Iran Press Review 26 June

Analysis by FDD

  • Claudia Rosett, Journalist-in-Residence, writes in Forbes: “Should a final deal emerge from the Iran nuclear talks, now nearing a June 30 deadline, Congress will expect reports from the President every six months on whether Iran is in compliance. These reports would not be optional. They would be required under the Iran Nuclear Agreement Review Act of 2015, signed into law last month by President Obama. In theory, these reports would help ensure that a President eager to preserve his long-sought deal with Iran would find it hard to bury the evidence if Iran cheats. The President would have to inform Congress.”
  • Saeed Ghasseminejad, Associate Fellow, writes in an FDD Policy Brief: “Iran’s central bank published its preliminary annual report last week for the previous Persian year (March 2014 to March 2015), according to which Iran’s GDP grew 3 percent. The report represents the latest sign of improvement in Iran’s economy in part as a result of the partial sanctions relief it received after signing an interim nuclear agreement in November 2013. Iran’s strong growth rate, its halving of inflation, and the erosion of the sanctions regime raise serious questions over Western countries’ leverage over Tehran in nuclear negotiations, and whether reaching an acceptable nuclear deal is even possible. A 3 percent growth rate is a significant improvement compared to the negative growth (-1.9 and -6.8 percent) Iran experienced over the two previous years. Over the last Persian year, Iran’s oil sector grew 4.8 percent, and the year before by -8.9. The industry and mining sector experienced 5 percent growth, up from -2.9 percent the previous year. The same pattern reveals itself in the service sector, with 2.4 percent growth compared with -1.5 percent the year before. Only the agriculture sector saw lower growth than the year prior: 3.8 percent compared to 4.7.”
  • Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran Research Analyst, wrote in War on the Rocks: “Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has played his cards right. As the June 30 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear accord approaches, Iran’s supreme leader has maintained his rhetoric of resistance, dismissing long-term limits on Iran’s nuclear program as “a lifetime.” While certain Washington analysts — including on this forum— dismiss his statements as mere bravado and concerns about them as “overblown,” Khamenei’s role in Iran’s nuclear diplomacy must not be minimized. Rather, the principles laid down by the supreme leader remain the best barometer for assessing Iran’s negotiating behavior. In Sept. 2013, shortly after Hassan Rouhani’s election as president, Khamenei gave a speech authorizing nuclear diplomacy based on the principle of “heroic flexibility.” That flexibility, however, represented a shift in tactics rather than strategy. To date, the negotiations have earned Iran sanctions relief and a diminished threat of a preemptive military strike while allowing it to continue advancing its nuclear program through ongoing low-level enrichment and nuclear-related research and development — all without altering Tehran’s fundamental objectives.”
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, wrote in an FDD Policy Brief: “Iranian reactions to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s address Tuesday on international nuclear negotiations closely follow the country’s factional fault lines, from relative pragmatists desperate for sanctions relief to hardliners opposed to any accommodation with the West. It is the hardliners’ increasing clout in Tehran, however, that present one of the gravest challenges to reaching an agreement that international negotiators can and should accept. Reacting to the speech, supporters of the diplomacy led by President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif accentuated Khamenei’s praise for the negotiators as “brave” and “pious.” A mouthpiece of the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC), by contrast, headlined its response, “America aims to uproot Iran’s nuclear industry.””

Politics

  • Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif, defends his track record:
    • “At the time I was sent to New York, I was probably the only one who knew international law, prayed, and had a command of English. Of course besides Dr. Rajaei Khorasani [Ambassador to the UN].”
    • Commenting on the protests against his nuclear diplomacy, Zarif said:
      • “It is unlikely that normal people have a budget and can sustain such expenses for producing expensive color posters [against the negotiations]. Well, it is clear that there is a place financing such things.”
      • “I feel there are some friends who believe they, by attacking me and my colleagues, can advance their goals against the Global Arrogance, but I feel... I have resisted [against the United States].”
      • “Ever since I served His Lordship who visited the United Nations in New York, he has been most benevolent to me... Back then, I was a local employee, and because of lack of competent official employees and lack of learned men, I was also Charge d'Affaires. I did almost all the work... Ever since I had the happiness to serve him.”
    • Discussing his friendship with Hassan Rouhani:
      • “We were both members of the team negotiating the [U.N. Security Council Resolution] 598. He of course was a high ranking member and I was a junior member.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saeedi, representative of Iran’s Supreme Leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), weighs-in on the importance of the anniversary of the 7th of Tir bombing of the Islamic Republic Party.

Foreign Policy

  • Both Foreign Minister Zarif, and Alireza Enayati, Iran’s Ambassador to Kuwait, condemned the attacks which took place in a Shiite mosque in Kuwait today.
  • Hossein Amir-Abollahian, Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs, notes:
    • “Tehran and Moscow continue their effective support of Syria in combating terrorism.”
    • “Tehran, Peking, and Russia support stability and lasting security in the region.”

Military & Security

  • In South-Eastern Iran,  four members of the Jaish al-Adl terrorist group were killed by the Basij in Askan, near the Pakistani border.
  • Brigadier General Koiumars Heydari, Iran’s Artesh (national Army) Deputy Commander, states:
    • “Much like the Supreme Leader has stated numerous times, if the enemy wishes to threaten the security and [most] certainly, our response will be crushing and decisive.”           
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iran's Center for Innovation and Technology Cooperation and Russia’s largest defense manufacturer Almaz-Antey signed an agreement to boost industrial and manufacturing cooperation. The Iranian company and Russia's Almaz-Antey, the manufacturer of the S-300 air defense missile systems, agreed on export of Russia's non-military products to the Iranian market.”
  • Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, Iran’s Minister of Defense, tapped new deputies for the ministry. They include:             
    • Nasrollah Ezati – Deputy Coordinator
    • Seyyed Mehdi Farahi – Deputy for Research & Technology Affairs
    • Morteza Makhmalbaf – Human Resources Deputy
    • Mohammad Assadi – Managing Director of Defense Ministry Cooperative Foundation

Nuclear Issue

  • Islamic Republic News Agency quotes Zarif in a headline about his trip to Vienna: “We go to Vienna for a lasting and just agreement.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sediqi, temporary Tehran Friday prayer leader, proclaims:
    • “The statements of the Supreme Leader have calmed the hearths of the pious, extended support to the authorities and harmonized the [views] of the officials... He supported the negotiating team with pleasant words which makes their responsibility even graver... However, we must also know that the Leader’s support to the negotiating team dos not immunize them. They too may commit mistakes. Therefore, it is also the responsibility of the parliament to expand its monitoring umbrella to safeguard the nuclear negotiation team and insist on the rights of the martyr nurturing nation of Iran. One should not expect parliamentarians to go on summer holiday in the midst of the nuclear negotiations. The parliamentarians have begun a move, but the negotiating team is in need of further support since they are facing significant powers.”
    • “We can’t accept humility. We can’t be like other states who tolerate certain things. We are a state which engaged in a revolution, and showed a new revolution to the world. The negotiating team must preserve the strength of the Imam and that of the guardianship.”
    • “The Supreme Leader of the Revolution also said: ‘Some may claim I gave certain authorizations to the negotiating team but do not say it in public. The people should know that it is not so. The red lines which we express in the public speeches are also the ones which we say in private.’”
    • “The United States sent someone to meet the Leader of the Revolution asking to negotiate and they promise to remove the sanctions within six months and recognize the nuclear rights of Iran, but the Supreme Leader of the Revolution, with his special insight says: ‘we do not trust America, we tested America in negotiations and saw that their six months has become two years and they still have excessive demands.’ Therefore, in order to preserve the dignity and respect and the revolutionary spirit of having the leadership bastion of the masses in the world against the Global Arrogance, the negotiation team must be aware of the circumstances and should know it was America which volunteered for nuclear negotiations... Since we had the upper hand, America was thirsting for negotiations.”
    • “Domestically, our scientists managed to achieve 20% enrichment and the Westerners saw that they did could not reach their target, Iran has achieved an unimaginable power and can't be stopped by sanctions... Therefore, the stronger we are in the field of using peaceful nuclear technology, the more we will have the upper hand in the negotiations. But if we retreat, and do not appreciate such blessings, we will be defeated. We must know their promises are absurd since once can't trust the enemy.”
    • “Research and development and scientific development are among the defined red lines in the negotiations... all the financial, economic and banking sanctions, be it the Security Council, Congress or U.S. Government sanctions, must be annulled at the very moment of signing of the agreement. They should not be suspended. The other issue, is that delivering upon the promises should not depend on the approval of the IAEA since IAEA has not passed the exam and is controlled by the great powers.”      
  • Elsewhere, other Friday Prayer leaders weighed-in on Iran’s nuclear diplomacy:
    • Ayatollah Seyyed Yousef Tabatabaienejad, a Friday Prayer leader in Esfahan:
      • “The government, nation, and negotiating team are all, based on the Supreme Leader of the Revolution’s statements, in favor of a good deal and are against a bad deal.”
      • “Much like the Supreme Leader has stated national unity exists on the nuclear issue and we must all reach unity and a unity opinion and not be polarized.”  
    • Ayatollah Seyyed Kazem Nourmofidi, a Friday Prayer leader in Gorgan and representative of the Supreme Leader in Golestan:
      • “The Supreme Leader much more firmly than before has backed and supported the nuclear negotiating team and introduced them as the trusted of the nation, zealous, brave, and pious.”
    • Ayatollah NourAllah Tabarsi, a Friday Prayer leader in Sari and representative of the Supreme Leader in Mazandaran:
      • “Attaining a dignified agreement in the nuclear negotiations with the countries of the 5+1 is the least [possible] right of Islamic Iran.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Islamic Republic News Agency displays photos from Friday Prayers in Tehran today, led by Hojjat al-Eslam Kazemi Sediqi, with a sermon afterwards by Hojjat al-Eslam Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Ejei