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Iran Press Review: 10 Nov.

Analysis by FDD

  • Thomas Joscelyn, a Senior Fellow at FDD, wrote in The Weekly Standard Blog: “The Wall Street Journal’s Jay Solomon and Carol E. Lee published an important scoop yesterday. President Obama “secretly wrote to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in the middle of last month and described a shared interest in fighting Islamic State militants in Iraq and Syria.” The “letter appeared aimed both at buttressing the campaign against [the] Islamic State and nudging Iran’s religious leader closer to a nuclear deal.” Well before he was elected president in 2008, Obama vowed to pursue “tough, direct diplomacy” with Iran. Is this it?”

Politics

  • Saeedeh Omidi lists three possible replacements in an article in the Iranian Labour News Agency for the next Chairmanship of the Assembly of Experts (replacing the deceased Ayatollah Mahdavi-Kani):
    • “1) Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani; a person who can delegate leadership”
    • “2) Ayatollah Seyyed Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi; remaining trusted”
    • “3) Ayatollah Mohamad YAzdi; striving to create a competitive environment with Hashemi”

Foreign Policy

  • Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, Iran’s Supreme Leader, met with Iraq’s former Prime Minister (and current Presidential Deputy), Nouri al-Maliki in Tehran today.
    • Khamenei: “Your Excellency, in the issue of the transfer of power in Iraq, you did a great job to prevent turmoil and instability in Iraq, and this deed in the area of Iraq will not be forgotten.”
    • Maliki: “The Islamic Republic of Iran has given the greatest assistant to the government of Iraq to combat terrorism and foreign agents.”
  • Mardom Salari runs segments of an interview between Seyyed Abbas Eraqchi, the Deputy Foreign Minister for International Affairs, and the Supreme Leader’s website:
    • Commenting on foreign policy: “I am confident that the foreign policy of the Islamic Republic of Iran always follows specific principals…”
  • The Kuwait News Agency reports: “Qatari Amir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad Al-Thani on Monday received a letter from President of the Islamic Republic of Iran Hassan Rouhani, handling bilateral relations and issues of common concern.”
  • Jackson Diehl wrote in The Washington Post: “As a presidential candidate seven years ago, Barack Obama shook up the foreign policy world by declaring that he favored “direct diplomacy” to reshape U.S. relations with long-standing adversaries like Syria, Cuba and North Korea. Critics, including Hillary Clinton, called him naive, and until now they have proved right. Yet as he heads into the last stretch of his presidency, Obama is doubling down on a bet that in one last case — Iran — his strategy will yield a spectacular payoff.”

Military and Security

  • Ali Larijani, Iran’s Speaker of Parliament [Majlis], touts in a speech to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Air Force Aerospace Unit:
    • “The goals of the Corps (IRGC) are associated with the goals of the Revolution, and the entirety of the identity of the Revolution is defined in the Corps, therefore, wherever problems arise like the separatists during the beginning of the Revolution, or the Imposed War (another name for the Iran-Iraq War in Iran), the Corps became present.”
    • “People like martyr Tehrani-Moghadam started from the artillery and they reached the missile industry, and after the war, the Corps observed the affairs of the country, and became present wherever the Revolution needed assistance.”
    • “… [A]nd if today, the Islamic Republic is one of the most important possessors of missile power in the Middle East, it is due to these types of people.”
    • “We have the superior power in the region, but were are not seeking adventure. And all in the region know that the Islamic Republic has never invaded anyone, others have imposed war and we have merely defended.”
  • Commander Amir-Ali Hajizadeh, the head of the IRGC’s Aerospace Forces, comments on missiles, saying:
    • “That the enemies have suffocated, and cannot do a damn thing against Iran shows that we have a good capability.”
    • “They say that we must negotiate about ballistic missiles. This is an indicator of our high capabilities, because if they could they would have prevented it or they would have blocked it, not [seek to] negotiate [over it].”
    • “We will not negotiate about our missile capabilities because these achievements are used to created security and peace.”
  • Ali Fadavi, the Commander of the IRGC Navy (IRGC-N), notes:
    • “The Americans have no other option but to leave the Persian Gulf, and our missile capabilities in this regard are influential.”
  • The Persian version of the DW website reports a story which alleges that:
    • “According to [a] Syrian human rights observing organization, the bodies of 5 scientists and engineers near a research center in the north of Damascus was found. One of these engineers was Iranian, and the four others had Syrian nationality. All 5 bodies were killed by bullets.”
  • Reuters reports: “An Iranian copy of a U.S. reconnaissance drone captured in 2011 has taken its first flight, state news agency IRNA reported on Monday. In December 2011, Iran said it had captured a U.S. RQ-170 Sentinel reconnaissance drone in eastern Iran that had been reported lost by U.S. forces in neighboring Afghanistan.”
    • Iranian outlets, such as Defa Press, further cite the flight.

Nuclear Issue

  • Hassan Sobhani-Nia, the Chairman of the Iran-Vietnam Parliamentary Friendship Group, comments on Iran’s nuclear diplomacy:
    • “Iran possesses serious will for the resolution of misconceptions about the nuclear file.”
    • “Iran’s position in the negotiations have always been clear, and if the opposing sides do not have external considerations and special political incentives, these negotiations can have a positive outcome.”
  • Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), comments on negotiation outcomes:
    • “In my opinion, our process during the negotiations, is a continuing one, and its lines are completely clear. As far as I know, we are moving alongside a series of goals, and it is quite early to take stock of this process and its goals.”
    • “Negotiations are still being carried out, and I cannot talk about the processes that have occurred. We, in a calculated manner, and by taking into account national incentives, track the issues, but like I said, it is quite early to take stock and assess its worth. But we will announce the results to the people, and it will certainly be a result that is in the favor of the nation, and the goal is to provide for our national interest.”
    • “We are not looking for a renewal to occur, our goal in these negotiations is to reach results…”
  • Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, the Chairman of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in the Parliament, weighs-in on nuclear diplomacy:
    • “It has been many years since the nuclear issue has been turned into a national consensus, and the people who have endured difficulties tell us to not stop short.”
    • “The Tehran Research Reactor whose output is used for medical centers is very important, because when [we were] faced with the completion of its fuel, they created a game out of getting new fuel, and we were forced to create 20 percent fuel ourselves.”
    • “Our desires do not conflict with the principals of the Agency (IAEA) and the NPT…”
    • “The directive to produce 20 thousand megawatts of nuclear electricity should be operationalized by the government, and this is an opportunity that Western countries have gave up and lose out on.”
    • “At one point, the Americans said that the Heavy Water at Arak should be changed to Light Water, which was not accepted by us (the Parliament) nor the government, and they became convinced that we can have it. And Fordow, from a passive defense perspective is immune from the attack of the enemy, and from this standpoint closing it is completely illogical and it must remain in its place.”
    • “The amount of enrichment will be defined based on needs, thus, reactors that are fueled from other countries or we [reactors] that we will create, must allow us to able to produce some of their fuel domestically.”
  • Mohammad-Reza Bahonar, the Vice-Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, comments on ongoing nuclear diplomacy:
    • “Our hopes for reaching an agreement are high, and our redlines are clear, and the status of all sanctions must be clarified in negotiations since the nation of Iran will not accept any broken bone, and it must be completely clear and transparent.”
    • “The nuclear technology that has become indigenous to our country must be formally recognized by the countries of the 5+1…”
  • In the same Mardom Salari article reference above, Seyyed Abbas Eraqchi comments on the involvement of the Supreme Leader in nuclear negotiations:
    • “… [A]t present for his soldiers and commanders at the front line, a range of prerogatives are permitted for movement and maneuvering. People with specific grievances state that the ‘vav to vav’ (a Persian idiom about thoroughly checking something) of negotiations are checked with him, and from another side some claim that he is not present in the negotiations issue, both are incorrect.”
  • Mashregh News runs a headline citing Hossein Shariatmadari, the hardline editor of the Kayhan newspaper, saying: “The negotiating team should take back the points it gave away in Geneva.”   
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Former Iranian Ambassador to Paris Sadeq Kharrazi cautioned on Monday that the western countries are to blame for their excessive demands in the negotiations in case of any possible failure in the ongoing talks between Tehran and the six world powers (the US, Russia, China, France, Britain and Germany). "If the negotiations fail, the western side should be accountable to the international community because the ball is in their court," Kharrazi told FNA on Monday.”
  • Reuters reports: “Iran, the United States and the European Union began an unscheduled second day of talks on Monday over disagreements blocking the resolution of a confrontation over Tehran's nuclear program, U.S. and Iranian officials said. With two weeks to a deadline for an overall agreement, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry and EU envoy Catherine Ashton met in Oman's capital Muscat to tackle a decade-long dispute which has raised the risk of wider conflict in the Middle East.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iran's stockpile of low-enriched uranium gas has grown by 8 percent to nearly 8.4 tonnes in about two months, U.N. atomic inspectors say, an amount world powers probably will want to see cut under any nuclear deal with Tehran. The International Atomic Energy Agency issued a confidential report on Iran to IAEA member states on Friday, less than three weeks before a Nov. 24 deadline for Iran and six world powers to resolve their stand-off over Tehran's atomic activities.”

Economy & Trade

  • Fars News Agency reported: “A senior Polish official voiced his country's readiness to have vast cooperation with Iran in the investment and banking sectors."We hope that the western sanctions against Iran will be lifted by November 24 while we are looking forward to giving banking services to Iranian businessmen and also (joint) investments by Polish banks (in Iran)," Head of the Polish Center for International Relations (CIR) Maygo Rosetta Buniko Feska said, addressing a conference marking the 540th Anniversary of Iran-Poland Diplomatic Relations in Tehran on Sunday.”
  • Fars News Agency reported:” Senior Iranian energy officials underlined that the foreign countries, including Indonesia, do not have to wait for the sanctions imposed against Iran to be lifted, and they can start importing Iran's crude now. "If any country, including Indonesia, wants to start importing oil from Iran, they will face no problem and they do not have to wait for the sanctions to be lifted, rather they can start supplying crude from Iran now," International Affairs Director of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC) Seyed Mohsen Qamsari told FNA on Sunday.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Chinese investors have started financing two under-construction Iranian petrochemical projects, a senior energy official announced on Sunday. "The letters of credit (LCs) for two petrochemical units each with a value of €350 million to €400 have been opened by Chinese financers," Deputy Head of the National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Mohammad Hassan Peyvandi told FNA today.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency documents a meeting between Ayatollah Amoli Larijani, the head of Iran’s judiciary, and former Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri Maliki, in Tehran today. Maliki also metwith Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei.
    • Islamic Republic News Agency additionally provides photos of Maliki meeting with Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani.
  • Fars News Agency highlights a mourning ceremony commemorating “the third anniversary of the martyrdom of Commander Hassn Tehrani-Moghadam.” The event was attended by Ali Larijani (right), amongst others.