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August 21, 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

Zionists’ Iranophobia campaign foiled: Zarif
(Press TV – August 21, 2014)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said on state television that his country has successfully thwarted an anti-Iran campaign led by Israel. “It has always been on the agenda of the Zionist regime and its supporters as well as certain parts of the US government and some Western countries to portray Iran as a security threat to the world,” Zarif said during the televised broadcast on Wednesday.

Iran worried over race discrimination in US
(Mehr News Agency – August 20, 2014)

Iran’s foreign ministry criticized the U.S. for blasting Iran’s human rights offenses as protests continued in Ferguson, Missouri. The foreign ministry said: “Race discrimination against African Americans by the US police and court system is an indicator of human rights violations in that country despite their claims for supporting human rights and their annual reports of human rights violations in other countries.”

IRGC commander warns Israel of deadly response
(Fars News Agency – August 20, 2014)

General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, the commander of the IRGC’s Air Force, threated Israel with retaliation in the event of an Israeli strike against Iran. “The Zionist regime might have a decision to make an aggression against Iran, but it will certainly come to the conclusion that it has taken an immature decision after studying the outcomes and consequences and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s much powerful reaction.”

ebrahim-raeisi-iran

Ebrahim Raeisi

Hujjat al-Islam Ebrahim Raeisi: “Americans have committed some of the worst crimes in the name of freedom”
(Rasa News Agency – August 19, 2014)

Ebrahim Raeisi, the first deputy of the Iranian judiciary, gave a speech in the city of Qom, stating, “The ignorant Americans have committed some of the worst crimes upon humanity in the name of freedom.” The cleric also claimed that the West is promoting the acceptance of homosexuality as a human right and as “a sign of freedom and a characteristic of a civilized, liberal and modern society.”

Iran’s civil, air defense bodies sign agreement to cooperate in defending N. sites
(Fars News Agency – August 19, 2014)

Gholam Reza Jalali, the head of Iran’s Civil Defense Organization, announced this week that his organization has signed an agreement with other air defense bases to establish a defense system to protect the country’s nuclear sites. “Our enemy uses intelligent power and we should make use of an intelligent air defense system as well,” Jalali said during the signing ceremony.

IRGC top advisor hails Iran’s missile power
(Fars News Agency – August 19, 2014)

General Komeil Kohansal, a top advisor to the IRGC, said during a visit to the northern city of Sari on Tuesday, that, “Today, Iran’s missile systems are ready to respond to any enemy threats.”

Committing crimes now habit for Israel: Top cleric
(Press TV – August 19, 2014)

Senior Iranian leader and former President Ayatollah Rafsanjani said during an anti-Israel protest in Tehran on Tuesday that, “Committing crimes has grown into a habit for Israel, and silence and supporting criminals has become routine in international communities.”

Iran’s integrated air defense system impenetrable
(Fars News Agency – August 18, 2014)

General Ali Reza Sabahifard, the lieutenant commander of the Khatam al-Anbia Air Defense Base, boasted to reporters about Iran’s military prowess, stating, “At present, every part of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s airspace is connected to the integrated air defense network and the smallest movements cannot go unnoticed by the eagle eyes of the air defense base.”

Israelis control major world banks: Analyst
(Press TV – August 18, 2014)

During an interview with Iran’s English-language propaganda network this week, Kenneth O’Keefe, a London-based virulently anti-Israel activist, spewed anti-Semitic comments when he said: “It is beyond absurdity that treasonous governments have been allowed to actually sign off the power of the people to print their own money through their representative government and instead give it to private bankers. The fact that they happen to be Jewish is not an opinion, it is a fact. And it is that use of that money, that power that has been given to them that they use to be able to dominate the world as I have said buying the media, the police, the military, the courts, the corporation, all of it.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Understanding Iran’s internal divisions
(The Wall Street Journal, Op-Ed – August 20, 2014)

Haleh Esfandiari, the director of the Middle East program at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars, wrote that the recent imprisonment of several Western journalists by the Iranian authorities signifies the greater power struggle between President Hassan Rouhani and conservative elements in the regime.

Iran cleric: Westernized Iranians no different than IS
(Al-Monitor – August 20, 2014)

Alireza Panahian, a representative of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said during a ceremony for an Iranian documentary this week, “The Westoxified among us are no different from takfiris and ISIS,” and that Westoxified Iranians are “Zionist fifth columnists.”

Remembering poet Simin Behbahani, the ‘Lioness of Iran’
(The Washington Post – August 20, 2014)

Earlier this week Iran lost one of its most celebrated poets, Simin Behbahani, who was known for her feminist views and poetry that expressed her love for Iran.

One result of the Gaza conflict: Iran and Hamas are back together
(Time – August 19, 2014)

After a falling out nearly three years ago over Hamas’s support for Syrian rebels, the Palestinian terrorist group and its foremost patron Iran appear to be on the path toward reconciliation. The new thaw is purportedly due to Hamas’s ongoing conflict with Israel, and Iranian leaders have begun voicing their support of “the Palestinian resistance in different ways.”

Billionaire named in suit against anti-Iran group
(The New York Times – August 18, 2014)

United Against Nuclear Iran, a leading organization fighting to enforce sanctions against the Islamic Republic by publicizing companies that do business with Tehran, is facing a defamation lawsuit by a Greek businessman. Last year the anti-Iran group had publicized Victor Restis’s alleged business dealings with Iran.

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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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May 21, 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 Islamic Revolution created two political models against the world infidels*
(Basij News Agency – May 20, 2014)

In a speech, IRGC Brig. General Hossein Salami said: “Today, even American intellectuals clearly acknowledge that in any place they have tried to plant democracy, the heart of Islam sprouts, and the Islamic Republic has tested [this] and been successful in this model.”

seyyed-mahmoud-alavi-iran

Iranian Minister of Intelligence Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi

The Minister of Intelligence warns of new enemy movements against Iran*
(Fars News Agency – May 20, 2014)

Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi,  Iran’s minister of intelligence, said in a statement: “In the last five years, political analysts, even inside the Zionist regime and with Zionist viewpoints, have predicted that this regime [Israel] is on the decline after it was slapped in the face by Hezbollah and the Palestinian resistance [Hamas] … Five years ago, various Islamic groups, such as Hamas and Hezbollah, were standing beside Syria united and were often capable of slapping Israel in the face.”

We have not shut down anything up till now; Keeping in accordance with our red lines, we continue negotiations*
(Fars News Agency – May 20, 2014)

Ali Akbar Salehi, the head of the Iranian Atomic Agency, said during a meeting with seminary students that “Western countries have no choice but to interact with Iran,” especially concerning his country’s nuclear program.

Rouhani hopes for successful nuclear negotiations
(Mehr News Agency – May 19, 2014)

In a meeting with government officials, President Hassan Rouhani said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has never intended to tell lies and seeks to gain peaceful nuclear technology and will pursue it as an undisputable right for Iranians, it also wants a deal on [the] Tehran nuclear program which benefits all.”

Al Sisi’s victory in the elections is conceivable; They want to return Egypt to the Mubarak era*
(Basij News Agency – May 19, 2014)

Hassan Hadizadeh, an Iranian journalist on Middle East affairs, said regarding Egypt: “The Egyptian generals’ soft coup d’état received help from the West and Saudi Arabia, and the Westerners arrived at the conclusion of the possibility of establishing democracy in their own accord and securing the safety of the Zionist regime, while the generals are subordinate to the West and Liberals.”

Military and defense equipment are insurmountable red lines for Iran*
(Basij News Agency – May 19, 2014)

IRGC commander Jazayeri stated, “With the knowledge that the issue of [discussing] military and defense equipment constitute an unbreachable red line for Iran, America aims to pressure the Iranian negotiating team and to blackmail them rather than discussing nuclear issues.”

Iran condemns Argentine court ruling on AMIA probe
(Press TV – May 16, 2014)

In response to an Argentine court ruling on the 2013 signed Memoranda of Understanding between Iran and Argentina, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said: “The Iranian government believes that the memorandum of understanding was a proper solution and opportunity for discovering the fact regarding the AMIA tragedy and the settlement of differences in that respect, but the measure by the Argentine court deprived both sides of that opportunity. Therefore, the Islamic Republic of Iran expresses regret and discontent over this decision.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Young Iranians arrested for being too ‘Happy in Tehran’
(The New York Times – May 20, 2014)

Six Iranians were arrested and made to give confessions on state television for their role in creating and starting in an Iranian cover of singer Pharell Williams’s song, “Happy.”

Iranian analyst: ‘Who entrusted Iran with destroying Israel?’
(Al-Monitor – May 19, 2014)

Sadegh Zibakalam, a Tehran University professor known to hold centrist views, has publicly criticized Iranian officials’ statements and rhetoric on Israel. “Iran has explicitly stated many times that it wants to destroy Israel. None of the other countries that have a nuclear program have state that they want to destroy a country. I don’t know who entrusted Iran with destroying Israel,” Zibakalam said during a speech at an university in the city of Mashhad.

Iran’s forgotten prisoners of conscience
(The Wall Street Journal – May 19, 2014)

Robert P. George and Katrina Lantos Swett, two members of the U.S. Commission on International Religious Freedom, wrote an opinion piece detailing the continuing state-sanctioned persecution of Iran’s Baha’i community.

8 Days in Iran
(60 Minutes – May 18, 2014)

Reporters from 60 Minutes were granted permission to visit Iran and meet with elected officials and ordinary citizens.

Tehran poll: 60% believe media has little or no freedom
(Al-Monitor – May 16, 2014)

A poll conducted by Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance found that the majority of citizens living in Tehran “believe the media does not have freedom of express or has very little freedom of expression.”

Iranians ‘least anti-Semitic in Mid-East’
(BBC – May 16, 2014)

An article published by the BBC discusses the surprising finding from ADL’s Global 100 survey that the Islamic Republic of Iran is the least anti-Semitic country in the Middle East and North Africa region.

Iran pays Afghans to fight for Assad
(The Wall Street Journal – May 15, 2014)

Iran amps up efforts to save the Assad regime by offering $500 a month and Iranian residency to thousands of Afghan refugees to help Assad in his blood war against the Syrian people.

Iran: Oil exports continue to decline
(The New York Times – May 15, 2014)

The month of April saw the continuing decline of Iranian oil exports, down from 1.58 million barrels a day in February to 1.11 million barrels a day in April.

Iranian reality check
(The New York Times – May 15, 2014)

Opinion columnist Roger Cohen urged Iran to reach a deal and avert prospects of war.

Making Iran come clean about its nukes
(The Wall Street Journal – May 14, 2014)

David Albright and Bruno Tertrais write that “A prerequisite for any final agreement is for Iran to address nuclear-weapons questions raised by inspectors of the International Atomic Energy Agency.”

No, sanctions didn’t force Iran to make a deal
(Foreign Policy – May 14, 2014)

Trita Parsi, the head of the National Iranian American Council, writes that “Sanctions are neither the reason for the breakthrough, not the impetus behind the government of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s openness to talk;” rather, it was Rouhani’s campaigning success and high voter turnout that enabled Rouhani to come to power.

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