Iran Press Review 24 July

Analysis by FDD

  • Thomas Joscelyn, Senior Fellow, writes in The Weekly Standard: “On July 21, the Pentagon announced that Muhsin al-Fadhli, an al Qaeda operative who had been wanted for more than a decade, was killed in an airstrike in Syria earlier in the month. Fadhli has been dead at least once before. In September 2014, the United States launched airstrikes against his so-called Khorasan Group (a cadre of al Qaeda veterans plotting attacks against the West), and some officials told the press that Fadhli had perished. That wasn’t true. Still, Defense Department officials are confident they got their man on July 8. The DoD doesn’t usually issue formal press releases for this sort of thing unless there is significant intelligence backing up its claims. The department wasn’t fully forthcoming, however. Its short biography of Fadhli was missing a key word: Iran.Before relocating to Syria, Fadhli led al Qaeda’s network in Iran. The Treasury Department revealed this fact in a terrorist designation issued October 18, 2012. Fadhli, Treasury reported, “began working with al Qaeda’s Iran-based facilitation network in 2009 and was later arrested by the Iranians.” But he was ‘released by the Iranians in 2011 and went on to assume the leadership of the facilitation network.’”

Politics

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sedighi discussed the government’s review of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA):
    • “The Supreme National Security Council, which today is responsible of this trust from the Parliament, must pay attention in the text and seek solutions for the concerns of some fair pundits and create the necessary resistance in the next opportunity until things are settled.”
    • “Circumstances dictate that we act with caution and evaluate matters and problems step by step and plan executive actions and evaluate the enemy’s abjuration in our designs.”
  • Ali-Akbar Salehi, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEIO) head, uses nationalist rhetoric:
    • "Iranians pride themselves in several things for which they constantly thank their God. We pride ourselves in being Iranian and according to existing information have three thousand years of recorded history... we may have been the only nation which managed to create the greatest empire in the world..."
  • Sadeq Zibakalam, pro-Rouhani political analyst, opined on expected hardliner attacks and economic challenges facing the country:
    • "Now that the nuclear negotiations have reached a result, we must expect reactions of extremist groups such as the Steadfastness Front and the like. For the past years, they consistently opposed the negotiations and the Geneva and Lausanne agreements they interpreted as another [Treaty of] Turkmenchay. It is therefore natural that they do not welcome the Vienna Agreement..."
    • "In my opinion, in the coming months, they will concentrate their activities on several fronts. First they will do their utmost arguing that the Iranian side has given too many concessions to the Westerners and has not achieved anything in return. They will argue that the mechanism of the agreement is such that the Western part can walk away from it as it pleases and in general they will depict the agreement as bad."
    • "Next,... they will claim the counter part is not living up to its obligations. For example, it was agreed that the sanctions should be removed and they are not, or it was agreed that no inspection should take place but they now demand inspection..."
    • "The third front is the economy... They will try to increase public expectation concerning economic issues. The will say, o, the people, the Dollar was meant to [fall] to 100 Touman and it did not happen. Pride [automobile] was meant to cost 5 million [Touman] and it did not happen. This place was meant to be transformed into a garden and it did not happen! They do all this in order to accuse the government of lying and tell the public the government is responsible for lack of improvement of the economy."
    • "The Rouhani government itself is responsible... the fault of the government is that they did not from the very beginning explain to the people that the economic problems are caused by inadequate foundation, and a corrupt state controlled economy. Instead of saying bad Ahmadinejad era management exacerbated the economic situation, the government consistently emphasized the dual issues [sanctions regime, and the Ahmadinejad era mismanagement] were responsible for their current economic problems. Now, they [critics of the government] are now taking advantage of the issue and say both problems are now solved and the situation should be good, but the problems persist!"

Foreign Policy

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Reza Taqavi, Policy Planning Chief of the Friday Prayer Imams: "We consider America as our number one enemy... No one should think that we, by signing the Agreement, will put a red cross on the blood of the martyrs. They [the West] should take the hope of us giving a handshake of friendship to the criminal America!"
  • President Hassan Rouhani in phone conversation with the President of France: "The time has come to deepen and expand Tehran-Paris relations."
    • Mohammad-Esmaeel Kowsari, parliamentarian, condemns the Rouhani government for inviting Laurent Fabius, French foreign minister, to Tehran:
      • "These opportunists use any opportunity for their personal gain and their own national interests, but our statesmen are now aware of their ways... Our statesmen... roll out the red carpet for them, but they should know that in time, the people will give them the answer to their disregard for national and Islamic values... Our officials should not show haste and they should not think they want to invest [in Iran]... They pressed Iran whenever they disagreed on issues, but now expect to be the first country present in Iran's market!"
    • MP Zohreh Teyyebzadeh echoed this view:
      • "Visit of the stewards of sanctions to Tehran means us thanking them for it!"
    • Mehdi Shakibaei, Middle Eastern affairs analyst, called for punishing countries that imposed sanctions on Iran:
      • "Those who imposed sanctions should be punished in the post sanctions era... One should make the countries who for the past twelve years played the role... of the lackey of the Zionist regime, that their access to Iran's market... depends on the degree with which they show a rational and suitable behavior."

Military & Security

  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri, Armed Forces Chief of Staff deputy and Head of the Defensive Propaganda Headquarters, slammed American officials:
    • “Obama has actually confessed correctly to this matter [Tehran-Washington hostilities], They know that the list of America’s betrayals against the Iranian nation is so dense that nuclear negotiations with Iran must not make them emotional and excited, because the Iranian nation will never forget the United States’ black record.”
    • “The President of the United Sates talks about threats and military options being on the table while America’s foreign minister clearly talks about incapability in military attack and surrender.”
    • “It is better for American officials to accept reality and stop their delirium about accessing Iranian military centers and limiting the Islamic Republic’s defensive capabilities.”
    • “The Islamic Republic’s defensive systems including the latest generation missiles are prepared to confront any invader.”
  • The parliament debates a bill granting citizenship of Iran to non-citizens and their families who volunteer for military operations in defense of Shi'a causes.
  • Sadegh Sharafi, member of the Yemeni Ansarallah Movement (popularly known as the Houthis), told Ahlul Bayt News Agency, an Iranian media outlet dedicated to covering Shia’-related news, that reports about the fall of Aden are “false:”
    • “This war will not reach a result even if it continues for decades. Yemen will remain independent. This country moves towards independence with steady steps. Yemenis will build their own Yemen and no power can do this.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Abbas Eraqchi, senior nuclear negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister, addresses the press in the Foreign Ministry:
    • "Prolonging the ten years long supervision period is out of the question..."
    • "The Additional Protocol is an issue of the future and within its... framework, the Agency will be given access... [Inspection of] any non-nuclear center will only be possible within the framework of the NPT and the Additional Protocol..."
    • "All frozen assets of Iran must be freed..."

Economy &Trade

  • MP Gholamreza Mesbahi Moghaddam, representative of the Parliament’s economists and member of the Expediency Discernment Council, warned the administration to not promise “excessive optimism” and said:
    •  “All of us are waiting for the next four to six months so the legal steps are taken in Iran and counterpart countries. The administration must assume that it has the previous capabilities and that it has not gained new capabilities.”
    • “The people must know that economic changes will not occur all at the same time.”
    • “Under circumstances when there is improvement in economy matters, the people must act completely calculating and mature and not precipitate because they may lose their capital.”
    • “The condition must be created for foreign investment in Iranian firms because it will lead to jobs, economic growth, and transfer of technology to the country. We must act cautiously with countries and firms that had sanctioned us and consider the country’s expediency and interests.”
    • “If the intention of these firms is to use an 80 million market to import their consumer products, it must be prevented.”
  • MP Allahvardi Dehghani, Parliament Industries and Mines Commission member, discussed investment priorities in the energy sector:
    • “It is one of the important priorities of the Oil Ministry to increase investment in joint fields.”
    • “Investors must be invited and the necessary technology secured.”
  • Secretary General of the Iran Petrochemical Industry Corporate Employees Association, Ahmad Mahdavi, spoke to Mehr News Agency about recent meetings with Russian firms:
    • “Russian companies have announced their readiness to import from Iran various petrochemical products such as urea, methanol, and most polymer products.”
    • “In addition, Russian companies in another proposal have sought to import petrochemical products from Iran and export them to other European countries especially the Eastern bloc.”
    • “Even under the complete lifting of sanctions and resumption of exports to Europe, the exportation of Iranian petrochemical products to China, India, and Asia will not decrease.”
  • Mohammad Khazaei, Deputy Minister of Economy and Finance, at a press conference in Vienna said:
    • "Several weeks ago, $2 billion worth of contracts were signed with foreign companies!"
  • Reuters reports: Minister of Industry, Mines and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh announced to a conference in Vienna, Austria, that Iran is targeting oil and gas projects worth $185 by 2020. He also told companies that Iran is looking to move away from state ownership in many sectors:
    • “We are looking for a two-way trade as well as cooperation in development, design and engineering."
    • “We are no longer interested in a unidirectional importation of goods and machinery from Europe.”
    • Nematzadeh also estimated Iranian currency reserves at $115-125 billion.

Photo(s) of the Day

  • Fars News Agency displays images of funeral ceremony for Mohammad Ebrahimi, killed action defending the “shrine of the Ahl-e Bayt (family of the Prophet),” held in Qom.