Iran news round up December 18, 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.

(E) = Article in English

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

Politics

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to earlier criticism by IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari:
    • “His opinion is respected although I have negotiated more and do not have this belief. I believe that what we have achieved has been notable.”
    • Some said I do not have qualification but I say I have taught international security for twenty years and have read America’s security documents. The concern of America is not from our weapons rather it is of our nation, meaning if they strike our weapons we will rebuild again. This is very  important because if we do not understand the bases of our own government we will add to the power of the opposing side and the slogans of the revolution are based on this reality.”
    • He added, “America’s concern is not our weapons [rather] it is our nation. The largest obstacle to America is the people’s self-belief and culture of self-sacrifice and martyrdom that we cannot change this capital with weapons.”
    • Zarif then pledged to “state Iran’s strong position with diplomatic language” in the upcoming negotiations.
  • President Hassan Rouhani appointed Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Sadegh Salehi Manesh Governor of Qom. Salehi Manesh was founder and commander of the IRGC’s Vali-ye Amr Protection unit, responsible for the security of the Supreme Leader, from 1986-1993 and subsequently held several posts in the Intelligence Ministry, including Arab Countries Managing Director and Head of Election Headquarters.
  • Head of the Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission MP Hojjat al-Eslam Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam responded to recent allegations that the Parliament is confronting the administration and said, “I imagine that such positions are political blackmail.” He then criticized the Rouhani budget for projecting oil prices of $100 per barrel as “against caution” and “risky” and added that the proposed budget does not seek to reduce significant dependency on oil revenue.
  • Tasnim News Agency republished a 2009 interview with prominent Reformist strategist and former Intelligence official Saeed Hajjarian, in which he discussed the causes of the “2009 sedition.” Hajjarian was imprisoned at the time of the interview:
    • He attributed several causes, including “illegal orders and the unlicensed call of [then-candidate Mir Hossein] Mousavi for gathering and marchers,” and “the weakness of the Intelligence Minister in managing the crisis.”
    • “The existence of some embassy elements among protesters and also elements who had seen the necessary training for soft overthrow.”

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

Military and Security

Nuclear Issue

Economy

  • Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission member MP Esmail Jalili announced that the Parliament and the administration have yet to reach an agreement on eliminating targeted subsidies to high income population. He praised the administration’s efforts in managing “causes of outside pressure” and noted that lack of confidence in the government’s economic policies have been eroded. Jalili also criticized the Rouhani budget in that its 34% reduction in credit for civil projects has not been equally distributed among provinces.
  • In a report, the Parliament Research Center evaluated the recent proposal to increase natural gas prices for the petrochemical industry five fold from 70 tomans [approximately 2 cents] to 325 tomans [approximately 13 cents] as “reasonable” due to 63% export profits generated from artificially low prices. More than 65% of Iranian petrochemical product exports are primary ingredients to advanced petrochemical industries in countries such as Singapore, China, Hong Kong and Germany.

Photo of the Day

By Iran Tracker 

 

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