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Iran Press Review: 30 Jan.

Analysis by FDD

  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, wrote in Business Insider: “In his State of the Union last week, President Barack Obama warned Congress that the threat of new sanctions on Iran would “all but guarantee that diplomacy fails – alienating America from its allies; and ensuring that Iran starts up its nuclear program again.” To many in Washington, the belief that American intransigence would scuttle a nuclear deal with Iran is appealing — it means, after all, that greater US flexibility could yield a grand compromise with Tehran and forestall a slide to war. But it's a fundamentally flawed analysis.”

Politics

  • Ali Tayyebnia, the Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance, will appear before Iran’s Parliament [Majlis] either on Sunday, Tuesday, or Wednesday of next week for questioning.
  • Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Chairman of Iran’s Guardian Council, Leads Friday Prayers today, proclaiming:
    • “One must fight corruption. For years, the Supreme Leader of the Revolution has emphasized the fight against corruption, but the question is how come corruption is not becoming less widespread, but is getting more widespread at a time when all authorities are speaking against of the fight against corruption. One must bluntly say: If you want to fight corruption, you must remove the corrupt individuals from positions [of responsibility].”
  • Ali Motahhari, a Parliamentarian from Tehran, complains about restrictions on freedom of speech, noting:
    • “The space for freedom of expression in the 11th government (the Rouhani administration) is less than that of the previous government.” 
    • “The moderates of principalism and reformism must become unified with one another, and the artificial wall between principalists and reformists must be broken.”
  • Hassan Rahimpour Azghadi, a member of Iran’s Supreme Cultural Revolution Council, praises Friday Prayers in Tehran:
    • “Friday Prayers are the base of the Revolution, and is the thermometer of public opinion of the faithful, and it must remain alive, and our goal is not controversial discussions.”

Foreign Policy

  • Elsewhere in his Friday Prayer Sermon, Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, stated:
    • “King Abdullah showed the greatest of enmity against the Shia, and started the Takfiris and supported them. He will now be paying for his deeds. Now, one must extend condolences to the Israelis and the United States, and those [who in Saudi Arabia] who were being fed from his table. To the devout Muslims, one must congratulate it.”
  • Ali-Akbar Velayati, a Foreign Policy adviser to the Supreme Leader and head of the Center for Strategic Research (CSR), met with Russian President Vladimir Putin, and the Foreign and Energy ministers in Moscow.
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Chairman of the Iranian Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi underlined Tehran's permanent support for national solidarity and negotiations among different groups in Lebanon. “Lebanon’s security and territorial integrity are very important to us and we pursue stability in that country,” Boroujerdi said in Beirut on Thursday.”

Military & Security

  • Tasnim News Agency releases a video of the operational activity and capabilities of the Kornet rocket.
  • Fars News Agency reports that Iran’s Ministry of Interior hosted a commemorative memorial named “The Jihad Continues,” with a photo of Jihad Mughniyah, one of the Hezbollah members killed in a recent Israeli airstrike in Syria. Many of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) leaders were in attendance, including Major General Mohammad-Ali Azizi-Jafari, the force commander.
  • Iran’s IRGC Quds-Force (IRGC-QF) Commander, Major General Qassem Soleimani, is pictured reading the Quran beside the tomb of the recently killed Jihad Mugniyah.  
  • Defa Press cites Al-Mayadin news, noting that Major General Qassem Soleimani met with Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, only 48 hours after the killing of Brigadier General Mohammad-Ali Allah-Dadi and members of Hezbollah in Quneitra, Syria.
  • Sepah News reports that Iran has produced a crew-boat named the “Parmida-6” that was put to sea in Iran’s southern city of Busher. IRGC-Navy (IRGC-N) Commander, Admiral Ali Fadavi was reportedly in attendance.
  • Reactions to Hezbollah’s retaliatory attack against Israel:
    • Ali-Akbar Salehi, Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI) Director and a former Foreign Minister, states:
      • “Lebanese Hezbollah, in responding to these leaders of Islam, have given a firm response to the Zionist regime.”
      • “With this response, the Zionist enemy learned that it cannot attack Lebanon without paying a price.”
    • Commenting on the martyrdom of Brigadier General Allah-Dadi during the “Jihad Must Continue” event, Brigadier General Esmaeil Qa’ani, Deputy IRGC-QF Commander, states:
      • “It is an honor that however much our enemy heightens, and its crimes grow, the delight has increased in Islamic nations and increases the path of exhilaration in the direction of martyrdom.”
    • Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati stated during Friday Prayers in Tehran:
      • “Hezbollah forces avenged the blood of the martyrs of Quneitareh. This was a good revenge, and is certainly just the beginning of the work and the issue continues. We hope we shall witness more victories on the anniversary of this event.”
    • Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz Jafari, IRGC Commander, states:
      • “Hezbollah's answer to Israel was a minimal answer to the Israelis and we hope this answer should teach them a lesson not to such things again... We are one with Hezbollah. Wherever the blood of our martyrs is shed in the same front, our answer would be unified... Should the Hezbollah cells retaliate... they [Israel] must expect crushing and harder retaliation not only alongside their borders, but anywhere in the world where an Israeli Zionist or their supporters can be found.”
    • Brigadier General Hossein Salami, the Deputy Commander of the IRGC, notes:
      • “Hezbollah's retaliation to the deed of the Zionist regime has shown their fast [ability] to react, their resolve, power, resistance and steely strength.”
      • Elsewhere, Salami stated:
        • “Iran prepares itself for war with global powers, and the Israeli’s are much smaller than them.”
    • Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, Hezbollah’s Secretary-General, proclaims:
      • “Israel should not test us again.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Islamic Republic News Agency runs a headline quoting Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad-Hassan Aboutorabifard, the Deputy Speaker of Parliament: “The smallest anti-Iranian action of the American Congress will be followed be a reaction by the Parliament.”
  • The website of Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, releases an old speech of the Ayatollah in which he warns the nuclear negotiators against having illusory hopes concerning the nuclear negotiations:
    • “I’m not against negotiating. Let them negotiate, as long as they desire. I believe one must have hope in genuine promising signs and not [in] illusory things.”
    • Fars News Agency also covered the re-release of Khamenei’s older speech.
  • Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati, Tehran’s temporary Friday Prayer Leader, touts:
    • “Some, may believe deep inside that we first must reach an agreement with the United States so the sanctions can be removed and after which our economy flourishes... But what experience tells you that the United States and Europe have worked in our favor...? In practice, there is something called resistance economics... I‘m not saying one must endure starvation, but in the path of resistance, we may be forced to endure hardships... We must believe that our nation is revolutionary, they have insight and will never accept humiliation.”
  • Abbas Araqchi, nuclear negotiator, comments on the nuclear negotiations in Istanbul:
    • “We still are not in a position where we can say we have had progress. It is still too early to judge... If the counterpart shows realism, political resolve and good will, we believe we are not so far from reaching an agreement... The counterpart must engage in great work in order to remove the sanctions, but [they] have their own obstacles and problems... We are trying to reach a preliminary political agreement concerning the general issues towards the end of March.”
  • According to Farda News, the Iranian Parliament is contemplating to pass a bill demanding uranium enrichment “even above 60%.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iran said talks with France, Germany and Britain on Thursday on its nuclear program were "promising" but more work was needed to settle the 12-year standoff, the official IRNA news agency reported. Political directors from Iran and the three European countries held talks in Istanbul in an effort to overcome the remaining gaps on a long-term nuclear deal by a self-imposed June 30 deadline.”
  • The Hill reports: “Members of the Senate Banking Committee on Thursday passed a bill that would impose sanctions on Iran if a comprehensive agreement to roll back its nuclear program is not reached by June 30. The bill, co-authored by Sens. Mark Kirk (R-Ill.) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.), passed in the committee by an 18-4 vote.”

Economy & Trade

  • Vatan-e Emrooz runs an op-ed titled “We have an imposed economic war.”
  • Matthew M. Reed writes in Newsweek: “But lower revenues have already forced President Hassan Rouhani to significantly reduce budget projections and even decrease Iran’s dependence on oil. More steps may lie ahead, depending on both the market and the results of Iran’s talks with the world’s six major powers on a nuclear deal. In December, Rouhani presented a budget for 2015 based on an average oil price of $72 per barrel—down from about $100 per barrel in the 2014 budget. But oil has been trading below $50, and it may stay low. So the government has slashed the projected price again to $40 per barrel. Rouhani intends to reduce Iran’s dependence on oil from an average of 45 percent of all revenues to about 31.5 percent.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Four Asian countries' crude oil imports from Iran hit 408.8 million barrels last year showing 19.8 percent rise in comparison with the previous year, media reports said. Imports by Iran's four biggest buyers - China, India, Japan and South Korea - averaged 1.12 million barrels per day (bpd) in 2014 which was the highest in the past three years, Reuters reported.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Tehran and Moscow plan to considerably boost their trade exchanges in the current year, a senior trade official announced. "The trade turnover between Russia and Iran can reach $2.5bln in 2015," Head of Russia-Iran Trade Council Rajab Safarov said on Thursday.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency reports pictures of Friday Prayers held in Tehran, led by Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati.
  • Khabar Online reports pictures of smog and pollution in the city of Ahvaz.