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Iran Press Review: 24 March

Foreign Policy

  • According to Islamic Republic News Agency, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, is travelling to Moscow today to meet the Russian President, Vladimir Putin in order to discuss issues pertaining to regional cooperation and combating terrorism.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi in a phone conversation with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani stressed the necessity for the further deepening of relations and cooperation with Tehran in all fields. During the phone conversation, Abadi also presented a report on the latest situation of the Iraqi nation's fight against terrorism in different parts of the country, and appreciated Tehran for its supports in this regard.”

Military & Security

  • Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, the Commander of Iran’s Artesh (National Army) Naval Forces, states:
    • “The distance between Bandar Abbas and the Gulf of Aden is approximately 2500 kilometers and the [Iranian] Naval Forces as a strategic force are present in that region with authority.”
  • Fars News Agency reports that Iran’s 33rd Artesh Naval Flotilla, consisting of one Naghdi-class destroyer and one Banadar Abbas-class logistics vessel docked in Cochin port of Kerala, India today. The fleet is scheduled to leave India on March 27, 2015, after conducting a series of meetings.
  • In an interview with Defa Press that was quoted in the headline, the Commander of the Artesh Navy in Khuzestan province, touts:
  •  “War is bitter, but the culture of Ashura will create a fountain of blood for the enemy.”
  • The current Commander of the Artesh Air Force, Brigadier General Hassan Shah-Safi, stopped by the Offensive Vahdati Base in the Rahian-Nour exhibition.
  • The Islamic Republic of Iran’s Embassy in Amman, Jordan, dismisses “some media reports on statements from Commander Qassem Soleimani concerning regional developments, in particular Jordan.”
  • Reuters reported: “With Iran moving closer to a deal with world powers to constrain its nuclear program in return for an end to sanctions, Arab analysts and leaders are focused more on how Tehran is working unconstrained to tighten its grip on Arab states, from Iraq to Lebanon, and Syria to Yemen. The man behind what some see as an attempt to create a new Persian and Shi'ite "empire" on Arab land is Major General Qassem Soleimani, commander of the al-Quds brigade of the elite Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).”

Nuclear Issue

  • Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif had a call with the Foreign Minister of the People’s Republic of China to discuss possible solutions during discussions about the nuclear negotiations with the P5+1.
  • Behrouz Kamalvandi, the Spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), states:
    • “Based on our request and the countries of the 5+1 to the [International Atomic Energy] Agency, the mission has been given for the verification of the voluntary measures of Iran based on the Joint Plan of Action.”
    • Additionally, Kamalvandi commented on the role of the Agency’s Director and the Additional Protocol:
      • “The Additional Protocol is voluntary and we will not enact it since the Resolutions of the Security Council and the Board of Governors are illegal.”
      • “On various occasions, Mr. Amano states topics which if appear to be other than the quarterly and monthly reports of the Agency in relation to the agreement of Iran and the 5+1, he should state such topic less-so, as it will be better for both sides.”
  • Mohammad-Hossein Asfari, a member of the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, notes:
  • “The Islamic Republic is negotiating in order to prove it is not pursuing nuclear arms and will not do so. Of course, such negotiations are only worth something if the Western party totally removes the sanctions. Otherwise, negotiations and sanctions don't add up.”
  • Commenting elsewhere on negotiating strategies, he says: “Wherever we have stopped short in front of the West and took a step back, they went 2 steps forward. We must not fall short and compromise against the excessive-demands and bribery of the West.”
  • “Under circumstances, where the French take hostile positions against the Islamic Republic of Iran, are among the mischievous members of the P5+1 Group, create obstacles in the path of the negotiations and follow the same line as the Zionists, economic agreements between Iran and France, in particular in the field of automobile industry, is questionable. We must move towards independence... Signing a contract with Peugeot helps their position.”
  • The Washington Post reports: "Israel obtained sensitive information about the nuclear talks between Iran and the United States and turned it over to members of Congress, the Wall Street Journal is reporting. The insider details came from “confidential” briefings from U.S. officials as well as from “informants, diplomatic contacts in Europe and eavesdropping,” the paper said. Citing “current and former officials,” the paper said the “spying operation was part of a broader campaign by Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s government to penetrate the negotiations and then help build a case against the emerging terms of the deal.””
  • Hossein Naqavi, a member of the Parliamentary National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, states:

Economy & Trade

  • Hamid-Reza Araqi, the Managing Director of the National Iranian Gas Company (NIGC) comments on an expansion of programming in the Iranian calendar year 1394 in the gas sector and investment in the gas industry.
  • Reuters reports: “The European Union is set to put 40 Iranian shipping firms back on a list of sanctioned groups in a blow to the Islamic Republic's transport sector which has sought an easing of trade restrictions, letters sent from the EU showed. The move, which comes at a critical time in international talks on Iran's nuclear programme, is part of the EU's response to a series of court victories by Iranian companies that have overturned EU sanctions against them. In February, the bloc re-imposed sanctions on Iran's biggest oil tanker firm NITC.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: "Iran's oil exports to China grew by 13.5% in February compared to January. Customs data showed on Monday that the Chinese oil imports from Iran last month were 2.04 million tons, or 532,400 barrels per day (bpd), up 13.5 percent from January on a daily basis.”

Human Rights

  • BBC Persian reports on protests that have taken place featuring slogans such as “Freedom, Freedom,” and “We are all Younes” during the funeral procession of Younes Asakareh. Asakareh was an Iranian-Arab street peddler and vendor who protested the harassment he had received by way of self-immolation.   

Daily Picture(s)

  • Commemoration ceremony of the passing of Fatemeh Hosseini Khamenei, sister of Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.