Amir Taheri was born in Iran and educated in Tehran, London and Paris. From 1984 to 1987 he was editor-in-chief of Jeune Afrique, the French weekly specializing in Africa. Between 1980 and 1984 he was Middle East editor for the London Sunday Times. He also wrote for the daily Times and contributed to The Daily Telegraph, The Guardian, and the Daily Mail among other leading British publications. Between 1972 and 1979 he was executive editor-in-chief of Kayhan, Iran's main daily newspaper. He has been a columnist for the pan-Arab daily Asharq Alawsat and its sister daily Arab News since 1987. Taheri has been a contributor to the International Herald Tribune since 1980. He has also written for The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, Newsday, and The Washington Post. Between 1989 and 1995 Taheri was editorial writer for the German daily Die Welt. He has also written for other publications including Der Spiegel, Die Zeit, Frankfurter Algemeine Zeitung, La Repubblica, L'Express, Politique Internationale, Le Nouvel Observateur, and El Mundo in Spain. Currently he is a contributor to the German weekly Focus. Taheri has published nine books. In 1988 Publishers' Weekly in New York chose his study of Islamist terrorism, Holy Terror, as one of The Best Books of The Year.
Khaled al-Asaad, 81, a renowned Syrian antiquities scholar, was publicly beheaded on August 18, 2015 by the Islamic State in the ancient city of Palmyra, apparently after he refused to reveal where valuable artifacts were hidden.