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.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed “pilgrims” of the rahian-e noor“companions of the light” tour, a cultural program sponsored by the armed forces, at an Iran-Iraq War era battlefield in Ahvaz province. Khamenei said, “The memory of the Sacred Defense era must be kept alive” and warned against the efforts of “some” who seek to erase the war’s values and historical memory:
- “The front of the enemies of the Islamic system, meaning these European governments and the American government, encouraged Saddam’s Ba’athist regime to continue the war by providing him advanced capabilities and equipment. This matter caused the Imposed War to last for eight years.”
- “But God almighty showed his hand of power and crushed the mouths of the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran with the iron fist of divine tradition and rubbed their noses to the dirt.”
- “The greatest lesson of the Islamic Revolution to the Iranian nation was that the path of achieving high ideals is fighting, sacrificing and persevering for these ideals.”
- “Those who wish ill for the Iranian nation and also some [others] are seeking to erase from memory the sacrifices of the Sacred Defense era and its prominent figures. On this basis, they are making efforts to prescript the sacrifices of the Sacred Defense and the path that the great Imam [Khomeini], the wise and sage servant of God, had determined.”
- Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani said “Cultural discussions are so important that cultural work must be done for executing many economic changes and designs…Of course, cultural engineering is more than just physical and judiciary confrontation. This matter was explicated and determined well in the statements of the Supreme Leader and all must pay attention to it.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member MP Javad Karimi Ghodousi announced that Judiciary Head Larijani has issued a “warning” to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif regarding the recent meetings between EU officials and Iranian dissidents and that if such meetings occur again, “the Judiciary will directly enter into action.”
- President Hassan Rouhani rejected the notion that the administration does not accept criticism and said, “I do not think there has been such times like this where everyone can criticize the President, the administration and its policies with such ease. We accept criticism and consider it beneficial and necessary. Of course, criticism that is constructive, coupled with sympathy and with the goal of reforming affairs…This administration has come to confront extremism. The worst forms of extremism are lies and accusations. The worse extremism is not telling the realities to the people.”
- Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister Ali Janati defended the closure of 9-Day newspaper, which had criticized the administration’s nuclear policies and said, “The Supervisory Board on the Media has seven members [from various government organs]…The board decided to shutdown 9-Day weekly when multiple warnings were ignored.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif claimed that the recent targeting of Iranian regional assets in the past few months “seem to be coordinated,” and that “there may be government meddling.” Zarif then urged Pakistan to “address” the kidnapped Iranian border guards held by Jaish al-Adl. The execution of one of the five border guards was confirmed yesterday by Iranian officials.
- Foreign Minister Zarif also rejected a claim that the Foreign Ministry prevented the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) from taking “operational measures” against Jaish al-Adl: “I have not received such information from the IRGC and consider it doubtful for any responsible and knowledgeable individual to state such things…IRGC officials would not state this.”
- The Foreign Ministry summoned Pakistan’s Ambassador to Iran and urged Islamabad’s immediate action in arresting those responsible for the kidnapping of Iranian border guards..
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member and former seniorIRGC commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari said “The group known as ‘Jaish al-Adl’ that is active in Pakistan is unfortunately dependent on Saudi Arabia and some other regional countries…If Pakistan cannot execute its duties, Iran will punish these terrorist groups. Iran will not permit these groups to be active in Iranian Baluchestan or even in Pakistan.” Kowsari then urged President Rouhani to address the matter in an upcoming meeting with Pakistani PM Nawaz Sharif in Afghanistan and “prevent the activity of these terrorist groups.”
- Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli stated, “We hope the news of the Iranian guard’s martyrdom is not correct or else this matter will cause us to pursue other means. We will use our power and capabilities in protecting border areas.”
Military and Security
- Senior Advisor to Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Headquarters Chief in Defense Culture Affairs and Preservation of Sacred Defense and Martyrs Values IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Bagher Zadeh suggested that AFGS Headquarters Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi should request the permission of the Supreme Leader in appointing AFGS Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri the Representative of the Armed Forces to the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council (SCRC):
- Bagher Zadeh stated, “There is no representative from the armed forces in the SCRC, while the armed forces have a large share in creating culture. Armed forces are at the front lines in the culture of self-sacrifice and martyrdom. Armed forces have an important role in the arena of training the country’s youth.”
- Bagher Zadeh also occupies the following position: Commander of Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Search for the Missing Committee.
- IRGC Mohammad Rasulollah Division (Greater Tehran) Commander Brig. Gen. MohsenKazemeini echoed the Supreme Leader’s emphasis on culture and stated, “The enemies of the Islamic Republic have concluded that they do not have the capability of waging hard war against the Islamic Republic system, therefore they have chosen cultural transmutation.” He added, “Rahian-e noor can create culture. The Culture of self-sacrifice and martyrdom can unite all opinions and take them towards perfection.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to IRGC Mohammad Rasulollah Division Hojjat al-Eslam Abdolali Govahi said, “Our duty in the matter of culture is first ‘determination’ and subsequently ‘measure’ based on determined models. Of course, we must increase our awareness in culture and then concentrate on retaliating against the enemy and create model on the inside.”
- Head of the Foundation for the Preservation and Publication of Sacred Defense Values IRGC Brig. Gen. Bahman Karegar announced “the activation” of “rahian-e noor cultural bases with the participation of the country’s government and non-government cultural organs” this Iranian calendar year.
- The Privatization Organization announced that it has auctioned a total of 1.6 trillion rials [approximately $6.3 billion] in government assets between February 20 and March 6, from which 1 trillion rials [approximately $4.1 billion] were sold in the Tehran Stock Exchange.
- Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission member MP Esmail Jalili said that “resistance economy” policies advocated by the Supreme Leader will require “…serious reform in institutional economic structures, including banking and credit institutions and even the Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance.”
- He added, “The interesting point is that resistance economy has a forward outlook. It is not an imitative look based on methods that have been unable to provide the necessary answers to our present and future needs. Rather, it is a pioneering, mutating and forward-looking approach in establishing an economy that can maintain itself against fluctuations, threats and crises.”
- Jalili then added that Western economic models taught in Iranian universities do not apply to the present and future circumstances of the country: “Are these approaches compatible with our culture, situation and ideology? Will our religious jurisprudence accept this and is our religious approach compatible and can they be compatible with us?”
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