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Iran Press Review: 09 Dec.

Analysis by FDD

  • Behnam Ben Taleblu in a book review for War on the Rocks: “There was once a different Iran. At its helm was not a mullah but a monarch — secular, allied with the West, and committed to his country’s development and modernization. In a new book by Professor Roham Alvandi, that monarch, Mohammad Reza Pahlavi, comes to light as an independent Middle Eastern actor during the Cold War. Dispensing with older historiographies that denude Middle Eastern leaders of individual agency, Alvandi’s contribution breathes life into great-man history and the power of personality.”

Politics

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s  Minister of Intelligence weighs-in on the ministry’s role and political trends in the country:
    • “The government is not after the marginalization of any political current and the Ministry of Intelligence and the unnamed soldiers of the Hidden Imam will make no effort for the promotion or removal of any political current.”
  • The authorities reportedly cancel Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speech in Mashhad in the wake of violent protests in the city.

Foreign Policy

  • President Hassan Rouhani met with Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem in Tehran today, noting:
    • “Today it has been made clear for the world that the government and army of Syria have the capability to combat terrorists and to preserve the country.”
    • “I am confident that the nation of Syria will be victorious on this stage.”
  • Defa Press notes: “A three-way meeting was commenced between the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of Iran, Iraq, and Syria on the sidelines of the international conference of the World against Violence and Extremism.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with Deputy Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Mohammad Mohaqiq in Tehran on Tuesday renewed Iran's support for Afghanistan, and expressed the hope that the unity in the neighboring country would result in the fading away of terrorism, violence and extremism in there." Afghanistan has suffered a lot from rifts and differences and we hope that the unity and brotherhood of the Afghan people will result in the eradication of terrorism and violence as well as establishment of stability and development for that nation," the Iranian president said during the meeting on the sidelines of the first 'World against Extremism and Violence (WAVE)' Conference in Tehran on Tuesday.”

Military & Security

  • Commander Ramezan Sharif, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Public Relations Deputy, comments on the naming process for Iran’s RQ-170:
    • “Up until now, 900 thousand messages and emails from dear Iranians inside and outside of the country for naming the Iranian RQ-170 have been received.”
  • Defa Press reports that Major General Ataollah Salehi, the Commander of the Artesh (national Army) visited the Shahid Yasini base in the city of Bushehr.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mehdi Taeb, the Commander of the Ammar Base (which claims to combat ‘the soft-war’), exclaims:
    • “Iran, by organizing Basij-e Mostazafizin [Mobilization of the Oppressed] in Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon in order to destroy the Takfiris, has created a belt that has crippled the Takfiris.”
  • Hossein Rahimi, the Commander of the Sistan and Baluchistan Province Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), states:
    • “The Law Enforcement Forces are attempting to transfer the security of Sistan and Baluchistan province to the people, and this means that the police in this area will be indigenous.”
    • Commenting on border security: “We have good stability in the South-Eastern borders.”
    • Commenting on force composition: “At present, roughly 30 percent of military forces are indigenous, and the absorption of forces from our dear Sunni’s and Baluchi’s are used.”
    • Commenting on the Saravan attack: “The events of Saravan were just as such, if they are really men, they should fight face to face so that they can recognize the power of the soldiers of Islam.”
  • Ahmad Haqtalab, the head of the Organization for Preserving Works and Publishing the Values of the Holy Defense, linksIran’s current security to “the blood of the martyrs and the scientists of the country.”
  • According to Esmail Ahmadi-Moqaddam, the LEF Chief, on daily basis, 50,000 Iranian pilgrims cross the border to Iraq.
  • A delegation of Sunni nomadic militias from al-Anbar province in Iraq, led by Sheikh Hamid al-Hayes, is about to visit Iran in an attempt to receive arms in order to fight the Islamic State. Wassam al-Hordan, one of the commanders of the militia group, tells Iraqi media:
    • “In the fight against the Islamic State, we are in need of arms, be it from the United States or from Iran.”
  • Iranian Intelligence Minister Alavi claims that more than 20 mid-level managers from the Ahmadinejad administration have been arrested and charged with corruption.
  • Reuters reported: “United Nations sanctions monitors have said photographs taken inside Iraq appear to confirm that the head of Iran's elite military Quds Force, one of Iran's most powerful people, has been in the country in violation of a U.N. travel ban. Qassem Soleimani, chief of the force which is an overseas arm of the Revolutionary Guards, has been subject to an international travel ban and asset freeze by the U.N. Security Council since 2007.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Mehr News Agency quotes Hossein Dehqan, Iran’s Minister of Defense in a headline as saying: “Solving the nuclear issue is a serious priority for the government.”
  • Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), states:
    • “Purchasing parts for Arak has no conflict with the agreement between Iran and the 5+1.”
    • “This issue was not a breach of the agreement, that which was agreed to with respect to Arak was the installation of equipment, and during this time which we have reached an agreement, we have not installed nor will we install any equipment.”
    • “I do not have any information pertaining to if any equipment was purchased or not, and I shall investigate it.”
  • Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, the Chairman of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in the Parliament [Majliscomments on Iran’s nuclear diplomacy:
    • On transparency: “The Islamic Republic of Iran in the nuclear arena has acted with complete honesty.”
    • On sanctions relief: “All sanctions must be removed at once, since these sanctions were levied due to the nuclear issue, and when the nuclear issue is resolved in a bilateral agreement, the continuation of these levers of pressure makes no sense whatsoever.”
    • On approving a final deal: “This issue is related to Article 77 of the constitution that all contracts and treaties and … must be approved by the parliament.”
    • Negotiations: “The responsibility for the negotiations lies with the Supreme National Security Council, not the parliament, but rather we observe the negotiations so that the negotiating team does not leave the straight path.”
  • The Spokesperson for the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Seyyed Hossein Naghavi, talks to the press about Abbas Eraqchi’s briefing to the committee.
  • Ali-Akbar Salehi, the Director of the AEOI, attends the World Against Violence and Extremism conference, and comments on alleged plans to transfer nuclear fuel from Iran to Russia for storage:
    • We shall not give any fuel to anyone and it has not been agreed upon to take fuel away out of Iran.”
    • Commenting if Iran has bypassed the JPOA by signing contracts to build two nuclear power plants, Salehi said: “No, it is not so. Having power plants is Iran's right, since we use it to produce energy and it is peaceful.”
      • Salehi continued: “For the time being, 20,000 centrifuges are installed at Iran's nuclear facilities 9,000 of which are not in work. As long as the negotiations continue, we do not intend to start the 9,000 centrifuges... For the time being, we are working with 9,000 centrifuges to see how the negotiations end... For the time being, we have second generation centrifuges, 1000 of which have been installed and a chain of 164 of them are being tested... We have not infused gas into IR8 centrifuges, and voluntarily, we do not intend to infuse gas in these centrifuges, but they are subjected to mechanical tests... As long as the negotiations continue, we do not intend to infuse the UF6 gas into the centrifuges.”   
  • The Washington Free Beacon reports: “The Obama administration is misleading lawmakers and the public about purported concessions made by Iran in the latest round of nuclear talks, top Iranian officials insisted over the weekend, renewing a year-old debate about the administration’s transparency regarding the fragile negotiations. Iran over the weekend pushed back against key claims made by the administration to lawmakers and the press about further concessions agreed to by Iran following the last round of talk in Vienna regarding the country’s contested nuclear program.”
  • The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire reported: “The White House is stepping up its campaign to ward off new congressional sanctions on Iran after diplomatic talks over Tehran’s nuclear program were once again extended in November, this time for seven months. Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday suggested the process could be concluded in half that time, telling American and Israeli leaders at the Brookings Institution’s Saban Forum on U.S.-Israeli relations that negotiators could reach a final deal within four months.”

Economy & Trade

  • Reportedly, Iran’s government has made an attempt at a $4 billion withdrawal from the National Development Fund, seeking to stabilize the economy at a time of declining oil prices.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Venezuelan Oil Minister Asdrubal Chavez said that Iran's stance in the last meeting of the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) in Vienna serves the interests of all the member states. Speaking in a meeting with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in Tehran on Monday, Chavez endorsed Iran's stance at OPEC meeting on November 27.”

Human Rights

  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reported: “Some students in Iran used Student Day, celebrated on December 7 with speeches and other events at universities, to call for the release of opposition figures and jailed students. Iranian semiofficial news agencies Mehr and Fars reported that a speech by President Hassan Rohani at Tehran's University of Medical Sciences was disrupted by students chanting in support of opposition figure.”
  • The Washington Post Editorial Board wrote: “For months, senior Iranian officials have tacitly acknowledged that the imprisonment of The Washington Post’s Tehran correspondent, Jason Rezaian, is unjust. The secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council, Mohammed Javad Larijani, called it a “fiasco”; in early November he expressed the hope that the case would be dropped “in less than a month.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said in September that he knew Mr. Rezaian to be “a fair reporter” and “had hoped all along that his detention would be short.””

Daily Picture(s)

  • Mehr News Agency displayed pictures of the winter sports seasoning commencing in Tochal.