Iran news round up – February 5, 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. 

Military and Security

  • Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi addressed a gathering of Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps Ground Forces (IRGC-GF) commanders and said, “Do not doubt that God chose the Supreme Leader because his energy is above all and is higher than all against storms, seditions and from scientific, insight and awareness aspects. God is with whoever is resistant and victory will always be with God and the front of righteousness. We must be in action like men even with few numbers or corruption will engulf society. God has given you many promises, of which one is the victory of the system and you must await the fulfillment of the promises.”
  • Parliament voted in favor of a resolution to allocate 7500 billion Tomans [approximately $3 billion] from oil revenues to strengthening defensive capabilities.
  • IRGC-GF Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour praised the forces’ efforts in securing the border: “IRGC-GF warriors [who are] ready to give their lives are completely prepared to defend the entire territory and create security  in every part of this homeland under any situation.”
  • IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami exalted Iran’s advancements despite  isolation and discussed the experiences of the Iran-Iraq War:
    • “Despite all the imposed difficulties and pressures on our nation, we have been able to split space, place a satellite in orbit, penetrate the subatomic world, split the atom and reach fundamental matters.”
    • “Through scientific and biotechnological progress, Islamic Iran has reached such a capability that it can state large words in new knowledge such as ‘bio’ in the world.”
    • “Wherever the enemy stood against us, we became stronger against them due to the necessity of overcoming this challenge and resistance, to the extent that we possess self-sufficiency and standing on necessary structures. In other words, we have reached such a capacity that others no longer construct refineries for us and do not install power plants and dams.”
    • “We learned during the Sacred Defense that stress does not resolve anything and only adds problems because it reduces human psychological and physical performance. Therefore, we learned that if we explain war-like life, then life will be sweet.”
    • “Eight years of war were the happiest moments of our lives because we did not think about life. This was because we had built the goal of life in war on the basis of faith and belief in martyrdom. The closer we were to danger the happier we were in war.”
  • Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hassan Dehghan announced, “Our nation will not let go of its rightful desire to utilize peaceful nuclear energy and knowledge.”
  • Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi claimed, “TheWesterners are the most important obstacle in our scientific progress. The fighting among Western industries to enter Iranian industry shows who needs negotiations. Despite this, they seek the destruction of Iran’s  domestic industry to save their unorganized economy.”
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Basij Organization Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Reza Toyserkani  inspected the operations of IRGC-affiliated media outlet Tasnim News Agency.
  • A senior IRGC delegation inspected the Nazeat Island’s forces and headquarters in the vicinity of Bandar-e Abbas. Officials held a special session, which included training and discussion of ideological, political, supervisory and related matters.
    • The delegation included Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Navy Forces Hojjat al-Eslam Abdolnabi Sedaghat; Coordination Deputy to the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Hossein Sepehr; Representation of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Qualification Supervision and Approval Director Brig. Gen. Ghoreishi; Representation of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Design and Planning Deputy Brig. Gen. Shahmiri; Representation of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Cultural and Propaganda Deputy Brig. Asoudi.
    • Nazeat Islands include operational zones of Saheb al-Zaman One and Imam Mohammad Bagher Five areas.
  • IRGC Gilan Quds Division Commander Brig. Gen. 2C Hamoun Mohammadi announced that local IRGC engineering units have been deployed to areas affected by the recent snow storm that struck the Gilan province.
  • Defense Minister Dehghan issued an order to deliver relief aid to Anzali village, which was significantly affected by the snow storm
  • IRGC Mazandaran Karbala Division Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Taghi Shahcheraqiannounced the deployment of fifteen battalions from the IRGC Imam Hossein 25 Karbala Division and IRGC Emamat Brigade to areas affected by snow in the Mazandaran province.

Nuclear Issue

  • In an interview with China CCTV, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs and senior nuclear negotiations team member Abbas Eraghchi proclaimed, “Iran will not abandon the Arak heavy water reactor but will take steps to alleviate international concerns. There are methods and tools to reduce and alleviate the threats of enrichment related to this power plant. Just as I said, there is not even one reason why we must cease reactor activities that is national pride and is a great scientific achievement. But we are prepared to alleviate nuclear concerns with creative methods and technology.”
  • Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Head Ali Akbar Salehi also reacted to US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman’s recent testimony on negotiations with Iran andemphasized that Iran will not cease any nuclear activity:
    • “I believe that we must not pay attention to these statements at all. We do our work and do not wait to listen to the statements of others.”
    • “We value future negotiations with the P5+1 and do our work with that framework and do not pay attention to these statements that take place.”
    • “They imagine that they can advance negotiations through the media but this matter is not possible.”
    • “I reassure the Iranian nation that Iran’s peaceful nuclear technology advances with strength and what we have planned advances on that basis. Nothing will be stopped except what we place on the agenda and desire.”
    • “Stopping enrichment means voluntary suspension. We had announced from the beginning that we do not need 20% fuel and sought to purchase this fuel for the Tehran reactor but they refused. We produced the fuel ourselves and have 20% fuel reserve for the Tehran reactor for a few years and there is not problem on this basis.”
    • “The centrifuges that produced 20% [uranium] are busy enriching uranium up to 5% after the suspension, therefore the centrifuges work.”
    • “It was decided in the Arak reactor discussion that some primary equipment such as preliminary pumps and some other equipment will not be installed within the next six months. This equipment would not have been installed in this period per the organization’s plan. In other departments, the works progress with seriousness.”
    • “None of Iran’s nuclear activities will be stopped. Our ears listen to the guidance and words of the Supreme Leader. He determines what we must do, not for others outside of the border to talk.”
    • “These statements from American officials were for domestic consumption and to justify for their public opinion. It has nothing to do with us and we must not take these statements seriously.”
    • “We will continue our discussion with the [IAEA]. But it must be noted that the amount of our inspections have increased due to the suspension with attention to our negotiations with the P5+1. This matter has increased the work load of the IAEA and the AEOI.”

Regional Developments

Diplomacy

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reacted to recent statements made by US Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman:
    • “In an interview one or two months ago, Mr. Obama announced well in a Washington institution that America has dreams that are not possible, therefore it seeking negotiations with the Islamic Republic and achieving a solution based on realities.”
    • “It would be good for Ms. Sherman to review these realities from time to time and refrain from impossible statements, even if such statements are for domestic consumption.”
    • “We expressly announce that our nuclear technology is non-negotiable and the introduced discussions about our installations are irrelevant.”
    • “Some statements disrupt the trust environment, even if they are for domestic consumption.”
    • “Through negotiations and achieving a mutual understanding, the Islamic Republic of Iran is seeking methods to explicate the peaceful goals of the Islamic Republic for those who are inclined to become familiar with these goals.”
    • “We negotiated but both our people and the negotiating sides know that the Iranian delegation will not back down an iota from the nation’s rights. I am sure that those who did not have a choice but to set aside their desires and wishes will also reach this result in the future.”
    • “I did not tell him [US Secretary of State John Kerry] that I do not have discretion regarding Syria. I emphasized that our policy is to negotiate with America only regarding the nuclear matter but some incorrectly relayed my statement.”
    • “The Foreign Ministry has the discretion to discuss with the relevant sides on all matters.”
    • “Per the system’s decision terms, our bilateral negotiations with America are only related to the nuclear matter.”
    • “We only discussed with America and the P5+1 the nuclear matter and did not negotiate other matters. Of course, we consider sanctions against Iran to be unjust and illegal but do not accept that a matter aside from the nuclear matter enters negotiations.”
  • Supreme National Security Council Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani held a meeting with Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and said, “Securing national interests is an uncontroversial principle in Iran’s foreign policy and we are prepared for a balanced dialogue and interaction with other countries. By surpassing the border of ethics and honesty, some countries present in the negotiations introduce the wishes and ideals of their domestic opposition as a current matter in negotiations in order to overcome their domestic issues.”
  • Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani met with minister Bildt and said, “Strengthening cooperation between the two countries’ private sectors can be very effective in elevating the level of trade relations between Iran and Sweden.” On the nuclear talks: “If at the present moment the approach is that we can reach a final agreement through negotiations and with good faith and mutual confidence, then this environment is currently ready. The membership of the Islamic Republic of Iran in the International Atomic Energy Agency, acceptance of the NPT and the fatwa by the Supreme Leader that forbids using nuclear weapons are all evidence of Iran’s will to peacefully use nuclear energy. Negotiation sides must not seek to prohibit Iran from accessing the peaceful aspects of nuclear energy with merchant-like bargaining.”
  • Head of the Expediency Discernment Council’s Strategic Research Center Ali Akbar Velayatialso met with the Swedish Foreign Minister and stated, “Negotiations will continue if the good will of the opposing side continues.” At the press briefing following the meeting, Velayati said, “If we see today that those who previously sought a military solution in Syria are advocates of peaceful solution today is because many of them have no other choice.”
  • Head of the Iran and England Parliamentary Delegation Abbasali Mansouri Arani announced that the delegation may travel to Great Britain next summer in response to the invitation of his counterpart.

Politics

  • According to the administration’s media outlet Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency [IRNA], Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Organization Ezzatollah Zarqami delayed President Rouhani’s interview on national television earlier [The article claiming Zarqami prevented the broadcasting has been removed from IRNA]. President Rouhani was scheduled to discuss various issues:
    • According to sources, “Some figures close to the administration sought to insert anchors and questions by the administration reminiscent of the former President. IRIB officials emphasized the necessity to ask any questions from the President.” Another source claimed that the reason was the presidency’s opposition to the anchor and that the administration sought to choose its own anchor without prior notice to IRIB.
    • As of 2:30 PM EST, the program has resumed broadcasting. President Rouhani stated, “I thank the people who awaited this program on their television but I am glad to have you tonight in the program despite the delay.” He is discussing important economic, social and political issues at the national and international level.
  • Ammar Base [pro-Khamenei think tank] Central Council member and a representative of the Supreme Leader to Iran’s universities Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Reza Panahian warned that “Expressing abjection towards the infidels in order to achieve interests will be followed by divine disasters. Abjection against blasphemy and Global Arrogance [West] is a sin. If we commit it, God will leave us to ourselves.”
  • MP Fatemeh Alia criticized President Hassan Rouhani for calling domestic critics of the nuclear deal “illiterates,” yet not reacting to recent statements made by US Under Secretary Wendy Sherman, who testified before a Senate committee that Iran does not need to maintain an enrichment capability at the Fordo facility or a heavy water reactor at the Arak facilities in order to pursue a peaceful nuclear program.
  • University of Tehran Basij invited Foreign Minister Zarif to debate the Head of the Judiciary Branch Human Rights Center Mohammad Javad on the Geneva Accord at the University of Tehran.

Economy

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