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.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei thanked the “jihadi management” of Tehran mayor and former senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and said, “If jihadi management and effort with divine intent based on science and tact becomes dominant, then the country’s issues are resolvable in the current situation of world powers’ foul pressures and they will continue the country’s forward movement.”
- President Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Rouhani praised criticism and said, “We must not allow society’s environment to be such that inquiring, thinking and criticism are underground, because inquiring and criticism will never be eliminated. It will not be to the benefit of society or the country if it is transformed to underground inquiry and criticism.”
- Qom Religious Seminaries Teachers Society senior member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatamistated, “The emphasis of the Supreme Leader is that to resolve the country’s issues, [we] must pay attention to the country’s domestic capabilities and trust in the country’s internal forces in various fields. Without pursuing this, [we] cannot overcome problems or the sworn enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran.” He then emphasized the need for unity and said, “Division is not in the country’s expediency. What creates division is distancing from the constitution and the velayat.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated, “Implementing the joint plan of action [JPA] will create the groundwork for expanding economic activities. With the implementation of this accord, the environment will slowly adjust and the closed environment will begin a gradual ascending trend.”
- Economic Parliamentary Commission Secretary MP Ebrahim Nekou also praised the implementation of the JPA and said, “Unfreezing parts of Iran’s assets by the US demonstrates the successful diplomacy of the eleventh administration in the international arena.”
- Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister Ali Jannati announced, “This ministry has resolved issues that emerged in the book arena, and we no longer have a black list [of authors] in the book arena.”
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission member Javad Karimi Ghodousi accused President Rouhani of “extremism” and announced that the Parliament would summon him to answer questions “should the extremist statements” of his advisers continue.
- Former Head of the Oppressed Foundation and IRGC co-founder Mohsen Rafighdooststated, “Although it is possible for some administration appointees to not be in the Principlists’ interests, their criterion is confronting the [Supreme Leader] with [President Rouhani].”
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif traveled to Lebanon to meet with Lebanese President Michel Suleiman. The two spoke about the need to create regional security and confront terrorism. Zarif said, “Iran emphasizes unity in Lebanon between all of its groups as well as the increase of bilateral cooperation between our two countries…Iran also promises to help create this unity in Lebanon.”
- “The presence of relations between Iran and Arab countries, especially Saudi Arabia, is of great importance to creating stability in the region.”
- “Whether or not Iran is invited to [Geneva II], it will continue its efforts towards creating stability in the Middle East, which will also have positive effects on developments in Lebanon.”
- Zarif also met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam, Speaker of Parliament Nabih Berri, and Secretary General of [the US- and European Union designated terrorist organization] Palestinian Islamic Jihad Ramadan Abdullah Shalah.
- The foreign minister visited the grave of Lebanese Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh and the graves of the victims of the 2013 Iranian embassy bombing.
- Zarif will be traveling to Moscow on Wednesday to meet with Russian President Vladimir Putin and Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov.
Military and Security
- IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh claimed that Lebanese Hezbollah has undertaken “actions outside of the Zionists’ imagination” and praised recently-killed Lebanese Hezbollah commander Hassan Laqees, calling him “one of Hezbollah’s great, clear-headed, and active commanders” and “a genius in the fields of electronic war.”
- “During past years, especially in the period after the 33-Day War, this great martyr had many great actions. This includes creating huge defense reserves that will be on display should a war occur for any reason between Hezbollah and Israel.”
- “According to the intelligence we have, Hezbollah’s capabilities have increased so much in these few years that they are able to destroy any target in any region of the occupied territories with a very low percentage of error and pinpoint accuracy.”
- “Of course Hezbollah has always shown that its actions in the battlefield will be unpredictable to the enemy, as was shown during the 33-Day War. Today, it is able to do the same thing at any point.”
- IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami spoke about lessons learned during the Iran-Iraq War and the Islamic Revolution, which he claimed was “the starting point for countries of the world breaking away from the great powers” during the Cold War:
- Salami talked about the Islamic Revolution’s “unstoppable spread” throughout the world and the country’s success in the Iran-Iraq War: “The lesson that can be taken from America’s support of Saddam and the Baath regime during the [Iran-Iraq] War is that if there is one great mistake in management, it can change the future of the whole region or world.”
- “Our warriors’ craft during the war was their various tactics. During the war, we displayed the principles of surprise, originality in planning, creativity, and unpredictability in operational and tactical conduct. Likewise, the enemy will [still] be unable to predict our operational and tactical capabilities.”
- Armed Forces General Staff Deputy IRGC Maj. Gen. Mostafa Izadi said that the US threat of a military option was not feasible and that the IRGC was “making an effort to increase the Basij’s budget,” which is reportedly set to decrease under Rouhani’s proposal:
- Izadi spoke about the negotiations, saying “The enemy used all of the tools he had in the diplomatic arena in order to put greater pressure [on Iran], but it is completely clear that Iran’s ability, preparedness, and national will, headed by the Supreme Leader, is completely different from other countries.”
- Claiming Iran was much more powerful than other countries where America “failed,” Izadi said, “That is why they know that they cannot succeed with a military movement. Statements like ‘The military option is on the table’ that they present in order to be able to make proposals in the diplomatic arena will not occur, God-willing.”
- Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi issued his congratulations to commanders and military officials in order to celebrate the Prophet Mohammad’s birthday and the start of Unity Week. Firouzabdi called for continued unity and pride amongst Muslims, the “elimination of the Jerusalem-occupying regime,” the “cutting off of the hands of the enemies of Islam,” and the establishment of peace in the world.
- IRGC Deputy Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Abdollah Eraghi said, “If people in our country seek the people’s pessimism against the regime, they have committed an unforgivable crime.” He also added, “People expect action from officials, not words and slogans.”
- The EU has reportedly announced that it will cancel some of the approved sanctions against Iran during its meeting in Brussels next Monday, January 20 following the recent agreement over the implementation of the temporary Geneva nuclear agreement. A spokesman for EU Head of Foreign Policy Catherine Ashton said, “The EU will be faithful to its responsibilities to implement by stages whatever was agreed upon.”
- Senior nuclear negotiator and Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Eraghchi spoke about the next steps to move towards a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1: “In order to discuss this topic, it is decided that Mr. Zarif will meet with Ms. Ashton, and it seems that these meetings will take place in February, though it has still not been decided precisely when this will take place.”
- Eraghchi discussed some of the details of the nuclear deal set to be implemented on January 20, claiming that “the dismantling of nuclear facilities is not in the agreement” and “non-nuclear sanctions were not on the agenda.”
- The deputy minister addressed concerns that US Congress could add sanctions, saying “Of course we understand Mr. Obama’s problem in Congress, and we will not say anything so that his problem becomes greater.”
- Eraghchi said, “Iran will not negotiate under pressure,” adding that negotiations and the interim agreement would end if Congress passed additional sanctions.
- “Our legal trade with the EU will increase tenfold, meaning that about 1 million euros will be freed and $4.2 billion of Iranian money contained in foreign countries will be free.”
- “On January 20, sanctions connected to oil, petrochemicals, gold, and automobiles will be removed.”
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission First Secretary MP Mohammad Hassan Asefari emphasized the need for “increased supervision” on nuclear negotiations for what he called “lack of appropriate results.” Regarding the formation of a supervision committee proposed by fellow commission members and former senior IRGC commander Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, he stated, “I am not aware of the formation of such a committee and since Mr. Kowsari himself announced the formation of this committee, it is best to inquire him about this.”
- He added, “I also believe that in recent negotiations we were unable to acquire good results with the P5+1 group. These negotiations are to the interest of the West more than the interest of the Islamic Republic of Iran and they did not achieve the desired results that we had in mind. We witnessed that the West ended these negotiations giving the least concessions, while acquiring the most concessions from Iran. The most important concession that it has acquired from Iran in these round of negotiations was forcing Iran to cease 20% uranium enrichment and emphasize that Iran does not have the right to enrichment. We believe that the West is seeking to take advantage of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s good will. Therefore it is necessary to act with more strategy and enter negotiations with more efficiency.”
- The Tehran Stock Exchange has experienced a 2.7% decline for the second consecutive day.A stock market analyst attributes the decline to news of additional sanctions from US Congress, recent decisions from the Securities and Exchange Organization that have undermined decision making, and money laundering. Regarding the effect of additional US sanctions he said, “The interpretation of the market is that if this event occurs it will lead to harsh reactions from policy makers which can cause the Geneva accord to be faced with difficulties. So when the market feels this, fear emerges among investors…”
Photo of the Day
- ISNA street graffiti photo essay.
By Iran Tracker
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