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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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March 12, 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

Lebanon and Palestine’s victory over the Zionist regime represented a glimpse of the IRGC’s power*
(DefaPress – March 5, 2014)

General Ramezan Sharif of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps boasted of the IRGC’s military prowess and support for terrorist groups in Lebanon and Palestine. “A glimpse of the IRGC’s [power] was the aid to the victory of Lebanon and Palestine in transnational areas which the enemy itself is well aware of… Today the Islamic Republic will bring the largest damage to America for the smallest mistake. The enemy knows well that it is unable to provide security for the Zionist regime and this is the blessing of the IRGC’s power in the area of defense.”

Supreme Leader: Arrogant powers Spoiling from inside

khamenei-iran-anti-west

Supreme Leader Khamenei meeting with members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts 

(Fars News Agency – March 6, 2014)

In a meeting with members of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei stated, “The superficial tranquility of the arrogant powers and the conventional powers ruling the world are being destroyed and one of its signs is the economic crisis in Europe and the US and the signs of their economic bankruptcy is becoming visible.”

Iranian envoy blames Israel for Syrian tragedy
(Fars News Agency – March 6, 2014)

Iran’s representative to Lebanon said in a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Fouad Siniora, that “the Zionist regime” is assisting rebel groups in Syria and caring for those injured in Israeli military field hospitals.

The Iranian nation will bury the hopes of America and Israel one by one*
(Tasnim News Agency – March 6, 2014)

IRGC Deputy Commander General Hossein Salami said in a statement in response to the AIPAC conference last week in Washington D.C., “The same way that we buried the enemy front in the past. Today, too, the Iranian nation will bury the hopes of the American leaders who are by the side of their Zionist friends. Be sure that the enemy is unable to do anything greater than it has done in the last 35 years. They did everything they could do and they have been faced with defeat.”

Tehran, Ashton pushes focus on negotiations with top Iranian officials*(Kayhan – March 9, 2014)

In response to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton’s official visit to Tehran, Ali Akbar Velayati, a former Iranian foreign minister and special advisor to the Supreme Leader, criticized U.S. officials and their threats against Iran. Velayati said, “Instances of these types of [unproductive] comments [regarding sanctions] by John Kerry and the President of the United States are against Iran and are due to pressure from the Zionists,” Velayati said at a press conference following his meeting with Ashton.

Al-Zahar: Iran, Hamas to further deepen relations soon
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

Mahmoud Al-Zahar, a senior Hamas official in Gaza, spoke of improving relations between the Islamist militant group and Iran, “The Hamas movement and Iran have taken special measures and we will see many changes in these relations soon.”

President Rouhani: Regional peace, stability impossible without Iran’s partnership
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

In a meeting with family members of Iranian soldiers killed during the Iran-Iraq war, President Rouhani commented, “If the enemy once thought in the early days of the (Islamic) Revolution that Iran was a weak country and could be destroyed by military attack, today it is obvious to everyone that Iran is the most powerful and mighty country in the region.”

Leader’s Aide: Islamic Ummah to continue support for Palestine, resistance against Israel
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

Addressing a gathering of the High Council of the Islamic Awakening World Forum this week, Velayati, the special advisor to the Supreme Leader, pledged continued support for Palestine against Israel. “The enemy is attempting to marginalize the Palestinian issue and draw it off the Muslim world’s priorities…The Islamic Ummah will continue its support for the oppressed Palestinian people and resistance against the Zionist regime,” Velayati said to the gathering.

Our finger is on the trigger to destroy the Zionist regime from a distance of 1,400 kilometers*
(Tasnim News Agency – March 10, 2014

Addressing a seminar on the Role of the Muslim World on Tuesday, IRGC Deputy Commander General Hossein Salami said, “From a distance of 1400 kilometers, our finger is on the trigger to destroy the Zionist regime. It is Islam that has given us the power and expansion to dominate the hearts of the Palestinian people from such geographical distances. Islam gives us hope and force, which allows us to be able to use the necessary force and capacities to destroy the Zionist regime, and until that day comes, our finger will remain on the trigger.”

International Media

Israel’s ‘campaign between the wars’ with Iran (Al-Monitor – March 7, 2014)

Last week’s Israeli naval interception of Gaza-bound missiles from Iran poses the question whether President Rouhani was involved in the planning and/or execution of the shipment.

Iran president condemns hard-line media crackdown
(Washington Post – March 8, 2014)

In a meeting with the nation’s newspaper managers, President Rouhani criticized the closing of two reformist-leaning newspapers in recent months. “Stopping the operation and closing (newspapers) is the last solution – not the first one,” Rouhani said. He added, “Why today is some media absolutely free and some others have little share of this freedom? Government critics and opponents are free and will be free but let government’s supporters also enjoy the same freedom and security as well.”

Mercy and social media slow the noose in Iran
(New York Times – March 8, 2014)

As execution by public hanging has steadily risen since President Rouhani’s election in June 2013, Iranians increasingly resort to social media to spread awareness.

Will Iran’s ‘end to extremism’ take hold?
(Christian Science Monitor – March 9, 2014)

President Hassan Rouhani met with Catherine Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief, in her first visit to the Islamic Republic since her appointment.

Iran tells EU’s Ashton nuclear deal possible ‘in months’
(BBC – March 9, 2014)

During a meeting with EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton in Tehran, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that a nuclear deal could be reached “in four or five months and even shorter.”

Thwarted, for now, Iran’s bid to target all of Israel from Gaza
(Times of Israel – March 10, 2014)

An analysis of Iran’s endeavors to arm militant groups in Gaza and Lebanon with far-reaching missiles that can strike anywhere in Israel.

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