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Iran Press Review: 20 Feb.

Analysis by FDD

  • Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, writes in The Weekly Standard: "Not long after his inauguration in January 2009, President Barack Obama penned a letter to Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the supreme leader of Iran. As a presidential candidate, Obama had promised to conduct “tough, direct diplomacy” with the Iranians. And Obama figured, correctly, that all diplomatic entreaties would end up on Khamenei’s desk. So, the newly elected president decided to write Iran’s ultimate decision-maker directly. And he has written several letters since."
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, writes in Forbes: "The Obama Administration insists Iran has honored its interim nuclear-agreement commitments and that its progress in enrichment has been halted. It is on the basis of these two assessments that the administration, alongside its European allies, opposes congressional legislation introducing sanctions that would go into effect should nuclear negotiations fail. The White House thinks Iran’s compliance with the terms of the interim deal indicates that an agreement may still be reached. The only problem: Trusting Iran is the surest path to a bad deal."

Politics

  • Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi attacks the government:
    • "Unfortunately, removal of the sanctions has become end and highest goal. Our revolution pursued different goals. We wanted Islam, and sacrificed our lives, belongings and children for the sake of the faith, but nowadays, there is no mention of religion. They say: 'The people are wrong to think of the after life, don't worry about the next world!" 

Military and Security

  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei receives representatives of East Azerbaijan province:
    • "Concerning the ISIL, they formed a coalition, but of course they are lying, it is hypocritical. They wrote a letter to our Foreign Ministry saying 'when you claim the United States supports ISIL, it is a lie, we are not supporting it.' Well, a short while later photos of United States arming ISIL were published by revolutionary holy warriors! They utter words, make claims, but their words are untrue, an untruth which will become clear so soon!" 

Nuclear Issue

  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei receives representatives of East Azerbaijan province:
    • "The enemy is using the sanctions weapon to the maximum. Their goal is to humiliate the Iranian nation, and stop this great movement which only could have taken place by the Iranian people. The movement of the Islamic revolution, [and] the Islamic regime towards the new Islamic civilization is what they want to stop, since they know this movement is the total opposite of the interests of Zionist capitalists and unjust and blood devouring company owners of the world. They understand, and see how this movement is expanding internationally, and is captivating the imagination of the nations and they want to stop it. These sanctions and threats, and the conditions [they make] are because of this very reason."
    • "I am of the belief that even if we, in the nuclear issue, should advance as they dictate us and accept their dictate, their acts of sabotage and sanctions will not be removed. they will again make up all sorts of problems, because they are opposed to the principle of the revolution."
    • "The Iranian nation too can sanction. If the name of the game is sanctions, in the future it will be the Iranian nation which will sanction them. The largest part of natural gas in the world belong to us, to the Iranian nation. Natural gas, which has a very important role. the world needs this. Even the wretched Europe needs this natural gas. This natural gas, is ours... When the conditions are ripe, we shall sanction them, and the Islamic Republic could do it." 
  • Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani, Tehran’s Interim Friday Prayer Leader:
    • "The Supreme Leader of the Revolution said: 'I'm not optimistic about the negotiations...' Should the negotiations succeed, good. If not, we must rely on domestic capacities... Our nuclear technology has changed a lot since ten years ago... We accepted suspension [of uranium enrichment] but discovered Europe is not promising. This is an experience. Had we not accepted the suspension, the truth would not have become clear to some... One must not be deceived by the enemy..." 
  • Kayhan editorializes:
    • "Yesterday, Mrs. Afkham, the honorable spokeswoman of our country's Foreign Ministry, in her press conference emphasized: 'We desire a single phase agreement,' and added: 'In order to agree upon the details, the negotiators first need a political understanding, which by some was interpreted as a political agreement.' What the honorable Foreign Ministry spokeswoman has said on an agreement with the P5+1 Group is exactly the 'two phase' agreement, or in other words the big hoax of the Geneva Agreement. She has just tried to call it by another name, but the substance remains the same..." 

Religion, Society and Culture

  • An unidentified cleric criticizes the compulsory hijab [the headscarf covering women] in Iran, and asks what is worse, lying, corruption, and unethical behavior, or government enforced Islamic dress code for women in Iran. The cleric further explains: "It is up to the individual to choose." The audience cheers the cleric.

Energy & Trade

  • Fars News Agency announces that a Japanese delegation is in Iran to "discuss imports of liquefied natural gas (LNG) gas through pipelines as Tokyo has raised its gas imports from Iran since the Fukushima nuclear disaster happened in that country."