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June 10, 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

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-basij

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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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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January 24, 2013 8

Holocaust Imagery Taints Gun Control Debate

Update 1/17/14: The polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol con­tin­ues to be marked by the inap­pro­pri­ate use of Holo­caust imagery by some gun advo­cates. Musi­cian and gun advo­cate Ted Nugent com­pared film pro­ducer Har­vey Wein­stein to a Nazi pro­pa­gan­dist.

Update 3/5/12: The list of inap­pro­pri­ate Holo­caust analo­gies regard­ing gun con­trol con­tin­ues to grow. NRA Pres­i­dent David Keene defended the depic­tion of New York Gov­er­nor Andrew Cuomo as Hitler at a rally in Albany protest­ing new state gun reg­u­la­tions. In an inter­view on March 1, Keene said, “Folks that are cog­nizant of the his­tory, not just in Ger­many but else­where, look back to the his­tory, and say we can’t let that sort of thing hap­pen here.”

The charged polit­i­cal debate over gun con­trol in the after­math of the Sandy Hook Ele­men­tary School shoot­ing con­tin­ues to be tainted by inap­pro­pri­ate invo­ca­tions of Hitler, Nazis, and gen­eral Holo­caust imagery.

These com­par­isons, made by polit­i­cal pun­dits on national news pro­grams as well by oth­ers out­side pol­i­tics, are not only mis­placed and offen­sive, rely­ing on fac­tu­ally incor­rect premises and exag­ger­a­tions, but also deflect atten­tion away from an impor­tant national discussion.

One anal­ogy sug­gests that Pres­i­dent Barack Obama is some­how rem­i­nis­cent of Hitler because of his gun con­trol pro­pos­als. For exam­ple, on Jan­u­ary 9, the home­page of The Drudge Report fea­tured an image of Hitler and Stalin with the cap­tion “WHITE HOUSE THREATENS ‘EXECUTIVE ORDERS’ ON GUNS.”

A sim­i­lar com­par­i­son was made by Ohio State Board of Edu­ca­tion Pres­i­dent Debe Tehrar, who posted a num­ber of pro-gun and anti-Obama mes­sages on her Face­book page, includ­ing a photo of Hitler with the cap­tion: “Never for­get what this tyrant said: ‘To con­quer a nation, first dis­arm its cit­i­zens.’ — Adolf Hitler.”

Another com­mon theme that has emerged in recent weeks is that if only the vic­tims of the Holo­caust had bet­ter access to guns, the Nazi regime would not have been able to sys­tem­at­i­cally mur­der so many people.

For exam­ple, Fox News’ Andrew Napoli­tano made this argu­ment in a Jan­u­ary 10 col­umn on FoxNews.com. Napoli­tano wrote that, “If the Jews in the War­saw ghetto had had the fire­power and ammu­ni­tion that the Nazis did, some of Poland might have stayed free and more per­sons would have sur­vived the Holocaust.”

Indi­vid­u­als on the fringes of the polit­i­cal debate also have weighed in with this nar­ra­tive. In a Jan­u­ary 15 col­umn for the web­site World­Net­Daily, dis­graced for­mer Major League Base­ball pitcher John Rocker wrote that “the Holo­caust would have never taken place had the Jew­ish cit­i­zenry of Hitler’s Ger­many had the right to bear arms and defended them­selves with those arms.”

It should be noted that the small num­ber of per­sonal firearms in the hands of the small num­ber of Germany’s Jews (about 214,000) remain­ing in Ger­many in 1938 could in no way have stopped the total­i­tar­ian power of the Nazi Ger­man state. When they had weapons, Jews could sym­bol­i­cally resist, as they did in the 1943 War­saw Upris­ing and else­where, but could not stop the Nazi geno­cide machine. Gun con­trol did not cause the Holo­caust; Nazism and anti-Semitism did.

Invok­ing the Holo­caust in dis­cus­sions of con­tro­ver­sial issues is noth­ing new. Con­spir­acy the­o­rist Lyn­don LaRouche, leader of a fringe polit­i­cal cult that defies cat­e­go­riza­tion, and his sup­port­ers have con­tributed to the divi­sive­ness sur­round­ing the pub­lic debate on health care reform by pro­duc­ing and dis­sem­i­nat­ing mate­ri­als com­par­ing Pres­i­dent Barack Obama and other gov­ern­ment offi­cials to Hitler, Nazis and fas­cists.

Offen­sive Holo­caust analo­gies have also been used by Democ­rats and Repub­li­cans alike on a num­ber of issues, and by pub­lic fig­ures from var­i­ous sec­tors of soci­ety when dis­cussing top­ics rang­ing from abor­tion to ani­mal rights to the Israeli-Palestinian con­flict to LGBT rights.

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