Iran News Round Up July 12, 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 Mary Ella Simmons. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s approval of the majority vote for President-elect Hassan Rouhani and discussed the Egyptian unrest:
    • “With complete regret, today Egypt, which is a country with a rich civilization and wealth that has grown under Islam, is [facing a bleak situation] and this is the result of the enemies’ work. Egypt’s present situation returns to the Egyptian nation and [the reason for the bleak situation] is that there is no leadership of justice, jurisprudence and velayat in that country, but the Egyptian nation itself must pay attention to what is happening around them.” 
  • Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hosein Mohseni Ejei announced that National Security and Foreign Affairs (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission members visited Evin prison for the second time, this time to inspect the performance of female prison personnel and for face-to-face discussions with prisoners. Regarding President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s promise to reduce the security environment in the country, he said, “In any form, the tolerance level of administrations is sometimes more and sometimes less. Some administrations are moderate and some are extreme. Of course, the system always has its specific red lines and will confront based on that.”
  • Head of the Judiciary Branch Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani responded to Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alam al-Hoda’s recent criticism of the Judiciary and said that the Judiciary has prioritized “economic corruption” in the country. He added, “According to him, it is not tolerable that some careless girls and boys [criticize] the system. This statement is truly correct. Unfortunately, cultural affairs officials have not paid attention to this matter. Hejab [veil] and chastity is a fundamental issue in the country, although the discussion of confrontation is the final discussion. In the first year when this country’s President asked me, ‘Sir, why do you care that someone’s four strings of hair are [visible]?' I said that our law considers the lack of hejab and [inappropriate] hejab to be crimes, and our religious law considers this to be against religious law, and [one] must forbid visible violation of religion and prevent crimes.” Larijani then stated that it is wrong to send “the people’s boys and girls” to prison alongside dangerous criminals, and that more prisons should be built in the country.  
    • In response, Ayatollah Alam al-Hoda said, “With the recognition that I had from Ayatollah Amoioli Larijani, I expected more of a criticism-accepting spirit from him.”
  • The Administration’s Representative in the Center for Fighting Economic Corruption Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Reza Mirtaj al-Dini announced the possibility of holding a meeting to finalize measures that have taken place in President Ahmadinejad’s Administration. 
  • Society of Qom Seminary Teachers Political Director Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Saleh stated, “The 18thTir [1999 student uprising] and the ’88 [2009] sedition, and plain, total extremism in the political arena was against moderation.”
  • Local websites are reporting protests against water shortages in some villages of Kordestan and Kerman provinces.  

Regional Developments

  • An unnamed source close to Lebanese Hezbollah expressed the complete confidence Hezbollah leader Hassan Nasrallah reportedly has in Michel Aoun, leader of the Lebanese Free Patriotic Movement, stating that “the connection existing between Michel Aoun’s Free Patriotic Movement and Hezbollah is a strategic relationship." He added that “there are some differences of opinion about internal Lebanese issues and this is natural, and the coalition between Hezbollah and Aoun is an independent cooperation and no embassy or foreign party is involved.”

Diplomacy

  • Hojjat al-Eslam Akhtari, Secretary-General of the Ahlul Bayt World Assembly and former Iranian ambassador to Syria, is on a trip to Turkey, and met with Salah al-Din Ozgunduz, a prominent Turkish Shi’a cleric. He visited the Zeinabiyyeh mosque and community in Istanbul, and met with leaders of Turkish Ja’afari institutions. He then toured the building site of the Zeinab mosque and cultural center, which is reportedly going to be the largest religious and cultural center in Europe and Turkey.
  • Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi made a short trip to Ankara Friday to meet with Turkish FM Ahmet Davutoğlu to discuss issues of regional importance, particularly Egypt. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Eraghchi said in regards to the trip, “We hope that this trip helps to bring the viewpoints together for the interest of the people of Egypt and the region.”

Military and Security

  • IRGC Imam Hossein Educational Complex Deputy BG Mohammad Shabani discussed relations with the United StatesPresident Obama’s letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, the 2013 elections and regional developments:
    • “Some do not know that under this velvet tissue there is a cast-iron hand; can one be friends with his enemy?”
    • “When [Presidents] Bush and Obama say that all options are on the table, it does not mean war, because they do not dare attack Iran and we have passed our test. In [the Iran-Iraq War], we attacked for 792 days and Iraq fought for 309 days.”
    • “We have a dealt a strong slap to the enemies which still leaves a mark, and this slap increased the enemies’ grudge against us; the Late Imam [Khomeini said], ‘we defeated the powers of the East and the West in this war.’”
    • “In [his] letter, Obama addresses the [Supreme] Leadership from a position of abjection, and the [aforementioned] is exactly like the mercy letters that came for Hazrat-e Abbas on the night of [the Battle of] Ashura.”
    • “Obama writes, ‘if a war occurs in the region, Israel alone will enter the war and we will not support it; we are willing to accept Iran as a trading partner.’ These are signs of our enemies’ abjection.”
    • “Thirty-five years ago, we ran the Shah out of the country, and regional countries have only recent started to revolt and this shows that Shi’a are thirty-five years ahead of other Muslims.” 
  • Sciences Minister Kamran Daneshjou announced that “approximately sixty universities in the country are conducting defense research, while before this three to four universities were active in this arena.” 
  • Armed Forces General Staff Commander MG Hassan Firouzabadi discussed President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet formation and the Egyptian unrest:
    • “Mr. Rouhani will certainly choose capable, rational and moderate individuals from all parties. Therefore, I have complete trust in the work that he is doing and there is no need for advice.”
    • “The trend of transporting American weapons via air and sea to the region demonstrates that these weapons will be in the hands of individuals who are not with the people’s revolution, but rather [those] who pursue the interests of the Americans and certain other groups. It is here that the people must be sensitive to the violence and not support it, and do something so that the country moves toward peace and the sympathetic can manage the country, and God willing, national interests of the country of Egypt will be secure.”

Nuclear Issue

Economy

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