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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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May 2, 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

The IRGC’s missiles are in desirable readiness*
(Fars News Agency – April 30, 2014)

In a meeting Wednesday with the IRGC Council of Ashura Commanders, IRGC Commander Mohammad Jafari said, “In terms of military and security readiness, our missiles are in very good shape; however, the IRGC’s primary objective is to be prepared in faith, and this factor makes the IRGC the superior among the world’s armies.”

P5+1 negotiations with Iran have been breathless*
(Fars News Agency – April 30, 2014)

Deputy Foreign Minister Hassan Qashqavi said during a press conference on the status of the nuclear negotiations that, “The future of the negotiations at present are heading toward the direction of a comprehensive [settlement], and talks are sensitive, because the primary issues have not yet been resolved. For now, we cannot directly assess the final outcome of the talks.”

Iran is not after creating tensions in the region*
(Fars News Agency – April 30, 2014)

Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said during a speech marking National Persian Gulf Day, “The Persian Gulf is a very important issue, and if we and our neighboring countries have the correct approach, we could earn a lot of interest from it… Today, the presence of foreign ships [in the Gulf] have created implications.” Larijani added that Iran has “not been after any tensions in the region and we will not be. The security and calm of the region is of benefit for all, especially for Iran.”

ayatollah-noori-hamadani-iran

Ayatollah Noori Hamadani

America does not dare attack Iran due to its fear of the IRGC*
(Basij News Agency – April 30, 2014)

Ayatollah Noori Hamadani, a senior cleric from the city of Qom, said during a meeting with commanders and representatives of the Supreme Leader, that, “The policies of the IRGC have frightened America and the world, and we must promote the spirit of jihad and martyrdom-seeking in society, especially among the youth.”

September 11 was an excuse for America to get closer to the region*
(Mehr News Agency – April 30, 2014)

Nader Talebzadeh, secretary of Iran’s annual International Resistance Film Festival, praised the 2012 film “Operation Terror” by former California mayor Art Olivier, as presenting the “truth” about the 9/11 attacks. During a review panel of the film, Talebzadeh said, “In the first sequence of this film, the September 11th events [orchestrated] by the American government are disclosed…”

Iran welcomes Fatah-Hamas Deal
(Fars News Agency – April 26, 2014)

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham released the following statement on recent Palestinian reconciliation efforts: “The Islamic Republic of Iran welcomes the Palestinian groups’ solidarity against the Zionist regime and any national reconciliation which leads to Palestinian unity and adoption of decisions in line with the materialization of that nation’s valuable causes against the expansionism and aggressions of the Quds Occupying Regime (Israel).”

Inter­na­tional Media

A bold move
(The Economist – April 30, 2014)

The long awaited second round of cuts to subsidies on gasoline and electricity have been implemented by President Hassan Rouhani. Gasoline prices were raised by 75%, from $0.16 to $0.28 per liter.

U.S. targets Chinese businessman, says he supplied parts for Iranian missiles
(CNN – April 29, 2014)

New sanctions and criminal charges were announced by the U.S. against a Chinese businessman accused of supplying the Iranian military with parts for ballistic missiles.

Tehran book fair to feature works by anti-Semites, Holocaust deniers
(Access ADL – April 29, 2014)

An annual book fair in Tehran will include domestic and foreign-published anti-Semitic and Holocaust-denying books available to the public.

Iran to target decoy US aircraft in drills
(The Washington Post – April 27, 2014)

Admiral Ali Fadavi of the IRGC’s Naval Forces announced that Iranian forces should “target the [mock-up U.S. aircraft] carrier” in upcoming war games training. Fadavi added that the exercise will allow the IRGC to “learn about weaknesses and strengths of our enemy.”

Meaningful progress with Iran
(The New York Times, Editorial Board – April 26, 2014)

A look into the successes, and shortcomings, of the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the West as the July deadline for a final agreement approaches.

Iran general urges Tehran to make new UN pick
(The Washington Post – April 19, 2014)

Officials from the Iranian military have urged the foreign ministry to name a new envoy to the United Nations after the U.S. block granting a visa to the Islamic Republic’s original ambassador over alleged ties to the 1979 U.S. Embassy hostage crisis.

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March 26, 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

Israel strike on Iran would spell doom for US empire: Analyst
(Press TV – March 25, 2014)

Kevin Barrett, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and frequent contributor to Iran’s English-language propaganda news network, Press TV, wrote “The US is still doing the bidding of the Zionist bankster oligarchs who are the real power behind the Western throne.”

A topic from the Supreme Leader’s Nowruz speech*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 24, 2014)khamenei-nowruz-holocaust-denial

In an editorial examining the Supreme Leader’s comments on the Holocaust, Mashregh News posits the question, “Was the killing of the Jews during World War II a systematic killing, or were the Jews killed part of the millions who were killed during World War II?” In a follow-up question posted by the newspaper, the figure of 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis is doubted, “Could the figure of 6 million Jews killed in World War II be true? Some researchers even believe that the systematic killings of the Jews during WWII is true, although during that era there were not 6 million Jews living in Europe to kill.”

We are not pessimistic about nuclear negotiations*
(Tabnak – March 24, 2014)

In an exclusive interview with Tabnak, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani, said, “I am not pessimistic in regards to the direction of negotiations, but we must be sensitive to the negotiations because there are many aspects.” Larijani added, “We must accept the fact that in the United States that there is an influential and effective Zionist current.”

What was the most important and memorable statement made by the Supreme Leader in the 1391 (2013)?*
(Khamenei.ir – March 24, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s office asked supporters to vote on their favorite statement from the last year. The winning statement was from Khamenei’s 2013 Persian New Year address where he threatened, “If the Zionist regime makes a wrong move, the Islamic Republic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

Iran’s foreign policy priorities for the new year*
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Professor Reza Simbar, the head of Gilan University’s Political Science and International Relations Group, wrote that among the primary goals for the Islamic Republic the new year is “supporting the downtrodden, fighting Israel, supporting the rights of the people of Palestine, rejecting the unjust economic tricks of the world, and fighting America who is the leader of the global arrogance.”

Iranian MP warns against foreign interference in Ukraine
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Esmayeel Kossari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said in an interview with Fars News that, “The bullying and interference of the Westerners has no boundary as they want to practice hegemony over every part (of the world).” Kossari added, “The Americans and Westerners will no way attain their goals in Ukraine because the Ukrainian people will not allow them to interfere in their country’s domestic affairs.”

Interior Minister: Enemies unable to impose will on Iran
(Fars News Agency – March 23, 2014)

Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Iran’s Interior Minister, boasted that “The enemy is not in such conditions that it can impose anything on us and we, in line with the guidelines of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, will not step back from our principles and rights.” Fazli also claimed that it was “The Islamic Republic’s might and power and its insistence on people’s inalienable rights” that have “made the enemy come and sit to the negotiating table with an equal footing.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Nowruz message to the nation*
(Leader.ir – March 21, 2014)

During his annual speech to the Iranian nation to mark the start of the Persian New Year, Ayatollah Khamenei said the historical reality of the Holocaust is “unknown” and questioned if it “actually did
happen.”

A new scenario to combat West’s possible violation of nuclear agreement*
(Fars News Agency – March 20, 2014)

During an interview with Fars News, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said that American claims that sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table are for its own public consumption. Larijani added, “[Talk of sanctions by the U.S.] were also meant to shut the mouths of the many Zionists that heavily lobbied [for sanctions].”             

International Media

Iran Standard Time: A day at the Kerman bazzar
(The Guardian – March 26, 2014)

A look into the once bustling markets of the city of Kerman.

Iran alcohol ban doesn’t keep moonshine away
(Ha’aretz – March 26, 2014)

Alcohol consumption may be officially banned according to Iranian law, but locals continue to skirt the ban by brewing at home.

Iran resumes monetary aid to Hamas
(Al-Monitor – March 24, 2014)

The Islamic Republic resumes financial support of Hamas, but at lower levels than what was given before the two sides had a falling out over the Syrian civil war. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will also visit Iran and meet with Supreme Leader Khamenei in the near future.

Born in the U.S., playing for Iran
(The New York Times – March 22, 2014)

An Iranian-American, Steven Beitashour, has accepted an offer to potentially play for Iran’s national soccer team during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

Iranians ignore government limits on holiday celebrations
(Al-Monitor – March 21, 2014)

Iranians continue to ignore government warnings against celebrating ancient Persian New Year customs.

Iran’s leader preaches self-reliance in face of sanctions in annual Nowruz speech
(The Washington Post – March 21, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s new year message to Iranian citizens calls for national strength. “If a nation is not strong, it will be bullied and trampled,” Khamenei said.

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