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April 2, 2014 1

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 12, 2014 0

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

Lebanon and Palestine’s vic­tory over the Zion­ist regime rep­re­sented a glimpse of the IRGC’s power*
(Defa­Press – March 5, 2014)

Gen­eral Ramezan Sharif of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guard Corps boasted of the IRGC’s mil­i­tary prowess and sup­port for ter­ror­ist groups in Lebanon and Pales­tine. “A glimpse of the IRGC’s [power] was the aid to the vic­tory of Lebanon and Pales­tine in transna­tional areas which the enemy itself is well aware of… Today the Islamic Repub­lic will bring the largest dam­age to Amer­ica for the small­est mis­take. The enemy knows well that it is unable to pro­vide secu­rity for the Zion­ist regime and this is the bless­ing of the IRGC’s power in the area of defense.”

Supreme Leader: Arro­gant pow­ers Spoil­ing from inside

khamenei-iran-anti-west

Supreme Leader Khamenei meet­ing with mem­bers of Iran’s Assem­bly of Experts 

(Fars News Agency – March 6, 2014)

In a meet­ing with mem­bers of Iran’s Assem­bly of Experts, Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Khamenei stated, “The super­fi­cial tran­quil­ity of the arro­gant pow­ers and the con­ven­tional pow­ers rul­ing the world are being destroyed and one of its signs is the eco­nomic cri­sis in Europe and the US and the signs of their eco­nomic bank­ruptcy is becom­ing visible.”

Iran­ian envoy blames Israel for Syr­ian tragedy
(Fars News Agency – March 6, 2014)

Iran’s rep­re­sen­ta­tive to Lebanon said in a meet­ing with Lebanese Prime Min­is­ter Fouad Sin­iora, that “the Zion­ist regime” is assist­ing rebel groups in Syria and car­ing for those injured in Israeli mil­i­tary field hospitals.

The Iran­ian nation will bury the hopes of Amer­ica and Israel one by one*
(Tas­nim News Agency – March 6, 2014)

IRGC Deputy Com­man­der Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami said in a state­ment in response to the AIPAC con­fer­ence last week in Wash­ing­ton D.C., “The same way that we buried the enemy front in the past. Today, too, the Iran­ian nation will bury the hopes of the Amer­i­can lead­ers who are by the side of their Zion­ist friends. Be sure that the enemy is unable to do any­thing greater than it has done in the last 35 years. They did every­thing they could do and they have been faced with defeat.”

Tehran, Ash­ton pushes focus on nego­ti­a­tions with top Iran­ian offi­cials*(Kay­han – March 9, 2014)

In response to EU for­eign pol­icy chief Cather­ine Ashton’s offi­cial visit to Tehran, Ali Akbar Velay­ati, a for­mer Iran­ian for­eign min­is­ter and spe­cial advi­sor to the Supreme Leader, crit­i­cized U.S. offi­cials and their threats against Iran. Velay­ati said, “Instances of these types of [unpro­duc­tive] com­ments [regard­ing sanc­tions] by John Kerry and the Pres­i­dent of the United States are against Iran and are due to pres­sure from the Zion­ists,” Velay­ati said at a press con­fer­ence fol­low­ing his meet­ing with Ashton.

Al-Zahar: Iran, Hamas to fur­ther deepen rela­tions soon
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

Mah­moud Al-Zahar, a senior Hamas offi­cial in Gaza, spoke of improv­ing rela­tions between the Islamist mil­i­tant group and Iran, “The Hamas move­ment and Iran have taken spe­cial mea­sures and we will see many changes in these rela­tions soon.”

Pres­i­dent Rouhani: Regional peace, sta­bil­ity impos­si­ble with­out Iran’s part­ner­ship
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

In a meet­ing with fam­ily mem­bers of Iran­ian sol­diers killed dur­ing the Iran-Iraq war, Pres­i­dent Rouhani com­mented, “If the enemy once thought in the early days of the (Islamic) Rev­o­lu­tion that Iran was a weak coun­try and could be destroyed by mil­i­tary attack, today it is obvi­ous to every­one that Iran is the most pow­er­ful and mighty coun­try in the region.”

Leader’s Aide: Islamic Ummah to con­tinue sup­port for Pales­tine, resis­tance against Israel
(Fars News Agency – March 10, 2014)

Address­ing a gath­er­ing of the High Coun­cil of the Islamic Awak­en­ing World Forum this week, Velay­ati, the spe­cial advi­sor to the Supreme Leader, pledged con­tin­ued sup­port for Pales­tine against Israel. “The enemy is attempt­ing to mar­gin­al­ize the Pales­tin­ian issue and draw it off the Mus­lim world’s priorities…The Islamic Ummah will con­tinue its sup­port for the oppressed Pales­tin­ian peo­ple and resis­tance against the Zion­ist regime,” Velay­ati said to the gathering.

Our fin­ger is on the trig­ger to destroy the Zion­ist regime from a dis­tance of 1,400 kilo­me­ters*
(Tas­nim News Agency – March 10, 2014

Address­ing a sem­i­nar on the Role of the Mus­lim World on Tues­day, IRGC Deputy Com­man­der Gen­eral Hos­sein Salami said, “From a dis­tance of 1400 kilo­me­ters, our fin­ger is on the trig­ger to destroy the Zion­ist regime. It is Islam that has given us the power and expan­sion to dom­i­nate the hearts of the Pales­tin­ian peo­ple from such geo­graph­i­cal dis­tances. Islam gives us hope and force, which allows us to be able to use the nec­es­sary force and capac­i­ties to destroy the Zion­ist regime, and until that day comes, our fin­ger will remain on the trigger.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Israel’s ‘cam­paign between the wars’ with Iran (Al-Monitor – March 7, 2014)

Last week’s Israeli naval inter­cep­tion of Gaza-bound mis­siles from Iran poses the ques­tion whether Pres­i­dent Rouhani was involved in the plan­ning and/or exe­cu­tion of the shipment.

Iran pres­i­dent con­demns hard-line media crack­down
(Wash­ing­ton Post – March 8, 2014)

In a meet­ing with the nation’s news­pa­per man­agers, Pres­i­dent Rouhani crit­i­cized the clos­ing of two reformist-leaning news­pa­pers in recent months. “Stop­ping the oper­a­tion and clos­ing (news­pa­pers) is the last solu­tion – not the first one,” Rouhani said. He added, “Why today is some media absolutely free and some oth­ers have lit­tle share of this free­dom? Gov­ern­ment crit­ics and oppo­nents are free and will be free but let government’s sup­port­ers also enjoy the same free­dom and secu­rity as well.”

Mercy and social media slow the noose in Iran
(New York Times – March 8, 2014)

As exe­cu­tion by pub­lic hang­ing has steadily risen since Pres­i­dent Rouhani’s elec­tion in June 2013, Ira­ni­ans increas­ingly resort to social media to spread awareness.

Will Iran’s ‘end to extrem­ism’ take hold?
(Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – March 9, 2014)

Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani met with Cather­ine Ash­ton, the Euro­pean Union’s for­eign pol­icy chief, in her first visit to the Islamic Repub­lic since her appointment.

Iran tells EU’s Ash­ton nuclear deal pos­si­ble ‘in months’
(BBC – March 9, 2014)

Dur­ing a meet­ing with EU for­eign pol­icy chief Cather­ine Ash­ton in Tehran, For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif stated that a nuclear deal could be reached “in four or five months and even shorter.”

Thwarted, for now, Iran’s bid to tar­get all of Israel from Gaza
(Times of Israel – March 10, 2014)

An analy­sis of Iran’s endeav­ors to arm mil­i­tant groups in Gaza and Lebanon with far-reaching mis­siles that can strike any­where in Israel.

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August 20, 2013 0

Sanctions Are A Vital Component Of Diplomacy To Prevent A Nuclear Iran

rouhani-khamenei-ahmadinejad-sanctions

August 2013 inau­gu­ra­tion of Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani (right)

Just before the halls of Con­gress emp­tied out for August Recess, the House of Rep­re­sen­ta­tives passed H.R. 850, the Nuclear Iran Pre­ven­tion Act, by an over­whelm­ing 400–20, bipar­ti­san vote.  That leg­is­la­tion would greatly expand the scope of inter­na­tional finan­cial trans­ac­tions with Iran sub­ject to U.S. penalty and would greatly shrink the amount of oil import­ing nations can buy from Iran with­out U.S. penalty. 

While there is agree­ment across the board that the Iran­ian regime can­not be allowed to obtain a nuclear weapons capa­bil­ity, the debate about the role of sanc­tions in diplo­macy con­tin­ues.  Some in Con­gress argue against tougher sanc­tions, say­ing newly inau­gu­rated Iran­ian Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani should first be given a chance to show that Iran­ian intran­si­gence at the nego­ti­at­ing table has ended.  On the other side, just days after the House bill passed, 76 sen­a­tors sent a let­ter to Pres­i­dent Obama, say­ing “we believe our nation must toughen sanc­tions” and ask­ing him to bring a “renewed sense of urgency to the process.”

Rouhani should be judged by his actions, not his sooth­ing state­ments, and his his­tory as the chief nuclear nego­tia­tor, from 2003 to 2005, sup­ports the skep­tics.  Describ­ing his pre­vi­ous nego­ti­a­tion tac­tics, he said in 2004: “While we were talk­ing with the Euro­peans in Tehran, we were installing equip­ment in parts of the facil­ity in Isfa­han. By cre­at­ing a calm envi­ron­ment, we were able to com­plete the work in Isfa­han.”  Today, the regime con­tin­ues to enrich ura­nium, install more cen­trifuges, and make progress on its plutonium-producing Arak reac­tor.   As recently reported by The Insti­tute for Sci­ence and Inter­na­tional Secu­rity, at its cur­rent pace of devel­op­ment, Iran should have enough cen­trifuges installed to enrich a bomb’s worth of ura­nium to weapons grade – with­out detec­tion – by the mid­dle of next year.

Even more severe sanc­tions will sup­port diplo­macy, not hin­der it, by rais­ing the cost of delay and defi­ance.  As Pres­i­dent Obama him­self said in his Nobel Peace Prize speech, “Sanc­tions must exact a real price.  Intran­si­gence must be met with increased pres­sure” and sanc­tions must be “tough enough to actu­ally change behav­ior.”  Clearly, we’re not there yet.

ADL con­tin­ues to sup­port sanc­tions leg­is­la­tion that pro­vides the Admin­is­tra­tion with a full range of diplo­matic, eco­nomic, and legal tools to pres­sure the world’s lead­ing state spon­sor of ter­ror into ver­i­fi­ably renounc­ing its nuclear weapons program.  

When Con­gress returns from its five-week recess, we hope the Sen­ate will fol­low the House’s lead on this issue and swiftly pass leg­is­la­tion akin to the Nuclear Iran Pre­ven­tion Act.

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