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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 21, 2014 4

Iranian Leader Questions Holocaust During Persian New Year Speech

khamenei-nowruz-holocaust

Supreme Leader Khamenei address­ing the nation on Per­sian New Year (March 21, 2014)

Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei made state­ments ques­tion­ing the his­tor­i­cal real­ity of the Holo­caust dur­ing his annual Nowruz, or Per­sian New Year, address to the nation on Friday.

Dur­ing his speech, where the leader dis­cussed Iran’s strug­gling econ­omy and West­ern cul­tural encroach­ments on youth, Khamenei denounced the West for its “strict adher­ence” to free­dom of speech while impos­ing restric­tions on dis­cussing the Holo­caust. Empha­siz­ing this point, Khamenei said, “In Euro­pean coun­tries no one dares to speak about the Holo­caust, which it is unknown if the roots of this mat­ter are actual or not, and, if it actu­ally did hap­pen, in what way.”

Khamenei added that the West, and Europe in par­tic­u­lar, place high value on free speech, yet, “Opin­ions on the Holo­caust and doubt the Holo­caust are con­sid­ered one of the biggest offenses that they [try to] stop and imprison and prosecute.”

Khamenei also sin­gled out the U.S. and its sup­port for Israel’s require­ment for the Pales­tin­ian Author­ity to rec­og­nize Israel as a Jew­ish state. “Amer­ica has been left in a dis­as­ter in Pales­tine. The plans they had for Pales­tine, and they’ve tried very hard, have not been successful…They want to trans­form the coun­try of Pales­tine into a Jew­ish coun­try, mean­ing that Pales­tini­ans, whether they be Mus­lim or Chris­t­ian, will not have the pos­si­bil­ity to live in Pales­tine,” Khamenei said. Khamenei also claimed that the U.S. is plot­ting to “fin­ish off Pales­tine in its entirety” by sup­port­ing Israel’s pre­con­di­tions in Israeli-Palestinian negotiations.

In his 2013 Per­sian New Year address, Khamenei threat­ened that if Israel were to “make the mis­take of attack­ing Iran, the Islamic Repub­lic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

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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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