Originally published on Mon January 2, 2012 7:17 pm

Saudi Arabia said Monday that it will enforce a law that allows only females to work in women's lingerie and apparel stores, despite disapproval from the country's top cleric.

The 2006 law banning men from working in female apparel and cosmetic stores has never been put into effect, partly because of the views of hard-liners in the religious establishment, who oppose the whole idea of women working in places where men and women congregate, such as malls.

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9:40am

Wed December 21, 2011
Anti-Government Protests Roil Egypt

A Foreign Correspondent Reflects On The Arab Spring

Originally published on Wed December 21, 2011 10:55 am

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Photographer Moises Saman captured this shot of two activists in Hama, Syria. Saman and journalist Anthony Shadid entered the city for several days last July. The rest of Saman's images can be found here.
Moises Saman The New York Times

Veteran war correspondent Anthony Shadid spent much of the past decade in Baghdad covering the Iraq war, first for The Washington Post and then for The New York Times. Last December, Shadid left Baghdad for his home in Beirut, Lebanon, where he's been based for more than a decade.

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3:57pm

Tue October 18, 2011
The Two-Way

Hamas Official: Prisoner Swap Was Victory For All Palestinians

In two interviews, today, NPR's Robert Siegel got reaction from Hamas and the Israeli government over a prisoner swap deal that freed Israeli soldier Gilad Shalit and 1,027 Palestinian prisoners.

When Robert asked Osama Hamdan, a senior official from the Hamas international relations department, what the deal meant for future relations between Hamas and Israel, Hamdan said it "depends on the Israeli side."

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