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Iran Press Review: 18 Feb.

Politics

  • Resalat News reports that the Islamic Republic will be holding elections for the Parliament [Majlis] and Assembly of Experts on February 26, 2016.
  • The Head of Iran’s Judiciary, Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli-Larijani, is quoted in a headline in Kayhan on the ‘sedition’ (the name Iranian conservatives give to the Green Movement and its aftermath), saying: “The seditionists paved the way for the foreigners.”

Foreign Policy

  • Nouri al-Maliki meets with Eshaq Jahangiri, Iran’s First Vice-President, who travelled to Baghdad to meet the country’s former Prime Minister. Shafaq News reportedly quotes Maliki as praising Iran’s support to Iraq:
    • “If it was not for this support, Baghdad and Erbil would have fallen to the hands of DAESH (the Arabic and Persian name for the Islamic State).”
  • Fars News Agency reports that yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif attended the inauguration of a new building for the Iranian Embassy in Belarus. His Belarusian counterpart was reportedly in attendance for the event.
  • Elsewhere, Eshaq Jahangiri met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, the Marja al-Taqlid of Shiites in Iraq.
  • Sergei Donskoy, the Russian Minister of Natural Resources and the Environment, is scheduled to visit Tehran on February 20th in order to sign a document preserving the Biodiversity of the Caspian Sea.
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reports on impending visits to Iran by members of the Republic of Azerbaijan’s government:
    • February 22, 2015: Ali Abbasov, Minister of Communications and Information Technology
    • February 23, 2015: Elchin Ghaliov, Commander of the Border Guard Patrol
  • Mohammad Sharatiamadari, the Vice-President for Executive Affairs in the Rouhani administration, traveled to Afghanistan today to meet with Ashraf Ghani, the Afghan President.
  • Mehr News Agency reports: “Afghan Vice President Sarwar Danish has announced the upcoming visit of Afghan president to Iran to sign a strategic security agreement between the two countries. Mohammad Sarwar Danish made the remarks at the inaugural ceremony of a joint commercial exhibition in Kabul.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Dr. Abdullah-Haji Sadeghi, the Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), proclaimed:
    • “The front of Arrogance knows of the certainty of its gradual death in opposition to the Islamic Revolution.”

Military & Security

  • Former IRGC Commander and current Advisor to the Supreme Leader, Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, states:
    • “Today, it has been proven to all of the countries of the world that the country with the greatest power with the ability to combat terrorists is Islamic Iran.”
  • Dr. Hamid Moghadamfar, a cultural advisor to the IRGC, comments on the strategic effects of Ayatollah Khamenei’s letter:
    • “However, Western analysts have the correct takeaway from this letter, and that is that intellectual borders, meaning the strategic depth of Iran has reached Europe and America.”
  • Ebrahim Hatamikia, an Iranian Director, likens IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF) Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani, to the deceased Mostafa Chamran, as reported in Defa Press.
  • IRGC Deputy Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, touted:
    • “Today we have the capability to bury the policies of the enemy, and a single instance of our roar is the nightmare of our enemies.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “The Iranian Navy is building a new hi-tech submarine with the capability of launching missiles and torpedo. The submarine, named Be'sat, which is now in designing stage will be 60 meters long and has the operational power for missions in the depth of 300 meters.”
    • Mashregh News also weighed-in on Iran’s new submarine, providing additional data and photos of various Iranian submarine classes:
      • “The submarine Be’sat, with a weight of more than 1300 tons, will fill the space between the semi-heavy Iranian underwater vehicles (Fatteh-class) with the 2300 ton heavy submarine (Tareq-class).”

Nuclear Issue

  • Etema’ad reports on its front cover that Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, will be meeting in Geneva on Sunday and Monday for nuclear negotiations.
    • Reuters reports that Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman is travelling to Geneva presently for “bilateral consultations” with Iran, tomorrow.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, comments as Western goals relating to Iran during his address in East Azerbaijan province:
    • “Their man goal in these actions is the humiliation of the nation of Iran and the stopping of the great movement of the nation and the Islamic system towards a new Islamic civilization, and I am confident that in the nuclear issue that if we accept the very same demands which they dictate, the sanctions again will not be lifted since they are against the fundamentals of the Revolution.”
    • “If it is according to sanctions, the nation of Iran can also sanction, and it will do this deed.”
  • Marziyeh Afkham, the Spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, rejects a 2-stage nuclear deal, noting:
    • “But the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking one agreement, and we have rejected a two stage agreement.”
    • Commenting on the complexities of the definition between a deal and an agreement: “From a legal perspective, there is a difference between an agreement and an understanding.”
  • Hamid-Reza Taraghi, an Iranian international affairs analyst, comments on the Geneva agreement and Western sanctions:
    • “The enacted sanctions against Iran from the European Union and America prove Iran’s lack of confidence in the West in the arena of signing an agreement.”
  • In a meeting with the Secretary-General of Norway’s Foreign Ministry, Mohammad Nahavandian, the Chief of Staff to President Hassan Rouhani, said:
    • “Referring Iran’s nuclear file to the Security Council was a grave mistake, and at present, where it is clear that Iran is not after a nuclear weapon, all limitations must be removed.”
    • “The world believes Iran’s sincerity in continuing peaceful nuclear and scientific activities, and the Fatwa of the Leader of the Revolution (Khamenei), unprecedented transparency, and the greatest amount of investigations by the Agency (IAEA) of Iran’s nuclear activities are witness to this issue.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad-Javad Montazeri, the head of Iran’s Court of Administrative Justice, notes:
    • “It is unclear whether the negotiations will reach a result, and we must not look to the result of this issue, but rather, we must act along the lines of Resistance Economics.”
  • AP reports: “The US and Iran are inching toward a nuclear deal that’s not as good as Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu wants — but not as bad as he says it is shaping up to be. Israel says any pact short of totally dismantling Iranian programs with weapons-making potential is deeply flawed. Netanyahu’s planned speech to the US Congress March 3 — just a few weeks before the target date for a general agreement — gives him a high-profile soapbox to make his case.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iran on Wednesday rejected Argentinian officials' demand that the 1994 bombing of the AMIA center in Buenos Aires be included in the talks between Tehran and the six world powers, reiterating that the nuclear standoff is the only topic on the agenda of the negotiations. "The framework of the nuclear negotiations is fully clear and merely limited to Iran's nuclear activities, and no other issue goes under discussion," Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham said in her weekly press conference in Tehran today.”
  • Reuters reports: “The United States accused Israel on Wednesday of leaking inaccurate information about nuclear negotiations with Iran, intensifying tensions over the issue before Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu's contentious March visit to Washington. President Barack Obama's spokesman accused Israel of misrepresenting the U.S. position. White House spokesman Josh Earnest criticized the "continued practice of cherry-picking specific pieces of information and using them out of context to distort the negotiating position of the United States."”
  • Reuters reports on Khamenei’s speech: “Iran's supreme leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei vowed on Wednesday that his country would resist global sanctions imposed over its disputed nuclear program, saying that Iran might respond to international pressure by cutting back gas exports. "The enemy is using the lever of sanctions to the hilt and their goal is to stop our people's progress," Khamenei said in a public speech in Tehran carried by the official IRNA news agency.”
  • Reuters reported: “Argentina wants the United States to help it get to the bottom of a deadly 1994 bombing at the heart of a current political scandal by including the crime in the U.S. nuclear talks with Iran, its foreign minister said on Tuesday. Argentine courts have accused a group of Iranians of planning the attack on the AMIA Jewish community center that killed 85 people.”

Economy & Trade

  • Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, continues to plug Resistance Economics. Kayhan quoted Larijani in a headline today, saying: “National production is the ruling spirit of Resistance Economics.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh and his Iraqi counterpart Malas Mohammad Abdulkarim voiced readiness to expand Tehran-Baghdad industrial cooperation, particularly in the establishment of a joint firm in Iraq to manufacture cars. Nematzadeh suggested the establishment of an auto-making factory in Iraq in a meeting with Abdulkareem who welcomed the plan.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri underlined the necessity for Tehran and Baghdad to increase efforts to return the oil prices to its real levels. "Reduction of oil revenues is a serious challenge for both Iran and Iraq; therefore, the two countries should take serious steps to develop their economy and industry without reliance on oil," Jahangiri said, visiting Iran's specialized exhibition in Baghdad on Tuesday.”

Human Rights

  • Elsewhere, the IRGC Deputy Commander, Brigadier General Hossein Salami, stated:
    • “In the West Human Rights has a destroyed meaning, from Human Rights in the West dictatorship has been created, and it is exported to the world.”
  • AP reports: “A lawyer chosen to represent a Washington Post correspondent detained in Iran has been unable to complete formalities to defend him, the reporter’s brother said Wednesday as he appealed to the judiciary and the country’s top leader to examine the case. Iranian-American Jason Rezaian was detained in Tehran on July 22 along with his Iranian wife, reporter Yeganeh Salehi, and two photojournalists. Rezaian, who was born and spent most of his life in the United States, is the only one of the four still behind bars.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader delivers an address in East Azerbaijan Province, as captured by Fars News Agency