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 Marie Donovan, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Farzin Farzad, Diana Timmerman and Warren Marshall. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Qods Force Deputy Commander Esmail Ghani echoed regime rhetoric concerning America’s inability to exert hard power on Iran and attributed Tehran’s seat at the nuclear negotiations table to its missile power. Eighty Parliamentarians, meanwhile, signed a legal motion, proposing a contingency plan against increased sanctions and annulment of the interim nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1.
IRGC Brigadier General Esmail Ghani praised Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani for his resilient leadership and “perfect oversight of the enemy [the US and its regional allies].” The Qods Force Deputy Commander said the Islamic Republic is willing and capable of reaching all corners of the world, touting the regime’s growing military strength he added: “The Qods Force missile capacity is even greater [now] because this is logical; each weapon has greater influence [over the negotiations]…” Ghani, moreover, voiced his support for the P5+1 talks; however, he urged Iranian negotiators to embody the spirit of resistance and to exude confidence. Ghani’s message reinforces IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari’s November 24 statement, when he said: “The Americans’ surrender to the authority of Iran is apparent by their behavior in the region and in the [nuclear] negotiations…”
Currently 80 Parliamentarians have signed a legal proposal in order to advance legislation on a contingency plan against new economic sanctions by the West. These Parliamentarians are making a concerted effort to pressure the Rouhani administration to annul the Joint Plan of Action interim nuclear deal signed by Tehran and the P5+1, in November 2013.
Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham reiterated the regime’s position regarding the political crisis in Yemen, following the resignation of the executive branch in Sana’a. Afkham urged the opposing political parties to adhere to the peace agreement and to show restraint.
- Qassem Soleimani’s deputy says Iran’s enemies are frightened and restless. IRGC Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani spoke on the resilient fighting spirit of the resistance and said that Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani stands against the enemy in full health and is undertaking measures to advance the Islamic world. The Qods Force Deputy Commander added:
- “General Soleimani has perfect oversight of enemy targets, and with God’s grace upon him he has provided the means of success.”
- “The Islamic Republic is prepared to be present in every part of the world according to the tasks and needs. But this does not mean a military presence in the country, despite the enemy claiming that the Qods Force has a military presence.”
- On US military strategy: “America imposed two wars in Afghanistan and Iraq and reached both capitals within 20 days and $3 trillion dollars spent.”
- “[The spending] data proves that America imposed these wars on the region to fight against the Islamic Republic…”
- “The enemy is not satisfied with logical words and is not convinced with reason; therefore, you must take your rights back from the enemy.”
- “Americans claimed they entered Afghanistan to eliminate al Qaeda and the Taliban, while telling lies about stepping foot on the soil to [pursue] its own [agenda].”
- Israel: “Israeli forces also rely on the US, destroyed the Twin Towers, and this [operation] was planned.”
- “The Israeli attack on Gaza is the most recent war crime in this century, for a quarter of those killed were children…”
- “Israeli troops… are afraid of land struggles and are certain that the Gaza forces do not hesitate to repel them.”
- On P5+1 nuclear negotiations: Esmail Ghani emphasized his support for the negotiations and said, “These guys [Iranian negotiators] have to go to the negotiations table with the mentality and style that won the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War], until the position of the Islamic Republic in the region be addressed by the enemy, because they fear this utility of power.”
- “Bear in mind that America has proven that it is talking because it does not have the funds to pledge for refusing [negotiations].”
- On missile power: “The Qods Force missile capacity is even greater because this is logical; each weapon has greater influence. Iran is the most independent country in dealing with America.”
- On the US-led coalition: America, as a supporter of ISIL, has used 60 countries to combat it, but it does not want to confront ISIL, because every day in Iraq they drop bombs to pave the way for ISIL, but they will not reach their goal.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Rouhani: government “decided to invest in health sector.” President Hassan Rouhani addressed his cabinet on health care costs and economic and political pressure on Iran:
- Rouhani highlighted the improving medical treatments in Iran; however, he stated that the Iranian people “continue to suffer from the high cost of treatment”; therefore, the current administration “decided to invest in the health sector in such a way that some of this [current] government has been properly named the government of health.”
- Rouhani stated that as part of the endeavor to lower health costs, “companies with knowledge base in this area [of healthcare] and academic centers of the country must double their efforts.”
- Rouhani also stated that, “This year, like years past, the presence and wider, passionate, and joyful participation in the Daheh Fajr celebration [commemorating Imam Khomeini’s return to Iran in 1979] show that we are not tired from the pressure of others and will not cave to it; with the efforts of the system and with the guidance and directives of the Supreme Leader, the country will continue to develop and progress in its own way.” (President.ir)
- Tehran reiterates its position on Yemen. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham discussed Iran’s involvement in the crisis in Yemen, the death of the king of Saudi Arabia, and Russia’s delivery of S-300 missile defense systems to Iran:
- On Yemen: In answer to the question of “whether Tehran has contacted Sana’a to help resolve the political crisis,” Afkham stated, “we are following the developments in Yemen, and are completely careful about procedures, and are following the subject with sensitivity. Of course, we have announced an opinion and are asking [for] adherence from all parties to abide by the peace agreement.”
- “We believe that if the agreement is implemented, it can be a way out of the current crisis, and we want for all parties to adhere to the agreement and arrangements which were carried out; in this case, the political process can help the people of Yemen.”
- On Saudi Arabia: in answer to the question of “whether the changes in the Saudi monarchy would make a difference in Iran-Saudi Arabia relations”, Afkham stated that Iran “still wants good relations with its neighbors”, and stressed that “this relationship holds not only bilateral importance but also can help develop a greater capacity to create relationships.”
- On the S-300 missile defense systems: “Iran and Russia are neighboring countries, who are active on various topics, and bilateral relations between the two countries is established; we are seeking to bring this relationship to a higher level and make use of all capacities [to do so.]”
- On IRGC Brig. Gen. Allah Dadi: “We are using our political capacity in the international community on this issue. Mr. Allah Dadi was present on an advisory mission…”
- On the Supreme Leader’s outreach to Western youth: following Khamenei’s January 21 open letter to European and North American youth, encouraging them to “gain a direct and first-hand knowledge” of Islam, Iranian embassies are considering the “possibility” of “holding seminars” to promote “insightful views on important issues of the Islamic world and the problems of human society.” (Mehr News)
- Parliamentarian on Germany, Israel, and Syria. Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi said on January 27 that he wrote a message to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to submit a formal complaint against Germany for the “interventionist comments” made by the German Parliament’s Vice President Norbert Lammert. The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member also expressed hope about a Russian-led political solution in Syria and warned Israel of the consequences for killing an IRGC general. (Mehr News)
- Naghdi slams Germany for speaking about human rights. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, referring to “interfering comments” made by a visiting German official on Iran’s domestic politics said that because of Germany’s war crimes committed during World War II, they should not talk about human rights. The Head of the Basij Organization gave another example and said that Germany, during the Iran-Iraq war, was the largest supplier of chemical weapons to Iraq. (Basij.ir)
- Parliamentarians working on contingency plan for potential sanctions. 80 MPs signed a legislative plan yesterday, calling on the administration to annul the Joint Plan of Action the interim nuclear deal signed by the P5+1 and Iran in November 2013 if sanctions are not lifted. Chairman of Parliament’s Nuclear Committee Ebrahim Karkhanei said, “According to the motion, if the Western sanctions against Iran are not lifted or if America intends to impose fresh sanctions on the Iranian nation, it will face harsh reaction from Iran’s parliament and administration.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Interior Minister Spokesman: 20 Jaish al-Adl terrorists arrested. Hossein Ali Amiri announced that security forces in Sistan va Baluchistan province had arrested 20 members of the terrorist group Jaish al-Adl over the last two weeks. The Interior Minister spokesman said some of these individuals were involved in the murder of local teachers and were attempting to create a divide between Sunni and Shia in the region. (IRNA)
- MP: 170 candidates took money from Rahimi. Parliamentarian Kamal Al-Din Pirmoazzan announced that he is collecting signatures for a letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reportedly disclosing the names of 170 candidates who took money from former Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi during the 2008 parliamentary elections. Rahimi was recently sentenced to over five years in prison on corruption charges. (Fars News Agency)
- Sajjadi talks about Rahimi’s corruption case: “We did not have any relation with Mr. Ahmadinejad.” The spokesman for the Followers of Imam Khomeini and the Supreme Leader Front said that during Ahmadinejad’s presidency they were critics of him and even wrote a joint letter to Ahmadinejad. Seyyed Kamal Sajjadi said that Rahimi’s case, if anything, demonstrates the power of the judicial system, and that charges are related to the person not the party. (ISNA)
- Supreme Leader writes open letter to Western youth on countering Islamophobia. In the wake of recent terrorist attacks, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently published an open letter to Western youth asking them to read and understand Islam for themselves. The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member said that Khamenei felt it his duty to send a message to the youth since they had not yet been tainted by Machiavellian politics, inferring similarities between the Prophet of Islam and the Supreme Leader during the Iran-Iraq War. (ISNA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Ambassador met with Prime Minister of Lebanon. Mohammad Fathali, Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon, met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tammam Salam on January 27 and discussed “subjects of mutual interest.” (Fars News Agency)
- Tehran and Moscow “serious about finding a peaceful nuclear solution.” Mehdi Sanai, Iranian Ambassador to Russia, stated that Iran and Russia have expansive cooperation with each other within the framework of the P5+1 negotiations, in an interview released on January 27. Sanai mentioned that Tehran-Moscow signed agreements in 2014 to construct additions to the Bushehr nuclear power plant, but added that Tehran and Moscow do not currently have plans to sign any more agreements in 2015. (IRNA)
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