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.
- Head of the Imam Khomeini Teaching and Research Institute Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi met with the National Defense University Board of Directors, criticizing President Hassan Rouhani and lamenting that “The necessary will for the Islamization of humanities does not exist”:
- “It is very unfortunate that some officials in the country consider lack of progress in humanities to be attributed to the existence of red lines, meaning religious bases and Islamic values.”
- “The ideological basis of the  sedition took shape in London, [because] some of the sedition’s founders were educated in England.”
- “Many who were educated there share common fundamental thinking. Perhaps this matter could be the enemy’s way of overthrowing Islam and the Islamic Revolution, even though these individuals may not be aware of this.”
- “The matter of the citizen rights charter introduced stems from that same thinking, in which Baha’is and Muslims and revolutionary and anti-revolutionaries are all equal. Therefore, we must feel danger thirty-five years after the Islamic Revolution that the highest office after the President states something that [Former President Abolhassan] Bani Sadr did not even dare say. Even though they state their words indirectly and in shroud.”
- Addressing the Assembly of Experts, President Hassan Rouhani attempted to assuage concerns regarding nuclear negotiations:Parliament First Vice Chairman Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Hassan Abu Torabi Fard stated, “The basis of resistance economy have been explained by the Supreme Leader for close to a decade. Many of the country’s scientific directors believe in these basis, but have significant distance in action.”
- “Our nation’s rights will be preserved. I affirm that no concern should exist in this country at all, because this administration will not cross the red lines under any circumstances.”
- “It is clear that they have accepted enrichment. The discussion is that what should be our level and limit of enrichment according to their interpretation that can create the most confidence.”
- “What the Americans say is for the pressure of their public opinion, extremists and Zionists. Of course there are countries pressuring the Americans in this story. It is clear that the statements of the Americans and Zionists have lots of distance with realities.”
- Presidential Strategic Research Center Deputy Mohammad Fazeli announced, “Although the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear file has become prominent in foreign policy, thediscussion of the Caspian Sea is another important case of our country’s foreign policy. It has been close to twenty years since a Caspian Sea legal regime has been negotiated.”
- Iran and theP5+1 will hold expert level negotiations in Vienna tomorrow, which will serve as preliminary talks for the March 17-20 negotiations.
- Legal and International Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister and senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Eraghchi touted the Islamic Republic’s success in the nuclear negotiations and said that he had recently met with senior cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi to alleviate his concerns regarding the nuclear negotiations:
- “We are entering nuclear negotiations in circumstances in which we do not have optimism and confidence beyond a reasonable level in the enemy, but we are hopeful about reaching results.”
- “The experience of enrichment suspension was not a good experience at that time due to various reasons, but at the same time was a necessary experience. We needed to have experienced this in order to have an ultimatum for ourselves.”
- “Enrichment continues in this accord in the first and last steps. Iran came out of the negotiations with enrichment and it was our will that was imposed on the opposing side.”
- “If we decided to return to the previous situation, it is possible to do so in less than twenty-four hours. The structure of our nuclear program has been completely preserved. Reversibility in our nuclear program to near 100% is possible, but this reversibility is not in this shape in their sanctions program.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Deputy Foreign Minister Eraghchi discussed the latest situation of the five kidnapped Iranian border forces with his Pakistani counterpart.
- Deputy Oil Minister and Iranian National Gas Company Managing Director Hamid Reza Eraghi announced that Iran will begin exporting natural gas to Iraq in the summer, beginning at 3-4 million cubic meters per day.
- Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary Sheikh Hassan Nasrallah met with National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdiyesterday to discuss regional issues.
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission Chairman Boroujerdi and Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Qazanfar Roknabadi met with Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri on Sunday. Boroujerdi said, “The expediency of the Zionist regime is the reason for the continuation of the crisis in Syria. In the current situation, they are creating artificial crises in the region so Muslims forget the Palestinian issue….”
- Lebanese Hezbollah announced the “martyrdom” of five members on Saturday and Sunday, who were killed in Syria. Senior Hezbollah officials attended the burial of Mohammad Ramzi Hamzeh, one of the members killed this past weekend.
- Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC)-affiliated media outlet Tasnim News Agencysigned “a cooperation agreement” with Syria Arab News Agency.
Military and Security
- Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri reacted to President Barack Obama’s “all options on the table” remark, calling it the “joke of the year.” He added, “All American forces in the region are within the military sights of the Islamic Republic of Iran. If the Americans commit another mistake, the region will turn into hell for them.”
- Artesh Navy Forces Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that the Iranian navy successfully repelled pirates attacking an Iranian oil tanker in the Mandab Strait.
- IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami announced that the, “IRGC will hold military drills based on its specific timeline and planning and in order to maintain combat readiness.”
- IRGC Ground Forces Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Abdollah Eraghi announced, “Iran’s deterrence power has prevented the implementation of the enemy’s military option.”
- IRGC Mohammad Rasulollah Division (Greater Tehran) Commander Brig. Gen. MohsenKazemeini announced that Basij forces will hold the “Ala Beitol-moghaddas” [Towards Jerusalem] military exercise in Tehran sometime in March-April 2014. The exercise is part of a series of Basij drills that began last year and twenty-eight provinces have held their second round.
- Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh expressed hope that investment in the petrochemical and refinery industries will replace Iranian crude oil sales within the next four to five years. He added, “We must currently think about finishing projects in the South Pars gas fields so we can pass next year without fuel shortages.”
- National Iranian Oil Company International Affairs Director Mohsen Ghamsari announced that India is prepared to transfer $1.5 billion in blocked Iranian oil revenues. Fifty-five percent will be deposited in Euros and the rest in Indian Rupees.
- Central Bank Economy Deputy Peyman Ghorbani announced that the liquidity volume stands at 560 trillion Tomans [approximately $22.5 billion], marking a 700% increase since Mahmoud Ahmadinejad first took office in 2005.
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