Iran news round up – December 19, 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: University of Tehran hosts panel critiquing Iranian nuclear program. Iran and Britain renew attempts to improve relations.

The University of Tehran hosted a conference last week on Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 and its nuclear program. Former parliamentarian Ahmad Shirzad said that “Since 2003, it [the nuclear industry] has denied the country even one glass of water.”   Prominent political analyst and professor Sadegh Zibakalam criticized those who approached the nuclear situation from an ideological standpoint, stating “when something becomes [a matter of] honor, it cannot be bargained.” Toleration of such direct criticism may indicate the regime’s inclination to marginally expand public critique.

Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan stated that Iran’s missile and defense power is not up for negotiation. His comments echo Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati’s statements earlier this week on Iran’s missiles and underscore the Supreme Leader’s intent to keep the nuclear negotiations compartmentalized.

A parliamentary delegation is scheduled to visit England in the next two months as Iran and the UK expressed optimism over the renewing of diplomatic ties during a meeting of the Britain-Iran Parliamentary Friendship Group. This follows recent efforts to improve relations during the Rouhani administration after the closure of the British embassy in Tehran in 2011.  

Nuclear Talks

  • Critics of nuclear negotiations attend Tehran University conference. The Persian Language and Literature faculty at the University of Tehran held a conference on the last ten years of Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 last week. Prominent professor and political analyst Sadegh Zibakalam stated that people have grown concerned about the nuclear issue from a point of view of ideology or honor, and therefore ‘when something becomes [a matter of] honor, it cannot be bargained.’” Former Parliamentarian Ahmad Shirzad that “Since 2003, it [the nuclear industry] has denied the country even one glass of water.”  (Fars News Agency)

Official Statements

  • Dehghan: We won’t let anyone negotiate on Iran’s missile and defensive power. Defense Minister and IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stressed that Iran’s missile program represented part of its national defense capability and therefore would not be discussed during the nuclear negotiations. Dehghan also denied that Iran’s missiles had been designed to carry nuclear warheads. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Naghdi: The media’s most fundamental mission is to show the Iranian people’s steadfastness against arrogance. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi said America’s weakness had forced it to resort to using takfirist and terrorists to pursue its goals against Iran. (Fars News Agency)
  • Iran doesn’t need the US to make progress. Ayatollah Mohammad Taqi Mezbah Yazdi denied Iran’s dependence on the US for economic progress, saying, “Some people believe that there can be no progress [in Iran] without the US, and that the only way to success is to give concessions [to] the government of America.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Canada’s proposed resolution against Iran is politically motivated and “awkward.” Gholam Hossein Dehghani said that the resolution that was put on the agenda of the UN’s General Assembly on Thursday condemning Iran’s human rights violations is simply politically motivated, unbalanced and full of prejudgments. The Deputy Ambassador to the United Nations added that “Canada’s recent position towards the aggressive policies of the Zionist regime has shown that it has little concern for human rights.” (IRNA)
  • US Senate torture report exposes human rights hypocrisy. Referring to the 6 thousand page Senate Commission report, Friday Prayer Leader of and Representative of the Supreme Leader in Kermanshah Ayatollah Mostafa said, “A country that has prisons in a dozen different countries cannot claim human rights and this report has once again exposed the leaders of this country.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Ebrahim Raisi on the US and cyberspace. Before Friday Prayer in Tehran today, Chief Prosecutor Hojjat al-Eslam Ebrahim Raisi called cyberspace a threat to Iranian society saying: “Today, the enemy is using the cyberspace to instill sedition.” He said, “We must have faith while using cyberspace in our country, and we must not let the enemies of the revolution infiltrate our cultural borders.” (Fars News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Larijani to visit Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria next week. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani will take a 4-day trip to Iraq, Lebanon, and Syria to meet with senior officials and discuss issues related to bilateral relations. (Fars News Agency)
  • Parliamentary delegation to visit England in the next two months. The UK and Iran expressed optimism over the future opening of their respective embassies. Vice-Chairman of the Britain-Iran Parliamentary Friendship Group, Richard Bacon, met with Chairman of Iran-Britain Parliamentary Friendship Group Abbas Ali Mansouri Arani to discuss renewed diplomatic ties between the two countries and the future visit of an Iranian delegation to the UK. (IRNA)

By AEI Critical Threat

 

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