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Iran Press Review: 18 Nov.


  • President Hassan Rouhani appeared before the Parliament [Majlis] today to defend his new nominee for the Minstry of Science, Research, and Technology (Higher Education), Fakhr al-Din Ahmadi Danesh-Ashtiani:
    • “All must abide by their obligations. We must do such a thing that the parliament, government, country, street, bazaar, schools, universities, and all places see that our country is an Islamic country, and basis of this country is rooted in laws, ethics, and principals. This is important that all of us are committed and loyal to principals.”
    • “The first person to introduce me to Dr. Ashtiani to lead the Ministry was an old friend who incidentally was of the conservatives.”
    • “There is no difference between this party and that party, and we respect any individual who respectful of the leadership and committed to service to the people.”
  • Fars News Agency reports the breakdown of the attempt to gain a vote of confidence for Danesh-Ashtiani:
    • Yey: 70 votes
    • Nay: 171 votes
    • Abstention: 16 votes 
  • Resalat-News additionally provided analysis of the vote and its breakdown.
  • Additionally reporting on the failure of Danesh-Ashtiani to become the next Minister of Science, Research, and Technology is captured by Tasnim News Agency, which runs a headline reporting: “The house of nation did not trust Danesh-Ashtiani.”
  • Given Danesh-Ashtiani’s rejection, Fars News Agency reportsthat: “Abbaspour Tehrani will be the government’s probable [next] choice.”
  • Former reformist President, Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, callsfor “preparation of the ground for an enthusiastic popular participation in [upcoming parliamentary] elections.”
  • Tasnim News Agency hinted that Mohsen Rezaie, former Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Commander and current Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, may be open to running for parliament.

Foreign Policy

  • Hassan Hanizadeh, an Iranian political analyst, weighs-in on developments in Yemen and states other allegations:
    • “[Saudi] Arabia and America trains Al-Qaeda against the Houthi’s.”
    • “The Houthi’s of Yemen are part of that country that always seek to enhance their position in Yemeni society, from this path, since 2004 they have tried to become part of the power structure of this country.”
    • “[Saudi] Arabia has created four hundred Wahhabi madrasas in the regions of northern Yemen, which are annually cost them 500 million dollars so that the tribes of Yemen are subject to the influence of [Saudi] Arabia’s Wahhabi propaganda.”
  • Ali Zakzaki, the son of the Nigerian Shi’ite leader Ebrahim Zakzaki, comments on Shi’ite politics and Shi’ites in Nigeria:
    • “Zionists always strive to engage in actions against the Shi’ites of Nigeria.”
    • “Sheikh Ebrahim Zakzaki knows His Excellency Imam Khomeini to be the leader and father of Shi’ites in the world…Furthermore, my father knows Seyyed Ali Khamenei to be his leader and the standard bearer of Islam.”
    • “By the command of the government, Shi’ites in Nigeria cannot create a separate Friday Prayers in Nigeria, but the Sunni’s have one.”
  • Kayhan’s editorial urges the government to devise a strategy towards the United States beyond the nuclear negotiations. A strategy, which takes into consideration the declining power and presence of the United States and in the Middle East, and the rising power of Iran.
    • “After the revolution, we were inclined to strengthen relations with the Eastern block.”
  • Former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani,receives the Speaker of the Duma:
    • Rafsanjani condemns “the instrumental use of sanctions which has become an instrument in the hands of countries intervening in internal affairs of other states.”

Military and Security

  • Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz-Jafari, Iran’s IRGC Commander, addresses a crowd at Sharif University of Technology at a conference entitled “Outstanding Scientists.” His remarks praised the martyred Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam.
  • Fars News Agency and Tasnim News Agency highlight Iran’s Ababil-3 drone.
    • Fars: “This UAV built by HESA (Iran Aircraft Manufacturing Industrial Company) enjoys a fully composite body and has the ability to fly at heights of 15 thousand feet.”
    • Tasnim: also comments on Iran’s new helicopter called the Sorna, which reportedly has “a completely composite body and 300 horsepower.” The Sorna is made by PANHA, or as it is known by its English-language name and acronym, IHSRC, the Iranian Helicopter Support and Renewal Company.”
  • Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi comments on the martyred Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam and makes some references to the Iran-Iraq War:
    • On Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam: “The great martyr was the founder of the IRGC’s artillery and also the father of Iran’s missiles.”
    • On the Iran-Iraq War: “I want some of the simple-minded ones who think that the war was administered just like that and easily, and those who easily question the [war’s] Commanders to know that I am disgruntled.”
    • On the West and Iran’s advancement: “I hope that our politicians understand this issue, that Westerners do not want us to fly away from this launching-pad, and they know that if scientific knowledge is added to our economic power, they cannot stand in Iran’s way.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Commenting on nuclear negotiations, Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz-Jafari, Iran’s IRGC Commander states: “God-willing, if nuclear negotiations reach a conclusion, all will see that we did not fall short of our rights.”
  • Hassan Hanizadeh, and Iranian political analyst, comments on Iran’s nuclear diplomacy:
    • “The agreement must be based on, and take shape from the national interest and Iranian identity, and the sanctions must be removed without reservation and condition, absent this, any agreement will be in conflict with Iran’s national interest.”
    • “Negotiations which will take place today, on Tuesday, in Vienna between the Iranian negotiation team and the Western group will be faced with various pressures from America and the Zionist lobby against our country. And we reach the conclusion that in less than one week, the negotiations may reach a joint-conclusion.”
    • “The possibility exists for the extension of negotiations for a short, three month period.”
    • “If in these negotiations, an agreement is reached based on the formula of the Islamic Republic, with the preservation of the right of enrichment, and the knowledge of advanced centrifuges, and by paying attention to the fact the countries of the 5+1 must attest to Iran its right to enrichment and the sanctions are completely removed, clearly it will be in Iran’s interest. However, if this agreement is reached based on the formula of America, England, and France, it is better for Iran and the negotiation team to postpone the negotiations and bring back 20 percent enrichment.”
  • Mohammad Sadr, the Former Vice Minister for Foreign Affairs, and Yousef Molaei, a Professor in International Public Law,discuss the nuclear negotiations in Shargh:
    • Sadr: “These are the questions: What are the powers of Obama, how strong is Obama's resolve, how will Congress deal with Obama and finally there is the question of the [United Nations] Security Council resolutions... Obama has threatened to veto legislation imposing new sanctions against Iran, which the Senate speaker dismissed.”
    • Molaei: “Such a thing [presidential veto] is an exception since it entails a cost…Security Council resolutions take time, and are slow in the making.”
    • Sadr: “France is playing the worst role in the Security Council... Relationship of the Socialists with us is much worse than that of the Gaullists.”
  • Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the Commander of Iran’s Basif Forces, notes:
    • “Until now, the nuclear negotiation team has preserved Iran's dignity, and we expect them to continue this path... The Basij expects the United States to set aside bullying and excessive demands. Achieving a good and just agreement without extortion is certainly possible, but should extortion take place, it would be better if there is no bad agreement.”
    • “There can be two situation. One, in which the negotiation team restores the rights of our nation and they reach a good agreement, which we support. The other situation is that the negotiation team sees that Iran's rights are being thread upon, abandons negotiations and does not accept the agreement. Again, the Basij and the entire people will totally support [the negotiators]. However, if God forbid, the rights of the people are spoiled, no one will support [them].” 
  • Reuters reports: “Iran said on Tuesday it would resist Western pressure to make what it considered to be excessive concessions over its nuclear program, highlighting obstacles that could prevent a historic deal being reached by a Nov. 24 deadline. U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry declined to make any predictions for what he called a "critical week", during which negotiators from Iran and six world powers will push to end a 12-year dispute over Iran's nuclear activities and dispel fears of a new Middle East war.”
  • The Kuwait News Agency reports: “Envoys from Iran and the six world powers gathered for talks in Vienna on Tuesday, aiming to reach a final agreement on limiting Iran's nuclear program ahead of a November 24 deadline. The five permanent member nations of the UN Security Council plus Germany will push for Iran to scale back its nuclear program to a level that would render it virtually impossible for Tehran to produce an atomic bomb.”

Economy & Trade

  • Jomhouri-ye Eslami editorializes:
    • “The truth is that the Iranian economy’s dependency on oil has, in spite of planning and propaganda, not decreased in the past years. According to the latest assessments of the Parliamentary Research Center and some private sector assessments, in the most optimistic view, ca. 80% of the economy of our country depends on the oil revenue... The emergence of the eleventh cabinet and return of reason to politics and economics has to a degree reduced the pressure and improved the situation, but fluctuations of the oil market, some of which are political and an impact of the conspiracies of Iran’s enemies, along with the unknown result of the nuclear negotiations and the sanctions, has once again demonstrated the need for finding a fundamental solution to oil dependency.”
  • Iran’s Vice-President, Eshaq Jahangiri, receives the Chinese Communist Party Central Committee Political Bureau Chief:
    • “The Islamic Republic representatives have a long term view of China's energy market. While welcoming investments of Chinese companies in Iran's oil and gas projects, Iran is interested in expanding its trade relations with Beijing.”
    • Commenting on the land and maritime “Silk Road” project, Jahangiri declared Iran's “complete readiness” to cooperate with China, and stressed the importance of the Port of Chabahar, and the need for cooperation between the two states and joint investments in the development of Chabahar.
  • Shargh reports that the newly established Maryland based Iran/America Chamber of Commerce, had on October 17, 2014, sent a letter signed by a certain Ekram Manafzadeh, copy to Mojtaba Haqirian, “Iran/America Chamber of Commerce Deputy,” to the Tehran Chamber of Commerce inviting them to visit Washington DC.
  • Tasnim News Agency reports: “The value of trade transactions between Iran and the 28 member states of the European Union in September 2014 has witnessed a 58 percent increase, compared to the same month last year, data released by the Eurostat showed. Trade turnover between Iran and the EU in September 2013 had stood at 445 million euros, and it reached 703 million euros in the same month in 2014, according to a report by the Eurostat.”
  • Reuters reports: “There is no trace of Shenzhen Lanhao Days Electronic Technology Co Ltd at its listed address in the beige and pink-tiled "Fragrant Villa" apartment complex in this southern Chinese city. The building's managers say they’ve never heard of it. But a Western intelligence report reviewed by Reuters says Shenzhen Lanhao is one of several companies in China that receives money from Iran through a Chinese bank. Such transfers help to finance international operations of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps' elite Quds Force, the report said.”

Culture, Religion & Society

  • Press TV reports: “Pulitzer Prize-winning author and Harvard scholar Dr. Stephen Greenblatt is slated to deliver the keynote speech at the First International Conference in Iran on Shakespeare Studies, due to be held at the University of Tehran. One of the world’s most celebrated scholars in the humanities, Stephen Greenblatt will visit the University of Tehran on November 26, 2014, to deliver a speech titled “Shakespeare and the Human Condition”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Tasnim News Agency displays photos of Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister and Catherine Ashton, the EU Foreign Policy Chief, meeting in Vienna.
  • Tasnim News Agency highlights pictures of Yahya Rahim Safavi, the former Commander of Iran’s IRGC, addressing the “‘Outstanding Scientists’ Conference.”