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June 10, 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

Rouhani: Iran, Turkey share viewpoints on liberation of Palestine, Holy Quds
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

During a press conference while on an official visit to the Turkish capital, President Rouhani said, “I am confident that the two countries (Iran and Turkey) have common views on issues related to Iraq, liberation of the Holy Al-Quds and the return of the Palestinians to their homeland.”

IRGC Commander: World powers attempting to weaken Iran but in vain
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

IRGC Commander Hossein Salami claimed during a speech in the western city of Kermanshah, that due to Iran’s resistance, the “enemy is now withdrawing” from its previous positions of threatening Tehran.

Deputy FM: Iran ready to remove G5+1’s “Rightful Concerns”
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

In a meeting with the Croatian deputy foreign minister, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to remove the legitimate concerns of the other side.” Sarmadi’s statement came after the latest round of bilateral meetings between Iranian and American negotiators.

ali-fazli-basij

Ali Fazli

Commander sees Persian Gulf as battlefield of possible Iran-US war
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Lieutenant Commander of the Basij Forces Ali Fazli said in a speech at the port city of Bandar Abbas that “The US has always tasted defeat and withdrawal in the Persian Gulf’s waters and has directly witnessed the bravery and prowess of the Muslim fighters; therefore, it hasn’t and doesn’t dare even to leer down the Islamic Iran’s holy borders.”

Palestinian groups’ unity is tactical; the future is the continuation of resistance*
(Basij News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Mehdi Shakibai, an expert on Palestinian and Lebanon, wrote an op-ed explaining what the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement and the new Palestinian government means in regards to Israel: “The future is still the continuation of resistance and jihadist groups in Palestine, which are a cause for fear and anxiety to the Zionist regime in the region, and it may be possible to see with this reconciliation agreement the return of Hamas’s presence in the West Bank, and this prospect has made Israel very worried.”

Israel and American were the losers of the Syrian elections*
(Basij News Agency – June 10, 2014)

While visiting the port city of Chabahar, head of the Basij organization Mohammad Reza Naqdi said: “The Zionists are in fear today over the situation of the Syrian people, because the people are voluntarily standing and fighting against the terrorists. They [the Zionists] had come to destroy Syria but were unable to do this; the Americans have also suffered defeat a number of times and they should reach the conclusion that they don’t have a place among the nations of the region and the only losers of these elections were America and Israel.”

Unveiling of the Zionist regime’s new president, a ‘carnivore in vegetarian clothing’*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

A profile on Reuven Rivlin, the new president of Israel, describes the Israeli politician as being “known as a supporter of occupying all the lands of Palestine.”

The Americans want people from inside to stand against the Islamic Republic*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Hassan Firouzabadi, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said during an induction ceremony that “Today, the Americans are propagandizing that Iran is an enemy and that it is against us and it’s a global problem… They say that they are a superpower and Iran is just a country, while at the same time they admit and accept that superpower America is on its knees before Iran.”

Zara’i: The Syrian crisis is a result of the Israeli Winograd Commission*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Referring to the official commission report following Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, Saidollah Zara’i, a Middle East affairs reporter, claimed: “Israel’s Winograd Commission was established with eight people following the 33 day war, and this commission worked for a year and a half and ultimately reflected the importance of seeking revenge for their [Israel’s] defeat by Hezbollah by going after Syria due to its important and effect support of Hezbollah in the 33 day war.”

The crimes committed by America and the Takfiris are like those committed by the Umayyads*
(Mehr News Agency – June 3, 2014)

In a meeting with the Ahl al Bayt Cultural Group in Qom, Ayatollah Hussain Nuri Hamedani compared crimes committed in the Syrian conflict to historical Sunni-Shi’a grievances from the 7th century: “Muawiyah committed many crimes and today America, the Zionist regime and the Takfiris are committing these crimes worthy of Bani Umayyad, and if we were to show this to the world, the world would shake.”

An attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran means the destruction of Tel Aviv and the continuation of the war inside the United States*
(Basij News Agency – May 30, 2014)

Massoud Jazayeri, the Deputy Commander of the Iranian Armed Forces, said in reaction to President Obama’s West Point speech: “If America and its allies were to have the ability to attack Iran, moments later they will regret their barbaric operation. They know that an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran means the destruction of Tel Aviv and the continuation of war inside the United States. Therefore, the childish words and hopes of the president of the government of American will not be realized.”

Zarif: We will not submit to sanctions and threats; we don’t have anything to hide and scientific advances and the rights of Iran are not subject to negotiations*
(Fars News Agency – May 29, 2014)

On the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement’s meeting in Algeria, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “The member states of the Non-Aligned Movement should have a common position and emphasize without a doubt the Palestinians’ rights and to create an independent country with Jerusalem as its capital to ensure stability and peace.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran questions nuclear deal deadline as talks ‘hit wall’
(Reuters-UK – June 10, 2014)

France, one of the states in the so-called P5+1, stated that negotiations with Iran have “hit a wall,” while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Iran should drop  its demand to have thousands of uranium enrichment centrifuges. Fabius added, “We say that there can be a few hundred centrifuges, but the Iranians want thousands so we’re not in the same framework.”

Surprise Iran nuclear talks: Why US sends in top US-Iran dealmaker
(The Christian Science Monitor – June 9, 2014)

In a bid to move the negotiating process along, the U.S. State Department dispatched Deputy Secretary William Burns to surprise talks with senior Iranian officials in Geneva. Burns’s dispatch has added a hint of urgency as negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 are set to resume next week.

Culture minister likens Iran’s fear of Internet to fear of fax machine
(Al-Monitor – June 9, 2014)

Ali Jannati, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, urged the government to accept new technological changes, and likened the government’s protectionist policies previous failed policies. “There was a time we had problems with video. There was a time we had issue with the fax machine,” Jannati said in a meeting with Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.

Iranian president visits Turkey to bolster ties
(The Wall Street Journal – June 9, 2014)

President Rouhani made a two-day visit to Turkey, where several economic cooperation agreements were signed between the two regional powers. Ten deals were signed on energy and trade in total.

Tehran’s Chinese missile man
(The Daily Beast – June 9, 2014)

A Chinese businessman who helped Iran develop its ballistic missiles and violating international bans on trading with Iran has a $5 million bounty on his head.

Urged to multiply, Iranian couples are dubious
(The New York Times – June 7, 2014)

As Iran’s authorities embark on fulfilling the Supreme Leader’s command that Iranians should have more children, for an increasing number of young, middle-class Iranians, having children is not a priority at the moment.

Saudi Arabia and Iran reach out tentatively
(The New York Times – June 6, 2014)

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’a Iran have been showing signs of thawing their decades old rivalry.

Openness on Israeli issues seen in survey of Iranians
(The New York Times – June 6, 2014)

A recent Israeli commissioned survey of Iranian public opinion indicates that 40 percent of Iranians would be willing to give up any ability to produce nuclear weapon in return for the full removal of sanction. 40 percent of respondents agreed that Iran should recognize Israel if Israel reached a peace accord with the Palestinians.

In Iran, a dispute over heaven
(The Atlantic – June 5, 2014)

Hard-liners in the Iranian government have taken President Rouhani to task over statements he made on how far the government’s influence on citizens’ lives should extend.

$21 Million for selling parts to Iran
(The New York Times – June 5, 2014)

A Dutch aerospace company and Pentagon contractor has agreed to pay $21 million in penalties to settle accusations that it repeatedly violated American sanctions on sales of aircraft parts to Iran and Sudan.  

Iran’s leader says Obama has removed military option
(The New York Times – June 4, 2014)

In what is seen as a response to President Obama’s West Point speech, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei boasted, “They realized that military attacks are as dangerous or even more dangerous for the assaulting country as they are for the country attacked…They have renounced the idea of any military actions.”

Happiness in short supply in Iran
(Gallup World – June 3, 2014)

A Gallup poll reveals that Iran’s ranking of positive emotions stands at 93 on a list of 138 countries. The poll also reported that Iranians have the highest negative emotions in the world, second only to Iraq.

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May 14, 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

66 years since the grand betrayal of the people of Palestine has passed*
(Mehr News Agency – May 14, 2014)

A report on the establishment of Israel as an American and British plot to take over the region, one which has resulted in continuing presence of this “malignant and incurable cancerous tumor.”

Hadi Mohammadi: The discourse of the Islamic Revolution is the solution to the issue of Palestine*
(Fars News Agency – May 14, 2014)

In a roundtable discussion marking the 66th anniversary of the nakba, the Arabic term meaning ‘catastrophe’ to describe Israel’s establishment, Hadi Mohammadi, an expert in Middle East affairs, said, “The project of Palestine’s occupation has three components. One is of the Zionists, whom built upon the [Zionist] program, and they had several choices and Palestine wasn’t their primary choice, and it is here when the great powers of the time, English, Germany and France, entered the equation. These countries participated in its [Israel’s] establishment to facilitate [Jewish] immigration…”

Tehran’s Friday prayer and sermon*
(Tehran University – May 9, 2014)

Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani said: “Iran and America are on two antithetical paths, and we will not back down from our rights and America will not lift its hand from devouring the world and being a malicious enemy. So our position is to support the oppressed of the world and America’s position is to kill the people of the world. Our position is [based] on logic, wisdom and laws, and America’s logic is force and bullying. Our position is related to being just with the world and America is worried about our expanding relations with the world.”

Qom Friday prayer and sermon*
(Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency – May 9, 2014)

In his sermon to the faithful in the holy city of Qom, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami issued a number of threats against Israel. “America is the lifeline of the terrorist Zionist regime, and to secure the safety of the Occupiers of Jerusalem, they do not want Iran to have any missiles. Our missiles are aimed to the direction of the Occupiers of Jerusalem’s sensitive centers. If they make a mistake we will raise Tel Aviv to the ground.”

ayatollah-mezba-yazdi-iran

Ayatollah Mezba Yazdi

An explicit warning by Ayatollah Mezba regarding the direction of some politicians’ politics and culture*
(Rasa News Agency – May 8, 2014)

Ayatollah Mohammad Mezba Yazdi, the president of the Imam Khomeini Institute for Education and Research, made anti-Semitic comments, positing, “What plan do the Jews have in store for our country?” Ayatollah Yazdi added that adherents of the Baha’i faith are not considered protected citizens, “We should not say Baha’i under the excuse of the rights of the citizens. Jews and Muslims have no difference between them because the Qur’an has provisions for such cases expressed in it.”

Araghchi: “Dark forces” seek to destroy Iran and P5+1 agreement*
(Iranian Students’ News Agency – May 8, 2014)

Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi alluded to Israel, and said, “I don’t want to use the word ‘warmongering’, but this group wants to continue the disputes and crises in our region. They don’t want the sanctions against Iran to come to an end. They also don’t like that Iran is transforming into a primary player in the region.”

Inter­na­tional Media

ADL Global 100: Anti-Semitism in Iran is lower than the rest of the Middle East and North Africa
(Anti-Defamation League Global 100 – May 14, 2014)global-100-iran

The Anti-Defamation League released its much anticipated Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism. The comprehensive poll shows that Iran is the least anti-Semitic country in the Middle East and North Africa at 56% compared to 93% in the Palestinian Territories, and 92% in neighboring Iraq.

Six powers, Iran launch crunch phase of nuclear diplomacy
(Reuters – May 14, 2014)

Representatives from the P5+1 and Iran launched into the decisive phase of negotiations on Wednesday in Vienna, hoping to hammer out an agreement within the next two months.

Nuclear talks will confront Iran’s future capability to enrich uranium
(The New York Times – May 13, 2014)

As negotiations resume this week in Vienna, the issue of Iran’s right to enrich and how much it will be allowed to retain, are seen as the critical issues at hand.

Breaking bad in Tehran: How Iran got a taste for crystal meth
(The Guardian – May 13, 2014)

Locally known as sheesheh, crystal meth production and use has skyrocketed in Iran at startling rates.

Slow progress in IAEA investigation may complicate Iran nuclear talks
(Reuters – May 13, 2014)

The IAEA stated this week that Iran is making little progress to fully implement a series of nuclear transparency measure Tehran has agreed to.

Khamenei adviser backs Iranian negotiators
(Al-Monitor – May 13, 2014)

Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Khamenei’s senior foreign policy advisor, stated this week that he supports the current Iranian negotiations team in their meetings with the P5+1.

In thaw, Saudi extends invite to Iran
(The Washington Post – May 13, 2014)

Iran’s foreign minister has received an official invitation from his Saudi counterpart to visit the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, in what is seen as a possible thawing of relations between the two regional giants.

A ‘nightmare becoming reality’? Iran unveils American drone replica
(The Christian Science Monitor – May 12, 2014)

Iran has unveiled its own copy of the American stealth drone it captured in its territory in late 2011. IRGC officers have stated that the Iranian replica will be tested soon.

Iranian women post pictures of themselves without hijabs on Facebook
(The Guardian – May 12, 2014)

An online campaign is calling on Iranian women living in the Islamic Republic to post pictures of themselves sans hijab. Women are required by law to wear the headscarf in public or risk arrest by the morality police.

Israeli held for selling Iran spare parts for fighter jets
(The Times of Israel – May 12, 2014)

An Israeli citizen was arrested at Ben Gurion Airport for allegedly selling arms and spare parts for fighter jets to Iran. The suspect, Eli Cohen, is expected to be extradited to the U.S.

Benjamin Netanyahu compares Iran nukes to North Korea
(The Jewish Daily Forward – May 12, 2014)

In a meeting with Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu compared Iran’s nuclear program and the danger it poses to that of North Korea.

Iran leader slams West’s ‘stupid’ missile stance before talks
(Reuters – May 11, 2014)

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei blasted U.S. demands for Iran to end its missile development, calling this “a stupid, idiotic expectation.”

How the West gets Iran wrong
(CNN contribution by Akbar Ganji – May 9, 2014)

Akbar Ganji, a well-known Iranian dissident and journalist, writes that despite Iran’s authoritarian rule which rejects liberal democracy and feminism, many important books on liberalism, democracy and feminism are translated and published in the Islamic Republic. Among the available titles found in Iran are John Locke’s Two Treatises of Government and Milton Friedman’s Capitalism and Freedom.

Shiraz cemetery demolition continues by the Revolutionary Guards
(Baha’i World News Service – May 8, 2014)

The IRGC continues to destroy a historic Baha’i cemetery in the southern city of Shiraz. With an estimated 300,000 members of the faith, the Baha’i religion is Iran’s largest religious minority and unrecognized by the government as a protected minority.

Iranian revolutionary guards commander: US preparing for attack
(The Jerusalem Post – May 8, 2014)

Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi, the commander of the IRGC’s naval forces, claimed that the U.S. is planning for an attack against Iran’s navy. Fadavi added, “They [the Americans] know nothing. We have been making and sinking replicas of US destroyers, frigates and warships for years, and we have sunk the replicas of their vessels in 50 second through a series of operational measures.”

What Iran really wants: Iranian foreign policy in the Rouhani era
(Foreign Affairs, Op-Ed by Foreign Minister Zarif – May 7, 2014)

In a piece published in Foreign Affairs, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif makes the case for Iran as nuclear negotiations pave the way for possible changes in relations with the West and the region.

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March 21, 2014

Iranian Leader Questions Holocaust During Persian New Year Speech

khamenei-nowruz-holocaust

Supreme Leader Khamenei addressing the nation on Persian New Year (March 21, 2014)

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei made statements questioning the historical reality of the Holocaust during his annual Nowruz, or Persian New Year, address to the nation on Friday.

During his speech, where the leader discussed Iran’s struggling economy and Western cultural encroachments on youth, Khamenei denounced the West for its “strict adherence” to freedom of speech while imposing restrictions on discussing the Holocaust. Emphasizing this point, Khamenei said, “In European countries no one dares to speak about the Holocaust, which it is unknown if the roots of this matter are actual or not, and, if it actually did happen, in what way.”

Khamenei added that the West, and Europe in particular, place high value on free speech, yet, “Opinions on the Holocaust and doubt the Holocaust are considered one of the biggest offenses that they [try to] stop and imprison and prosecute.”

Khamenei also singled out the U.S. and its support for Israel’s requirement for the Palestinian Authority to recognize Israel as a Jewish state. “America has been left in a disaster in Palestine. The plans they had for Palestine, and they’ve tried very hard, have not been successful…They want to transform the country of Palestine into a Jewish country, meaning that Palestinians, whether they be Muslim or Christian, will not have the possibility to live in Palestine,” Khamenei said. Khamenei also claimed that the U.S. is plotting to “finish off Palestine in its entirety” by supporting Israel’s preconditions in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In his 2013 Persian New Year address, Khamenei threatened that if Israel were to “make the mistake of attacking Iran, the Islamic Republic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

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