Iran News Round Up July 29, 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 Ali Khamenei met representatives of Iran’s university student associations and discussed the meaning of moderation, the 2009 post-election protests, sanctions, and regional development:
    • “The President-elect, who has introduced this slogan [of moderation], will certainly express the considered meaning regarding the category of moderation…. Just as it has been affirmed regarding all administrations, one must help and support this administration.”
    • "The Islamic system contains a [number] of ideals for which measures have to be taken to fulfill, but these ideals are [prioritized] differently."
    • “In investigating those tragic events [2009], the fundamental issue is the law breaking and unseemly behavior of crowds that resisted against a lawful current and brought damage and destruction to dear Iran."
    • “Of course, on the margins and sidelines of a big event, it is possible that issues have occurred where an individual is either oppressed or is the oppressor, but in any case, the fundamental issue must not be lost because of these problems.”
    • “[S]anctions are a reality, and from another perspective, economic progress is one of the revolution’s ideals. Now the question is how economic progress is possible with a reality such as sanctions. In the matter regarding the relationship of idealism with realism, we completely reaffirm idealism, and also see reality.”
    • “They slam Shi’a in various regions because they imagine Shi’a to be the natural base of the Islamic Republic, but the enemies do not know that in many countries, Sunni brothers defend the Islamic system with more intensity.”
  • Speaking before Khamenei at the same event, Head of the Tehran University and Tehran Medical Sciences Students Islamic Associations criticized Iran’s university environment:
    • "In previous years, a large number of instructors and our colleagues have been expelled from teaching and learning seats for political and security excuses and some have been imprisoned. Political and unscientific criteria have also been imposed on the trend of attracting instructors and accepting students.... Alas, the chairs of free thinking have been harmed by short-sightedness like some other grand ideals of the Islamic revolution. Some thought that freedom and free thinking were directives and made no attempts for laying the groundwork for their fulfillment." (via @pedestrian)
  • Several sources, including Tasnim and Mehr News, published lists of potential cabinet appointments. The final list will be announced within the next few days:
    • Chief of Staff: Hossein Fereydoon [Likelihood high]
    • Senior Advisor and Head of the President’s Advisory Group: former Defense Minister Akbar Torkan [Likely]
    • First Deputy: Former Industries and Mines Minister Eshagh Jahangiri
    • President’s Special Advisor: Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mohammad Nahavandian [According to Mehr]
    • Interior Minister: former Minister of Commerce Mohammad Shariatmadari, Senior President of the Supreme Audit Court Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli [Only candidate according to Mehr], Reformist cleric Majid Anasari, or Head of the Armed Forces Strategic Defense Center Rear Admiral Ali Shamkhani.
    • Intelligence Minister: Office of the Supreme Leader International Affairs and Communications Deputy Hojjat al-Eslam Mohsen Qomi [Only candidate according to Mehr] or Assembly of Experts member and former head of the Artesh political-ideology organization Mahmoud Alavi [Asr-e Iran dedicated an article to the rumor of Alavi’s appointment]
    • Minister of Foreign Affairs: Former Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations Mohammad Javad Zarif
    • Supreme National Security Council Secretary [and Chief Nuclear Negotiator]: Head of the Foundation for the Oppressed Mohammad Forouzandeh
    • First Deputy to the President and Head of the Atomic Energy Organization: Center for Strategic Research Foreign Affairs and  International Relations Deputy Mahmoud Vaezi
    • Oil Ministry: former Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh [Reportedly the final candidate]
    • Defense Minister: Current Defense Minister Ahmad Vahidi
    • Head of the Judiciary: Hojjat al-Eslam Abbas Amiri Far [Only candidate according to Mehr], former Minister of Justice Esmail Shoushtari, Guardian Council member Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Reza Abbasi
    • Head of the Central Bank: Head of the Khaje Nasireddin Tousi University Majid Ghassemi [Only candidate according to Mehr], Chamber of Commerce Chairman Mohammad Nahavandian, or Head of the Central Bank Banking Money Research Center Farhad Nili.
  • Chairman of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated, “If they allow it, Rouhani will provide a worthy answer to the people’s trust and hope.”
  • In an interview with Shargh, MP Hojjat al-Eslam Ruhollah Hosseinian stated that freeing 2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi from house arrest will be “harmful for democracy.” 
  • Cultural Parliamentary Commission member MP Ali Motahari discussed the 2013 elections, cabinet appointments, seiditious actions of a "Qom religious sect," criticized Principlists and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad's cultural policies, and urged President-elect Rouhani to free political prisoners:
    • “The [2013] presidential elections were held [successfully] by using the [2009] election experience. The point of the [2009] sedition was that some claiming to be velayat­-oriented said [that] the opinion of agha [the Supreme Leader] is toward Ahmadinejad and polarized society. But in recent elections, the dear Leader closed this path of harm and said multiple times that ‘even my family members do not know my opinion’ and placed a special emphasis on preserving the people’s safety on election day. He strictly advised some military institutions not to intervene in the elections. Unlike [2009], when election results were announced while some areas were counting votes, election results were announced with deliberation and slowly, and the result was that the exciting natural results of the elections were gradually revealed. These matters make the [2013] elections distinct from the [2009] elections.”
    • “The extremist discourse did not have more than four million votes, but we see that the noise of the extremists is louder than everyone and they stipulate obligations for the future administration as if they were the victors of the election. The true victors of the eleventh presidential elections were moderate Reformists and moderate Principlists who have no wall between them, unlike the infusion of extremists, and their ring of moderation has been connected to one another.”
    • “The Parliament must respect the people’s choice and not attempt to impose cabinet ministers on the President-elect with vague excuses such as relations with seditionists.”
    • “[T]he President believed that because the people had voted for him then all of his opinions in the areas of foreign policy, culture and society must be implemented, unaware that the President executes the system’s law and comprehensive policies and parliamentary provisions…. We witnessed that most law breaking happened in this administration, to the extent that the President plainly announced that he would not implement law so-and-so, and this means dictatorship, in front of which the Parliament did not perform its duties well…. Also another matter was this administration’s special cultural perspective. In [Ahmadinejad’s] administration under [Advisor to the President Esfandiar Rahim] Mashaei, the doctrine was Iranian instead of Islamic, and the President heavily supported it. This, in a sense, was an attempt to return to ancient Iran and pre-Islamic Iran which was opposed to by Islam’s ulamas and prominent figures.”
    • “[Mr. Rouhani], I argue that you need to be faithful to your slogans, including defending the nation’s rights and implementing the constitution. Now that the country’s reconciliation has been fulfilled with the election, it is time for the effects of the [2009] crisis to be erased and for political prisoners, most of whom have [committed] no crime except criticizing, be freed and [for] Mr. Mousavi and Karroubi’s situation to be clarified. If these two must apologize, is there not a need for an apology from Mr. Ahmadinejad, who prepared the firewood of sedition with his behaviors and opinion? At least they must be allowed to defend themselves.”
    • “Reading the report of the 22 Bahman [February 13] sedition will have blessings, including the identification of a religious sect in Qom that has been active for years in attacking the houses of free humans and sources of emulation and disrupting speaking sessions by aggravating revolutionary youths….Today the eye of the Qom sedition must be gouged.”

Regional Developments

  • A number of Iraqi MPs said that the attack by armed groups on the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine in Syria was in line with American plots seeking to ignite sectarian conflict in Syria and the region, and that these groups hoped for a repeat to the disaster of the 2006 bombing which destroyed the Al-Askari Mosque in Samarra. 
  • The presidents of Armenia, Afghanistan, Pakistan, Tajikistan, Turkmenistan, Togo, Kazakhstan, North Korea, Guinea-Bissau, Lebanon, and the acting president of Iraq are now reportedly planning to attend Hassan Rouhani’s inauguration on Sunday.
    • The Prime Ministers of Syria and Swaziland and the Speakers of Parliament from Russia, Algeria, Azerbaijan, Congo, and Oman are also reportedly coming.
    • Deputy Secretary-General of the UN and former Malaysian Prime Minister Mahatir Mohammad are also expected to attend. Ahlul Bayt News also reports that five Vice Presidents and ten Foreign Ministers from various nations are planning to attend.

Diplomacy

  • 207 MPs issued a statement reaffirming Iran’s support for Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad on the upcoming occasion of Quds Day, August 2, 2013:
    • "Quds Day is the loud reminder of Imam Khomeini's call against America, and America and England’s illegal creation, i.e. the imposter Zionist regime."
    • "The Muslim Iranian nation will once again stand alongside the world's Muslims and freedom-seekers and announce its support of the Palestinian nation and other Muslim nations, and will disclose American-Zionist conspiracies in Syria, Egypt and Tunisia and the betrayal of some Arab leaders in cooperating with America and Israel."
  • Iranian Foreign Ministry spokesman Abbas Araghchi condemned the recent killings in Egypt and called all Egyptian factions to refrain from violence. 

Military and Security

  • Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi discussed Syria and said, “Resolving the Syrian matter is only possible through peaceful solutions, but America [will not allow this]…. American strategy in the region is to provide the security and expansion of the usurper Zionist regime…” 
  • Head of the Intifada and Quds Headquarters and IRGC Public Relations Deputy BG 2C Ramazan Sharif discussed Quds Day and said, “This year’s Quds day is the day of disclosing the plans and designs of satanic America and the Dominant system in the scene of recent developments in the region, especially Egyptian developments and also the Syrian war, and an attempt to create division between Islamic nations and religions and to defeat the anti-Zionist Islamic resistance shield.”  

Economy

  • Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani announced that the Central Bank will not pay for the difference between the Central Bank determined dollar currency rate and open market currency rate and said, “Based on the new decision, owners of imported goods can import and distribute their goods even with the commitment to pay the difference in currency rates after the sale of goods.”

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