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Iran Press Review 11 Dec.

Analysis by FDD

  • Senior Fellow Ali Alfoneh writes in a Policy Brief: “An interview this week with a Hamas spokesman reveals that despite a temporary rupture in the Palestinian organization’s ties to Iran, the group remains reliant as ever on its benefactor, the Islamic Republic. Speaking to Iran’s ISNA news agency, Hamas international affairs spokesman Osama Hamdan expressed hope that the group’s leader Khaled Mashal would soon visit Tehran to discuss “hostile acts of the Zionist regime towards al-Aqsa Mosque.” The rest of the interview, however, discloses the real purpose of Hamdan’s presence in Iran: normalizing Hamas’s relations with Bashar al-Assad’s regime in Syria.”

Politics

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, the grandson of Ayatollah Khomeini (the founder of the Islamic Republic), notes:
    • “We must not close our eyes in front of badness, and if we see an accumulation of fortune and power in a place, we must say it.”
  • The pollution in Tehran becomes political, with the Mojtaba Rahmandoust, a Member of Parliament [Majlisweighing-in.
  • Azad News Agency releases a report on the Student Day speech of Hojjat al-Eslam Hadi Ghaffari, a former radical revolutionary cleric turned regime critic:
    • “One principalist once told me: ‘Mr. Ghaffari, we are followers of the velayat [guardianship] to the degree that if he [Khamenei] says yoghurt is black, we too will say yoghurt is black.’ I answered: The person who claims yoghurt is black should be at a lunatic asylum! There is no such a thing as black yoghurt! Let's defend the values in a rational way. Bad defense strengthens your rivals.”
    • Ghaffari's answer led to a mayhem in the auditorium, where some students chanted: “Death to the opponent of the Guardianship of the Jurist!” In reaction, Ghaffari said: “Our student movement certainly does not want a legal guardian! Even those who are claimants of being principalist do not have a natural desire to have a legal guardian. They do not want someone to tell them ‘stay here, or go there.’ A reformist wants to be a person, does not want to have a legal guardian. Our crime is that we are oppose to having a legal guardian...In the viewpoint of a reformist individual, the people are not mentally deranged, forsaken or minors in need of a guardian. Reformism does not consider the people as if it is in need of a legal guardian. In the viewpoint of reformists, the people are wise beings capable of making decisions. They are not in need of being ‘told!’ ‘He commanded’ is alien to us, and we don't accept it, even through force. You can make me blind so I don't see, you can cut my tongue so I get speechless, you can take away my hearing, but I cannot possibly become a donkey!”
    • As some students chanted “get lost seditionist,” “death to seditionist” and “death to Khawarej,” Ghaffari answered: “Death to me, but I don't want to be a slave. In a word, I boldly say ‘Death to slavery!’ Those who chant the slogan of the faith, but a reactionary religion which does not recognize the rights of the people is called Mareqin. These were people who had a twisted understanding of religion who accused Ali (the first Shi’ite Imam and cousin of the Prophet Mohammad).”

Foreign Policy

  • Former Foreign Minister and current President of Iran’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR), Ali-Akbar Velayati, announcesthat:
    • “Members of the “BRICS” know Iran’s role to be constructive, and they have invited us to so that we may be present and partake in the future session in New Dehli.”
    • On terrorism: “Combating terrorism and extremism is approved and recognized by the Islamic Republic of Iran, and in this area with we have had conversations and an exchange in dialogue our Indian counterparts.”
  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, in a meeting with the Deputy Prime Minister of Afghanistan, stated:
    • “The relations between the 2 countries are very close, and there is a lot in common in similar areas which we hope in the future…will grow.”
    • “In this area, conversations have been held. Since Afghanistan has overcome terrorism and the Islamic Republic of Iran praises this, we hope that Iraq and Syria act in such a manner.”
  • According to Fars News Agency, 600 members of the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MEK/MKO) have been transferred to Albania in the course of the past twelve months.

Military & Security

  • Fars News Agency runs a headline reporting: “The destruction of a large group of armed robbers in the South-East of the country and the discovery of 56 items of theft.” The article further quoted the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander in the Sistan and Baluchistan province, who told the press about the success of local forces.
  • Fars News Agency additionally reports on the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence report released yesterday.
  • The Governor of Elam reports that the border of the city of Mehran to Iraq closed down.
  • According to Farda News, Muqtada Sadr, the radical Iraqi Shi'a leader, is preparing liberation of Samara.”
  • Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, states:
    • “The Islamic Awakening (the name given to the Arab Spring) will not be cured by bullets, tanks, and military bases.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Reza Najafi, Iran’s Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), states in an address:
    • “Iran has announced its full preparedness to provide access to the alleged site in Marivan, in relation to one of the most important allegations relating to Possible Military Dimensions and testing explosives.”
    • Reuters however, reports: “The U.N. atomic watchdog dismissed on Thursday an Iranian offer of access to a region where explosives experiments of possible use in nuclear weapons development may have taken place, saying this did not address its concerns. Iran told a board meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency last month it would let IAEA inspectors visit the western Marivan area to prove that suspicions it had carried out atomic bomb research were wrong and baseless.”
  • Ambassador Hossein Mousavian, a former nuclear negotiator,notes:
    • “According to the November 24th agreement, the two parties will reach a mutual understanding concerning the fundamentals by March. Therefore, it is possible that the Congress would try to impose new sanctions in case there is no general agreement, but Obama will veto that... Delay is not in the interest of the two parties...The U.S. government needs a couple of months to attend to domestic U.S. issues and discussion of those issues. Therefore, March is a more realistic time [for reaching a general agreement]...The general and popular atmosphere in the United States is in favor of the negotiations...I’m optimistic about the future of the negotiations. The conduct of the negotiations team is such that even if Congress manages to prevent an agreement, the U.S. government would no longer be capable of reaching a global consensus against Iran...China and Russia, along with most European countries have reached the position that this degree of progress is enough for a final agreement. They would not cooperate with the United States, if the U.S. excessive and radical demands...Annulling the sanctions by Congress is a complex conundrum about which I was concerned, but I'm even optimistic in this regard that the U.S. Congress will annul them within the next couple of years... For the time being, the most important thing is to remove the European sanctions, and the United States to suspend its unilateral sanctions and stop punishing other states...”
    • Mousavian did not explain what factors led to the collapse of the talks in Vienna.
  • AP reports: “The head of the U.N. nuclear agency is asking key members of the organization to provide millions of dollars in extra funding that he says are needed to continue monitoring a deal temporarily restraining Iran's nuclear programs. Yukiya Amano says the International Atomic Energy Organization needs 4.6 million euros ($5.7 million.) He spoke Thursday at a special meeting of the IAEA's 35-nation board called to discuss funding needs.”
    • “The decision of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution was a wise decision…as the stream negotiations continue, we are not harmed.”
    • On negotiations: “They believe that prolonging the negotiations is in their interest…in these negotiations they have attained many things, but the Democrats in America have turned the Senate over, and from this perspective, America is under the pressure of Israel and [Saudi] Arabia.”
  • Fars News Agency reported comments by Seyyed Morteza Nabavi, a member of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council, who said:

Economy & Trade

  • President Hassan Rouhani comments on sanctions during a meeting with the family of an Iran-Iraq War-era martyr:
    • “The enemy has always taken action against the nation of Iran in different ways, and today, a conspiracy named sanctions has entered the stage against the people, and we must pass through this issue, and this is not possible without the support and cooperation of the people.”
  • Karim Khosravian, the economic attaché of Northern Cyprus in Tehran, notes:
    • “The strategic location of Cyprus in the Mediterranean and the volume of economic exchanges between merchants and producers of various industries taken into consideration, we intend to present Cyprus as a market for importers and exporters... Should a financial bridge be established between Iran and Cyprus, the level of trade between the two countries will increase and an economic and trade channel from North Cyprus will open for Iran’s economy.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Iran's Ambassador to Slovenia Morteza Darzi Ramandi and Slovenia's Deputy Prime Minister Dejan Zidan in a meeting in Ljubljana on Wednesday underlined the need for the further expansion of mutual cooperation in agricultural and industrial areas. During the meeting in the Slovenian capital today, Darzi Ramandi and Zidan explored avenues for bolstering and reinvigorating ties in different areas, specially trade, industrial and agricultural fields.”

Media, Society & Culture

  • Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, comments on satellites:
    • “Much like the enemies, who have arranged for the satellites, we will strive to collect all of them.”
    • “In this regard, after informing people, the satellites will be collected by the people themselves.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency reported pictures of pollution in Tehran.