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June 18, 2014

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

The fol­low­ing is a selec­tion of news reports and com­men­tary from Iran­ian media and main­stream pub­li­ca­tions on devel­op­ments per­tain­ing to Iran. This weekly update includes a sam­pling of pub­lished reports from Iran’s Farsi-language media*as well as rel­e­vant arti­cles from the inter­na­tional press.

Iran­ian Media

Iraq, Syria and Palestine victims of Zionist sedition
(Mehr News Agency – June 18, 2014)

During a parliamentary session, a representative from the city of Mashhad accused the U.S. and Israel of being “behind all these seditions” in Iraq, Syria and Palestine, while Iran, he maintained, “seeks unity among all Muslims of the region and whole world.”

Iran is not prepared to work alongside America; Even Hitler never committed such inhumane crimes as ISIS has*
(Mehr News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Secretary of the Expediency Council and former presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai made claims that “ISIS is a program of the Zionists and reactionaries in the region who are trying to redirect the Islamic Awakening [Arab Spring] away from America and Israel and toward Islam instead.”

Basij commander blames US for volatile situation in Iraq
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Mohammad Reza Naqdi, the head of the Basij, said during a speech during a visit to a northern province that the takeover of large parts of Iraq by ISIS is “the result of the United States’ behind-the-scene attempts to sow discord and they are certainly the main mastermind of these events.”

Report: US training ISIL militants in Jordan
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

Citing an online Arabic news site, Fars claims that a Jordanian official disclosed that “American forces trained the ISIL [Islamic State in Iraq and the Levant] recruits in a secret military base in Jordan in 2012.”

Iranian speaker: Terrorists strengthened by US incorrect approach
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

While addressing a forum in southern Iran, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said that America’s mismanagement and the “incorrect strategies of the westerners, especially the Americans, in confronting the phenomenon of terrorism,” have in reality “strengthened the terrorists in some cases.”

hossein-firouzabadi-iran

Hossein Firouzabadi

No presence of Iranian forces in Iraq; There has never been cooperation between Iran and America*
(Fars News Agency – June 18, 2014)

In a speech during the funeral of a well-known IRGC commander, Major General Hossein Firouzabadi, the head of the armed forces, said, “There are no Iranian forces present in Iraq and cooperation between Iran and America will never happen and has no meaning.”

Iran, Powers continue work on drafting final deal in hectic day of diplomacy
(Fars News Agency – June 17, 2014)

Speaking to reporters following a full day of meetings between Iranian and Western negotiators, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi said the meetings were “constructive and positive.”

Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah: With the leadership of Ayatollah Khamenei out holy sites are secure*
(Kayhan – June 17, 2014)

Speaking at an anniversary event in Beirut, Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah reiterated that “Hezbollah is ready to fight a war against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in Iraq.”

Commander: Iran’s enemies weaker than ever
(Fars News Agency – June 12, 2014)

IRGC Commander General Hossein Salami said during a speech while vising the northern province of Semnan last week that Iran “is more powerful than ever before,” and its enemies are at their weakest position.

Official: Iran’s aid help Palestinian Resistance overcome problems
(Fars News Agency – June 11, 2014)

In an interview with Fars News, former Hamas advisor Youssef Rezqeh said, “The relentless supports of the Islamic Republic of Iran and its stances in supporting the Palestinian government in the Gaza Strip in the last 7 years have helped the government to overcome many problems and obstacles. Rezqeh added, “The Palestinian resistance movement has always thanked Iran for its support for Palestine, especially after the (Israeli) 2009 and 2012 wars.”

Passage of legislation on “Political Crimes” by judicial parliamentary commission*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

New legislation passed in parliament will provide a broad spectrum of what will constitute “political crimes,” which will include individual or political groups against the system of government, any movement to “reform” the system of the Islamic Republic, and defaming or insulting the heads of the three branches of government.

Inter­na­tional Media

Iranian leader vows to protect holy sites in Iraq
(The New York Times – June 18, 2014)

Speaking on Iranian television, President Hassan Rouhani warned that the Islamic Republic would take the necessary steps needed to defend Shiite holy sites in Iraq from ISIS. “Regarding the holy Shia shrines in Karbala, Najaf, Kadhimiya and Samarra, we announce to the killers and terrorists that the big Iranian nation will not hesitate to protect holy shrines,” Rouhani said.

Saudis give apparent warning to Iran: don’t meddle in Iraq
(Reuters – June 18, 2014)

The Saudi Foreign Ministry warned Iran to refrain from intervening in the Iraq conflict as Iranian authorities have threatened to protect Shiite holy sites at all costs.

The United States should not cooperate with Iran on Iraq
(The Washington Post Op-Ed – June 17, 2014)

Michael Doran and Max Boot write in their opinion piece that “The idea that the United States, a nation bent on defending democracy and safeguarding stability, shares a common interest with the Islamic Republic of Iran, a revolutionary theocracy that is the No.1 state sponsor of terrorism in the world, is as fanciful as the notion that Neville Chamberlain and Adolf Hitler could work together for the good of Europe.

With war at doorstep, Iran sees its Revolutionary Guards in a kinder light
(The New York Times – June 17, 2014)

Attitudes toward the IRGC are changing as the threat of the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS) in neighboring Iraq increases.

Iran is not an ally in Iraq
(The Washington Institute – June 17, 2014)

Michael Singh, the managing director of The Washington Institute, argues that an Iran-America alliance to fight ISIS could actually make condition worse in Iraq.

Iran, U.S. signal openness to cooperation on Iraq
(The Washington Post – June 16, 2014)

Earlier this week, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry hinted that the U.S. has not ruled out possible cooperation with Iran in protecting the Iraqi government against ISIS.

Iran eases constraints on academic contacts with West
(The New York Times – June 15, 2014)

President Rouhani’s administration has begun lifting some restrictions on university collaboration with foreign professors. The U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control has similarly eased economic sanctions to allow American colleges to establish partnerships with their Iranian counterparts.

Soccer breeds nationalism and anti-regime protests in Iran
(The Washington Post – June 15, 2014)

Iran’s participation in the World Cup Games has worried officials that citizen may use the opportunity to stage anti-regime protests, and have therefore banned large game viewings in cities.

Iran’s Zoroastrians celebrate Persian roots
(The Washington Post – June 15, 2014)

The Zoroastrian religion, the monotheistic religion of ancient Iran prior to the Arab invasion, is experiencing a revival of religious life in Iran. Zoroastrians gathered last week at Chak Chak, a holy site, to celebrate their Persian roots and pray in remembrance of a princess who fled the seventh century Arab invasion.

Mohammad Javad Zarif: Iran is committed to a peaceful nuclear program
(The Washington Post Op-Ed – June 13, 2014)

Foreign Minister Zarif wrote an op-ed expressing his country’s commitment to a peaceful nuclear program while warning that “Illusions have in the past led to missed opportunities.”

Building nuclear weapon would take years, no months, Iran says in report
(The New York Times – June 12, 2014)

The Iranian government released a study detailing how long it would theoretically take its scientists to assemble a nuclear weapon.

Iran’s Deputy FM: If nuke talks fail, we’ll resume enrichment
(Ha’aretz – June 12, 2014)

Deputy Foreign Minister Araqchi said during a conference in Rome last week that “Iran will return to 20 percent enrichment if a deal cannot be reached… failure to reach a deal will be a disaster for everyone.”

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