Iran Press Review: 7 April

Analysis by FDD

  • Ali Alfoneh, Senior Fellow, wrote in The Arab Weekly: “Pakistan’s parliament has unanimously passed a resolution affirming the country’s neutrality in the Yemen conflict, rebuffing a Saudi Arabian request for fighter jets, ground troops and warships to join the Saudi-led Operation Deci­sive Storm against Houthi rebels, who are aided by Iran. That avoided, for now at least, a showdown between Pakistan and neighbouring Iran; the first the Muslim world’s only nuclear pow­er, the other suspected of ambi­tions to break that monopoly.”
  • Tony Badran, Research Fellow, wrote in NOW News: ““Iran is part of the problem in Yemen, not part of the solution,” said Adel al-Jubeir, the Saudi ambassador to the United States on Wednesday. The statement was an indirect rebuke of President Obama, who in an interview the day before had said that his administration had "indicated to the Iranians that they need to be part of the solution, and not part of the problem.” This public disagreement is evidence of a broad rift that has done much to shape the conflict in Yemen. Publicly, Obama claims to support of the Saudis, but behind the scenes, he has tilted much more toward Iran than he lets on. Whereas the Saudi goal is to shut Iran out of Yemen, Obama sees Iran as a principal stakeholder. His officials have been in constant communication with the Iranians over Yemen, and have been pushing for a Saudi ceasefire. Obama’s position works to the benefit of Tehran. Yet again, he has demonstrated that, in sharp contrast to his allies, he indeed regards Iran as the solution to intractable problems in the Middle East.”

Politics

  • Interior Minister Rahmani Fazli, who earlier had accused parliamentarians of receiving “dirty money” from “narcotics smugglers” which he feared would be used to influence parliamentary decision-making, now claims his statements were manipulated by the press.
  • While discussing politics and the potential for the ‘provincialization’ of elections, noted Tehran University’s Professor, Sadegh Zibakalam, comments on Iran’s Guardian Council:
    • “Unfortunately, in many instances the persons who were disqualified were solely disqualified due to their political orientation, therefore those persons who passed by the filter of the Guardian Council and are elected by the people are careful for those four years not to take a stance that is frowned upon by the and to be disqualified in the next round.”
  • Eshaq Jahangiri, the First Vice-President of the Rouhani administration, comments on the issue of corruption:
    • “Corruption disables the work of governance and causes people to feel like they are abandoned and stateless, do you think that the subject of Babak Zanjani can be cleared from the minds of people?”

Foreign Policy

  • Iranian Students’ News Agency reports that a delegation from Turkey’s Vatan party are slated to come to Tehran on Tuesday. One of their meetings will reportedly be with former Iranian President, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.
  • Kayhan runs a lead article on Saudi Arabia and the house of Saud under the headline: “The Court of Satan... Barefoot Bedouins who, with Wahhabi ideology, got to control Arabia.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ahmad Panahian weighs-in on the West, the United States, and offers his commentary on American power and reliability:
    • “In the ideology of the West, there is the relationship between the employer and the laborer, the relationship between the Sultan and the serfs. But this relationship in an Islamic System based on the interpretation of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution (Ayatollah Khamenei) is the relationship between two co-workers where each one has their own mutual duties and rights.”
    • “The degrading defeat of America in Syria and Iraq indicates that America is not the [whole] world and is only part of the world.”
    • “The explicit command of the Quran is that the enemies of Islam are covenant-breakers.”
  • Commenting on Saudi Arabia’s regional policies, specifically Yemen, Iran’s former President Ali-Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani states:
    • “The [Saudi] Arabians have chosen a bad path for commencing the work of the new government, and they have tarnished the spirits of Muslims, planting the seeds of a grudge and enmity in the hearts of the people of Yemen.” 
  • Saeed Jalili, Iran’s former nuclear negotiator, criticizes the current nuclear talks but also adds to a debate about the role of ideology in foreign policy, noting:
    • “Those who allege that foreign policy is not the place for ideals and values must pay attention that in documents, speeches by the President, Secretary of State, and other officials in America, they emphasize upon an ideological foreign policy and having corrupt and absurd values.”
    • “The nation of Iran has stirred the calculations of the Global Arrogance (a reference to the United States), and in every current, it has made its will dominant.”

Military & Security

  • Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary and Representative of the Supreme Leader of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), notes:
    • “Providing lasting security and preserving the peace of citizens requires strengthening the capacity and increasing the efficiency and effectiveness of law-enforcement forces.”
    • “Without a doubt, the Takfiris and those who support sanctions have plans for tainting the security environment of Iran, and the reason for their frustration, is the political and social stability and authority of the defense, security, and law-enforcement intuitions [of Iran.]”
  • Iran’s Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, comments on the American military’s capability to attack Iran and other regional security issues during his televised address on Russia Today. Iran’s Defa Press highlighted several portions of the transcript:
    • “Therefore, we are not a threat to the countries of the region and we don’t believe them to be a threat against us, and we are confident that neither America nor Israel has the courage to attack us; if they had it they would have attacked us by now.”
    • “But that if the country of Saudi [Arabia] or our other neighbors that most likely have a security agreement with America, have the capability to take an action against us, we are confident that they do not have such a capability, and they don’t have such social and political support to form or create such an attack against us.”
  • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Younessi, a special advisor to President Rouhani, comments on regional issues:
    • “Today there is no danger in the region greater than that of religious war, and this fire was created by America and the Zionists in the region.”
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran, in this condition, is in the best security situation.”
  • Iran’s Former Minister of Defense and current head of the Center for Strategic Defense Research of the Arms Forces General Staff, comments on Iran’s projection of military power:
    • “We never heard an expression of fatigue from the Commanders of the Artesh (national Army), they had a strong presence in all the stages of the defense of the Revolution and after the Holy Defense (Iran-Iraq War) were able to turn themselves into an unrivaled power in the region with the grace of God [and] by good innovations and creativities.”
  • The Commander of Iran’s Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), Major General Mohammad-Ali Aziz Jafari, comments on Saudi Arabia and regional instability:
    • “Today, treacherous Arabia is stepping in the steps of Zionist Israel, and the more time passes we see the opponents of the Islamic revolution showing their hand... Arabia, shamelessly, impudently, and flagrantly treads upon all Islamic principles and attacks another Islamic country which is trying to neutralize the hegemonic order and desires independence. [Arabia] also bombards that country without coordination with others. If our officials have some considerations and do not say anything, it is because of [Iran's] previous positions, but such considerations must be done away with, since they [Saudi Arabia] broke with its considerations by bombing.”
    • Jafari concluded his speech by expressing hope that “the second wave of the events in Yemen, [will] lead to the overthrow of the House of Saud.”
  • Amir Bakhtiari, a former Commander of Iran’s forces during the Iran-Iraq War, comments on the importance of ‘the Holy Defense:’
    • “The war does not only belong to soldiers and those who wore the uniform, but rather all segments of society and belongs to the public of the nation of Iran.”
    • “One of the most important elements of our war was that it was an war of “belief”, therefore that differentiated our war from other wars in the world.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari reiterated Iran's continued presence in the international waters, and said the country has long-term plans for deployment in the high seas, including the Gulf of Aden. "Building different destroyers, missile-launching frigates and warships, logistic warships and submarines to continue and expand the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran's Navy in free waters is a main plan on the agenda of the Navy in the current (Iranian) year (which started on March 21) to promote this Force's scientific, military and defensive power," Sayyari told FNA on Sunday.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Ali-Akbar Salehi, the Director of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization (AEOI), comments on Iran’s nuclear progress while on Islamic Republic Voice and Vision 1:
    • “Concerning the technical discussion, we prepared the fact sheet and presented [it] to Mr. Zarif. The Foreign Ministry added the political issues to it. Mr. Zarif told all the details. His statements amount to ten fact sheets and nothing is left [that is] untold.”
    • “There must be a compelling reason why the officials believed there is no reason to release the Iranian fact sheet. We are in sensitive circumstances and everyone can abuse [it].”
    • “We have an agreement with the Russians according to which they secure the fuel of Bushehr [nuclear power plant] for ten years. Two years have passed, and the agreement can be extended.”
    • “I suggested to the Supreme Leader that we should negotiate with the Americans. He said they are not trustworthy, and we, based on the conditions which he defined, negotiated the nuclear issue twice in Oman which led to the Sultan of Oman sending a letter to Ahmadinejad, in which [the Islamic Republic] was told the Americans recognize the principle of [uranium] enrichment [for Iran.]”
    • “Mr. Muniz and I did not talk a single word about inspection related issues. We talked about Natanz, Fordow, Arak, the stockpile and Research and Development."
    • “Inspections are not something that they can conduct whenever they please to visit non-nuclear sites. They must bring their documents. Should they bring compelling reasons and arguments to the table, Iran has the right not to allow them and take samples from a long distance.”
    • “It's the third time that they are raising the issue of inspecting Parchin. We have no problem being inspected, but the issue is one of sovereignty. They can’t inspect it whenever they please. We told the IAEA: You inspected twice, and each time you said it would be the last time. What guarantee is there that a third visit would not be followed by another demand for inspection?”
    • “If the Arak [Heavy Water Reactor] facilities are delivered and the work progresses, it would take six years or less before it becomes operational.”
  • Elsewhere, Hojjat al-Eslam Younessi weighs-in on nuclear diplomacy, noting:
    • “All the people desire a glorious and honorable agreement, wherein between criticism and debate the requisite of a free nation is found.”
    • “We are hopeful that at the end of these negotiations, a decisive victory will be had for our country and this event is more important than any victory.”
  • In the same Russia Today interview, Dehqan also spoke about Iran’s nuclear diplomacy, stating:
    • “Therefore, that which is underway today is the issue of our negotiations with the Western side, or the 5+1 which this issue is presumably organized under the influence of America, and nothing other than the nuclear issue will not be on the agenda of the negotiations, and other than this, we will not negotiate with America.”
  • Islamic Republic News Agency displays the full text of Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif’s remarks before the United Nations in New York at the NPT review conference. Speaking for the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM), he stated:
    • “From the perspective of the Non-Aligned Movement, any use or threat to use nuclear weapons is a crime against humanity and a violation of the United Nations Charter and international humanitarian law.”
  • Kayhan runs an op-ed by Mohammad Eimani entitled: “Why did the Lausanne agreement collapse?”
  • Reuters reports: “Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will meet U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry at the opening of a UN conference on the global anti-nuclear weapons treaty on Monday, as they try to make progress in talks on a long-term atomic deal. Iran's top diplomat will be the first state party to the 1970 nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty to address its 190 signatories at the United Nations headquarters in New York on behalf of 118 non-aligned nations that have signed the NPT, the world's benchmark disarmament pact.”

Economy & Trade

  • Ali Tayyebnia, Iran’s Minister of Economy, is quoted in a headline in Kayhan, proclaiming: “Iran’s economic problems will not be resolved by the removal of sanctions.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Singaporean Deputy Foreign Minister Albert Chua voiced his country's willingness to further expand mutual cooperation with Iran, specially in economic and trade fields. "Given the existing capacities of the two countries we expect Singapore and Iran to boost their economic and trade cooperation," Chua said in a meeting with Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Morteza Sarmadi in Tehran on Sunday.”
  • Fars News Agency reported: “Deputy Head of the Association of German Chambers of Industry and Commerce voiced willingness of the German investors to invest in Iran's modern technologies and auto-manufacturing industries. "We are interested to cooperate with Iran in the transfer of technologies, specially in manufacturing machineries and cars as well as medical products," Trayer said in a meeting with Chairman of Iranian Chamber of Commerce Gholam-Hossein Shafeyee in Tehran on Sunday.”

Society & Media

  • Radio Farda reports on the backlash to President Hassan Rouhani’s recent commentary re the role of Iran’s Police and Law-Enforcement Forces (LEF). Three clerics, Ayatollahs’ Nasser Makarem Shirazi, Hossein Nouri Hamadani, and Safi Golpayegani provided pushback in the Holy City of Qom to Rouhani when the proclaimed the police are to “enforce the law,” not “the enforcement of Islam.”
  • The Media Monitoring shuts down Zanan-e Emrooz [Today’s Women] on charges of “violating women rights, insisting on presence of women in sports stadiums and discussing ‘White Marriage’ [men and women living together without being formally married].”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Ali-Akbar Salehi, Iran’s AEOI Director, pictured lecturing at Sharif University. Photo via Fars News Agency.