Iran Press Review: 23 April

Analysis by FDD

  • Clifford May, President, wrote in The Washington Times: “Members of Congress are facing the test of their political lives. America’s national security is about to be imperiled. American sovereignty is about to be surrendered. The U.S. Constitution is about to be compromised.Members of Congress can recognize how serious these developments are and, with courage and conviction, defend America’s national security, sovereignty and Constitution. Or they can turn away.”
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, wrote in The Arab Weekly: “Even as Iran’s Islamic revolutionaries were toppling the Shah in 1979, at the core of their thinking was that their Shia revolution should not be limited to their homeland but expand to the entire Muslim world. This approach would not only secure Tehran’s dominance but would also keep the United States busy so it could not topple the new and aggressive regime.  That’s probably more true now than ever as the Sepah-e Pasdaran-e Enqelab-e Eslami, the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) or Pasdaran, casts long shadows over the Middle East from the Mediterranean to the Indian Ocean.”

Politics

  • Aftab-e Yazd analyzes the surprising move by the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) to show former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, on television for the first time since the June 2009 anti-government uprisings:
    • Mohammad Hashemi Rafsanjani: “The Voice and Vision (IRIB) broadcasted his speech under duress... it’s too soon to see if their policy has changed.”
    • Sadeq Zibakalam: “It’s a good sign... the Voice and Vision had to respect the public opinion.”

Foreign Policy

  • Islamic Republic News Agency reports that President Hassan Rouhani recently left Jakarta, Indonesia (after his two-day visit there) and is now headed back home to Tehran, Iran.
  • Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, commented on Operation Decisive Storm and the Saudi-U.S. relationship:
    • “The method which the Saudi regime adopted in attacking Yemen showed that the Saudis are the servants of the White House and Buckingham Palace.”

Military & Security

  • Iran’s Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) reports that it successfully completed an operation which killed Hesham Azizi, the Political-Military Commander of Ansar al-Furqan in addition to two other affiliated persons, in the South-Eastern most province of Iran, Sistan and Baluchistan.
  • In a conference commemorating martyrs from the city of Shahroud, the Representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi, praises Iran’s Supreme Leader, and touts:
    • “According to the research of analysts, 99.5 percent of the victories awarded to the people of Iran are the result of the intelligence and prudence of the Supreme Leader.”
  • Mehdi Fazaeli, an Iranian foreign policy analyst, comments on the American military option: 
  • “Given the defeat America suffered from Iran during the eight-years of Holy Defense (the name in Iran for the Iran-Iraq War), it will never think to the act-upon military threats…”
  • Farda News reports that Hojjat al-Eslam Mehdi Malamiri also died in Syria.
  • “I did not know that this program existed, and I had no plan to travel, however if there was a plan to travel, I would not have cancelled my trip due to such threats, and I am confident that people and those interested in the Imam (a reference to Ayatollah Khomeini) are such that they will put these kinds of extremist currents which have very few people back in their place.”
  • “1.5 million Afghans live legally as refugees or immigrants in Iran, and we have the same number of illegal Afghan refugees in the country.”
  • Hossein Badpa and Hadi Kajbaf, two members of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Quds Force (IRGC-QF), are reportedly killed in Deraa, Syria.
  • Following threats by Ansar-e Hezbollah, a vigilante organization, against Seyyed Hassan Khomeini’s (the grandson of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, founder of the Islamic Republic) speech in Golestan province, Hassan Khomeini tells Etema’ad:
  • Hossein Zolfaqari, the Security Chief for Iran’s Interior Ministry, comments on Afghans living in Iran:
  • Iran’s Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, travels to Turkey today, representing the Islamic Republic in a celebration commemorating the 100th anniversary of the battle of Gallipoli.
  • Defa Press reports on a commemoration ceremony of the failed attempt by the U.S. to rescue its hostages during the Iran Hostage Crisis. The operation, codenamed ‘Eagle Claw,’ is commemorated annually in the Islamic Republic, and was referenced in the headline as “The anniversary of the defeat of America in the desert of Tabas.” IRGC Navy (IRGC-N) Commander, Ali Fadavi, was present at the ceremony.
  • Fox News reported: “A nine-ship Iranian convoy believed to be laden with weapons bound for rebels in Yemen turned around Thursday after being followed by U.S. warships stationed in the area to prevent arms shipments, multiple sources in the Pentagon told Fox News. The sources said the nine-ship convoy is south of Salalah, Oman, and now headed northeast in the Arabian Sea in the direction of home. The ships, which include seven freighters and two frigates, had sailed southwest along the coast of Yemen heading in the direction of Aden and the entrance to the Red Sea. The two Iranian warships escorting the convoy are Thondor Type 021-class missile boats and the other ships in the convoy are a mix of commercial vessels with some carrying shipping containers.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Sharq quotes Iranian Present, Hassan Rouhani, on nuclear diplomacy:
    • “But the steadfastness and resistance of the nation of Iran and the speed of the growth and development of peaceful domestic nuclear technology, finally brought the opposing side to the negotiating table, and the synthesis of the 5+1 with the realization that threats, humiliation, and sanctions do not create peace and security, brought about negotiations with the Islamic Republic of Iran, negotiations [which are] intense, twisting, and long, and now that I am pleased to announce that these negotiations proceed along the path of constructive interactions which can contain within them the final agreement.”
  • Iran’s Speaker of Parliament [Majlis], Ali Larijani, states:
  • “Iran, by [displaying] steadfastness in the nuclear negotiations, showed that it is in the right.”
  • Reuters reports: “U.S. Under Secretary Wendy Sherman and Tehran's Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araqchi met in Vienna on Thursday in the latest push to secure a final nuclear deal by a June 30 deadline, Iranian media said. The latest round of nuclear diplomacy, being held in a luxury hotel in Austria's capital, kicked off with a bilateral meeting between Iran and the European Union on Wednesday.”

Economy & Trade

  • Abbas She’ri-Moqaddam, Oil Ministry Deputy, notes in an interview with specific reference to the petrochemical sector, that:
    • “Several European countries which were previously present in our country have announced their readiness to once again be present [in Iran].”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iran's largest carmaker, the Iran Khodro Industrial Group, said it has put producing fuel efficient engines on its agenda in order to show more attention to environment protection and fuel economy reduction in the current (Iranian) year (Mar 21, 2015-Mar 20, 2016). According to Jamshid Kondori, IKCO Deputy CEO for Part and Component Production, Iranian car market demands high-tech engines, production of which is one of IKCO's priorities.”
  • The Washington Post’s Monkey Cage blog writes: “That new market smell is in the air. Tehran’s hotel ballrooms are filling up with visiting delegations of European and American investors who hear tea-fueled assurances of long-term profits before shuttling off to the tourist sights in Shiraz and Isfahan. The London-based asset management firm Charlemagne Capital recently announced a partnership with Iran’s Turquoise Partners, an equity fund that invests in the Tehran Stock Exchange. If Charlemagne is knocking at the door, what’s next? Alexander the Great LLC? As a nuclear deal with Iran moves closer to realization, foreign business is exploring how to cash in.”

Religion, Society, & Culture

  • Ronnie Coleman, a professional American bodybuilder, visits Tehran and reportedly pays his respects to the tomb of Musfata Mahmoud Mazeh, a terrorist who died on August 3, 1989. Mazeh died while working on a bomb to assassinate British author Salman Rushdie, which instead exploded prematurely.
  • Shahrzad Elghanayan, granddaughter of the noted Habib Elghanayan, writes in The Washington Post: “Until Iran’s leaders decide to get their facts straight about Jews, they should stay quiet on the subject. No, I’m not talking about former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s Holocaust-denying antics. These days, as Iran’s leaders try to soften their image to seal a deal to limit the country’s nuclear program in exchange for lifting sanctions, they’re peddling a revised and rosy version of Iran’s own 2,600-year Jewish history. Asked by NBC’s Ann Curry during recent talks in Switzerland whether Iranian leaders understand why Jews have been wary of their rhetoric, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “We have a history of tolerance and cooperation and living together in coexistence with our own Jewish people, and with — Jews everywhere in the world.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Asr Iran displays a picture of IRGC Commander Mir-Mohammad Baqerzadeh inspecting the corpse of Izzat Ibrahim al-Douri, a former Saddam aid, who reportedly was recently killed in Iraq. The photo’s authenticity is still unconfirmed.