Iran news round up December 11, 2013

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.

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Politics

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with President Rouhani and the Supreme Council of the Cultural Revolution (SCRC) to talk about the importance of culture, Western challenges to Persian culture, and the role of the youth in developing the nation:
    • Ayatollah Khamenei said that culture is the identity and spirit of a nation: “Culture does not follow or border economics or politics, but economics and politics follow and border culture.”
    • “Sometimes it is possible that economic, political, cultural, and even scientific decision making and laws create negative cultural consequences in society.”
    • “Planning is necessary for cultural activities. One cannot expect that the culture of a country, including its public, elite, or student cultures, advances itself. Different institutions are responsible for public cultural currents.”
    • Ayatollah  Khamenei likened supervision and guidance in cultural issues to the oversight of a gardener tending his flowers: “Growing flowers in a garden needs pulling weeds providing water, light, and air.”
    • “Why, when the Westerners are unreasonable and deviant in issues, like calling the intermingling of men and women equality or calling their style of living progress, have we not insisted on our own high cultural values?”
    • Praising the SCRC’s role in creating public culture: “The culture of the country does not follow the ups and downs of political currents, but enjoys stability.”
    • The Supreme Leader discussed Western attacks on Iranian culture: “The reality is that in previous years, I highlighted this, just as I am now, and has become undeniably objective.”
    • He provided another reality: “At least hundreds of spoken, video, written, and internet media activities in the world have had the clear goal of influencing the minds and conduct of the nation of Iran.”
    • “We must oppose these [cultural attacks] in innovative ways, which is the weighty responsibility of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting and the Ministry of Cultural Guidance.”
    • The Supreme Leader also said that identifying new cultural attacks was very important because “late understanding and late movement is very problematic.”
    • “Sometimes, it is necessary to completely prevent the influence of a phenomenon, but other phenomena can be accepted or reformed.”
    • Ayatollah  Khamenei cited passivity in the face of cultural attacks as the most damaging: “Positions of attack are necessary in some issues, but in any case, it is necessary to act with wisdom and thought.”
    • “A reality called ‘Yes we can’ surged like a wave through the spirit of the youth of the country. These waves reinforce joy that brings one close to God and the country to the summit of science, and allows Iran to achieve the establishment of a new Islamic civilization.”
    • “Just as in the past we believe that the youth, especially the youth in universities, are the engine of political and social development. However, changing the universities into a parade ground for political currents is completely different.”
    • The Supreme Leader then moved onto another point of anxiety, which is “the worry over neglect of the Persian language and the attacks that have come upon it,” which includes the usage of foreign expressions and names in Persian. He said the SCRC would be making widespread, tangible efforts to reinforce the country’s native tongue.
    • Ayatollah  Khamenei also expressed his worries over the aging and decreasing population.
  • Expediency Discernment Council Member Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi spoke at a “Students and Anti-Arrogance” conference , praising Iranian students as “people seeking freedom and justice,” while warning that, “These days events have occurred in universities that students recoil from too much moderation.”
    • “To all of us, moderation is a good and holy word and concept and it means abstaining from any type of extremism. That is why students must not be isolated from and uninformed about politics, yet they also must not become stricken with politicization.”
    •  “We believe the right of this holy word and concept is becoming unjust. We hope that the eleventh administration, which presents moderation as its slogan, acts in such a way that the truth of this word is pronounced.”
  • Presidential Ethnicity and Minority Affairs Assistant Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Younesi said that recent statements by President Obama and Secretary of State Kerry “fundamentally recognize their inability against us. In reality, they have recognized their inability in negotiations to stop Iran’s enrichment.”

 

Diplomacy

  • President Hassan Rouhani met with Russian Minister of Foreign Affairs Sergei Lavarov and spoke about the potential for a comprehensive agreement between the countries, the meaning of the Geneva accord, and combating terrorism and extremism:
    • “Our goal is to reach strategic and very close relations with Russia. Iran, like Russia, is prepared to reach a long term comprehensive agreement between the two countries which encompasses the fields of bilateral, regional, and international cooperation.”
    • “The concept of the Geneva agreement is that all of Iran’s rights, including the right to enrich, are officially recognized. If countries want to present other explanations of this agreement, it will hurt the trust between us and the trust building efforts.”

 

Military and Security

  • IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari criticized Foreign Minister Zarif’s statements in a speech during the “Islamic Revolution Against Global Arrogance” meeting at Imam Sadegh University:
    • Criticizing, without using his name, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif’s statements in a recent Time interview noting Iran’s military weakness compared to the West and that America could destroy Iran with two bombs: “It is not at all like this. They do not have the military experience or expertise.”
    • “We consider him to be an experienced and expert diplomat, but he does not have experience in the military field to make these statements.”
    • “As an example, how many bombs did the sneaky coward Israel launch at Southern Lebanon? Yet has Hezbollah been destroyed?”
    • “If the enemy imagines that he is able to do this today and strikes us with thousands of bombs, perhaps 10-20% of the IRGC’s missile capabilities will be destroyed. And the IRGC’s military capability is not just missiles, but it is a strategic military capability.”
    • Asked if the West requested Iran’s ranged missiles to be reduced: “We will never do this.”
    • Jafari was asked about the statement “Our missiles can reach Israel” : “We are still now increasing the range of our missiles, but currently the Supreme Leader has commanded that we limit the range of our missiles to 2,000km.”
    • Asked about the IRGC entering the political field: “The most important area of threat to Iran, in which the IRGC has the responsibility to preserve the achievements of the Revolution, is the political field. The IRGC cannot sit quietly against that [threat].”
    • “Those who consider the political movements of the IRGC against their own work create an atmosphere in which the IRGC is military and must not enter politics and point to the words of the Imam [Khomeini]. Of course we do not have much work with them and act on our own tasks.”
    • On the decrease of the IRGC and Basij budget [Only the Basij face a decrease, while the IRGC see an increase – INR Dec. 9]: “With the follow-ups taking place, the IRGC’s budget decrease has been avoided. Of course the Basij dudget has seen a decrease, parts of which we consider budgetary realities so we are not pessimistic.”
    • Jafari was asked if Iran could defend itself from an atomic attack: “Preventing an atomic attack is not possible, but of course they would not make this error. The capabilities created in Iran and many points of the world to respond to any type of military action against Iran are very great and deterrent. The atomic threat is a ridiculous threat.”
    • The IRGC Commander was also questioned about his force’s presence in Syria: “We are undertaking anything that we can and that is necessary for Syria’s protection because Syria is at the front line of the Resistance.”
    • “We have announced before that we have specialized forces in Syria to transfer experience and training who undertake advisory roles, and this is obvious. Obviously, an official system has been requested from us.”
    • “The IRGC has a very limited role in the economy. We are present mostly in the construction field.”
    • “Of course the new government also had some of this confusion. We said that all projects that you [the government] think another individual or private group is able to undertake, even though we had closed the contracts, give them to the private sector and from then on, even unclosed contracts. However, they know that the IRGC undertakes the greatest service with the least cost in the construction field.”
    • “The slogans and fundamentals of the Islamic Revolution are in opposition to the Arrogant System. [Arrogance] also considers itself the enemy of the Islamic Revolution. This will not be solved unless the Americans’ nature changes.”
    • “The nuclear issue is an excuse. Whatever we gave in the first round of negotiations was the maximum, and whatever we were given was the minimum. Of course the important thing for us is the future, and until now, no red lines have been crossed.”
    • “In any case, the threats have not been removed and still exist now. Our problems with the enemy are on his side.”
    • “Some organizations have become surprised with their existing philosophy and tasks with the passage of time. If this occurs in the Basij or IRGC, there would be great damage.”
    • After mentioning the scientific, social, and religious progress and leadership of the Supreme Leader that has led to the country’s advancement: “If we take the Islamic Revolution from Iran, the honor and strength of Iran and Iranians will not exist. No other country has the honor and strength that characterize Iran. The system in Iran based the velayeh will continue forward.”
    • “Another achievement is Iran’s security and defense. The enemies of the Revolution have put all of their effort into creating instability in Iran with war and internal instability, but Iran today has very great security and powerful defense abilities.”
    • “The components of our power, besides our materiel, take place from the presence and widespread support of the people. Of course we also have scientific advancements and good achievements in the area of military materiel.”
    • “Of course, during the Imposed War [Iran-Iraq War] Iran was without this materiel and stood against the whole world. Of those eight years, one year and eight months we fought to drive the enemy off of our soil, who was forced to retreat. For six years and a few months we pursued the enemy on its own soil, and sought our own rights.”
    • “Today, Iran is a completely secure country from a security issues view. The enemies knows our capabilities in several dimensions of materiel and software.”
    • “Since [2001] we have been in an asymmetric battle with the enemy. They saw Iran’s abilities in the 33-Day and 22-Day Wars against an Zionist army armed to the teeth.”
    • “Some in our country who do not know or who are without relevant expertise have announced views, like the recent shaping of controversial questions, such that the enemies are not focused on them. That is because the enemy knows well our capabilities in the field of defense.”
    • “National security in Iran, compared to Pakistan, Afghanistan, Iraq, and even Turkey and surrounding countries, is unique. Despite this there are all of the foreign enemies’ and internal counter-Revolutionaries’ plots.”
    • “In the political dimension, the greatest accomplishment of the Islamic Revolution in the international arena is still causing the Islamic Awakening. We see it in a state of expansion and conflict with the Arrogant System in the world.”
    • “For an example, look at what investments the Arrogant System is putting into Syria to confront the front line of the Islamic System. It is dispatching wicked forces to [Syria] and supporting them in order to damage the ruling regime, which is an ally of Iran, but they have of course not succeeded.”
    • “They themselves have announced that the only reason for their failure there is Iran’s protection of Syria. This suggests that the state of Syria is good and improving. We hope that complete security returns to Syria as soon as possible and there is no place for worry. The enemy has also looked at this topic and slowly backed away from their previous positions, which is why they are unable to clearly announce this terrible failure.”
    • “Today, Iraq and Syria walk alongside Iran, which is the correct path against the wishes of the enemies of the Islamic Revolution.”
    • “Basij students, and anyone who is anxious about the Islamic Revolution,  must wisely investigate its situation and trends  in order to preserve the Revolution as an eternal Islamic Revolution.”
    • “According to the Supreme Leader, the Islamic Revolution has five stages, and we are stuck in the third stage and advancing slowly. The third stage is Islamicizing state apparatuses, and after that we will enter the fourth stage, meaning Islamicizing society, and after that the whole world.”
    • “Some of the systems and methods of governing the administrative system of the country are like those of the previous system, [although] they have been tampered with a bit, and unfortunately have become polluted with Western doctrines and a fundamental change must be made.”
    • “During the Revolution, universities became counter-Revolutionary spy nests, which we canceled and established Revolutionary culture universities which did not take shape. After the universities were re-opened, the Azad University, with the Islamic  suffix, was created beside them, and our youth became acquainted with Western sciences in them.”
  • Commander Jafari gave another speech in Alborz Province while opening an IRGC headquarters in the region: “The Supreme Leader’s statements against America are the light of our path, and we must not trust the enemy anywhere.”
    • “At its core, the Islamic Revolution is in conflict with the Dominant System and Arrogance … unless the Arrogant nature of America changes. In this case, we can say that we do not have a fight with them.”
    • “The deviant current is making an effort to deviate the Revolution from its fundamental path and push it off of it. This word in the slogans ‘Not Gaza, not Lebanon, my life is a sacrifice for Iran’ remains such that with the management of the Supreme Leader, the Sedition will go nowhere.”
  • Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Cultural Defense Deputy Massoud Jazayeri commented on statements by US and Israeli officials: “We can take action against enemy aggressors and the enemy will absolutely be struck another great blow in its clash with the Islamic Revolution.”
    • Commenting on US statements that all options are on the table: “Americans imagine based on this that our people, especially officials and decision makers, are under the influence of American lies… . Frankly, I announce whatever Americans announce as ‘the military option on the table,’ is not from America’s great capabilities and power, but from its desperation.”
    • “The people of the world know well that America faced great failure in its [regional] wars. These wars created nothing but popular hatred for America and likewise had no fruit for them, although they are still looking to bleed and destroy the infrastructure of regional countries.”
  • IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami warned American statesman not to violate Iran lest the deal be ruined:
    • “Today, we are at a very sensitive stage, and surprises can always waste all of the accomplishments.”
    • “Some major structures of the IRGC can bring about the destruction of the Zionist regime at any level. Today, Hezbollah and Palestinian mortars launching our Shehab-3 are dangerous for Israel… . Our influence to at least the Eastern Mediterranean is much greater than America’s”
    • On the negotiations: “Once, America’s wish was to take down our regime and return to Iran, but our Resistance over the last ten years in the nuclear issue caused all of their great wishes to be shortened to a diplomatic decrease of a few percentage points of enrichment. Though the Americans call this a success, this is a success in an imaginary space because we are not at all going after weapons.”
    • “Today, all American strategic organs are under our control. How can they say that the military option is on the table.”
    • “Whenever we feel that our government has been violated one bit, we are putting all of the agreements underfoot.”
  • Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi commented on the announcement that next year’s presidential budget cut his force’s funds: “We talked with government officials on this topic, and we did not expect this decrease in budget by the government, but in the end we will do our job anyway.”
    • On the other hand, Naghdi praised the government: “This year the government did good work by presenting the budget to Parliament, and I appreciate that. This is an admirable work.”
    • “The action of the government in present the budget to Parliament shows that finally we can reach budgetary disciple. I hope that the government can present the budget to Parliament every year like it did this year.”
  • Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader and Former IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi spoke at Imam Hossein University on National Students Day on Saturday, praising the martyrs who had graduated from the school and warned current students that “16 Azar [Dec. 7 – Nixon’s visit to Iran following the 1953 Coup which led to the first Student Day] is not an event that will be forgotten with the passage of time. Rather, it is a message of anti-Arrogance to all current and future students to achieve moderation, anti-Arrogance, freedom, and independence.”
    • “Our students have opposed injustice for 60 years. America is a symbol of oppression and Arrogance that clashes with Iran wherever it has been able. America’s history of foreign politics shows that they are a government of deception, seduction, and bullying.”
    • “We hope that countries of the region, instead of adopting mistaken policies against Iran and friendship with the Zionist regime, become friends with Iran and have good relations with Iran through a constructive approach, especially in regards to security in Asia.”
  • Minister of Defense Hossein Dehghan talked to a group of reporters present for the Islamic Republic’s 7th Command and Control Conference at the Imam Hossein University. Dehghan discussed some of the goals Iran is currently pursuing in their defense capabilities, “We are pursuing UAV’s with jet engines.” He also talked about other projects Iran is working on, specifically a new submarine, “The prototype for the submarine is finished, and once it is operational we will give them to the Navy.” In addition, Iran is in the midst of planning a space launch and Dehghan reiterated that fact the Islamic Republic is close to achieving this goal.

 

Nuclear Issue

 

Economy

  • Presidential Planning and Strategic Oversight Deputy Mohammd Bagher Nobakht provided additional details on the 2013-2014 budget proposal presented to Parliament on Monday, including goals for inflation rates, oil production, unemployment, taxes, and preparations for sanctions:
    • Nobakht said that the “The [2013-2014] budget, like the current budget, is based on the sale of one million barrels of oil.”
    • The budget is split into “a public budget” and a “companies budget.” The entire budget is “increasing by 7.5% compared to last year’s budget,” and the public budget “is decreasing by 7.3%” which “means that the increase is tied to governmental companies and not governmental institutions…. .The companies budget is an economic message to private businesses to increase their activities.”
    • Nobakht said that there is no tax increase in the budget because the government is looking to “purchase the newest software and technology that can help identify new fiscal resources to increase fiscal revenues.” They also expect imports to increase, which would lead to more customs taxes.
    • The deputy also belives that there will be a 13.6% increase in oil revenues “due to the global openings in the coming year that will allow us to sell more crude oil, gas, and petrochemicals.”
    • The government is seeking a “standardization of the rate of exchange” to close the gap between official and unofficial markets.
    • Government workers will see their salary increase by 18%.
    • Nobakht claimed that predictions indicate that “economic growth at the end of the [2012-2013] year will be negative .8% growth, while the coming year will have 3% positive growth” and investments will go from “negative 1.7% to 1.7-1.9% growth.”
    • “It is predicted that the rate of inflation at the end of [2013-2014] will be around 21-24%” down from its current position at 36%.
    • The government also seeks to change “subsidies in the form of cash to the way of presenting them as therapy and health services.”
    • Nobakht also said that the government is prepared to adjust and implement a new budget should the US decide to go back on the Geneva agreement and immediately issue more sanctions.

 

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By Iran Tracker 

 

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