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Iran Press Review: 28 Oct.

Analysis by FDD

  • Research Fellow Benjamin Weinthal wrote in Fox Newsyesterday: “Iran’s regime conducted a raid on an Easter service and arrested Christians, subjected Christian converts to death threats and psychological abuse and shut down licensed churches, according to a UN report that will be submitted to world leaders on Tuesday. While persecution of religious minorities is nothing new in the Islamic Republic, the 28-page catalog of horrors compiled by Ahmed Shaheed, the UN’s Special Rapporteur on the Situation of Human Right in the Islamic Republic of Iran, undermines the claim that President Hassan Rouhani has ushered in a new era of tolerance.”


  • Commentary continues on who is likely to be elected as the next Chairman of the Assembly of Experts:
    • source close to former President Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, says he has declared his readiness to chair the Assembly of Experts.
    • Gholam-Reza Mesbahi and Ahmad Khatami, members of the Assembly of Experts, say they support Ayatollah Hashemi Shahroudi as Assembly of Experts Chairman.
  • Mehr News Agency runs a primer on the deceased Ayatollah Mahdavi-Kani’s resistance against the Pahlavi dynasty, and highlights documents on him by way of the pre-revolutionary state security and intelligence organization, SAVAK [Sazeman-e Ettela’at va Amniyat-e Keshvar], amongst others.
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Mir-Qesmat Mousavi, a member of the Education and Research Committee in Iran’s Majlis [Parliament] states:
    • “Tomorrow, we are commencing the session to attain a vote of confidence for the proposed nominee for the Ministry of Science, Mahmoud Nili Ahmadabadi, it seems unlikely that this nominee will attain votes for the Ministry of Science.”
  • Reza Saberi, part of the Iranian Parliament’s conservative block comments on the aforementioned improbability, noting:
    • “Not even one person defended the qualifications and work-record of Mr. Nili and it seems that all members (of the conservative block) are opposed to the presence of Nili in the Ministry of Science.”
  • Mashregh News runs an interview with Mohsen Rafiqdoost, whom they refer to as a “treasury of memoirs.” Rafiqdoost comments on Habibollah Asgaroladi. 

Foreign Policy

  • Meeting with Hajj leaders in Iran today, Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei states:
    • “Creating a wall between the Islamic Republic and the rest of the Islamic world is one of the techniques of the enemy of the Islamic Ummah [Global Islamic nation/community], and the Hajj must be used in the best way possible, as it is the ‘gathering place of the Day of Judgment of the IslamicUmmah’ (Original: Mahshar Ummat-e Eslami) for the dismantling of this false wall, and to change the perceptions and incorrect beliefs in the false advertising of the enemies.”
    • “Unity and equality between Muslims is part of our religious principals, and in this arena the Islamic Republic is not just being chivalrous to anyone.”
    • “Islamic unity, which is the true slogan of the Islamic Republic means that the Islamic Ummah does not engage in enmity with each other and supports each other in important global issues.”
  • Reuters reports: “Iran accused Turkey on Tuesday of prolonging the three-year conflict in neighbouring Syria by insisting on President Bashar al-Assad's overthrow and supporting "terrorist groups" in Syria, the official IRNA news agency reported. Tehran and Ankara back opposing sides in the civil war, which pits rebel forces including radical Sunni Muslim fighters from the Islamic State against Assad, Tehran's closest regional ally.”
  • Tasnim News Agency reports: “China’s ambassador to Iran voiced the Asian giant’s enthusiasm for strengthening bilateral relations with the Islamic Republic. “Expansion of relations in all fields with the Islamic Republic of Iran is being considered and pursued by China’s political and parliamentary officials,” Chinese Ambassador to Tehran Pang Sen pointed out.”

Military and Security

  • The Deputy Artesh [National Army] Ground Forces Commander Kiyumars Heydari comments on impending military drills:
    • “The Artesh’s [military] exercise will be held before winter of this year.”
    • “Drone exercises will be part of this program.”
    • “The Western borders of the country are, al-Hamdulillah[Thank God], completely safe and our forces are present at the borders with all strength for establishing security.” 
  • During the Third National Passive Defense Organization Conference, Hossein Salami, the Deputy Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), addresses the crowd, saying:    
    • “The situation of the world today is fluid and fleeting, and wars cannot be foreseen in long-term intervals. Wars were realities that occurred in situations of strategic surprise. For example the World-Wars were started by the effect of a tactical accident and impacted actual strategies.”
    • “The imposed war of Iraq against Iran could not be predicted more than a few months before it became a reality and in end of days of the month of Shahrivar (roughly corresponding to September), again, in the eyes of political and military experts, it was not possible to foresee such issues.”
    • “War, like peace, comprises part of a human’s life. War is not something separate from the destiny of countries and nations. War is the continuation of peace, and is an image of a political transformation but is counted as a different framework.”
    • “Today we are a country that is perhaps faced with the most threats and we do not have even one committed ally, and the chance of realizing such wars in the new field for us is greater than other countries. Today, the soft-war is a reality for our security system. Proxy wars around us are under-way, and we are under economic sanctions. Many efforts to isolate us in the international space are being enacted, and all threats against us are being implemented or are likely to be implemented in the future.”
    • “In passive defense we must take some action. We must take some action that allows us to prevent the mental disintegration of society.”
  • Addressing the same Passive Defense Organization Conference, Seyyed Hassan Firoozabadi, the Armed Forces Chief of Staff notes:
    • “His Excellency the Imam (Khomeini) stated about passive defense that is not specifically for war-time, but rather is a cautious approach for all conditions.”
    • “Defense is of the identity of a nation which is alive, and any nation which cannot defend itself or has not realized the importance of defense, is not alive.”
    • “We cannot have an analytical or powerful eye and see the discriminatory conspiracies of the arrogance (America) against the Islamic system and not think of defense.”
    • “Military prowess is not only about weapons, but rather passive defense is complete and able to finish. As long as there is an enemy and there are threats, there must be thinking about defense.”
  • Mashregh News runs a large backgrounder on the IRGC’s support to Iraq, entitled: “How have the Revolutionary Guards consulted for the Iraqi’s? /Three main goals of the “Ashura” operation/From the nighttime visit to the Prime Minister to the meeting of the Minister of Interior with Hajj Hadi + Film and Pictures.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Kayhan editorializes:
    • “The government and the honorable president... are selling out of the country, the revolution and Islam... At the Geneva Agreement, we put the result of three years’ worth of 20% enrichment, suspension of the Fordo facility and stopping completion of the Arak [Heavy Water] reactor on the table in return for $7 billion of our own assets - something which was done with many if and howevers. In the course of the 4 months long extension [of negotiations] we expanded the concessions and the United States is now demanding closure of Fordo or converting it into a research facility, reduce your stockpile of 3,5% enriched uranium to a degree which we dictate and transfer it abroad, deactivate 5400 out of 9400 centrifuges, and the like. In return, we will be verifying you for a period of 7 to 20 years to see if we can trust you or not, or for example, promise not to impose new sanctions, this is the win-win game, and the constructive engagement...! The government and the honorable president must after a 14 months long experience evaluate and correct the path. Whenever we stop the loss and risk prone behavior, it is gain.”
  • Fars News Agency cites a source “close to the nuclear negotiation team” saying: “Still, no date has been finalized for the next round of Iran’s negotiations with the 5+1.”
  • Alireza Zakani, a Parliamentary representative for Tehran comments on nuclear negotiations, saying:
    • “Accepting America’s oppressive demands about reducing enrichment and changing the nature of parts of [Iran’s] nuclear industry in exchange for repealing a small part of the sanctions was unacceptable for the nation of Iran and is a cause of great damage to national interests.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Iranian First Vice-President Eshaq Jahangiri renewed Tehran's firm stance in the ongoing negotiations with the 5+1 (the US, Russia, China, Britain and France plus Germany) group of powers, and said that the country's negotiators are moving within the framework of the guidelines of Iran's Supreme Leader. "We frankly announce that the world should not think that we have closed our eyes waiting for the negotiations to bear results, we have planned and prepared ourselves for more difficult conditions," Jahangiri said, addressing a meeting in Arak city, Central Iran, on Tuesday.”
  • Receiving the new ambassadors of Norway, Belgium, Italy and Turkey yesterday, President Hassan Rouhani expressed optimism about the prospects for a comprehensive nuclear accord by the November 24th deadline.

Economy & Trade

  • Mehr News Agency runs a headline touting: “Iran’s debt to a Norwegian oil-giant is settled/the closing of the Statoil file.” 
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Turkish Okyanus Holding Company is resolved to invest in health and sanitation projects in Khorramshahr, the company's managing director announced. Alattin Muraat said that his company, which is active in various fields of health and sanitation, foodstuffs, construction of hospitals, livestock breeding, science and technology, petrochemicals and real estate properties, has about 6 thousand personnel and at least 130 workings places and make annual revenue of $400mln.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Over 89,000 tons of various commodities with the total value of $74mln were traded in various domestic and exports halls of Iran Mercantile Exchange (IME) in one working day. Copper cathode, copper wire, precious metals, low density copper,  and sulfur Molybdenum from National Iranian Copper Industries Company, copper rods from Donyay-e-Mes-e-Kashan Company, bloom ingot from Isfahan Steel Company, various kinds of oil and petrochemical products, including bitumen, argon, vacuum bottom and polymeric materials were the main commodities traded in the IME on Sunday.”
  • Reuters reports: “Essar Oil, a key Indian buyer of Iranian crude, shipped in 12.4 percent less oil from the OPEC member in September compared with the previous month, tanker arrival data made available to Reuters showed. The private refiner imported 90,700 barrels per day (bpd) from Iran in September, about 6.2 percent lower than a year earlier, the data showed.”

Human Rights

  • Fars News Agency reports: “A high-ranking Iranian human rights delegation left Tehran for Geneva, Switzerland, on Tuesday to attend the 20th meeting of the UN Human Rights Universal Periodic Review (UPR) in there. The Iranian human rights team, led by Secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani, is to elaborate on Iran's compliance with the undertakings that it took up in the previous session of the UPR held four years ago on legal, judicial, social, scientific and cultural achievements.”
  • The Los Angeles Times reported: “A spate of acid attacks against women and girls in Iran's cultural capital of Isfahan has been met with street rallies and social media protests, seemingly alarming Iranian authorities who have promised to take steps to quell the disfiguring assaults. Iranian liberals, however, believe that the government helped set the stage for attacks against those deemed immodest in some way by enacting a parliamentary measure providing protection to citizens who act on their own to help enforce the country’s strict social mores.”
  • The New York Times reported: “Executions have surged in Iran and oppressive conditions for women have worsened, a United Nations investigator said on Monday, drawing attention to rights abuses just as Iran’s president is pushing for a diplomatic breakthrough with the West. The investigator, Ahmed Shaheed, a former diplomat from the Maldives and now special rapporteur on human rights in Iran, made the comments on the eve of presenting his latest findings to members of the United Nations General Assembly.”
  • Haleh Esfandiari wrote in The Wall Street Journal: “Why are Iranian hard-liners once again setting their sights on women? Some 2,000 Iranian women and men demonstrated last week in the city of Isfahan, and others gathered before the parliament building in Tehran, to protest a series of acid attacks on women and to demand government action. The acid attacks, which have resulted in blindness, facial disfigurement and at least one death, coincided with the introduction of legislation that would protect people behind such atrocities. The Bill for the Protection of Chastity and Veiling ostensibly bans violence against women and other violators of “morals” and “decency.” In fact, it strengthens the morals police and security authorities and protects others who take measures on the streets to enforce the Islamic injunction to “promote the good and forbid evil.””

Daily Picture(s)

  • Mehr News Agency highlights photos from the Third National Passive Defense Organization Conference, featuring prominent security personalities such as Hossein Salami, Gholam-Reza Jalali, Massoud Jazayeri (left to right) and former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaie.
  • Fars News Agency displays photos of Ayatollah Khamenei’s meeting with Hajj officials in Iran today.
  • Mashregh News Agency showcases a photo from Iranian Students News Agency of Iranian Foreign Ministry officials, including Mohammad-Javad Zarif and Abbas Eraqchi (center-right and right) at the Fordow facility.