Iran News Round Up December 4, 2012

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh and Ahmad Majidyar. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English  

Politics

  • Ali Larijani rejects Ahmadinejad’s criticism of parliament, defends parliament’s record, but says it is not "expedient to answer Ahmadinejad." 
  • Judiciary Spokesman Gholam-Hossein Mohseni Ezhehi, too, declines to answer Ahmadinejad's allegations against the regime.

Diplomacy

  • Three days after Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said Washington was ready to engage in bilateral negotiations with Iran, Foreign Minister Ali-Akbar Salehi reacts:
    • "Thematic negotiations between Iran and the United States have taken place in several phases and there is no obstacle to repeat those [negotiations]... However, should the public considers comprehensive political negotiation, this issue is within the sphere of competence of the Supreme Leader of the Revolution. He, for example, decides if such a thing should take place or not."
    • Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani stressed that the United States should first show its intentions in the nuclear negotiations: "If they are sincere, the path of 5+1 negotiations is open and the Islamic Republic had made good suggestions in this group which they did not correctly respond to and have pursued more sanctions. But they can change their path in future through their proposals."
    • Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi, Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Revolutionary Guards, dismisses negotiations with the United States.
  • Mansour Haqiqatpour, parliamentary National Security Committee member criticizes Egypt for not allowing a parliamentary delegation from Iran to visit Gaza. 

Military and Security

  • [E] Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guard Corps (IRGC) Navy Rear Admiral Ali Fadavi announced that his forces hunted a US Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) over the Persian Gulf after the drone violated the country's airspace. 

Nuclear Issue

  • Ali-Asghar Soltaniyeh, ambassador to the IAEA: "Should an ignorant and lunatic [regime] like the Zionist regime desires to attack, it will, as the Islamic Republic of Iran authorities have said, be dealt with seriously. But such an act would also have consequences for the agency and the treaty... Our people and parliamentarians constantly ask themselves: 'What are the benefits of membership of the Non-Proliferation Treaty?'"

Economy

  • Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi:
    • "Renting an offshore drilling platform costs between 150,000 to $160,000 on a daily basis, while the cost of renting land based drilling rigs is $40,000. Because of the costs, the output of drilling in the country must be improved. Today, land based drilling operations are above one hundred days, and more in the offshore sector. This number must be reduced to 45 to 65 days in the offshore sector so we can reach international output [standards]." Qassemi also promised a greater share of the drilling projects to the "private sector."

Trade

  • Mehdi Ghazanfari, Industries, Mines and Commerce minister, says the Central Bank is "incapable of providing foreign currency to cover the needs of the country," and continues: "Last year, the sanctions only hit the banking and shipping sector, but now, commerce too has been shut..." Ghazanfari also says that during the first six months of the current fiscal year, 11 out of $27 billion for imports came from "non [Central] Bank foreign currency."
  • According to Alef News, the Islamic Republic has imported $429 million automobiles from United Arab Emirates, South Korea and Kuwait in the past six months. The largest importers are Asan Motor and Atlas Khodrow companies, both owned by a certain Seyyed Ahmad Gerami, who has imported 6,194 automobiles worth $101 million. http://www.etemaad.ir/Released/91-09-14/133.htm

Religion, Society and Culture

  • Because of air pollution, all public institutions in Tehran are closed for the second consecutive day. 

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