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.
- Islamic Republic of Iran News Agency Presidential Advisor Hessameddin Ashna claimed that “extremists” delayed President Rouhani’s live broadcast on Wednesday.
- International Affairs Advisor to the Supreme Leader and Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Strategic Research Center Ali Akbar Velayati reacted to recent statements made by US officials and emphasized Iranian support for the Palestinian cause:Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Ali Movahedi Kermani criticized US officials John Kerry and Wendy Sherman, saying, “Mr. Kerry and Ms. Sherman were very rude. They stated ugly words that this ugliness is only worthy of them. Ms. Sherman says that Iran fed the poor with [American] money. America’s money is Iran’s money; you confiscated our money which is a type of theft.” He added, “I say in a sentence that the matter is not only the nuclear discussion. They are murmuring that we are also seeking ballistic missiles…The people expect the Foreign Ministry of Iran to give a mouth-breaking answer to these rants, lies, and accusations.”
- “What the Americans were unable to execute in action states itself in cheap low level literature. The Islamic Republic of Iran will not retreat an iota from its nuclear rights and these negotiations will continue in mutual good will.”
- “Of course we remember that the American President has stated that ‘if I were able I would open all the screws of Iran’s nuclear installations’ and now that they have been unable to reach their goal they have turned to meddling and cheap literature. All of the achievements and successes of the Iranian nation and the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran is the result of that same ‘neither Eastern, nor Western and independence seeking’ policy.”
- “The era of taking these positions have ended and the Islamic Republic of Iran continues its path with correct measure and design and within the framework of the Supreme Leader’s policies and views.”
- “The matter of Palestine in the region is important for a strong country such as the Islamic Republic of Iran that has a fundamental role in Islamic Awakening.”
- “First the country’s security necessities dictates that the country cannot logically allow for a usurper regime, which believes it has placed its borders from the Nile to the Euphrates and has avarice towards regional countries, to be present alongside the border to conspire.”
- “From another aspect and as the second criteria, we cannot witness as an Islamic country that a holy part of the Islamic world’s image is placed in the occupation of a usurper regime that has designed very foul plans for regional countries that can certainly be considered a serious threat for the security of the country and the region.”
- Expediency Discernment Council member and father-in-law to Supreme Leader Khamenei’s son, Mojtaba, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel echoed the criticism of US officials Kerry and Sherman and said, “Just as the Supreme Leader has stated we trust the negotiations team and are not optimistic towards America. The statements by MPs stem from compassion and sensitivity towards the Revolution. The Iranian nation is pessimistic towards America and also to any political current and figure that seeks to gravitate towards America. This thought is reprobate and is condemned.”
- Tehran mayor and former senior Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) commander Brig. Gen. Mohamamd Bagher Qalibaf addressed the first “martyrdom anniversary” of former senior IRGC Quds Force commander Brig. Gen. Hassan Shateri and said, “We have learned in the Qur’an that we can give our lives, property, honor, children and brothers, but never have the right to give away our dignity against the enemy. Our dignity is in the shadow of jihad and martyrdom. The Shateris are trained by this culture and we are all duty bound to take steps in this path.”
- Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda dismissed the US military option, stating, “As soon as American airplanes are in the country’s skies, Iran will activate 100,000 missiles behind Israel’s wall and will annihilate military aircrafts under military equipment. America has not been able to do a damn thing these past thirty-five years by claiming the military option. Negotiations have taken place based on the Supreme Leader’s permission that administration officials fully utilize diplomatic capacity, but with the smallest violation of the accord by the system’s enemies everything will return to its initial stage…In current circumstances stronger than the early days, Iran proved to the world that it is not a terrorist [state].”
- In a meeting with Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli Senior Qom clerics cautioned officials to take a prudent course of action and not to trust the West during nuclear negotiations.
- National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini criticized President Rouhani and commented on the letter issued by nineteen MPs to Head of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezatollah Zarqami yesterday:
- “A letter has been sent to national media head and we are pursuing this. There are differences of opinion regarding the Geneva Accord and the main criticism is lack of information on the accord’s terms.”
- “Critics have fundamental statements. The President’s position regarding critics was not a good position.”
- “We requested to state our criticism through the media; maybe Rouhani will answer through this. The voice of critics must be heard in this administration because we have a lot to say.”
- “Many of those in Parliament who are Geneva Accord critics have complete information regarding the accord. The information we have is more than what the diplomatic team thinks. Even though the full text of the accord has not been presented to MPS but we know what discussions were introduced and we have criticisms.”
- “What opinion should the university community state about this? Do they have information or have anything in their hands on the terms of the agreement? What do you want the universities to defend if you do not provide any information?”
- “There are no discussions on the broad scale and there is consensus among the people and the system. But our criticism is on the Geneva Accord terms.”
- Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham also reacted to recent US official statements saying, “While there are only a few days left to the beginning of new negotiations, such statements darken the emerged positive environment between Iran and P5+1.”
Military and Security
- Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Aerospace Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh touted Iranian drone production capability and reassured officials against US military threat:Law Enforcement Forces Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Radan stated, “We are prepared to go down the path of Haj Hassan [Shateri] any day. If the Shermans [referring to US officials] knew the Shateris they would not turn to such [egregious] remarks.”
- “America’s arrogant spirit is not something new. The Supreme Leader predicted and reminded this matter prior to the commencement of negotiations and stated that Americans’ problem is not our nuclear discussion. After the nuclear matter, they will go towards limiting our ballistic missiles or drones.”
- “[Lebanese] Hezbollah and the IRGC are related capacities and this has the necessary message for them, therefore the Americans are weak against us. This is not a slogan rather proven IRGC experience and performance.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Basij Organization Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Reza Toyserkani warned, “Any movement that slows the people’s presence [in the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on February 11] is anti-revolutionary” and added that the people’s presence is a form of “soft power.”
- Artesh Shiraz Martyr Doran Air Base Commander Brig. Gen. Mansour Mohammadi touted Islamic Republic military industrial production capability:
- “Today, electronic and radar warfare systems, and smart and laser bombs have reached the highest technological level at the capable hands of the nation’s children in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Air Force and without the slightest need for other countries.”
- “With the cooperation of the Artesh, universities, and the Air Force, the capability to produce the most modern defensive weapons is in reach. Contrary to the period prior to the revolution where the montage of defense industry existed in Iran, today we have transformed to the polar of military industry in the region.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed press questions on nuclear talks:Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head Ali Akbar Salehi stated, “I hope that our friends in the IAEA progress in negotiations with some patience and for these negotiations not to sideline other activities with regards to the P5+1.”
- “Our people have answered them in the elections and will once again answer them on the 22nd of Bahman [February 11].”
- “We will continue negotiations with confidence and without concern.”
- “The Americans have reached the result that they must accept Iranian enrichment at the negotiations table.”
- “Stated criticisms [from MPs] are not based on reality and unfortunately some of friends cite the worthless White House paper instead of citing the accord terms that their own government has issued.”
- “MPs should ask the Geneva accord file from the Parliament Speaker who possesses the entire content.”
- “We will alleviate concerns that we possess nuclear weapons.”
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission member and former senior IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari claimed, “What we achieved in the Geneva Accord was not a concession but was our right. The people’s expectation from the nuclear negotiations team is resistance against the misplaced desires of the P5+1 group. The Supreme Leader and the people trust the nuclear negotiations team, but this matter does not mean that anything they request from us will be accepted. It is not determined yet whether the axis of negotiations is on implementing the preliminary agreements in the Geneva Accord or the beginning of a new discussion to reaching an agreement based on the next steps.”
- MP Hamid Rasaei asserted that there is “a silent movement against nuclear documents and engineering capabilities” inside Iran and the matter has been discussed with senior Ministry of Intelligence officials. He stated, “It appears some are intending to fulfill the fruitlessness of the Arak reactor with external pressure and have left the sabotaging of Natanz and Fordo to some domestic elements.”
- International and Commerce Deputy to the Oil Minister Ali Majedi announced that the soon-to be-unveiled energy sector contract terms will make it “easier” for multinational oil company activities in Iran. He also displayed optimism regarding the reentry of Shell and Total.
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