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April 2, 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

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 26, 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

Israel strike on Iran would spell doom for US empire: Analyst
(Press TV – March 25, 2014)

Kevin Barrett, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and frequent contributor to Iran’s English-language propaganda news network, Press TV, wrote “The US is still doing the bidding of the Zionist bankster oligarchs who are the real power behind the Western throne.”

A topic from the Supreme Leader’s Nowruz speech*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 24, 2014)khamenei-nowruz-holocaust-denial

In an editorial examining the Supreme Leader’s comments on the Holocaust, Mashregh News posits the question, “Was the killing of the Jews during World War II a systematic killing, or were the Jews killed part of the millions who were killed during World War II?” In a follow-up question posted by the newspaper, the figure of 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis is doubted, “Could the figure of 6 million Jews killed in World War II be true? Some researchers even believe that the systematic killings of the Jews during WWII is true, although during that era there were not 6 million Jews living in Europe to kill.”

We are not pessimistic about nuclear negotiations*
(Tabnak – March 24, 2014)

In an exclusive interview with Tabnak, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani, said, “I am not pessimistic in regards to the direction of negotiations, but we must be sensitive to the negotiations because there are many aspects.” Larijani added, “We must accept the fact that in the United States that there is an influential and effective Zionist current.”

What was the most important and memorable statement made by the Supreme Leader in the 1391 (2013)?*
(Khamenei.ir – March 24, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s office asked supporters to vote on their favorite statement from the last year. The winning statement was from Khamenei’s 2013 Persian New Year address where he threatened, “If the Zionist regime makes a wrong move, the Islamic Republic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

Iran’s foreign policy priorities for the new year*
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Professor Reza Simbar, the head of Gilan University’s Political Science and International Relations Group, wrote that among the primary goals for the Islamic Republic the new year is “supporting the downtrodden, fighting Israel, supporting the rights of the people of Palestine, rejecting the unjust economic tricks of the world, and fighting America who is the leader of the global arrogance.”

Iranian MP warns against foreign interference in Ukraine
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Esmayeel Kossari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said in an interview with Fars News that, “The bullying and interference of the Westerners has no boundary as they want to practice hegemony over every part (of the world).” Kossari added, “The Americans and Westerners will no way attain their goals in Ukraine because the Ukrainian people will not allow them to interfere in their country’s domestic affairs.”

Interior Minister: Enemies unable to impose will on Iran
(Fars News Agency – March 23, 2014)

Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Iran’s Interior Minister, boasted that “The enemy is not in such conditions that it can impose anything on us and we, in line with the guidelines of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, will not step back from our principles and rights.” Fazli also claimed that it was “The Islamic Republic’s might and power and its insistence on people’s inalienable rights” that have “made the enemy come and sit to the negotiating table with an equal footing.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Nowruz message to the nation*
(Leader.ir – March 21, 2014)

During his annual speech to the Iranian nation to mark the start of the Persian New Year, Ayatollah Khamenei said the historical reality of the Holocaust is “unknown” and questioned if it “actually did
happen.”

A new scenario to combat West’s possible violation of nuclear agreement*
(Fars News Agency – March 20, 2014)

During an interview with Fars News, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said that American claims that sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table are for its own public consumption. Larijani added, “[Talk of sanctions by the U.S.] were also meant to shut the mouths of the many Zionists that heavily lobbied [for sanctions].”             

International Media

Iran Standard Time: A day at the Kerman bazzar
(The Guardian – March 26, 2014)

A look into the once bustling markets of the city of Kerman.

Iran alcohol ban doesn’t keep moonshine away
(Ha’aretz – March 26, 2014)

Alcohol consumption may be officially banned according to Iranian law, but locals continue to skirt the ban by brewing at home.

Iran resumes monetary aid to Hamas
(Al-Monitor – March 24, 2014)

The Islamic Republic resumes financial support of Hamas, but at lower levels than what was given before the two sides had a falling out over the Syrian civil war. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will also visit Iran and meet with Supreme Leader Khamenei in the near future.

Born in the U.S., playing for Iran
(The New York Times – March 22, 2014)

An Iranian-American, Steven Beitashour, has accepted an offer to potentially play for Iran’s national soccer team during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

Iranians ignore government limits on holiday celebrations
(Al-Monitor – March 21, 2014)

Iranians continue to ignore government warnings against celebrating ancient Persian New Year customs.

Iran’s leader preaches self-reliance in face of sanctions in annual Nowruz speech
(The Washington Post – March 21, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s new year message to Iranian citizens calls for national strength. “If a nation is not strong, it will be bullied and trampled,” Khamenei said.

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March 19, 2014

Iran Weekly: Selected News & Developments

ayatollah-khamenei-iran

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei

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 principle events of the Islamic Revolution and the Holy Defense are exposed to being harmed and distorted*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 17, 2014)

In a meeting with officials from the Raahian-e Nour (Path of Light) tour guides that lead trips to different battle grounds from the Iran-Iraq war, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned, “Today the ruling powers are trying the same lowly tricks to make [the world] gradually forget how the native people of the cities and villages of Palestine were pushed out. We must not allow the events of the Holy Defense to also be forgotten.”

Rafsanjani criticizes world powers for ignoring Muslims’ rights in Palestine, Myanmar
(Fars News Agency – March 17, 2014)

Former Iranian President and Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Rafsanjani met with a delegation from the International Crisis Group. During his meeting, Rafsanjani said, “The super powers’ green light to Israel and sometimes their weaponry and political assistance to the usurper regime has doubled the oppression against the oppressed people of Palestine.”

Official reveals new details of sabotage acts against Iran’s N. facilities
(Fars News Agency – March 17, 2014)

Asqar Zare’an, the deputy chief for nuclear protection and security for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, revealed that the Arak nuclear facility had come under attack. “Intelligence inspections of the nuclear facilities indicated that some pumps of the second circuitry of Arak’s IR40 project had undergone mechanical operations in a bid to disrupt the routine work of the power plant,” Zare’an said last Saturday.

Khalid Mashaal is coming to Iran*
(Fars News Agency – March 16, 2014)

According to reports by the Egyptian daily Al-Yom Al-Saba’a, Hamas Politburo Chief Khalid Mashaal is expected to visit to Tehran soon.

The nuclear team has no right to discuss non-nuclear issues*
(Kayhan – March 16, 2014)

A statement signed by 222 members of the Iranian parliament this week stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran, in its capacity as a founding member of the NPT, which it has up until now adhered to and has not produced nuclear weapons in accordance with the treaty, seeks to use its full legitimate right of nuclear power for peaceful purposes as stated in Article 4 of the treaty.

The Palestinians’ missile capabilities have increased by 1,000 times*
(Fars News Agency – March 15, 2014)

Defense Minister Hossein Deghan boasted, “The Resistance’s [Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad] operational abilities against the Zionist regime have increased 1,000 fold and it is something we have been doing until now. With these calculations, the Resistance’s missile response can be fully understood.”

Iran raps Al-Jazeera claim about involvement in 1988 Lockerbie bombing
(Fars News Agency – March 13, 2014)

Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs accused Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab Qatari news network, of embarking on a campaign on behalf of Israel. Hossein Amir Abdollahian called Al Jazeera’s report connecting Iran to the 1988 Lockerbie bombing a fabrication “in line with the Zionist regime’s lies.”

Hezbollah vows to give crushing response to Israeli aggressions
(Fars News Agency – March 12, 2014)

Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem issued a series of threats against Israel after an aerial attack on Hezbollah sites by the Israeli Air Force. “We will pursue the issue of Israel’s continued aggressions, including reconnaissance flights and land aggression, through international law and the UN Security Council, laws of big countries and all those who claim that Israel is neither an occupier nor an aggress,” Qassam said during his interview with Fars News.

The next meeting of the Supreme Islamic Awakening Council will be in Baghdad/The West is in fear of Islamic thinking and awe*
(Fars News Agency – March 12, 2014)

Ali Akbar Velayati, the special advisor to the Supreme Leader, said during his speech at the Supreme Islamic Awakening Council, “Our hope is for the liberation of Palestine and we are hopeful that one day we will pray behind the Supreme Leader in the Al Aqsa mosque.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Netanyahu orders IDF to prepare for possible strike on Iran during 2014
(Haaretz – March 19, 2014)

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and Defense Minister Moshe Ya’alon continue to prepare the Israel Defense Force for a possible military attack against Iran’s nuclear facilities.

West sees unity on Iran despite crisis in Ukraine
(New York Times – March 18, 2014)

As representatives from the P5+1 and Iran gather in Vienna for negotiations, the specter of the crisis in Ukraine cause tensions between the West and Russia.

Iran doesn’t expect deal in coming nuclear talks
(Washington Post – March 16, 2014)

Prior to the latest round of negotiations with the P5+1, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif expressed doubt that a deal would be reached “in this round of talks,” and that the sides “have agreed to discuss a number of issues in this round.”

It’s a sabotage: Iran’s hard-liners are using mass executions to undermine the nuclear deal
(Foreign Policy – March 14, 2014)

A spike in the number of executions is seen as attempts by hard-liners to derail President Rouhani’s diplomatic efforts.

Iran’s oppressed Christians
(New York Times – March 14, 2014)

A look into the hardships Iran’s Christian minority faces under the rule of the Islamic Republic.

Rouhani has not stopped Iran suppressing human rights: U.N. envoy
(Reuters – March 14, 2014)

United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran Ahmed Shaheed, criticized President Rouhani’s “baby steps” to improve human rights in Iran. Shaheed also stated that the Islamic Republic is holding 900 political prisoners, “including people persecuted for religious activities, lawyers and journalists.”

In Iran, a battle over control of media and culture is heating up
(Washington Post – March 13, 2014)

Tensions rise within Iran’s establishment as the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance hint at the possibility of relaxing some of the “ridiculous” policies Iran has adopted since the Islamic Revolution.

Iran hosts Syria conference of Assad sympathizers
(Chicago Tribune – March 12, 2014)

Iran hosted a conference in support of Syria’s Assad regime in which participating nations endorsed Tehran’s call for elections to “determine the destiny” of Syria.

Iran hard-liners protest at Austrian Embassy
(Washington Post – March 12, 2014)

Iranian authorities staged a protest in front of the Austrian Embassy last week over a meeting EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton held with activists during her high-profile visit to Tehran.

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