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May 7, 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

Zarif: We have taken away Netanyahu’s comfort*
(Mehr News Agency – May 6, 2014)

Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif appeared before a parliamentary commission on Tuesday over his remarks on the veracity of the Holocaust. Zarif, who stated in several international interviews that the Holocaust did happen, told the commission, “I have spoken to [the Supreme Leader] personally about his speech on the Holocaust and he has condemned the killing of the Jews and has refuted his statement on the issue.”

Iran rejects restrictions on nuclear facilities ‘free transfer’
(Mehr News Agency – May 6, 2014)

In a meeting with the Preparatory Committee for the 2015 Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty Review Conference in New York, Reza Najafi, Iran’s envoy to the IAEA, said, “All countries have the right to set their national agenda for accessing full nuclear fuel chain and should be respected.” Najafi also rejected measures to restrict and ban the transfer of nuclear facilities.

Supreme Leader meets with officials of Society of Midwifery
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 5, 2014)

 In a speech marking the International Day of the Midwife, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed Iran’s need for population growth in accordance with his Persian New Year message from March. “A country without youth means a country without innovation, progress, excitement and enthusiasm. Therefore, the vital plan of increasing population should be followed up in a serious way.”

hossein-dehqan-iran

Defense Minister Hossein Dehqan

Israel disarmament a demand by all nations: Minister
(Mehr News Agency – May 5, 2014)

Iran’s Defense Minister, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, said during an official visit to China this week, “The disarmament of such warmonger a regime as the Zionist regime is a demand by all nations in the region which should set a priority to international organizations.”

Iran’s influence has reached the Mediterranean*
(Fars News Agency – May 2, 2014)

Major General Yahya Rahim-Safavi, a former commander of the IRGC, addressed a ceremony commemorating a military operation from the Iran-Iraq war, and said: “Certainly, the strategy of America, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, Qatar and the European countries for the overthrow of Bashar Assad has faced defeat. This defeat is a strategic failure for the Western front, the Arabs and Zionists, and was a great victory for the Islamic Republic of Iran.” Safavi added, “Iran’s influential power stretches from the axis of Iran, Iraq and Syria to the Mediterranean, and this is the third time that Iran’s influence has reached the Mediterranean. Our line of defense is no longer Shalamcheh. Our border defense is southern Lebanon with Israel and our deep defensive strategy has reached the Mediterranean above Israel’s head.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Iranian FM: I won’t allow official Holocaust denial
(The Times of Israel – May 6, 2014)

During his questioning in parliament over his recent comments on the Holocaust, Foreign Minister Zarif said that he will not allow Iran’s reputation to be damaged with statements about “Holocaust Denial.” Zarif also added, “We shall not allow the Zionist regime – who is illegally in possession of chemical and nuclear weapons and is the biggest violator of non-proliferation laws – to portray Iran as a danger.”

The right way to press Iran
(The New York Times, Op-Ed – May 6, 2014)

Kenneth Pollack from the Brookings Institute writes that the Obama administration should focus on “conducting intrusive inspections, designing a mechanism to easily reimpose sanctions if Iran cheats, and extending the duration of the agreement.”

International inspectors to visit two nuclear facilities in Iran
(The Christian Science Monitor – May 4, 2014)

Officials from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will visit two nuclear sites in Iran, fulfilling a series of demands made by the nuclear watchdog agency. “Following the visit, Iran will be able to say that the seven-agreed measures struck between the Iran and the agency have fulfilled,” Behrouz Kamalvandi, spokesman for Iran’s atomic department, said to reporters.

Iran bans WhatsApp due to ‘Jewish ownership’
(Haaretz – May 3, 2014)

The Committee for Determining Criminal Web Content announced that it is banning the popular mobile phone app, WhatsApp, and “the reason for this is the adoption of WhatsApp by the Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg, who is an American Zionist.”

Beatings, torture, and imprisonment: It’s not easy being a journalist in Iran
(Vice News – May 3, 2014)

The leader of the “World’s Most Prolific Jailer of Journalists” was announced this week during World Press Freedom Day. Replacing Turkey, who has claimed the title for two years, is the Islamic Republic of Iran with its current imprisonment of 35 members of the press.

Politics, markets complicate Rouhani’s rescue of Iran economy
(Reuters – May 1, 2014)

Iran’s national currency continues to suffer, adding pressure to President Rouhani’s plan to rescue Iran’s faltering economy.

White House says it has ‘wide range of options’ if Iran talks fail
(The Jerusalem Post – May 1, 2014)

Jake Sullivan, the deputy assistant to President Obama, told the Jerusalem Post, “If talks break down, and if Iran is not negotiating in good faith, we are prepared to work with Congress to impose more sanctions.”

Brain drain blights Iran’s economy as investors wait in wings
(Bloomberg – April 28, 2014)

According to Iran’s National Elites Foundation, over the past two years at least 40 percent of top-performing Iranian students in science and engineering have left Iran. Most students end up leaving for greener pastures in Canada, Australia, Germany and Sweden.

Ahmadinejad denies return to politics
(Al-Monitor – April 28, 2014)

During a recent visit to the city of Mashhad, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad reiterated that he does not plan to reenter politics. “I do not intend to enter politics,” Ahmadinejad told the crowd of supporters.

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