Iran Press Review 13 July

Analysis by FDD

  • Orde Kittrie, Senior Fellow, writes in Foreign Affairs: “President Barack Obama has said that the final nuclear deal with Iran will “cut off every pathway that Iran could take to develop a nuclear weapon.” U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry has likewise said that the deal “shuts off the four principal pathways to a bomb for Iran”—the Natanz uranium facility, the Fordow uranium facility, the Arak plutonium facility, and covert Iranian attempts to produce fissile material. The Natanz, Fordow, and Arak pathways would involve Iran building a bomb mostly through work at known locations, with technology and materials that it already possesses. So long as the deal is in place, keeping these three pathways closed will depend largely on the vigor with which the United States and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) monitor known locations and respond to readily detectible violations.”
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, and Saeed Ghasseminejad, Associate Fellow, wrote in The Canberra Times: “Since her return from Tehran in April, Foreign Minister Julie Bishop has argued that Iran can be a reliable partner in the fight against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq. At the Paris talks this month she called for Iran to be included in the coalition fighting IS. But viewing Tehran as a potential ally in the fight against the IS is a mistake based on a misreading of Iran's core interests and the ideology that drives them. Iran cares only about its regional ambitions – and it will fight anyone standing in its way.”
  • Benjamin Weinthal, Research Fellow, and Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, wrote in The Jerusalem Post: “Can Iran be trusted to uphold the nuclear deal being finalized in Vienna? Can the Obama administration its partners in the P5+1 be trusted to hold Iran’s feet to the fire in case of violations? We know the answer to the first question – Iran cannot be trusted. It is Iran’s history of nuclear subterfuge that got us here in the first place. That is why the deal, even in the negotiations’ final stretch, remains so elusive. After all, the remaining gaps all relate to verification of Iran’s past activities and future compliance.”
  • Claudia Rosett, Journalist-in-Residence, wrote in Forbes: “Any deal emerging from the Iran nuclear talks is supposed to block all Iran’s pathways to the bomb, or so promises President Obama. So, what does the Obama administration propose to do about such conduits as Chinese businessman and alleged serial proliferator to Iran, Li Fangwei? Also known as Karl Lee, Li Fangwei over the years has acquired a reputation as a maestro of illicit traffic, a comprador based in China for Iran’s illicit nuclear and ballistic missile programs.”

Politics

  • Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ezhehi, Judiciary Spokesman, reports on the latest arrests:
    • “Five individuals involved in the sedition of 2009 and some of whom were abroad but have return to Iran, while others were in Iran, have been condemned to imprisonment... but that is the preliminary ruling.”
    • “I am not aware of the scope of the irregularities committed in Qeshm [by associates of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad,] but the file is currently under investigation.”
    • Commenting on the issue of the oil platform, which “disappeared,” Ezhehi claimed that one person had been arrested.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Reza Taghavi, Vice-Chairman of Combatant Clergy Association, hints at emerging unity among Principlist parties:
    • “It has been more than a year and half that unifying Principlist meetings continue. These meetings began in the presence and with the blessings of our dearly departed [former head of the Assembly of Experts] Ayatollah [Mohammad Reza] Mahdavi Kani.”
    • “Today all Principlist parties, whether they joined us late or at the beginning, emphasize that they will act on plans.”
    • “We do not expect that the fulfilling of 100 percent unity among Principlist’s. We have been able to gather more than 80 percent of loyal forces and face problems with [10 – 15] percent.”

Foreign Policy

  • An editorial in Kayhan ridicules the “attempts of Saudi princes” to “curb” the Islamic Republic's influence in Yemen.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, on July 11 spoke about “the situation of the fight against Arrogance [West] following nuclear negotiations:”
    • “Based on Qur’anic principles, the fight against Arrogance (a reference to America) and the dominant system will not be closed. Today America is the most complete embodiment of arrogance.”
    • “We have also told negotiating officials that they have the right to only negotiate in the nuclear matter, and while the American side sometimes introduces regional matters, such as Syria and Yemen, our officials say that we will not negotiate in these matters.”
    • “The fight against Arrogance is the core of the revolution and one of the fundamental works, so brace yourselves to continue the fight against Arrogance.”
  • Politico reports: “Iran’s judiciary on Monday ordered the United States to pay $50 billion in damages on real and legal entities incurred since the 1979 revolution, according to a report from the country’s semi-official Fars News Agency. “Those who had filed a lawsuit against the U.S., their complaints have been processed,” judiciary spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei told reporters at a news conference in Tehran on Monday.”

Military & Security  

  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Commander Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh discussed Iranian-made missile factories in Syria:
    • “Today Syria’s missile production factories are Iranian made and Iranian-designed missiles are being produced there.”
    • “In reality we learned the application [of missiles] from [Syrians] but we taught them production. Syria’s industrial missile production factories were transferred from Iran. It has reached a point that the Resistance Front [Iranian proxies] have learned missile production from Iran.”
    • “Lebanese Hezbollah and Palestinian resistance have become very capable in this department and now missiles have proliferated and taken a specific place.”
  • Naaman Gholami, the former Commander of the IRGC bases in Elam and Sistan and Baluchistan province, is appointed to replace Ebrahim Azizi as  head of the Construction Basij, by Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces.
  • Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy to the Armed Forces General Staff, warns against any foreign military actions:
    • “We are currently at an active deterrence level. We have the ability to defend the country, borders, and the Islamic Revolution well and will answer any military measures in a regretful fashion.” 
  • Major General Hassan Firouzabadi, Iran’s Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff, comments on the nuclear negotiations and Daesh (Persian acronym for the Islamic State):
    • “In reality, our negotiators are at war with the Western side. The objective in these negotiations is for the success of [our] goals, and for the defeat of the desires of the Arrogant (West). Both of these mean success for us.”
    • “This regime [Israel] uses Daesh terrorists as its front line soldiers to fulfill its perennial dream, meaning ownership of territory from the Nile to the Euphrates, and also pressure the Resistance [the Islamic Republic and its Shi’a proxies].”
  • An unnamed source in the IRGC Ground Forces Quds Base (Iran’s South-Eastern Sistan and Baluchistan province) denied claims by Jaish al-Adl that 10 IRGC members were killed earlier today in Mirjaveh, located by the Pakistani border. 
  • Defa Press reports on the death of the latest Iranian killed in Syria. Qassem Qarib, a 36 year old volunteer to the Ranger Battalion for the IRGC unit in Golestan province. Despite being given the honorific “defender of the shrine,” Qarib was reportedly killed in Palmyra.
  • Sheikh Naeem Ghasem, Deputy Secretary General of Lebanese Hezbollah, comments on the potential Iran nuclear accord and LH engagement in Syria:
    • “Even after a nuclear agreement between Iran and the West, Lebanese Hezbollah will be at the front line of anyone who seeks to eliminate Israel from the face of the earth.”
    • “Lebanese Hezbollah was able to stop the advancement of the takfiris and terrorism in the gates of Syria. Syria has passed the point of danger and the overthrow of this country’s system is no longer possible.”
    • “Fighting takfirism is an inseparable part of the Resistance’s design to confront Israel. Fighting Israel is at the top of our priorities, because the takfiris are a branch of Israel’s branches. When we fight in Syria we support the resistance in Lebanon and the resistant system that has stood by us. This is a true pathway to confront Israel.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Yadollah Javani, a Consultant to the Supreme Leader’s Representative to the IRGC, comments on nuclear negotiations, and claims, as reported in a Defa Press headline: “Not accepting Iran's rights in negotiations will be a strategic mistake.”
  • Ahmad Shohani, an Iranian Parliamentarian and Member of the Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, is quoted in a Islamic Republic News Agency headline, saying: “We will reach a good conclusion in negotiations.”
  • Tasnim News Agency reports a tweet of President Hassan Rouhani’s pertaining to a possible nuclear deal and a “win-win” solution pursuant to nuclear diplomacy.
  • Head of the Artesh’s (National Army) Political Ideology Organization Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Ali Al-e Hashem discussed nuclear negotiations and anti-Americanism:
    • “Every day American introduces a new devilry, and so the Iranian nation and our enemies have understood why the Supreme Leader was pessimistic towards these negotiations despite his lack of opposition. We therefore consider America the enemy of the Islamic Republic of Iran. We will meanwhile proceed in these nuclear negotiations only based on observing the Iranian nation’s rightful desires and the red lines.” 
  • Abbas Eraghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister and Senior Nuclear Negotiator, updates the press on the ongoing nuclear negotiations:
    • “Negotiations have reached their final breath. There have been truly good progress in the past two to three days, but some issues remain. We cannot say that we have reached an agreement until these problems are resolved.”
  • An analyst in Kayhan discusses the nuclear negotiations:
    • “Continuation of the negotiations - in spite of [the U.S.] in the 90th minute disregarding its obligations, shows that the Americans have reached the conclusion,... that added pressure not only does not lead to a dead end in the negotiations, but also prevents the counterpart from making new demands in the face of excessive demands of the U.S.”
  • Reuters reports: “Iran and major powers seeking to hammer out a nuclear agreement are tentatively scheduled to have a photo opportunity of all foreign ministers at the talks at 2:00 a.m. (0000 GMT) on Tuesday, possibly followed by a news conference, a Western official said late on Monday. The plan is for the ministerial photo to be held at the United Nations complex in Vienna, the official added.”

Economy & Trade

  • The Tehran Stock Exchange reportedly gains 1.24% in anticipation of a comprehensive nuclear deal, as noted in Donya-e Eqtesad.
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Experts at Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization have overhauled 14 Boeing and Airbus planes in the current Iranian year (started on March 21), an official announced on Saturday. "Thanks to the industrious efforts made by the repair and maintenance centers and airliners, 14 Airbus and Boeing airplanes have been overhauled and joined the country's air fleet in the current year," Deputy Head of Iran’s Civil Aviation Organization for Standard Hamid Habibi said.”

Human Rights

  • Reuters reports: “A third hearing in the trial of jailed Washington Post correspondent Jason Rezaian on espionage charges took place behind closed doors in Tehran on Monday, Iran's official IRNA news agency reported. The first and second hearings of Iranian-U.S. citizen Rezaian were held behind closed doors on May 26 and June 8 respectively at the Revolutionary Court in Tehran. Rezaian has been in Tehran's Evin prison since his arrest in July 2014.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Islamic Republic News Agency displays photos of Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif atop the balcony of the Palais Coburg Hotel.