Iran Press Review 4 May

Analysis by FDD

  • Michael Ledeen, Freedom Scholar, wrote in The Weekly Standard: “Iran is on the march all over the world, from Syria and Iraq to Venezuela and Cuba (where they have a Hezbollah base). Except when they unceremoniously retreat, as in recent days when their flotilla to Yemen turned around when they saw the U.S. Navy. There’s a lesson there: If you want the Iranian regime to be less bellicose, aim a gun at its temple. Better yet, threaten the survival of the regime itself. You don’t need aircraft carriers or airplanes or even special forces. All you need is the will to support a free Iran.”
  • Emanuele Ottolenghi, Senior Fellow, wrote in Standpoint Magazine: “The day after President Barack Obama withdrew his threat to veto legislation that gives Congress a say over a looming Iran nuclear deal, the Daily Beast ran the headline “Obama Blinks on Iran Nuke Vote.” The Iran deal may turn out to be the signature foreign policy legacy of his presidency. Why then, given the importance the president attaches to the deal, did he give up his fight with Congress? The answer is that the president cannot hold his ground against more determined adversaries. His presidency is a litany of red lines and principled policies announced and then scrapped when the going got tough. Nowhere is this more evident than in foreign policy, especially Iran.”

Politics

  • Former Iranian President and current Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council, Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, goes to Amir Kabir University in Iran to deliver an address in honor of professors. He was protested by students outside of the university, some of which chanted  “death to American Islam.”

Foreign Policy

  • During his address, Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani comments on foreign policy issues while at Amir Kabir University:
    • “These days, the conditions of the region, the world, and our country are in [such] a state that requires us to be very wise.”
    • “The country of Egypt, which once was a fortress against Israel has developed problems, Pakistan, too, is busy with itself internally, [and] it is said that the American Congress, in order to reach its goals from years ago, had a plan to divide the region into small countries.”
    • “In the past, Westerners with their plans divided the Ottoman Empire but Iran was untouched to a degree. Today, those very same small countries have become great and powerful, and their population has increased, therefore the Arrogance (a reference to America), has once again thought of breaking them up.”
    • “That we were able to overcome insurrections in the beginning years of the Revolution wherein each one of them could do away with any nation, was due to the support of the overwhelming majority of people to the Revolution and the steady leadership of Imam Khomeini.”
    • “During the war years our country stood against the East and West on its own and we were able to cross over the danger with unity and the presence of people, as well as being victorious in the battlefield and in the political arena, and having the United Nations introduce us as the war’s creditor and oppressed.”
  • First Vice-President of the Rouhani Administration, Eshaq Jahangiri, comments on Iran’s regional position during a meeting of the Razavi Khorasan Administrative Council:
    • “Due to its current position, the situation of the country of Iran is [in] a special and sensitive situation, and Islamic countries have severe problems, but know Iran to be the point of security in the region.”
  • The Deputy Foreign Minister of Poland, Katarzyna Kacperczyk, leads a business delegation to Iran and meets with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif. In Iran, Kacperczyk discussed increasing bilateral trade ties and various regional challenges that require political solutions, such as Yemen.
  • Fars News Agency reports on the Maersk Tigiris incident: “Managing-Director of Pars Tala'eyeh Oil Products Company Hamidreza Jahanian said the Marshall Islands-flagged trade ship, Maersk Tigris that was seized by the Iranian naval forces in the Persian Gulf earlier this week, has been kept in custody because it owes $10mln to his company. "Unfortunately, a number of containers sent by Pars Tala'eyeh Oil Products Company through the Maersk Line Shipping Co. were not delivered to the customer in Jebel Ali in 2003, which initiated financial disputes between us and Maersk Line Shipping Co. then," Jahanian told FNA on Saturday.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iran's deputy foreign minister said Tehran will not let regional powers jeopardize its security interests in Yemen, Tasnim news agency reported, in the strongest acknowledgement yet of Iranian involvement in the Arabian peninsula. Iran has denied accusations from Western and Arab states that it is arming Shi'ite Muslim Houthi rebels in Yemen, though a U.N. sanctions monitoring panel revisited those allegations in a confidential report this week. Tehran has regularly condemned a Saudi-led air campaign against the insurgents.”

Military & Security

  • Fars News Agency reports that Iran’s Khattam al-Anbiya Air Defense Base is creating simulators for missile systems including the S-200, which is 50% complete and the Rapier missile system, which is 95% complete.
  • The Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz-Jafari, weighs-in on the IRGC, regional security issues including Yemen, and notes:
    • “The IRGC’s Raison d’etre is to help the preservation and progress of the Islamic Revolution in various dimensions and fields.”
    • “Today we witness the development of the Islamic Awakening and the Islamic Resistance in various countries and this thanks is due to the steadfastness and resistance of the nation of Iran…and this lesson of resistance has been transferred to to other societies.”
    • “The steadfastness and resistance of the people of Yemen against the dominating system which formed by using the Islamic Revolution as its model, is a new achievement of the Islamic Revolution, [one] that the enemies of the region and beyond the region strive to eliminate or divert, but they are not successful.”
    • “Today friend and foe alike have reached the conclusion that military-security threats against the Islamic Republic does not provide results, and this nonetheless is counted as a great achievement.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Elsewhere in his speech at Amir Kabir University in Tehran, Iran’s former President Rafsanjani weighed-in on nuclear diplomacy and sanctions:
    • “Our country has surpassed an absolute dictatorship which had the absolute support of the East and West, and although we are now entrapped by the issue of sanctions, but we must know that passing through the neck of sanctions is not harder than passing through the neck of sanctions, and in this condition, the most important is that inside the country, we are together.”
    • “The government has commenced a series resistance in this path, and most countries of the world have learned that our logic in the nuclear issues is not the logic of war, but rather the logic of peace and we seek to use peaceful means, however this work has many intruders.”
    • “In this condition, we must not create intrusions for the people negotiating but rather we must be of the same heart and be together [with them]. However, this does not mean that opposing views should be discounted, but rather, logic must govern.”
  • Ali Larijani, Speaker of Iran’s Parliament, proclaims:
    •  “Even though that they saw sanctions were worthless and they came to the negotiating table with Iran, they still say weird things” 
    • “You have witnessed the resistance of Iran wherein you were forced to accept enrichment on Iranian soil, but if you want to say double-sided things or do dishonest things, we will return and continue the previous path.”
    • “If we put away 20 percent enrichment it was because it was unnecessary towards us.”
    • “The path for Iran to do enrichment itself, is open.”
    •  “In facing the super-powers of the world, Iran has entered from a position of strength, and definitely, such discussions are without precedent in [all of] history.”
  • Commenting on Iran’s negotiating posture and options instead of a deal, Eshaq Jahangiri proclaimed that:
    • “Some state that a nuclear deal must definitely occur until economic work can be done, however, this issue was unjust and according to the emphasis of the Supreme Leader, we must go towards the direction of resistance economics, and resistance economics is of the policies that the government of prudence and hope has hosted at least 20 sessions about its organs.”
  • Kayhan cites U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, claiming that “at a time when a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team notes that the writing of final agreement has begun, the American side insists upon the preservation of the sanctions regime even after an agreement.”
  • Islamic Republic News Agency reports that Seyyed Abbas Eraqchi and Majid Takht-e Ravanchi, two Deputies in Iran’s Foreign Ministry have been busy in New York working with Helga Schmid, who represents the European Union at the Deputy-level in drafting the text of a final nuclear accord. Islamic Republic News Agency further notes that while discussions over the text will continue into tomorrow, the next location for the next round of P5+1 nuclear talks have not been set.

Economy & Trade

  • Mehdi Sanaie, Iran’s Ambassador to Moscow, comments on what Islamic Republic News Agency hails as an “important banking agreement:”
    • “With the acceptance of the head of the Central Bank, accounts [denominated] in Rials will open for several Russian banks in Iran.  
  •  Press TV quotes a member of Iran’s parliament who hailed the aforementioned Russia-Iran bank deal as follows:
    • “In fact, the more such deals [with other countries to trade in local currencies] are signed, the less effective will be the cruel sanctions.”
  • Mehr News Agency reports: “An American delegation is to arrive in Tehran during the current week to negotiate an oil deal with Iran. A delegation of oil dealers and investors from the US are scheduled to have a business tour of Iranian oil industry and meet with Iranian authorities in this week. Authorities, commissioners, and executives of oil companies are in the meeting agenda of the Americans.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: One of Europe’s largest energy groups, Italy’s Eni, voiced readiness to resume mutual cooperation with energy-rich Iran as soon as sanctions on Tehran are lifted. A visiting Eni delegation made the announcement in a meeting with Iranian Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh in Tehran on Monday.”

Human Rights

  • Mohammad-Javad Larijani, the Secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council, critiques the reporting of Ahmad Shaheed, the United Nations Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran, and says:
    • “He in his reports calls terrorists who blew-up an office in Shiraz defenders of human rights and noted 3 terrorists from Pejak whose court-dates and dealings with their accusations took 5 years and called them defenders of human rights.”
    • “We are ready to open any dossier for human rights rapporteurs, however we are not joking that on the condition that he understands the dossier, other it is better for him to circle around in London or Paris.”
    • “Ahmad Shaheed must come and say where we have infringed upon the law or where we have not abided by our commitments, in this way, we do not have any problem with the entry of human rights rapporteurs in Iran.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Fars News Agency displays photos of Ayatollah Hashemi-Rafsanjani at Amir Kabir University in Tehran.