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May 28, 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

‘New Horizon Conference’ is a protest to Zionist thought and essence*
(Basij News Agency – May 28, 2014)

Claudia Moti, a “philosopher and former professor at an American university,” gave an interview expressing disappointment in the cancellation of Iran’s anti-Zionist conference, New Horizon. In the interview, Moti said: “The New Horizon Conference is a protest against Zionist thought and essence, and I was surprised that it was not held. [The conference] had an important role in exposing the roots of Zionism. It is not only the Palestinians but the whole world that is trying to save itself from the clutches of Zionism, and the New Horizon Conference has the ability to help in this issue.”

No political-security equation in the Islamic world is possible without Iran’s satisfaction*
(Fars News Agency – May 28, 2014)

During a speech addressing a swearing in ceremony for Basij volunteers, IRGC Commander Hossein Salami said, “The Imam [Khomeini] commanded that America can’t do a damn thing [against Iran], and this has become a reality that America today can’t do a damn thing in the world.” Salami added, “If these economic sanctions, which America has imposed on this country, were to be imposed on the people and government of America, they would not be able to persist; look how this sanctions have not changed a thing in our country except for accelerating and advancing the economy just as the legitimate successor of Imam Khomeini has said.”

Anti-Shi’a and anti-Iran are tools of the Arrogant front for the protection of the Zionist regime*
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 27, 2014)

In a speech before ambassadors and officials from Islamic countries, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “It is the expectation of the Islamic nations, and the elite in particular, to correctly recognize the fronts of the enemies of the Muslim ummah [that support the Zionists] with clarity and insight.”

khamenei-parliament-iran

Ayatollah Khamenei addressing the Iranian parliament

Thought on the ‘continuation of resistance’ against the Arrogant front will govern the dignity of the nation/ Theorizing submission and compromise are treason*
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 25, 2014)

In a live broadcast speech to the Iranian parliament, Supreme Leader Khamenei said: “All officials of the country in the various sectors, from economics, science and culture, to the policy makers and directors of foreign negotiations, must know that we are in a state of resistance and we will continue on this path for the survival of the Islamic system.” Khamenei also added that resistance and jihad will not end, “because Satan and the satanic fronts will always exist, but it is possible in certain circumstances to distinguish the methods and styles of jihad and resistance. This resistance will come to an end when humanity is able to liberate itself from the evil Arrogant front, which America is at the head of and had its claws spread over the body, soul and thought of humanity.”

Araqchi quotes Zarif as saying West wants to dismantle Fordo through talks after failing to hit it by bunker-busters
(Fars News Agency – May 24, 2014)

In a meeting with IRGC political directors, Abbas Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister, quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as telling the European partners of the P5+1, “You intend to close Fordo because you cannot hit it then move to hit Natanz which is 20 meters under the ground.”

Iran mounts air-to-air, air-to-surface missiles on drones
(Fars News Agency – May 24, 2014)

Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Forces, boasted of Iran’s new line of drones during military exercises in Isfahan. Pourdastan said, “We will use all our drones which have reconnaissance, online imaging and suicide (attack) capabilities as well as the air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles mounted on them.”

Westerns seek to secure the safety of Israel*
(Fars News Agency – May 22, 2014)

Esmail Kosari, a lawmaker in the Iranian parliament, said, “The Westerners are stressing today that we should limit the range of our missiles to 500 kilometers. The goal of this talk is to keep the safety of Israel, and they are seeking to solve this issue while they themselves have bunker buster missiles.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Briton among eight jailed in Iran for web insults
(The Guardian – May 27, 2014)

Eight people have been sentences to jail in Iran on charges that include blasphemy and insulting the Supreme Leader on Facebook.

Prison terms in Iran hint of new reins on Internet
(The New York Times – May 27, 2014)

Although President Hassan Rouhani pledged to ease internet restrictions and filtering of social media websites, recent prison sentences and an order for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in a lawsuit point toward an increase in restrictions and prosecutions.

Iran hangs key figure in banking scandal
(The Washington Post – May 24, 2014)

Mahafarid Amir-Khosravi, a key player in Iran’s biggest banking scandal, was executed on Saturday. Amir-Khosravi and his co-conspirators were accused of embezzling $2.6 billion.

Operation Wholesome Sea: Iran coast guard forces women off beaches
(The Daily Beast – May 24, 2014)

Gender segregation and strict dress code laws effectively prevent Iranian women from enjoying the beach. Operation Wholesome Sea will hire “women from other organizations such as the Basij” to help the coast guard enforce adherence to the country’s laws.

Iran cleric condemns ‘satanic’ divorce parties
(The Washington Post – May 23, 2014)

Tehran’s Friday prayer leader condemned the growing “Western” phenomenon of holding parties to celebrate divorce. “Men and Women who hold divorce parties are definitely satanic… Disintegration of family and lechery are related to the disgraceful Western civilization… Western-style freedoms are wrong,” Ayatollah Khashani said.

Iran cuts nuclear stockpile, engages with bomb probe: IAEA
(Reuters – May 23, 2014)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced last week that Iran has cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by 80 percent in accordance with the interim agreement with the P5+1.

Rouhani official visits synagogue, endorses pre-revolutionary flag
(Al-Monitor – May 22, 2014)

A senior advisor for ethnic and religious minority affairs in the Rouhani cabinet recently paid a visit to a synagogue in the southern city of Shiraz. The visit has come under criticism by conservatives because the official defended the Jewish community’s use of Iran’s pre-revolutionary flag.

Iran hotels fill up as Rouhani’s rapprochement lifts tourism
(Bloomberg – May 21, 2014)

Tourism is up in Iran thanks largely to the election of Hassan Rouhani and his efforts to mend ties with the U.S. and Europe.

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