Iran Press Review 01 June

Analysis by FDD

  • Bill Roggio, Senior Fellow and Editor of The Long War Journal, writes with Caleb Weiss: “Major General Qassem Soleimani, the commanding officer of Qods Force, the special operations branch of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards Corps, has reportedly been photographed in Iraq’s Anbar province alongside Shiite militiamen. Additionlly, Soleimani was photographed with the head of the Popular Mobilization Committee, who is listed by the US as a terrorist, and the leader of the Imam Ali Brigade, an Iranian-backed Shiite terror group. The photographs of Soleimani in Anbar and Baghdad were published by Haidar Sumeri, an Iraqi who is supportive of Soleimani and the Iranian-suported Shiite militias that make up the Popular Mobilization Committee.”
  • Bill Roggio, Senior Fellow and Editor of The Long War Journal, wrote with Caleb Weiss: “The commander, Jassem Nouri, was reportedly killed on May 28 while fighting against the Islamic State near Ramadi. The Islamic State defeated the Iraqi military in Ramadi and drove it out of the city on May 17. The Iraqi government has called on Iranian-supported Shiite militias to eject the jihadist group from the provincial capital of Anbar. Hezbollah Brigades, which is listed by the US as a Foreign Terrorist Organization and is supported by Qods Force, is leading the fight to retake the city. Little information was given about Nouri, other than that he was from the Iranian province of Khuzestan, which borders Iraq. News agencies also identified Nouri as having been a veteran of the Iran-Iraq War. When discussing his role in Iraq, the Iranian press reported that he was a “defender of the shrines,” which refers to holy Shiite shrines in places such as Najaf or Karbala. According to Radio Free Europe’s Farsi service, Nouri was “actively involved in the Syrian and Iraqi fronts.””

Politics

  • Hamid-Reza Fooladgar, a Parliamentarian representing Isfahan, comments on the Rouhani government’s lack of tolerance for domestic criticism, and notes that “the critics must not be humiliated and ridiculed.”
  • Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf, critiques Iranian government officials, which when speaking before audiences “take on the role of an oppositionist” in their remarks “whereas they should be accountable and not only critics.”
  • Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, a Tehran temporary Friday prayer leader, while addressing the governors of Iran, discussed “machinations of the seditionists” (seditionist being a phrase applied to the Green Movement and its supporters) prior to next elections and warned:
    • “Sedition is the issue of the day, and the Leader too has said that it is our red line. It is not an old and forgotten issue... The seditionists are still there... and every once in a while they seize positions.”

Foreign Policy

  • In a televised interview with Lebanon’s al-Mayadin while in Geneva, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif, states:
    • “If we don’t work together to create security in the region, we will have to live in a hard and unsafe environment.”
    • “The time has since passed when you could purchase security, and today to stand-up security we need to work together.”
    • “Iran has never strived to eliminate [Saudi] Arabia from the region, however, unfortunately with the illusion of the relationship that the Saudis have with the great powers, thought that they could keep Iran away from the region.”
    • “I am of the belief that security and tranquility must be based in the countries of the region.”
    • “The division and disintegration of the region is not in the interest of any side, and [it] threatens the security and stability of all the world.”
    • “We would like for all our relationships with our neighbors to be like our relations with Oman.”
  • In an interview with al-Akhbar of London, former Iranian Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Velayati, who currently serves as Chairman of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), touts:
    • “Nonetheless, we have complete confidence that the nation of Syria will continue its resistance against aggression, and we will stand beside them.”
    • “The security of Syria, the unity of its land and its sovereignty are an inseparable part of the security of the Islamic Republic.”
  • Commenting on Iranian foreign policy and the region, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), notes:
    • “When we say we are the most independent, strongest, and most stable country, this situation is due to the style of our governance. The structure and actions of the government is what has caused us to find stability.”
    • “Iran is the most stable country in the region, it easily passes through domestic developments, and as it pertains to external developments, it has pre-emptive actions. Iran is a country which is the most stable and strongest country in the region and possess strategic patience.”
  • Commenting on combatting oppression, Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi, a noted social critic and member of Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (SCRC), proclaims:
    • “However much the atrocities of the group Daesh (the Persian and Arabic acronym for the Islamic State) are shocking and bitter, but the bitterer event is the slaughter of true Islam by way of this group.”
    • “In the face of the oppressor and the oppressed, he who is silent, is in reality in a state of defending the oppressor.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iran dismissed media reports on sending a delegation to Oman to play a mediating role in talks between Yemen's popular Ansarullah movement and a US delegation. "There is no Iranian mediation between Ansarullah movement and the Americans in Masqat," an Iranian deputy foreign minister said on Monday.”

Military & Security

  • Iranian Diplomacy, citing a source in al-Sharq al-Awsat, reportedly quotes Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Force (IRGC-QF) Commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, as saying:
    • “In the next few days, the world will be surprised as to what we have, with the cooperation of Syrian military commanders, been creating the initial preparations for.”
  • Defa Press reports that Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence has captured a “military team of terrorists” which had entered Iran to inflame the situation in Mahabad in Iranian Kurdistan.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s Minister of Intelligence, discussed the vetting process for candidates for parliamentary elections, amidst other issues:
    • “In the Intelligence Ministry, we do not exclusively investigate the past record of individuals. Now, we have a formed a vetting committee led by a non-partisan cleric, and we told him you will be the one to answer [for your deeds] on the Day of Reckoning. We even invite people to explain their past record, and do not play with their dignity.”
    • “We are facing international and domestic sanctions... The Arrogance (a reference to the U.S.) is trying to polarize the world of Islam between Shia and Sunni. Domestically, the enemy is trying to polarize the society. In this atmosphere, criticism must be expressed politely... and must not become a character assassination.”
    • “There are some, who are trying to get rid of me [as Intelligence Minister] and are looking for my replacement.”
  • In a separate speech, Alavi reported his forces have managed to dissolve several terrorist cells connected to Daesh.
  • In an official announcement, the Intelligence Ministry dismissed quotes made by the Intelligence Minister concerning attempts at replacing him.  
  • The Intelligence Ministry explains its workings and activities in a lengthy article published in Aftab-e Yazd.

Nuclear Issue

  • Hamid Baeidnejad, a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiation team weighs-in on red lines, and Iran’s nuclear diplomacy more broadly:           
    • “One of the first principles that Iran and the countries of the 5+1 agreed from the very beginning was that in the future nuclear agreement, Iran would, in a voluntary and temporary fashion, implement the Additional Protocol until the Parliament, in its own appropriate time, and by taking into account the threats of the opposing side, pick the necessary decision with respect to the approval of Additional Protocol.”
    • “The stern response of the Supreme Leader in rejecting the request of these countries to inspect military facilities and to interview Iranian scientists, as a completely correct and precise reaction.”
  • Elsewhere, Ali-Akbar Velayati, states
    • “At present, the foreign diplomatic system of Iran focuses all its efforts and attention on the [nuclear] negotiations.”
    • “If more information is given to the people about nuclear negotiations, it is in the interest of the negotiators [and] the nation and is in line with the national interest.”
    • “Like in the discussions pertaining to the centrifuges of Fordow, they accepted in the Lausanne negotiations for their number to be 1000, and they mentioned this in their fact sheet as well, but in the next round of negotiations they reneged and said instead of 1000 centrifuges, [there should be] 350, meaning [only] two cascades (lit. chains) would be working, and this was the opposite of what they previously negotiated.”
    • “John Kerry, who is an informed person and is aware of America’s military inabilities against Iran, bluffs and threatens the military option, whereas this action has been turned into a joke and is an indicator of America’s untrustworthiness.”
    • “Do not doubt that if America had the military capability to attack Iran, like Iraq and Afghanistan, it would not doubt [it] for a second and would have attacked.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi, the Representative of the Supreme Leader to Iran’s IRGC, comments on plots against Iran and nuclear diplomacy:
    • “The nuclear issue is only one instance and the excuse of the enemy for the creation of a transmutation in our religious system.”
  • During his address to the Governors of Iran, President Hassan Rouhani touched on nuclear diplomacy and defended his negotiating track record and his cabinet ministers:
    • “Who has the right to speak insolently of the premier commander of the front of diplomacy [reference to attacks against foreign minister Zarif]? Who? Where does the insolence come from? This ugly and bad language, the harsh words and lack of respect...? Let these negotiations end successfully, and we shall later explain to the people what hardships they endured... The nuclear issue is not a partisan issue, and not the issue of this or that party, or this or that power of the state. The nuclear issue is a national matter the burden of which rests on the shoulders of the regime. It is the regime which is advancing it step by step until it reaches the goal.”
    • “They [reference to the critics of Rouhani’s nuclear diplomacy] say the secrets of the state must remain secret. Well, has anyone disputed this...? Everyone has a recommendation... But the people who have the responsibility of the negotiations today are all political, legal, and technological experts if not the foremost experts of the country.”
  • An editorial in Kayhan responded to President Rouhani’s speech:
    • “It is completely legal that there are some who are making demands concerning the trend of the negotiations... The president's statements may be due to his anger, which in turn is because of the growing gap between his promises at the beginning of the negotiations and where he finds himself now... The critics are concerned about the cash concessions of ours in return for credit promises of the counterpart. Promises which should better not be realized, since their realization depends on further concessions [of Iran].”
  • Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, a noted parliamentarian, defended the nuclear negotiators: “What happened in the parliament was a bad occurrence. People should not be so concerned to feel the negotiators are committing treason or are selling out the country. Our system is so, that if someone - God forbid - wants to sell out the country, he can’t. It is not so that someone can secretly sign a contract without others knowing. In the end, what happened in the parliament was not a good incident, since even the harshest criticism can be expressed with the softest words.”
  • Theological students in Qom and Ahwaz organized sit-ins in protest against the nuclear negotiations.
  • Sadeq Zibakalam, noted Tehran University Professor, stated: “Rather than negotiating with the P5+1 Group, we should negotiate among ourselves... are we opposing the United States, or a nuclear deal?”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Russia's Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation announced on Monday that it would start building a second nuclear power plant in Iran's Southern province of Bushehr in the current year. The Russian company said that it will help the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) to begin build its second nuclear power plant in Bushehr in 2015.”

Economy & Trade

  • Fars News Agency reports: “The Central Securities Depository of Iran (CSDI) and the National Securities Depository Limited (NSDL) of India signed a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on cooperation between the two countries’ capital markets on Monday. The MoU, signed during a ceremony on the sidelines of the World Forum of Central Securities Depositories (WFC) in Mexico City on Monday, covers mutual cooperation in vast areas such as training, manpower development, consultation and exchange of information.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Ali-Akbar Velayati meets with the Speaker of the Syrian Parliament.