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Iran Press Review: 16 Dec.

Politics

  • Former President and current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, calls the 11th government (the Rouhani administration), “the most innocent government since the revolution.”
  • Ezzatollah Zarghami, the former head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and now a member of the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, comments on the “sedition” orfitnah (the term given to the Green Movement and its supports by Iranian hardliners) of 2009 and its aftereffects:
    • “In the sedition of 88 (2009), the elites had an important role, however, years earlier the Supreme Leader had told the elites some things.”
    • “In sedition, truth and falsehood become mixed, and in the dust the elites lose their way.”
    • “In a sedition, you must only look at the Imam and the Leadership of society.”
    • On the leadership of the movement: “Some of them, as time progressed created a space (between themselves and the movement) and even though it was difficult for them, they became separated from the falsehood.”
    • “I differentiate between Mousavi and Karroubi, since Mousavi was more aware, and Karroubi was not aware of the steps in this direction.”
    • “With all the criticism against Khatami, he however became caught-up in the sedition and became Mousavi’s prisoner.”
  • Asr-e Iran criticizes the one sided coverage of Hossein Shariatmadari, the Editor of Kayhan newspaper’s speech at Tehran University, and warns against anger of students whose viewpoints are not reflected in the public:
  • The students attacking Shariatmadari chant: “death to the seditionist,” while, in an attempt to mock the students and ‘translate’ their signs, Shariatmadari likens them to saying “George Soros, we love you! Michael Ledeen, we love you! America, we love you! Israel, we love you!” (5:22-5:30
  • The students attacking Shariatmadari chant: “interrogator, get lost,” “God willing, get lost and don’t come back,” “Death to the Islam of the Taliban,” “Shame on you, let the university be!”
  • Chants against Shariatmadari: “Freedom of thought, can't be achieved with a long beard!”
  • Chants in favor of Mir-Hossein Mousavi.

Foreign Policy

  • President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with Wael al-Halqi, the Prime Minister of the Syrian Arab Republic:
    • “The perseverance and steadfastness of the army and nation of Syria against the terrorists taught a lesson against all who oppose the axis of resistance against the Zionists and those who oppose the independence and national governance of this country that they cannot, with financial and military aid, break the line of resistance or be able to topple a legitimate government.”
  • Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, comments on regional issues and Iranian diplomacy in a meeting with Salim Abdullah al-Jouri of Iraq:
    • On Iraq: “We are quite happy that despite the threats of DAESH (the Persian and Arabic acronym for the Islamic State) all groups and tribes could, with the feeling of total security travel to the holy graves of Karbala.”
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared for cooperation with Iraq in any arena, including political, economic, and parliamentary. We treat Iraq’s progress as our progress, and security in Iraq as our security."
  • Defa Press reports a headline about foreign support to the Bahraini-government, reading: “London, the 40 year ally of the Al-Khalifah/The torture of Bahraini people under the influence of English officers.”

Military & Security

  • Defa Press reports that Iran Helicopter Support and Renewal Industries (IHSRC) or PANHA, as it’s known by its Persian acronym, has renovated and updated a helicopter with the assistance of the Iran Civil Aviation Organization. The new helicopter will fit up to 15 people, and is numbered the 412.
  • Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani comments on regional issues:
    • “If we do not get in the way of religious extremists, other DAESH’s with other names with be created, as they are the best tool of the enemy for [promoting] Islamophobia.”
    • “The people have arisen against colonialism and dictatorship, but the hardliners, who are wearing religious clothing have brought such a plague upon the people that you see how they behead women and children!”
  • Major General Mohammad Ali Aziz Jafari, the Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), addressesthe commanders of the Khatam al-Anbia (KAA) Construction Base:
    • “Many think opposition against the United States is the only dimension of the Islamic revolution. In spite of this being one of the main dimensions of the revolution; the Islamic revolution has also other dimensions. Jihad is not limited to armed struggle against the enemy, but also takes place in all other fields...Of course, this issue (the struggle against the United States) is progressing well, in spite of attempts of some to restrict it.”
    • Adding: “The enemies try to depict the picture of conflict between the Guards and the government, but this is the psychological operation of our enemies.”
  • Major General Jafari answers a question concerning President Rouhani’s recent remarks concerning corruption in the Guards:
    • “The honorable president was asked in this regard, and he said ‘I did not mean the Guards.’ His statement was a general recommendation and analysis...The President has total confidence in the Guards, and his relationship with the Guards is very good and based in mutual trust. The enemies of the regime and the revolution, specially the counter revolution based abroad, can’t destroy this relationship which was established during the imposed war (another name for the Iran-Iraq War).”

Nuclear Issue

  • Defa Press reports that Iran will be negotiating with the French delegation in Geneva this evening, after having commenced negotiations with Wendy Sherman, the Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs of the United States.
  • Mehr News Agency reports: “Geneva hosts the fresh round of Iran nuclear talks where Iran’s negotiators have bilaterally talked to their US counterparts. The second round of Iran-US bilateral meeting was held in Geneva on 10:30 AM local time and lasted for 3 hours. The evening session will be on 15:30 local time, which is speculated to be the last such bilateral meeting of Iran and US.”
  • Reuters reports: “Iran said on Tuesday bilateral nuclear talks with the United states were proceeding in a good atmosphere despite lingering gaps over key issues such as Tehran's uranium enrichment capacity and how fast economic sanctions should be lifted. U.S. and Iranian diplomats began a two-day meeting in Geneva on Monday to pave the way for resuming broader negotiations involving Iran and six world powers there on Wednesday.”
  • William Tobey wrote in Foreign Policy: “Just before Labor Day weekend, the State and Treasury Departments sanctioned several individuals and organizations “providing support to illicit Iranian nuclear activities.” Due to the holiday, or perhaps because a few days later the Islamic State murdered an American journalist, the announcement attracted sparse attention. But, it should have been big news. Some of the actions cited in the notice seem within what the Obama administration tolerates during ongoing negotiations, even if they violate U.N. Security Council Resolutions. These include illicit procurements for centrifuge enrichment and the heavy water reactor under construction at Arak. The administration recently detailed Iran’s ongoing illicit procurements in a report to a U.N. panel. Iranian President Hassan Rouhani boasted this summer, “Of course we bypass the sanctions, and we take pride in it.” Indeed, no one seems particularly concerned about ongoing violations of U.N. sanctions. After all, in July 2006, the Security Council demanded that Iran suspend all uranium enrichment-related activities, but eight years later, more than 9,000 centrifuges are still spinning at Natanz and Fordow.”

Economy

  • Ayatollah Rafsanjani also weighs-in on the theme of a “resistance-economy,” noting that “it did not require special conditions and the status of sanctions” to enact.
  • Per an Islamic Republic News Agency headline, Mohammad-Baqer Nowbakht, Iran’s Vice-President for Strategic Planning and Supervision, states: “The government and government-owned companies will invest 158 trillion Tomans into development plans next year.”
    • Note: one Toman = ten Rials (the Toman is not Iran’s official currency)
  • Trend reports: “Iran released the details of the country's nuclear budget and expenditures. The budget bill submitted to Iran's parliament on Dec. 7 indicated that the country spent 22.207 trillion rials (approximately $3-3.5 billion) until March 2009 in nuclear sphere. The country also spent 14.85 trillion rials (approximately $1-1.5 billion) on the nuclear expenditures during a period between March 2009 to March 2014. Iranian government projected that some 5.681 trillion rials would be spent on developing nuclear projects in next fiscal year, which will start on March 20, 2015.”

Human Rights

  • Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Bojnordi, a member of the Combatant Clerics Association, states
  • “We will never say that Bahai’s have the right to free education, it doesn’t even have citizenship laws. Christians, Jews, and Zoroastrians benefit from citizenship laws because they are Abrahamic faiths.”

Media, Society & Culture

  • Ayatollah Abdulla Javadi-Amoli states:
    • On Women: “We must not wait and see what the world desires about women.”
    • On the West: “Today, Westerners talk about democracy, have, in truth grown tired of war and killing.”
    • “Those who tout democracy have their hands on the trigger of the atom bomb, and today if a war breaks out, they will set the world ablaze.”
  • The representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC, Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi, comments on religion and religious-law:
    • “People are never second or third class, and before God they are all first class.”
    • “Surpassing the (religious) redlines might bring a person faster to money and treasure, but it also bring with it corruption.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Islamic Republic News Agency reported pictures of various youths in their Taziyeh [Passion-play] costumes.