North Korea is seen as an unpredictable 'spoiled child.' Iran is seen as a rational but aggressive nation. Each have nuclear programs, but pose unique problems for US security.
The Methboub family, which the Monitor has followed since 2002, work to free a son from jail and anguish over a daughter’s soured marriage. They had little hope Sunday's election in Iraq would change their lives significantly.
In Iran, Hossein Ali Montazeri had the theological gravitas and political moxie to challenge Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. His death now creates a rallying point for the opposition during this week's religious rituals.
Pro-government supporters are calling for the arrest and execution of Mousavi as Iran heads into a 10-day religious holiday. But the opposition is optimistic that they have ample opportunities to promote a cause they say is growing.
The teenager disappeared June 15, when hundreds of thousands rallied in Tehran. Officials notified his mother of his death only on Saturday, despite her repeated inquiries at courts and prisons.