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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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