Iran News Round Up July 9, 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 will reportedly attend iftar at Parliament this upcoming Sunday.
  • Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar is reportedly attempting to form the Universal Principlists Party under the leadership of the Head of the Supreme Leader’s Inspectorate Office Ali Akbar Nategh Nouri, following the Principlists’ failure to consolidate behind a single candidate during the 2013 presidential elections.
  • National Security and Foreign Affairs Parliamentary Commission member MP Esmail Kowsari stated that the future Ministers of Intelligence and Foreign Affairs “must not be involved in partisan issues and must consider the system’s comprehensive issues, in which case they can certainly receive a vote of confidence.”
  • Islamic Engineers Society Secretary and Deputy Speaker of Parliament Bahonar affirmed that President-elect Hassan Rouhani is neither a Reformist nor a Principlist and that production is the most important economic priority for the country. He added, “My interpretation of ‘lobby’…is amr-e be maroof va nahy az monkar [Literal translation: Commanding good and forbidding evil; religious duty].”
  • Former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani praised Rouhani’s election and stated, “The new administration is the inheritor of many internal and external issues, particularly in the economic and political arenas, and the people, with attention to the massive volume of remaining issues, must cooperate tolerantly with the Eleventh Administration in order to gradually resolve issues.” 
  • According to the latest figures by the National Internet Penetration Rate Management Agency, 61% of the Iranian population has access to the internet.

 Regional Developments 

  • Safa’ al-Din al-Safi, an Iraqi member of Parliament, resigned Monday after a heated argument with MP Mohammad al-Handawi, during the debate over a new judiciary regulation. 
  • Omar Sabawi Ibrahim al-Hassan, nephew of Saddam Hussein, has claimed that he came very close to assassinating Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani on Eid al-Adha in 2004 but his attempts were thwarted by a faulty trip wire on the bomb outside Sistani’s residence. He said that if this plan had been successful, the Ba’ath party would have been able to return to power easily, although today such a rise to power would be impossible, because the Shi’a have no fear of power anymore. 

ِDiplomacy

  • Iranian FM Ali Akbar Salehi commented in an interview with Fars on the recent discussions by American lawmakers of new Iranian sanctions:
    • “This illegitimate step by the Americans is considered the continuation of their prior course….The establishment of such sanctions is only the application of earlier threats.”
    • “This approach has stretched on for 34 years and so far has not taken them anywhere…. Our recommendation here is that the Americans learn from history and begin to cooperate with Iran.” 
  • Deputy Minister of Cooperatives, Labor, and Social Welfare Ali Akbar Libafi, in an interview with ISNA, said he could not confirm the recent news reports about the expulsion of Iranian workers from the Emirates:
    • He signaled that a plan had been made for 5,000 Iranian laborers to leave the country in the current year, and pointed out that the 2012 unemployment rates and economic participation rates had been much higher and lower, respectively, than initial expectations, causing problems for workers both in and outside Iran.
    • He indicated that his ministry was having problems getting the insurance records of Iranian workers employed in other countries, which was causing problems for the Social Security Organization.
    • Last year Iranian exports to the UAE totaled 4.2 billion dollars and Iranian imports from the UAE were 10 million dollars. The Iranian imports from the UAE in the first three months of this year demonstrated a 34% decline in relation to the previous year totaling 1.7 billion dollars and exports have increased only have a percent to 884 million dollars.  

Military and Security

  • Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) have reportedly killed a suicide bomber attempting to enter an LEF station in Chabahar, southeastern Iran.
  • Defense Minister BG Ahmad Vahidi met with President-elect Hassan Rouhani and said that Rouhani has a “good command” on the defense arena. He later reported that meeting consisted of presenting the workings of defense industry and Defense Ministry to Rouhani.
  • Cultural Adviser to IRGC Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, discussed the release of Jafari’s Iran-Iraq War memoir, “Dusty Overlays (kalak-ha-ye khaki),” and said, “Perhaps the most romantic part of the ‘Dusty Overlays’ book is that today’s IRGC Commander is someone who lingered for a time before the IRGC. When he wanted to be an IRGC member, they rejected him many times and he was not even absorbed in the IRGC’s administration system, then he got himself to the crisis center and during events Aziz Jafari was discovered…This book describes how the IRGC became the IRGC. In reality, the revolutionary path and way is not only shouting slogans, [one] must use talents in some [other] ways; of course this was unique to the Islamic revolution.” 

Nuclear Issue

Economy

  • Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani announced that Iran’s currency reserves have increased 60-65% in recent years, reportedly standing at $40 billion.
  • The last direct subsidies of the Ahmadinejad Administraiton will be deposited to personal accounts this Saturday.  

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