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.
Editor’s note: Iran News Round Up will be on holiday through January 5th. Today is author Will Fulton’s last edition. The Critical Threats Project will continue publishing the Iran News Round Up on January 6th.
- Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sedighi discussed the recent Geneva accord and relations with the United States:
- “The Iranian delegation approved by the Supreme Leader and the velayat-centered people moved towards a direction in the first negotiation steps such that hopes emerged in the world. But we witnessed the Supreme Leader’s speech in action, he stated that we do not trust the Americans. On the day that the negotiators were to sign the deal, the Foreign Minister and US President stated some issues and they violated this promise of signing. They sat with the Zionist regime and said that all options including the military option are one the table.”
- “America demonstrated that trusting the enemy is not a rational act and that total attention, complete awareness and advancement of vague matters will not resolve matters. Rather, the rightful Iranian nation’s rights, in the first degree, enrichment and, in the second degree, the continuation of the spirit of innovation [and] the acceleration of scientific creativity progress for our youth must accelerate more by preserving our rights.”
- “Despite the trust we have and will place in the negotiations delegation, our nation’s expectation is that this is not a segmented move, rather it is the destiny of our nation that has attracted the world’s attention to itself and its slogans are ‘never be humiliated’ and ‘blood is victorious on the sword.’”
- “The great Iranian nation has lived with coupons at the height of economic pressure and has fasted and did not show itself as abject and did not flinch against the enemy. It accepted the fires of the East and the West with its life in the eight years [of Iran-Iraq War] and did not move a step back from its ideals.”
- “If transparency does not take place, we will know the right to progress enrichment as our right and we consider insistence on this act necessary [both] religiously and ethically.”
- Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda lambasted secularism in higher learning and discussed the necessity of religious influence for scientific growth during a speech at the Seminary and University Unity Conference on Thursday:
- “The biggest harm that Western science and knowledge inflicted to Islamic lands, including our countries, was the emergence of secularism in the teaching and training arena.”
- “In the Qajar era [1785 – 1925], when they encountered Europe’s scientific growth they thought that because they had eliminated religion there, scientific growth was created. So they thought that they can do this in our society as well and accepted this thought.”
- “Mirza Taghi Khan Amir Kabir [19th century Prime Minister; viewed by some liberal nationalists as Iran’s first reformer] was one of the individuals who caused the emergence of secularist thought in our country and with establishing the Dar ol-Fonoon Institute [first university and institution of higher learning in Iran] … he sought to not allow religion to penetrate Dar ol-Fonoon, and this was because in the trip they had to Russia they thought that the cause of their progress was lack of religion.”
- “The English established the university in Iran for this reason, so they could form a front against the seminary [or so they thought].”
- “See how the situation [before the 1979 Revolution] was, that praying in the University of Tehran was considered a weakness and this in reality was that same injury that emerged on the body of science in our country.”
- “The [current] unity between the seminary and university is a unique characteristic and this unique characteristic of today is due to the great leader of the revolution, his excellency Imam Khomeini.”
- “In secular societies and thought, growth is [limited to] what is based on material benefits….now if the foundation of this scientific growth were religious, then no borders would be introduced for religious benefits and our scientific growth in the past was because religious knowledge was the bedrock of that growth.”
- MP Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Nabavian stated, “Uniting the seminary and university means Islamacizing universities,” and “these two progress on the basis of Islamic rational thoughts.” But he lamented, “Our science is secular and does not familiarize us with Islam.” Nabavian added, “The seminary has no money or power…”
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member and former senior IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari announced that the committee is reviewing “sideline matters of the European Parliament delegation travel” to Iran and stated, “In this matter, the Parliament, the Foreign Minister and the Intelligence Minister are all responsible but a more precise conclusion” will follow NSFP’s review beginning this Sunday. The European delegation met with prominent dissidents Nasrin Sotoudeh and Jafar Panahi during its one week visit.
- Zanjan Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Khatami said, “We must never move ahead of the Supreme Leader in taking positions.” Regarding the US, he stated, “We do not trust America whatsoever, because the dishonesty of America’s officials has been proven to the Iranian nation and we know that America has not been a trustworthy nation and does not abide by its agreements.”
- Russian President Vladimir Putin reportedly has accepted President Hassan Rouhani’s invitation to travel to Tehran. The travel date has yet to be determined.
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Turkish counterpart Ahmet Davutoğlu in Pakistan and discussed bilateral, regional and international issues.
- Italian Foreign Minister Emma Bonino will travel to Tehran Saturday to meet with senior officials, including her counterpart Foreign Minister Zarif and President Hassan Rouhani. Iranian Ambassador to Italy Jahanbakhsh Mozaffari announced that the Head of the Italian Foreign Policy Commission will travel to Tehran a week after FM Bonino’s visit. Mozaffari then praised Italy for having “very positive and courageous positions in the European Union, and one can point to Italy’s position regarding the Syrian crisis and the Iranian nuclear matter.”
Military and Security
- Spokesman of Defenders of the Velayat Sanctuary 4 military exercise Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Hossein Chit Foroush announced the success of the Artesh Air Force in executing the drill, which included “electronic warfare operations and testing communication installations.”
- Artesh Air Force Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Reza Barkhor stated, “The message of this drill was peace, friendship and stable security for regional countries.” He also announced the force’s readiness “to hold joint drills with regional countries within the framework of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policies.”
- Artesh Navy Operations Deputy Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Siavash Jarreh announced that the 27th Fleet has docked in Colombo, Sri Lanka, calling the Navy’s presence in the Pacific Ocean a “symbol of the Iranian Artesh’s strength.”
- The second round of technical Joint Plan of Action (JPA) negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 continue in Geneva and are expected to extend beyond the initially planned duration of two days.
- International Deputy to the Oil Minister Ali Majedi announced that Iran “would probably use banks in Europe and Asia” to make payments of imported goods and receive the $7 billion freed oil revenue stipulated in the provision of the JPA upon the enforcement of the accord. Regarding new oil agreements, he stated, “Iran plans to propose new oil production agreements to multinational oil companies in the month of April. He explained that an Iranian committee is responsible for comparing provisions of agreements utilized in the rest of the Persian Gulf area countries with existing contracts,” and Iran “will ultimately produce a new agreement model that is probably a services agreement but with more interests.” Majedi added, “The country can produce 3.5 million barrels per day and can achieve this level within a year after the lifting of sanctions. With the help of international companies, Iran seeks to produce approximately 4 million barrels of oil.”
- Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht announced, “We have $20 billion in the form of currency and more than 10 trillion tomans [approximately $4 billion] in the National Expansion Fund…. Approximately $35 billion of the country’s resources have been blocked in foreign banks due to sanctions that we can use for civil projects, development and job creation.” He added that the Rouhani administration budget “is [oriented] toward the formation of economic resistance [and] an economic epic.”
- Vice-Chairman of the Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar criticized several provisions in the Rouhani budget, including 195 trillion tomans [approximately $78.5 billion] in public budget allocation, calling the figure “not cautious,” adding that “there are deviations in it.”
By Iran Tracker
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