Iran news round up – December 2, 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, Marie Donovan, Warren Marshall, and Dianna Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

Key takeaway: President Rouhani reiterates his policy of expanding diplomatic relations as parliamentary delegation travels to Mexico for the first time in 35 years.

President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his policy of “creating relations with all countries;” meanwhile, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Chairman, led a parliamentary delegation to Mexico for the first time since the 1979 Revolution.

Ali Larijani is set to visit Pakistan this week and hold talks with his counterpart, Sardar Ayaz Sadiq. The meeting follows Tehran’s recent criticism of Islamabad for the October clashes along the Iran-Pakistan border which killed four Iranian guards.

Parliament will review a budget next week which assumes oil prices at $70 per barrel. While this price fits within the relative norm for budgetary planning in recent years, Rouhani’s major economic reforms will be hampered without the additional revenue from a planned higher price per barrel.

Official Statements

  • Rouhani administration to expand diplomatic relations, create private sector growth, and encourage foreign investment. President Hassan Rouhani said that his policy is “creating relations with all countries” and that Iran’s diplomatic relation with the world is improving. He added that investors from across the globe have expressed interest in “beginning economic activities in Iran,” and that “more steps” must be taken to develop a “non-governmental economy” that includes the private sector in most economic activities. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Zarif: We want nothing more than our rights. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed nuclear diplomacy conference in Tehran:
    •  “The structure of Iran’s nuclear program will remain intact.” “Our program in Arak and others will be pursued in seriousness and with the cooperation of the international community, and with access to the latest technology.”
    • “Iran’s nuclear policy, in accordance with a fatwa by the leadership and by strategic calculations, has and will be one hundred percent peaceful. We are not concerned about reaching an agreement, an agreement would be beneficial to us; it is not a loss for us.” (Defa Press)
  • Parliamentary budget assumes $70 a barrel price. Gholam Reza Kateb announced that the budget bill that will be submitted to Parliament next Monday will assume oil prices will remain at $70 a barrel. The Spokesman for the Parliamentary Budget Commission added that this is a good opportunity to reduce Iran’s dependence on the oil budget. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Senior military official denies any cooperation with US-led coalition against ISIL in Iraq. IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri denied coordinating with US to bombard ISIL positions. The Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy added that Tehran considers Washington a main supporter of ISIL and the source of instabilities in Iraq. (Fars News Agency)
  • Firouzabadi praises national media for implementation of Sacred Defense radio programs.AFGS Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi said that the radio had a significant impact during the Iran-Iraq War. He also expressed his appreciation to Dr. Mohammad Hossein Sufi, the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Deputy Director of Radio, for the production of such effective programs. (Sepah News)
  • Quran activists are defenders against enemy’s “soft war.” Ayatollah Haeri-Shirazi said the enemy’s soft war tactics are designed to capture the people’s vision, and recitation of the Quran is the best defense. The Assembly of Experts member added that families need the Quran because they are under a soft war attack. (Sepah News)
  • IRGC Navy Commander calls for technological overhaul in naval industries. Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi announced that Iran needs to upgrade its naval industries systems with “cutting-edge and indigenous” technologies in order to “facilitate progress in naval industries.” (Mehr News)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Larijani set to visit Pakistan. Ali Larijani is due in Islamabad this Thursday. The Parliament Speaker will hold talks with his Pakistani counterpart Sardar Ayaz Sadiq and other senior officials in order to promote strengthening ties between Islamabad and Tehran. (Mehr News)
  • Rafsanjani may travel to Saudi Arabia. Ayatollah Vahid Khorassani said that only one person can “persuade” Saudi Arabia to ease its tension with Iran – namely, Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani. With ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1, the Saudis have stressed their concerns about the Islamic Republic’s growing regional influence, while Rafsanjani has been on record saying that Tehran should engage Riyadh in talks to ease tensions. (ABNA)
  • Parliamentarian delegation travels to Mexico for first time since 1979 Revolution. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Chairman led an Iranian delegation of lawmakers to Mexico City, where they are scheduled to hold talks with their Mexican counterparts to promote bilateral ties. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Iran has a positive and constructive role in contributing to peace and stability in the region.Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, met with Fahd bin Mahmoud Al Said, Deputy Foreign Minister for the Council of Ministers of Oman. Abdollahian noted the importance of preserving the sovereignty, independence, unity, and territorial integrity of Iraq, Syria, and other countries in the region and stressed that US-led efforts to fight terrorism are “in conflict with peace, stability, and security in the region.” (Tasnim News Agency)
    • Abdollahian responded to anti-Tehran comments made by a Bahraini official and said: “Bahrain’s present situation has created a scenario where some officials speak outside of diplomatic decorum,” adding that he would not dignify a response. (Fars News Agency)

Domestic Politics

  • Ayatollah Kermani appointed Head of the Combatant Clergy Association. Expediency Discernment Council member Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani was appointed as the new leader of the Combatant Clergy Association (a hardline conservative political party), replacing the late Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani. (Fars News Agency)

By AEI Critical Threat

 

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