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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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February 11, 2014 0

35 Years after the Iranian Revolution, Concerns of Middle Eastern Stability Remain

Feb­ru­ary 11 marks 35 years since the fall of the Shah of Iran and the rise of Aya­tol­lah Khomeni’s Islamic Repub­lic of Iran.  Look­ing back at the Jew­ish community’s pub­lic state­ments from the time, it is strik­ing how many of the con­cerns expressed about the region-wide impli­ca­tions of the Iran­ian Rev­o­lu­tion are still rel­e­vant today.

Ayatollah Khomeini

Aya­tol­lah Khomeini

In an op-ed pub­lished in Jan­u­ary 1979, the Anti-Defamation League exam­ined the impact of the Iran­ian cri­sis on Israel and the West at a moment when it was unclear who would gov­ern Iran: a fun­da­men­tal­ist Islamic gov­ern­ment, right-wing mil­i­tary rule or a leftist-Communist ori­ented regime.

Not unlike the sen­ti­ment expressed fol­low­ing the fall of Egypt’s Hosni Mubarak in 2011, in 1979 there was great fear of the vul­ner­a­bil­ity of Saudi Ara­bia and the Gulf States to a sim­i­lar rev­o­lu­tion. Should that hap­pen, ADL wrote, “the fate of Kuwait, the United Arab Emi­rates and Oman would most likely be sealed if the Shah is deposed and if Saudi Ara­bia expe­ri­ences sim­i­lar troubles.”

And as today, when ana­lysts and even some Mid­dle East lead­ers have accused Wash­ing­ton of mis­read­ing and mis­play­ing regional devel­op­ments in Iran, Syria, Egypt and the Israeli-Palestinian peace process, ADL crit­i­cized the long­stand­ing U.S. pol­icy which relied on the sta­bil­ity of Saudi Ara­bia and Iran:

 

“The assump­tion has been that if Saudi Ara­bia and Iran were heav­ily armed with both U.S. polit­i­cal sup­port and American-made weapons, they could with­stand any and all attempts at over­throw and inva­sion by neigh­bor­ing Soviet-backed ene­mies of by inter­nal rad­i­cal insur­rec­tion­ists. As the Shah loses his grip over Iran, the rea­son­ing behind America’s Per­sian Gulf pol­icy appears to have been specious.”

 

In a line which could eas­ily have been writ­ten dur­ing any point over the past 35 years, our op-ed posited:  “In an era that is expe­ri­enc­ing a rise in rad­i­cal­ism and insta­bil­ity, Israel is the only sta­ble nation.  If, as some Admin­is­tra­tion and State Depart­ment offi­cials acknowl­edged recently, Amer­i­can intel­li­gence had mis­read and under­es­ti­mated the threat to the Shah, could it be that it is mis­read­ing the cur­rent sit­u­a­tion of the Saudi royal fam­ily or under­es­ti­mat­ing Israel’s strate­gic importance?”

Even as we enter an era of grow­ing energy inde­pen­dence in the U.S. and ris­ing hopes about sig­nif­i­cant Israeli fuel sources, the strate­gic impli­ca­tions of a shut-off of Mid­dle East­ern oil still leads to great global anx­i­ety. In 1979, the specter of los­ing Iran­ian oil was a calamity for the West and Israel. As we wrote: “Twelve per­cent of Amer­i­can for­eign oil imports and five per­cent of its total con­sump­tion are Iran­ian.  The fig­ure for West­ern Europe and Japan are even more impos­ing: 16% of oil con­sump­tion in Japan is from Iran­ian oil fields, 15% in Italy, 14% in Britain, 11% in West Ger­many and 10% in Canada.  And for Israel, the fig­ures go even higher – fully 60–80% of Israel’s oil comes from Iran.”

Most trag­i­cally, our op-ed high­lighted fears for the wel­fare of the ven­er­a­ble Jew­ish com­mu­nity of Iran, which then num­bered over 80,000:  “While some Moslem reli­gious lead­ers have issued state­ments assur­ing Iran­ian Jewry that they would be able to live as a ‘pro­tected minor­ity’ under an ‘Islamic Repub­lic,’ it is clear that any change in gov­ern­ment would raise ques­tions about the future via­bil­ity of a com­mu­nity that dates back 25 centuries…Recent rev­e­la­tions about anti-Semitic speeches deliv­ered by Khome­ini in Iraq have only served to con­firm Iran­ian Jewry’s appre­hen­sion about liv­ing under an ‘Islamic republic.’”

Today, with a frac­tion of that com­mu­nity remain­ing in Iran, Jews world­wide still worry about their secu­rity and well-being.

Thirty-five years ago, Iran’s nuclear weapons pro­gram, its spon­sor­ship of inter­na­tional ter­ror­ism, and sup­port for the per­pet­u­a­tion of the bru­tal Assad regime in Syria weren’t quite on the radar screen.  Yet it is strik­ing that Iran and the region’s insta­bil­ity and unpre­dictabil­ity remained a con­stant over the years.

 

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February 11, 2014 1

Iran’s Islamic Revolution: 35 Years Of Hate

Today marks the 35th anniver­sary of the 1979 Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion. More than three decades on, the author­i­tar­ian Iran­ian regime has indoc­tri­nated gen­er­a­tions of its cit­i­zens with anti-Semitic, anti-Israel and anti-Western pro­pa­ganda through state-controlled media.

These themes con­tinue to dom­i­nate Iran’s media, which also pro­vides a plat­form for Iran’s lead­er­ship to glo­rify ter­ror­ist groups such as Hezbol­lah in Lebanon to Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Gaza.

Iran’s tele­vi­sion, news­pa­pers and film indus­tries are all under the com­mand of Iran’s Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei. Through these medi­ums the peo­ple of Iran have been receiv­ing a steady dose of the regime’s ide­ol­ogy and hatred.

Tele­vi­sion and Film 

Tele­vi­sion shows reg­u­larly fea­ture anti-Semitic ani­mated car­toons depict­ing Jews and Israelis as blood thirsty mur­der­ers of Pales­tin­ian chil­dren. These graphic ani­ma­tions, which are also aired on pop­u­lar children’s shows, often incor­po­rate anti-American imagery that implies an Amer­i­can hand aid­ing Israel’s crimes.

For exam­ple, a children’s car­toon aired in Sep­tem­ber 2012 titled, Yek Vajeb-e Azadi [An Oblig­a­tion of Free­dom], directly aimed to por­tray Israelis as child-killers by depict­ing an Israeli sol­dier killing inno­cent Pales­tin­ian chil­dren while they played.

yek-vajeb-azadi-iran

Yek Vajeb-e Azadi car­toon — Sep­tem­ber 2012

In Novem­ber 2012, Islamic Repub­lic of Iran Broad­cast­ing (IRIB) aired Sat­ur­day Hunter, an Iranian-made anti-Semitic film about a rabbi teach­ing his grand­son to kill Pales­tini­ans in accor­dance with Jew­ish law. This film and oth­ers like it are aired dur­ing the month of Ramadan.

saturdays-hunter-anti-semitic-iran

Anti-Semitic Iran­ian film “Sat­ur­day Hunter” — Novem­ber 2012

Print Media

State-run news­pa­pers are a pri­mary tool used by the Iran­ian regime to pro­mote hos­tile anti-Israel and anti-U.S. sen­ti­ments, and to pro­vide hard­line con­ser­v­a­tives a plat­form for anti-Semitism and Holo­caust denial.

Kay­han, a news­pa­per known to be the mouth­piece of the Supreme Leader, reg­u­larly pub­lishes edi­to­ri­als pro­mot­ing con­spir­a­cies alleg­ing that the U.S. and Israel are plot­ting to take over Iran and arti­cles deny­ing the his­tor­i­cal facts of the Holocaust.

Another semi-official pub­li­ca­tion which is close to the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps (IRGC), Fars News Agency, reg­u­larly pub­lishes anti-Semitic car­toons liken­ing Jews to unclean ani­mals and insects.

Israeli termite to the Saudi termite: “Don’t fret… I’m telling you we will eat and destroy it…!”

Israeli ter­mite to the Saudi ter­mite: “Don’t fret… I’m telling you we will eat and destroy it…!”

Fri­day Sermons

The pul­pit has become a polit­i­cal tool for the manip­u­la­tion of the Iran­ian pub­lic by the aya­tol­lahs. Tra­di­tion­ally held at Tehran Uni­ver­sity, fire­brand cler­ics give Fri­day ser­mons con­demn­ing the U.S. and the West as untrust­wor­thy pup­pets under the con­trol of Zionists.

friday-prayer-iran

Wor­ship­pers chant “Death to Amer­ica” dur­ing Fri­day prayer and ser­mon in Tehran.

Fri­day ser­mons are also used by the regime to dis­cuss its  for­eign poli­cies. For exam­ple, shortly fol­low­ing the end of the brief Israel-Hamas war in Novem­ber 2012, Supreme Leader Khamenei and Aya­tol­lah Ahmad Khatami both use their Fri­day ser­mon to laud Hamas’s fight against Israel. Fur­ther­more, sev­eral high-ranking offi­cials pub­licly acknowl­edged that Iran had sup­plied Hamas and Islamic Jihad with the Fajr 5 mis­siles that were fired into cen­tral Israel.

supreme-leader-hamas-terrorism

Supreme Leader Khamenei praises Hamas and Islamic Jihad for their fight against Israel in Novem­ber 2012.

 

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