The firm pushback against any idea of Iran’s cooperation with the US over the Iraqi crisis continued on Wednesday.
The head of armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi (pictured), while denying any presence of Iranian troops in Iraq, declared, “Iran-US cooperation will never happen as it would be absolutely meaningless.”
The Secretary of the Expediency Council, Mohsen Rezaei, added, “Iran is unwilling to stand with America” and — echoing Firouzabadi’s comments — said that the Iraqi insurgency was “part of the plans of the Zionist system that seeks to turn the wave of Islamic awakening against Islam”. He condemned the Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham for committing atrocities “that not even Hitler did”.
The Rouhani Government, which floated the idea of cooperation in statements by unnamed officials to Western media last week, was silent on Wednesday about the issue.
Instead, President Rouhani told a crowd in western Iran that, although Tehran has no military forces in Iraq, Iranians would volunteer to defend key sites in Iraq:
Regarding the holy Shia shrines in Karbala, Najaf, Khadhimiya and Samarra, we announce to the killers and terrorists that the big Iranian nation will not hesitate to protect holy shrines….
These terrorist groups, and those that fund them, both in the region and in the international arena, are nothing, and hopefully they will be put in their own place.
(Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translations)
Iranian Media Replaces News with Propaganda Denials of Insurgent Advances in Iraq
State outlet Press TV is spreading outdated denials of insurgent advances in Iraq this morning and promising that Iraqi forces will regain the second city of Mosul, lost to the insurgency last week:
Iraq’s Army Spokesman General Qassim Atta stated on Wednesday that preparations were underway to move in against ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and as-Sham) militants in Mosul after Iraqi Special Forces regained full control over the nation’s largest petroleum refinery complex in Baiji, taking out at least 40 terrorists in the process….
According to the Iraqi general, one of ISIS leaders in Iraq was among those killed by government forces.
General Atta further reiterated that Iraqi armed forces were also in full control of the cities of Tal Afar and Samarra, which also came under attack by foreign-backed ISIS militants.
Eyewitness reports on Wednesday established that insurgents had taken almost all of the Baiji refinery, one of three in Iraq.
The insurgency also has captured Tal Afar, in northwest Iraq near the Syrian border, although Iraqi forces are carrying out air attacks and trying to regain territory.
There is one accurate item in Press TV’s report: Iraqi forces hold Samarra, 70 miles north of Baghdad, repelling insurgent attacks and bringing in reinforcements and Shia volunteers.
Supreme Leader Calls on Iraqis to Refrain from Sectarian Conflict
The Supreme Leader’s office has used Twitter to put out his call for restraint in Iraq:
— Khamenei.ir (@khamenei_ir) June 19, 2014
Nuclear Talks Begin Drafting Text of Comprehensive Agreement, But “Fundamental Differences” Remain
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif offered some news on Wednesday about the third day of talks in Vienna between Iran and the 5+1 Powers seeking a comprehensive nuclear agreement:
The drafting phase began today with a small number (of written points), although this does not mean that we have achieved an understanding. There are still very fundamental differences….We will began drafting with points that are mostly agreed upon.
Western and Iranian officials indicated that the major point of dispute is the number and level of Iran’s centrifuges for uranium enrichment.
“The Iranians have not yet shown a willingness to reduce their centrifuges to an acceptable number, making it difficult to envision a compromise at this point that we could all live with,” an unnamed negotiator told Reuters.
Head of Armed Forces Repeats Warning to Revolutionary Guards: No Criticism of Nuclear Talks
As Iran and the 5+1 Powers hold their fifth round of talks seeking a comprehensive nuclear agreement, the head of Iran’s armed forces, General Hassan Firouzabadi, has repeated his warning to the Islamic Revolutionary Guards: refrain from condemnation of the discussions.
Firouzabadi expanded on Wednesday about his injunction last week for media to refrain from “baseless criticism” of Iran’s negotiators:
My warning was a warning to all media and was a strategic matter. The media must look at national affairs with a strategic outlook and consider the main principles of the revolution….
The armed forces’ media have had violations, which will be confronted if not addressed. Serious measures fortunately will take place to reform media affairs afterwards.
Outlets of the IRGC, including Fars News and Sepah News, had periodically challenged the Government over its approach to the talks with the US and other powers; however, they have muted their criticism in recent weeks amid the Supreme Leader’s endorsement of the negotiations.
By EA WorldView
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