Iran News Round Up July 24, 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

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed Persian-speaking poets and literature professors from Iran and surrounding countries and discussed poetry’s important role in spreading the values of the Islamic revolution, adding that matters such as “Islamic Awakening and Palestine” must be expressed in poetry:
    • “Placing Islamic education, the Islamic lifestyle, wise thought and issues necessary for teaching humans must not be ignored in poetry.”
    • “Today, the great historical movement of the Iranian nation inspires humanity’s great complexes and the matter of the Islamic revolution and standing against the international dominant system and global bullying must emerge and be prominent in the poetry of poets.”
  • 80 members of the Principlists parliamentary faction released a statement defining their conditions to cast votes of confidence for Rouhani’s cabinet:
    • 1. Firm belief in the fundamentals of the Islamic revolution and conforming to Imam Khomeini’s practices in the country’s foreign and domestic policies.
    • 2. Believing in and recognizing the velayat-e faghih and obeying the Supreme Leader’s directives.
    • 3. Not being active in sedition and not siding with the seditionists.
    • 4. Possessing a clear performance [record] and political, monetary and ethical health, having the determination and will to fight economic corruption, and attempting to secure social and economic justice.
    • 5. Benefiting from sufficient knowledge and experience and management capability and competence in their area of responsibility.
    • 6. Having the spirit of interaction with the Parliament within the framework of the Constitution and approved laws. 
  • Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani said that participants in the 2009 protests will never have a role in politics:
    • “All individuals and political groups in the [2009] sedition and currents related to the Reformist era who sought secularism as a replacement for Quranic and Islamic teachings must note that that era has ended and that they can no longer emerge, because the Iranian nation does not accept the thought of this group.”
    • “His Excellency Imam [Khomeini] founded the Islamic revolution on a Quranic interpretation and based it on divine tradition, and he believed in Islam’s [place] in all aspects of life, and this divine policy and language has continuously been the criteria and the Islamic system’s movement and endurance.”
    • “All those who believe in secular thought and seek to replace Western democracy for Quranic understanding must know that His Excellency Imam is the revolution’s benchmark, and his speeches and statements are sufficiently acceptable and will not lead individuals and groups anywhere [wrongly], and the country’s political situation is not conducive for their managerial activities.”
  • National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary (NSFP) Commission member MP Esmail Kowsari stated, “I emphasize that activist individuals and participants in the [2009] sedition must not be invited to the inauguration ceremony.”

Regional Developments

  • In an interview with Fars, Yemen’s Foreign Minister Abu Bakr al-Qirbi  spoke out against Sunday’s kidnapping of an Iranian embassy employee in Sanaa by unknown armed men, saying “All operating methods for kidnapping a person are condemned and it makes no difference if the kidnapped person is Yemeni or a foreigner or a diplomat.” He promised that “the government of Sanaa will use every legal means to pursue these criminals,” and called on Yemeni citizens to work together to pursue these criminals and their accomplices who were giving Yemen a bad name.

Diplomacy

  • Mehr News is reporting that Russian President Vladimir Putin will travel to Iran on August 16, as a response to an invitation issued by President Ahmadinejad on a prior visit to Moscow.
    • Official information about the content of Russian talks in Tehran has not yet been given but a Russian newspaper reported that on this trip bilateral topics will be discussed, including the construction of new units in the Bushehr nuclear plant and the transfer of the Anti-2500 air defense systems instead of the previously agreed upon S-300 missile defense systems.
    • In an interview with Tasnim News, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Abbas Araghchi said he had no information about this visit and that he could not confirm the news, nor could he confirm if Putin would attend Rouhani’s inauguration this coming week.
  • In a meeting of the UN Security Council to discuss conditions in the Middle East, Deputy Iranian Permanent Representative to the UN Gholamhossein Dehghani spoke out against the EU’s designation of Lebanese Hezbollah on its list of terrorist groups, saying, “While the first suspect of terrorist proceedings in the region and the world, i.e., the Zionist Regime, is immune from accountability, the EU has placed the symbol of the resistance against aggression, i.e., the military wing of Lebanese Hezbollah, on the list of terrorist groups.”
  • For the first time in the Islamic Republic’s history, the Iranian Foreign Ministry has invited the heads of state of countries around the world to attend Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration next week. Thus far, the heads of Qatar, Syrian, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Lebanon, and ministers from Malaysia and Turkey have confirmed their plans to attend, and Rouhani and other government officials are celebrating this planned international presence at the inauguration as the beginning of a new phase of Iran's presence in the region and world.

Military and Security

  • The Basij Organization issued a statement condemning the EU terrorist designation of Lebanese Hezbollah, which reads in part: “Placing the name of Hezbollah on the European Union terrorist list does not [diminish the organization's value], and Hezbollah has and will always be a pure movement and first line of resistance in the world of Islam against the greed and invasions of the Zionist regime.”
  • Following two cases of Basij beatings after “[reminders] in the matter of hijab,” NSFP and Cultural commissions and representatives from the Law Enforcement Forces, Tehran Judiciary and the Basij held a meeting to address the matter. The Basij representative expressed regret but emphasized the Basij’s duty to “prepare a safe environment and the necessary support regarding the implementation of amr-e be maroof va nahy az monkar [literally, Ordering good and prohibiting evil; religious law]”. NSFP Spokesman Hosseini Naghavi Hosseini agreed and said, “Amr-e be maroof va nahy az monkar has orders, and cultural and lingual confrontation must be prioritized.” He added that the Constitution’s Article 8 emphasizes this principle and implementing the article is the duty of all the people and government agencies.”

Economy

  • Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi reported on the formation of “anti anti-sanctions” departments in the European and American embassies in some countries purchasing Iranian oil and said, “In such circumstances, our reciprocal measure was establishing special workgroups in the Oil Ministry and finding new customers so Iranian oil sales would not cease, and we have been successful.”
  • The Central Bank released the 1936-2012 inflation statistics, reporting that inflation increased 200% between 2009-2012Last month’s inflation rate stands at 45.1% in comparison to last year. 
  • Infrastructure Communications Company officially denied government responsibility in recent reports of internet service price increases by a factor of nine, and announced that the government’s share of internet service revenue is 11%. Critics say that the prices will not stabilize unless the private sector invests in the internet services sector. 

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