News Balal was pardoned execution by the family of his victim

Samereh Alinejad stopped Balal Abdullah's hanging at the last moment

Sanctions bite but won’t derail Iran's nuclear ambition

New signs are emerging that international sanctions are taking a deepening toll on Iran’s economy – putting billions of dollars in oil money out of the government’s reach.

I was lucky to escape with my life. The massacre of Iranian political prisoners in 1988 must now be investigated

Thousands were executed simply for their support of the PMOI

Iran to teach 'drone hunting' lessons to schoolchildren

The announcement was made by the deputy commander of Iran's paramilitary youth group

BHP faces action in America over ‘corruption’ at Olympics

BHP Billiton could face enforcement action by US officials over alleged breaches of anti-corruption laws, it admitted yesterday. The move relates partly to corporate hospitality that the London-listed miner laid on for the Beijing Olympics in 2008.

City council candidate 'too attractive' for Iranian politics

Nina Siahkali Moradi, 27, was barred from taking up her seat in Qazvin by the conservative electoral review board

Hassan Rouhani said 'Iran aims to strengthen its relations with Syria and will stand by it in facing all challenges'

Iran's new president? I see only an old and vicious regime

Hopes that Iran will get sweeter with Rouhani in power are naive, to say the least

Iran's new president Hassan Rouhani vows to support Syrian regime as president Assad vows to crush rebels with 'iron fist'

Rouhani made comments during a meeting with Syrian prime minister Wael al-Halqi

Briton who went missing in Dubai may be held in Iran, UK fears

Britain believes it is “plausible” that an Anglo-Iranian citizen who disappeared more than a month ago in Dubai may have been kidnapped on the orders of Tehran, according to government sources.

Hassan Rouhani: Iran's new president promises advances in women's rights and calls for West to end 'language of sanctions'

Could the new president bridge the divide between Iran and the West?

US Congress agrees tougher sanctions on Iranian oil

The House of Representatives easily passed a bill late on Wednesday to tighten sanctions on Iran, sending a strong message to Tehran over its disputed nuclear programme days before President-elect Hassan Rouhani is sworn in.

House passes Iran sanctions bill to slash oil exports

The House of Representatives easily passed a bill on Wednesday to tighten sanctions on Iran, showing a strong message to Tehran over its disputed nuclear program days before President-elect Hassan Rouhani is sworn in.

With the temperamental weather that these fair isles are blessed with, it's understandable that we make the most of the sun on those rare appearances that it shines.

Smooth operator: The best home products for longer lasting hair removal

Give yourself a break from daily depilation, says Rebecca Gonsalves

Tchenguiz brothers plan £2.5bn legal action over arrests by SFO

Property tycoons to seek damages after judge orders release of papers
Kazakh President welcomed David Cameron to Astana earlier this month

Kazakh dictator renews friendship with David Cameron

The authoritarian leader of Kazakhstan visited David Cameron in Downing Street while he was on a private trip to London with his family this week, it has emerged.

Iran’s nuclear ambitions: Israel will not wait until it’s too late, warns Benjamin Netanyahu

Israel's prime minister told the US television network CBS that Iran is getting “closer and closer to the bomb”

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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – Five-star MS Swiss Corona 7 nights from £999pp
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Lake Maggiore, Orta & the Matterhorn 7 nights from £939pp
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Prices correct as of 19 December 2014
Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history - clocks, rifles, frogmen’s uniforms and colonial helmets

Clocks, rifles, swords, frogmen’s uniforms

Surrounded by high-rise flats is a little house filled with Lebanon’s history
Return to Gaza: Four months on, the wounds left by Israel's bombardment have not yet healed

Four months after the bombardment, Gaza’s wounds are yet to heal

Kim Sengupta is reunited with a man whose plight mirrors the suffering of the Palestinian people
Gastric surgery: Is it really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Is gastric surgery really the answer to the UK's obesity epidemic?

Critics argue that it’s crazy to operate on healthy people just to stop them eating
Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction Part 2 - now LIVE

Homeless Veterans appeal: Christmas charity auction

Bid on original art, or trips of a lifetime to Africa or the 'Corrie' set, and help Homeless Veterans
Pantomime rings the changes to welcome autistic theatre-goers

Autism-friendly theatre

Pantomime leads the pack in quest to welcome all
The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

The week Hollywood got scared and had to grow up a bit

Sony suffered a chorus of disapproval after it withdrew 'The Interview', but it's not too late for it to take a stand, says Joan Smith
From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?

Panto dames: before and after

From Widow Twankey to Mother Goose, how do the men who play panto dames get themselves ready for the performance of a lifetime?
Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Thirties murder mystery novel is surprise runaway Christmas hit

Booksellers say readers are turning away from dark modern thrillers and back to the golden age of crime writing
Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best,' says founder of JustGiving

Anne-Marie Huby: 'Charities deserve the best'

Ten million of us have used the JustGiving website to donate to good causes. Its co-founder says that being dynamic is as important as being kind
The botanist who hunts for giant trees at Kew Gardens

The man who hunts giants

A Kew Gardens botanist has found 25 new large tree species - and he's sure there are more out there
The 12 ways of Christmas: Spare a thought for those who will be working to keep others safe during the festive season

The 12 ways of Christmas

We speak to a dozen people who will be working to keep others safe, happy and healthy over the holidays
Birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends, new study shows

The male exhibits strange behaviour

A new study shows that birdwatching men have a lot in common with their feathered friends...
Diaries of Evelyn Waugh, Virginia Woolf and Noël Coward reveal how they coped with the December blues

Famous diaries: Christmas week in history

Noël Coward parties into the night, Alan Clark bemoans the cost of servants, Evelyn Waugh ponders his drinking…
From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

From noble to narky, the fall of the open letter

The great tradition of St Paul and Zola reached its nadir with a hungry worker's rant to Russell Brand, says DJ Taylor
A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore: A prodigal daughter has a breakthrough

A Christmas ghost story by Alison Moore

The story was published earlier this month in 'Poor Souls' Light: Seven Curious Tales'