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May 14, 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

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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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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March 26, 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

Israel strike on Iran would spell doom for US empire: Analyst
(Press TV – March 25, 2014)

Kevin Barrett, an anti-Semitic conspiracy theorists and frequent contributor to Iran’s English-language propaganda news network, Press TV, wrote “The US is still doing the bidding of the Zionist bankster oligarchs who are the real power behind the Western throne.”

A topic from the Supreme Leader’s Nowruz speech*
(Mashregh News Agency – March 24, 2014)khamenei-nowruz-holocaust-denial

In an editorial examining the Supreme Leader’s comments on the Holocaust, Mashregh News posits the question, “Was the killing of the Jews during World War II a systematic killing, or were the Jews killed part of the millions who were killed during World War II?” In a follow-up question posted by the newspaper, the figure of 6 million Jews killed by the Nazis is doubted, “Could the figure of 6 million Jews killed in World War II be true? Some researchers even believe that the systematic killings of the Jews during WWII is true, although during that era there were not 6 million Jews living in Europe to kill.”

We are not pessimistic about nuclear negotiations*
(Tabnak – March 24, 2014)

In an exclusive interview with Tabnak, Speaker of the Iranian Parliament Ali Larijani, said, “I am not pessimistic in regards to the direction of negotiations, but we must be sensitive to the negotiations because there are many aspects.” Larijani added, “We must accept the fact that in the United States that there is an influential and effective Zionist current.”

What was the most important and memorable statement made by the Supreme Leader in the 1391 (2013)?*
(Khamenei.ir – March 24, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s office asked supporters to vote on their favorite statement from the last year. The winning statement was from Khamenei’s 2013 Persian New Year address where he threatened, “If the Zionist regime makes a wrong move, the Islamic Republic of Iran will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

Iran’s foreign policy priorities for the new year*
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Professor Reza Simbar, the head of Gilan University’s Political Science and International Relations Group, wrote that among the primary goals for the Islamic Republic the new year is “supporting the downtrodden, fighting Israel, supporting the rights of the people of Palestine, rejecting the unjust economic tricks of the world, and fighting America who is the leader of the global arrogance.”

Iranian MP warns against foreign interference in Ukraine
(Fars News Agency – March 24, 2014)

Esmayeel Kossari, a member of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, said in an interview with Fars News that, “The bullying and interference of the Westerners has no boundary as they want to practice hegemony over every part (of the world).” Kossari added, “The Americans and Westerners will no way attain their goals in Ukraine because the Ukrainian people will not allow them to interfere in their country’s domestic affairs.”

Interior Minister: Enemies unable to impose will on Iran
(Fars News Agency – March 23, 2014)

Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli, Iran’s Interior Minister, boasted that “The enemy is not in such conditions that it can impose anything on us and we, in line with the guidelines of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution, will not step back from our principles and rights.” Fazli also claimed that it was “The Islamic Republic’s might and power and its insistence on people’s inalienable rights” that have “made the enemy come and sit to the negotiating table with an equal footing.”

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Nowruz message to the nation*
(Leader.ir – March 21, 2014)

During his annual speech to the Iranian nation to mark the start of the Persian New Year, Ayatollah Khamenei said the historical reality of the Holocaust is “unknown” and questioned if it “actually did
happen.”

A new scenario to combat West’s possible violation of nuclear agreement*
(Fars News Agency – March 20, 2014)

During an interview with Fars News, Ali Larijani, the speaker of the Iranian parliament, said that American claims that sanctions brought Iran to the negotiating table are for its own public consumption. Larijani added, “[Talk of sanctions by the U.S.] were also meant to shut the mouths of the many Zionists that heavily lobbied [for sanctions].”             

International Media

Iran Standard Time: A day at the Kerman bazzar
(The Guardian – March 26, 2014)

A look into the once bustling markets of the city of Kerman.

Iran alcohol ban doesn’t keep moonshine away
(Ha’aretz – March 26, 2014)

Alcohol consumption may be officially banned according to Iranian law, but locals continue to skirt the ban by brewing at home.

Iran resumes monetary aid to Hamas
(Al-Monitor – March 24, 2014)

The Islamic Republic resumes financial support of Hamas, but at lower levels than what was given before the two sides had a falling out over the Syrian civil war. Hamas leader Khaled Mashaal will also visit Iran and meet with Supreme Leader Khamenei in the near future.

Born in the U.S., playing for Iran
(The New York Times – March 22, 2014)

An Iranian-American, Steven Beitashour, has accepted an offer to potentially play for Iran’s national soccer team during the upcoming World Cup in Brazil.

Iranians ignore government limits on holiday celebrations
(Al-Monitor – March 21, 2014)

Iranians continue to ignore government warnings against celebrating ancient Persian New Year customs.

Iran’s leader preaches self-reliance in face of sanctions in annual Nowruz speech
(The Washington Post – March 21, 2014)

Supreme Leader Khamenei’s new year message to Iranian citizens calls for national strength. “If a nation is not strong, it will be bullied and trampled,” Khamenei said.

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