Subscribe to FDD

Iran Press Review: 28 Jan.

Analysis by FDD

  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, writes in an FDD Policy Brief: “Even in the unlikely event that Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and his negotiating team reach a nuclear agreement with international negotiators, its implementation may well fall to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC). For decades, the IRGC has expanded its influence in Iran’s parliament and national-security apparatus, and the next president may even come from its ranks. The IRGC’s vociferous opposition to nuclear concessions and improving ties with the West raises serious questions over whether future Iranian governments will uphold any nuclear deal that the current one signs. Rouhani is fighting a two-front war. Abroad, he is engaged in diplomatic arm-wrestling with the P5+1 international negotiators, seeking to pocket maximal gains for Iran while minimizing Tehran’s concessions. Meanwhile, Rouhani’s cabinet is torn between public demands for jobs and human rights, the creeping infiltration of the IRGC, and Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s dogged attempts to maintain the status quo at all costs.”
  • Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director and Annie Fixler, Policy Analyst, wrote a report published by FDD Press: “To date, the Iranian government remains unwilling to come into compliance with its international obligations. At the same time, as the Obama administration has lowered its nuclear demands, U.S. negotiating leverage has diminished. If anything, the administration has accommodated the red lines laid out by Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ali Khamenei. The administration deserves credit for its attempt to find a compromise with Iran through a diplomatic process. However many of its specific overtures have only hardened Iranian nuclear intransigence, as the search for a comprehensive agreement between the West and Iran enters the sixth year for the United States and the twelfth year for the Europeans.”
  • Clifford May, President, wrote in The Washington Times: ““When heads of state become gangsters, something has to be done.” Winston Churchill said that. It’s a proposition not many people nowadays endorse. Fewer still take it upon themselves to stand up to the thugs-cum-statesmen. Alberto Nisman was an exception — right up until last week when he was found dead, a .22-caliber bullet in his brain. Shocking? Yes. Surprising? Hardly. He and those who knew him (myself included) were always keenly aware that this was possible — perhaps likely. To say he was courageous would be a gross understatement.”
  • Behnam Ben Taleblu, Iran Research Analyst, wrote in The National Interest: “Ahead of the June 30 deadline for a comprehensive nuclear accord with Iran, international negotiators remain puzzled by two questions: “What does Tehran want, and what will it settle for?” A close reading of Iranian officials’ recent remarks helps place us in their shoes. While the message varies between officials – from the stridency of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei to the more diplomatic rhetoric of President Hassan Rouhani – one theme remains consistent: Iran believes it’s on the ascendant. Such thoughts have roots in Iranian policy.”
  • Mark Dubowitz, Executive Director and Jon Schanzer, Vice-President for Research, wrote in The National Interest: “As President Obama made clear in his State of Union address on Tuesday, U.S. officials are reasonably confident that they have Iran just where they want it. They say the Iranian economy is reeling from a 60 percent drop in the price of oil, Tehran’s most valuable asset, which accounts for about 50 percent of its government budget. The White House and its allies, in an ongoing effort to prevent Congress from passing new Iran sanctions, are now using this drop in oil to their advantage. They argue that oil markets are inflicting serious economic pain on the Islamic Republic, and that this should be enough to convince Iran to reach a nuclear deal.”
  • Toby Dershowitz, Vice-President for Government Relations and Strategy, wrote in an FDD Policy Brief: The Senate Judiciary Committee will begin confirmation hearings on January 28 for Loretta Lynch, U.S. attorney for the Eastern District of New York, to become attorney general of the United States. The hearing represents a critical opportunity to learn the lessons raised by the late Alberto Nisman over Iranian terrorism in the Western Hemisphere. Lynch’s hearing comes on the heels of Nisman’s suspicious death in his Buenos Aires home. Nisman was the Argentine prosecutor tasked with investigating the 1994 bombing of the Asociación Mutual Israelita Argentina (AMIA), the Jewish center in the Argentine capital. He and his team meticulously reviewed mountains of documents, wiretap transcripts, and other intelligence material. His investigation concluded that at least seven high-ranking Iranian officials were involved in planning the attack.”

Politics

  • Iranian outlets, such as Arman-e Emroozmock “The Ahmadinejadi’s of Yesterday, the Defendants of Today,” in a headline, referring to images of Babak Zanjani, Saeed Mortazavi, and Mohammad-Reza Rahimi,
    • Arman-e Emrooz additionally reported the full letter of former First Vice-President Mohammad-Reza Rahimi, which was claimed to be “spiced with disclosures” against former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • Earlier, Sadegh Zibakalam, a Professor of Political Science in Tehran University wrote a column in Shargh asking in its headline: “The condemnation of Zarif or Rahimi” as a reference to their presence before Parliament.

Foreign Policy

  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, current Chairman of Iran’s Center for Strategic Research (CSR) meets with President Vladimir Putin, of the Russian Federation. Velayati was reportedly sent as “the special envoy of the President.”
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reports that “Gholam-Ali Khoshroo was elected as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations.”
  • Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani offers a message of congratulations in a statement to the new Greek Prime Minister.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “An Iranian political delegation will visit Iraq next month to discuss bilateral relations and also study the two countries' common problems. The high-ranking Iranian delegation, to be headed by First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri, will travel to Baghdad in February, an Iraqi news agency reported.”
  • Iran’s Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Ali Jannati, states:
    • “Iran’s relations with the world are increasing.”
  • Mohammad-Reza Nematzadeh, Iran’s Minister of Industry, Mines, and Trade proclaims today that an “Iran-Turkey strategic cooperation council” has been established.
  • Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s Deputy for Arab and African Affairs, stated:          
    • “We announced to America through diplomatic channels that the helicopters of the Zionist regime have entered our red lines by targeting Commander Allah-Dadi and the martyrs of Hezbollah, which were at the front lines of combatting terrorism, and this criminal regime must understand the implications and outcome of it.”
  • Ala al-Din Borujerdi, the Chairman of the Iranian Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, commented on solving the Syrian conflict:
    • “[Most] certainly, the Syrian crises has no military solution to it, and only from a political manner, and [even then] by means of negotiations of Syrians and Syrians will this crises accept an end.”

Military & Security

  • Commander Mohsen Ansari, the Deputy of Iran’s Bonyad-e Shahid [Martyr’s Foundation] praises Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Quds-Force (IRGC-QF) Commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani.
  • Kayhan runs a headline above the fold on its front page,claiming that the recent rocket attacks by Hezbollah on what is reported to be an Israeli military convoy, are: “The first step of the deathly thunderbolts on the head of the Zionists.”
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei isdepicted on a poster in Iraq.
  • Major General Mostafa Izadi, a Deputy in Iran’s General Staff Armed Forces, commented on Brigadier General Allah-Dadi and Iran’s regional activities:
    • “Commander Allah-Dadi is the first martyr who reached martyrdom in the front lines by way of the Zionist regime.”
    • “Our commanders have only advisory and consultative roles, and it is the nations of the region that stand before the enemies.”
  • Mohammad-Reza Naqdi, the Commander of Iran’s Basij Forces, proclaimed:
    • “Certainly, the liberation of Haifa and Tel-Aviv will be easier for us than the 33 day and 22 day wars; because the doctrine of the Army of the Zionist regime was based on the principle of invasion.”
    • “With respect to this doctrine, the Zionist regime is much weaker in defense than in attack.”
  • Commenting on possible Iranian retaliation for Israel’s killing of Brigadier General Allah-Dadi, was Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, who said:
    • “The Zionist regime must await the decisive answer of the forces of Resistance and the Islamic Republic.”
  • Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi, an advisor to Iran’s Supreme Leader and formerly Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), stated:
    • “It appears that a unified front has formed against the front of Resistance, on the one hand, great powers like America, the U.K., and the Zionist regime, and on the other hand the front of Arab discord is present.”
    • “That which occurs in Syria and Iraq causes happiness and security for the Zionist regime. We are witness to the union of Jabhat al-Nusrah [The al-Nusrah Front] with the Zionist regime.”
    • Commenting on how Israeli helicopters were able to kill Allah-Dadi: “The helicopters of the Zionist regime brought the forces of resistance to martyrdom with intelligence they gained from Jabhat al-Nusrah.”
    • “Iranian forces are present in Iraq and Syria as advisers, and the goal of their presence is the establishment of security in Iraq and Syria.”
    • “We know the security of Iraq and Syria to be the security of Iran.”
  • Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Deputy Commander of the IRGC, weighed-in again on Allah-Dadi’s death:
    • “We were not created to take commands from Jews and Christians.”
    • “Today the world of Islam has awoken, and the enemies cannot stroll down streets with calmness and certainty.”
    • “We will take revenge, and the Zionists should await [it].”
    • “America could not prevent the defeat of the Zionist regime in four wars, they could not [engage] in military intervention in Syria while constantly announcing their threat.”
  • The Commander of Iran’s IRGC, Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz-Jafari, proclaimed:
    • “By the grace of God, the liberation of dear Quds [Jerusalem] is close.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Marziyeh Afkham, Foreign Minister Spokesperson for Iran’s touts that:
    • “The main frameworks for a nuclear agreement have been arranged.”
  • Kayhan ran a headline allegedly quoting the former Assistant Secretary of the Treasury during the Reagan administration, Paul Craig Roberts.
  • Ali-Akbar Velayati tells the press that he spoke to President Putin about “negotiations and sanctions.”
  • AFP reports that Iranian officials will meet tomorrow with the European members of the P5+1 in Istanbul.
  • Javan further editorialized:
    • “Strolling in the open air not only fails to solve the problems, but [along with] smiles and use of certain words encourages the enemy to increase its pressure [against the Islamic Republic]. After Mr. Zarif's walk with John Kerry, Obama, in his State of the Union address, once more mentioned all options being on the table... At a separate press conference... Obama said the chances for success are less than 50%... He continued: ‘Even if we reach a nuclear agreement with Iran, our problems with Iran will not be over, we have also other issues with Iran, including Iran's support for terrorism, Iran's position towards Israel, financial support for Hezbollah and disagreements concerning Syria... Four decades of experiences... show that Iran can never achieve its legal and natural rights from a position of weakness.”
  • Politico reported: “President Barack Obama’s exhaustive lobbying effort with Capitol Hill Democrats is paying off: The party is giving him major breathing room to finish nuclear negotiations with Iran. Senate Democrats, led by Iran hawk Robert Menendez of New Jersey, said Tuesday that they will give Obama two months to reach a deal on the country’s nuclear program before they vote for new sanctions. At the same time, House progressives are urging their colleagues to hold off on moving any legislation that would tighten economic penalties on Iran.”

Economy & Trade

  • Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani proclaims in a speech that “Resistance economics is life-saving” per a headline from Fars News Agency.
  • Aftab-e Yazd reports on high prices for fresh fruit, and displays a graph with data from Iran’s Central Bank (CBI) on the near 60% increase in fruit prices over the period of one year.
  • Hassan Raghfar, an Iranian economist, reported that Iran has experienced “80 thousand billion tomans in capital flight” per aResalat-News headline.
  • Fars News Agency reports: Tehran and Lisbon have agreed to boost their mutual cooperation in the air aviation industry and air transportation, a senior official announced on Wednesday. "The heads of the civil aviation organizations of Iran and Portugal have conferred on mutual cooperation in air transportation and establishing direct flights between Tehran and Lisbon," Deputy Head of the Civil Aviation Organization of Iran Mohammad Khodakarami said on Wednesday.”
  • Brenda Schaefer wrote in a Washington Institute Policy Watch: “Should the United States and its partners in the P5+1 -- Britain, China, France, Russia, and Germany -- strike a deal with Iran, the global oil and gas markets would no doubt be affected. Indeed, several leading oil and gas companies are already preparing for a return to business in Iran in the event sanctions are lifted. Such jockeying would only intensify once the Iranian oil and gas sector became fully available to international markets.”

Human Rights

  • The AP reports: “A Washington Post journalist detained in Iran for months will stand trial ‘‘soon,’’ the Islamic Republic’s official news agency reported Wednesday. The report by the IRNA news agency quoted Gholam Hossein Esmaeili, a senior judicial official. The report did not offer a specific time for the trial to start. ‘‘Jason Rezaian will be tried soon,’’ Esmaeili was quoted as saying.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Iran’s Supreme Leader visits the tomb of Ayatollah Khomeini, and later visits the Behesht-e Zahra cemetery, paying homage to the graves of Iran-Iraq War veterans.
  • Mehr News Agency displays images from the “Arabian Horse Festival in Iran” held in Albroz.
  • Fars News Agency displays pictures from a memorial ceremony for Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali Allahi-Dadi, the IRGC-QF member killed in Syria recently. Major General Qassem Soleimani, Iran’s IRGC-QF Commander, in addition to numerous other military and political elites, were present.