Iran news round up October 15, 2014

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Diana Timmerman, and Marie Donovan.

Official Statements

 

  • Senior Political Adviser to the Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Brig. Gen. 2C Yadollah Javani spoke about the fight against ISIL in Iraq and Syria and commented on a recent photograph taken of IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani with Kurdish Peshmerga forces:
    • “Maj. Gen. Soleimani is a world renowned figure and hero of the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq war], and his leadership style is that of the Sacred Defense; at that time leaders like Soleimani or martyrs like Kharrazi, Hemmat, and Bakeri would be present on the field of battle and they would be in the front during operations.”
    • “Today we face a conspiracy between America and some of the rest of the world against the Islamic world.”
    • “The takfiri ISIL and other terrorist groups engage in deception; concerning the structure of ISIL we understand that enemy spy services are behind the leaders of the group and this relationship is apparent. We have seen support from Saudi Arabia, Qatar, Turkey, and the Zionist regime to terrorists in Syria and Iraq.”
    • “Iran does not think America is sincere and believes that America does not want to fight terrorism in the region. One decade ago, after September 11, they attacked Iraq and Afghanistan under the slogan of fighting terrorism, but they and their allies are tools of the terrorists.” (ABNA)
       
  • President Hassan Rouhani briefed the Iranian nation on the country’s present situation, claiming economic growth since taking office June 2013.He also stressed that the administration’s economic policies fulfill the Supreme Leader’s Economy of Resistance policies issued in February 2014 [See Iran News Roundup, February 19, 2014]. Rouhani then expressed confidence in a comprehensive nuclear deal:
    • “We faced stagflation since the beginning of the administration, and it was a very important problem. It was natural that resolving this matter was not easily possible. It would like to state to the noble Iranian people that all the administration’s works and steps were in consultation with experts. We would not have reached this point if it were not for all the people’s support and the Supreme Leader’s guidance.”
    • “We saw good movement in various economic sectors during the first three months of the [Iranian calendar] year [March – June]. We experienced extraordinary growth in tourism, growing twofold in comparison to last summer. We have very good growth in industry mining, we had 10% growth. In some sections, for example automobile production, we experienced 80% increase in production. In petrochemicals, we had growth in crude steel…Our oil sector grew by 6 percent in comparison to last year’s three month period.”
    • “I am certain that we will have positive growth by the end of the year. Of course, these are preliminary calculations.”
    • “Today the nuclear discussion is part our foreign relations dialogue. Today there is not a great country that is not willing to talk, negotiate, and meet.”
    • “The entirety of matters are agreed upon by both sides. No one now seeks to [dismantle] Iran’s enrichment, this matter has been forgotten and eliminated. There is no longer a discussion whether Iran should have power plants for radio-medicine in Arak. One of our matters discussed with the P5+1 is for Iran to have other modern nuclear technologies alongside enrichment. In this latest New York trip, we have negotiations with the President of France, and he introduced that they want to have nuclear relations with and give modern nuclear technologies to Iran,”
    • “I will answer your question thusly: The matter is irreversible. Meaning we will never go back to the previous situation…We think that the rest of the matters will be resolved in the next 40 days and can be ended.”
    • “We prepared a lengthy report based on that [the administration’s] economic recovery package does not conflict with Resistance Economy. It also moves in this regard. It is very important that we were able to exit stagnation when the sanctions continue and there is not access to foreign revenues and that our banks have not been active that much.”
    • “We took very important steps with regard to the environment, because water is our primary problem.” (IRNA)

 

  • Ministry of Intelligence Services (MOIS) Head Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated that Iranian Intelligence observes all of ISIL’s activities and warned against both Sunni and Shi’a extremism:
    • “We have anticipated ISIL’s plans and we have informed the Iraqi authorities. We have reported ISIL’s activities step by step. Actions were taken based on these predictions and if those actions hadn’t been taken the situation in Iraq and Syria would be very different.”
    • “There is no difference between extremism that causes disunity in the Muslim world whether it be Sunni or Shi’a extremism.” (ABNA)

 

Nuclear Talks

 

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, European Union Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, and Secretary of State John Kerry held a trilateral meeting in Vienna on Wednesday to hammer out the details of a final nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1. (Mehr News)

 

  • Foreign Minister Zarif addressed the press regarding the current stage of nuclear negotiations:
    • “In this round of talks, we are discussing a solution to put an end to the differences. There are, indeed, considerable differences, but that does not mean these differences cannot be settled.”
    • “It is essential that serious and innovative ways to resolve disputes arise and this will be discussed, but these discussions are time consuming and may require further dialogue.”
    • “On Thursday the P5+1 political directors will meet, because we believe that everyone’s presence is essential to reach a solution and it is great that on Thursday we will have the opportunity to reach a common point.”
    • “This was the Islamic Republic of Iran’s request that in addition to talks with Catherine Ashton and America, that there would be negotiations with all P5+1 members, therefore Friday’s talks were added [to the schedule] which reflects the political will of all parties.”(Fars News Agency)

 

  • Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani spoke about how reaching a final nuclear deal is beneficial to all parties involved and about how ISIL cannot be countered with airstrikes.
    • “I believe that an agreement in the nuclear issue is in everyone’s interest, and this agreement has the capacity to help bring stability to the region, and it should be known that in the current situation of the region, time is running short.”
    • “It is foreseeable that ISIL cannot be countered with airstrikes.” (Fars News Agency)

 

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

 

  • Palestine Islamic Jihad (PIJ) Secretary-General Ramazan Abdullah Mohammad Shalah arrived in Tehran yesterday. Shalah is scheduled to meet with Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani and other senior Iranian officials. (ISNA)

 

  • Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) Deputy Secretary-General Sheikh Naim Qassem underlined LH’s support for the armed forces of Lebanon and said:
    • “Today we also call for a joint effort between the structures of the Lebanese nation and government. We should seek partnership and identify common ground and differences should be set aside in discussions. However, if you seek to solve problems through other countries and international orders, this essentially means the stagnation of the government of Lebanon.”
    • “Relying on America and the Security Council has not resulted in the release of even an inch of Lebanese territory in the past 22 years.”
    • “We are at the height of dignity and independence. For every Israeli attack, a thousand calculations are taken into account and thanks to the deterrence of the Lebanese military, the nation, and the resistance forces, they are powerless.”
    • “Lebanon must be fully alert of two main threats: Israel and takfiri terrorists, because these threats complement each other…” (Defa Press)

 

  • Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham condemned yesterday’s terrorist attack on the predominately Shi’a neighborhood of Kadhimiyah, near Baghdad. The blast left an estimated 21 people dead. (Mehr News)

 

  • Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Mohammad Fathali met with Lebanese Foreign Minister Gebron Bassil and the two spoke about military “gifts” to the Lebanese Army:
    • Fathali: “First it is unconditional, second there is no mediation of a third country, and most important of all these gifts include arms and ammunition to the Lebanese Army.”
    • Bassil: “The fight against terrorism needs more cooperation among countries in the region and needs to be taken more seriously, this is because the security and stability of the whole region is at risk, and it’s natural that countries in the region are more threatened compared to other countries in the world.” (Shia News)
  • A Parliamentary Delegation traveled to Croatia for a five-day trip. The delegation plans on meeting with the President, Parliament Speaker, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Croatia during the visit. (ISNA)
  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif had a telephone conversation with his Italian counterpart and Italian candidate for European Union Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and spoke on the ISIL threat:
    • “To show good faith and seriousness in combatting terrorist group ISIL, all countries must put short-term political considerations and interests aside.” (Mehr News)

 

  • Head of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani met with the Ambassador to Iran Giulio Haas and spoke on the possibility of a gas pipeline:
    • “If a gas pipeline were created, it would be a permanent investment for the order of political security in Europe.”
    • In response to the ambassador’s remarks on the desire of the Americans to solve problems, Rafsanjani stated, “We know America’s domestic problems and pressures of extremism; however, words are not enough to solve the problems, and behavior must support speech.” (Tasnim News)

 

  • A Saudi court sentenced to death senior Shi’a cleric and prominent dissident Sheikh Nimr Bagher al-Nimr. Saudi Arabia had previously sentenced and then rescinded a death sentence to al-Nimr. (ISNA)
    • Sheikh Nimr’s brother Mohammad al-Nimr, who attended the sentencing, was reportedly arrested by Saudi authorities at the trial. (Tasnim News)
    • In June 2014, Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief MG Hassan Firouzabadi warned Saudi officials on condemning Sheikh Nemr:
    •  “It appears very unbecoming of a country like Saudi Arabia which has calculating rulers to issue a death sentence for the great Shi’a scholar Sheikh al Nemr. This is very disconcerting for us. It is unacceptable for the rulers of [this] brotherly and Muslim country that considers themselves servants of the sacred shrines to spill the blood of a great Shi’a scholar.”
    •  “We hope that a fundamental reconsideration takes places regarding this unjust and divisive ruling…The community of Islam awaits such God-appealing decisions on the eve of the blessed month of Ramadan.”  (Sepah News)

 

Military and Security

 

  • Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that Iran and Russia held joint naval exercises in the Caspian Sea in the vicinity of Astrakhan. (Defa Press)

 

Economy

  • The Deputy Minister of Industry and Minister of Agriculture and the Russian ambassador to Iran attended a business meeting in Tehran centering on the mechanisms of trade. The Committee for Iran-Russia economic cooperation has stated that “the creation of a preferred provider tariff on some goods, the issuing of guarantees for export, and the mode of transmission of money and issuing visas to businessmen are some of the topics of our agreements with Russia.”
    • Head of the Iran and Russia Economic Cooperation Committee Mojtaba Khosrotaj announced that an unnamed Japanese bank acts as a third party between Iran and Russia. He emphasized, however, the need for “a banking network to reduce the cost of transactions.”
    • A committee member stated that, “we agreed to pave the way for the private sector of this market, because the parities believe there should be a balance in the trade of non-oil commodities. Before, our balance of trade in this field was negative, and our countries must try several times to meet these needs.” (Fars News Agency)

 

  • The first Iran-Europe Forum is being held in London today, where dozens of international and Iranian firms will discuss investment opportunities in Iran following the potential lifting of sanctions. (IRNA)

 

  • Iran and Vietnam have signed four cooperation document focusing on economic and cultural ties, including an “agreement on customs cooperation and mutual administrative assistance in customs matters.” (Tasnim News)

By AEI Critical Threats

 

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