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Iran Press Review: 14 Jan.

Analysis by FDD

  • Clifford May, President, writes in The Washington Times: “Let’s get a few things straight: The slaughter of eight satirical journalists in Paris last week was not a tragedy. It was an atrocity. While you may have been shocked by the attack on Charlie Hebdo, anyone who was surprised has not been paying close attention to the events unfolding over recent decades. In 1989, 10 years after the start of Iran’s Islamic revolution — always intended as a global revolution — Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini began to set down the Islamic laws he expected both Muslims and non-Muslims to follow — not just in Iran but everywhere on earth. He forbade criticism of the Koran and the Prophet Muhammad, and issued a fatwa calling for the execution of Salman Rushdie, a British subject, for having written a novel that, in his eyes, was “against Islam.””
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, writes in an FDD Policy Brief: “An unusually extensive interview with the head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organization underscores the yawning gaps still remaining between the positions of the Islamic Republic and the P5+1 group of international nuclear negotiators. Speaking to the Iranian Students News Agency on Sunday, Ali Akbar Salehi exulted that the “the principle of enrichment has been accepted” by the entire world and that “Iran will never give up its rights within the Non-Proliferation Treaty.”

Politics

  • Sadeq Mahsouli, a member of the hardline Jebhe-ye Paydari[the steadfastness front] faction, comments on conservative political unity:
    • “This group welcomes any movement and action to unify conservatives, however for [a] presence in the elections, a different mechanism and approach [must] take place in the body of the conservatives.”
  • Former Iranian President and current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, comments on upcoming elections:
    • “All electoral activities should be within the framework of the laws of the country, and we must not step past the circle of ethics and laws.” 
  • Fars News Agency reports the complaints of 80 Parliamentarians against Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ali Jannati.
  • Mashregh News displayed a video of the confrontation during Parliamentarian Ali Motahhari’s speech in the Iranian Parliament [Majlis] on Monday.
  • Seyyed Hossein Taqavi Hosseini, the Spokesperson for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, proclaimed per a headline in Javan Online, “The seditionists guide [Ali] Motahhari.”
  • Aziz Akbarian, a Parliamentarian representing Karaj, weighed-in on the events surrounding Ali Motahhari’s reported confrontation:
    • “No such physical confrontation took place.”
  • Tasnim News Agency weighed in on the split in reformist politics in Iran, noting:
    • “The front of the reformists is divided into 2 branches, each of these two branches insist that they are the original, and the opposing faction is fictitious.”

Foreign Policy

  • Elyas Taheri, a Parliamentary representative from Eqlid,comments on the United States:
    • As abridged by Fars News Agency: “America should know that as long as it continues its colonial behavior, and does not formally recognize the authority of the nation of Iran, establishing relations with Iran would be an impossible task.”  
  • Fars News Agency covers an article about Iranian ascendancy and influence in Iraq that was originally published in The Atlantic.
    • See original here.
  • Tasnim News Agency reported on “[Saudi] Arabia’s plan for the creation of an ‘Emirate of Al-Qaeda’ in the Marib province of Yemen.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi and Turkey's Minister of Development Cevdet Yilmaz underlined the importance of deepening mutual cooperation, and voiced their interest in expanding bilateral ties. Mahmoud Vaezi and Cevdet Yilmaz made the remarks during their meeting in Ankara on Tuesday.”

Military & Security

  • More reactions to the terror attacks in Paris:
    • Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi states:
      • “Aggressive and pointless actions causes creating enemies”
      • “Islam condemns terror against any person (friend or foe).”
    • Ya Lasarat al-Hossein, the weekly periodical of the Ansar-e Hezbollah vigilante organization praises assassination of Charlie Hebdo cartoonists in Paris:
    • “Executing the legitimate punishment of the insulter of the Prophet has nothing to do with terrorism or DAESH (the Persian and Arabic acronym for the Islamic State)... [The] Murder of those who insult the prophet of Islam is a blessed phenomenon, and one must distinguish between the deed and its perpetrators... The operation of punishing the insulter of the prophet was planned months ago, and was executed with the chant: ‘We avenged our prophet.’”
    • Ya Lesarat al-Hossein also criticizes the “passive” position of President Hassan Rouhani and the “faulty” reporting of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB).
    • “The European governments, in particular France, feel threatened by the the great wave of Islamism among their own populations and needed a pretext to suppress this awakening... With this plot [of the Charlie Hebdo attacks,] they were trying to white wash the shame of the European countries because of their support to the massacre of the Muslims of Gaza... If the murder of some individuals at the insulting Charlie Hebdo is wrong against which one must organize a national rally, how come the massacre of two thousand Palestinians, including 578 children is not wrong...? If the murder of a few individuals in France is condemned, how come the French Army supported vast and savage killing of Muslims in Central Africa...? If you are in favor of calm, why do you publish that insulting journal a few days after the incident?”  
    • Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, Iran’s Basij Forces Commander,addresses a Basij poetry seminar in Mashhad:
    • Marziyeh Afkham, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman, condemns the latest Charlie Hebdo cover, and demands that European authorities “respect the beliefs and sanctities of divine religions.”
  • More reactions to President Rouhani's allegations against the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC):
    • Reza Garmabedari, a Sobh-e Sadeq columnist, warns the critics of the Guards:
      • “The enemy began the Guard-phobia and its enmity against the Guards from abroad, and managed to bring it into the country by building bridges. However, engaging in [spreading] Guard-phobia domestically, is not as easy and as cheap as abroad. Therefore, those who have accepted to become mercenaries of the enemy, have taken upon a hard and dangerous work... The difficulty and danger of this work has nothing to do with the Guards being an armed organization, but is due to its popular base.”
    • Ebrahim Aqamohammadi, a Parliamentarian, states:
      • “You don’t fear the economic corruption of the Guards, but fear the Guards’ fight against political and economic corruption!”
  • Gholamreza Jalali, the Commander of Iran’s Passive Defense Organization, stated:
    • “In the field of passive defense, we must move with the technology of the day so that we can suppress and neutralize threats.”
    • “Public defense, physical, cyber, economic, environmental…chemical, and cultural are fields which from the perspective of passive defense need to be addressed.”
    • “People centric warfare is the new approach of the Americans which has changed the model of future wars, and in this model, people play a key role.”
  • An Op-Ed in Al-Arabiya notes: “A recent Associated Press report spoke of Iran’s increased domination over Iraq under the cover of supporting it against the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria (ISIS) organization. According to the report’s sources, the Iranians have sold Iraq nearly $10 billion worth of weapons to confront terrorism. These weapons include Kalashnikovs, rocket launchers and ammunition and the value of this weaponry may not even exceed $50 million! Of course, it's needless to explain that $10 billion is a massive amount enough to have bought advanced armory from prominent countries which produce military hardware instead of rusty simple arms from Iran. But the objective was to fund Iran’s military needs during this phase in which it confronts domestic economic pressures.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian police forces disbanded a terrorist cell in the Southeastern Sistan and Balouchestan province, law enforcement officials announced on Wednesday. "After a number of sabotage operations in the Southern part of Sistan and Balouchestan province, 18 members of a terrorist grouplet were arrested in Eastern Iran as a result of three months of round-the-clock efforts by the police forces and the good cooperation of the people in the province," Commander of the Law Enforcement Police in Sistan and Balouchestan Hossein Rahimi told reporters on Wednesday.”
  • Sepah News reports that the Medical Basij of the IRGC’s Salman unit were sent to “the deprived areas of Balouchistan” in Iran’s South-East.

Nuclear Issue

  • Marziyeh Afkham, Iran’s Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman,states:
    • “We are after a fair, smart, and comprehensive agreement, yet at the same time, our redlines are clear.”
    • “From the beginning, with political will which we have announced at the beginning of the negotiations, are seeking a comprehensive, fair, and lasting agreement and based on this, negotiations continue in the extended period, and we are hoping that in this round, the differences of opinion are resolved.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s Ministry of Justice, notes:
    • The government in [nuclear] negotiations faces and moves forward.”
  • The Islamic Republic News Agency reports: “The first round of negotiations of Mohammad-Javad Zarif Iran’s Foreign Minister and John Kerry, the U.S. Secretary of State come to a close after 100 minutes in the ‘Mandarin’ hotel.” Zarif was quoted as saying:
    • “At present, we have reached a stage where it is necessary for the opposing side to make its decisions so that we can move forward along this path.”
    • “New and comprehensive proposals must be offered, and we are prepared to have all issues reach their conclusion, however we must see how prepared the other side is.”
    • “In nuclear negotiations we interact with America in the form of a conglomerate; therefore cooperating with different parts of the American government and unifying its policies is the responsibility of the executive branch.”
  • While in the city of Bushehr, Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani,commented on Iran’s nuclear program and infrastructure:
    • “The atomic reactor at Bushehr is different from other reactors in other countries in the world, because this reactor is the symbol of one nation’s perseverance.”
    • “The Bushehr reactor is a symbol which shows is solely after using peaceful nuclear energy and generating electricity.”
    • “That which our nation has done is based on the decisions of the Parliament and the Supreme Council of Energy, and according to this, part of the country’s energy needs must be provided for from nuclear energy.”
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, weighed-in on the role of Europe while meeting the new Greek Ambassador to Iran. He stated:
    • “Europe can play a more active role in reaching a comprehensive nuclear agreement.”
  • A headline in Mardom Salari’s front cover from Tuesday quoted Samantha Power, the U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. The quotereads: “New sanctions destroy the nuclear agreement.”

Economy & Trade

  • Nader Ghazipour, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Industry Committee, exclaims:
    • “All should know that even if the price of every barrel of oil becomes even 8 dollars, we will stand down from our positions, and we will insist upon them.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mostafa Pour-Mohammadi, Iran’s Ministry of Justice, comments on oil-pricing, noting:
    • “The decrease in the price of oil is an intelligent threat, and the enemies of Islamic Iran have entered an economic campaign so as to add increase the effects of pressure against the Islamic Republic.”
  • Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, stated in a meeting with the Iraqi Oil Minister:
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran, based on the policy of resistance economics in addition to the immunization of the country against oppressive sanctions, moves toward…the enhancement of economic capabilities.”
  • President Hassan Rouhani discussed the price of oil, economic sanctions, and economic issues in his address in the province of Bushehr:
    • On sanctions: “ To all those who have taken steps in the path of imposing oppressive sanctions against the nation of Iran, and today they may be thinking about stepping in the same direction, I announce that the era of threats and sanctions has passed.”
    • “The nation of Iran seeks an end to the oppressive sanctions against Islamic Iran.”
    • On oil: “Those who have planned the decrease in the price of oil against some countries, will be regretful.”
    • “They are not going to be able to continue along this path, if Iran loses with the decrease in the price of oil, know that other producing countries like [Saudi] Arabia and Kuwait will suffer more than Iran.”
  • Tehran Mayor Mohammad-Baqer Qalibaf reportedly critiqued the budget for [13]94 (2015/2016).
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran Odyssey Norheim underlined that her country is eager to launch cooperation with Iran in the petrochemical industry. "Given the fact that Iran and Norway are both crude producers, petrochemicals can be a good area for economic cooperation between the two countries and we can exchange our views and experiences in this field," Norheim told FNA on Wednesday.”
  • Bloomberg reports: “As U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry prepares to meet his Iranian counterpart in Geneva today, analysts say it’s unlikely that the recent drop in oil prices will make the Islamic Republic soften its position on its nuclear program. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, elected on a pledge of prosperity and ending the country’s global isolation, is facing the largest fall in oil prices since the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Officials are warning of further spending and investment cuts to next year’s budget, which Rouhani unveiled on Dec. 7 and is based on $72-a-barrel crude instead of the current year’s $100. Even that new, lower forecast is proving to be unrealistic, with Brent crude, the world benchmark, trading for less than $46 on Tuesday.”

Human Rights

  • The Washington Post reports: “Iranian judiciary authorities have referred the case of a detained Washington Post journalist to Tehran’s Revolutionary Court, a news agency reported Wednesday, in a move that appears to set the stage for a review before a possible trial.A statement by Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jafari Dolatabadi, cited by the semiofficial Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA), said the court file on Jason Rezaian has moved to the Revolutionary Court for “processing.””
  • AP reports: “A former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran says in a letter to Iran's president that he rejects any prisoner swap proposals. Amir Hekmati's family in Michigan on Wednesday released a copy of the letter he dictated to relatives via prison phone. Hekmati's Iranian lawyer sent the letter this week to President Hassan Rouhani. It's not clear if it was received.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Mashregh News via Tasnim News Agency displays photos of President Hassan Rouhani and Dr. Ali-Akbar Salehi, the head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), visiting the city of Bushehr and its nuclear power reactor.
  • Defa Press reports a picture of Major General Qassem Soleimani, IRGC – Quds Force (IRGC-QF) Chief, in Samarra, Iraq.