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Iran Press Review: 23 Sept.

Foreign Policy

  • Hassan Rouhani and British Prime Minister David Cameronmeet in New York today. Yesterday, the Foreign Ministers of the two countries met. Rouhani is also expected to meet the French Prime Minister. 
  • Jomhouri-ye Eslami finds it remarkable that the Saudi Foreign Minister expresses his country's desire to improve relations with Iran "the morning after the collapse of the Yemeni government." 
  • An analyst from Sharq calls Mohammad-Javad Zarif's meeting with the Saudi foreign minister "a turning point in Iran/Saudi relations." 
  • Reuters reports: "The relationship between Iran and Saudi Arabia deserves to be better, though differences between the two oil-producing Middle Eastern states appear to be narrowing, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani said on Tuesday. "Our relationship with Saudi Arabia ... deserves to be warmer," Rouhani told a group of senior editors in New York ahead of the annual gathering of world leaders at the U.N. General Assembly. "Saudi Arabia's positions are getting closer and closer to us.""
  • The Washington Post reports: "A year ago, a historic phone conversation between President Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, on the last day of the annual U.N. General Assembly, electrified the foreign policy and diplomatic universe. Rouhani publicly committed to improving relations with the United States, and Obama said he and his Iranian counterpart had agreed to direct negotiating teams to seek a deal on Iran’s nuclear program."

Military and Security

  • The Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) proclaims amidst a press release about the commemoration of the week of the Holy Defense (the name given to the Iran-Iraq War):
    • "The 8 year imposed war of the global arrogance against the Revolution evokes the Holy Defense and the complete resistance of the front of Islam commanded by the Great Prophet [Rasoul-e Azam] in the War of Ahzab (derived fromSurah al-Ahzab of the Quran, referring to the battle of the Trench, or Khandaq during the lifetime of the Prophet Mohammad), where all faith stood against disbelief, and the history creating steadfastness and triumphalism of the nation of Iran surpassed all associations of international power and the block of strength in modern-era of arrogance."
    • "The defeat of the impermeable wall of aggressive and occupying Zionism against the Islamic resistance of Palestine and Lebanon surpassed the awakening of the conscience of the world, which is indebted to the model of resistance and steadfastness of the martyrs and epic-creators of the eight years of Iranian’s Holy Defense in the battle against the Ba’athist regime of Saddam and his regional and supra-regional supporters."
  • Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Seyyed Hassan Firoozabadi comments on Ayatollah (Imam) Khomeini and the Iran-Iraq War during the Malek Ashtar festival featuring other Commanders:
  • "Imam Khomeini was not a person, he was one nation, one movement, one culture. Imam Khomeini was the re-teacher of pure Mohammad-like Islam, during the Holy Defense, the Imam was a factory for the manufacture of humanity. The Holy Defense was like the movement of the Imam and was the place of manifestation for the values of Islam and the Revolution. Therefore the Holy Defense, much like the Islamic Revolution must forever remain alive."
  • Fars News Agency reports that: "Today, Tuesday, concurrent with the second day of the week of Holy Defense, the first equipped fighter UAV with aerial combat arms was unveiled in the Ministry of Defense." The article also provided a background and history of Iran’s drones.
  • "We must know that they are comprised of Ba’athists that have a long history of killing Shi’ites and Muslims."
  • "In combating the Daesh-types we must act correctly and targeted until we witness their destruction."
  • "Today we are the association for combating Daesh and this issue requires no confirmation from others."
  • "Today, Iran’s missiles with long-ranges has sent shivers to the organs of the Zionists and their supporters."
  • "Presently, no country has the courage to attack Iran, at the time when we were empty-handed and 38 countries were behind Iraq with the best armaments they could not proceed forward. And in truth, the war insured us."
  • "The Basij are of the strongest forces in the region and the initiatives of our Basiji’s are without equal in the world."
  • Alireza Mahjoub, a parliamentarian representing Tehran noteswith respect to the Islamic State (IS – Daesh):
  • Resalat-News quoting Fars News Agency cites Commander Gholam-Hossein Mesdaghi, the Commander of Iran’s Artillery and Air Defense for the IRGC Ground Forces as saying:
  • "Currently, the largest project of the Free Economic Zones is the €860 Persian Gulf Bridge of Qeshm Island, which includes building of the rail connecting Bander Abbas to Qeshm and developing the Kaveh Port of this island... Khatam al-Anbia is the contractor. At the time it received the project as EPCF [Engineering, Procurement, Construction and Finance] it promised both to plan it, finance it and bring additional [external] financing. At the time it accepted the task to attract foreign financing, many of the competing rivals who were incapable of doing so, lost and the Base won... The government paid its share [of the financing] to the contractor at the agreed upon time. The Khatam Base received 1500 billion Rial, and another 300 billion Rial from the government and used it. Now it’s their turn to bring in financing, but says 'I can't!' This is a €860 million project, which is ca. 35000 billion Rial. The Base has only spent 1800 billion Rial, which is only 5% of the entire investment... That the previous government claimed it would end the project by the end of its tenure is among the pleasantries and wishes of the previous government. We do not have such hopes... but the time we received it there had only been 3 percent physical development on the ground... We could not speed up the project. After all, the issue is that of attracting finance. Finance, which the contractor is responsible to bring, and the contractor is the Khatam Base, which is stronger than us!"
  • "Towards the end of my tenure at the Intelligence Ministry I reached the the conclusion that this conglomerate should report to the highest levels of the regime, and His Holiness the Imam did not mind. However, there were arguments. There were some who did not find that expedient and desired the Intelligence Ministry to remain under cabinet control. The intelligence apparatus is not under cabinet control, it's beyond the cabinet. Cabinets [after all] come and go, and the intelligence apparatus must be beyond them and report to the highest authority of the state... His Holiness too had approved of this, but things happened [the details of which] I do not desire to recount and that did not materialize. Under the present circumstances too, this can practically not be done... Let me also say that at that time, the Intelligence Ministry and I in practice reported to His Holiness the Imam, and took our guidelines from himself in political issues and acted accordingly. Anyone from within the intelligence apparatus who had consulted me in the past years, I told them that the Leader must in general be happy with this apparatus and we must coordinate with the Leader. It is so in all other regimes... As I was appointed [minister] ... I went to His Holiness the Imam. After the end of the meeting, I kissed his hand and was taking my leave, but Hajj Ahmad-Aqa [Khomeini] pointed at me and said 'you remain seated.' First, I did not understand, but he repeated: 'The Imam says you remain seated.' After that the Imam used an expression saying: 'Where you are is the Intelligence Ministry, it's not the Ministry of Agriculture. Be vigilant. Those who you want to bring [into the ministry], consult with x, y and z and don't make the decisions by yourself.' I said: 'I shall consult with them, but the people to whom you referred may have conflicting opinions, but since I'm the responsible official, I must make the decisions so I can defend those decisions.' The Imam said yes, it is so. Then I told the gentlemen about the words of the Imam, and it was decided that I myself should take the decisions. As long as I was in the Intelligence Ministry, there was no [outside] interference in appointments and dismissals... I told His Holiness the Imam: 'currently, there are seven different currents within the intelligence: One from the [Revolutionary] Guards, which is itself [divided] into two currents, and if I agree with one of those currents, all other currents will oppose [me]... I went to the late Imam and said: 'You should know that from now on, we will be badmouthed,' and on another occasion I suggested to His Holiness the Imam that he should stress that the employees of this ministry should not enroll in political currents. It was following his suggestion that the Intelligence Ministry prohibited political participation in the Intelligence Ministry. Of course, it is possible that some individuals have their political inclinations, but no one should be a member of a political faction, or work according to his own political views. This is why no one managed to impose his own particular political views [on the work of the ministry]... Later, there were problems [in the Ministry...]." Commenting on the so called "serial killings" Reyshahri said: "Yes, this shows that the path [of the work of the ministry] had changed." 
  • More on Iran’s new drone, as reported by Azer News.
  • The Wall Street Journal reported: "The Obama administration's primary objectives in the Middle East—containing the Islamic State militant group and countering Iran's nuclear program—are coming into conflict with each other, U.S., European and Arab officials say. The White House has insisted that the two issues are entirely separate. But while the U.S. is seeking a role for Iran in the fight against the Islamic extremists, Tehran is chafing at what it considers tough U.S. demands for a deal in negotiations over its nuclear program."
  • Akbar Torkan, a Presidential Adviser and Director of Iran’s Free And Special Economic Zones, says "Khatam al-Anbia [Construction Base of the IRGC] is stronger than us":
  • Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammadi Reyshahri, Iran’s former Minister of Intelligence states

Nuclear Issue 

  • Kayhan editorializes:
    • "The latest proposal of the United States in the nuclear negotiations, is continuation of the suspension and gradual depreciation of Iran's nuclear program. What is important for Iran in this regard, is the principle of enrichment at industrial level, which is the need of country and not having a collection of thousands of unused centrifuges just for the sake of window dressing... What has by the way happened to the claim that the sanctions would be removed within 3 to 6 months? Is the empty promise of removal of sanctions in 10 to 20 years from now... worth a red cent? Is it not ridiculous to discuss the necessity or possibility of phone conversation or meeting between Obama and the honorable president of our country in this perspective?" 
  • The Wall Street Journal reported: "Discussions with Iran about fighting Islamic State mustn't seep into the nuclear talks with Iran, French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius said Monday. "You must not establish confusion between this question and the question of nuclear weapons that we are discussing now with the Iranians," Mr. Fabius said at the Council on Foreign Relations, answering a question about the role of Iran in fighting Islamic State, formerly known as ISIS or ISIL."
  • The Hill further reported yesterday that: "Rep. Randy Forbes (R-Va.) on Monday said it would be “absolutely foolish” for the U.S. to show Iran leniency in negotiations over Tehran’s nuclear program in exchange for military cooperation against the Islamic State in Iraq and Syria (ISIS)."

Economy

  • Zawya runs a headline reading: "Lifting of Iran Sanctions Would be 'Game Changer' for Global Gas Markets, Says Head of Gas Exporting Countries Forum."
  • Tasnim News Agency reports: "An Iranian maritime official said the port city of Chabahar, located in the country’s southeasternmost corner, is prepared to host large cargo vessels after the suitable docking infrastructure was developed there. Following a recent dredging operation at Chabahar and a careful planning, large ships with capacities of up to 80,000 tons can now dock at the port, Ali Jahandideh, deputy head of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization told the Tasnim News Agency."

Human Rights

  • According to Etemad, Ansar-e Hezbollah, in spite of its earlier announcements to the contrary, will not be taking to the streets to enforce the Islamic dress code. 
  • The AP reports:
    • "The family of a former U.S. Marine imprisoned in Iran since his arrest three years ago on spying charges said his conditions have improved and he is now allowed to call home several times a week. The sister and brother-in-law of Amir Hekmati acknowledge that's a big step forward for a man who spent his first 16 months held in solitary confinement in Iran's notorious Evin prison, north of the capital, Tehran. But Hekmati's relatives are unwavering in their goal to obtain his release."

Daily Picture(s)

  • Major General Qassem Soleimani, Commander of Iran’s IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF), is allegedly pictured in Iraq. Asr Iranreported that it came from a Google-Plus account.
    • Fars News Agency citing Mashregh, also picked up thephoto.
  • Fars News Agency displays pictures of Iran’s first armed drone.