Iran Press Review 11 May

Analysis by FDD

  • Claudia Rosett, Journalist-in-Residence, wrote in Forbes: “Officially, the Obama administration remains committed to enforcing sanctions on Iran’s main merchant shipping fleet, the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines, also known as IRISL. But in practice, since the Iran nuclear talks began early last year, many of IRISL’s cargo ships appear to be operating ever more freely, with fading protest from Washington. Take the case of a container ship named the Azargoun, a vessel blacklisted by the U.S. Treasury since 2008 as belonging to IRISL’s fleet. After years of sanctions-dodging subterfuge, including reflagging, renaming and a series of shell company registered owners, not only has the Azargoun reflagged back to Iran, but it is steaming ever more boldly abroad — including a recent visit to Iran’s closest ally in the Western hemisphere, Venezuela.”
  • John Hannah, Senior Counselor, wrote in Foreign Policy: Let’s stipulate that any effort to reach a nuclear accord with a rabidly anti-American theocracy like the Islamic Republic of Iran is by its nature a risky enterprise. That’s especially the case given the mullahs long track record of lying, cheating and deception when it comes to their nuclear ambitions. But how much risk is too much? At what point do the likely downsides of a deal exceed the upsides? And are there mitigation measures available that might nevertheless make a high-risk agreement worth concluding?”


  • An editorial in Kayhan attacks former President, AyatollahAli-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of having shown disrespect towards Grand Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini in the beginning of the 1980’s under the guise of being “more revolutionary” than the leader of the revolution and asks what has become of his revolutionary zeal.
  • Sharq runs a background story on Mohammad Mousavi Khoeiniha, the radical clerical leader behind seizure of the American Embassy in Tehran in November 1979:
    • “Is Mousavi Khoeini present in the think tanks of the reformists? The substance of his talks does not implicate that, and he has never been seen in the reformist consultative council. He only is present amongst The Combatant Clergy Association, and he does not appear in public, not even on occasions of [religious] ceremonies and funerals... But Javan, accuses him of being an influential individual [among the reformists]... [Jafar] Shojouni: ‘Khoeini used to say strange things when preaching in the mosques. He was famous for his Marxist interpretation [of Islam]... He bluntly accused Mottahari and Moffateh, who taught at the university, of collaborating [with the Shah’s] regime. I told [Mehdi] Karrubi, if the revolution succeeds and these people get access to arms, they will kill them [Mottahari and Moffateh] and this is what happened!’”
  • Five Parliamentarians demand an investigation into Islamic Republic officials with a “fake diploma degree” who have made a career in the Islamic Republic.

Foreign Policy:

  • Marziyeh Afkham, Spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, responds to a question about Ahmet Davutoglu’s trip inside Syrian territory, calling the move “a dangerous step for the region” and states:
    • “Unfortunately some countries have computational errors regarding the developments and conditions in the region.”
  • The Foreign Ministers of Iran and South Africa reportedly signed a cooperation agreement between the two nations. The agreement comes on the heels of the 12th Joint-Conference of the Islamic Republic of Iran and South Africa.
  • Former Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) and current Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, notes in an interview with Al-Mayadeen:
    • “[Saudi] Arabia should not further drown itself in the swamp of Yemen.”
  • Commander Khusrau Arvaj, an adviser to the Commander-in-Chief of the IRGC, comments on the Islamic Revolution and Yemen:      
    • “After the victory of the Islamic Revolution the arrogance (a reference to the U.S.) strove to prevent the ideals of the Islamic Revolution from spreading. And Yemen after the victory of the Revolution gained a new life and after 50 years of division into two countries, North Yemen and South Yemen, the situation changed and they united.”
    • Commenting on the Saudi-led operations in Yemen: “This is a war of human ideals and hearts.”
    • Commenting on U.S. Middle East Policy: “The arrogance is after the decomposition of the Middle East into small villages.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani underlined that execution of the agreements signed between Tehran and Ashgabat will result in the two countries' economic development and will further expand the relations between the two states. "The implementation of agreements and memoranda of understanding (MoUs) signed by the two countries' presidents, including in road construction projects, exports of goods and services as well as energy exchanges will pave the way for regional development and enhancement of mutual cooperation," President Rouhani said in a meeting with Turkmen Deputy Prime Minister for Oil and Gas Baymyrat Hojamuhammedov in Tehran on Monday.”

Military & Security

  • Hossein Ashtari, the Commander of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces (LEF), states that:
    • “Yesterday, a confrontation occurred in the West of the country between our forces and bandits wherein on of our agents reached martyrdom.”
  • Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, comments on terrorism:
    • “Unfortunately, the virus of violence and terrorism is in a state of transmission to all points of the world and we must go hand in hand together against this virus.”
  • Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, the Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy, weighs-in on terrorism:
    • “The incorrect strategy of America and its allies in dividing terrorism into good [and] bad and instrumentally using them has caused the increase of terrorist actions in the region and in the world.”
  • Yadollah Javani, an advisor to the Supreme Leader’s Representative to the IRGC, proclaims:
    • “Undoubtedly, any possible attack of the enemy will be met with a response, and in relation to this, the Armed Forces will show no political or diplomatic consideration.”
  • The Commander of Iran’s Naval Forces, Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, proclaims:
    • “A new naval torpedo has been built and has successfully passed the experimental and field testing.”
  • Deputy IRGC Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, states:
    • “This is our recommendation to the nuclear negotiation team: Should the United States, try to use the language of intimidation, threats and humiliation in an attempt to get the upper hand in the negotiations, they should leave the arena of negotiations... They should leave the issue to us, so we can deal with them [the United States] in an atmosphere of threats.”
  • The Commander of Iran’s Basij-forces, Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, attacks Hassan Khomeini, grandson of the founder of the Islamic Republic and former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani:
    • “Those who are living aristocratic and leisurely lives can’t interpret the statements of the Imam [Khomeini] since the Imam lived an ascetic and minimal life... Those who are trying to show the gates of the green garden to the unjust [those who are trying to normalize relations with the United States] and child killers and are giving the green light to collaboration with the Arrogance, are not qualified to interpret the message of Imam Khomeini. The Imam had always the spirit of struggling against injustice and the bullies, he was wholeheartedly anti arrogance and each cell of his body chanted the slogan: ‘Death to America!’”

Nuclear Issue

  • Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, comments on Iran’s nuclear diplomacy:
    • “In Lausanne we reached an agreed-upon framework, and we have stressed numerous times that in Lausanne, we did not have an agreement.”
    • “From our perspective, the legislation of the American Congress no longer has an effect, and if it does have an effect, it must be the American government which neutralizes it.”
  • Ali-Akbar Salehi, Iran Atomic Energy Organization director, addresses a gathering commemorating Iran’s “nuclear martyrs:”
    • “We are not trying to enrich the entire uranium available in the world, we just want to address our [energy] needs... the negotiations are advancing well, but in the recent meetings some questions have been raised concerning issues on which we had reached agreement. Of course, I do not want to further discuss this issue... but they are now making excuses concerning issues which already were agreed upon... We want an agreement but not for any price.”
    • Turning to other issues, Salehi said:
      • “We have signed contracts with Russians to build two more power plants... a city is being built in Bushehr to house several engineers and technicians working at these power plants.”
  • Sharq and Aftab-e Yazd run editorials on the role of the parliament in the nuclear negotiations:
    • Sharq: “The Resistance Front members of the parliament are behind the bill ‘stopping nuclear negotiations,’ which was opposed by the parliamentary chairman and the Followers of the Guardian faction... Some of them [parliamentarians behind the bill] are constantly moving to and from the chair of Gholam-Ali Haddad Adel, while others coordinate with Aqa-Tehrani, the ethics professor of the Ahmadinejad government... but the parliamentary majority does not seem to support the motion.”
    • Aftab-e Yazd: “A certain faction is instrumentally using the nuclear issue to advance anti-American agenda.”

Economy & Trade

  • The Islamic Republic of Iran and Oman establish a direct shipping line between the two countries.
  • A member of Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, comments on the importance of the consumption of domestic goods:
    • “Resistance economics is a completely indigenous expression, and whereas the government, as a large consumer must use domestic goods, but in [some] cases it uses foreign goods.”
    • “The government-types, despite being the greatest consumer, they don’t use Iranian goods.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Brazilian and Indian energy officials have asked for Iran's assistance to construct oil refineries in their countries, Deputy Oil Minister Abbas Kazzemi announced. "Brazil and India have negotiated with Iran on the construction of refineries," Kazzemi, who is also the managing-director of the National Iranian Oil Refining and Distribution Company (NIORDC), told reporters on the sidelines of the 20th International Oil and Gas Exhibition in Tehran on Saturday.”

Human Rights

  • Asr-e Iran, reporting on conditions of life in Evin Prison, praises the high living standards which according to the agency is comparable to a luxury “hotel.”

Photo of the Day

  • Ali-Akbar Nateq Nouri pictured at a traditional Iranian spiritual gymnasium called a Zurkhaneh.