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April 2, 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

The pur­pose of prop­a­gat­ing ‘Iron Dome’ is to intim­i­date oppo­nents and it does not express real­i­ties*
(Fars News Agency – April 1, 2014)

Ismail Kosari, a mem­ber of the Iran­ian parliament’s National Secu­rity Com­mit­tee, said that Israel’s Iron Dome sys­tem is noth­ing more “than a type of psy­cho­log­i­cal war­fare.” Kosari added, “Israel’s pri­mary goal in pub­li­ciz­ing the ‘Iron Dome’ is to intim­i­date its opponents…”

Iran­ian envoy slams West for back­ing ter­ror­ists in Syria
(Fars News Agency – March 30, 2014)

Ali Reza Sheikh Attar, the Iran­ian ambas­sador to Ger­many, accused the West of sup­port­ing ter­ror­ist groups in Syria dur­ing his speech at an inter­na­tional con­fer­ence on Syria in Munich. “The West had not learned from its past strate­gic mis­takes in Syria by sup­port­ing ter­ror­ist orga­ni­za­tions like the Islamic State of Iraq and the Lev­ant (ISIL) and the Al-Nusra Front,” Attar said dur­ing the conference.

Senior law­maker describes Ahmed Sha­heed as CIA, Mossad agent
(Fars News Agency – March 29, 2014)

In response to the renewed man­date of Ahmed Sha­heed as the United Nations Spe­cial Rap­por­teur on Human Rights in Iran, Iran­ian mem­ber of par­lia­ment Hos­sein Naqavi Hos­seini accused Sha­heed of “work[ing] as an agent for the Zion­ist regime and also the CIA.”

Sayyed Nas­ral­lah tack­les regional devel­op­ments
(Mehr News Agency – March 29, 2014)

Hezbol­lah Sec­re­tary Gen­eral Has­san Nas­ral­lah gave an inau­gural speech for the open­ing of a cul­tural insti­tute in south­ern Lebanon that saw heavy fight­ing between the armed Shi’a orga­ni­za­tion and Israeli forces in 2006. Nas­ral­lah boasted, “Lebanon’s gold does not exist in the whole world, and with wood, the Lebanese had built the coffins of Israeli sol­diers, and will con­tinue to exist for each occu­pier of this holy land.”

hossein-deghan-iran

Iran­ian Defense Min­is­ter Hos­sein Deghan

Defense Min­is­ter: Amer­ica has long-term plans for the gov­ern­ment of Saudi Ara­bia*
(Tas­nim News Agency – March 29, 2014)

Fol­low­ing U.S. Pres­i­dent Obama’s pub­li­cized visit to Saudi Ara­bia, Iran­ian Defense Min­is­ter Hos­sein Deghan lashed out against alleged U.S. “plans” for the sur­vival of the Saudi monar­chy. Deghan also attacked Israel, stat­ing, “In the field of our military’s intel­li­gence capa­bil­i­ties, we are able to con­front the Zion­ist regime because they do not pos­sess such strength in oper­a­tional mil­i­tary systems.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran infla­tion slows to two-year low, ful­fill­ing Rouhani pledge
(Bloomberg News – March 30, 2014)

Iran’s infla­tion rate has fallen to a two-year low while con­sumer prices rose 23 per­cent from a year ago.

Gin­gerly, Iran begins to rock out
(Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – Mach 30, 2014)

Pop music may still be for­bid­den in Iran, but there are signs that slowly things are changing.

Iran’s chief rabbi passes away over Shab­bat
(Ha’aretz – March 30, 2014)

Iran’s Chief Rabbi Yosef Hamadani Cohen, who led Iran’s Jew­ish com­mu­nity since 1994, died last weekend.

Iran plans to replace U.N. ambas­sador in New York
(Reuters – March 29, 2014)

The cur­rent Iran­ian Ambas­sador to the United Nations will be replaced by Hamid Abu­talebi, a long­time diplo­mat with close ties to Pres­i­dent Rouhani and for­mer Pres­i­dent Raf­san­jani. Abu­talebi is sus­pected of hav­ing been involved in the 1979 U.S. embassy hostage cri­sis; how­ever, this infor­ma­tion is still unconfirmed.

N.Y. tower in suit tied to Iran is for­feited, judge rules
(Bloomberg Busi­ness­week – March 28, 2014)

A U.S. Dis­trict Judge ruled that an Iranian-government owned com­mer­cial build­ing in mid­town Man­hat­tan will be for­feited by its own­ers for vio­lat­ing U.S. embargo and fed­eral money laun­der­ing laws.

Museum items can’t be seized to pay Iran judg­ment
(USA Today – March 28, 2014)

A fed­eral judge in Chicago ruled that Iran­ian ter­ror sur­vivors may not be awarded Per­sian antiq­ui­ties and relics in place of the $412 mil­lion judg­ment against the Iran­ian government.

 

Iran fuel price hikes will be big test for Rouhani
(Reuters – March 27, 2014)

As part of Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s pledge to repair the Iran­ian econ­omy, painful fuel sub­sidy cuts are in store and pose a risk to Rouhani’s popularity.

Con­gress pre­pares sec­ond front on Iran sanc­tions
(Al-Monitor – March 27, 2014)

U.S. Con­gress is work­ing on new sanc­tions tar­get­ing Iran­ian sup­port for Hezbol­lah and sup­port­ers of Syria’s embat­tled Pres­i­dent Bashar Assad.

Sen. Carl Levin gar­ners 23 Dems for softer-toned Iran talks let­ter
(JTA – March 27, 2014)

Sen­a­tor Carl Levin (D-Mich.) cir­cu­lated a let­ter among law­mak­ers urg­ing the White House to con­tinue engag­ing in diplo­macy with Iran.

U.N. extends term of human rights mon­i­tor, anger­ing Iran
(New York Times – March 28, 2014)

Iran­ian gov­ern­ment offi­cials expressed anger by the United Nations Human Rights Council’s vote to renew the term for its Iran human rights expert.

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March 28, 2014 0

Hezbollah Is Still Trying To Broadcast Messages To Your Handheld

Hezbollah’s media arm Al Manar launched free mobile appliAl Manar Appcations on iTunes and Google Play this month, the satel­lite station’s sec­ond attempt to spread their hate mes­sages to iPhone and Android users.

In July 2012, ADL exposed the first app launched by Hezbol­lah, which was also avail­able on Apple and Google Play, and the app was sub­se­quently removed. ADL swiftly noti­fied Apple and Google about the new apps this time as well. The iTunes ver­sion has already been removed but the appli­ca­tion is still avail­able on Google Play.

The iTunes app, called LCG, is a less advanced app than its pre­de­ces­sor but still had the abil­ity to pro­vide live stream­ing to Al Manar’s tele­vi­sion sta­tion. Al Manar broad­casts Hezbollah’s mes­sages of hate and vio­lence, dis­sem­i­nates anti-Semitic and anti-American pro­pa­ganda, and glo­ri­fies sui­cide bomb­ings to its view­ers. The new app also pro­vided access to fea­tured videos of senior offi­cials of both Iran and Hezbollah.

Hezbol­lah is a U.S. des­ig­nated For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion, and Al Manar was listed as a “Spe­cially Des­ig­nated Global Ter­ror­ist” by the Depart­ment of the Trea­sury in 2006.

The repeated attempts by Hezbol­lah to estab­lish a pres­ence and pro­vide access to its con­tent via users’ cell­phones under­scores the high pre­mium the ter­ror­ist group gives to mod­ern tech­nol­ogy. In Jan­u­ary 2014, Al Manar launched a What­sApp pro­file pre­sum­ably in an effort to pro­vide a faster and more direct way of com­mu­ni­cat­ing with its users.

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March 20, 2014 2

Arrest Demonstrates Influence of Online Terrorist Materials

Nicholas Teausant

A 20-year-old com­mu­nity col­lege stu­dent from Acampo, Cal­i­for­nia, was arrested on March 17th for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join the Islamic State of Iraq and Al-Sham (ISIS), a ter­ror­ist group for­merly affil­i­ated with Al Qaeda. His alleged activ­i­ties prior to his arrest demon­strate the dan­ger­ous influ­ence of English-language online pro­pa­ganda that is being dis­trib­uted by ter­ror­ist organizations.

The stu­dent, Nicholas Teau­sant, report­edly accessed a vari­ety of online ter­ror­ist pro­pa­ganda includ­ing issues of Inspire mag­a­zine, an English-language pub­li­ca­tion pro­duced by Al Qaeda in the Ara­bian Penin­sula, and its com­pan­ion “Mujahid Pock­et­book,” which con­tains a com­pi­la­tion of arti­cles designed as a “how-to guide for becom­ing a lone wolf terrorist.”

Teau­sant also broad­cast his views over social media. In a Face­book post dated March 9, 2014, he asserted “the peo­ple you call ter­ror­ist aren’t really ter­ror­ist (sic) they are just doing what your to (sic) afraid to do, the gov­ern­ment fears these peo­ple and that’s why they are called ter­ror­ist.” He also posted mes­sages about car­ry­ing con­cealed weapons in public.

On the photo-sharing ser­vice Insta­gram, Teau­sant allegedly wrote, “Don’t get me wrong I despise Amer­ica and want its down fall…I would love to join Allah’s army.”

Accord­ing to the crim­i­nal com­plaint, Teau­sant dis­cussed bomb­ing the Los Ange­les sub­way sys­tem and pur­chas­ing fire­works and explo­sives prior to his attempt to join ISIS.

Teau­sant had enlisted in the U.S. army reserves in 2007 – seem­ingly prior to his attrac­tion to ter­ror­ism – but appar­ently never com­pleted train­ing because he did not meet the aca­d­e­mic requirements.

His arrest came the same day as that of Moham­mad Has­san Ham­dan, a 22-year-old per­ma­nent U.S. res­i­dent resid­ing in Dear­born, MI, who was arrested for attempt­ing to travel to Syria to join Hezbollah.

Both arrests high­light the con­tin­ued threat of Amer­i­cans trav­el­ing to join ter­ror­ist groups in Syria as the civil war there continues.

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