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Iran Press Review: 19 Dec.

Politics

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Mohammad Khatami, Iran’s former reformist President, weighs-in on the role of students and universities in a meeting with student associations:
    • “University students and universities in the country must double-down in their efforts to offset our historical backwardness in the attainment of knowledge.”

Foreign Policy

  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, a former Foreign Minister and current Chairman of Iran’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR),proclaims:
    • “When we speak about influence, we are not necessarily speaking of domination, especially since the Islamic Republic of Iran has never sought after the domination of any independent country, and even our constitution bans us from intervening in the domestic affairs of other countries.”
    • “Iran is in a position where it can help solve problems.”
    • “In Iraq we have always defended a national understanding, national governance, and the territorial integrity of that country, and whenever the people and government of Iraq have asked for help from us, we have answered this request to the extent of our facilities.”
    • “It is this Syrian nation which must decide upon its own future away from the interventions of its neighbors and other countries in the region and the world. Even some of our friends, who have gone to Syria to defend the lives, and possessions and honor of the people, it was after that when terrorists from various points of the world traveled there to change the destiny of this independent country through the force of arms.”
    • On Yemen: “We have had no intervention there; the widespread corruption in the governing system led to the mutiny of the people, but unfortunately some foreign countries know themselves to be protectors of the people of Yemen, and they have strived to make decisions instead of them.”
    • “For many years Takfiri terrorists had set up camp in southern Yemen, and they fan the flames of religious discord.”
  • Hassan Rastegarpanah, a former commander during the Iran-Iraq War and currently the Deputy of the Center for Strategic Research for Lasting Security of the Armed Forces, states:
    • “These little groups and illegitimate formations like the Taliban, which for years governed Afghanistan, took form to destroy the pure Islam of Mohammad, which, by the grace of the Islamic Revolution is in a state of being spread around the world.”
    • “The conspiracy of a war between Shi’ites and Sunni’s in the region has been defeated, and Muslims know unity to be the greatest weapon against the enemy.”
    • “The enemy, after intermittent losses in Syria and Iraq, has taken up a new conspiracy against Islamic nations, and that is the steadily decreasing price of oil.”
    • “We are confident that in the economic oil-war against Islamic countries, we will be the victors in the square, and we believe in the divine promise about the vanquishing of the enemies of Islam, and at its helm, the Americans.”
  • Ayatollah Ghorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Supreme Leader’s Representative to Markazi province and today’s Friday prayer leader for Arak, notes:
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared to cooperate with Pakistan in order to combat terrorism.”
  • Cihan News Agency reports: “Main opposition Republican People's Party (CHP) leader Kemal Kılıçdaroğlu will soon be visiting Iran in an attempt to find out more about last year's Dec. 17 corruption scandal which implicated members of the ruling Justice and Development Party (AK Party) along with a number of Iranian businessman, the Taraf daily reported. Kılıçdaroğlu's surprise plan to visit Iran comes after the CHP leader, along with a delegation, had dinner with the Iranian ambassador to Turkey, Ali Rıza Bikdeli, at the JW Marriott Hotel on Wednesday. The dinner, held upon the invitation of Kılıçdaroğlu, reportedly became a platform to discuss the Syrian issue and recent developments in the Middle East.”

Military & Security

  • Hossein Dehqan, Iran’s Minister of Defense, interviewed on the Shenasnameh television show in Iran, stated:
    • “I was not the first [IRGC] commander [in Lebanon]. The first commander was martyr Motevaselian. After a time, Mr. Kouchak Mohseni was responsible. After that, Mr. Kan'ani, after which I took over... Back then, several political groups were active and were somehow related to the Islamic Republic, but it was not a consolidated and uniform force... Back then, there were the al-Dawa kids, the Amal kids, and some friends from other groups... Back then, Martyr Seyyed Abbas Mousavi, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah and some of the friends who had left Amal had their own organization... Islamic Amal with Mr. Abou-Heshan... was an independent group with the greatest attachment and degree of cooperation with Iran... Back then, Mr. Sheikh al-Eslam at the Foreign Ministry... who was the political deputy, extended a lot of help... We managed to establish the Hezbollah Council... Mr. Heydaran extended a lot of help establishing the Hezbollah Radio... A Guardsman friend of ours depicted the Hezbollah flag... [Nasrallah] and I are close comrades... At the time of the seizure of the American Embassy... I was not a student... I was member of the IRGC.”
  • Hossein Dehqan also weighed-in on Iran’s missiles and their possible role in negotiations. He stated:
    • “We will not give information about our missiles to anyone.”
  • Digarban reports: “The political office of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has published the goal of Syrian officials who travelled to Iran to receive economic aid, [and] wrote that the national security of Iran lies in paying the ‘costs’ to preserve Syria.” The article continues, reporting that: “It has been announced in these notes that Syrian officials in the past year during their numerous trips to Iran have asked the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic for help in the areas of industry, oil, electricity, and health.” The article further noted that: “This site warned that if Iran in the nuclear negotiations removes its support [from Syria] in the future it will be compelled to pay considerably higher costs.”
  • The Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, proclaims:
    • “Just as Britain is called ‘the old fox,’ one must now call the United States ‘the old wolf.’ However, the United States should not console itself that its life will be as long as the fox. That fox, was kept alive with help from this wolf...The fox used to go hunting and would feed the wolf with the leftovers, but the old wolf will soon be the prey of the oppressed nations.”
  • Naqdi additionally touted:
    • “In the present condition, the Islamic Republic of Iran is counted as a great danger for the West.”
    • “The real message is supporting the oppressed [Mostazfin]. The media-outlet[s] must rub this in the face of the world.”
  • Iran’s Prosecutor-General, Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Ebrahim Raisi, delivers a speech prior to today’s sermon by interim Friday prayer leader Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Movahedi-Kermani, saying:
    • “Today the enemies of Islam and the holy system of the Islamic Republic of Iran are seeking to create sedition [fitnah], cyberspace has provided the platform for them to do as such.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Movahedi-Kermani, Tehran’s interim Friday prayer leader, states:
    • “The Iranian [negotiating] delegation is vigilant and knows the United States is the number one enemy of our nation and is trying to harm us…The wish of our nation and our Leader from the negotiating team is to take care Iran’s dignity does not suffer harm... The late Imam [Khomeini] said the United States is the Great Satan. At the time of creation of man, Satan said he will try to tempt and deceive man. This is the plan of the United States. It wants to do us harm, but can’t and will itself move towards its demise.”
  • Quoting a source in the Russian Foreign Minister, Iranian Student’s News Agencynotes:
    • “The next round of negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 group will be held in the middle of the month of January.”
  • Iranian Students’ News Agency runs a headline quoting the Associated Press (AP), noting: “The nuclear negotiations are the reason for not releasing documents on the removal of Mossadegh.”
  • Tasnim News Agency confirmed this reporting.
  • Reuters reports: “Iran has continued to meet commitments under an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a confidential U.N. agency report showed, though Tehran temporarily halted conversion work that makes higher-grade uranium less suitable for bombs. The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), seen by Reuters, said Iran was not enriching uranium above a fissile concentration of 5 percent, far below the 90 percent level needed for atomic arms. It also said Iran had not made "any further advances" to its activities at two enrichment facilities and an unfinished heavy water reactor.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iran has not demonstrated sufficient flexibility in nuclear talks with six world powers aimed at ending a 12-year standoff with the Islamic Republic over its atomic ambitions, France and Britain said on Thursday. The remarks, at the United Nations, came just after the completion of another inconclusive round of negotiations in Geneva this week between Iranian officials and the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China.”

Economy & Trade

  • Esmaeil Jalili, a member of the Iranian Parliament’s Planning and Budget Committee, comments on the price of oil in Iran’s 1394 budget (2015/2016):
    • “The view of representatives of the Parliament is more restrictive than 72 dollars for every barrel of oil in next year’s budget, and most likely the Parliament will put forth a lower price for oil.”
    • “A price of 60 dollar per barrel of crude oil is more logical for next year’s budget.”
  • Ayatollah Ghorban-Ali Dorri-Najafabadi, the Supreme Leader’s Representative to Markazi province and today’s Friday prayer leader for Arak, notes:
    • “Striving to decrease the price of oil is treachery to Islam and a service to the West and America.”
    • “[Saudi] Arabia has a large role in the conspiracy of the Global Arrogance (a reference to America), and with dirty intentions does anything to remove the Islamic Republic of Iran from the arena of selling oil, but they have misread this.”
    • "Resistance Economics is the way out of the country’s isolation which must be taken seriously and this is importance is useful with Jihadi-like management in all fields.”
  • Mehr News Agency runs an article, titled: “Re-opening the controversial file of Total in South-Pars/Qatar’s turbulent gas dreams.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iran has considerably increased the annual revenues that it gains from the South Pars gas field in the Southern parts of the country, a senior trade official announced. "The annual revenues of Iran’s South Pars gas field for the country amounts to $56 billion as value of its daily production hits $155 million," Managing Director of Iran's South Pars Gas Complex Company Massoud Hassani said on Friday.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Islamic Republic News Agency highlights photos of Ayatollah Mohammad-Ali Movahedi-Kermani leading Friday prayers in Tehran.