A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors John Lesnewich and Mehrdad Moarefian.
- In Tehran Friday Prayers, Assembly of Experts member Hojjat al-Eslam Ahmad Khatami praised Iran’s students for their history of standing against America and “being the front line against sanctions,” while warning them “the seditionists are trying to use you as tools.” Khatami also praised the nuclear negotiations team for working within the Supreme Leader’s guidelines and negotiating within the spirit of Ashura:
- Khatami then criticized the US: “After the negotiations, Obama again noted that all options are on the table. He lied and said that we have an atomic bomb. What manners are these? We know that Obama is among the rudest leaders in the world.”
- “However, if there is the smallest indicator of a lack of adherence, the Quran says that you cancel the contract, and that if the enemy wants to betray you, there is no contract.”
- “After the  Sedition, the Supreme Leader used the word ‘sedition’ more than 200 times in his speeches. People who say something else and do not say ‘sedition’ are taking actions in opposition to the line of the Supreme Leader.”
- Khatami claimed that the “sedition” was not “a crime” but a “betrayal”: “Seditionists spoiled an opportunity for 40 million people in the elections. They committed a crime offensive to Hossein and the Imam [Khomeini]. Burning his picture, killing innocents, attacking Basij and Sepah [IRGC] bases, burning mosques, destroying public property and having intimate connections with foreigners are issues that will not easily leave the minds of the people.”
- “It is felt that some of the Seditionists are seeking work [in government] today. They abuse the present conditions and see that some of their friends and partners in crime have taken posts, so they have become cheeky and demanding.”
- “We say to the Seditionists that the population of tens of millions from  has not died, and if they want to establish a sedition, this population will enter the scene with the same glory and gather up the Seditionists.”
- Spokesman for MPs representing Tehran Hossein Tala provided details about Mayor of Tehran Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf’s meeting with Tehran MPs:
- “Measures to solve the problems of air pollution and public transportation and a review of the city’s management system will be the topics of focus in the upcoming four years.”
- Tala promised that Qalibaf would upgrade and extend the city’s metro to handle increased traffic, while also saying air pollution was a key issue: “Given the problems and damages of air pollution being created for the citizens of Tehran, Qalibaf announced that if the government assigns legal and managerial control of the topic of air pollution to the municipality of Tehran, the municipality is prepared to remove the issue of air pollution across the city.”
- The Supreme Leader’s Seminary Communications Deputy, Hojjat al-Eslam Ahmad Moravi, praised Iran and the Supreme Leader for standing against “deviations” during nuclear negotiations, while noting clerics in Iran are facing tough economic conditions:
- “In the nuclear case, the [Western] powers saw that, despite the sanctions, Iran was advancing its own path of honor and progress. They feared that they must come to the negotiations table lest our country get closer to a nuclear bomb…. In the sanctions years, Iran’s nuclear power became greater.”
- Moravi also noted that clerics were facing difficult times, saying “95% of clerics in Iran are unemployed” and “do not have a desirable economic situation.” He claimed that, “because clerics are in a position of power in society, people incorrectly imagine that their situation is good, whereas the salary of a cleric is 180,000 tomans [about $75] a month.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to and Friday Prayer Leader of Bushehr Ayatollah Safaei Bushehri praised Iranian universities, especially those of his region, while criticizing human rights centers:
- “Universities are the most important science and training centers. They are very important and fundamental human resources in progressing the country. Our universities must make an effort to develop Islamic culture based on the designs of the Supreme Leader.”
- Bushehri strongly criticized human rights institutions in the country: “We are very disappointed with the activities of these centers because they are defenders of Arrogant [Western] countries’ rights. Their activities are unacceptable. These so-called human rights centers are defending their own rights. It is only Islam that can defend human rights. Centers claiming to be for human rights only think of the interests of Global Arrogance.”
- Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda stated, “All must know the primary enemy and its face, because America intends to influence Iran by any means. The corroboration of this intent are political competitions dominant in the country and various matters and encounters that emerged between political currents and became the bedmakers for America’s deception.”
- Energy Minister Hamid Chit Chiyan announced that “the country’s water resources have reached a critical level…. Utilizing previous methods such as dam construction will be insufficient and we must mostly invest in managing water consumption.”
- Iranian Cultural Attaché in Pretoria, South Africa, Mostafa Maleki expressed condolences on the passing of former South African President Nelson Mandela and stated, “After the victory of the Islamic Revolution, Iran was one of the first countries to support Mandela’s struggle.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi discussed Iran’s invitation of Jack Straw, former British cabinet minister and current MP, to visit Iran. He reiterated the fact that this invitation is not a desperate outreach from Iran to England. “England, in this new climate of [change] is in pursuit of a more active relationship with Iran than in the past.”
- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani said upon his return from leading a parliamentary delegation to Oman, “Oman is interested in increasing bilateral cooperation with Iran. Iran and Oman have long had close relations and cooperation with one another, and the opportunities for work and investment in Oman are significant for Iran.” Larijani added, “We also talked about establishing an international convention of Islamic parliaments in Iran.”
Military and Security
- IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke of the goals of the West’s different cultural and economic attacks against Iran, while noting they had all failed:
- “The enemy’s most severe attack against the nation of Iran is the cultural ambush, which has also been seen in other areas and used to attempt to create problems for Iran and the Islamic Revolution.”
- “The enemy’s cultural attacks in the years following the [Iran-Iraq] war became more severe. The apexes of this assault became visible in  and . With the sedition and the excuse of election fraud in  they intended to create a gap between the nation and regime, which was given great protection by foreign media.”
- Jafari said the 2009 protests created a “turning point in the history” of the Revolution: “After  the Islamic Awakening spread. The trust of the impoverished, weak, needy, and especially those which were dominated by the Dominant System [the West], increased the Revolution to such a degree that slogans for the Islamic Awakening and against the Dominant System had effects even in Europe.”
- Jafari said the West changed their tactics after 2009: “The economic and sanctions threats against Iran using the excuse of the nuclear program and atomic bomb were a solution that the enemy adopted. Fortunately, with the passage of time it became clear that this path had also failed.”
- “[The West] knows that whatever actions they undertake will make the nation of Iran more vigilant and more united while maintaining its support for the velayat-e faghih.”
- IRGC Deputy for Social and Cultural Affairs Hamid Reza Moghaddamfar asserted that “some of the currents who became openly angry with the regime during the  sedition [post-election protests], imagined that after the [election] of Mr. Rouhani, they had found an opportunity for a second life. Up until today, these currents have had three main targets. With these targets, they wanted to drive the country to war from the inside.”
- Moghaddam said that the first target is the media “as the people saw during the Sedition.
- The second is the universities and their young students because the currents “are seeking another Tir 18 [1999 student protests] against the regime.”
- The third is NGOs, which “will turn to social protests and then to political and security protests.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Mohammad Rasulollah Unit (Greater Tehran) Hojjat al-Eslam Abdolali Govahi emphasized the necessity of the formation of Basiji thought in the legal community and said, “In Tehran we have about 2,200 Basiji lawyers.”
- Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh invited seven Western multinational oil companies, including Exxon Mobile and Conoco Phillips, to invest in Iran and stated, “We have no limitations for American companies. 20 years of limitations were imposed on these companies by their own government. But we have no limitations for American companies executing projects in Iran.”
- Building Engineering System Organization Executive Board member Abbas Akbarpour stated, “The result of negotiations is effective with the condition that we observe the continuous lifting of sanctions. This act can have a positive effect in the housing market,” which he projected to experience a 25% price reduction by the end of the Persian new year in March.
- Head of the Iran Customs Agency Massoud Karbasian announced the discovery of a 90 billion toman [approximately $26 million] scandal in the Bushehr customs agency, in which “four individuals with the cooperation of other organs conducted bank draft fraud for six years.” He added that financial payments will be electronic to prevent such fraud.
By Iran Tracker
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