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March 19, 2014 1

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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November 21, 2012 1

Iranian Leaders Admit Providing Hamas With Missiles And Rockets To Fight Israel

Par­lia­men­tary Rally in Tehran (sign reads “Death to Israel”)

Sev­eral Iran­ian lead­ers have taken credit for pro­vid­ing arms and rock­ets to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza, accord­ing to state­ments trans­lated by the Anti-Defamation League from the orig­i­nal Farsi.

Among those boast­ing of Iran’s aid to Hamas was Ali Lar­i­jani, Speaker of the Iran­ian Par­lia­ment and close con­fi­dant to Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei. Dur­ing a par­lia­men­tary rally for Pales­tine on Wednes­day, Lar­i­jani admit­ted Iran’s involve­ment in arm­ing Hamas with weapons, “We announce with pride that we sup­port the peo­ple of Pales­tine and Hamas. We are proud that our help to the peo­ple of Pales­tine includes mate­r­ial and mil­i­tary (support).”

At a Basij cer­e­mony on Wednes­day, Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards Corps (IRGC) Major Gen­eral Muham­mad Ali Ja’afar acknowl­edged that Iran “can­not send weapons there (to Gaza),” but made it clear that Iran has “given theme (Hamas) the nec­es­sary tech­nol­ogy for the Fajr 5 and today mass quan­ti­ties of this mis­sile are being pro­duced.” At the same cer­e­mony, Vice Chief of State of the Armed Forces Masoud Jaza­y­eri warned Israel that “No Iran dome will be able to tol­er­ate the mis­siles of the resis­tance,” and that Pales­tin­ian ter­ror groups have many weapons capa­bil­i­ties “that have not arrived on the war scene yet.”

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November 20, 2012 0

Militant Organizations Weigh In On Operation Pillar Of Defense

Has­san Nas­ral­lah speaks about Oper­a­tion Pil­lar of Defense

In response to Israel’s mil­i­tary oper­a­tion against key Hamas and Islamic Jihad tar­gets in Gaza, Hezbol­lah, Al Shabaab and the Tal­iban have issued state­ments con­demn­ing Israel and Jews for the renewed violence.

Al Shabaab, Al Qaeda’s branch in Soma­lia, has con­demned “in the strongest pos­si­ble terms, the sav­age Jew­ish assault on the inno­cent Mus­lim pop­u­la­tion of Gaza.” Al Shabaab issued a state­ment on Twit­ter call­ing “on all Mus­lims, par­tic­u­larly those liv­ing near Gaza, to answer the call of the oppressed & come to the aid of their brothers.”

Although Al Shabaab is geo­graph­i­cally removed from the con­flict, it has pre­vi­ously declared an “open bat­tle” against Jew­ish inter­ests in Africa and against Israel, which it has described as the “oppress­ing Zion­ist entity.” In Novem­ber 2009, it announced the estab­lish­ment of Al Quds Brigade, a mil­i­tary unit specif­i­cally tasked with attack­ing Israel and free­ing “Islamic holy places” from the Israelis.

Al Shabaab appears to be the only affil­i­ate of Al Qaeda to have issued a pub­lic state­ment on the con­flict so far. Since mes­sages from the senior Al Qaeda lead­er­ship rou­tinely take time to reach the pub­lic, offi­cial state­ments are likely to be made in the com­ing weeks.

Hezbol­lah, the Lebanese For­eign Ter­ror­ist Orga­ni­za­tion (FTO), has also con­demned Israeli actions and expressed its sup­port for the Pales­tin­ian mil­i­tant fac­tions via its satel­lite tele­vi­sion sta­tion, Al-Manar. While Hezbol­lah has not yet entered the fray, Lebanese secu­rity forces report that they dis­man­tled two rock­ets aimed at Israel from south­ern Lebanon on Monday.

Has­san Nas­ral­lah, Hezbollah’s leader, encour­aged Arabs to “open bor­ders to Gaza and deliver more mis­siles to the resis­tance,” adding that “Arab coun­tries are required to sup­port and arm Gaza and not to work as inter­me­di­aries between the Israeli enemy and Gaza.” Nas­ral­lah also said “the Zion­ists returned to their crim­i­nal nature with killing large num­bers of chil­dren, women and civilians.”

Hezbollah’s Al Manar also reported on state­ments made by Ziad al-Nakhala, the Deputy Sec­re­tary Gen­eral of PIJ, that “the weapons which the resis­tance uses to fight, includ­ing those of Hamas, are Iran­ian weapons, from the first bul­let to the mis­sile; even the locally man­u­fac­tured ones are Iranian.”

The Tal­iban in Afghanistan issued a state­ment con­demn­ing “the bru­tal attacks on the land of Pales­tine.” The mes­sage calls on “the Islamic peo­ples and espe­cially the lead­ers of the Islamic world… to take a stand… to put an end to the Israeli injus­tices.” The state­ment also high­lights Amer­i­can sup­port for Israel, which it claims demon­strates “sup­port for inter­na­tional terrorism.”

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