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Iran Press Review: 02 Feb.

FDD Analysis

  • Benjamin Weinthal, Research Fellow, wrote in The Jerusalem Post: “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s human rights record remained atrocious under the so-called moderate President Hassan Rouhani, according to a newly released Human Rights Watch report on Wednesday. The New York-based HRW described the conditions as “dire” in Iran and wrote that the country’s intelligence and judiciary “carried out serious rights abuses throughout 2014.””

Politics

  • Shargh’s headline today reports on developments relating to the case of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s First Vice-President, Mohammad-Reza Rahimi. The article notes that 20 Parliamentarians have sought out in a letter, the names of those who took money from Rahimi, and desire to make the names public.
  • The AP reported: “Iran’s former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has launched a website ahead of parliamentary elections next year in a sign he may be eyeing a political comeback despite a recent corruption scandal. The website, ahmadinejad.ir, was launched Sunday with a big smiling photo of Ahmadinejad and the slogan: “We will come soon.””

Foreign Policy

  • Marziyeh Afkham, the Spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, denies the notion that Israel communicated with Iran after the attack at Quneitra, Syria, which killed a member of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). She stated:
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran has received no official or unofficial message from the illegitimate Zionist regime.”
  • Fars News Agency reports that Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament [Majlis], will be meeting with his Malaysian counterpart tomorrow.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Aboutorabi Fard, the Deputy-Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, touts that:
    • “All the recent victories of Lebanon’s Hezbollah, Syria, Iraq are modeled after the bravery of the people of Islamic Iran.”
    • “Today the policy-makers of the world believe that America is in a weak position and Iran in a strong position.”
  • Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, the head of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, is quoted by Resalat-News as saying: “We have no intervention in Lebanon’s domestic issues.”
  • Vatan-e Emrooz asks in a headline reporting on Ali-Akbar Velayati’s recent trip to the Russian Federation: “Why didn’t they send Zarif to Moscow?
  • Mehr News Agency reports: “Hossein Amir-Abdollahian met with a number of leaders and officials of the black continent including Ghanaian President John Dramani Mahama, who stressed on Iran’s active participation especially in agriculture and health sectors of the country, adding that “both countries have many opportunities to expand further cooperation.” Amir-Abdollahian, for his part, expressed gratitude for Mr. Mahama’s efforts to boost bilateral ties, emphasizing on expanding cooperation with Ghana.”   

Military & Security

  • Manuchehr Manteghi, the Managing Director of Iran’s Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO), comments on an upcoming Iranian fighter plane soon to be revealed:
    • “This plane is an advanced version of the Saeqeh fighter, named the Saeqeh-2.”
    • “Starting next year, on average, every month one achievement of the aerospace Industry will be unveiled, which is the product effort and collaboration of a conglomerate of universities with the defense industry.”
  • Defa Press reports that the obituary of Seyyed Hamid Taqavi-Far, the IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF) member killed in Samara, Iraq in late 2014 will be published as a book. Numerous institutions, including the Martyrs Foundation [Bonyad-e Shahid] in addition to the Ramezan Base, will have a hand in the book’s publication.
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reported on Iran’s firing of a new satellite, the Fajr, into space today. The outlet cited the head of space projects for Iran Electronics Industries (IEI), “one of the companies subordinate to the Ministry of Defense,” who “stated that a connection with the Fajr satellite was established with earth after its successful launch.” Iranian officials commented on the launch:
    • President Hassan Rouhani:
      • “The country’s great scholars and scientists have entered a new stage in the science of space.”
      • “I must offer my congratulations and salutations to the great nation of Iran.”
    • Elsewhere, Hossein Dehqan, Iran’s Minister of Defense, noted:
      • “The success of our country in the field of space technology is counted amongst the most important achievements of the Islamic Revolution.”
  • Reuters reports: “A mainstream Syrian rebel group said on Monday they were seeking to swap an Iranian taken captive in the southwestern province of Deraa last month for women held in Syrian government jails. Iran, a Shi'ite Muslim ally of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad, has sent mainly military experts to help him in his almost four-year-long battle with mostly Sunni Muslim rebels.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament, weighs-in on nuclear diplomacy:
    • “Obama says submit to us, where in the world do they call this negotiation?”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi, the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC, notes:
    • “One cannot solve problems by relying on the enemy”
    • “We have no problem with negotiations, but we know that based on the sayings of the Quran, the enemy will not stop his actions until Islam is destroyed, due to this, we must pay attention to the strategy of the Leadership and act on it.”
  • Seyyed Abbas Eraqchi, a senior Iranian nuclear negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister, states:
    • “Nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 Group has reached closer to its sensitive stage.”
    • “Differences between the two sides still exist, especially with respect to subjects [already] covered in the process of nuclear negotiations, but we are very hopeful and optimistic about the future of the nuclear negotiations.”
  • Kayhan runs a headline relating to President Obama’s recent interview with CNN. It reads: “America once again applauded the Geneva Agreement.”
  • Ebrahim Karkhanei, a Parliamentarian and head of the Parliament’s Nuclear Committee, weighs-in on the increase in signatures for an Iranian plan to “preserve nuclear rights.” Kharkhanei said:
    • “According to this plan, in the face of the increase of sanctions by way of Iran, the Geneva Agreement will be canceled and the Islamic Republic of Iran will resume all its nuclear activities.”
    • “According to this plan, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s condition for enacting a comprehensive nuclear agreement is the lifting of all sanctions at once.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, growing frustrated with hardline resistance to a nuclear deal with the West, accused opponents on Saturday of effectively "cheering on" the other side in Tehran's grueling negotiations with world powers. Soon after his 2013 election victory over conservative hardliners, the pragmatist Rouhani set out to end a 12-year nuclear stand-off with the West and thereby secure the lifting of tough sanctions that have crippled Iran's oil-based economy.”

Economy & Trade

  • Vatan-e Emrooz runs a headline reading: “National production sacrificed for imports” referring to the infighiting between Ministries in Iran which promote domestic production over relying on foreign imports.”
  • Eshaq Jahangiri, the First Vice-President of the Rouhani administration, states in a headline as reported by Islamic Republic News Agency: “The greatest corruption [scandals] of the century occurred during the last government (the Ahmadinejad administration).”
    • Elsewhere, Jahangiri was quoted by Tasnim News Agency in a headline, saying: “Implementing the policies of Resistance Economics insures us against economic problems.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) announced that foreign assets of the country's banks reached up to $78.1bln in the first nine months of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21- November 22, 2014). The CBI said that the country's assets abroad showed at least 19 percent of grow in the said period in comparison with the same period last year.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “A group of Chinese investors are visiting the special economic zone in Imam Khomeini Port in Southern Iran to finance the projects in there. The Chinese investors voiced their willingness to start large-scale investments in the port in a meeting with Sa'adallah Abdollahi, the director general of Khuzestan Province's Ports and Maritime Organization, in Imam Khomeini Port on Monday.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian gas exports to Iraq will increase in the next two years after Iran starts transferring supplies to the neighboring country via the two pipelines of Baghdad and Basra. Azizollah Ramezani, Director of the International Affairs of the National Iranian Gas Company said that the construction of the Baghdad pipeline will be completed soon.”

Human Rights

  • The Washington Post reports: “The family of Jason Rezaian, a Washington Post reporter who has been detained in Iran for more than half a year, issued a statement Sunday that was sharply critical of the Iranian government, after what they called the “very disturbing” development that Rezaian and his wife will be tried by a judge known for imposing harsh sentences. Rezaian’s brother, Ali, and their mother, Mary Rezaian, questioned the rationale for assigning the case to Judge Abolghassem Salavati, the head of a Revolutionary Court branch where sensitive cases are tried. Salavati has imposed long prison sentences, lashings and in some cases death for defendants in a number of high-profile cases involving national security and political offenses. He has been sanctioned by the European Union since 2011.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Mehr News Agency displays and reports on tiles in the yard of a mosque in the city of Khomein. They read “Death to America.”
  • Islamic Republic News Agency highlights photos from the launch of the Fajr satellite in Iran today.
  • Islamic Republic News Agency displays pictures of Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif’s trip to Nairobi, Kenya, for the “Iran-Kenya Business Forum.”
  • Tasnim News Agency displays pictures from day two of Iran’s International Fajr Film Festival.