As it draws a red line against discussion of missiles in nuclear talks with the 5+1 Powers, Iran has put out a message promoting its latest advance.
Media proclaimed the unveiling of “smart pinpoint ballistic missileS and smart composite armor as the latest achievements”, in a ceremony led by head of armed forces Hassan Firouzabadi on Monday.
Mehr reports, “This technology is achieved only by a few advanced countries and acts as a strategic weapon…(which) contributes to the mobility of forces in battlefields.”
Since the implementation of November’s interim nuclear deal and start of talks for a comprehensive agreement, Iranian officials have repeated declared that missiles and military capabilities and facilities are not part of the negotiations.”
Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan reiterated on Monday:
Relying on God and led by our sage (Supreme) Leader, we have been able to achieve new military technologies in a relatively short interval, although there were a lot of restrictions and pressures upon Iran.
With experiences from Sacred Defense (the 1980s Iran-Iraq War), today we have created a very affirmative mentality among the military forces management and commanders that, apart from sanctions, helps us to grow in technology.
Faezeh Hashemi Criticizes Suppression of Media, Calls on Government to Act
The head of the Association for Press Freedom, Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, has denounced ongoing suppression of the media, “Instead of witnessing progress…(the regime is) reverting to previous eras. The situation during the Constitutional era (of the early 20th century) was better than now.”
Hashemi, the daughter of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, referred to the closure of the Aseman newspaper and the imprisonment of its editors:
The Managing Director was sent to Evin pPrison without even being tried and sentenced in a legal court…The errors that they state about the media is the people’s criticism. Sentencing a newspaper to maximum punishment…shutting down and even arresting the managing director is outside Islamic law.
We hope that the administration can control such events.
Supreme Leader Representative: Basij “Special Battalions” to Suppress Protests
Mohammad Reza Touyserkani, the Supreme Leader’s representative in the Basij militia, has described the formation of “special battalions” to suppress street protests.
Touyserkani praised the Basij’s role in “neutralizing the 2009 Sedition”, the mass demonstrations after the disputed Presidential election:
I dare say the Basij has the most advanced defense system in the world….These designs have been carried out inside dedicated bases, and military exercises and special training is also ongoing without media coverage. Special battalions have also been formed.
Top Rouhani Advisor: Economy Declining by 2%
Senior Presidential advisor Mohammad Baqer Nobakht has said that Iran’s economy is contracting by 2%.
Nobakht said that the economy declined by 5.8% last year and, “despite $700 billion in resource revenues in the past eight years, we are seeing the economy shrink”.He recognized the effect of international sanctions but emphasized the importance of domestic economic policies.
The Government has set a goal of getting close to zero growth in 2014/2015.
Editors of Banned Aseman Newspaper Released on Bail
The managing editor of the banned Aseman newspaper, Abbas Bozorgmehr, has been released on bail.
Aseman was shut down on February 20, less than a week after its launch, over an article on the Islamic law on retribution. Bozorgmehr was imprisoned because of an academic’s assessment that retribution against a crime might be “inhumane”, even though the editor said the use of the word was a “technical error”.
Leyla Ebrahiman, who edited the article, has also been freed on bail.
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