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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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May 28, 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

‘New Hori­zon Con­fer­ence’ is a protest to Zion­ist thought and essence*
(Basij News Agency – May 28, 2014)

Clau­dia Moti, a “philoso­pher and for­mer pro­fes­sor at an Amer­i­can uni­ver­sity,” gave an inter­view express­ing dis­ap­point­ment in the can­cel­la­tion of Iran’s anti-Zionist con­fer­ence, New Hori­zon. In the inter­view, Moti said: “The New Hori­zon Con­fer­ence is a protest against Zion­ist thought and essence, and I was sur­prised that it was not held. [The con­fer­ence] had an impor­tant role in expos­ing the roots of Zion­ism. It is not only the Pales­tini­ans but the whole world that is try­ing to save itself from the clutches of Zion­ism, and the New Hori­zon Con­fer­ence has the abil­ity to help in this issue.”

No political-security equa­tion in the Islamic world is pos­si­ble with­out Iran’s sat­is­fac­tion*
(Fars News Agency – May 28, 2014)

Dur­ing a speech address­ing a swear­ing in cer­e­mony for Basij vol­un­teers, IRGC Com­man­der Hos­sein Salami said, “The Imam [Khome­ini] com­manded that Amer­ica can’t do a damn thing [against Iran], and this has become a real­ity that Amer­ica today can’t do a damn thing in the world.” Salami added, “If these eco­nomic sanc­tions, which Amer­ica has imposed on this coun­try, were to be imposed on the peo­ple and gov­ern­ment of Amer­ica, they would not be able to per­sist; look how this sanc­tions have not changed a thing in our coun­try except for accel­er­at­ing and advanc­ing the econ­omy just as the legit­i­mate suc­ces­sor of Imam Khome­ini has said.”

Anti-Shi’a and anti-Iran are tools of the Arro­gant front for the pro­tec­tion of the Zion­ist regime*
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 27, 2014)

In a speech before ambas­sadors and offi­cials from Islamic coun­tries, Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei said, “It is the expec­ta­tion of the Islamic nations, and the elite in par­tic­u­lar, to cor­rectly rec­og­nize the fronts of the ene­mies of the Mus­lim ummah [that sup­port the Zion­ists] with clar­ity and insight.”

khamenei-parliament-iran

Aya­tol­lah Khamenei address­ing the Iran­ian parliament

Thought on the ‘con­tin­u­a­tion of resis­tance’ against the Arro­gant front will gov­ern the dig­nity of the nation/ The­o­riz­ing sub­mis­sion and com­pro­mise are trea­son*
(Office of the Supreme Leader – May 25, 2014)

In a live broad­cast speech to the Iran­ian par­lia­ment, Supreme Leader Khamenei said: “All offi­cials of the coun­try in the var­i­ous sec­tors, from eco­nom­ics, sci­ence and cul­ture, to the pol­icy mak­ers and direc­tors of for­eign nego­ti­a­tions, must know that we are in a state of resis­tance and we will con­tinue on this path for the sur­vival of the Islamic sys­tem.” Khamenei also added that resis­tance and jihad will not end, “because Satan and the satanic fronts will always exist, but it is pos­si­ble in cer­tain cir­cum­stances to dis­tin­guish the meth­ods and styles of jihad and resis­tance. This resis­tance will come to an end when human­ity is able to lib­er­ate itself from the evil Arro­gant front, which Amer­ica is at the head of and had its claws spread over the body, soul and thought of humanity.”

Araqchi quotes Zarif as say­ing West wants to dis­man­tle Fordo through talks after fail­ing to hit it by bunker-busters
(Fars News Agency – May 24, 2014)

In a meet­ing with IRGC polit­i­cal direc­tors, Abbas Araqchi, the deputy for­eign min­is­ter, quoted For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif as telling the Euro­pean part­ners of the P5+1, “You intend to close Fordo because you can­not hit it then move to hit Natanz which is 20 meters under the ground.”

Iran mounts air-to-air, air-to-surface mis­siles on drones
(Fars News Agency – May 24, 2014)

Ahmad Reza Pour­das­tan, the Com­man­der of the Iran­ian Army Ground Forces, boasted of Iran’s new line of drones dur­ing mil­i­tary exer­cises in Isfa­han. Pour­das­tan said, “We will use all our drones which have recon­nais­sance, online imag­ing and sui­cide (attack) capa­bil­i­ties as well as the air-to-air and air-to-surface mis­siles mounted on them.”

West­erns seek to secure the safety of Israel*
(Fars News Agency – May 22, 2014)

Esmail Kosari, a law­maker in the Iran­ian par­lia­ment, said, “The West­ern­ers are stress­ing today that we should limit the range of our mis­siles to 500 kilo­me­ters. The goal of this talk is to keep the safety of Israel, and they are seek­ing to solve this issue while they them­selves have bunker buster missiles.”

Inter­na­tional Media

Briton among eight jailed in Iran for web insults
(The Guardian – May 27, 2014)

Eight peo­ple have been sen­tences to jail in Iran on charges that include blas­phemy and insult­ing the Supreme Leader on Facebook.

Prison terms in Iran hint of new reins on Inter­net
(The New York Times – May 27, 2014)

Although Pres­i­dent Has­san Rouhani pledged to ease inter­net restric­tions and fil­ter­ing of social media web­sites, recent prison sen­tences and an order for Face­book CEO Mark Zucker­berg to tes­tify in a law­suit point toward an increase in restric­tions and prosecutions.

Iran hangs key fig­ure in bank­ing scan­dal
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – May 24, 2014)

Maha­farid Amir-Khosravi, a key player in Iran’s biggest bank­ing scan­dal, was exe­cuted on Sat­ur­day. Amir-Khosravi and his co-conspirators were accused of embez­zling $2.6 billion.

Oper­a­tion Whole­some Sea: Iran coast guard forces women off beaches
(The Daily Beast – May 24, 2014)

Gen­der seg­re­ga­tion and strict dress code laws effec­tively pre­vent Iran­ian women from enjoy­ing the beach. Oper­a­tion Whole­some Sea will hire “women from other orga­ni­za­tions such as the Basij” to help the coast guard enforce adher­ence to the country’s laws.

Iran cleric con­demns ‘satanic’ divorce par­ties
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – May 23, 2014)

Tehran’s Fri­day prayer leader con­demned the grow­ing “West­ern” phe­nom­e­non of hold­ing par­ties to cel­e­brate divorce. “Men and Women who hold divorce par­ties are def­i­nitely satanic… Dis­in­te­gra­tion of fam­ily and lech­ery are related to the dis­grace­ful West­ern civ­i­liza­tion… Western-style free­doms are wrong,” Aya­tol­lah Khashani said.

Iran cuts nuclear stock­pile, engages with bomb probe: IAEA
(Reuters – May 23, 2014)

The Inter­na­tional Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) announced last week that Iran has cut its most sen­si­tive nuclear stock­pile by 80 per­cent in accor­dance with the interim agree­ment with the P5+1.

Rouhani offi­cial vis­its syn­a­gogue, endorses pre-revolutionary flag
(Al-Monitor – May 22, 2014)

A senior advi­sor for eth­nic and reli­gious minor­ity affairs in the Rouhani cab­i­net recently paid a visit to a syn­a­gogue in the south­ern city of Shi­raz. The visit has come under crit­i­cism by con­ser­v­a­tives because the offi­cial defended the Jew­ish community’s use of Iran’s pre-revolutionary flag.

Iran hotels fill up as Rouhani’s rap­proche­ment lifts tourism
(Bloomberg – May 21, 2014)

Tourism is up in Iran thanks largely to the elec­tion of Has­san Rouhani and his efforts to mend ties with the U.S. and Europe.

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May 14, 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

66 years since the grand betrayal of the peo­ple of Pales­tine has passed*
(Mehr News Agency – May 14, 2014)

A report on the estab­lish­ment of Israel as an Amer­i­can and British plot to take over the region, one which has resulted in con­tin­u­ing pres­ence of this “malig­nant and incur­able can­cer­ous tumor.”

Hadi Moham­madi: The dis­course of the Islamic Rev­o­lu­tion is the solu­tion to the issue of Pales­tine*
(Fars News Agency – May 14, 2014)

In a round­table dis­cus­sion mark­ing the 66th anniver­sary of the nakba, the Ara­bic term mean­ing ‘cat­a­stro­phe’ to describe Israel’s estab­lish­ment, Hadi Moham­madi, an expert in Mid­dle East affairs, said, “The project of Palestine’s occu­pa­tion has three com­po­nents. One is of the Zion­ists, whom built upon the [Zion­ist] pro­gram, and they had sev­eral choices and Pales­tine wasn’t their pri­mary choice, and it is here when the great pow­ers of the time, Eng­lish, Ger­many and France, entered the equa­tion. These coun­tries par­tic­i­pated in its [Israel’s] estab­lish­ment to facil­i­tate [Jew­ish] immigration…”

Tehran’s Fri­day prayer and ser­mon*
(Tehran Uni­ver­sity – May 9, 2014)

Fri­day prayer leader Aya­tol­lah Mova­hedi Ker­mani said: “Iran and Amer­ica are on two anti­thet­i­cal paths, and we will not back down from our rights and Amer­ica will not lift its hand from devour­ing the world and being a mali­cious enemy. So our posi­tion is to sup­port the oppressed of the world and America’s posi­tion is to kill the peo­ple of the world. Our posi­tion is [based] on logic, wis­dom and laws, and America’s logic is force and bul­ly­ing. Our posi­tion is related to being just with the world and Amer­ica is wor­ried about our expand­ing rela­tions with the world.”

Qom Fri­day prayer and ser­mon*
(Islamic Repub­lic of Iran News Agency – May 9, 2014)

In his ser­mon to the faith­ful in the holy city of Qom, Aya­tol­lah Ahmad Khatami issued a num­ber of threats against Israel. “Amer­ica is the life­line of the ter­ror­ist Zion­ist regime, and to secure the safety of the Occu­piers of Jerusalem, they do not want Iran to have any mis­siles. Our mis­siles are aimed to the direc­tion of the Occu­piers of Jerusalem’s sen­si­tive cen­ters. If they make a mis­take we will raise Tel Aviv to the ground.”

ayatollah-mezba-yazdi-iran

Aya­tol­lah Mezba Yazdi

An explicit warn­ing by Aya­tol­lah Mezba regard­ing the direc­tion of some politi­cians’ pol­i­tics and cul­ture*
(Rasa News Agency – May 8, 2014)

Aya­tol­lah Moham­mad Mezba Yazdi, the pres­i­dent of the Imam Khome­ini Insti­tute for Edu­ca­tion and Research, made anti-Semitic com­ments, posit­ing, “What plan do the Jews have in store for our coun­try?” Aya­tol­lah Yazdi added that adher­ents of the Baha’i faith are not con­sid­ered pro­tected cit­i­zens, “We should not say Baha’i under the excuse of the rights of the cit­i­zens. Jews and Mus­lims have no dif­fer­ence between them because the Qur’an has pro­vi­sions for such cases expressed in it.”

Araghchi: “Dark forces” seek to destroy Iran and P5+1 agree­ment*
(Iran­ian Stu­dents’ News Agency – May 8, 2014)

Deputy For­eign Min­is­ter Abbas Araghchi alluded to Israel, and said, “I don’t want to use the word ‘war­mon­ger­ing’, but this group wants to con­tinue the dis­putes and crises in our region. They don’t want the sanc­tions against Iran to come to an end. They also don’t like that Iran is trans­form­ing into a pri­mary player in the region.”

Inter­na­tional Media

ADL Global 100: Anti-Semitism in Iran is lower than the rest of the Mid­dle East and North Africa
(Anti-Defamation League Global 100 – May 14, 2014)global-100-iran

The Anti-Defamation League released its much antic­i­pated Global 100: An Index of Anti-Semitism. The com­pre­hen­sive poll shows that Iran is the least anti-Semitic coun­try in the Mid­dle East and North Africa at 56% com­pared to 93% in the Pales­tin­ian Ter­ri­to­ries, and 92% in neigh­bor­ing Iraq.

Six pow­ers, Iran launch crunch phase of nuclear diplo­macy
(Reuters – May 14, 2014)

Rep­re­sen­ta­tives from the P5+1 and Iran launched into the deci­sive phase of nego­ti­a­tions on Wednes­day in Vienna, hop­ing to ham­mer out an agree­ment within the next two months.

Nuclear talks will con­front Iran’s future capa­bil­ity to enrich ura­nium
(The New York Times – May 13, 2014)

As nego­ti­a­tions resume this week in Vienna, the issue of Iran’s right to enrich and how much it will be allowed to retain, are seen as the crit­i­cal issues at hand.

Break­ing bad in Tehran: How Iran got a taste for crys­tal meth
(The Guardian – May 13, 2014)

Locally known as sheesheh, crys­tal meth pro­duc­tion and use has sky­rock­eted in Iran at star­tling rates.

Slow progress in IAEA inves­ti­ga­tion may com­pli­cate Iran nuclear talks
(Reuters – May 13, 2014)

The IAEA stated this week that Iran is mak­ing lit­tle progress to fully imple­ment a series of nuclear trans­parency mea­sure Tehran has agreed to.

Khamenei adviser backs Iran­ian nego­tia­tors
(Al-Monitor – May 13, 2014)

Ali Akbar Velay­ati, Supreme Leader Khamenei’s senior for­eign pol­icy advi­sor, stated this week that he sup­ports the cur­rent Iran­ian nego­ti­a­tions team in their meet­ings with the P5+1.

In thaw, Saudi extends invite to Iran
(The Wash­ing­ton Post – May 13, 2014)

Iran’s for­eign min­is­ter has received an offi­cial invi­ta­tion from his Saudi coun­ter­part to visit the King­dom of Saudi Ara­bia, in what is seen as a pos­si­ble thaw­ing of rela­tions between the two regional giants.

A ‘night­mare becom­ing real­ity’? Iran unveils Amer­i­can drone replica
(The Chris­t­ian Sci­ence Mon­i­tor – May 12, 2014)

Iran has unveiled its own copy of the Amer­i­can stealth drone it cap­tured in its ter­ri­tory in late 2011. IRGC offi­cers have stated that the Iran­ian replica will be tested soon.

Iran­ian women post pic­tures of them­selves with­out hijabs on Face­book
(The Guardian – May 12, 2014)

An online cam­paign is call­ing on Iran­ian women liv­ing in the Islamic Repub­lic to post pic­tures of them­selves sans hijab. Women are required by law to wear the head­scarf in pub­lic or risk arrest by the moral­ity police.

Israeli held for sell­ing Iran spare parts for fighter jets
(The Times of Israel – May 12, 2014)

An Israeli cit­i­zen was arrested at Ben Gurion Air­port for allegedly sell­ing arms and spare parts for fighter jets to Iran. The sus­pect, Eli Cohen, is expected to be extra­dited to the U.S.

Ben­jamin Netanyahu com­pares Iran nukes to North Korea
(The Jew­ish Daily For­ward – May 12, 2014)

In a meet­ing with Japan­ese Prime Min­is­ter Shinzo Abe in Tokyo, Israeli Prime Min­is­ter Netanyahu com­pared Iran’s nuclear pro­gram and the dan­ger it poses to that of North Korea.

Iran leader slams West’s ‘stu­pid’ mis­sile stance before talks
(Reuters – May 11, 2014)

Supreme Leader Aya­tol­lah Ali Khamenei blasted U.S. demands for Iran to end its mis­sile devel­op­ment, call­ing this “a stu­pid, idi­otic expectation.”

How the West gets Iran wrong
(CNN con­tri­bu­tion by Akbar Ganji – May 9, 2014)

Akbar Ganji, a well-known Iran­ian dis­si­dent and jour­nal­ist, writes that despite Iran’s author­i­tar­ian rule which rejects lib­eral democ­racy and fem­i­nism, many impor­tant books on lib­er­al­ism, democ­racy and fem­i­nism are trans­lated and pub­lished in the Islamic Repub­lic. Among the avail­able titles found in Iran are John Locke’s Two Trea­tises of Gov­ern­ment and Mil­ton Friedman’s Cap­i­tal­ism and Free­dom.

Shi­raz ceme­tery demo­li­tion con­tin­ues by the Rev­o­lu­tion­ary Guards
(Baha’i World News Ser­vice – May 8, 2014)

The IRGC con­tin­ues to destroy a his­toric Baha’i ceme­tery in the south­ern city of Shi­raz. With an esti­mated 300,000 mem­bers of the faith, the Baha’i reli­gion is Iran’s largest reli­gious minor­ity and unrec­og­nized by the gov­ern­ment as a pro­tected minority.

Iran­ian rev­o­lu­tion­ary guards com­man­der: US prepar­ing for attack
(The Jerusalem Post – May 8, 2014)

Rear Admi­ral Ali Fadavi, the com­man­der of the IRGC’s naval forces, claimed that the U.S. is plan­ning for an attack against Iran’s navy. Fadavi added, “They [the Amer­i­cans] know noth­ing. We have been mak­ing and sink­ing repli­cas of US destroy­ers, frigates and war­ships for years, and we have sunk the repli­cas of their ves­sels in 50 sec­ond through a series of oper­a­tional measures.”

What Iran really wants: Iran­ian for­eign pol­icy in the Rouhani era
(For­eign Affairs, Op-Ed by For­eign Min­is­ter Zarif – May 7, 2014)

In a piece pub­lished in For­eign Affairs, Iran­ian For­eign Min­is­ter Moham­mad Javad Zarif makes the case for Iran as nuclear nego­ti­a­tions pave the way for pos­si­ble changes in rela­tions with the West and the region.

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