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Iran Press Review: 06 March

Analysis by FDD

  • John Hannah, Senior Fellow, writes in Foreign Policy: “There’s so much wrong with the emerging Iran nuclear deal that it’s hard to know where to begin. But as Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu made clear in his speech this week to Congress, the biggest flaw is almost certainly the deal’s so-called sunset provision. Amazingly, the Obama administration is prepared to sign an agreement that will expire in a mere 10 years’ time. At that point, any restrictions that the deal imposes on Iran’s nuclear program would vanish. Iran’s economy would be free from all nuclear-related sanctions and its government would be treated the same as any other non-nuclear-weapon state that is a non-proliferation treaty member in good standing.”

Politics

  • Gholam-Ali Rajaei, an Sdviser to former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, states “a considerable number of Assembly of Experts members have asked in a letter to Ayatollah Hashemi [Rafsanjani] for him to declare his candidacy for the chairmanship of the Assembly of Experts... Based on my information, it is unlikely that Ayatollah Shahroudi would try to compete with him in case Ayatollah Rafsanjani declares his candidacy.”
  • According to Iranian blogger Nikahang Kowsar, the certain “H.A.” who was arrested by the Revolutionary Guards Intelligence Organization, accused of economic corruption, is Hassan Afrashtepour, one of the “Afrashtepour brothers” who is related to the network of Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani.
  • Tasnim News Agency reports that: “A group of environmental officials and activists will visit with the Supreme Leader on Sunday of next week (17 Esfand).”

Foreign Policy

  • Safeen Dizayee, the Spokesperson of the Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG), comments on Iran’s relations with Iraq and its assistance to the country:
    • “Iran provides the greatest assistance to Iraq in combatting DAESH (the Arabic and Persian acronym for the Islamic State).”
    • “Iran and Iraq are two neighboring and close countries and possess historical, political, social and geographic affinities, and due to this, relations are very natural.”
  • Commenting on Prime Minister Netanyahu’s address to Congress, Ayatollah Emami Kashani, Tehran’s Interim Friday Prayer leader, proclaims:
    • “Netanyahu and his supporters will take their dreams with them against Iran to the grave.”
    • “In response to this issue that Iran is a threat to the world, we say that in the 36 years after the Islamic Revolution, Iran was not a threat to any country, and even in the 8 years of the Imposed War (the name in Iran for the Iran-Iraq War) only defended itself.”
  • Reporting on the arrival of Nour-Ahmad Nikbakht, the kidnapped Iranian diplomat in Sana’a, Yemen, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and Africa Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, holds a press conference with Nikbakht and notes that Nikbakht was rescued from captivity in Yemen by a special-operations team of sorts:
    • “In a hard and difficult operation and in a special area, this team was able remove Mr. Nikbakht from the grasp of the terrorists and we are happy that we witnessed his entry to the country today.”

Military & Security

  • Funeral services are held for members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) members killed in Iraq and Syria:
    • Farhad Khoushehbar, IRGC member from Gilan, is killed in battle against the Islamic State (IS) in Samara, Iraq.
    • The IRGC organizes a funeral procession for seven IRGC members killed in Syria. Esmaeel Qaani, IRGC-Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Deputy Commander, attends the funeral service.
  • Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz Jafari, the Commander of Iran’s IRGC, states:
    • ​“America, Israel, and any other country does not dare to look at Iran the wrong way, or threaten against the Islamic Republic of Iran, and this is the result and achievements of the Islamic Revolution.”
    • Elswhere, Jafari stated:
      • “The enemy does not hesitate to create any uncertainty or fear in the hearts of the Iranian people, however, by the grace of God, any of their conspiracies will be defeated, and day by day these kinds of resistance will be the cause the attaining of dignity for the Islamic Revolution.”
  • Tasnim News Agency reports on the liberation of al-Dawr, just south of Tikrit during operation “Labaik ya Rasoul-Allah.” The article quotes Jassim al-Jazayeri, a member of the political office of Ktaib Hezbollah (the Hezbollah Brigades) of Iraq, saying: “The first and second stages of the Salah al-Din operation has taken place,  and the third phase will occur with the entrance of forces to the region of al-Dawr and its liberation from the revile of DAESH.”
  • Gholam-Asker Karimian, the Commander of the IRGC’s Ashura division in East-Azerbaijan province tells reporters:
    • “The Supreme Leader puts a strong emphasis on all officials so that the culture of the Holy Defense (another name for the Iran-Iraq War) is spread in society, and the values of the martyrs is transferred to the youths”

Nuclear Issue

  • Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, gives an interview with CNN where he states, according to Tansim New Agency:
    • “I don’t want to make the negotiations public. If political will exists on all sides for them to adopt the correct decisions, this agreement can be reached. We have engaged in some progress. Issues remain which we must decide on.  Therefore we must work hard in the coming weeks.”
  • Ayatollah Shabestari, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts, weighs-in on nuclear diplomacy:
    • “We must not tie the problems of the country to negotiations and sanctions, today it is necessary for us to rely upon and pay attention to our domestic capacities.”
  • Ayatollah Emami Kashani, Tehran’s Interim Friday Prayer leader, comments on nuclear diplomacy in his sermon: “Netanyahu thinks if there is no agreement with Iran, it would be a problem with Iran... We are saying this: If Iran and the P5+1 Group reach an agreement, both parties have won and a win/win negotiation has taken place, but if the negotiations do not reach an agreement it would be a win/lose equation, since Iran would prove to the world that it is reasonable... Iran is in the position of strength and superiority and is moving along with dignity... It is not Iran which is a threat to the world... It is the heads of arrogant states who, with their military moves against the people of the world, constitute a threat to all.”
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani states in a cabinet meeting:
    • “Now, there is only one aggressor and occupying regime, considering its interests in continuation of war and aggression, which is unhappy and angry about these [nuclear] negotiations... You see that the Al-Nusra [Front], with all the crimes it is perpetrating, is supported by this criminal regime... A regime which every year, again and again invades its neighboring countries and kills innocent people, a regime whose bullets aim at the children of Gaza,... a regime which itself is the most criminal, and in reality is a terrorist state, is today speaking of peace and future threats. But this regime is itself the creator of the greatest threat to the region... But such statements do not have the least impact on the resolve of the nations and governments. The foundation of our negotiations with the world is good will towards good will, sincerity towards sincerity and trust towards trust... The P5+1 Group must either reach an agreement with the Islamic Republic of Iran within the framework of reason and international regulations... or alternatively... choose the path of sanctions, which they see did not work in the past and we managed very well to continue our path.”
  • Jomhouri-ye Eslami editorializes:
    • “Western media are, in spite of the negative attempts of the Prime Minister of the Zionist regime, optimistic concerning a nuclear agreement. Removal of the sanction is at the core of attention. The reality is that the West has hitherto used the sanctions tool more than any other tool in order to exert pressure against Iran, but experience has demonstrated that using this obsolete and ineffective instrument not only failed to stop Iran, but led to the progress of Iran's nuclear program. Therefore, world powers have no other way but revising their methods. At the center of the conflict is the time frame for removing the sanctions, but the Iranian negotiation team is demanding removal of all sanctions at once. One can say that the negotiations have reached a sensitive and final phase and there is a great chance for reaching a final agreement. But of course, that depends on the West, and more specifically the United States, managing to resist the pressure which they are facing from the Zionists and manage to take independent decisions... [With regards to the Israeli Prime Minister’s address to Congress] One must not ignore the fact that the Americans are tired of this problematic and rogue ally and do not desire to provide it with vast and endless support. However, on the surface they must behave differently and not display their hatred of this despicable regime.”
  • Kayhan’s editorial attacks Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, who according to Kayhan, “along with Mr. Rouhani, has tied his entire political prestige to the nuclear negotiations and its outcome. However, even if we ignore the plentiful damage we have sustained, and the concessions we have given, we must admit that all evidence points to the untrustworthy nature of the United States, or in other words the exact thing that the gentlemen of the new government tried to prove wrong.”

Economy & Trade

  • Islamic Republic News Agency cites Iran’s Minister of Cooperatives, Labor and Social Welfare Ali Rabiee as stating:
    • “In the current year, approximately 400 thousand jobs were created in production and industrial units.”   
  • Resalat reports that the head of Iran’s National Carpet Center, Hamid Kargar, touts:
    • “314 million dollars’ worth of carpets have been exported.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian and Belarusian ministers signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) to further consolidate the two countries' economic relations and cooperation. The MoU was endorsed by Iranian Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and his Belarusian counterpart Vitaly Mikhailovich at the end of the two countries' 12th joint commission meeting in Tehran on Thursday.”

Human Rights

  • The Guardian reported: “In a literal application of the sharia law of an eye for an eye, an Iranian man convicted of blinding another man in an acid attack has been blinded in one eye, marking the first time Iran has carried out such a punishment. The convicted acid attacker, who has not been identified, was rendered unconscious in Rajai-Shahr prison in the city of Karaj on Tuesday as medics gouged out his left eye, according to the state-owned Hamshahri newspaper.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays pictures of the homecoming of Nikbakht, the kidnapped Iranian diplomat in Yemen who recently returned home.