Iran Press Review 26 May

Analysis by FDD

  • Benjamin Weinthal, Research Fellow, wrote in The Jerusalem Post: “Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s tenure has been marked by intensified persecution and incarceration of Baha’is, Jews, Christians and Sunni Muslims, according to a new report from the US Commission on International Religious Freedom.“Since Hassan Rouhani assumed office in August 2013, the number of individuals from religious communities who are in prison because of their beliefs has increased,” it said.”
  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, wrote in The Arab Weekly: ““We will maintain a presence in Af­ghanistan, even after the end of our current mis­sion,” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg announced. The Atlantic alliance, he said, will have a “light footprint,” with “a military component”. But a “light footprint” may not be enough to secure the survival of the fragile Afghan state: On top of the constant pressure from the Taliban, NATO must also prepare itself for an influx of Shia Afghan fighters mobi­lised by the Tehran regime.”

Politics

  • Fars News Agency reports on the elections for the Executive Board of Iran’s Parliament. Ali Larijani, the Speaker from the previous round, kept his position in the assembly’s leadership, with a reported 205 out of 263 votes.

Foreign Policy

  • Kayhan editorializes on the occasion of the liberation of Khurramshahr:
    • Referring to President Hassan Rouhani’s speech on the occasion of the liberation of Khurramshahrr: “He [Rouhani] has finally recognized that we are at war with the United States and its allies! His epic and sensational statements must be compared with his other speeches concerning engagement with these same countries, which he today calls ‘occupiers of our economy...’ Second, now that we recognize we are engaged, on unequal terms, in a war with the United States and all its agents... we must investigate how and with which tactics we want to wage war against the enemy... One must sincerely say that with the agendas of the government, one can't liberate the tiniest bit of the economy of the country and should these tactics continue, we will end up losing more ground to the enemy.”
  • A Deputy from the Turkish Republican Party visits Iran, meeting with the Deputy Speaker of the Iranian Parliament, Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabi-Fard. Discussing bilateral relations, and late the Islamic State, Aboutorabi-Fard notes:
    • “The cooperation of Turkey and Iran as 2 important countries in the Islamic world can have a positive role in resolving the present issues of Muslims.”
    • “The supporters of terrorist groups will definitely suffer damages from Takfiri and terrorist groups and will be struck by them.”
  • The Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), Admiral Ali Shamkhani, responds to a question about Iran-Russia relations:
    • “Our view is that the Russians at the right time have aboned us and will do so, and the Russians on the opposite side say to us, your wishes are with the west. But we believe in a strong and authoritative Russia, and this creates a capacity for us to continue our cooperation.”
  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, Iran’s former Foreign Minister and current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR), attends the multinational Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA).
  • Press TV reports: “Iran's Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Kuwaiti counterpart have stressed the necessity of confronting Takfiri terrorist groups in the Middle East. Zarif and Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Sheikh Sabah al-Khalid al-Sabah made the remarks while discussing regional issues in a meeting in Kuwait on Tuesday.”
  • Press TV reports: “Iran and Oman have signed an agreement to demarcate their maritime borders in the Sea of Oman. The agreement will "institutionalize and promote Tehran-Muscat relations,” Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters in the Omani capital on Tuesday.”

Military & Security

  • Major General Qassem Suleimani, Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds-Force (IRGC-QF), addresses IRGC members in Kerman (as reported by Kayhan):
    • “Within the society, there is a discourse called the national interests, which some, knowingly or unknowingly, define wrongly... Such individuals do not deliver a comprehensive, complete and fair definition of national interests but ride on political currents and turn it into an instrument in their factional and party political disputes... If a calamity or the plague hits our neighbor, we must establish a quarantine zone in our borders and control all elements in and out of the country in order to prevent the spread of the plague to our country. We must do something similar concerning the Islamic State... If one does not make the nation aware of this threat and does not engage in the struggle to prevent the calamity, he would be responsible for the disaster. This is a huge factor and preventing it is exactly our national interest... Know that the person who said the head of the snake is in Iran and one must smash the head of the snake, is the very same evil person who conspired against the Prophet of Islam at the Laylat al-Mobit [reference to a Quraish tribal conspiracy to assassinate the Prophet Muhammad]. This is the very same thought... Mr. Obama, how many kilometers is the distance between the Assad Base, where the United States warplanes are based, and Ramadi? How come you, on the pretext of supporting that nation have your bases in the country [Iraq] and unify [the Iraqis?] but do not engage in anything? Is this not [a sign of] complicity in the conspiracy [of the Islamic State] and part of the conspiracy...? Daesh is a dangerous conspiracy for the world of Islam. By God, should anyone fail in recognizing it as such, he should doubt his own [faculty of] reason and sanity... Today, when facing the dangerous phenomenon [of Daesh] no one but the Islamic Republic is capable of countering it... We are not in need of the oil and soil of Iraq. We have nothing [which belongs to] Iraq or any other state and we support them all... America has not done a damned thing in the fight against Daesh.”
  • Ayatollah Nouri Hamadani meets with Iran’s chief Consul in Karbala, Iraq, and comments on the Islamic State:
    • “Those same people who in the war with Iran helped Saddam, support Daesh today.”
    • “Daesh has created the same situation in Iraq that Saddam had created for Iran during the Holy Defense (the name of the Iran-Iraq War inside Iran).”
  • Ali Fadavi, Commander of Iran’s IRGC-Navy (IRGC-N), proclaims:
    • “The capabilities of the IRGC-N is based on 5 pillars…Our second capability are coast-to-sea missiles which have all the geographies of the Persian Gulf, Strait of Hormuz, and the Sea of Oman to the area of Ras al-Hadd in the northern Indian Ocean covered by long range coast-to-sea missiles.”
    • “These missiles are amongst our most equipped vessels. The fourth capability of the IRGC are drones, and we have unmanned aerial vehicles, which we use for gather intelligence and to use it militarily.”
  • Seyyed Hassan Firoozabadi, Iran’s Armed Forces Chief of Staff, notes:
    • “By attacking Yemen, [Saudi] Arabia has done great oppression to the people of this country.”
    • “From several years ago until present, America has projected much conspiracy in the region, yet has always been defeated by the resistance and steadfastness of nations.”
    • “We desire no war, but we are prepared for a revolutionary defense of Islamic values and the oppressed [ones] of the world.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Ali Larijani, the newly re-elected Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, states:
    • “Resolving the nuclear issue is not just the responsibility of the government (referring to the executive branch), and one working leg for the resolution of this issue is the Parliament. Certainly, the issues and the macro-level problems as [in] the negotiations will not be resolved without the intervention of the Parliament.”
  • Seyyed Hossein Naqavi-Hosseini, the Spokespeson for the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, states:         
    • “In today’s session, the necessary plan for the government to preserve the nuclear achievements of the Islamic Republic of Iran was discussed and debated.”
    • “In attending to the aforementioned plan, the members of the committee focused on three axes. The first issues was that a final nuclear agreement must be sent to be ratified by the Parliament so that the Parliament can act upon its legal responsibilities per article 77, 125, and 150 of the Iranian constitution.”
  • Sadeq Zibakalam, a noted academic and Professor in Tehran, urges President Hassan Rouhani to organize a “nuclear referendum,” in which the views of the people of Iran is expresses concerning the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 Group.
  • Parliamentarians discuss their disputes with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif and the nuclear negotiators:
    • Esmaeil Kowsari: “Mr. Zarif and Mr. Eraqchi present their own interpretations of the writings of the agency [IAEA] and say in the Additional Protocol, there is [such a thing as] controlled inspection of military sites... Controlled, or managed inspection, is one where agency employees take samples from the military sites and take it to the laboratory for further investigation... I told Mr. Eraqchi that we do not recognize such a thing at all and you must clarify this to the Western party... At Sunday’s closed [parliamentary] session, managed inspection of the military sites was not acceptable to anyone... Agency agents to the military centers of the Islamic Republic of Iran is prelude to espionage and completely and certainly, the parliament is opposed to inspection of military sites... As it has been emphasized in the past, agency inspection is limited to the nuclear sites.”
    • Rahim Zaraie: “America is our eternal enemy. Deeds such as interviewing nuclear scientists takes place with the aim of espionage and exerting pressure on scientists in this strategic field... the Islamic Republic of Iran’s growing military strength taken into consideration, the enemy is trying to deal fundamental blows to the regime on the pretext of inspecting the military centers... Enmity and brutality of the enemies of the revolution, in particular the United States, has been proven to us. Should suitable action against the behavior of the enemy not be used, they will go after other strategic capabilities of Iran in the future.”
  • Reuters reports: “An Iran nuclear deal is not likely by June 30 because technical details will remain to defined and Iran will not get sanctions relief before the end of the year in the best of cases, western ambassadors said on Tuesday. Six major powers are seeking to negotiate an agreement under which Iran would limit its nuclear program in exchange for the easing of economic sanctions that have crippled its economy.”
  • IRIB Radio reports: “Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Ali Shamkhani underlined Tehran's firm stance on its red lines in the ongoing nuclear talks with the so-called world powers, and said that the country will not accept foreign access to its sites beyond the undertakings envisaged in the additional protocol. "Iran's cooperation with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) will be based on normal procedures and merely limited to nuclear facilities; no trend outside the international rules or access to anywhere beyond (what has been mentioned in) the additional protocol is acceptable," Shamkhani said, addressing professors and students of Tehran University in the Iranian capital on Monday, FNA reported.”

Economy & Trade

  • Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, is quoted in a headline by Resalat-News as saying:
    • “Resolving economic problems requires internal unity.”
  • Commenting on resistance economics in Zahedan in Iran’s South-East, Iran’s IRGC Commander, Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz Jafari, notes:
    • “The people of Sistan and Baluchistan have the necessary inclinations for the development of resistance economics plans.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “German Ambassador to Tehran Michael Freiherr von Ungern-Sternberg described his country as Iran's biggest economic and trade partner. "Germany is the biggest European partner of Iran in the field of economy," the German envoy said in a meeting with Khorassan Razavi governor general in the city of Mashhad, Northeastern Iran, on Tuesday.”

Human Rights

  • NBC News reported: “Washington Post reporter Jason Rezaian went on trial on espionage charges behind closed doors in Tehran on Tuesday, 10 months after he was arrested at his home and imprisoned, Iran's semi-official Tasnim news agency reported. His wife Yeganeh Salehi and a woman described as a photojournalist, who were detained with him in July but later released, also went on trial, the official IRNA news agency said without giving any details on their charges.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays photos from the Artesh-Ground Forces military drill, Bayt al-Moghadas 27.