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August 21, 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

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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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 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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