Iran Seeks Allies in South America

In addition to recent military posturing, Iran is looking to extend a softer version of its influence to South America by signing trade contracts, opening embassies and financing development projects.

What's the Latest Development?


This month, Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad will tour four Central and South American states as part of a larger diplomatic effort he is making in the continent. From developing mining projects in Ecuador to building factories in Venezuela, Iran is looking to extend a softer version of its influence. The moves comes in addition to recent military posturing in the Gulf, where Iran has tested a medium-range missile capable of threatening Israeli and American interests. 

What's the Big Idea?

Naturally, the US interprets Iran's diplomatic missions as something more than an extension of goodwill. In Venezuela, where president Hugo Chavez shares Ahmadinejad's anti-American outlook, Iran has established transportation companies as well as a bank which US officials believe exists to circumvent economic sanctions. Iran's Quds Force, a military unit the US accuses of plotting assassinations, will be deployed to protect newly-opened Iranian embassies, leaving American officials to expect more trouble.

Photo credit: shutterstock.com

'Upstreamism': Your zip code affects your health as much as genetics

Upstreamism advocate Rishi Manchanda calls us to understand health not as a "personal responsibility" but a "common good."

Sponsored by Northwell Health
  • Upstreamism tasks health care professionals to combat unhealthy social and cultural influences that exist outside — or upstream — of medical facilities.
  • Patients from low-income neighborhoods are most at risk of negative health impacts.
  • Thankfully, health care professionals are not alone. Upstreamism is increasingly part of our cultural consciousness.
Keep reading Show less

In U.S. first, drug company faces criminal charges for distributing opioids

It marks a major shift in the government's battle against the opioid crisis.

George Frey/Bloomberg via Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • The nation's sixth-largest drug distributor is facing criminal charges related to failing to report suspicious drug orders, among other things.
  • It marks the first time a drug company has faced criminal charges for distributing opioids.
  • Since 1997, nearly 222,000 Americans have died from prescription opioids, partly thanks to unethical doctors who abuse the system.
Keep reading Show less

Scientists create a "lifelike" material that has metabolism and can self-reproduce

An innovation may lead to lifelike evolving machines.

Shogo Hamada/Cornell University
Surprising Science
  • Scientists at Cornell University devise a material with 3 key traits of life.
  • The goal for the researchers is not to create life but lifelike machines.
  • The researchers were able to program metabolism into the material's DNA.
Keep reading Show less

Calling out Cersei Lannister: Elizabeth Warren reviews Game of Thrones

The real Game of Thrones might be who best leverages the hit HBO show to shape political narratives.

Photo credit: Mario Tama / Getty Images
Politics & Current Affairs
  • Sen. Elizabeth Warren argues that Game of Thrones is primarily about women in her review of the wildly popular HBO show.
  • Warren also touches on other parallels between the show and our modern world, such as inequality, political favoritism of the elite, and the dire impact of different leadership styles on the lives of the people.
  • Her review serves as another example of using Game of Thrones as a political analogy and a tool for framing political narratives.
Keep reading Show less