Iran News Round Up July 2, 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. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and said, “We expected the Ahmadinejad administration to be more cooperative with the velayat.” 
  • According to Mehr News Agency, Parliament issued 4,943 notifications [regarding issues with the government] to administration officials this past year. President Ahmadinejad received the most with 668 and the Intelligence Minister received the least with twenty-six. 
  • Former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani encouraged greater participation by women in Iranian society and politics and said, “Although the doctrine of the Ahl-e Bayt [literally, "House of the Prophet," meaning the tradition of the Shi'a Imams] does not have obstacles isolating women, in our society there are intolerant groups and individuals who usually have a [specific] perspective toward women’s rights, and this does not have any compatibility with the Islamic system.” He then discussed sanctions and added, "Imposed sanctions against Iran are oppressive.... True interaction and avoiding stubbornness and excitement is the solution in foreign policy." 
  • In an interview, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad said that Rouhani is the people's choice, is respected by all, and will be a successful president.
  • Principlist faction member MP Mohammad Saleh Jokar discussed cabinet appointments and said, "After creating political valor in the elections, a sense of hope and exhilaration has emerged in the people; naturally, the formation of an effective and [non-partisan] cabinet with the goal of resolving the people's fundamental problems can be very effective in keeping this sentiment alive."
  • A blog on the Iran Network website criticized the conservative Steadfastness Front for recent statements supporting President-elect Hassan Rouhani. The party supported Supreme National Security Council Secretary Said Jalili during the elections.

Regional Developments

  • Ahlul Bayt News Agency reported the death of Lebanese Hezbollah operative Ali Abbas Yassin, who reportedly died defending the Seyyeda Zeynab Shi’a shrine in Syria. The article reads in part, “[R]est his soul who truly loved [Supreme Leader] Seyyed Ali Khamenei, [who in his] statements recognized [Khamenei] as the symbol of the [12th Shi’a Imam] Mahdi.” 
  • Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary Hassan Nasrallah said that recent criticisms will not affect the organization’s efforts in Syria and added that the Iranian elections were “[T]he best example of popular democracy in the shadow of the velayat-e faqhi’s rule.” 
  • Iranian media reported the death of Lawa al-Haq [Syrian rebel unit] Commander Suleiman Abdolrahim Hallaq in clashes between “terrorist groups” in Syria.
  • Sadrist Trend Leader Moqtada al-Sadr reacted to the recent Egyptian protests and said, “The protests that overthrew Hosni Mubarak are currently seeking the removal and fall of Morsi because this nation does not want dictatorship.”
  • Head of the Iranian Parliamentary Islamic Research Center Hojjat al-Eslam Ahmad Mablaqi condemned Sunni extremists and said, “Takfir is the considered to be the greatest threat for Islam. [This is] because it expands violence in the space of Islamic society and tarnishes the image of compassionate Islam in the eyes of the world and will not allow rationality to take shape in the path of creating correct relations in Islamic society.”

Diplomacy

  • President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad is in Moscow to reportedly renegotiate the S-300 anti-aircraft missile system contract between Iran and Russia. During this visit, Ahmadinejad said that he would remain in politics after the end of his presidency.

Military and Security

  • Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy BG Masoud Jazayeri condemned the United States on the anniversary of the 1988 US Navy shooting of Iranian jetliner Flight 655 and said, “America will not be immune from the consequences of this crime…The American government attempted, at a time, to frame this human tragedy as a result of human and technical error, but giving a prize to the commander who ordered the strike on the airplane disrupted this American trick.” He added, “The star of America, Western liberal democracy and global Zionism is declining.”
  • Head of the IRGC's Preservation of Sacred Defense Values and Works Organization and former head of the IRGC's Ansar al-Mahdi protection and security unit BG Ahmad Hagh Talab discussed elections and sanctions:
    • "[The West] is attempting to prevent Iran's progress. Although the sanctions were effective, they did not work for the enemy, because we learned how to symmetrically confront the enemy."
    • "Election results were so sweet and so important for the Islamic system that the Supreme Leader has said that [they] invalidated enemy measures."
    • "For four years, no matter how many times the system [tried], it could not prove to the world that no fraud took place in the [2009] elections. When someone who was president in this nation for eight years and received validation from the Supreme Leader claimed that there had been fraud [Rafsanjani], the enemy used this opportunity for its benefit."
    • "A great opportunity was lost in the [2009] sedition; be certain [that]...if the [2009] sedition had not occurred, today there would be no sign of these sanctions."
    • "In the [June 14, 2013] elections, if the President-elect had received 300 thousand fewer votes, the elections would have reached the second round. Therefore, if the Islamic Republic system wanted to cheat in this round, it would be able to do this impossible act much more easily."
  • Political Advisor to the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC BG 2C Yadollah Javani stated that the people's priority in the elections was changing the present economic conditions, and that Rouhani won because he campaigned on improving these conditions while blaming the Principlists for creating the problems.
  • In a statement during the appointment ceremony of the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the  21st Imam Reza Brigade, Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Ground Forces Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Hadi Rezaei said: “Unfortunately there is a growth of American Islam in the Persian Gulf countries…. But the real Islam, which is different from American Islam… seeks complete human perfection....”
  • Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander BG Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam discussed the efforts of LEF’s cyber division force, FATA, and said, “Currently, we are certainly superior in the region, and among Asian countries, such as China, Korea and Japan, we are not in a lower position, but the reason for our differences with them is that they have completed their information bank but we have weakness in infrastructure, and this problem must be resolved.”

Nuclear Issue

Economy

  • Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) Managing Director Mohammad Hossein Dajmar dismissed American sanctions implemented yesterday and said, “Intelligent, great national [shipping] fleet activities have confused sanction commissioners and this trend will continue even stronger this year.” He added that the IRISL fleet, composed of 148 ships, has taken on a larger role in transporting Iranian exports and imports in recent years due to the exit of foreign shipping companies. 
  • Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission member MP Shahbaz Hassanpour urged the Central Bank to determine currency rates in order to restore public confidence in the currency market.
  • Two Chinese shipping companies, CSCL and COSCO, announced that they will no longer cooperate with Iran due to European and American sanctions.
  • Iranian media report that chicken prices increased by 9% in one week and that tea prices increased by more than 100% in a year. 

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