Iran News Round Up July 15, 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

  • President-elect Hassan Rouhani addressed Parliament yesterday, discussing increased cooperation with Parliament, cabinet selection and targeted subsidies:
    • On cooperation with Parliament: “The [Parliament] is the result of jihad by grand clerics and ulama and efforts during the Constitutionalist movement, and is an important populist institution.”
    • “Each and every representative is a representation of the entire Iranian nation. If there has been disrespect toward the Parliament within the past few years, this respect and strength must return to the Parliament.”
    • “The future administration will look upon the Parliament as an effective and important institution. Just as the Imam [Khomeini] said [that] the Parliament is the essence of a nation’s virtue, this Parliament is the legislating [institution] whose directives after the approval of the Guardian Council will be mandatory for all and especially for the future President.”
    • “The country is facing 42% inflation and unemployment issues will be greater and greater in the future, if no immediate measures are taken. We sent educated youth after the secondary era to the universities and currently have more than four million unemployed who have graduated. According to projections, we will have between four to five million unemployed graduates in the next four years. If this trend continues, the number of those who are employed in the past eight years will have been very very few.”
    • “For cooperation and coordination, we need an administration and Parliament who have a single interpretation of the internal, regional and global situations, and this requires continuous cooperation between the administration and Parliament, which requires continuous cooperation between specialized commissions and related ministries.”
    • “The basis of the Parliament is advice and consultation, which is based on Islam, but many methods use the experience of others. Science and arts do not recognize experience and borders. He who was the greatest divine ambassador [Prophet Muhammad] and was a mercy for all mankind affirmed that you should travel to the farthest points [to gain knowledge]. It was he who taught us that we [must learn] wisdom…We must put the experience [of all] beside each other and reach a single analysis.”
    • “Against the large enemy, making statements is not the solution. We must know the enemy and know the enemy’s plans. We must contemplate [and] plan for the enemy’s plan. Making statements and being bombastic may be beautiful sometimes but it is certainly not enough. If the Administration and Parliament can reach a single perspective to resolve [domestic and international issues], then the work will be very simple and easy.”
    • “The first capital will be the people’s support, trust and help….The second capital is the support of the grand Supreme Leader…. [Cooperation of the three branches] will be the third capital.”
    • “On the cabinet: We preferred to begin the work from other angles. It crossed my mind to review the country’s issues and position….To that end, we formed economic, foreign affairs, domestic affairs, and cultural and social committees. Under these four committees, twenty work-groups are active and appeal to [the input] of 500 prominent university figures.”
    • “Currently, we are not at the level of final judgment. The Administration will certainly attempt to present the realities of the country to the Grand Supreme Leader and Representatives within the first 100 days…The future Administration will announce what it has inherited, what it confronts and how it views the solution. Alongside work-groups, we have attempted to [review] individuals for the future cabinet. Therefore, various names and lists were provided, which all will be used.”
    • On targeted subsidies: “You know in the discussion of targeted subsidies that there is distance between the resources and the costs. The Parliament predicted a solution for pricing energy transports, but this law was not implemented when it should have been implemented [about a month ago].”
    • “Asides from the discussion of subsidies, there are other discussions such as the discussion of banks and their resources and the discussion of currency and currency price, where the Parliament must be consulted at another opportunity and [we] must think about their solutions.” 
  • Etemaad Newspaper released a list of rumor cabinet nominees:
    • Defense: Former IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Hossein Alaei or current minister BG Ahmad Vahidi
    • Oil: Former Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh
    • Intelligence: Former Intelligence Minister Ali Yunesi
    • Foreign Affairs: Expediency Council Foreign Policy Research Deputy Mahmoud Vaezi
    • Economy: Former Economic and Wealth Affairs Minister Safdaar Hosseini
    • Presidential Senior Advisor: Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri
    • Supreme Presidential Advisor: Former Minister of Defense Akbar Torkan 
  • In a meeting with the President, Supreme Leader Khamenei considered President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s achievements as “highlighting revolutionary slogans within the domestic and external arenas” and thanked President Ahmadinejad and his ministers for their efforts. 
  • Head of the Imam Khomeini Educational Research Institute cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesba Yazdi discussed “divine aid” during the 2006 Hezbollah-Israeli war and said, “The thirty-three day war between Hezbollah and the Zionist regime was accompanied by invisible aids and the events are not explainable without attention to divine aid.” He added, “I heard from [Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary] Hassan Nasrallah that the Israelis attacked Hezbollah forces, but did not advance after the retreat of Hezbollah forces. [When] they asked the Israeli soldiers for the reason, they said that men with white clothes [wielding] swords were fighting [them].” 
  • Ministry of Communication and Information Technology Deputy Ali Hakim Javadi reported on the Ministry's preparedness to transfer national internet based on the national information network to household users, and claimed that this measure will increase internet speed access to domestic websites. The measure is awaiting the approval of the Supreme Cyber Space Council. 
  • MP Ali Motahari announced that surveillance equipment was discovered in his office. He urged the Ministry of Intelligence (MOIS) to immediately investigate the crime and said, “When they treat a known Parliamentary representative like this, [who knows] what injustice is done against the normal people’s rights.” He then announced that the group of “Unknown Soldiers of the Imam of the Age” [MOIS operatives] who would do anything to preserve the system are, in fact, “soldiers of Satan.” 
  • Former President Mohammad Khatami announced that former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ahmad Masjed Jame’i would serve as the best minister in the same capacity in the next administration. 
  • Parliament Vice-Chairman MP Mohammad Reza Bahonar  praised President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s attempts to increase services to the people and said, “Ahmadinejad’s speed sometimes surpassed the legal limit and this caused him to be alone.” He then added that a vote for Rouhani did not mean a vote of “no” against Ahmadinejad, “because none of these candidates were related to the Administration. Therefore, if we want to interpret [the elections in this way] then we must consider all votes that other candidates received were ’no’ votes to Ahmadinejad.” 
  • Principlists Faction Executive Council member MP Hossein Ali Haji Deligani announced that the Principlists faction Public Association will meet in the next few days to discuss increased cooperation between the two Principlist factions [feraksiyoun-e osoulgarayan and rahrouyan-e velayat].  
  • Society of the Self-Sacrificers Central Council member Reza Rousta Azad discussed the cabinet and stated, “Mr. Rouhani will not allow seditionists to enter the cabinet.” 

Regional Developments

  • ABNA reports that MP Hojjat al-Eslam Morteza Hosseini was attacked Saturday morning in Mecca by two unknown individuals. Hosseini was discovered by Egyptian pilgrims soon after the street attack and taken to a hospital to be treated. Clerics in Mecca and Medina declared they did not yet know if this attack was connected with the Wahabi attacks on Shi’as in Syria. 

Diplomacy

  • An official in the ministry of oil confirmed the news of a plan to export Iranian natural gas to Pakistan and Iraq, saying, “The gas needed by Iraq and Pakistan will be secured from new phase locations in southern Fars.” He indicated that a pipeline was now under construction to carry Iranian gas to Iraq, and that Iran was prepared to begin exporting gas to Pakistan as soon as December 2014.  The official said in regard to the government of Nawaz Sharif’s announcement of Pakistani readiness for a pipeline from Iran to Islamabad that “right now the price of Iranian exported gas is 50 to 60% cheaper than the price of world crude oil and some produced petroleum.”
  • At the International Islamic Awakening and Global Basij Conference that took place at the Palestinian Strategic Studies Research Center, Fars News Agency Managing Director Nezameddin Mousavi stated, “New regional revolutions that have been formed based on Islamic Awakening should seek models for their continuation, of which the Basij is one.” 
  • MP Hojjat al-Eslam Aboutorabi Fard, speaking at the beginning of Sunday’s Parliamentary session, declared that “Ramadan is a suitable opportunity to consolidate the classes of the peoples of Islam,” and bemoaned American "management" of conflicts in the Islamic world, citing the recent events in Egypt, Syria, Bahrain, and Afghanistan as strongly under American influence. He added, “in order to escape from the conflicts which are happening and to preserve democracy in Egypt, the Egyptian people must be united against America and its plots.” 

Military and Security

  • Political Advisor to the Representatives of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC BG 2C Yadollah Javani announced that Rouhani has a social and economic mandate, rather than a political mandate, and said, “Most who voted for Rouhani have economic demands.” He specifically denied that the people had rejected Principlist ideology and added, “To say that Rouhani’s victory was a big ‘no’ to the current situation [shows] ungratefulness to society’s good progress and efforts. During the past eight years from ’84 [2005] until the present, we witnessed very valuable progress and achievements with the presence of Principlists in the Ninth and Tenth Administration Parliaments and in councils in various arenas. But with attention to a series of issues within the past one or two years, our country faced specific economic issues, so it is natural that in the elections, people attempted to vote for a candidate who has the capability to resolve these issues.” Regarding President-elect Rouhani’s campaign promise to free political prisoners, he said that any such attempts "can cause him to face significant problems.” 
  • Head of the Passive Defense Organization BG Gholam Reza Jalali emphasized the need to create a national search engine and data center:
    • "The Internet network has a non-native platform, and based on this service, Yahoo mail and Gmail are not secure; each request from each of these services will be transferred first to a central server in America, and then sent to its destination."
    • "In order to confront this threat, the basic infrastructure in the name of the national internet must be created so that a national email can be launched on this platform, so that data transmission is carried out in a safe space. In general, the United States, with respect to its possession of the data transfer bottleneck, reviews and evaluates the data of various countries. Sometimes the intelligence services attempt to sabotage those services. Often this can be done with a virus attack that breaks in and destroys information."
  • IRGC Ground Forces (GF) Deputy BG Abdollah Araghi discussed GF border security efforts and said, “The [IRGC GF] presence in the regional areas of Kurdistan, West Azerbaijan and Sistan va Baluchestan has significantly upgraded the security factor and has localized security.” 
  • Head of the West Azerbaijan Province Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Intelligence and Public Security Rahim Jahanbakhs announced that LEF confrontation with “clothing abnormalities” have increased 38% within the past year. 

Economy

  • Minister of Economic and Wealth Affairs Shamseddin Hosseini briefed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei on Iran’s current economic conditions and praised the achievements of Ahmadinejad’s economic policies despite, international “economic and psychological warfare”:
    • “You are aware that sanctions have intensified and broadened within the past year and a half. Monetary sanctions after the Central Bank sanction imposed a new wave of pressure against the Iranian economy, and its link with threats and sanctions on oil and the purchase of its derivatives, and even trade and logistic sanctions, imposed an attack or economic warfare against [us], per your Excellency’s interpretation. America and the European Union, more than the inhumane United Nations resolutions, imposed supra-country and, in their own words, intelligent and crippling sanctions against us by threatening Iranian monetary and trading partners.”
    • “Of course, we must not underestimate their media attacks. Doubting the country’s official statistics, calling economic achievements a bubble and a lie, magnifying and repeating deficiencies, inducing the lie of a lack of planning, creating hopelessness and doubt in the country’s management are global psychological warfare projects that they have utilized similar to total economic warfare.”
    • “But the Iranian economy was managed with the understanding of these designs and the country progressed in the shadow of Your Excellency’s enlightenment and the courage and guidance of the Eminent President…. From an economic perspective, we thought that the bases of creating advantage in the new economy are advanced sciences such as aerospace, nano and biotechnology and peaceful nuclear sciences.”
    • “What I described demonstrates that the Iranian economy, despite all pressures and deficiencies and against the enemies’ lies, has been crippled but also has many strong points.”
  • In a survey of 51 current and former energy executives and officials, the expansion of Southern Pars joint fields, reformation of management structures, and securing liquidity through “creative ways” are the highest priorities of the next Oil Minister
  • Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani claimed that the Central Bank has been able to secure billions of dollars in profits by changing the currency basket and exchanging various currencies with one another. He then added the Central Banks $27.5 billion foreign debts reduction, despite sanctions, have been “a great achievement.” 

Photo of the Day