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Iran Press Review: 12 Dec.

Analysis by FDD

  • Senior Fellows Reuel Marc Gerecht and Ali Alfoneh write in The Weekly Standard: “Mohsen Makhmalbaf’s 2003 movie script Faramoushi (Dementia) never passed the censors at Iran’s Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance, the clerical regime’s gateway for all films, books, magazines, and newspapers. Makhmalbaf’s sarcasm and searing allusions often got him into trouble before he went into exile in 2005. His mordancy in Faramoushi, aimed at the rampant, crude, and at times comical censorship within the Islamic Republic, must have caused the censors particular unease: The intellectual journey of the central character, the blind censor, bears a definite resemblance to the evolution of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.”
  • Executive Director Mark Dubowitz writes in The National Interest: “Now that the United States, its allies and Iran have agreed again to extend nuclear negotiations, the onus is now on Congress to take on the responsibility of making Tehran pay for its continued nuclear intransigence. Iran continues to run out the nuclear clock and treat Western concessions to its demands as permanent—making further diplomatic progress conditional on greater Western “flexibility. Obama administration officials are on record committing to a deal that will “dismantle” “a lot” or substantial portions of Iran’s nuclear infrastructure. But Congress is concerned that the goalposts appear to be moving, with the Obama administration signally flexibility on a range of issues that will make it more likely that Iran will be left with the infrastructure it needs to build a bomb.”

Politics

  • Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami leads Friday Prayers in Tehran today, and comments on corruption, universities, and the “sedition” or fitnah (the name given to the Green Movement in 2009 and its supporters by hardliners) in his sermon:
    • “In combating the corruptors you must act decisively because this is an important issue and corruptors must not be on the sidelines of security.”
    • “If universities become political clubs, a blow will be struck upon science and the production of science. University students must be aware that the managers of this country arose from academic institutions, but that which is important is that the university must be political, and the nature of youth, intellectualism, and students be present in them. But one must be careful so that it does not turn into a political club [with] factions and gangs.”
    • “Universities must have such an environment that different opinions can put forth their ideologies, and students can analyze them with Quranic enlightenment and to not place them under the influence of self-imposed suffocation.”
    • “I believe this to be my own message that the indecency of the sedition cannot be done away with…When Clinton, the former President of America opines in his memoirs that he is regretful as to why he did not additionally support the seditionists, who is it that doesn’t know that the foreign heads of the sedition are England and America.”
    • “The Supreme Leader has stated that the great sin of the seditionists cannot be tolerated. They have kicked the laws of the country, and brought the country to the edge of a cliff.”
    • “Today America is a great exhibition for the trampling upon of human rights.”
    • “Today America has tens of secret prisons outside of the country where they torture persons with medieval punishments.”
  • Delivering similar themes about the “sedition” in his Friday Prayer sermon in the city of Mashhad, Ayatollah Alam al-Hoda notes:
    • “The loathing of the people of the sedition of 88 (2009) and seditionists has been institutionalized so much that they hate the seditionists as much as they hate the Munfiqan (hypocrites, the word the Islamic Republic called the MEK/MKO). For this purpose, the Supreme Leader has said: the sedition of 88 is our redline.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi, the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), states:
    • “The Supreme Leader clearly took a stance with regard the sedition of 88…On the 9th of Dey in the year 88 (December 30, 2009), people announced their stance while present on the stage against the sedition, but a portion of the elite [Khas] remained silent and have remained as such.”
    • “The elite of our era must not make the mistake of the elite of the time of the Prophet, our elite must not make the mistake of the Bani-Israel [the Children of Israel].”

Foreign Policy

  • Fars News Agency reports: “Pakistani Trade Minister Khurram Dasgir Khan will pay an official visit to Tehran next week to attend the 7th Meeting of Iran-Pakistan Joint Trade Commission and also discuss bilateral ties with senior Iranian trade officials, an Iranian envoy announced. "The two-day visit which will start on December 16 aims to pave the way for further trade cooperation," Iran's Commercial Attaché in Pakistan Morad Nemati said on Friday.”

Military and Security

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi additionally noted that:
    • “If today we have conquered high castles and we have taken our strategic depth forward to the shores of the Mediterranean and the port of Aqaba, it is because of the people who followed the Supreme Leader after the passing of Imam Khomeini.”
  •  Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), comments on terrorism and takfirism:
    • “The takfiris seek to confound the face of Islam and in its place to show a face of roughness to the world.”
    •  “Islam is the religion that defends the oppressed and relentless and decisively combats the oppressors.”
    • “We are sure that with the cooperation of the people of Iraq, the efforts of the Kurdish youth, and the Shi’ites and Sunni’s of this country, a lasting peace will govern this area, and the remnants of the anti-Islamic movements will be rounded-up.”
    • “We are confident that the tribes of Iraq with the defense of the national security of their country will keep the current of takfirism away from themselves.”
  • Ali Shamkhani was also reported as saying:
    • “The assembly of millions of people for the Arbaeen of Hussein (the 40th day anniversary commemorating the anniversary of the martyrdom of Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Mohammad) in Karbala is a symbol of the beneficent face of Islam and its combating of international terrorism.”
  • Commander Khosrow Arvaj, an advisor to the Commander in Chief of the IRGC, exclaims:
    • “Despite the enemies of Islam having so many tools and equipment for war, they remain incapable of destroying Iran’s military formations in the world.”
    • “The enemies of Islam are seeking to create quasi-Islamic armies in order to combat the pure Islam of Mohammad.”
    • “Enemies of the army of Islam in the corners of this country with the creation of quasi-religious armies and by following up on two-to-three events, they seek the destruction of the religion of the Prophet.”
    • “At present, the global arrogance (a reference to the United States) created an artificial war in the region which has now enveloped it.”
  • Masregh News analyzed a report by The Washington Institute for Near East Policy about Iranian missiles.
    • Mashregh’s reporting was also picked up by Tabnak.
  • Seyyed Ammar al-Hakim, the Secretary-General of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI), comments in relation to the outpouring of Shi’ite Muslims on Arbaeen:
    • “The presence of millions of Arbaeen pilgrims has a clear political message to DAESH (the Persian/Arabic acronym for the Islamic State), the friends of the Ahl al-Bayt (the household of the Prophet Mohammad) are always prepared and present.”
  • Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty reports on a documentary about Iranian Basij affiliate in Syria: “Martyrdom was one of the greatest wishes of Iranian Basij member Mohammad Hassan Rasoul Khalili. In the words of his father, "this world was like a cage to him." Khalili, a devotee of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, finally achieved his death wish last year in Syria, when a bomb he was trying to defuse exploded.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Abbas Eraqchi, Senior Iranian Nuclear Negotiator and Foreign Ministry Deputy, comments on upcoming nuclear negotiations, noting:
    • “These negotiations will be held on the 26th of Azar (17th of December), and two days before that, bilateral negotiations will take place.
  • Young Journalists Club reports that according to the United States Department of State, Undersecretary Wendy Sherman will negotiationg with the Iranians in Geneva on the 15th and 16th of December.
  • The Friday Prayer leader for Khalkhal, Hojjat al-Eslam Amir Reshtebari, comments on Iran’s nuclear diplomacy, noting:
    • “However much the wise and guardian-like nation of Iran showed its good-will in negotiations, we never saw any good-will from the opposing sides.”
    • “The nuclear issue is an excuse, and the arrogance is after reaching its own goals.”
  • Reza Najafi, the current Iranian Ambassador to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), proclaimed with respect to a comprehensive accord:
    • “A final agreement is possible if all sides respect their mutual rights and responsibilities and put good-will into the last round of negotiations.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: “Nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers will resume in Geneva next week, European Union officials said Friday. The negotiations among senior officials will be the first since Iran and the powers failed to seal a final nuclear deal by the Nov. 24 deadline after a week of frantic talks in Vienna.”

Economy

  • Islamic Republic News Agency quotes Seyyed Mohammad-Ali Seyyed Abrishami, the Deputy Minister for Industry, Mines, and Trade, in its headline, exclaiming:
    • “Banks have been turned into economic companies.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian strongly criticized Saudi Arabia for not cooperating with other OPEC member-states to prevent further fall in oil prices. "Riyadh's lack of effort in preventing the price drop is at odds with the atmosphere of the diplomatic negotiations between Iran and Saudi Arabia," Amir Abdollahian told reporters on Friday.”
  • UPI reports: “Oil needs to be priced at about $125 per barrel in order for Iran to end the calendar year without a budget deficit, an Iranian economist said Friday. Oil prices have shed more than 40 percent of their June value, trading Friday at a five-year low at $62.69 for Brent, the global price index. In an interview with Shana, the Iranian Oil Ministry's news website, economist Mahmoud Jaamsaz said Iran needs oil at about twice that level to balance its books.”

Human Rights

  • The New York Times reported: The Iranian-born journalist Maziar Bahari, who was detained in Tehran in 2009 and accused of espionage for covering the postelection protests in Iran that summer, has released nearly 40 minutes of previously unseen footage he recorded during the first deadly clashes between protesters and the security forces. Mr. Bahari, whose account of his four-month detention was adapted by Jon Stewart into the docudrama “Rosewater,” posted the footage on YouTube last week, to provide more historical context for the killing of protesters by members of Iran’s Basij militia on June 15, 2009, an event that was recreated in the film.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays photos of Friday Prayers in Tehran led by Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami.