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Iran Press Review: 12 Jan.

Analysis by FDD

  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, writes in Business Insider: “A joke is making the rounds in Tehran. In it, the Iranian press confront President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad just before he leaves office with a report declaring Iran the second-most corrupt country in the world. Pressed over who is to blame, an indignant Ahmadinejad bursts out: "You ingrates! Do you know how much we had to pay in bribes not to top the list?"”

Politics

  • Hossein Shariatmadari, Kayhan newspaper’s Editor in Chief, comments on the “sedition” (the term used by hardliners in Iran to describe the Green Movement and the aftermath of the 2009 Presidential elections), during an unveiling ceremony for a book entitled Here, A Sedition Took Place:
    • “The sedition and its story is a tale that must be read from its ending, meaning that the ending phases of the book give us a precise interpretation of the initial phases of the sedition.”
    • “The sedition was an 8-month season where the 9th of Dey (the Persian month) was its last stop, but its lessons remain.”
    • “In truth, the sedition of [13]88 (2009) was a form of grace for us.”
    • “Of the other graces of the sedition of [13]88 was that the first and second generations of the Revolution had forgotten about many issues, which the sedition of [13]88 was the cause for the recalling of those issues.”
    • “One of the main and most prominent achievements of the sedition was that everyone clearly saw that Khamenei is another Khomeini.”  
  • News reports regarding Parliamentarian Ali Mottahari’s statements condemning the “illegal house arrest” of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karrubi:
    • Etemaad: Parliamentarians attack Mottahari due to his criticism leveled against the policy of house imprisonment of (Green Movement) opposition leaders.
    • The commotion was also covered by AP.
  • Kayhan editorializes:
    • “Yesterday, Mr. Ali Mottahari... like many times before, from the podium of the parliament declared that the house arrest of the heads of sedition has been without a legal decree and is illegal, thereby ignoring that the heads of the American/Israeli sedition of 2009, according to hundreds of irrefutable documents, were directly led by the triangle of the United States, Israel and Britain, aiming at the toppling of the regime, engaged in treason and crimes. They committed crimes such as claiming electoral fraud - a formula dictated by George Soros to [Mohammad] Khatami - and the formula of Richard Rorty to the seditionists, and receiving exorbitant financial funds from the Saudi King Abdullah and some European countries...”
  • Fars News Agency has reported that “50 representatives of the Parliament have filed complaints against Ali Mottahari.”
  • Ali-Reza Marandi, a Parliamentarian, notes:
    • “Some people defend the seditionists to please the foreigners.”
  • Reactions to Rouhani’s call for referendum to solve problems of the state:
    • Kamal Sadjadi, spokesman of the Followers of the Path of the Imam and the Leader, states:
      • “The country is not in any stalemate for which needs a referendum.”
  • Hojjat al-Esam Ahmad Salek, a parliamentarian, states:
    • “Speaking of [a] referendum provides the foreigners with [propaganda] means.”
  • Tasnim News Agency reports that a new “dictated memoir” of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, is said to “enter the book market from Ya Zahra publishers until the end of the year.” The book will be called: Hazrat-e Agha.

Foreign Policy

  • Islamic Republic News Agency reports that Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, met with Adel Abdul-Mahdi, the Iraqi Minister of Oil in Tehran today.
  • Iranian Students’ News Agency reports comments by Sergei Ryabkov, the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Russian Federation, who met with Mohammad-Javad Zarif. Ryabkov reportedly stated:
    • “The friendly and close relations of Moscow-Tehran requires the use of their capacities to contribute the faster settling of Iran’s nuclear issue.”
  • AFP reports: “An Iranian newspaper was told Monday it faces a court hearing over an article which is allegedly offensive to Saudi Arabia's ailing King Abdullah. The king, who is breathing with the help of a tube due to pneumonia, is in hospital in Riyadh, prompting frenzied debate about the future of the oil-rich Gulf state.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi in a meeting with outgoing Polish Ambassador to Tehran Juliusz J. Gojlo on Monday expressed the hope that the Europeans could improve their understanding of the roots of extremism and terrorism. "We hope that the European countries will acquire a thorough understanding of the roots and causes of violence, extremism and terrorism that know no boundaries and have turned into an international threat," Sarmadi said during the meeting in the Iranian capital today.”
  • Tasnim News Agency reports: “Iran’s Foreign Ministry strongly condemned a terrorist bomb blast that killed several Shiite Muslims in Pakistan. “The Islamic Republic of Iran condemns act of terrorism on innocent people and regards it as violation of the teachings of Islam and humanitarian values,” Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said on Monday.”

Military & Security

  • Iran’s former President and current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, comments on DAESH and the security situation in Iraq, noting:
    • “It has been proven for the world that the defeat of DAESH must start from Iraq.”
    • “If Iran and Iraq work on this investment (a reference to human capital), they will humble all the regional and international powers.”
  • Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the Commander of the Artesh [National Army], states:
    • “The Mohammad Rasoul-Allah [military] drill (the most recent military drill in Iran, Dec 25-31), was the experience of a real war.”
    • “Our main goal in this drill was in assessing the reactionary power in confronting incidents and the severity of the encounter with the enemy.”
  • Farzad Esmaeili, the Commander of the Khattam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base, comments on the possibility of a domestically produced S-300 missile defense system for Iran:
    • “God-willing [Inshallah], with the efforts of our indigenous experts in the not too distant future, the preparation of the subsystems of this project will be completed, and we will enter the first building phase of this sytem.”
  • Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani weighs-in on terrorism:
    • “The support of several regional countries to terrorists and their strengthening [of them], and dividing them into good and bad terrorists by way of Western countries and using them like as tools, was the reason for the increase in terrorist activities in the region and even in the world.”
  • More commentary on the terrorist attacks in Paris:
    • Kayhan reports President Hassan Rouhani’s condemnation of terrorism while receiving the Foreign Minister of Cyprus:
      • “Terrorism is condemned, regardless where it takes place.”
    • Resalat editorializes: “Is a demonstration the way to fight terrorism? Or should the European leaders stop nurturing terrorists? The unjustly shed blood in Iraq, Syria and Yemen by the terrorists will be avenged, and the Europeans must pay for that. The European security services should think of a way to take the DAESH (the Persian and Arabic acronym for the Islamic State) fighters back to Europe.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Tasnim News Agency runs a headline reading: “[The] Martyr [Shahid] Ali Mohammadi; Iran’s first nuclear martyr.”
  • Ebrahim Karkhanehei, a Parliamentarian representing Hamedan, noted:
    • “Sanctions [against] enrichment are the hardest and cruelest sanctions which were levied against the Islamic Republic of Iran, although, with the presence of this sanction, from a nuclear perspective the Islamic Republic of Iran now has the eighth rank in the world.”
  • Ali-Akbar Salehi, the Director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization, states:
    • “[The negotiators] had almost reached complete agreement, and the generalities were accepted by both parties. Something happened, and the counterpart suddenly withdrew... In blunt statements made a few days after declaration of the extension of the negotiations, Netanyahu said: ‘We did not allow them [Iran and the 5+1 Group] to reach an agreement.’ And John Kerry declared: ‘We are coordinating with the Israeli regime.’ At any rate, they consider it their interest to continue the negotiations, but their guile will turn against themselves... Behavior of the Americans and other states in the 5+1 Group harms their political credibility in the world... which is admitted by many American intellectuals... In the Oman negotiations, they [the 5+1 Group] behaved and spoke as if they had never engaged in any negotiation before, and our negotiator answered them timely. But in Vienna, they reached many common grounds and the generalities but they suddenly withdrew... In negotiations, anyone is trying to maximize his gains. There is no limit to their demands, but Iran is not a country which is ready to surrender its national interests and its national sovereignty. Now that it [Iran] is at the apex of power and possesses the golden key of the region, it will not climb down from its demands... Iran will never give up its rights within the NPT... but there are still some requests concerning the enrichment and the method of sanctions removal.”
    • “In the field of enrichment, they raise some issues and we raise some other issues. Of course, the principle of enrichment has been accepted, but we have voluntarily accepted to enrich at 5% level for the time being. Now, the volume of our enrichment and production on annual basis is being discussed. Now, we have 9000 centrifuges working and they enrich 2.5 tons of uranium on annual basis, but our need is 30 tons on annual basis and they are not accepting this and saying this volume is too much, you must reduce the number of the centrifuges and remake the enriched uranium to 5% enriched uranium.”
    • “In the Atomic Energy Organization, we have tried to help the negotiator and made the reasonable offer that after eight years, our agreement with the Russians concerning the fuel for the Bushehr nuclear power plant ends. After eight years, we must be capable of providing for the Bushehr 1 nuclear fuel, which is 30 tons on annual basis. Therefore, we are ready to engage in gradualism. We said, the first step is up to them [the 5+1 Group], but the last step is ours. This means, eight years from now, we should be in a situation which the Leader talked about, which is production of 190,000 SWU, which on top of providing for one year's fuel need for the Bushehr plant, also satisfies our needs for the research reactors.”
    • “There is a period, which is for confidence building measures... After this period, Iran can achieve any degree of enrichment as a regular signatory to the NPT... They are discussing for how long [the confidence building time will last] and are talking of two digit numbers, while we offered a one digit number. The period they have in mind is far from ours, and they say it would not be a problem if we reach the 190,000 SWU towards the end of that time frame, but the time frame we have in mind is far from theirs. This tie is between 10 to 20 years.”
    • Commenting on transfer of the stockpile of Iran's enriched uranium to Russia, Salehi said: “
      • Whenever we move towards a solution, they find a new pretext and start a new rumor which forces Iran to react... For now, the Islamic Republic has dismissed this issue... But one must see how one defines nuclear fuel. Some issues are still not clear... The five percent UF6... fuel rods... natural uranium…they are all fuel and one must see what is meant by fuel.”
    • “After years, they want to inspect Parchin, but Iran’s national sovereignty is not a joke so that they can come and inspect Parchin whenever it pleases them.”

Economy & Trade

  • Islamic Republic News Agency covers statements made by Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N., against additional sanctions on the Islamic Republic.
    • The story was also reported in Reuters.
  • Resalat News reports commentary by Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, to the effect of: “The price of oil in the [13]94 (2015/2016) budget is unrealistic.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh and his Iraqi Counterpart Adil Abd al-Mahdi, in a meeting on Monday, discussed new ways to boost Tehran-Baghdad relations, particularly crude production in joint fields. Zanganeh and al-Mahdi said that time is ripe for development of Tehran-Baghdad relations.”
  • The Tehran Times reports: “Iran exported the first shrimp consignment, which was 30 tons, to Russia last week, Head of Iran’s Fisheries Organization Hassan Salehi said on Monday. He said if the two countries reach an agreement on the price of products, Iran is ready to export 5,000 tons of shrimp and 20,000 tons of trout to Russia by the end of current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2015), the ISNA news agency reported on Monday.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Iranian Students’ News Agency reports pictures of President Rouuhani’s meeting with the Foreign Minister of Cyprus.
  • Iranian Students’ News Agency additionally displays photographs of former President Rafsanjani meeting with the Iraqi Oil Minister in Tehran.