Iran news round up January 8, 2014

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by the AEI Critical Threats Project’s Iran research team.

(E) = Article in English

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

Politics

  • Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani spoke about recent corruption investigations, particularly Babak Zanjani’s, and promised that “The judiciary will quickly and carefully hear the case of the economic defendants in order to return to the people whatever money has been squandered.”
    • “Investments and economic activity are healthy if they take shape based on the law, not through the abuse of economic-security conditions of the country in order to profit.”
    • “The judiciary does not allow people to abuse this field. In the recent [Zanjani] case, thedefendant was under supervision for several months and given an appropriate respite to return the people’s money. However, the actions he failed to take were the cause of the conflict and his judicial review.”
  • Presidential Executive Advisor Mohammad Shariatmadari stated that the administration “is determined to seriously combat the phenomenon of corruption.” He stated that “In the first place, financial corruption destroys lower and middle-class interests and fuels unemployment, societal issues, and divorce,” and so “this cancer must be destroyed in a fight against financial corruption.”
  • Presidential Cultural Advisor Hassamoldin Ashna reiterated claims that the administration would combat corruption, saying “The government is in a state of action against economically corrupt people as well as the roots of corruption…The infrastructure for organized corruption exists, so the administration has targeted this infrastructure.”
  • President Hassan Rouhani formed a governmental panel to investigate the issue of targeted subsidies. The panel will determine how to implement and evaluate each stage of the process.
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif’s mother’s funeral was held on January 3rd, and a number of prominent Iranians attended. Among those reportedly in attendance were Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, Former President Mohammad Khatami, MP Hossein Kemali, Head of the Free Islamic University Hamid Mirzadeh, Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei, Nuclear negotiator Hamid Baedi Nezhad, Vice President for Legislative Affairs Elham Aminzadeh, and Grandson of Ruhollah Khomeini Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Khomeini.

Diplomacy  

  • National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with Turkish Ambassador Umit Yardim. Yardim said that “Turkey believes that in order for the [Geneva II] meeting to be able to take effective steps towards a solution to the Syrian crisis, Iran must be invited to attend.”
  • According to an unnamed source in the Foreign Ministry, Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif will be traveling to Lebanon next week in order to be updated on the investigation into the suicide bombing of the Iranian Embassy in Beirut and the death of Majid al-Majid, the leader of the Abdullah Azzam Brigades, which claimed responsibility for the attack.
  • Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Rafsanjani stated in a meeting with Iraqi MP Adel Abdolmehdi that “a plan to confront terrorism is a political necessity.”
    • “Recent events were predictable because the terrorists would have to show themselves elsewhere following their lack of success in Syria and Lebanon.”
    • “Disputes between Iraqi officials may create a source of abuse for the terrorists. Confronting them requires the unity of all sects and ethnicities.”

Military and Security  

  • Minister of Defense Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan spoke at a memorial service for IRGC Ground Forces Commander Ahmad Kazemi and Lebanese Hezbollah commander Hassan Laqees, where he praised both men and said, “Hassan Laqees was among the individuals trained by IRGC forces.”
    • Dehghan said Iran did not need nuclear weapons, but gave his take on the ongoing nuclear negotiations: “Today, our power is at the level that representatives of our country sit at the head of the table at which great powers are on the other side and negotiate with them.”
    • Other notable IRGC Commanders were in attendance, including Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani, IRGC Naval Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi, IRGC Aerospace Commander Amir Ali Hajizadeh, Khatam ol-Anbia Deputy Inspector Mohammed Jafar Assadi, and IRGC Ground Forces Coordination Deputy Abuolghassem Fartoun. Kazemi and Laqees’ sons were also in attendance.
  • Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi criticized the decision to exclude Iran from the Geneva II negotiations: “The lack of our presence is an opportunity that they have given up. Any decision made without Iran’s presence at the Geneva II conference is a faulty and ineffective decision.”
    • Nagdhi also commented on the current violence in Iraq: “The first thing is that this sectarianism between Shi’a and Sunnis was created by the Americans and English and this has proven that. However, it seems to me that the Iraqi government has the necessary capabilities to suppress the terrorist forces, but whatever help they want, we are ready for.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi gave anoptimistic update on the remaining details of the nuclear negotiations. “One or two issues remain that do not have solutions at the experts’ level and which must go to the political levels for a decision. From our point of view, they are solvable issues and not issues that create fundamental problems.”
    • “Tomorrow, Dr. Eraghchi will be meeting with [EU official] Ms. Schmid in Geneva in order to solve these issues. These issues are neither complex nor difficult.”
    • The negotiator also briefly addressed the addition of a new company to the US sanctions list, harshly criticizing the decision and saying that “during discussions with the American delegation we clearly emphasized that these actions create a bitter space and are inappropriate. At the first opportunity that we have to meet and converse with the P5+1, we will warn them about this issue. Mr. Eragchi will also emphasize this during his meeting with Ms. Schmid.”
    • Ravanchi also confirmed that delegations from Poland and Sweden would be visiting Tehran, though the date has yet to be determined.
    • Takht Ravanchi also spoke about the regional effects of the nuclear deal, claiming that it had greatly increased Iran’s standing and security over the past year: “As opposed to last year, we are talking about decreasing sanctions…Some, like the Zionist regime, continue their actions, but compared to last year people who are Iranophobic and Shi’a-phobic are in the minority.”
    • “Now, many countries in the region claim that [they] need Iran to solve regional problems, and this analysis has been presented to the West and America. If last year Iran was presented with threats, now there is a feeling of need for Iran’s role.”
    • “This change has become a political earthquake in the region.”
  • Senior Nuclear Negotiator Abbas Eraghchi spoke with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister Sergei Ryabkov over the telephone about the need to implement the agreement as quickly as possible and continue the countries’ close contact in advance of his meeting with EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmid.

Economy  

  • Presidential Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said that the first subsidized bundle of goods would be issued in Bahman [late January-early February.]
  • National Iranian Gas Company Spokesman Majid Boujarzadeh spoke further about the potential gas crisis, but said that “Iran’s agreement to export gas to Turkey is based on an international protocol which we are responsible to adhere to. If we stop exporting gas to Turkey for any reason, we will be required to pay damages.”
    • “Currently, the amount of gas that we import from Turkmenistan is the amount that we export to Turkey.”

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By Iran Tracker 

 

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