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Javad Rad of the Payam Nour University of Bojnourd recounts his experience participating in the Arbaeen ceremony in Iraq. 

Shia women protest the Sunni dictatorship in Bahrain

Javad Rad says the U.S. is "betting on the wrong horse" in the Middle East.

It is only in working democracies that an election would mean a real fresh start for the citizens of a country. This seems to be true about Iran. Since the election of the moderate Hassan Rouhani in June 2013, the voters inside the country and statesmen across the world have expected a relatively new Iran.

This year's Oscar for the best foreign film went to Iran, a country which is grappling with a tense international environment because of its nuclear program. Despite its small budget, A Separation has come to generate a considerable amount of discussion both inside Iran and abroad. One debate, always important to Iranians, is about the contribution of such movies to the Iranian image.

Throughout history, many nations have relied on historical phenomena, narratives, and myths to define their identities and their relation to the outside reality. When narratives survive the test of time and space, they become meta-narratives which shape the worldview and the conduct of the societies they encompass. In addition to having profound effects on the socio-cultural process, meta-narratives sometimes influence and explicate the international behavior of a nation.

In a clear act of public diplomacy, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton appeared on BBC Persian this week to engage the network's Iranian audience on a range of issues regarding the state of relations between Iran and America. In an interview-format program, she tried to address some important issues raised by Iranians living either in Iran or outside the country.

The Middle East is once again on fire, not because of American warfare, but due to apparently genuine movements aiming to get rid of old rulers and obsolete political systems. Tunisia, Egypt, Libya, Bahrain, and Yemen have all either passed the threshold of revolution or are on the verge. The dominos have fallen and it would not be imprudent to call it a day for rulers in other Arab countries like Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, or Jordan.

In his exclusive interview with the BBC Persian Television, President Obama responded not only to the Iranian president's remarks at the UN General Assembly, but also to some of the concerns of Iranians and Afghans with regards to his administration's foreign policy. Beyond the harsh rhetoric on who is to blame for 9/11, this appearance on BBC Persian has a few notable implications for U.S. public diplomacy apparatus in general and its policy towards Iran in particular.