Iran News Round Up December 17, 2013

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributor John Lesnewich. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Politics

Diplomacy

  • Iraqi MP Majd Qemas visited Tehran and praised the regional stability provided by the Geneva agreement: “This agreement not only had very positive influences on Iran, but will also lead to the development of peace and the creation of understanding between regional countries. The governments of the Middle East are trying to find an agreement to solve the present differences. Most of these differences have been created by the effects of foreign intervention. In any case, this file of differences must be closed. Ending these differences is to the benefit of the whole region.”

Regional Developments

Military and Security

  • IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami addressed the First Hormozgan Telecommunications and Radiomen Warriors Memorial and discussed recent negotiations:
    • “In the current situation, no symbol or smell of the effects of sanctions are observed on the trend of the country’s transformation and expansion.”
    •  “The enemy knows well that if the Iranian nation enters the path of diplomacy and dialogue, it has power behind itself with the capability of standing against all Arrogant [Western] powers with the goal of guarding its achievements and ideals.”
    • “They have surrendered to the Iranian nation since they know that if they threaten Iran, in the end an arrow will strike their policies and we will be forever rid of them.”
    • “Those who have closed off global connections to us do not have an appropriate economic situation. Poverty, homelessness and sleeping in the streets is a phenomenon in modern America’s inner cities.” 
  • Roads and Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi announced, “[IRGC] Khatam ol-Anbia [Construction Base] has no contract for the Tehran-North freeway project. From the beginning, the Oppressed Foundation has been active in this field, whose agreement was cancelled given the criticism of the Speaker of Parliament. The Oppressed Foundation is active based on the cancelled accord in two or three components of this project.” He added that 120 trillion tomans [approximately $48.3 billion] of credit is needed to finish ongoing national projects, while the entire allocated credit in this year’s budget is 5.6 trillion tomans [approximately $2.3 billion].  
    • This past weekend, IRGC Khatam ol-Anbia Commander Brig. Gen 2nd Class Ebadollah Abdollahi said that his base had a contract for this project, stating, “The IRGC has a contract for this project. The implementation of this project, considering its scale ... depends on the resolution of financial issues. If the finances are secured, based on the contract, it will be a four year project, but the plan is with the Ministry of Roads
  • Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi will unveil his upcoming book, “Revealed Secrets of the Zionist Regime” tomorrow at the Tehran International Books Festival. The book is about “the crimes and betrayals of the Zionist regime from time of its formation until now.” 
  • Mohammad Amin Akrami and Mehdi Rishahri Tangestani were reportedly arrested by IRGC Intelligence for their Facebook activity. IRGC intelligence has made several arrests of cyber and internet activists recently.

Nuclear Issue

  • International Affairs Advisor to the Supreme Leader and Chairman of the CSR Ali Akbar Velayati spoke about the Geneva agreement, criticizing American action, but saying that  “the conditions are certainly provided” for a final agreement.
    • “Without a doubt, if the other side, including the Americans, act contrary to the Geneva agreement, they expose themselves in the international spotlight because it was decided that new sanctions should not be administered.”
    • “This is an America that has greater needs in the nuclear issue than Iran because, with its position to use peaceful nuclear energy in the framework of the international and NPT resolution, nothing will become a barrier to Iran because it is not doing anything illegal.”
    • “Most countries of the world, as well as a majority of the P5+1, emphasize this point. At the beginning, the Americans themselves expressed a desire. In order to satisfy the Zionists and some regional reactionaries, after executing negotiations and an agreement, they spoke contrarily and the world saw this. Because Iran is using nuclear energy peacefully, it needs permission from no one.” 
  • Presidential Planning Deputy Mohammad Bagher Nobakht spoke to the importance of the nuclear deal and said that Iran’s current power cannot be compared to its past capabilities: “The world has come to realize that the nuclear rights of our country must be officially recognized.”
    • “The agreement was so important that after it was signed, the Zionist regime announced that it was the biggest mistake of the century.”
    • “The Geneva nuclear agreement will be implemented next month, and the important thing is the contents of this agreement. If the national rights of Iran are not ensured, the Supreme Leader will oppose it. He considers the nuclear negotiators trustees of the system, and no one has the right to move ahead of the Supreme Leader’s commands and oppose them.”
  • Senior Nuclear Negotiator Abbas Eraghchi met with EU High Representative of Foreign Affairs Catherine Ashton this morning in Brussels, and spoke afterwards, saying “It is decided that experts negotiations will begin soon.” After Eraghchi criticized his counterparts, Ashton pledged the P5+1 would implement its side of the agreement. Eraghchi said, “In the meeting with Ashton, in addition to the criticism of unconstructive Western stances, especially those of Western officials, we emphasized that if negotiations are to continue, greed and inflammatory actions must be avoided.”
    • “Ms. Ashton also endorsed the need to avoid actions that create misunderstanding and gave her confidence that six countries, especially the American side, will likewise act on and accept what is necessary in the agreement and adhere to the principles of the text of the agreement.” 
    • “Ms. Ashton assured us that all of the members of the group, especially America, are engaged in their responsibilities. On this basis, it was decided to continue negotiations.”
  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif criticized the US decision to issue additional sanctions, but said “Despite the American actions in placing Iranian and foreign companies on a blacklist, Tehran will continue negotiations.”
    • Zarif called the US Treasury’s actions “a big setback” and said “This shows a shortcoming in understanding over the direction of action to solve the nuclear discussion. Some individuals have taken the position that pressure has results. They err because pressure has been the cause of the production of 18,000 centrifuges in Iran.”
    • “I believe that we must put these failed policies and approaches to the side and adopt new policies. That is why these types of actions move this current process off of its path. However, I believe that there is the political will on all sides to continue this process. Iran will show its reaction to any action that is not acceptable or unconstructive in solving the problem.”
    • “If Congress places new sanctions and the American administration implements them, this action would be against the Geneva agreement and mean that the agreement has not taken shape due to this violation of it.”
    • “I think that this action by the US Treasury Department was not beneficial, yet that does not mean it was a violation of the agreement. This action puts their intent to solve issues by way of negotiations under question, which is itself a big step backwards. However, this does not also mean that they want to destroy the whole process.” 
    • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham issued a  warning saying that not issuing new sanctions was the “most key discussion” for the success of a deal, and added that, “We have announced previously that any type of new sanctions means the death of the joint program. We hope that the other side is diligent in preserving the joint action plan and seeks goodwill and a constructive spirit in the joint action plan.” 
  • Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Abu Torabi Fard addressed the 32nd National IRGC Qur’an Competition and said, “The West and America have understood well that the only way to resolve the Iranian nuclear matter to negotiate and attain an agreement whose content is accepted by the Islamic Republic.” He then criticized implementation of new sanctions by the United States and said, “These sideline measures by America are in reality influenced by the radical Zionist lobby because today the global community and even Western public opinion seeks a quick resolution of the Iranian nuclear matter. I advise the West to use the created opportunity, because working solely within the framework of the NPT is not a difficult work for the Islamic Republic with attention to the existing power and capacities in the Islamic system. If the West does not use this opportunity, Iran will only discuss with them within the framework of the NPT. Therefore they should give more attention to this emerging opportunity.”

Economy

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