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August 21, 2014 0

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

Zion­ists’ Ira­nopho­bia cam­paign foiled: Zarif
(Press TV – August 21, 2014)

Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif said on state tele­vi­sion that his coun­try has suc­cess­fully thwarted an anti-Iran cam­paign led by Israel. “It has always been on the agenda of the Zion­ist regime and its sup­port­ers as well as cer­tain parts of the US gov­ern­ment and some West­ern coun­tries to por­tray Iran as a secu­rity threat to the world,” Zarif said dur­ing the tele­vised broad­cast on Wednesday.

Iran wor­ried over race dis­crim­i­na­tion in US
(Mehr News Agency – August 20, 2014)

Iran’s for­eign min­istry crit­i­cized the U.S. for blast­ing Iran’s human rights offenses as protests con­tin­ued in Fer­gu­son, Mis­souri. The for­eign min­istry said: “Race dis­crim­i­na­tion against African Amer­i­cans by the US police and court sys­tem is an indi­ca­tor of human rights vio­la­tions in that coun­try despite their claims for sup­port­ing human rights and their annual reports of human rights vio­la­tions in other countries.”

IRGC com­man­der warns Israel of deadly response
(Fars News Agency – August 20, 2014)

Gen­eral Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the com­man­der of the IRGC’s Air Force, threated Israel with retal­i­a­tion in the event of an Israeli strike against Iran. “The Zion­ist regime might have a deci­sion to make an aggres­sion against Iran, but it will cer­tainly come to the con­clu­sion that it has taken an imma­ture deci­sion after study­ing the out­comes and con­se­quences and the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran’s much pow­er­ful reaction.”

ebrahim-raeisi-iran

Ebrahim Raeisi

Huj­jat al-Islam Ebrahim Raeisi: “Amer­i­cans have com­mit­ted some of the worst crimes in the name of free­dom”
(Rasa News Agency – August 19, 2014)

Ebrahim Raeisi, the first deputy of the Iran­ian judi­ciary, gave a speech in the city of Qom, stat­ing, “The igno­rant Amer­i­cans have com­mit­ted some of the worst crimes upon human­ity in the name of free­dom.” The cleric also claimed that the West is pro­mot­ing the accep­tance of homo­sex­u­al­ity as a human right and as “a sign of free­dom and a char­ac­ter­is­tic of a civ­i­lized, lib­eral and mod­ern society.”

Iran’s civil, air defense bod­ies sign agree­ment to coop­er­ate in defend­ing N. sites
(Fars News Agency – August 19, 2014)

Gho­lam Reza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Civil Defense Orga­ni­za­tion, announced this week that his orga­ni­za­tion has signed an agree­ment with other air defense bases to estab­lish a defense sys­tem to pro­tect the country’s nuclear sites. “Our enemy uses intel­li­gent power and we should make use of an intel­li­gent air defense sys­tem as well,” Jalali said dur­ing the sign­ing ceremony.

IRGC top advi­sor hails Iran’s mis­sile power
(Fars News Agency – August 19, 2014)

Gen­eral Komeil Kohansal, a top advi­sor to the IRGC, said dur­ing a visit to the north­ern city of Sari on Tues­day, that, “Today, Iran’s mis­sile sys­tems are ready to respond to any enemy threats.”

Com­mit­ting crimes now habit for Israel: Top cleric
(Press TV – August 19, 2014)

Senior Iran­ian leader and for­mer Pres­i­dent Aya­tol­lah Raf­san­jani said dur­ing an anti-Israel protest in Tehran on Tues­day that, “Com­mit­ting crimes has grown into a habit for Israel, and silence and sup­port­ing crim­i­nals has become rou­tine in inter­na­tional communities.”

Iran’s inte­grated air defense sys­tem impen­e­tra­ble
(Fars News Agency – August 18, 2014)

Gen­eral Ali Reza Sabahi­fard, the lieu­tenant com­man­der of the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, boasted to reporters about Iran’s mil­i­tary prowess, stat­ing, “At present, every part of the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran’s air­space is con­nected to the inte­grated air defense net­work and the small­est move­ments can­not go unno­ticed by the eagle eyes of the air defense base.”

Israelis con­trol major world banks: Ana­lyst
(Press TV – August 18, 2014)

Dur­ing an inter­view with Iran’s English-language pro­pa­ganda net­work this week, Ken­neth O’Keefe, a London-based vir­u­lently anti-Israel activist, spewed anti-Semitic com­ments when he said: “It is beyond absur­dity that trea­so­nous gov­ern­ments have been allowed to actu­ally sign off the power of the peo­ple to print their own money through their rep­re­sen­ta­tive gov­ern­ment and instead give it to pri­vate bankers. The fact that they hap­pen to be Jew­ish is not an opin­ion, it is a fact. And it is that use of that money, that power that has been given to them that they use to be able to dom­i­nate the world as I have said buy­ing the media, the police, the mil­i­tary, the courts, the cor­po­ra­tion, all of it.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Under­stand­ing Iran’s inter­nal divi­sions
(The Wall Street Jour­nal, Op-Ed – August 20, 2014)

Haleh Esfan­di­ari, the direc­tor of the Mid­dle East pro­gram at the Woodrow Wil­son Inter­na­tional Cen­ter for Schol­ars, wrote that the recent impris­on­ment of sev­eral West­ern jour­nal­ists by the Iran­ian author­i­ties sig­ni­fies the greater power strug­gle between Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani and con­ser­v­a­tive ele­ments in the regime.

Iran cleric: West­ern­ized Ira­ni­ans no dif­fer­ent than IS
(Al-Monitor – August 20, 2014)

Alireza Panahian, a rep­re­sen­ta­tive of Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei, said dur­ing a cer­e­mony for an Iran­ian doc­u­men­tary this week, “The West­ox­i­fied among us are no dif­fer­ent from tak­firis and ISIS,” and that West­ox­i­fied Ira­ni­ans are “Zion­ist fifth columnists.”

Remem­ber­ing poet Simin Behba­hani, the ‘Lioness of Iran’
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – August 20, 2014)

Ear­lier this week Iran lost one of its most cel­e­brated poets, Simin Behba­hani, who was known for her fem­i­nist views and poetry that expressed her love for Iran.

One result of the Gaza con­flict: Iran and Hamas are back together
(Time – August 19, 2014)

After a falling out nearly three years ago over Hamas’s sup­port for Syr­ian rebels, the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist group and its fore­most patron Iran appear to be on the path toward rec­on­cil­i­a­tion. The new thaw is pur­port­edly due to Hamas’s ongo­ing con­flict with Israel, and Iran­ian lead­ers have begun voic­ing their sup­port of “the Pales­tin­ian resis­tance in dif­fer­ent ways.”

Bil­lion­aire named in suit against anti-Iran group
(The New York Times – August 18, 2014)

United Against Nuclear Iran, a lead­ing orga­ni­za­tion fight­ing to enforce sanc­tions against the Islamic Repub­lic by pub­li­ciz­ing com­pa­nies that do busi­ness with Tehran, is fac­ing a defama­tion law­suit by a Greek busi­ness­man. Last year the anti-Iran group had pub­li­cized Vic­tor Restis’s alleged busi­ness deal­ings with Iran.

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August 20, 2014 0

Americans Respond To ISIS Recruitment

Even as it fights on a num­ber of fronts in the Mid­dle East, the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an al Qaeda-inspired ter­ror­ist group that claims sov­er­eignty in sec­tions of Syria and Iraq, con­tin­ues to recruit west­ern­ers through its sophis­ti­cated online pro­pa­ganda cam­paign.al-hayat-ad-propaganda

Some Amer­i­cans are heed­ing the call.

In 2014, four of the five Amer­i­cans arrested in the U.S. for attempt­ing to join the con­flict in Syria and Iraq were accused of attempt­ing to join ISIS: Don­ald Ray Mor­gan of North Car­olina in August (arrested on weapons charges but believed to have been attempt­ing to join ISIS); Shan­non Mau­reen Con­ley of Col­orado in July; Michael Todd Wolfe of Texas in June; and Nicholas Teau­sant of Cal­i­for­nia in March. The fifth, Mohammed Has­san Ham­dan of Michi­gan, allegedly attempted to fight in Syria with Hezbol­lah.

Fur­ther­more, In June the FBI said it launched an inves­ti­ga­tion into 15 Somali Amer­i­cans from Min­nesota believed to have joined ISIS.

At least two other Amer­i­cans have appeared in videos released by ISIS and Jab­hat al-Nusra, the Al Qaeda affil­i­ate in Syria.A video released in August 2014 fea­tured an alleged Amer­i­can national called Abu Abdu­rah­man al-Trinidadi encour­ag­ing oth­ers to join ISIS. And in May, Moner Abu Salha of Florida was iden­ti­fied in a Jab­hat al-Nusra video as hav­ing par­tic­i­pa­tion in a sui­cide attack.

U.S. intel­li­gence offi­cials esti­mate that over 100 Amer­i­can nation­als have trav­elled to join the con­flict in Syria, a con­flict that has since spread to Iraq.

The effect of ISIS’ increased strength and noto­ri­ety, as well as its advanced online recruit­ment strate­gies, appear to be hav­ing an effect. Of the seven known Amer­i­cans who either trav­eled to or attempted to travel to Syria to fight with mil­i­tants last year, only one was believed to have fought with ISIS; a video released online in Novem­ber 2013 fea­tured an appar­ent Amer­i­can called Abu Dujana al-Amriki, prais­ing ISIS.

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August 20, 2014 0

ISIS Backs Up Threats Against U.S. With Beheading

The Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS), an Al Qaeda inspired ter­ror­ist group, released an English-language video in which it depicts the behead­ing of a kid­napped Amer­i­can journalist.foley-beheading-terrorism-isis

ISIS is claim­ing that it mur­dered the jour­nal­ist, James Wright Foley, because of U.S. airstrikes in Iraq. The video closes with an image of another kid­napped jour­nal­ist kneel­ing next to what appears to be the same exe­cu­tioner, who states “The life of this Amer­i­can cit­i­zen, Obama, depends on your next decision.”

The video is titled “A Mes­sage to Amer­ica.” It marks a new approach by ISIS, mak­ing good on threats against Amer­i­cans that the group only began cir­cu­lat­ing sig­nif­i­cantly this June. Such strate­gies have been used exten­sively by the ter­ror­ist group to intim­i­date ene­mies and oppo­nents on the ground, but had not pre­vi­ously been employed against Westerners.

In the video, footage of Pres­i­dent Obama announc­ing the airstrike cam­paign is fol­lowed by a state­ment by Foley in which he asserts U.S. actions are the cause of his death. Foley’s masked exe­cu­tioner then deliv­ers an address in British-accented Eng­lish in which he depicts the U.S. as an aggres­sor against ISIS and the Mus­lims who accept ISIS as a state, and says that any mil­i­tary action against ISIS will lead to more “blood­shed” of Amer­i­cans. The exe­cu­tioner then beheads Foley. After­ward, the other kid­napped jour­nal­ist is shown next to the executioner.

The release may improve ISIS’s recruit­ment capac­ity. ISIS broke with Al Qaeda Cen­tral in Feb­ru­ary, and the orga­ni­za­tions com­pete for recruits, fol­low­ers and influ­ence. ISIS’s rep­u­ta­tion for vio­lent action sur­pass­ing Al Qaeda’s has already con­tributed to its recruit­ment efforts, and if this video is seen by extrem­ists as a suc­cess­ful blow to the U.S. it may lead more to join ISIS.

The video was announced on Twit­ter and on the social media site Dias­pora on August 19, and was linked from the Inter­net Archive web­site, an online “dig­i­tal library” that is some­times used by ter­ror­ist groups as a repos­i­tory for online media storage.

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