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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

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 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.”


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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