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Iran Press Review: 26 Jan.

FDD Analysis

  • Senior Fellow Emanuele Ottolenghi and Research Fellow Benjamin Weinthal write in U.S. News and World Report: “Since obtaining sanctions relief from the West under a twice-extended interim nuclear agreement, Iran has touted the steady stream of visiting trade and political delegations to Tehran. While heavy on symbolism, however, the visits are light on substance. Iran’s main goal, after all, is to change market psychology by creating the impression that the gold rush to return to Iranian markets is irreversible. The result is elaborately choreographed theatrics involving phantom openings to the West, big media events and high-profile visits that Tehran uses to project an impression of business as usual.”
  • Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran Research Analyst, wrote in an FDD Policy Brief: “Following the death of Saudi Arabia’s King Abdullah bin Abdul-Aziz on Thursday, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and former president, Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani quickly offered their condolences. Only weeks before the monarch’s death, however, the headline of the hardline Vatan-e Emrooz had used a derisive colloquialism to cheer on the Saudi monarch’s demise. Salman, the new king appointed within hours of his elder brother’s death, is now pledging to “continue adhering to the correct policies which Saudi Arabia has followed since its establishment.” This would seem to imply, among other things, that relations with the Islamic Republic of Iran will remain confrontational.”
  • Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran Research Analyst, wrote in The Long War Journal: “The death of Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali Allah-Dadi, the latest Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Qods Force (IRGC-QF) officer killed abroad, has generated an outpouring of condolences and support from Iran's political and military elite. Allah-Dadi, who had a distinguished career and solid Iran-Iraq War background, was killed by an Israeli helicopter assault in the Syrian city of Quneitra, in the Golan Heights. The strike also killed six members of Hezbollah [see LWJ reports, Senior Qods Force general killed in suspected Israeli airstrike, and Hezbollah commanders killed in suspected Israeli airstrike.]”
  • Toby Dershowitz, Vice-President for Government Relations and Strategy, wrote in The National Interest: “Monday morning, just hours before his death, was not the first time Argentine Special Prosecutor Alberto Nisman’s life was threatened. There were many others, he told me on numerous occasions when he came to Washington, D.C. to meet with his law enforcement colleagues and the national security community. One particularly heinous threat came in February 2013. If he did not cease his investigation into the 1994 bombing of a Jewish Community Center in Buenos Aires within 24 hours, he and his two daughters would be killed. There were ugly photos of the fate he would face if he did not end his in-depth inquiry into who was behind the bombing. His daughters moved to another location.”

Foreign Policy

  • Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s weighs-in on Middle East dynamics and Jordan in particular, while meeting the new Ambassador from Amman to Tehran:
    • “The destiny of the nation of Palestine and Masjid al-Aqsa (the al-Aqsa mosque), as the first Qibla [direction of prayer] of Muslims carries importance for all the Muslims of the world, and the gradual occupation of this mosque and the ejection of Palestinians from their country has disturbed the conscience of all Muslims.”
    • “The goal of the Islamic Republic is stability and security in the Middle East and the resolution of the Palestinian issue for the return of Palestinian organs their homeland.”
    • “We seek friendly and brotherly relations with the Hashemite government of Jordan in economic, cultural, and political sectors, and we can consult and collaborate on regional and global issues.”
    • Abdullah Suleiman Abdullah Abu Raman, the new Jordanian Ambassador: “Jordan looks to the Islamic Republic of Iran as an influential country in the region.”
  • Mohammad-Javad Zarif, Iran’s Foreign Minister, comments on his recent trip to Saudi Arabia for the late King Abdullah’s funeral:
    • “In [Saudi] Arabia I offered the condolences of the people and government for the passing of the King of [Saudi] Arabia in a formal manner.”
    • “I hope that the government of [Saudi] Arabia provides for greater cooperation in all fields in our sensitive region with a positive outlook on good neighborliness and seeing realities.”
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reports that Mohammad-Javad Zarif is in Yerevan, Armenia today, and will partake in a joint-press conference tomorrow with his Armenian counterpart.
    • Tasnim News Agency runs a headline quoting Assad, reading: “Iran has no expectation of Syria/The West and America are not in a place to talk about human rights.”
  • Tasnim News Agency reports the full text of an interview between Foreign Affairs magazine and Bashar al-Assad, the Syrian President.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian underlined that Saudi Arabia should adopt positive measures to better its relations with Tehran. “We are optimistic about the future of the relations between Tehran and Riyadh and we hope to witness positive steps by the al-Saud in this regard,” Amir Abdollahian said in an interview with the parliament’s news website on Monday.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi and Vice-President of the German Parliament Claudia Roth stressed the importance of boosting Tehran-Berlin Parliamentary relations. They made the remarks during their meeting in Tehran on Sunday.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in a meeting with new North Korean Ambassador to Tehran Kang Sam Hyon underlined the necessity for the further consolidation of cooperation with Pyongyang against the bullying of certain world powers. “The sanctions against North Korea have merely harmed the country’s people. We have always condemned the illegal sanctions and pressures and we should resist against those who are unrighteously seeking more power, through cooperation,” Rouhani said during the meeting in Tehran on Monday.”

Military & Security

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei meets with Ahmad Jebreil, the Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine – General Command, and notes:
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran will stand determined until the day that the ideals of Palestine reach fruition, and that day will definitely be seen by children.”
  • Brigadier General Ramezan Sharif, the Public Relations Deputy of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), likens the turnout for the funeral ceremony of Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali Allahdadi, the IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF) officer killed in Syria recently, to those from “the eight years of Holy Defense (the name given in Iran to the Iran-Iraq War).”
  • Sepah News, an IRGC official outlet, reports that “the memorial ceremony for the martyrdom of Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali Allahdadi, Jihad Mughniyah, and other Hezbollah fighters, will take place tomorrow on Tuesday, the seventh of the month of Bahman (January 27, 2015) in Tehran.”
  • Former President and current Chairman of Iran’s Expediency Discernment Council praises Iran’s pilots, harkening back to the Iran-Iraq War era, recalling their bravery and sacrifice during his address to the Association of Pilots of Iran:
    • Rafsanjani recalled one particular comment by Iranian pilots early in the war, noting: “That night, the pilots of the Air Force said to tell the Imam (Ayatollah Khomeini) to allow us to defend Iranian honor and its powerful army so that no enemy could give themselves the courage to invade the soil of Iran.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani condemned the crimes committed under the name of Islam by the terrorist groups, including Boko Haram. “The shameful crimes committed by terrorist groups such as Boko Haram has saddened the conscience of humans across the world,” President Rouhani said in a meeting with Kenyan Ambassador to Tehran on Monday.”
  • Brigadier General Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, the Commander of the Artesh’s [National Army] Ground Forces, states:
    • “Iran has the most powerful armored unit in area of West-Asia.”
  • Brigadier General Hossein Hamdani of the IRGC comments on the intentions of DAESH (the Persian and Arabic acronym for the Islamic State), regional security:
    • “At one in time it was Saddam who attacked us on behalf of the enemies, and today it is the likes of Abu-Bakr Baghdadi; however we must not neglect the main enemy which is the arrogance (a reference to America) and the Zionist regime.”
    • “We were confident that if DAESH seizes Baghdad, the next day it will be thinking about attacking Iran and occupying Tehran, but by God, they have been stopped in Iraq, and today they are in a state of retreat.”
  • Former Iranian nuclear negotiator, Saeed Jalili, weighs-in on terrorism, noting:
    • “The terrorists are active by way of the support of some great powers”
    • On the attacks in France: “That which took place in France was a planned scenario, especially the actions which took place after the event.”
  • Foreign Minister Zarif commented on combatting DAESH while at Davos: “The illusion that one can use DAESH against other states in the short term, must stop. Military actions against it should not be limited to bombardments. We need a multi-faceted and cohesive strategy.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Shirazi, the Supreme Leader's Representative to the IRGC-QF, commented on the events in Yemen, proclaiming:
    • “Ansar-Allah in Yemen is the same as Lebanese Hezbollah.”
  • Fars News Agency reported that 208 Parliamentarians thank Major General Qassem Suleimani, the Commander of the IRGC-QF, because of his fight against DAESH.
  • Shafaf News ran a backgrounder on Abu-Ali Tabatabaei, one of the Hezbollah Commanders killed in the recent Israeli strike against Quneitra, Syria.

Nuclear Issue

  • Fereidoun Abbasi-Davani, the former head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) engages in criticism of Iran’s current negotiating posture, exclaiming:
    • “The option of a win-win is not a justifiable principle for Western countries, we must respond to the negotiators with strength, and if we have strength, and stand before them with strength, they will accept our reasons, and submit to our rightful demands.”
    •  “Jalili never spoke from himself in negotiations, Jalili had plans and designs for everything the Westerners said, on a case-by-case basis, and due to Jalili’s negotiations being plan-centric the Westerners were present in Baghdad…the [same] Baghdad which they felt was unsafe.”
    • “The acceptance of negotiations in Baghdad was a symbol of the country’s strength during that era, and our country did not have a great need for negotiations.”
    • “The negotiating officials have accepted that America is the undisputed power of the world, and by clarifying its red lines the negotiating team made its own calculation, and we hope the negotiators do not bypass the red lines and go after a reckless agreement.”
  • Sadeq Kharrazi, a former Iranian Ambassador to the United Nations and current reformist activist, states:
    • “Iran’s negotiations with the 5+1 will be long and it may take years until a result is guaranteed for the two sides.”
    • “In reality, the Geneva agreement started a new chapter in the relations and discussions of Iran and the 5+1 and the West; the West is after its own interests and we are after our interests, and if today Iran today was not a special situation in the Middle East, and did not have power, the West would not negotiate with us.”
    • “The Geneva negotiations are not a complete and comprehensive agreement, and is general.”
  • Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), stated:
    • “Iran’s negotiations with the 5+1 Group is a test of these states being truthful to the path of negotiations and removal of all illegal and unjust sanctions against Iran.”
  • Commenting on nuclear diplomacy, Mohammad-Javad Zarif additionally states:
    • “We believe the negotiations must reach a conclusion, and in the event that the opposing side is interested in it reaching a conclusion, these negotiations can reach a conclusion.”
    • “They must decide do they want to reach a conclusion by means of negotiations with Iran, or do they want to continue pressure. If they want to continue pressure, our people have shown many times that pressure is ineffective and futile.”
  • The Hill reported: “Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) is considering delaying the introduction of his Iran sanctions bill until March, which would give him more time to gather support from wavering Democrats, according to a recent interview. The bill, co-authored with Sen. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.), would impose new sanctions if international negotiators do not reach a deal with Iran to roll back its nuclear program by the June 30 deadline, with a waiver if a deal is close.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is to appear before parliament following controversy over a promenade with his American counterpart during intense nuclear negotiations in Geneva, state media reported on Sunday. Zarif, who leads Tehran's talks with "P5+1" - the United States, Britain, France, Germany, Russia and China - had a 15-minute walk down Geneva sidewalks with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry during discussions on Jan. 14 aimed at reaching a settlement of the 12-year nuclear dispute between Iran and the West.”

Economy & Trade

  • The Islamic Republic News Agency runs a headline with respect to Iran’s inflation rates, reading: “The continuation of the decrease of inflation/The Central Bank 13 to 14 percent inflation for the next year.”
  • A Parliamentary Committee approves of a government initiative to tax formerly tax-exempt entities such as charitable religious foundations [Bonyads] and contracting arms of different branches of the Armed Forces.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Tehran and Algiers signed two cooperation pacts on implementation of Algeria's infrastructural projects by Iran in the Arab country. The pacts were signed by Iranian and Algerian officials in the second meeting of Iran-Algeria Joint Infrastructural Committee in Algiers on Monday.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Tehran and Ankara are working on a plan to use their national currencies in their trade exchanges, Iranian Ambassador to Turkey Alireza Bigdeli said Sunday. "After the implementation of the preferential trade agreement and settlement of transportation problems between Iran and Turkey, now the most important economic agenda of the two countries is a mutual monetary contract that will allow use of their national currencies in (bilateral) trade and economic exchanges," Bigdeli wrote on his webpage on Sunday.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays images of snow in Tehran