Iran Press Review 16-17 June

Analysis by FDD

  • Clifford May, President, writes in The Washington Times: “Lt. Gen Michael T. Flynn (ret.) served 33 years in the U.S. Army. Being named President Obama’s director of the Defense Intelligence Agency in 2012 was the culmination of his career. He thought his job was to relate facts, not fables. It soon became clear that his superiors didn’t agree.  Ileana Ros-Lehtinen chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on the Middle East and North Africa. Ted Deutch is the ranking member. Last week, they invited Gen. Flynn to testify. They – and anyone else concerned about the threats facing America and her allies -- should think hard about what he told them.”
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, writes in an FDD Policy Brief: “Secretary of State John Kerry broke with years of U.S. and international policy on Tuesday, indicating that revealing past details of possible military dimensions (PMD) to Iran’s nuclear program would be unnecessary to secure a final deal with Tehran. Accounting for PMDs, he said, is not essential to an agreement, as the United States already purportedly knows the contours of Tehran’s past military work. “We know what they did. We have no doubt. We have absolute knowledge with respect to the certain military activities they were engaged,” Kerry said. He added, however, that “it’s critical to us to know that going forward, those activities have been stopped … in order to have an agreement to trigger any kind of material significant sanctions relief.””
  • Benjamin Weinthal, Research Fellow, wrote in The Jerusalem Post: “After his campaign promises in 2013 to guarantee the rights of religious minorities in the Islamic Republic of Iran, the country’s self-declared moderate President Hassan Rouhani has remained silent about the ongoing crackdown on Christians. Rouhani’s indifference to imprisoned Christians is a form of complicity in human rights violations and a window into a flawed nuclear negotiation process. US Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Illinois) captured the severe deficits in the bargaining process between the world powers and Iran to end the Islamic Republic’s illicit nuclear weapons program, telling The Jerusalem Post recently, “The Iranian regime’s systematic persecution of Christians, as well as Baha’is, Sunni Muslims, dissenting Shi’a Muslims, and other religious minorities, is getting worse not better. This is a direct consequence of President Obama’s decision to de-link demands for improvements in religious freedom and human rights in Iran from the nuclear negotiations.””

Politics

  • Mohammad Nourizad, Kayhan columnist turned political dissident, praises Reza Shah the Great, founder of the Pahlavi dynasty, for suppressing the “deceptive clerics.”

Foreign Policy

  • Fars News Agency reports: “Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyed Ali Khamenei in a meeting with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi in Tehran on Wednesday evening underlined that Iran will continue its supports for Iraq, and called on Baghdad to continue its firm and tough confrontation against the Takfiri terrorists. "The government of the Islamic Republic of Iran continues supporting the Iraqi government and nation as before," Ayatollah Khamenei said.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Abbas Eraqchi, Senior Iranian nuclear negotiator, proclaims:
    • “In spite of July 1st being the deadline for the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 Group, no specific date is sacred to us and we shall not sacrifice a good and desirable agreement for the sake of a time table..."
  • Saeed Jalili, Expediency Council Member and former Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary, states:
    • “Distrusting the United States is not imaginary.”
  • As the Islamic Republic officials participate in the burial service and funerary ceremonies of 270 Iran-Iraq War era martyrs, opponents of President Rouhani’s nuclear diplomacy distribute pamphlets among the mourners and chant anti-negotiation slogans.
  • Politico reports: “The Obama administration is considering appointing a “czar”-like official to oversee the enforcement of a nuclear deal with Iran, one of several options it is weighing to ensure the still-unfinished accord doesn’t unravel, according to sources familiar with the discussions.It’s an idea that some argue is smart — even crucial — because of the multiple agencies, countries and international bodies that will be involved in the deal. People familiar with an earlier nuclear agreement with North Korea say having had such a position then would have helped, at least for a while, keep that doomed deal on track.”
  • AFP reports: “Iranian lawmakers unveiled proposed legislation Wednesday that a top official said would protect the nation's nuclear interests, but which could become an obstacle in negotiations for a deal this month. The bill, sponsored by the chairman of parliament's national security and foreign policy committee, was signed by 225 of the country's 290 MPs and faces a vote on Sunday.”
  • Mohsen Rezaei, Iran’s former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Coprs (IRGC) Commander, stated:
    • “The nuclear negotiations should listen well and understand the voice of the people: ‘No collaboration, no capitulation, fight the United States!’”
  • Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Expediency Council Chairman, noted:
    • “There are those who say strange things about the sanctions being to our benefit... The sanctions have impoverished the people? How can the sanctions benefit us...? Those who say such things, don’t know about the empty pockets of the people.
  • Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, also weighed-in:
    • “Even with empty pockets, the people of Iran do not bow in front of Arrogance [The U.S.]”

Economy & Trade

  • Akbar Torkan, an Economic Adviser to President Rouhani, notes:
    • “Recently, we discovered that $35 billion worth of Central Bank savings are kept at the NICO [Naftiran Intertrade Company, a Swiss-based] subsidiary of NIOC [National Iranian Oil Company] which has caused some complications.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) announced that the country produced nearly 1.45 million tons of raw steel in May showing a 16 percent rise as compared with corresponding period in the last year. The rise in Iran's steel output comes while 32 countries have reduced their steel production in the first four months of 2015.”
  • Majid-Reza Hariri, TheIran-China Chamber of Commerce deputy, to Aftab-e Yazd:
    • “I'm not denying that imported automobiles reach Iranian consumers at a high price, but can't verify 500% gains of the importers. Of course, it is possible that importers of luxury cars may have had such gains.”
    • “60% of imported cars belong to three different brands: Two [South] Korean and a Chinese brand. Import of all three brands are in the hands of a single family.”