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July 17, 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

Iran raps Israel for slaugh­ter of Pales­tini­ans
(Tas­nim News Agency – July 16, 2014)

Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani con­demned Israel dur­ing a cab­i­net meet­ing Wednes­day, say­ing, “Only a regime in sup­port of racial dis­crim­i­na­tion and apartheid can bring thou­sands of inno­cent women, men and chil­dren under the bar­rage of non­stop artillery and tank shells under the pre­text of [the] death of three people.”

The inter­na­tional community’s alliance with the Zion­ists is evi­dent by their silence in coun­ter­ing the Zion­ist regime’s crimes*
(Basij News Agency – July 16, 2014)

In an exclu­sive inter­view with the IRGC-linked Basij News Agency, mem­ber of the National Secu­rity and For­eign Pol­icy Com­mis­sion Syed Hus­sein Naqvi Hus­saini, said, “The progress of the crim­i­nal Zion­ist regime and their aggres­sion toward Pales­tine and Gaza is a con­tin­u­a­tion of their pol­icy to dom­i­nate the region.”

The Gaza dis­as­ter must bring Islamic nations and gov­ern­ments together*
(Office of the Supreme Leader Khamenei – July 14, 2014)khamenei-rouhani-cabinet-iran

In a meet­ing with mem­bers of the cab­i­net and Pres­i­dent Rouhani ear­lier this week, Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei said: “The prob­lem of Gaza is really another tragedy, and the Zion­ist regime has been using the silence of the Islamic world to com­mit this dis­as­ter. The killing of the peo­ple of Gaza at the hands of the usurp­ing Zion­ists must bring the Islamic gov­ern­ments and nations together to get rid of their dif­fer­ence and to be united with one another.”

Iran­ian leg­is­la­ture asks world par­lia­ments to break silence on geno­cide in Gaza
(Fars News Agency – July 14, 2014)

Chair­man of the Iran­ian parliament’s National Secu­rity and For­eign Pol­icy Com­mis­sion Alaed­din Borou­jerdi sent let­ters to sev­eral allied par­lia­ments con­demn­ing Israel’s airstrikes against Hamas tar­gets in Gaza. “Given the exten­sive dimen­sions of the Zion­ist regime’s inhu­mane crimes against the Gaza peo­ple, it is expected from you and other hon­or­able mem­bers of your for­eign pol­icy com­mis­sion to adopt proper posi­tions in sup­port of the help­less Pales­tini­ans and con­demn the Zion­ist aggres­sors,” Boroujerdi’s let­ter stated in part.

IRGC offi­cial: All Zion­ists within range of Pales­tin­ian mis­siles
(Fars News Agency – July 14, 2014)

Gen­eral Ramezan Sharif, the head of the IRGC’s Pub­lic Rela­tions Depart­ment, boasted that “The defense capac­ity and capa­bil­i­ties of the Islamic resis­tance and Hamas forces has left no safe place for the Zion­ists in the occu­pied ter­ri­to­ries.” Sharif added, “[The] defen­sive and offen­sive power of Hamas, Ezzedin Al-Qassam and Quds brigades forces have increased so much that one can dare say that all Zion­ists are within the range of the resistance’s missiles.”

Iran’s pres­i­dent calls on Islamic states to help oppressed Pales­tini­ans
(Tas­nim News Agency – July 11, 2014)

In a mes­sage to the head of Islamic coun­tries, Pres­i­dent Rouhani called for the end of the Zion­ist regime’s aggres­sive mea­sures against Gazans. Rouhani also referred to Hamas and Islamic Jihad as “heroic and legit­i­mate” resis­tance, and expressed con­fi­dence that “the Pales­tin­ian nation will once again make the Zion­ist enemy taste the bit­ter taste of defeat.”

Iran urges inter­na­tional action to rein in Israel
(Press TV – July 10, 2014)

For­eign Min­is­ter Zarif appealed to the United Nations, Arab League, and the Orga­ni­za­tion of Islamic Coop­er­a­tion to bring an end to Israeli airstrikes against Hamas in Gaza. “Doubtlessly, an explicit con­dem­na­tion of the Zion­ist regime’s crimes against Pales­tin­ian regions and pre­vent­ing the con­tin­u­a­tion of strikes by this regime are respon­si­bil­i­ties assigned to all regional and inter­na­tional bod­ies and assem­blies,” Zarif stated.

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran’s iden­tity cri­sis stymies nuclear deal
(Boston Globe – July 16, 2014)

An edi­to­r­ial in the Boston Globe wel­comes a pos­si­ble exten­sion of the July 20 dead­line to nego­ti­a­tions, cit­ing Iran­ian com­pli­ance over the past six months that saw a reduc­tion of Iran’s stock­pile of enriched ura­nium by 80%.

Kerry cites ‘progress’ in Iran talks while gaps remain
(The New York Times – July 15, 2014)

Fol­low­ing rounds of intense talks between rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the P5+1 and Iran, Sec­re­tary of State John Kerry said that “tan­gi­ble progress” had been made, but expressed that “very real gaps” remained to be bridged.

Iran out­lines nuclear deal; Accepts limit
(The New York Times – July 14, 2014)

As the July 20deadline fast approaches, Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif said in an inter­view with The New York Times that Iran may accept a deal that sees the freez­ing of nuclear fuel pro­duc­tion at cur­rent lead­ers for sev­eral years.

Thank Obama for Iran’s grow­ing econ­omy
(The Daily Beast – July 14, 2014)

A new study from the Roubini Global Eco­nomic and the Foun­da­tion for the Defense of Democ­ra­cies claims that U.S. and West­ern coun­tries’ grad­ual eas­ing of sanc­tions against Iran have allowed the Islamic Republic’s ail­ing econ­omy to recover.

Amer­i­cans and Ira­ni­ans see con­straints at home in nuclear nego­ti­a­tions
(The New York Times – July 13, 2014)

Iran­ian nego­tia­tors face recent state­ments by Supreme Leader Khamenei while the Amer­i­cans must deal with mem­bers of the Sen­ate seek assur­ances from Pres­i­dent Obama that a deal must address core weapons pro­lif­er­a­tion issues and not lead to the lift­ing of sanc­tions instead.

British par­lia­ment com­mit­tee endorses lim­ited ura­nium enrich­ment for Iran
(Al-Monitor – July 13, 2014)

The British House of Com­mons’ For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee decided to endorse a deal that would allow Iran to con­tinue lim­ited ura­nium enrichment.

Iran’s chief nuclear nego­tia­tor Zarif employs a dis­arm­ing charm
(The Los Ange­les Times – July 13, 2014)

West­ern offi­cials regard For­eign Min­is­ter Zarif, the Western-trained leader of the Iran­ian nego­ti­a­tions team, as turn­ing up the charm to make Iran appear non-threatening.

Iran sticks to ‘unwork­able, inad­e­quate’ stances in nuclear talks: U.S.
(Reuters – July 12, 2014)

Before arriv­ing in Vienna for talks with Iran, Sec­re­tary of State Kerry told reporters, “We are still very far apart on some issues and obvi­ously on enrich­ment capacity.”

Iran Supreme Leader spills the nuke talk secrets
(The Daily Beast – July 12, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei issued remarks ear­lier this week, after lead­ing Ramadan evening prayers, divulging highly tech­ni­cal details about remain­ing dis­agree­ments between the P5+1 and Iran.

Open a nuclear fuel bank
(The New York Times, Op-Ed – July 11, 2014)

Sam Nunn, the co-chairman of the Nuclear Threat Ini­tia­tive, sug­gests in this opin­ion piece that an inter­na­tional fuel bank, owned and man­aged by the IAEA, would allow coun­tries full assur­ance that they could access nuclear fuel in the event of an inter­rup­tion to their supply.

Iran’s aid to Hamas has bear­ing on nuclear talks, House panel chief says
(The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – July 11, 2014)

The chair­man of the House For­eign Affairs Com­mit­tee points to Iran’s con­tin­u­ing sup­port for Hamas as another rea­son for the U.S. to pro­ceed cau­tiously in nego­ti­at­ing with Iran.

Iran’s cen­tral bank loses appeal in ter­ror suit pay­out
(Bloomberg – July 9, 2014)

A fed­eral appeals court rejected Iran’s Bank Markazi’s appeal to award $1.75 bil­lion to fam­i­lies of hun­dreds of Amer­i­cans killed in ter­ror­ist attacks spon­sored by the Islamic Republic.

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July 16, 2014 2

Hamas’s Ongoing Social Media War

Update: July 17 — Since this blog was posted, the Al Aqsa Today, Quds TVandIzzat Al Risheq Face­book pages are no longer available.

As Hamas con­tin­ues to tar­get Israelis with rock­ets from Gaza, the Pales­tin­ian ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion is using a range of Inter­net and social media plat­forms to dis­sem­i­nate its pro­pa­ganda, news and updates.hamas-social-media-twitter-facebook-youtube-rockets

The fol­low­ing is a sam­pling of Twit­ter han­dles, YouTube chan­nels, Face­book pages, Google+ pages and other online plat­forms being exploited by Hamas. While some Inter­net plat­forms have made efforts to cur­tail these efforts in the past by remov­ing Hamas-run accounts, the ter­ror­ist group con­tin­ues to actively engage on all of these sites.

In addi­tion to these accounts, there are count­less oth­ers oper­ated by sup­port­ers of the ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tion and in var­i­ous languages.

The ADL’s Cyber-Safety Action Guide enables the com­mu­nity to reg­is­ter con­cerns with Inter­net ser­vice providers when they encounter ter­ror­ist con­tent such as this.

 Hamas Media Office

The Hamas press office and Infor­ma­tion Agency. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Twitter.

  • Media Office – Hamas The Twit­ter han­dle for the Hamas Media Office.  It is cross-linked with the Twit­ter feeds of senior Hamas polit­i­cal leaders.

Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades

The Izzedeen al-Qassam Brigades (short­ened to ‘Qas­sam Brigades’) is the Hamas mil­i­tary wing. This is the wing of Hamas that has stock­piled and devel­oped weapons includ­ing rock­ets and drones and is fir­ing them at Israel. In addi­tion to web­sites in Ara­bic, Hebrew and Eng­lish, the Qas­sam Brigades has active pres­ence on Twit­ter, YouTube and Google+.

  • Qas­sam Media The Twit­ter han­dle for the Qas­sam Brigades. Vis­i­tors are directed to this page via link from the Qas­sam Brigades website.
  • Al-Qassam Brigades The Hebrew-language Twit­ter han­dle for the Qas­sam Brigades. It is also some­times retweeted by the Ara­bic Qas­sam Brigades feed. Vis­i­tors are directed to this page via link from the Hebrew lan­guage Qas­sam Brigades website.
  • Resis­tance MediaThe Google+ Page for the Qas­sam Brigades. It is cross-linked and shares con­tent with the Qas­sam Brigades’ Resis­tance Media YouTube channel.
  • Resis­tance Media– The YouTube chan­nel for the Qas­sam Brigades. The Qas­sam Brigades web­site directs vis­i­tors to this chan­nel via link. Many of the videos have Eng­lish titles.
  • Pales­tine IntifadaYouTube chan­nel appar­ently linked to Hamas and the Qas­sam Brigades. Most, if not all videos on this chan­nel are offi­cial Qas­sam Brigades videos. They have been Tweeted by offi­cial Qas­sam Brigades twit­ter accounts

Izzat Al Risheq

Izzat Al Risheq is a Hamas spokesman and senior offi­cial. There are active Face­book and Twit­ter accounts in his name.

  • Izzat Al RisheqThe Face­book page for Izaat Al Risheq. It fea­tures the same con­tent as his Twit­ter feed.
  • Izzat Risheq The Twit­ter han­dle for Izaat Al Risheq. This is one of only two accounts that the Hamas Twit­ter account follows.

Al Aqsa TV

Al Aqsa TV is a Hamas-run tele­vi­sion sta­tion that pro­motes ter­ror­ist activ­ity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube.

  • Al Aqsa Today – The Face­book page for Al Aqsa TV. The Al Aqsa TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Al Aqsa TV Chanel The Twit­ter han­dle for Al Aqsa TV. The Al Aqsa TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this han­dle via link.
  • Alaqsa TVChan­nelYouTube chan­nel for Al Aqsa TV. Vis­i­tors are directed to this link from the Al Aqsa TV website.

Al Quds TV

Al Quds TV is a Hamas-run tele­vi­sion sta­tion that pro­motes ter­ror­ist activ­ity and incites hatred of Jews and Israelis. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book and YouTube.

  • Quds TVThe Face­book page for Al Quds TV. The Al Quds TV web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Quds TVSatYouTube chan­nel for Al Quds TV. Vis­i­tors are directed to this link from the Al Quds TV website.

Alray Media Agency

The Alray Media Agency is a Hamas affil­i­ated media agency owned by the Gaza-based Infor­ma­tion Office of the Pales­tin­ian Gov­ern­ment. In addi­tion to its web­site, it has active pres­ence on Face­book, Twit­ter and YouTube as well as an appli­ca­tion avail­able on ITunes and Google Play.

  • Alray Media AgencyThe Face­book page for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • Alray Media AgencyThe Twit­ter han­dle­for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • AlraypsenThe YouTube chan­nel for Alray Media Agency. The Alray Media web­site directs vis­i­tors to this page via link.
  • AlRay Pales­tin­ian Media Agency – An appli­ca­tion for ITunes and Google Play devel­oped by the Hamas Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy. The appli­ca­tion claims to be for “a Pales­tin­ian media agency speak­ing in the name of the Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment, it expresses the opin­ion of the glo­ri­ous Pales­tin­ian peo­ple, deals with their con­cerns and adopts their causes and posi­tions.” It is adver­tised on the Alray website.

Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (MTIT)

The MTIT is a Gaza-based Pales­tin­ian gov­ern­ment agency. Due to its loca­tion in Gaza, its pri­mary affil­i­a­tion is there­fore assumed to be to Hamas (despite the recent Pales­tin­ian unity pact).

  • Elec­tronic Infor­ma­tion –An appli­ca­tion from the Hamas Min­istry of Telecom­mu­ni­ca­tion and Infor­ma­tion Tech­nol­ogy (MTIT) that “allows gov­ern­ment employ­ees in Gaza to inquire about mail pay­ments, salaries and other ser­vices.” It is adver­tised on the MTIT website.
  • Dalely-Palestinian Orgs Guide –An appli­ca­tion from the Hamas MTIT that pro­vides a direc­tory to com­mu­ni­cate with var­i­ous gov­ern­men­tal and non-governmental orga­ni­za­tions in Gaza includ­ing Hamas gov­ern­ment apparatus.

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July 14, 2014 0

More reflections from Israelis living through the crisis

The staff of ADL’s Israel office share their thoughts and expe­ri­ences about the cur­rent crisis.

Phyl­lis Ger­ably, Direc­tor, ADL Israel

This morn­ing we landed in Ben Gurion Air­port after hav­ing spent a long week­end in Greece.  The short break was to cel­e­brate a birth­day and was planned months in advance.  It seemed so idyl­lic to see the beau­ti­ful view of the moun­tains touch­ing the sea – only two hours away from home but what a distance!

Despite being phys­i­cally away from Israel, we couldn’t help our­selves from check­ing our phones for warn­ings of rock­ets, and watch­ing CNN Inter­na­tional.  The gap between the two was huge.  On one hand, we were receiv­ing calls and see­ing the reports of rock­ets aimed at Tel Aviv and other cities in Israel.  Mean­while, CNN was busy inter­view­ing Pales­tin­ian fam­i­lies in Gaza.  We didn’t see any such inter­views with an Israeli fam­ily.  There was no empa­thy for the Israeli chil­dren in shel­ters or for any Israeli who feared a rocket could land on their home at any time.    Rather, we kept hear­ing of the Pales­tin­ian death toll with a “com­par­i­son” to the lack of Israeli casu­al­ties. It was dif­fi­cult watch­ing the cyn­i­cal call from the Pales­tini­ans, includ­ing their chief peace nego­tia­tor, to stop the bru­tal killing of inno­cent Pales­tini­ans – and this in the midst of rocket fire on Israel! 14444852927_952c53d2fc_m

The staff at our hotel took great care of us.  They wanted to know if any rock­ets had fallen near our home.  When we said yes, they said, “this is so alien to us; we can­not even imag­ine you hav­ing to go through such a thing.  We hope when you go home, you will be safe.”

We couldn’t return to Israel as planned and were four­teen hours en route as the char­ter com­pany refused to enter Israel to col­lect the next group which would take our place.  One of our fel­low pas­sen­gers said – “How ironic – we are doing every­thing in our power to return to the one place where no one else wants to go.”

 

Ari Bell, Mid­dle East­ern Affairs Analyst

They say cri­sis brings peo­ple together. Last week, when yet another siren was heard in Jerusalem,  I was home.  My build­ing, being one of those old Jerusalem houses, has one shel­ter for all ten­ants, rather than one per each apart­ment, as in the newer build­ings. But instead of run­ning for the shel­ter, we res­i­dents pre­fer sit­ting in the stair­well, far from any exter­nal wall, hope­fully pro­tected enough.

I joined in on the sur­real social min­gling that was tak­ing place between the neigh­bors under these emer­gency cir­cum­stances. Some were with their lap­tops; one was hold­ing his dog while wear­ing a bathrobe. I was even asked where I had been dur­ing the pre­vi­ous sirens, as if I had missed out on a great social gath­er­ing. And so we were, about 10 of us, sit­ting on the stairs, talk­ing about every­thing but the rock­ets. Just neigh­bors becom­ing friends.

A few days ear­lier, I got an email from an acquain­tance who lives in the U.S., who I know through a mutual friend and once met when she vis­ited Jerusalem.  She said she had been think­ing about me a lot in light of the sit­u­a­tion and wanted to know how my fam­ily and I were doing. Though she’s never lived here, she is Pales­tin­ian on her father’s side, and she reached out to me to ask how I was cop­ing. It was very heart-warming to see how even such a basic friend­ship can tran­scend both geog­ra­phy and nation­al­ity. As I was reply­ing to her, the first siren in Jerusalem went off, lead­ing me to the stair­well for the first time, where friend­ships were being formed between neigh­bors who barely have any­thing to do with each other on a reg­u­lar day.

 

Rachel Kedar, Direc­tor of Edu­ca­tional Programs

“Emer­gency Rou­tine” is a term used recently in Israel as mis­siles con­tinue to land here. This very unusual term has for many years been part of every­day life of Israeli towns near the Gaza bor­der.  Now it applies to all Israelis, as we are all in mis­siles range, though some more than others.

“Emer­gency Rou­tine” — what a strange com­bi­na­tion of words. How does one con­duct every­day life, when mis­sile are fly­ing in the air? It seems almost sur­real that while all this is going on, we still have to go to work, do our shop­ping, take the chil­dren to sum­mer camp and cel­e­brate wed­dings and bar mitz­vahs. This is the rou­tine part. Yet, the emer­gency part is that so many of the fathers and broth­ers have been called up for reserves, mil­i­tary con­voys drive slowly, cre­at­ing traf­fic jams in dif­fer­ent parts of Israel, and non-stop media cov­er­age of the events sur­round­ing the lat­est attacks on Israel.  One almost feels guilty sit­ting in cof­fee shops and going to a movie while in other parts of the coun­try, like Ash­dod, mis­siles keep on strik­ing, some­times dozens a day.

It seems like our lead­er­ship encour­ages cau­tious rou­tine, not­ing the  resilience of the home front, and how our fol­low­ing their guide­lines not only saves life, but lets the IDF takes the nec­es­sary steps in a calmer and cal­cu­lated manner.

Hamas ter­ror­ists com­mit a dou­ble war crime: hit­ting Israeli civil­ians while hid­ing behind Pales­tin­ian civil­ian pop­u­la­tion. That’s the nature of Ter­ror: the delib­er­ate wish to cre­ate havoc and fear in a civil­ian pop­u­la­tion. This has not come about in Israel thanks to “Iron Dome,” so instead of destruc­tion and chaos we have “Emer­gency Rou­tine.”  True, it is hard to get used to such a real­ity. We all want our rou­tine back. But we are told “it may take time.” In the mean­time, “Emer­gency Rou­tine” turned into the cur­rent tem­po­rary rou­tine in the last week. Hope­fully, we’ll get our real rou­tine back soon.

 

Deb­bie Lein­wald, Office Manager

When Bruce and I were first mar­ried, we were mem­bers of a kib­butz on the Lebanese bor­der. I worked in the kinder­garten, and it was a weekly activ­ity to take the chil­dren around the area and col­lect pieces of shrap­nel to make hand­i­crafts with. We also used to count the amounts of holes in the walls of the build­ings to see if the amount had grown since the week before. When I found myself expect­ing our sec­ond child, I turned to Bruce and informed him that I would not bring up another child in bomb shel­ters.  Two months later we left and moved to a vil­lage half way between Tel Aviv and the mag­i­cal city of Jerusalem. It didn’t take long for us to real­ize that it doesn’t help to run away from trou­ble, because wher­ever you are there is always some­thing to upset the flow of an oth­er­wise rou­tine day.  And in Israel that means deal­ing with events which threaten the very exis­tence of a nation. We have neigh­bors who hate us and have no hes­i­ta­tion in express­ing or show­ing just how they feel.   Every oppor­tu­nity is jus­ti­fi­ca­tion for another Grad or Katyusha rocket to be spo­rad­i­cally launched at our civil­ian pop­u­la­tion. And then if we retal­i­ate, the world accuses us of “com­mit­ting genocide”!

So we are asked how our daily lives are affected by the present con­flict.  Our daugh­ter was mar­ried 2 weeks ago in Jerusalem. Her husband’s par­ents and extended fam­ily are from Be’er Sheva, Ash­dod and Ashkelon. If it was this week or last week, then we would have had to post­pone the cel­e­bra­tion because most of his guests would have been too scared to leave the bomb shel­ters to attend that won­der­ful event.

But more than that, know­ing that our men are being called up to mil­i­tary ser­vice, leav­ing behind girl­friends and wives and chil­dren of their own, that mil­lions of shekels of the national bud­get are being spent in order to pro­tect Israel’s cit­i­zens, know­ing that our chil­dren are spend­ing their sum­mer camps in bomb shel­ters instead of out in the sun­light and on the beach, and that they are draw­ing pic­tures of black col­ored bombs with plumes of smoke com­ing out of the ends like dogs tails instead of houses with trees and flow­ers in the gar­dens, and most of all, know­ing that when this con­flict ends, it’s only a mat­ter of time before the next one begins.

There is no sim­ple way to describe how we, the cit­i­zens of Israel, are affected on a day to day basis. It just the way it is.

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