Iran News Round Up July 16, 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

  • According to Deputy Head of the National Trust party, Rasoul Montakeb Nia, measures are underway to free 2009 Presidential candidate Mehdi Karoubi, and the decision on whether to free him will be announced soon.
  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reappointed three Guardian Council (GC) jurist members, Ayatollah Mohammad Mo’men, Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi and Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi. Khamenei also appointed a new jurst GC member, Hojjat al-Eslam Mehdi Shab Zendeh Dar. 
  • MP Abolfazl Abutorabi announced an initiative in Parliament, with 150 signatories, that would change the political capital from Tehran but said that suggestions would be forthcoming within the next few months from the Supreme Capital Commission, consisting of representatives from the three branches, Supreme National Security Council and the Expediency Council. The final report will then be given to the Supreme Leader. 
  • Imam Khomeini Institute Scientific Council member Hojjat al-Eslam Abbas Nabavi expressed his support for Rouhani’s “moderation” initiative and stated, “What happened after the ’88 [2009] elections…was related to something more than extremist and we cannot describe it with phrases such as 'extremism.'” 
  • Expediency Council Cultural Advisor Gholam Ali Rajaei stated that President-elect Rouhani personally informed former President Ali Akbar Hashemi of the Guardian Council disqualification result and added, “Currently Mr. [Ali Akbar Hashemi], [President-elect Hassan] Rouhani, [former President Mohammad] Khatami, Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri and Hassan Khomeini are in the highest level of unity, and its result was confirmed in the historic [June 14] elections.
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader to and Editor of Kayhan, Hossein Shariatmadari, criticized Reformists and warned President-elect Hassan Rouhani about employing a Reformist in his cabinet and administration:
    • “But those claiming reformism have a vital need to be present in Dr. Rouhani’s cabinet because a group of them visibly sold the country in the ’88 [2009] American-Israeli sedition, and became active in the role of the fifth column in the triangle of America, Israel, and England against the system’s republicanism and Islamism. Leaders and elements of the '88 sedition, with attention to widespread and total external support, did not imagine that the West’s velvet coup d’etat against Islamic Iran would face such a heavy and miserable defeat…. Now these owners of sedition expect a presence in the new administration!”
    • “It is doubtful that the President-elect would ever allow his cabinet to be tainted with the presence of elements dependent on external enemies, because their presence, in addition to tainting the cabinet, could be considered a serious and powerful threat to the system and especially Mr. Rouhani’s administration.”
    • “The leaders and elements of sedition have shown many times that they dare not say no to the aforementioned triangle’s dictated desires. Can the Honorable President-elect, in the case of employing this group in government sensitive posts--and not necessarily in minister or deputy positions--be confident that they would not seek an appropriate opportunity to damage the administration, people and Islamic system. What confidence is there?!”

Diplomacy

  • Oil Ministry Spokesman Ali Reza Nikzad Rahbar announced that Iran is prepared to construct small refineries in Iraq and Pakistan should these countries desire. 
  • Responding to the congratulatory message from Syrian President Bashar al Assad, President-elect Rouhani expressed his belief that with the well-intentioned and peaceful efforts of the Syrian army, the great and tenacious Syrian nation would be able to survive and surpass the present-day conditions entirely. He also pledged the continued friendship of Iran, stating, “The deep and age-old relationship between Iran and Syria is indicative of the determination and desire of the two countries to confront the conspiracy of the enemies of the peoples of the region, especially the Zionist regime.” 
  • In a press conference, Foreign Ministry Spokesman Seyyed Abbas Araghchi was asked if the green light that America and England had given to negotiations with Iran after the election of Rouhani made him think that these countries were in fact coming toward the point of negotiation with Iran, and also about the Foreign Minister's role in recent post-Morsi Egyptian political shifts.
    • “The fact that many countries in the West and Europe, through official and unofficial routes, have expressed that more conversation and understanding with Iran is desirable, but in our relations with American our work has passed the green light. We are waiting for a practical change in the behavior of the Americans…. We have had this experience in our dealings with American prior to now, and that is that the criteria for changing our view with respect to the Americans is their behavior in practice.”
    • In regard to Egypt, Araghchi indicated that Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi had been in conversation with the new Egyptian government including El-Baradei, and said, “During the short trip that Mr. Salehi took to Turkey, topics [regarding Egypt] were raised. There are differences of opinion between us and Turkey on regional issues, the matter is undeniable. Likewise Mr. Salehi had a phone conversation with the Emirati Foreign Minister on relations with Egypt and other issues, especially Syria…. We, with all the parties, are continuing negotiations at this time, and we hope that the Egypt issue will be solved calmly, and with protection of state unity, and that responses to the legitimate requests of the people will be given."

Military and Security

  • Post Company Managing Director Mohammad Hassan Karbasian announced, “The provision of national e-mail services has taken shape based on new services dependent on the national information network, and the user must pay an annual fee of [approximately $0.82] to activate this service.” He added, “This service has been designed to include security measures to protect information, [and] for the people’s communication with the government.” He added that there have been 150,000 requests for accounts thus far.
  • Supreme Cyber Space Council secretary Mehdi Akhavan Bahabadi announced that the Infrastructure Communications Company, in coordination with some government agencies, is designing a plan to hand over legal VPN services to certain users. He added that qualified users would be the electronic trade sector, scientific community, banking sector and specialists who require up-to-date access to software. 
  • Artesh Navy Deputy Commander Admiral Gholam Reza Beiqom announced the production of the latest Iranian missile-launching destroyer from Kaman destroyer classes that will be deployed in the Caspian Sea and the Persian Gulf.
  • Cultural and Propaganda Deputy to the Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC BG 2C Mahmoud Ali Asoudi announced earlier this week  that six “mobile propaganda and library” vehicles  will be available to the IRGC Ground Forces, Navy and Aerospace in order to “strengthen [IRGC forces] moral.” 

Economy

  • According to a Mehr News Agency investigation, Mahabad petrochemical factory, the largest economic unit in the province, has only progressed 71%, though it was supposed to be operational in 2007. It identifies the reason to be red tape in the Customs Agency.

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