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Iran Press Review: 03 Nov.

Analysis by FDD

  • FDD Press Release: “The Foundation for Defense of Democracies (FDD) and Roubini Global Economics (RGE) released their eighth joint report today on the effects of sanctions relief on the Iranian economy. The study found the country in the midst of a moderate economic recovery, after bottoming out in the 2013/14 fiscal year (ending March 20, 2014).”

Politics

  • Reports continued to come out on the late Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani’s successor as the next Chairman of Iran’s Assembly of Experts:
    • Ahmad Khatami, a member of the Assembly of Experts, said he was “praising” Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, when he claimed Rafsanjani was not running for the Chairmanship of the Assembly: “Learned men are not inclined to seek positions of power.”
    • Ayatollah Haeri Shirazi: “Whoever competed with Mr. Hashemi, did not manage [to win].”
    • Ayatollah Hashemzadeh Harisi: “[It is] not important who is going to take over the Chairmanship.”
  • Fars News Agency ran a headline citing a speech by Ayatollah Rafsanjani, a former President and current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, who said:
    • “The blood of those in Ashura shook the foundations of oppression.”
  • Fars News Agency ran another headline, citing a statement by President Hassan Rouhani, who said:
    • “The real message of Karbala is in preventing deviation and innovation in the path of truth.”
  • An additional Fars News Agency headline, this time quoting Ali Larijani, the Speaker of the Parliament [Majlis] on similar Ashura-related themes, noted:
    • “Glorious mourning (a reference to the mourning ceremonies and processionals of the Ashura holiday) increases the solidarity of the nation of Iran.”

Foreign Policy

  • Seyyed Zia al-Din Khazani, the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Kosar Construction Base, states:
    • “All sorts of atrocities, conspiracies, and evils that occurred after the victory of the Islamic Revolution against the holy system (the Islamic Republic) was led by America and its arrogant agents.”
    • “Our nation’s resentment of Americans has roots in the blood of the best children of this land.”
    • “How can we wipe away the innumerable atrocities of American government officials against the holy system of the Islamic Republic and the ideals of our dear Imam (a reference to Khomeini).”
    • “They, in the 8 year Imposed War (a name given in Iran to the Iran-Iraq War) did not refrain from any service to Saddam and the Ba’athist Army of Iraq, from training troops to transfusing monetary aid…”
    • “The slogan of Death to America is derived from the atrocities and treacheries that American government officials brought against the holy system of the Islamic Republic and the honorable people of Iran…”
  • Jomhouri-ye Eslami editorialized:
    • “The great betrayal of American statesmen against the Muslim nations, is starting the fire of wars in Islamic countries in recent years and killing of Muslims by other Muslims. This has ill consequences for the region and the world of Islam and great benefits for America and other enemies of the Islamic community of believers.”
  • Kayhan editorialized:
    • “When it comes to Syria, Turkey is paying a price, and every time it reaches its pockets it distances itself from her strategic goal... [The] small Kobani has divided Turkey into two parts... Turkey did not want to intervene in the Kobani case, which is why Erdogan would change the subject to regime change in Syria when Kobani surfaced... But his agenda did not lead anywhere and in the end he was even forced to open a corridor for the paramilitary Jaish al-Hur to Kobani…”
    • “Turkey's behavior in Iraq is not any different... It mistakenly supported Tareq al-Hashemi and other opponents of the Maleki government... But was once again deceived by the United States. It thought Washington was capable of changing the path of developments in the region, and realize 'the new Middle East...' However, by tying its interests with those of the United States, Turkey has committed a strategic miscalculation.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a message extended his felicitations to his Algerian counterpart Abdelaziz Bouteflika on the country's National Day. In his message on Sunday night, President Rouhani expressed hope that Tehran-Algiers mutual cooperation would further boost through joint efforts."

Military and Security

  • Fars News Agency picks-up on Al-Arabiya’s reporting about IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF) Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani.
  • The IRGC put out a statement in honor of the Ashura holiday and the upcoming 13th of Aban (November 4, 2014) anniversary of the storming of the American Embassy:
    • “America is the great Satan and also the number one enemy of the Revolution and the system of the Islamic Republic…”
  • Similarly, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff office also put out a statement noting:
    • “Today, the hegemonic system and the Yazid of the age – meaning America – is the biggest danger to the pure Islam of Mohammad…”
  • Commander Ali Fadavi, IRGC-Navy (IRGC-N) Commander noted:
    • “Our plan is that the Americans leave the Persian Gulf.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Mohammad-Saleh Jokar, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, stated:
    • “Some believe that in the nuclear debate, a bad deal is better than not making an agreement, which is a deviant slogan.”
    • “A final agreement has not yet been completed, however, discussions over the complete frameworks of the plan have been closed, but regarding the specifics, like the amount of enrichment, removing the sanctions, and likewise, missiles, there are still discussions. And we determined that all the sanctions must be lifted.”
    • “Definitely, members of the Parliament will enter [the debate] on the final decision-making of the negotiations, and reports will be given to the Committee, and decisions must be made based on the national interest of the country.”
  • Abbas Eraqchi, Deputy Foreign Minister and Senior Member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, noted in an interview that:
    • “A three-way meeting between Zarif, Kerry, and Ashton will be held on Sunday and Monday of next week, the 18th and 19th of Aban (November 9-10, 2014) and on Tuesday, the 20th of Aban (November 11, 2014), the 9th round of 5+1 negotiations with Iran will be held in Muscat, the capital of Oman.”
  • Mohammad-Sadeq Koushaki, a member of Tehran University’s academic faculty, took umbrage at the comments of Ali Khurram, an Iranian Foreign Ministry Adviser. Koushaki exclaimed:
    • “The next question is that, with the presence of such an Adviser in the Foreign Ministry, can we sign an agreement that is to the benefit of the people of Iran? If Mr. Zarif consults with such people and goes to the negotiating table, without a doubt an agreement will be signed that is to the detriment of the people of Iran.”
    • “And if Mr. Zarif does not accept him, then why was he appointed him.”
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif commented on possibilities for a nuclear deal:
    • “In the event that the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear rights are recognized, Iran is prepared for an agreement.”
  • “A source close to the nuclear negotiation team” dismissed The Washington Post's report which claims Iran and the 5+1 Group have reached an agreement concerning the number of centrifuges, as reported by Kayhan.  
  • Bloomberg reports: “It’s a fool’s game to parse all the public statements and media reports about the nuclear negotiations with Iran in an effort to lay odds on the outcome as the Nov. 24 deadline approaches. Here’s why.”
  • Michael Rubin writes in Commentary: “It has now been more than 20 years since the Clinton administration signed its supposed breakthrough nuclear agreement with North Korea. The purpose of U.S. diplomacy was to prevent North Korea from attaining nuclear-weapons capability by means of a series of incentives and verifiable safeguards. Then as now, politicians seemed to embrace the notion that a bad deal was better than no deal at all, despite rhetoric to the contrary. Negotiators from the time readily admit they realized what they were getting was a bad deal, but convinced themselves that with Communist regimes falling all around, North Korea’s time was limited. What they never fully understood in North Korea as in Iran was (and is) the importance of the ideology to the regime, and the fact that there were enough true believers among the regime leadership and special military forces to render moot any doubts the public and any reformists might have had.”
  • Defense News reported: “In the run-up to a Nov. 24 deadline for nuclear talks with Iran, leaders from Israel and gulf states are separately urging Western powers to stand firm and demand a deal that derails the regional threat from Tehran. Reflecting shared angst over dwindling prospects for such a deal, regional rivals have publicly warned of the dangers in rushing to conclude a partial deal.”
  • Ray Takeyh penned an Op-Ed in The Washington Post: “As the Nov. 24 deadline for Iran and the great powers to negotiate a comprehensive nuclear agreement approaches, both sides may be confronted with momentous choices. What happens if the decade-long search for an arms-control accord falters? Although there is little evidence that the West is contemplating alternative strategies, important actors in Iran are beginning to consider life after diplomatic failure.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reported: “Iran’s government continues to stonewall United Nations weapons inspectors, complicating the Obama administration’s effort to forge a nuclear agreement with Tehran by a late-November deadline, according to U.S. and U.N. officials. The U.S. and the European Union have said Iran’s cooperation with the U.N. in addressing evidence that Tehran conducted studies in the past on the development of atomic weapons is crucial to reaching a broader accord on the future of the Iranian nuclear program.”

Economy & Trade

  • Mohammad Khodakarami, a Deputy for International Affairs and Aviation in Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization, noted:
    • “At present, 33 foreign airline companies are active in Iran, which over the past year, a total of over 3 million travelers were moved by way of these companies.”
  • Houshang Fallahatian, an Electrical Deputy to the Minister of Energy, exclaimed:
    • “Iran’s electricity is the cheapest electricity amongst the adjoining countries.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Head of Khatam-ol-Anbia Construction and Development Base Ebadallah Abdollahi downplayed the effects of the western sanctions against Iran, and said the country has managed to implement every project that has had a foreign contractor which has left Iran under the sanctions. "The enemies thought what giant oil firms, Total and Shell, …left unfinished in Iran will not be implemented due to the economic sanctions, but with God's grace and the efforts of our dedicated forces, these jobs are being fulfilled in a proper way and even better than the past," Abdollahi, whose base is affiliated to the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC), said in Western Iran on Sunday.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Iran's largest carmaker, Iran Khodro Company (IKCO), has signed a 4-year contract with a German auto designer, the company's president announced on Sunday, adding that a foreign team has also been hired for designing two new car platforms for the company."We have endorsed a 4-year contract with this designer and he is due to design two new platforms in the next four years," IKCO President Hashem Yekeh Zareh told FNA.”
  • Reuters reported: “U.S. authorities are investigating London-based Standard Chartered Plc (STAN.L) for potential U.S. sanctions violations connected to its banking for Iranian-controlled entities in Dubai, according to people familiar with the probe. The latest investigation involving the bank is based, in part, from evidence that emerged during a separate probe of BNP Paribas, the French bank that pleaded guilty this summer to charges related to sanctions-busting and agreed to pay $8.9 billion in penalties, the people said.”

Human Rights

  • The New York Times reported: “An Iranian-British woman who was arrested in June when she tried to attend a men’s volleyball match in Iran has been sentenced to a year in prison, her lawyer said Sunday. The lawyer, Mahmoud Alizadeh Tabatabaei, said that the sentence for the woman, Ghoncheh Ghavami, 25, had not been officially delivered to him, but that he was informed by a court official. The reasons for her sentence were not made public.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency captures images of mourners in Shiraz while commemorating the “Hosseini Tasua.”
  • Fars News Agency further documents images of mourners in the holy city of Mashhad.
  • Fars News Agency citing images from Khamenei’s official website reports an earlier mourning ceremony attended by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei and other notables of the Islamic Republic (Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Ejei, Mohammad-Reza Aref, and Ayatollah Sadeq Amoli-Larijani [far-left, center-left, center, respectively]).