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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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June 10, 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

Rouhani: Iran, Turkey share viewpoints on liberation of Palestine, Holy Quds
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

During a press conference while on an official visit to the Turkish capital, President Rouhani said, “I am confident that the two countries (Iran and Turkey) have common views on issues related to Iraq, liberation of the Holy Al-Quds and the return of the Palestinians to their homeland.”

IRGC Commander: World powers attempting to weaken Iran but in vain
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

IRGC Commander Hossein Salami claimed during a speech in the western city of Kermanshah, that due to Iran’s resistance, the “enemy is now withdrawing” from its previous positions of threatening Tehran.

Deputy FM: Iran ready to remove G5+1’s “Rightful Concerns”
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

In a meeting with the Croatian deputy foreign minister, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to remove the legitimate concerns of the other side.” Sarmadi’s statement came after the latest round of bilateral meetings between Iranian and American negotiators.

ali-fazli-basij

Ali Fazli

Commander sees Persian Gulf as battlefield of possible Iran-US war
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Lieutenant Commander of the Basij Forces Ali Fazli said in a speech at the port city of Bandar Abbas that “The US has always tasted defeat and withdrawal in the Persian Gulf’s waters and has directly witnessed the bravery and prowess of the Muslim fighters; therefore, it hasn’t and doesn’t dare even to leer down the Islamic Iran’s holy borders.”

Palestinian groups’ unity is tactical; the future is the continuation of resistance*
(Basij News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Mehdi Shakibai, an expert on Palestinian and Lebanon, wrote an op-ed explaining what the Hamas-Fatah reconciliation agreement and the new Palestinian government means in regards to Israel: “The future is still the continuation of resistance and jihadist groups in Palestine, which are a cause for fear and anxiety to the Zionist regime in the region, and it may be possible to see with this reconciliation agreement the return of Hamas’s presence in the West Bank, and this prospect has made Israel very worried.”

Israel and American were the losers of the Syrian elections*
(Basij News Agency – June 10, 2014)

While visiting the port city of Chabahar, head of the Basij organization Mohammad Reza Naqdi said: “The Zionists are in fear today over the situation of the Syrian people, because the people are voluntarily standing and fighting against the terrorists. They [the Zionists] had come to destroy Syria but were unable to do this; the Americans have also suffered defeat a number of times and they should reach the conclusion that they don’t have a place among the nations of the region and the only losers of these elections were America and Israel.”

Unveiling of the Zionist regime’s new president, a ‘carnivore in vegetarian clothing’*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

A profile on Reuven Rivlin, the new president of Israel, describes the Israeli politician as being “known as a supporter of occupying all the lands of Palestine.”

The Americans want people from inside to stand against the Islamic Republic*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Hassan Firouzabadi, the Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces, said during an induction ceremony that “Today, the Americans are propagandizing that Iran is an enemy and that it is against us and it’s a global problem… They say that they are a superpower and Iran is just a country, while at the same time they admit and accept that superpower America is on its knees before Iran.”

Zara’i: The Syrian crisis is a result of the Israeli Winograd Commission*
(Fars News Agency – June 10, 2014)

Referring to the official commission report following Israel’s 2006 war against Hezbollah, Saidollah Zara’i, a Middle East affairs reporter, claimed: “Israel’s Winograd Commission was established with eight people following the 33 day war, and this commission worked for a year and a half and ultimately reflected the importance of seeking revenge for their [Israel’s] defeat by Hezbollah by going after Syria due to its important and effect support of Hezbollah in the 33 day war.”

The crimes committed by America and the Takfiris are like those committed by the Umayyads*
(Mehr News Agency – June 3, 2014)

In a meeting with the Ahl al Bayt Cultural Group in Qom, Ayatollah Hussain Nuri Hamedani compared crimes committed in the Syrian conflict to historical Sunni-Shi’a grievances from the 7th century: “Muawiyah committed many crimes and today America, the Zionist regime and the Takfiris are committing these crimes worthy of Bani Umayyad, and if we were to show this to the world, the world would shake.”

An attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran means the destruction of Tel Aviv and the continuation of the war inside the United States*
(Basij News Agency – May 30, 2014)

Massoud Jazayeri, the Deputy Commander of the Iranian Armed Forces, said in reaction to President Obama’s West Point speech: “If America and its allies were to have the ability to attack Iran, moments later they will regret their barbaric operation. They know that an attack on the Islamic Republic of Iran means the destruction of Tel Aviv and the continuation of war inside the United States. Therefore, the childish words and hopes of the president of the government of American will not be realized.”

Zarif: We will not submit to sanctions and threats; we don’t have anything to hide and scientific advances and the rights of Iran are not subject to negotiations*
(Fars News Agency – May 29, 2014)

On the sidelines of the Non-Aligned Movement’s meeting in Algeria, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “The member states of the Non-Aligned Movement should have a common position and emphasize without a doubt the Palestinians’ rights and to create an independent country with Jerusalem as its capital to ensure stability and peace.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Iran questions nuclear deal deadline as talks ‘hit wall’
(Reuters-UK – June 10, 2014)

France, one of the states in the so-called P5+1, stated that negotiations with Iran have “hit a wall,” while French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Iran should drop  its demand to have thousands of uranium enrichment centrifuges. Fabius added, “We say that there can be a few hundred centrifuges, but the Iranians want thousands so we’re not in the same framework.”

Surprise Iran nuclear talks: Why US sends in top US-Iran dealmaker
(The Christian Science Monitor – June 9, 2014)

In a bid to move the negotiating process along, the U.S. State Department dispatched Deputy Secretary William Burns to surprise talks with senior Iranian officials in Geneva. Burns’s dispatch has added a hint of urgency as negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 are set to resume next week.

Culture minister likens Iran’s fear of Internet to fear of fax machine
(Al-Monitor – June 9, 2014)

Ali Jannati, Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, urged the government to accept new technological changes, and likened the government’s protectionist policies previous failed policies. “There was a time we had problems with video. There was a time we had issue with the fax machine,” Jannati said in a meeting with Iran’s Chamber of Commerce.

Iranian president visits Turkey to bolster ties
(The Wall Street Journal – June 9, 2014)

President Rouhani made a two-day visit to Turkey, where several economic cooperation agreements were signed between the two regional powers. Ten deals were signed on energy and trade in total.

Tehran’s Chinese missile man
(The Daily Beast – June 9, 2014)

A Chinese businessman who helped Iran develop its ballistic missiles and violating international bans on trading with Iran has a $5 million bounty on his head.

Urged to multiply, Iranian couples are dubious
(The New York Times – June 7, 2014)

As Iran’s authorities embark on fulfilling the Supreme Leader’s command that Iranians should have more children, for an increasing number of young, middle-class Iranians, having children is not a priority at the moment.

Saudi Arabia and Iran reach out tentatively
(The New York Times – June 6, 2014)

Sunni Saudi Arabia and Shi’a Iran have been showing signs of thawing their decades old rivalry.

Openness on Israeli issues seen in survey of Iranians
(The New York Times – June 6, 2014)

A recent Israeli commissioned survey of Iranian public opinion indicates that 40 percent of Iranians would be willing to give up any ability to produce nuclear weapon in return for the full removal of sanction. 40 percent of respondents agreed that Iran should recognize Israel if Israel reached a peace accord with the Palestinians.

In Iran, a dispute over heaven
(The Atlantic – June 5, 2014)

Hard-liners in the Iranian government have taken President Rouhani to task over statements he made on how far the government’s influence on citizens’ lives should extend.

$21 Million for selling parts to Iran
(The New York Times – June 5, 2014)

A Dutch aerospace company and Pentagon contractor has agreed to pay $21 million in penalties to settle accusations that it repeatedly violated American sanctions on sales of aircraft parts to Iran and Sudan.  

Iran’s leader says Obama has removed military option
(The New York Times – June 4, 2014)

In what is seen as a response to President Obama’s West Point speech, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei boasted, “They realized that military attacks are as dangerous or even more dangerous for the assaulting country as they are for the country attacked…They have renounced the idea of any military actions.”

Happiness in short supply in Iran
(Gallup World – June 3, 2014)

A Gallup poll reveals that Iran’s ranking of positive emotions stands at 93 on a list of 138 countries. The poll also reported that Iranians have the highest negative emotions in the world, second only to Iraq.

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May 28, 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

‘New Horizon Conference’ is a protest to Zionist thought and essence*
(Basij News Agency – May 28, 2014)

Claudia Moti, a “philosopher and former professor at an American university,” gave an interview expressing disappointment in the cancellation of Iran’s anti-Zionist conference, New Horizon. In the interview, Moti said: “The New Horizon Conference is a protest against Zionist thought and essence, and I was surprised that it was not held. [The conference] had an important role in exposing the roots of Zionism. It is not only the Palestinians but the whole world that is trying to save itself from the clutches of Zionism, and the New Horizon Conference has the ability to help in this issue.”

No political-security equation in the Islamic world is possible without Iran’s satisfaction*
(Fars News Agency – May 28, 2014)

During a speech addressing a swearing in ceremony for Basij volunteers, IRGC Commander Hossein Salami said, “The Imam [Khomeini] commanded that America can’t do a damn thing [against Iran], and this has become a reality that America today can’t do a damn thing in the world.” Salami added, “If these economic sanctions, which America has imposed on this country, were to be imposed on the people and government of America, they would not be able to persist; look how this sanctions have not changed a thing in our country except for accelerating and advancing the economy just as the legitimate successor of Imam Khomeini has said.”

Anti-Shi’a and anti-Iran are tools of the Arrogant front for the protection of the Zionist regime*
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 27, 2014)

In a speech before ambassadors and officials from Islamic countries, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said, “It is the expectation of the Islamic nations, and the elite in particular, to correctly recognize the fronts of the enemies of the Muslim ummah [that support the Zionists] with clarity and insight.”

khamenei-parliament-iran

Ayatollah Khamenei addressing the Iranian parliament

Thought on the ‘continuation of resistance’ against the Arrogant front will govern the dignity of the nation/ Theorizing submission and compromise are treason*
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 25, 2014)

In a live broadcast speech to the Iranian parliament, Supreme Leader Khamenei said: “All officials of the country in the various sectors, from economics, science and culture, to the policy makers and directors of foreign negotiations, must know that we are in a state of resistance and we will continue on this path for the survival of the Islamic system.” Khamenei also added that resistance and jihad will not end, “because Satan and the satanic fronts will always exist, but it is possible in certain circumstances to distinguish the methods and styles of jihad and resistance. This resistance will come to an end when humanity is able to liberate itself from the evil Arrogant front, which America is at the head of and had its claws spread over the body, soul and thought of humanity.”

Araqchi quotes Zarif as saying West wants to dismantle Fordo through talks after failing to hit it by bunker-busters
(Fars News Agency – May 24, 2014)

In a meeting with IRGC political directors, Abbas Araqchi, the deputy foreign minister, quoted Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif as telling the European partners of the P5+1, “You intend to close Fordo because you cannot hit it then move to hit Natanz which is 20 meters under the ground.”

Iran mounts air-to-air, air-to-surface missiles on drones
(Fars News Agency – May 24, 2014)

Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the Commander of the Iranian Army Ground Forces, boasted of Iran’s new line of drones during military exercises in Isfahan. Pourdastan said, “We will use all our drones which have reconnaissance, online imaging and suicide (attack) capabilities as well as the air-to-air and air-to-surface missiles mounted on them.”

Westerns seek to secure the safety of Israel*
(Fars News Agency – May 22, 2014)

Esmail Kosari, a lawmaker in the Iranian parliament, said, “The Westerners are stressing today that we should limit the range of our missiles to 500 kilometers. The goal of this talk is to keep the safety of Israel, and they are seeking to solve this issue while they themselves have bunker buster missiles.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Briton among eight jailed in Iran for web insults
(The Guardian – May 27, 2014)

Eight people have been sentences to jail in Iran on charges that include blasphemy and insulting the Supreme Leader on Facebook.

Prison terms in Iran hint of new reins on Internet
(The New York Times – May 27, 2014)

Although President Hassan Rouhani pledged to ease internet restrictions and filtering of social media websites, recent prison sentences and an order for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg to testify in a lawsuit point toward an increase in restrictions and prosecutions.

Iran hangs key figure in banking scandal
(The Washington Post – May 24, 2014)

Mahafarid Amir-Khosravi, a key player in Iran’s biggest banking scandal, was executed on Saturday. Amir-Khosravi and his co-conspirators were accused of embezzling $2.6 billion.

Operation Wholesome Sea: Iran coast guard forces women off beaches
(The Daily Beast – May 24, 2014)

Gender segregation and strict dress code laws effectively prevent Iranian women from enjoying the beach. Operation Wholesome Sea will hire “women from other organizations such as the Basij” to help the coast guard enforce adherence to the country’s laws.

Iran cleric condemns ‘satanic’ divorce parties
(The Washington Post – May 23, 2014)

Tehran’s Friday prayer leader condemned the growing “Western” phenomenon of holding parties to celebrate divorce. “Men and Women who hold divorce parties are definitely satanic… Disintegration of family and lechery are related to the disgraceful Western civilization… Western-style freedoms are wrong,” Ayatollah Khashani said.

Iran cuts nuclear stockpile, engages with bomb probe: IAEA
(Reuters – May 23, 2014)

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced last week that Iran has cut its most sensitive nuclear stockpile by 80 percent in accordance with the interim agreement with the P5+1.

Rouhani official visits synagogue, endorses pre-revolutionary flag
(Al-Monitor – May 22, 2014)

A senior advisor for ethnic and religious minority affairs in the Rouhani cabinet recently paid a visit to a synagogue in the southern city of Shiraz. The visit has come under criticism by conservatives because the official defended the Jewish community’s use of Iran’s pre-revolutionary flag.

Iran hotels fill up as Rouhani’s rapprochement lifts tourism
(Bloomberg – May 21, 2014)

Tourism is up in Iran thanks largely to the election of Hassan Rouhani and his efforts to mend ties with the U.S. and Europe.

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