Iran Press Review: April 20

Foreign Policy

  • Iran’s President, Hassan Rouhani, comments on the regional situation:
    • “The issues in Libya, Syria, and Yemen will not end with a military solution, and we must all help so that with a political solution, [all] problems are resolved.”
    • On Yemen: “In Yemen, innocent people and women and children are killed, and much of the economic infrastructure has been ruined. In these conditions, some of the regional countries instead of forming a coalition to prevent conflict and the establishment of peace and for the saving of the region, have unfortunately formed a coalition for the bombing of the region.”
  • Ayatollah Nouri Hamadani comments on history, and later, Saudi Arabia’s role in Yemen, telling an audience of religious pupils that:
    • “Treaties like the Turkemanchai treaty and the dominance of England over Iran was an example of the dominance of arrogance over an Islamic country.”
    • “[Saudi] Arabia is the butler of America, and it stores its oil money and income for America, [they] give Takfiris power with this kind of money, and on the other hand [they] stand against the people of Yemen due to this, that they are Shi’ite, and that they are against the arrogance (a reference to America) and Zionism.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution has awakened all nations, presently, enemies worry that this awakening will cause this Islamic Revolution to grow in [other] countries and no place will remain for the arrogance, thus we witness that they want to prevent this awakening but they cannot.”
  • The Deputy Foreign Minister of Syria, Feisal Miqdad, met today with Iran’s Foreign Minister, Mohammad-Javad Zarif in Tehran. During the meeting, the two discussed regional and bilateral issues and concerns. Additionally, it was reported that Walid Moallem, the Syrian Foreign Minister, is slated to appear in Tehran for the Foreign Minister level summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM).
  • Elsewhere, Iran’s Foreign Minister with the Uzbek Ambassador to Tehran, and reportedly stated:
    • “We are hopeful that Tehran-Tashkent ties grow with attention to longstanding relationships in all aspects.”
  • Marzieyh Afkham, the Spokesperson for the Iranian Foreign Ministry, notes that the Charge d’affaires of Saudi Arabia in Iran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry for a formal demarche’.  Afkham specifically mentioned the air-campaign in Sana’a, Yemen, and the targeting which took place near the Iranian embassy in that country.
  • Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei, discussed Iran-Afghanistan relations during his meeting with Afghan President Ashraf Ghani on Sunday. According to Tasnim News Agency, Khamenei likened Iran’s capital Tehran, to being “a home for Afghan brothers.” Additionally, he noted:
    • “The people of Afghanistan are extremely talented and are intelligent, and this talent in acquiring knowledge must be properly put to use, because educated Afghans are needed for the reconstruction of your country.”
  • Other outlets, such as Defa Press, reported some of the following quotes from Iran’s Supreme to President Ghani of Afghanistan:
    • “In addition to its human resource[s] and rich culture, Afghanistan has a plentitude of natural resources, [and] that a conglomeration of these capabilities and subscriptions must be at the service of promoting partnerships between the two countries.”
    • “However, the Americans, and some countries of the region do not understand the capabilities of Afghanistan…however Iran knows the security and progress of its neighbor Afghanistan to be the security and progress of itself.”

Military & Security

  • Ali Fadavi, the Commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N), states:
    • “We are ready for the defense [against] any military threat against the security realm of the Islamic Republic of Iran.”
    • “Based on security and defense strategies, we have created [the] necessary capabilities for defense against various threats in the naval and geopolitical realm of the Persian Gulf and its surrounding radius.”
    • “The reliable capacity that the children of this nation have created for the IRGC’s naval forces, is linked to the Islamic Revolution, and wherever the Islamic system deems it necessary, this capability, with the grace of God may be active in the best form.”
  • In an address to Iranian Artesh (national army) Commanders and members, Iran’s Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Khamenei, touted:
    • “That which I emphasize is this, that the advancements of the country in the field of armaments, and in the fields of military preparedness must continue the path of advancement, our enemies do not want this.”
    • “Today one of the tools of propaganda pressure against the Islamic Republic is this very issue – the issue of missiles, the issue of UAVs, the issue of military facilities, and such things that has come to fruition with the talent of our youth in our country without getting assistance from this or that – they want this to not exist, they want to cease this. Correct and rational logic with the support of a verse of the Quran tells us that you must continue this path.”
    • “All apparatuses of the Islamic Republic - from the Ministry of Defense to the organizations of the Artesh and IRGC and other apparatuses – must understand this as one guideline, and increase the preparedness day by day.”
    • “The Islamic Republic is not a threat to any country; and we have never been a threat to our neighbors.”
    • “The Islamic Republic does not transgress [against] any country, and will not. And now, the false myth of the nuclear issue and nuclear weapons has been erected by Americans, and behind them Europeans…to say that the Islamic Republic is a source of threat. No, the source of the threat is America itself. Today the biggest threat in the world is the America[n] regime…America has made the world unsafe.”
    • “In our region, that which makes [the region] unsafe is the Zionist regime, which is America’s…dog…it is they who have made the world unsafe.”
    • “Both for itself and for others, the Islamic Republic knows security to be the greatest divine blessing.”
  • Ramezan Sharif, the Public Relations Representative of the IRGC, comments on regional issues, the notion of Iranian support to allied states, and Iran’s capabilities, touting:
    • “The destiny of the al-Saud is like the destiny of the Ba’ath party. The people of Yemen, which are patient and satisfactory individuals, will defeat again defeat the government of the al-Saud, like the five past attacks of the al-Saud.”
    • “Iranian Jihad is a powerful program in the hands of the oppressed nations of Yemen, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq, and by using it, [they] will reach victory.”
    • “Yesterday, Netanyahu said something strange, that everyday which passes, Iran’s missiles become more powerful, more precise, and are produced at a faster speed, and the only thing which is written on them is this, that Israel must disappear.”
  • Raja News reports that an IRGC Public Relations Deputy for the IRGC unit in Zahedan (the Quds division) rejects recent reporting that members of that IRGC unit in Iran’s South-Eastern province of Sistan-Baluchistan were taken hostage by Jaish al-Adl. The allegations claim that 18 members of Iran’s IRGC were held hostage.
  • Admiral Ali Shamkhani, the Secretary of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC), comments on the recent Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen, and notes:
    • “Unfortunately, [Saudi] Arabia has experienced a great historical gaffe, and this innovation certainly will not have any end for them except damage and loss.”
    • “[Saudi] Arabia’s invasion of Yemen was outside the United Nations Charter and the principals of peaceful co-existence, and causes the world of Islam to deviate and dissipates the intern power and internal capabilities of the world of Islam.”
  • Elsewhere, on the sidelines of a meeting with the Australian Foreign Minister, Ali Shamkhani proclaimed:
    • “Repeating the experience of Syria in Yemen will result in the increase of instability in the region and the danger of growth of terrorist groups.”
  • Defa Press reports on the death of another Iranian in Syria. Despite begin “martyred” in Aleppo, Mohsen Kamali-Rad is given the honorific “defender of the Shrine” of Sayyida Zainab, which is in Damascus. Kamali-Rad was a member of the Rajaie-Shahr Congregation Mosque Basij unit in Karaj, Iran.
  • Iran’s Minister of Defense, Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan, meets with his Azeri counterpart and reportedly discussed, as was noted by the Islamic Republic News Agency, measures “to increase [the] defense-security cooperation of Tehran and Baku.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Majid Takht-Ravanchi, a member of Iran’s nuclear negotiating delegation, comments on nuclear diplomacy:
    • “On Wednesday, we will be departing for sensitive and complex negotiations. At present, we are in the writing stage where the work is difficult, but we continue the negotiations with seriousness.”
    • “An agreement is not easy over all issues, but we strive to address them in one stage and with all details and generalities in one document.”
    • “From our perspective, the sanctions must be removed in the first stage, and these sanctions consist of all economic, financial, trade, and oil sanctions.”
    • “Just as Dr. Rouhani has said, these sanctions at the Security Council level, European Union and America, must be removed in one stage.”
  • Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad-Javad Zarif writes in The New York Times: “We made important progress in Switzerland earlier this month. With the five permanent members of the United Nations Security Council plus Germany, we agreed on parameters to remove any doubt about the exclusively peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program and to lift international sanctions against Iran. But to seal the anticipated nuclear deal, more political will is required. The Iranian people have shown their resolve by choosing to engage with dignity. It is time for the United States and its Western allies to make the choice between cooperation and confrontation, between negotiations and grandstanding, and between agreement and coercion.”
    • Fars News Agency covered Zarif’s Op-Ed.
  • Reuters reports: “Iran has continued to meet its commitments under an interim nuclear agreement with six world powers, a confidential United Nations nuclear agency report seen by Reuters showed on Monday. The monthly update by the International Atomic Energy Agency said Iran was not enriching uranium above a fissile concentration of 5 percent. It also said Iran had not made "any further advances" in its activities at two enrichment facilities and a heavy water reactor under construction.”
  • The Wall Street Journal reported: “President Barack Obama suggested on Friday that Iran could receive significant economic relief immediately after concluding a deal to curb its nuclear program, a gesture towards one of Tehran’s key demands. Mr. Obama said such a move would depend on the final accord allowing international sanctions to be quickly re-imposed if Tehran violated the agreement it is now negotiating with global powers. The administration has said the U.S. prefers sanctions would be lifted in phases as Iran meets certain requirements.”

Economy & Trade

  • Iran’s President Rouhani is quoted as part of a title by Fars News Agency
    • “Today’s oil price is to the detriment of stability in the global marketplace.”
    • Elsewhere, while meeting the new Algerian Ambassador to Tehran, Rouhani noted that: “We are hopeful that the efforts of the two countries alongside other like-minded countries continue for the return of equilibrium to the oil-market.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “Venezuelan Foreign Minister Delcy Elonia Rodriguez Gomez announced that she had conferred on oil and energy policies with Iranian officials during his Monday visit to Tehran. "During the visit, the Venezuelan oil and mines ministers also accompany me and it is a source of pleasure to be in Iran," Rodriguez said in a joint press conference with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif in Tehran on Monday.”
  • Fars News Agency reports: “The head of 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. Claudio Descalzi said the Italian group was interested in returning to Iran if western sanctions are lifted — and were Tehran to offer production-sharing contracts.”
  • Reuters reported: “Iranian banks agreed on Saturday to cut deposit and lending rates, the head of Iran's largest commercial bank said, after a sharp fall of inflation gave policymakers more room to pursue faster economic growth. "The directors of state and private banks today agreed...to reduce the one-year deposit rate to 20 percent," the semi-official Mehr news agency quoted Abdolnaser Hemmati, managing director of state-run Bank Melli, as saying.”

Daily Picture(s)

  • Defa Press cites two photos from ISNA containing two of Supreme Leader Khamenei’s children and his uncle, at a commemoration ceremony in Iran.
  • Fars News Agency displays photos from a conference at Allameh Tabatabaie University in Iran attended by members of Iran’s nuclear negotiating team about nuclear talks from the perspective of political science.