Iran Press Review 08 June

Analysis by FDD

  • Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran Research Analyst, and Merve Tahiroglu, Research Associate, wrote an essay in Turkish Policy Quarterly about Turkey and Iran’s strategic competition and cooperation: “Inheriting a legacy of imperial competition, the Turkey-Iran rivalry today manifests itself through the contest for leadership of the Arab Middle East, and Muslim hearts and minds more generally. The authors contend that Turkey and Iran’s relationship transcends the boundaries of amity or enmity that traditionally define actors in the modern Middle East state system. Rather, Ankara and Tehran have been able to successfully compartmentalize elements of their rivalry while strengthening bilateral ties and expanding areas of economic cooperation. The authors posit that the present-day Turko-Iranian relationship falls in the category of neither friend nor enemy, but rather that of “frenemy.””
  • Claudia Rosett, Journalist-in-Residence, wrote in Forbes: “Beyond the sound and fury of the Iran nuclear talks lies a big follow-up question: What, if anything, does President Obama propose to do during his final stretch in office about the growing nuclear threat of North Korea? Just this April, The Wall Street Journal reported that according to China’s estimates, “North Korea may already have 20 warheads, as well as the capability of producing enough weapons-grade uranium to double its arsenal by next year.””
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, wrote in an FDD Policy Brief: “OPEC “needs to open space” for the increased Iranian exports that could soon flow due to sanctions relief, Tehran’s oil minister said Wednesday at the cartel’s Vienna headquarters. He could have simply demanded that the group clear “space” for Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). It is this business empire, including many entities that helped create Iran’s controversial nuclear program that is set to reap one of the greatest windfalls from the sanctions relief a final nuclear deal will provide. As the driving force in the Islamic Republic’s quest for a nuclear bomb, the IRGC has consistently opposed a negotiated solution to the decade-old crisis over Iran’s nuclear program. In public, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari toes the government line and praises the nuclear negotiators, but simultaneously, the IRGC’s parliamentary supporters openly accuse Iranian negotiators of treason, organize unauthorized rallies against “capitulation,” and unleash mobs against pro-negotiation speeches in the provinces.””

Politics

  • The Islamic Republic of Iran’s media and various outlets discuss the June 4, 2015 attempts at disrupting President Hassan Rouhani and Hassan Khomeini’s speeches at the mausoleum of the late Grand Ayatollah Khomeini, the founding-father of the Islamic Republic:
    • Aftab-e Yazd: “It is as if public gatherings of the delvapasan [the concerned ones] in various cities has become an epidemic for the opponents of the government. The anniversary of the passing of the Imam [Khomeini] and Hassan Rouhani’s speech provided another pretext for loud shouting groups of ‘the concerned ones…’ they shouted slogans such as ‘death to the hypocrite,’ ‘death to America,’ and the like. Such slogans made Rouhani halt his speech for a few seconds. Towards the end of his speech, Rouhani had to raise his voice [to be heard]... The protesters were carrying signs and posters such as ‘Don't pretend to be a savior by forfeiting the nuclear program...’ The question is how such small groups are formed and what ideals and goals they are trying to achieve... Even people such as Commander Naqdi [Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces] say: ‘rituals to commemorate Imam Khomeini must be the symbol of solidarity... insults and slogans aimed at any faction... is only to the benefit of the United States and the Saud Clan...’ Statements such as Commander Naqdi’s may indicate that certain people are no longer in charge of such movements... What is clear is that the stubborn minority is trying to win over the silent majority.”
  • According to a report in Etemaad, the crowds abusing and attacking Rouhani on June 4th were led by “people wearing certain uniforms,” a reference to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC). Etemaad also reports that concurrent with the attacks against Rouhani at Khomeini’s mausoleum, the commemoration ceremony for the birth of the Twelfth Imam at the Jamkaran Mosque was transformed into an anti-government rally: “Pamphlets of the Student Basij against the nuclear negotiations were distributed at the Jamkaran Mosque... The loudspeakers were announcing slogans such as ‘our eyes are fixed on Jamkaran and not Lausanne.’”
  • Etemad’s commentary further downplayed the risk of the protests.
  • Sharq reported on attempts at disrupting Hassan Khomeini’s speech: “On June 4th, when Seyyed Hassan Khomeini began speaking before the Supreme Leader, a group started its spontaneous actions, chanting “All this army has come for the sake of the love of the Leader,” to which Hassan Khomeini responded: “It certainly is so!”” Sharq’s commentators weighed-in on the events:
    • Ebrahim Asqarzadeh, former hostage taker: “The radicals have reached a dead end.”
    • Daryoush Qanbari, former parliamentarian: “The regime does not need such people.”
    • Kamal al-Din Pir-Moazen, parliamentarian: “Rogue action.”
  • Aftab-e Yazd’s editorial condemns the attackers as “hypocrites.”
  • Ali Mottahari, a noted parliamentarian, commenting on the incident, said: “insulting the president can have legal consequences. The root of such wrong deeds must be uprooted.”
  • Reuters reports: “Iranian authorities detained a former vice-president on Monday on undeclared charges, local news agencies reported, months after another deputy to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was sentenced in a graft scandal. "Former vice-president Hamid Baghaei had a charge sheet issued against him by the judiciary and the prosecutor summoned him today for questioning," judiciary spokesman Gholamhossein Mohseni-Ejei was quoted as saying by the Fars news agency.”

Foreign Policy

  • An editorial in Kayhan discussed Supreme Leader Khamenei’s speech concerning the United States being the Great Satan:
    • “Those who do not consider America ‘The Great Satan,’ are in the best case simpletons who thin, if we forget the crimes and betrayals of the United States against the nation and reach a hand of friendship towards them, the earth and heavenly problems of the country will immediately be solved, and the country will become the land of the rose and the nightingale! These people present their immature thoughts within the framework of Westernized development theories consider the United States the Kaba of their hopes and aspirations, and think the key to development and progress of the country is only in the hands of a village head. We should reach out our hands to him, and he will deliver [the key] to us.”
    • “There is also a group, which one could call tired and repenting revolutionaries. In spite of having a revolutionary past and a past record of extremely anti-American positions, they have for various reasons changed their path, and they are trying to legitimize their retreat within the fake framework of reason and realism... However, in experience has proved that believing the United States is not only futile, but is an Achilles Heel... The new round of nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 Group, which because of many reasons to a large extent has become nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States, has ignited the hope among these two groups, that one also can take steps towards normalization of relations with ‘The Great Satan.’” 

Nuclear Issue

  • Aftab-e Yazd editorialized:
    • “At a time when the Rouhani government is under more pressure of the opponents more than ever before... the people have reached the conclusion that Hassan Rouhani’s key [symbol of the Rouhani campaign] no longer opens any locks.”
  • Etemaad’s editorial on the documentary ‘Untrustworthy,’ which is shown every night on Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting TV:
    • “It is as if the documentaries which are broadcasted these days, apart from ‘proving’ Iran’s counterpart is not trustworthy, also communicate another message: there is no hope for the negotiations reaching a result.”  
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, noted:  
    • “We have always said that the substance is important for us. We are not limiting ourselves by time, and have no concern about the deadline. Of course... we agreed to reach an agreement until June 30th, and we still are struggling to reach it, but the date is not sacred... there is no need for Mr. Kerry and I to meet now. We met just before the incident... I hope Mr. [Ali-Akbar Salehi] gets better soon. We do need the presence of Mr. Salehi at the negotiation table to direct the technical negotiations. I hope God grants him immediate recovery... If they [the United States] makes excessive demands, they will not reach any result, but if they proceed according to the agreed upon foundation, there is a good chance of reaching result.”
  • Abbas Eraqchi, Senior Nuclear Negotiator, stated:
    • “If we reach a final agreement, we will have a main text and five addenda, one of which is about the sanctions and all related details... Another is about the technical issues and the different dimensions of the nuclear issue... One addendum will be about Iran's peaceful nuclear activities, discussing in which fields the states can cooperate with Iran in this regard... Another addendum is about a joint committee, which will be established [and defines], the work of the committee... The last addendum is about the execution [of the agreement], actions which the two parties must take and the time table... The final result will be a lengthy and detailed document with more than 20 pages for the main document, and 40 to 50 pages for the addenda. Every single word of this document is debatable, and the parties contest every single word in the document. Different parts of the document are still in parenthesis, and there is conflict about certain issues, but the work is progressing, but very slowly.”
  • Reuters reports: “Any possible military dimensions of Iran's nuclear past can be clarified if the details of a preliminary deal sealed in April between Tehran and six world powers are implemented, the head of the U.N. nuclear watchdog said on Monday. Iran has been stalling an investigation by the International Atomic Energy Agency into its nuclear program. The agency is yet to set a fixed deadline for a final assessment, although it has said the process will not be open-ended.”

Economy & Trade

  • Aftab-e Yazd reports significant gas prices prior to the month of Ramadan.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “An Austrian trade delegation visiting Iran underlined the country's willingness to develop cooperation with Tehran on railway transportation, steel industry, modern irrigation, drugs and medical equipment, recycling and waste water treatment. "We are interested in joint cooperation in the agricultural, field, medical industries, new technologies and environment since Austria has stylish methods in these arenas on one hand, and Iran has good experts in these fields on the other hand, which can lead to joint cooperation," the vice-chairman of Austria's Chamber of Commerce said in a meeting with Chairman of the Iranian Chamber of Commerce Gholam-Hossein Shafeyee in Tehran on Monday.”

Human Rights

  • Reuters reports: “The second hearing in the trial of jailed Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian on espionage charges took place behind closed doors in Tehran on Monday, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. The first hearing of Iranian-U.S. citizen Rezaian also had been held behind closed doors on May 26 at Branch 15 of the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Rezaian has been in Tehran's Evin prison since his arrest in July, 2014."