SUMMARY: After his success in the US promoting “engagement”, particularly over the nuclear issue, President Rouhani returned on Saturday to the task of maintaining the campaign at home.
So far, Rouhani has been successful, winning support and plaudits from across the political spectrum. Even the Revolutionary Guards, amid their battle for authority with the President, have applauded his five days at the United Nations and various press conferences. Only a couple of hard-line newspapers, such as Keyhan and Raja News, have shown bad temper.
Still, the President got a small sign of the challenge ahead after he landed at Mehrabad Airport in Tehran on Saturday. Amid the hundreds who welcomed him, there were about 75 protesters who wanted to show defiance. They chanted, “Death to America”, and hurled eggs and shoes at Rouhani’s car.
The President was unscathed physically, and so far politically. Although State news agency IRNA was initially silent about the incident, other outlets noted it as a straightforward news story without passing judgement on Rouhani’s efforts.
Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom
New Step to Attract Foreign Investors to Oilfields
In another sign that Iran is re-opening its energy sector to foreign investors, Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh has established an ad hoc committee to modify buyback oil contracts.
Zanganeh, who was Oil Minister from 1997 to 2005 and had a good record with Western investors, had invited foreign companies last month to resume their participation in Iran’s energy fields.
The Islamic Republic’s oil and gas production has been crippled since 2009 by the withdrawal of a series of foreign investors, including companies from Russia, Spain, France, The Netherlands, and China.
Under a buyback deal, the host government agrees to pay the contractor an agreed price for all volumes of hydrocarbons the contractor produces.
FM Zarif on US TV: Nuclear Talks With “Mutual Respect and Mutual Interest”; “Holocaust Is Not A Myth”
Interviewed by US ABC Television on Sunday, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has declared his optimism over nuclear talks: “We believe that, if the United States is ready to recognize Iran’s rights, to respect Iran’s rights and move from that perspective, then we have a real chance and we negotiate with the full authority of the [Supreme] Leader.”
While setting the line that the US must “dismantle its illegal sanctions against Iran that are targeting ordinary Iranians”, Zarif said Tehran was ready to “discuss various aspects of Iranian’s enrichment program”.
The Foreign Minister explained further, “Our right to enrich is nonnegotiable….[but] we do not need military-grade uranium. That’s a certainty and we will not move in that direction.”
Claiming that Israel had assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists, Zarif said:
The best way to ensure that Iran’s nuclear program will always remain peaceful is to make sure that these scientists operate in a facility or facilities that are observed by international observers, monitored by the International Atomic Energy Agency.
Asked about the Holocaust, Zarif said:
I have spoken to the [Supreme] Leader on this issue. He rejects and condemns the killing of innocent people. The Holocaust is not a myth….
The point is, we condemn the killing of innocent people, whether it happened in Nazi Germany or whether it’s happening in Palestine. One crime, however heinous — and holocaust was a heinous crime, it was a genocide, it must never be allowed to be repeated.
But that crime cannot be, and should not be, a justification to trample the rights of the Palestinian people for 60 years. We should have abandoned this game and start recognizing the fact that without respect for the rights of the Palestinians we will never have peace in our region.
Fars Maintains “Falsehood” Campaign Against CNN Over Rouhani and Holocaust
Fars News, the outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, is maintaining its week-long campaign against CNN for allegedly manipulating an interview with President Rouhani.
Fars alleges that the US network carried out “fabrication and falsification of the President’s remarks about the Holocaust”.
The video and transcript — as well as the President’s subsequent appearances in New York — indicate that Rouhani denounced the killing of Jews by German’s National Socialist regime, although he did not say the specific word “Holocaust”.
This morning, Fars headlines a comment from Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Parliament’s National Security Commission, “After distorting the statements of our country’s president, now CNN must be banned and proper legal action needs to be taken in this regard. This action by the CNN meant betrayal of trust and it can be pursued and protested.”
Fars also quotes MP and Commission member Seyed Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, “This media outlet that claims to be fair in dissemination of information and news — when it commits such a treacherous act in the field of media and attributes certain statements to the Iranian President who has never mentioned them, this means the attempt by the CNN has been a Zionist-oriented move.”
So far, Fars’ effort does not appear to have been rewarded. CNN’s website has reportedly been unblocked inside Iran.
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