Iran news round up – December 8, 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, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Marie Donovan, Warren Marshall, and Dianna Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

Key takeaway: President Rouhani underscored the imperative of countering state-level corruption, while the Supreme Leader reinforced the administration’s efforts and called on the three branches of government to implement measures against fraud. Senior officials and IRGC commanders continue to highlight Iran’s conventional capabilities and regional influence.

President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his commitment to fight internal corruption, which was a significant part of his August 8th speech. Rouhani previously criticized the Ahmadinejad administration for rampant corruption and condemned harsh critics of nuclear negotiations, calling their opposition a ploy to conceal the wealth they accumulated, under the guise of circumventing sanctions.

Alaeddin Boroujerdi said that US efforts to restrict the regime’s missiles is a pointless exercise. The National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Chairman added that Iran will be victorious in the economic war under sanctions. IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami, moreover, highlighted Iran’s regional influence, citing resistance forces in Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and the formation of Ansar Allah in Yemen. 145 university professors, meanwhile, signed an open-letter praising IRGC Quds Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani for countering US efforts in the region and attributed Iran’s diplomatic power to Soleimani. These statements underscore the rhetorical clashes between Rouhani administration technocrats, who believe negotiations make Iran more secure and critics who argue that Iran’s security is tied to its military capabilities.

Iran and Mexico sign a Memorandum of Understanding promoting economic trade, cultural ties, and parliamentary cooperation.

Official Statements

  • Supreme Leader calls for concerted effort to fight corruption. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei issued a set of guidelines to the three branches of government and said, “I expect you to make and execute strong practical decisions to defy corruption without any consideration.” (Supreme Leader)
  • Rouhani: We must fight corruption and give special consideration to no one. President Hassan Rouhani discussed the imperative of combating corruption at all levels of government in order to secure the people’s trust and help solve the country’s economic problems. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • 90% of the 12 billion tomans embezzled returned to the Treasury Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi emphasized the country’s need for economic health and security and added that the Intelligence Ministry has followed its own policies and strategies in fighting and preventing corruption. (Mehr News)
  • Shamkhani: Iran’s defensive capabilities deter enemy plots. Ali Shamkhani said advances in conventional military capabilities have strengthened the regime’s deterrence against enemy plots. The Supreme National Security Council Secretary added that any final nuclear deal with the P5+1 must safeguard Iranian rights and lift sanctions. (Fars News Agency)
  • IRGC: Ansar Allah of Yemen is like Hezbollah. Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of the IRGC, stated that “Until the last few years, we have witnessed only the forces of Hezbollah in Lebanon who could stand up against the West’s bullying; but today, a major force has been formed in Syria and Iraq, as well as the forces of Ansar Allah in Yemen; this shows the potential the Islamic Revolution has to re-take Muslim lands from Western powers.” (Defa Press)
  • Boroujerdi: America’s dream of restricting Iran’s missiles will never come to pass. Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi addressed the nuclear negotiations and Iranian security and stated that Iran will be victorious in the economic war against the US just as it was victorious in the Iran-Iraq War. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman added that Israel has been defeated five times by Hezbollah, Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and Hamas. (Fars News Agency)
  • Halt of negotiations a possibility entering the third phase. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari said that the nuclear negotiating team must distinguish acceptable parameters from established redlines. The NSFP Commission member and former IRGC commander added that if the second stage of negotiations does not result in an agreement then they should be stopped in the third stage. (Mehr News)
  • New railway project “turning point” for Iran. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif said that the railway project connecting Iran with Turkmenistan and Kazakhstan is a turning point for the economy and government of Iran. The Head of IRGC Public Affairs added that all countries in Central Asia will have railway access to the Persian Gulf. (Sepah News)
  • Ali Larijani: American-led coalition against ISIL is “propaganda.” Ali Larijani stated: “They dropped only one bomb, and then silence. Do you think several air strikes could destroy terrorist forces in the region?” The Parliament Speaker also discussed Iran-Pakistan relations following his recent trip to Islamabad: “Iran and Pakistan have common grounds for cooperation…the two countries should be able to stabilize the region…” (ABNA)
  • Iran stopped US from creating a new Middle East. Parliamentarian Gholam Ali Haddad Adel stated that Iraq and Syria are examples of how Iran has thwarted American plans to create a new Middle East. Haddad Adel warned about enemy efforts in the universities and said, the CIA and British intelligence formed student opposition movements and college campuses. (Defa Press)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif censures Israeli airstrikes in Syria. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and his Syrian counterpart held a joint press conference in Tehran. Zarif said that Israel’s airstrikes are not targeting terrorists; rather they are boosting takfiri morale. He also called on the international community to cut off all funding to terrorist groups. (IRNA)
  • Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jafari arrives in Tehran. Al-Jafari met with his Iranian counterpart Zarif to discuss recent developments in Iraq. The two underscored the importance of continued bilateral relations at the highest level. Zarif also reiterated Iran’s commitment to support Iraq in its fight against ISIL and said “…we will stand by the Iraqi people including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Arabs until the end of [their] fight against extremism and terror.” (ABNA)
  • Iran and Mexico sign Memorandum of Understanding. Alaeddin Boroujerdi discussed last week’s parliamentary visit to Mexico and said that in addition to promoting economic trade and cultural ties, the two sides called for parliamentary cooperation. Iran and Mexico also exchanged views on countering drug trafficking. (Mehr News)
  • 145 professors praise IRGC Quds Force Commander Qassem Soleimani’s efforts in the region. The professors of law and political science signed an open-letter praising Maj. Gen. Soleimani for countering US influence in the Middle East and its support for the Zionist regime. The letter also attributed Iran’s diplomatic power, especially in the nuclear negotiations, to Soleimani. (Sepah News)

Military and Security

  • Air defense commander says U-2 spy plane detected over country. Artesh Khatam ol-Anbia Air Base Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Farzad Esmaili said Iran’s air defense system identified a U-2 spy plane flying over parts of the country last week. Esmaili claimed the plane quickly returned after receiving a warning and being targeted by a missile system. (Defa Press)
  • Artesh to use intelligent anti-armor missiles in upcoming military exercises. Brig. Gen. Kiomars Heidari, Deputy Commander of Artesh Ground Forces, said that the missiles would be used during the upcoming Great Prophet exercises. The exercises will be the third iteration in a series of eight exercises held over the course of 2014-2015. (Defa Press)

By AEI Critical Threat

 

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