Iran Press Review 02 July

Analysis by FDD

  • Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran Research Analyst, writes in World Affairs Journal’s Millennial Letters: “With the recent weeklong extension of the deadline for a final nuclear deal, Iran’s track record of incrementalism and obfuscation toward the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) has never been so instructive. Indeed, recent revelations suggesting an increase in Tehran’s low-enriched uranium stockpile are merely the latest example of its incremental transgressions. As international negotiators go into overtime seeking to transform a framework into a final accord, they may discover that the history of IAEA dealings with Iran is more useful in helping draft, implement, and enforce any deal than is their current political back-and-forth with Tehran.”
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, writes in The Tablet: “Two Iranian truck drivers sat idly in the parking area of the Poti Free Industrial Zone(FIZ), waiting for customs authorities to clear their cargo and for FIZ personnel to prepare new papers. Within hours, they’d be chugging along Georgian roads on their way to Iran. Three more Turkish trucks awaited just outside the FIZ entrance, while a dozen containers lay between the customs office and the FIZ’s only warehouse. A friendly manager of RAKIA Georgia, the FIZ’s owner, welcomed me on a warm late October afternoon after a seven-hour drive from Georgia’s charming capital Tbilisi. My hostess solicitously whisked me to a conference room, fetched me a strong Georgian coffee, pointed to the restrooms, and promised she would join me in a few minutes. Left alone, I looked around. Strewn over the large mahogany table was informational material left from a previous meeting. Alongside some glossy promotional brochures was a thick A4 document, a summary of the Free Zone’s investment strategies from 2010 to 2013. While it may be too late for negotiators to reverse course and stand firm on old red lines, it is not too late to apply lessons from the years 2003 to 2005—the first period in which there was a “declaration” and an “agreement” with Iran over its nuclear program.”
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, writes in The Tower: “There is a key flaw in the emerging nuclear deal with Iran that is likely to quickly turn this historic agreement into a monumental failure. The most important thing Iran gets from a deal, we are told, is the lifting of crippling international sanctions that have been imposed over the years, many of which will be lifted fairly soon after a deal is reached. But this means that the entire success of the deal over time rests on the likelihood that the United States and its allies will quickly re-impose sanctions (known as “snap-back”) if Tehran fails to fulfill its obligations. If Iran cannot be trusted, as the Secretary of State has assured us, then it must be afraid of the consequences of breaking the deal.”

Politics

  • Fars News Agency reports the statements of the Director for Public Relations of Bank Sepah, who weighed-in on the arrest of one of Bank Sepah’s Managers, and said: “The arrest of one of the managers of this bank is not due to financial abuse or issues related to banking, and it appears the reason for the arrest were personal issues.”

Foreign Policy

  • Iran’s Foreign Ministry prepares to commemorate the Iran Air flight 655 accident at the end of the Iran-Iraq War, and says of the American action:
    • “This crime will never be erased from the memory of history.”
  •  Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, states:
    • “America, through its agents and mercenaries, has directly committed crimes against the nation of Iran.”
  • Iran’s Defa Press reports on Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the Commander of Iran’s Artesh (national Army) Navy, who led a delegation to the International Exhibition of Russian Naval Forces and Ships.
  • Reuters reports: “Cut off from Yemen and its allies there by a Saudi-led military campaign, Iran has intensified a media counter-offensive against Riyadh, accusing its regional rival of inflicting catastrophic suffering while presenting itself as a blameless peacemaker. Iranian state media have given blanket coverage in Arabic, Farsi and English to the three-month-old war in Yemen, where Saudi Arabia and Sunni Arab allies have been bombing the Iranian-allied Houthi faction for over three months.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, Admiral Ali Shamkhani, meets with the Director-General of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), Yukiya Amano, in Tehran.
  • Fars News Agency quotes Hossein Sheikh al-Eslam, an international affairs adviser to the Speaker of Parliament: “The International Atomic Energy Agency is not trustworthy/The inspection of military facilities is an illogical matter.”
  • President Hassan Rouhani meets the press at the Iftar [breaking of the fast]:
    • “If they violate the [nuclear] agreement, we will change the direction [of the Islamic Republic's nuclear program] much harsher than their expectation.”
  • Kayhan quotes Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini’s statements on the “Peace of Imam Hassan, [the third Imam of the Shi’ite Imam]” in a clear commentary on the nuclear negotiations:
    • “The story of Imam Hassan and the issue of peace, that peace too was imposed, since Imam Hassan and his friends, meaning the treacherous people who had surrounded him, made him so that he could not do the opposite and accepted peace. It was an imposed peace. The peace that they now are talking about [references to mediation attempts between the Islamic Republic and Iraq in the 1980’s] is such a thing.”
  • Kayhan runs a background article explaining “Why the Leader does not trust the IAEA.”
  • Kayhan warns of “a bad nuclear agreement,” and its consequences, which it believes the West is imposing on the Islamic Republic:
    • “According to news reaching us... the Americans have suggested a way out of the impasse, which our country's negotiation team seems to have accepted, or is considering to accept it. The American plan is to “produce a draft agreement,” without signing it. The text of the draft is so complex and many-sided that violation of Iran's declared red lines is not clear... According to news reaching Kayhan, the parties... must deliver the draft to their respective governments on July 4th... However, this author, knowing the deceptive past record of the counterpart, expects that as soon as the text of the draft is sent to Iran, Obama, or another U.S. officials, will issue a statement or give an interview claiming that the text is accepted by the United States and they are awaiting the official viewpoints of Iranian authorities... Should this prediction come true, one can imagine the scope of the disaster in waiting. An agreement in which the red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran are not respected will be considered as the draft accepted by both negotiation teams. Islamic Iran will be at a cross road where both options are imposed and crushing. If we accept the draft agreement, we have tolerated a ‘bad agreement,’ where the red lines of the Islamic Republic of Iran, meaning preservation of our country's nuclear industry, is not respected. If we don't accept it, the world opinion... would think Iran is to blame for the defeat of the negotiations and is an obstacle in the path of an agreement.”
  • Asr-e Iran comments on President Rouhani’s meeting with the press:
    • “The ‘harsher than they imagine’ comment means everything will return to point zero.”
  • Tolou-e Sobh weekly releases an interview with the U.S. based Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, who explains: "Believe it: The differences of opinion in the U.S. are real [and not a negotiating trick].”
  • Reuters reports: “Nuclear talks between Tehran and world powers had yet to reach a breakthrough as they continued in overtime on Thursday, and Western officials said the latest “red lines” by Iran's supreme leader had made it hard to settle disputes on key issues. Iran is in talks with the United States and five other big powers - Britain, China, France, Germany and Russia - on an agreement under which Tehran would curtail its nuclear program in exchange for relief from economic sanctions.”

Economy & Trade

  • According to the Central Bank, the Islamic Republic has managed to transfer 13 tons of gold which previously were frozen in South Africa because of the sanctions regime.
  • India’s Oil Minister declares his willingness in paying his country’s 6.5 billion oil debt to the Islamic Republic in U.S. Dollar and Euro.
  • Mehr News Agency reports: “A Turkish company is talking Iranian oil officials into a fuel oil contract as the first Iran-Turkey deal over the product. Having 42 million liter surplus production of fuel oil, Iran is looking for more customers for its soaring production of this middle distillate in addition to its supplying for the ships and tankers in the Persian Gulf bunkering terminals.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays photos of SNSC Secretary Shamkhani meeting with IAEA Director-General Amano in Tehran.