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Iran Press Review: 26 Feb.

Politics

  • Iran’s President Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Rouhani met with Ayatollah Vahid Khorasani today. The Ayatollah reportedly told President Rouhani that:
    • “You are one of the best presidents, and are however faced with overwhelming challenges.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Razini, a member of Iran’s Assembly of Experts [Majles-e Khobregan], critiques the current political situation surrounding the election of the next Chairman of the Assembly. On the sidelines of a mourning ceremony for Ali Fallahian’s deceased son, he said:
    • “The head of the [Assembly of] Experts shall not have more than one candidate.”
    • “However, political parties cannot be active in it.”
    • “The conditions of the Assembly until present were not as such, that different candidates would have different opinions in the Assembly, and until present it was like this, that one person of the ‘greats’ would become a candidate and the rest would adhere to him, and this existed during the times of Ayatollah[‘s] Meshkini, Mahdavi-Kani, and Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani.”  
  • Sadegh Tabatabaie, the former Spokesperson of the interim government after the Islamic Revolution of 1979 who recently passed away, had a funeral several held in Jamaran in his honor. A distant relative of Ayatollah Khomeini, Tabatabaie’s funeral service was attended by numerous members of Iran’s religious and political elite including Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Hassan Khomeini, Hojjat al-Eslam Hadi Khamenei, and Mehdi Hashemi, just to name a few.
    • Tabatabaie is slated to be buried in the Behesht-e Zahra [Paradise of Zahra] cemetery near Tehran.

Foreign Policy

  • Marziyeh Afkahm, the Spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, offers a statement of condemnation regarding the terrorist attack near the Embassy of the Islamic Republic of Iran in Kabul, Afghanistan. She notes:
    • “All the coworkers of the embassy are completely safe, and no damage has been done to the embassy of our country due to this terrorist attack.”
  • Fars News Agency reports on developments with Yemen’s Houthi movement, noting per a headline that “An Ansar-Allah delegation made its way to Moscow.”
  • Delivering a sermon during the funeral ceremony of Ali Fallahian’s deceased son, Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sedighi, a temporary Friday Prayer Leader for Tehran, notes:
    • “We are always at the risk of tests, and [the Iran-Iraq] War was one of the hard tests.”
    • “The Revolution (of 1979) was a great test that was not foreseen for our nation, and the riots after the Revolution were a test within a test.”
    • “The sedition (the name given by Iranian hardliners to the events of Summer 2009 popularly known as the Green Movement) of [13]88 (2009) was a convoluted and heavy test that the nation of Iran received a higher grade in than the Holy Defense (a reference to the Iran-Iraq War).”

Military & Security

  • Tasnim News Agency reports on the unveiling and testing of an armed robot during day two of Iran’s Great Prophet 9 military drills. Led by the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Ground Forces (IRGC-GF) in Jask, the armed robot possessed “the ability to destroy targets up to 5 kilometers away.”
  • Iran’s Minister of Defense, Hossein Dehqan, weighs-in on Iran’s security situation, stating:
    • “We will accept under no circumstances tolerate the presence of foreigners in the region.”
    • Commenting on the Great Prophet 9 military drill: “The message of these drills is that Islamic Iran is prepared to defend itself and the region, bears no hostility towards neighboring countries, and under no circumstances tolerates the presence of foreigners in the region.”
    • Commenting on the ‘all options on the table’ mantra of the U.S.: “America today does not say this, in combatting Iran this country has always had this position, such that during the Holy Defense it was at the service of Saddam.”
    • Commenting on the potential for Iran to receive the S-300 SAM from Russia: “We have agreed with the Russians that which is in our national interest and our needs shall occur.”
  • Tasnim News Agency carries the full text of a letter by Basij Brigadier General Mohammad Shirazi, the Chief of Staff of the Command headquarters of the Commander in Chief, conveying Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei’s glad tidings in honor of the IRGC’s staging of the Great Prophet 9 military exercise.
  • Sepah News touts the successful firing of the Dehlavieh missile during day two of the drill.
  • Commander Mohammad Pakpour, the Commander of the IRGC-Ground Forces comments on weapons used during day 2 of the Great Prophet military drill:
    • “We tested new weapons during this drill, and we were able to successfully target our targets.”
    • “Some of these weapons were built by the Self-Sufficiency Jihad of the Ground Forces of the Guards.”
    • Elsewhere, Pakpour claimed: “Our power today will eliminate the enemy.”
  • Major General Mostafa Izadi additionally states:
    • “The military capabilities and equipment of the Islamic Republic and its strategic functionalities in its region will never permit the Zionist regime to partake in an error.”
    • “The strength which we have seen on stage in this drill, we can exhibit with greater strength in other areas.”
  • BBC News reports: “Leaked intelligence documents show that South Africa has found itself caught up in foreign spy games, coming under intense pressure from the US to act against Iran, amid Western fears that Iran wants to get hold of African uranium for its disputed nuclear programme. The South African cables, published by Al-Jazeera and London's Guardian newspaper, suggest that intelligence officials had yielded to some of the pressure by going to extraordinary lengths to spy on Iranians, including its diplomats in Pretoria.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Ali Larijani, the Speaker of Iran’s Parliament [Majlis] comments on nuclear diplomacy, stating:          
    • “The nation of Iran stands against the toughness of the Westerners, who want to deny Iran nuclear knowledge.”
  • Majid Takhteravanchi, the European and American Deputy for Iran’s Foreign Minister, is quoted in a headline by Islamic Republic News Agency as saying:
    • “In the Geneva negotiations we had significant progress/We are hopeful that in the next negotiations we will take more positive steps.”   
  • Robert Joseph and William Tobey write in the National Review: “The administration’s defenders are vigorously rebutting allegations that President Obama has made too many concessions in the negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program. Their defense is a simple statement of fact: There is no agreement yet, so how can the critics be right? They assert that we must wait until the outcome is agreed upon before we can assess it. The concern, however, is both bipartisan and international — with many Democrats voicing alarm and with Israel and the Arab states alike frustrated that a seemingly desperate administration has placed Iran’s interests above those of its allies.
  • The Wall Street Journal reports: “Nuclear talks between Iran and six major powers are getting close to agreement after more than a decade of diplomacy, the European Union’s foreign-policy chief Federica Mogherini said in an interview with The Wall Street Journal on Thursday. Senior U.S. officials on Monday said there was progress during weekend discussions as Iran and the six powers—the U.S., France, Germany, the U.K., Russia and China—seek to agree on the framework of a final agreement by the end of March. The deadline for the full, detailed agreement is June 30.”

Economy & Trade

  • The Wall Street Journal reported: “For Mostafa Pakzad, it was a typical working lunch in the surreal world of doing international business in Iran. In the former Hotel Miami, a Shah-era night spot since converted to a swanky restaurant, the 49-year-old Mr. Pakzad conferred with a potential client named Mehran, who wouldn’t disclose his last name. Around them heavily made-up homemakers munched salads, their bleached-blond hair peeking out from their head scarves.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays pictures of day 2 of the Great Prophet 9 military drill.
  • Defa Press highlights a picture of an Iranian UAV reportedly “on the sidelines of the [military] drill.”