News Balal was pardoned execution by the family of his victim

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

Revolutionary Iran , By Michael Axworthy

Allen Lane, £25

Sole reformist candidate Mohammad Reza Aref withdraws from Iran elections to elect successor to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad

Liberals and moderates in the Islamic Republic left with few option in presidential race

Saddam ordered the poison gas strikes to crush a Kurdish rebellion, which was seen as aiding Iran in the final months of its war with Iraq; 5,000 people died

Kurds who suffered Saddam Hussein chemical weapons attack accuse French suppliers

Twenty survivors of Saddam Hussein’s deadly 1988 chemical weapons attack on the Kurdish town of Halabja have requested a judicial investigation of French suppliers, saying executives knew what they were sending to the Iraqi dictator.

Candidate and Khamenei loyalist, Saeed Jalili

Nuclear issue splits Iran's presidential candidates

Iran's eight presidential candidates quarrelled about talks with world powers over the country's disputed nuclear programme on Friday as they held their final televised debate before next week's election.

Batmanghelidjh says: 'We are sitting on top of an emotional time bomb in relation to the perversions that are developing in large numbers of children.'

The Conversation: Camila Batmanghelidjh, children's campaigner

First things first – where do you get those outfits?

Iran pilgrims die in Iraq bombing

A suicide car bomb attack has killed eight Iranian pilgrims and wounded 25 others north of Baghdad, police say.

Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei: Iran's prosecutor general said it was 'ready to foil the enemies' plots'

Iran accuses Britain of operating spy ring to undermine elections

The Iranian government claims it has captured a “spy ring” working for Israel and Britain which had planned to carry out “sabotage and assassinations” to undermine the impending national elections in the country.

Hassan Rohani is the most reform-minded candidate

Iran censors newspaper ahead of July’s presidential poll

Newspaper close to Ahmadinejad suspended while supporters of moderate rounded up

The Obama administration has eased long-standing sanctions that have blocked American companies from selling mobile phones and other personal technology products to Iranian citizens, paving the way for ordinary Iranians to legally buy the latest Apple iPhone or Google tablet

US eases sanctions on sale of mobiles to Iran

The Obama administration has eased long-standing sanctions that have blocked American companies from selling mobile phones and other personal technology products to Iranian citizens, paving the way for ordinary Iranians to legally buy the latest Apple iPhone or Google tablet.

The Syrian rebels are drawing recruits from a variety of national backgrounds

Syrian rebels urge European Union to send arms quickly

Syria's main opposition bloc has urged the European Union to quickly supply rebels fighting president Bashar Assad's forces with sophisticated weapons and help them overthrow his regime.

Syria must become a 'resistance nation like Hezbollah' says President Bashar al-Assad

Topple Assad in Syria to deal a blow to Iran?

A report on the conflict in Syria by the European Council for Foreign Relations argues two things: one, arming the rebels will only make the situation worse; two, Iran needs to be brought into diplomatic discussions. Donald Macintyre backs the report in today's column for Independent Voices. There is anything but consensus on the issue however, as these pieces from the Financial Times and Washington Post illustrate.

President Ahmadinejad is dwarfed by posters of the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, left, and Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini

Iran's clerical leaders cut presidency down to size

With 700 candidates – even Ahmadinejad’s preferred heir – barred, election is all but over

Former Iranian President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani

Reformist blocked from running for Iranian presidency

One of Iran's most reform-minded presidential candidates has been barred from standing in next month's presidential ballot by the conservative Guardian Council leaving just eight men on the ballot paper, all of whom are considered hardliners.

Women banned from Iranian election

Women seeking to run in the presidential election on 14 June have been told they are not allowed to take part.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

Iran's coming elections will test Khamenei's regime

Provoking political dispute in the run up to elections has been declared treasonous

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Lincoln MP Karl McCartney 'denied all knowledge' of the Twitter activity

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Michael Buerk in the I'm A Celebrity jungle 2014
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The author PD James, who died on 27 November 2014
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Detective novelist who wrote Death comes to Pemberley passed away peacefully at her home, aged 94

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Joel Edgerton, John Turturro and Christian Bale in Exodus: Gods and Kings
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Sites using the popular Gigya comment platform were attacked by the Syrian Electronic Army (SEA)

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Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

Cameron, Miliband and Clegg join forces for Homeless Veterans campaign

It's in all our interests to look after servicemen and women who fall on hard times, say party leaders
Millionaire Sol Campbell wades into wealthy backlash against Labour's mansion tax

Sol Campbell cries foul at Labour's mansion tax

The former England defender joins Myleene Klass, Griff Rhys Jones and Melvyn Bragg in criticising proposals
Nicolas Sarkozy returns: The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?

Sarkozy returns

The ex-President is preparing to fight for the leadership of France's main opposition party – but will he win big enough?
Is the criticism of Ed Miliband a coded form of anti-Semitism?

Is the criticism of Miliband anti-Semitic?

Attacks on the Labour leader have coalesced around a sense that he is different, weird, a man apart. But is the criticism more sinister?
Ouija boards are the must-have gift this Christmas, fuelled by a schlock horror film

Ouija boards are the must-have festive gift

Simon Usborne explores the appeal - and mysteries - of a century-old parlour game
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In pictures: There's a Good Girl exhibition

The new exhibition reveals how female creatives are changing the way women are portrayed in advertising
UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover - from advent calendars to doll's houses

UK firm Biscuiteers is giving cookies a makeover

It worked with cupcakes, doughnuts and macarons so no wonder someone decided to revamp the humble biscuit
Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

Can SkySaga capture the Minecraft magic?

It's no surprise that the building game born in Sweden in 2009 and now played by millions, has imitators keen to construct their own mega money-spinner
The King's School is way ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology

Staying connected: The King's School

The school in Cambridgeshire is ahead of the pack when it comes to using the latest classroom technology. Richard Garner discovers how teachers and pupils stay connected
Christmas 2014: 23 best women's perfumes

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Give a loved one a luxe fragrance this year or treat yourself to a sensual pick-me-up
Arsenal vs Borussia Dortmund: Alex Oxlade-Chamberlain celebrates century with trademark display of speed and intuition

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Our partner charities help veterans on the brink – and get them back on their feet
Putin’s far-right ambition: Think-tank reveals how Russian President is wooing – and funding – populist parties across Europe to gain influence in the EU

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