Iran Press Review 23 July

Analysis by FDD:

  • Jonathan Schanzer, Vice-President for Research, writes in The Daily Beast: ““With this deal, we cut off every single one of Iran’s pathways to…a nuclear weapons program,” said President Barack Obama.  It “shuts down every path that Iran has to a nuclear weapon,” echoed the president’s press secretary, Josh Earnest. “This deal breaks each and every pathway to a weaponized nuclear device, including any potential covert effort,” chimed in Senator Martin Heinrich (D-NM). The president and his supporters are sounding awfully sure of themselves. Almost as sure as George W. Bush administration officials in the run-up to the 2003 Iraq war. It was CIA director George Tenet who said that it was a “slam-dunk” that Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction. "Liberating Iraq would be a cakewalk," predicted Kenneth Adelman, a member of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board. And it was Vice President Cheney who predicted that U.S. forces would be “greeted as liberators.””
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, writes in an FDD Policy Brief: “After the nuclear agreement signed last week, the United States will maintain most of its sanctions on individuals and entities connected to Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), the regime’s elite forces for external terrorism and domestic repression. The European Union, however, has chosen a different path: a mass de-listing of the Guards on the date the deal calls “Transition Day.” Transition Day occurs eight years after the deal’s implementation – which barring unforeseen circumstances will occur at some point over the next three months. On that day, the EU will delist the IRGC, as well as its Air Force and Missile Command. Most unexpectedly, it will lift nuclear sanctions on the Quds Force (IRGC-QF), the IRGC’s external arm tasked with “exporting the revolution” and extending support to terrorist proxies.”

Politics

  • President Hassan Rouhani addressed the National Gathering for Popular Instituted Organizations (NGOs):
    • “The message of the [nuclear] agreement was to choose interaction instead of confrontation. It had this beautiful message to never threaten an Iranian.”
    • “The message of agreement is that our path is the path of moderation.”
    • “They have completely locked all banking transactions and we could not buy anything and did our work with brokering and the like, but we could not live like this.”  
  • Kamaleddin Sajjadi, Spokesman for the Followers of the Line of the Imam Front, announced upcoming plans among Principlists, conservative-leaning political parties, for establishing the “Council for Coordination of Principlists.”

Military & Security

  • Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, Head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Basij Organization, issued a statement expressing his condolences for the death of Abu Montazer al-Mohammadawi, former senior commander in the Iranian-backed Iraqi Badr Corps:
    • “Iranian Basijis constantly ask us to be sent to the fronts of Iraq. They sometimes shed tears for wanting to come there and fight alongside you. But we have constantly told them that our dear Iraq is full of courageous warriors and do not need Iranian fighters. But be prepared, for your turn will also arrive so we all head towards the large goal and have the historical Friday prayer led by dear Imam Khamenei in al-Aqsa mosque.”
    • “The planning headquarters and ideological production of Daesh is in Haifa. Its field operational base is in the American embassy in Baghdad.”
  • A funeral ceremony was held in Qom today for “defender of the shrine” Mohammad Ebrahimi.

Nuclear Issue

  • Kayhan editorializes:
    • “Earlier, we had serious criticism of the Vienna Agreement and contents of the Resolution endorsing it which passed the United Nations Security Council Monday. Today... we shall discuss Annex B, point 3 which reads: 'Iran is called upon not to undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launchers using such ballistic missile technology, until the date eight years after the JCPOA Adoption Day or until the date on which the IAEA submits a report confirming the Broader Conclusion, whichever is earlier...' In spite of  the deceptive appearance of this clause, which on first sight is about 'ballistic missiles capable of delivering nuclear weapons,' has made some friends believe Iran's ballistic missiles are not subjected to the clause. However,... this is just a pretext for stopping the production and testing, and finally elimination of this strategic - and conventional - weapon from the weapons system of our country. The catastrophic consequences are easily understandable... There is no difference between ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead and those with a conventional warhead... Most of Iran's ballistic missiles are capable of carrying a nuclear warhead - in spite of Iran considering use of nuclear weapons as decisively haram [forbidden]. Based on this clause... [Iran] must stop testing and production and remove these missiles from its armament system. Now, one must ask our dear brethren in the negotiation team: Was it not the deal that the adversary should be prevented from laying its hands on the military centers and the arms capabilities of our country...? One must be aware that the ballistic missile system is one of the main deterrence factors of our country. The result of the adversary laying its hands on this system has no other meaning than disarming Islamic Iran in the face of regional and extra regional enemies.”
    •  “The honorable members of the negotiation team of our country and some other political personalities seem to have understood the dangerous consequences of the third point of Annex B of the Security Council Resolution and have made some explanations... They say: ‘ballistic missiles capable of carrying a nuclear warhead have a different construction than those carrying a non-nuclear warhead.’ But we saw that is not true! They say: ‘violating [United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 does not mean violation of the Vienna Agreement!’ To this, one must say: First, the Vienna Agreement is Annex A of the Resolution, which means violating any clause of it would mean violating the Agreement. Second, The recent Security Council Resolution was issued to ‘endorse,’ the Agreement and its legal position is more elevated than the Agreement... They announce ‘violating the Agreement will not lead to bring back the sanctions,’ and ignore the clear issue that the previous resolutions were just suspended because of the Resolution... This is why violation of Resolution 2231... will bring back all previous sanctions... They say: ‘If the adversary interprets Annex B point 3 as stop production, testing and prohibition of our country possessing ballistic missiles, we will not enact this clause regardless of the consequences of violating the Resolution.’ [To this one must say,] there is no other interpretation, and the question is... how was this dangerous point imposed [on the Islamic Republic] since we now think of violating the Resolution and tolerating the consequences that of?”
  • Seyyed Abbas Eraqchi, Senior Nuclear Negotiator, states:
    • “We clarified that the [United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231] is different than the [Vienna] Agreement. Violating the Resolution is not the same thing as violating the Agreement and can therefore not lead to return of the sanctions.”
  • Ali Khorram, former Ambassador to the United Nations, noted in relation to the UNSC process:
    • “After the agreement, in the cleverest way, the document was submitted to the United Nations Security Council so an Article VII resolution could pass a resolution which on the one hand would suspend all things related to the six earlier issued resolutions so the sanctions against Iran could be annulled. On the other hand, the Vienna Agreement could be totally approved by the UN... An Article VII resolution ties the hands of Congress so it can’t criticize or damage the resolution... In reality, Obama has bypassed Congress in this case and Congress can no longer have an impact on the process of the Vienna Agreement... Only, and only when one of the parties of the Agreement violate it there is a possibility for damage to the Agreement.”