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June 18, 2014 1

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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January 3, 2014 0

WhatsApp Hezbollah?

Hezbollah’s media arm, Al Manar TV, which is listed as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist Entity” is exploit­ing yet another Amer­i­can tech­nol­ogy com­pany to reach and inter­act with audi­ences around the world.whatsapp-hezbollah

Al Manar is using the ser­vices of a California-based instant mes­sag­ing ser­vice called What­sApp to deliver “break­ing news” via text and to allow its sup­port­ers to inter­act with the station.

Al-Manar broad­casts Hezbollah’s mes­sages of hate and vio­lence, dis­sem­i­nates anti-Semitic and anti-American pro­pa­ganda and glo­ri­fies sui­cide bomb­ings to mil­lions of view­ers in the Arab world, Europe and South East Asia for 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

The Al Manar web­site has already pub­lished selected mes­sages sub­mit­ted by users of What­sApp from around the world; some of the mes­sages include state­ments express­ing loy­alty and alle­giance to Hezbol­lah Chief, Has­san Nas­ral­lah.Hezbol­lah, a U.S. des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion, has increased its pres­ence on var­i­ous inter­net plat­forms includ­ing social media net­works such as Twit­ter, Face­book and YouTube, in recent years. This exploita­tion of mod­ern tech­nol­ogy has enabled Hezbol­lah to dis­sem­i­nate its mes­sages more broadly and quickly than ever before.

In July of 2012, ADL exposed Al Manar’s efforts to cre­ate free appli­ca­tions for smart­phones avail­able through iTunes and other online stores. The appli­ca­tion was removed from the iTunes store and Hezbol­lah issued a state­ment blam­ing ADL for the removal of its applications.

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June 27, 2013 3

Accusations of Jewish Affiliation Precede a Lynching in Egypt

Anti-Semitic posters Egypt

A poster in Egypt derid­ing Shia Mus­lims as “stooges of the Jews.”

Ear­lier this week, an angry mob in a small vil­lage near Cairo attacked and lynched a group of Shia Mus­lims, a hor­rific episode that resulted in the mur­ders of four men. The inci­dent came two weeks after posters were widely dis­played in the vil­lage accus­ing Shia of being “stooges of the Jews.”

Mem­bers of Al-Nour Party, an Islamist party and a mem­ber of Egypt’s gov­ern­ing coali­tion led by the Mus­lim Broth­er­hood, report­edly dis­played these posters on the walls of the village’s homes. One poster, cir­cu­lated on Twit­ter, has the logo of Al-Nour Party on the top right cor­ner of the poster.

The posters included images of out­go­ing Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Mah­moud Ahmadine­jad, who is per­ceived as a sym­bol of the Iranian-led Shia expan­sion in the Sunni Mus­lim world, shak­ing hands with mem­bers of Neturei Karta, an extreme anti-Israel group. The pho­tos rep­re­sent an absurd attempt to demon­strate a “Jewish-Shia’a alliance” that is allegedly plot­ting to gain con­trol over the Sunni Mus­lim world.

Two weeks after the posters first appeared, a hos­tile group of vil­lagers attacked the house of a Shia fam­ily who lived in the vil­lage. Mem­bers of the small Shia com­mu­nity had gath­ered in the house to attend a reli­gious cer­e­mony led by Has­san Sha­hata, a promi­nent Egypt­ian Shia cleric. Four men were killed dur­ing the bru­tal attack, includ­ing Sha­hata himself.

Graphic images of the vio­lence showed the mob drag­ging the bod­ies of the vic­tims through the streets of the vil­lage while police offi­cers watched from a distance.

A young daugh­ter of one of the vic­tims who wit­nessed the assault told a reporter from an Egypt­ian news agency, “Is this the form of reli­gion they want to imple­ment and they speak about? Even if we were Jews they shouldn’t have done this to us.”

Last week, a large bill­board in Tripoli showed Hezbol­lah leader Has­san Nas­ral­lah with a Star of David on his tur­ban and blood drip­ping from his mouth. The poster, the work of a rival Sunni group, was intended to demo­nize Nas­ral­lah in the worst pos­si­ble way: by char­ac­ter­iz­ing him as a Jew. Indeed, link­ing one’s enemy to Jews is a theme of the ris­ing sec­tar­ian ten­sion in the Mus­lim world. The recent lynch­ing inci­dent is a reminder of the poten­tially bru­tal con­se­quences of such accusations.

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