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

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • President-elect Hassan Rouhani addressed the 21st Veterans of Jihad and Martyrdom Familiarity Conference in Tehran and highlighted the role of the Iran-Iraq War in unifying the nation, and dismissed threats of an Israeli attack:
    • “During the era of the Sacred Defense, we had large operations in which we were all involved and one cannot say that I was alone….We must not magnify the small point of the war, rather we must consider the fundamental points.”
    • “The pride and greatness of the disabled and the dead are not forgotten.”
    • “In the era of the Sacred Defense, everyone helped the Saddamists and we were alone, but we had God who is the source of all power. We were alone, but we had the nation at the fronts of combat and also Imam [Khomeini] and victory was achieved with everyone’s help.”
    • “Who is the Zionist regime to want to threaten us and it cannot truly threaten us and take military steps against this nation, due to the record of eight years of Sacred Defense. They know that if anything happens, the Islamic Iranian people will stand stronger with greater purity and  greater courage.” 
  • Supreme Cultural Revolution Council member Gholam Ali Haddad Adel discussed the cabinet and said, “Mr. Rouhani should choose a moderate individual sympathetic to Islamic culture as the Minister of [Islamic Cultural] Guidance [and Propaganda]."  
  • The Iranian Nuclear Program Strategic Studies Base claims that four Western countries are implementing the “Wall of Fire” project against Iran, in which those who left the country after the 2009 protests would return to Iran and undermine President-elect Rouhani’s administration and the Principlists. The “network” includes a media campaign of “ten newspapers, more than 100 websites, a new social network and also the connecting of this network to human rights organizations outside of Iran and the BBC.” 
  • The Young Journalists club has published a series of articles since July 15 against exiled political, media and civil Reformist activists, titled “The Roots and Trend of Deviation and the Betrayal of Seditionists.” Thus far, the reports have targeted influential liberal Islamic intellectual Abdolkarim Soroush, cleric and political dissident Mohsen Kadivar and former Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance Ataollah Mohajerani. The reports read in part, “The [2009] sedition was a soft but heavy coup d’etat in the framework of precise American-English-Israeli design against the system resulting from the Iranian people’s Islamic revolution…[and a] coup that must have had more catastrophic results than the [August 19, 1953] coup.”
  • President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad  announced that he is moving to his post-presidency residence in the Narmak neighborhood of Tehran
  • The Moderation Front’s first session took place today, during which the coalition established the internal constitution. President-elect Rouhani’s advisor Mohammad Reza Rah Chamani announced that while the front is not Reformist, Reformists can be included in it. 

Regional Issues

  • Lebanese writer Hossein Marwa asked President-elect Rouhani, in a letter published by Middle East Panorama, to reopen the file of Imam Musa Sadr. In the letter he writes, “As a Lebanese I argue that you incorporate this first request into your presidency; all that we want is some flexibility and leniency. My request is only “the reopening of the file of Imam Musa Sadr and his companions.”
  • Sheikh Ali Suleiman, secretary-general of Bahrain’s al-Wefaq Society, responded to the news of the likelihood of his arrest, saying, “I’m not afraid of arrest because arrest along the path to realizing the true goals for the people of Bahrain is honorable and this I welcome, and martyrdom along this path is also honorable and I want God by grace to grant me martyrdom.”
    • In regard to the Khalifa government, he said, “The regime does not favor conversation and it does not have a plan to move forward in order to achieve the demands of the nation but it must be compelled and this, thanks to the stimulus of the people, will be possible….The message we are sending to the regime is that the suppression of the people of Bahrain’s rights is not acceptable and the world must support the people of Bahrain’s peaceful demonstrations.”

Diplomacy

  • The Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Qazanfar Roknabadi met with Amin Gemayel, former President of Lebanon and leader of the Ketaeb party, and they discussed the success of Rouhani’s election and Iran’s important role in regional issues, including Syria. Pledging support for Lebanon in the midst of its internal problems and crises, Roknabadi said, “Iran has good relations with all the sects and political currents in Lebanon. Iran’s interest has always been the protection of stability and Lebanon's establishment.”

Military and Security

  • Supreme Cyberspace Council (SCC) Secretary Mehdi Akhavan Bahabadi announced that the body is reviewing a  proposal which would require internet users to provide identification information before accessing the internet, "so there is the possibility of separating filtering services for users." Regarding an Islamic internet, he said, "The clean internet Islamic legacy Google proposal has not been reviewed by the (SCC) yet; the proposal of Islamic legacy Google was introduced by the Communications [and Information Technology] Minister, but so far there is no plan to officially research this project." He added that the government would have to address the matter before the council further investigates this policy. 
  • Head of the Passive Defense Organization BG Gholam Reza Jalali announced that Iran will stage nuclear pollution drills within the next few months.
  • Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defensive Propaganda Deputy BG Masoud Jazayeri reacted to recent statements by some American officials regarding the renewal of relations with Iran, criticizing the United States and claiming the Assad regime’s victory:
    •  “America has many debts to the Islamic Republic of Iran and has no choice other than to repay them.”
    • “The Saddam regime’s war imposed on Iran was the result of policies and thought of the American administration at the time.... Significant American support during the Imposed War for the Iraqi Baathist regime, attacks on our country’s oil installations and the downing of the Iranian civilian aircraft with 290 passengers are just some of the American administrations’ crimes which have not been resolved and America must certainly pay for them.”
    • “There are many documents which indicate the serious presence of the Americans in planning and managing the [2009] sedition, and the American government must answer public opinion regarding the implementation of this coup.”
    • “The resistance of the Syrian people and government against the foreigners' greed and the enemies of Syria will bear fruit and the invaders have no choice but to retreat.” 
  • IRGC Navy 2nd District Commander Admiral 2C Ali Razmjou praised the political influence of the clergy in a meeting with Qom clerics and seminary students and said, “The basis of [IRGC] Navy Forces’ power is human-centrality and spiritual-centrality.” 
  • Head of the Armed Forces Strategic Defense Center Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani discussed political inclusion and supported President-elect Hassan Rouhani at the 21st Veterans of Jihad and Martyrdom Conference, with Rouhani’s presence:
    • “These veterans of jihad and martyrdom demonstrated that [one] can create moderation between the revolution’s different generations.”
    • “All warriors and commanders of the Sacred Defense who live in Tehran are present in this conference without attention to what perspectives and preferences they have today, which is a sign of moderation.”
    • “Five important statements by the Supreme Leader that created the public environment for the people’s maximum participation at the voting boxes include: naming this year as [the year of] political valor; announcing the lack of knowledge of the Leader of the revolution’s vote; declaring the lack of armed forces' interference in or emphasis upon it; emphasizing the presence of every Iranian at the voting boxes even those who oppose the system, and; also the protection of the nation’s vote. Of course, one must consider the role of intellectuals, especially [former Presidents] Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] and Mohammad Khatami, who alongside Mr. Rouhani’s honest statements caused the voting boxes to be filled. We believe that this vote was a vote for change.”
  • Former IRGC Navy Commander Hossein Alaei also addressed the Veterans of Jihad and Martyrdom Familiarity Conference and discussed the 2013 elections, issues facing the country and recent sanctions:
    • 2013 elections: “This year’s elections were very important and sensitive for the Islamic Republic and also for countries that are in communication with Iran.”
    • “From the beginning of the year when this matter was introduced, it was clear that valor would exist this year and that the people’s passionate participation in the election after the problems that were created by the [2009] elections had brought about this valor.”
    • “Some believed that an individual had been previously determined to [be elected], but we say that the Supreme Leader had stated from the first day that ‘I have one vote and no one is aware of it’ and he resolved this [issue].”
    • “Another [pessimistic view] was that the armed forces, especially the Basij and IRGC, would affect the elections, but the Supreme Leader announced clearly to commanders and officials that ‘your behavior must be in a way that does not create this [appearance]’ and truly it turned out like this and we did not observe any specific issue.”
    • “After the Guardian Council reviewed candidate qualifications, one of the important candidates who was [disqualified] was Ayatollah Hashemi [Rafsanjani] … We observed during those days that his registration created a wave in society, and his behavior after the Guardian Council’s opinion was proper, which created an appropriate environment for good elections.”
    • On Rouhani: “The person who received the votes is a known figure in the Islamic Republic and there are no issues with him; he has been and is a revolutionary individual and effective in the revolution.”
    • “The first problem is the foreign policy of these past few years which have brought about four sanction resolutions.”
    • “We believe that in the global system, with the international language, [one] can behave in a way so that our rights do not fall in the hands of global powers, and the other issue is the economic issue that is not in the dignity of the Islamic Republic and not even a single electoral candidate defended the present economy.”
    • “Our economic issues are due to sanctions and economic policy and the management of this era.”
    • “One of our other problems is an incorrect security perspective toward political and administrative centers; the country’s environment must be safe, and the placement of cameras and microphones in the office of a Parliamentary representative is not within the dignity of the Islamic Republic.”
    • On recent sanctions: “These elections pose a challenge to the internal decision-making structure of global powers in their relations with Iran, because they did not understand the environment, and we did not witness the Europeans and the Americans congratulating the President-elect, but rather increasing the intensity of sanctions.”
    • “With these elections, the hope to resolve the nuclear program, which is a cause of the sanctions that pressure Iran, has increased, and these elections demonstrated that national will and presence in the scene is destiny-shaping.”
    • Regarding [British MP] Jack Straw’s announcement of plans to visit Iran, Alaei said, “This means that a kind of change has been created in the environment and [paying] attention to it is very important.” 

Nuclear Issue

  • Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi announced that negotiations with P5+1 would continue and that ”we are waiting for the determination of the negotiation group by [President-elect] Hassan Rouhani.” 

Economy

  • According to Fars News Agency, Iran has become self-sufficient in gasoline production under President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's tenure. 
  • Following the most recent Market Adjustment Headquarters session, the government will implement a new mechanism to prevent price increases in the framework of the "single-rating the currency" policy, which denotes determining a fixed exchange rate. 

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