Iran News Round Up June 20, 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

  • In a speech thanking campaign supporters, President-election Hassan Rouhani said, “If [it] were not for the foresight of the clergy and the Supreme Leader, it would be unclear whether we would witness such a day.” He then thanked former President and disqualified candidate Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for his endorsement.
  • Rouhani met with the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezatollah Zarqami and said, “Perspectives in the country must look toward the future.” He added, “Whatever happened must be put in the past and [we] must attempt to fulfill the Islamic revolution’s goals through a path of moderation.”
  • Rouhani appointed Economic Research Department Deputy at the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research Mohammad Bagher Nobakht to represent the executive and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani appointed his deputy Mohammad Reza Bahonar to represent the legislative branch in an effort to “establish communication and moderation” between the two institutions.
  • Etemaad newspaper announced the formation of an appointment committee that will introduce cabinet suggestions to President-elect Hassan Rouhani. The appointment committee’s rumored suggestions are:
    • Former Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Yunesi; former Defense Minister Akbar Torkan; Rouhani campaign manager Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh; Deputy of Economic Research Department at the Expediency Council’s Center for Strategic Research Mohammad Bagher Nobakht; Hossein Rouhani; Deputy of Foreign Policy and International Relations at the Expediency Council’s Council for Strategic Research Mahmoud Vaezi; former Minister of Science and Technology Mohammad Ali Najafi; former Industry Minister Eshagh Jahangiri; Advisor to the Head of the Expediency Council Mohammad Reza Sadegh; and Imam Sadegh University professor Hesamoddin Ashna.
    • According to Etemaad, former president Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s youngest son, Yasser Hashemi, will be an important individual in the cabinet appointment process. 
  • Imam Khomeini Education and Research Institute Deputy Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Rajabi rejected claims that Rouhani is a Reformist:
    • “Rouhani thanking [former President Mohammad] Khatami is a moral act. Just because [Rouhani] mentioned his name in a speech does not indicate his support for Khatami. Those who think that there are many points of agreement between Mr. Rouhani and Khatami are mistaken.”
    • “Even Rouhani announced in his speeches that ‘I am not connected with the Principlists nor the Reformist movement; I am a moderate individual.’”
    • “During the Reformist era, some of the gentlemen talked about abandoning the revolution’s slogans and protecting our own interests. In some of their writings, they had even proposed recognizing Israel. Rouhani certainly opposed these [ideas] and does not accept this matter.”
  • An editorial in the Supreme Leader's unofficial organ, Kayhan, claims that the presidential elections exposed Western claims of the Islamic Republic’s human rights violations. The article reads in part:
    • “The tool of human rights against the Islamic Republic is not an unknown matter. Enemies targeting Islamic Iran have continuously worked to use human rights as a pretext for pressure and threats….The apex of these so-called human rights attempts was the appointment of a human rights special rapporteur on Iranian affairs, which took place in [2011] with America’s directorship…”
    • “The US State Department and Freedom House, and even mundane elements like [Nobel laureate] Shirin Ebadi, frequently accused Iran of violating human rights so they could advance the main scenario and game against the Islamic Republic on the eve of the elections.”
    • “If the election was not free, then why did all political currents and preferences participate?”
    • “[UN Special Rapporteur for Human Rights in Iran] Ahmad Shahid, Human Rights Watch, Amnesty International, Freedom House, etc., they must know that when their masters cannot do a damn thing [then they really do not matter]. Is it not so?”
  • Combatant Clergy Association Central Committee member Hojjat al-Eslam Jafar Shojouni praised the Supreme Leader’s management of the elections and discussed Rouhani’s conservative credentials:
    • “Mr. Rouhani had said that ‘I am a member of the Clergy Association.’ Well, it is true. The Clergy Association is Principlist and not Reformist and fundamentally opposes Reformists.” 
  • City Council election results across the country have been published, and Principlists gained 60% of seats. Reformists claimed 17% and Independents received 23% of the overall city council seats.

Regional Developments

  • Iranian media report that the Free Syrian Army has announced that in case of an Israeli invasion of Syria, they will not fight Israel.
  • The Saudi Ambassador to Lebanon Ali Awad Asiri reportedly threatened Lebanese residents of Saudi Arabia with deportation if they support Hezbollah.
  • Lebanese Hezbollah Lebanese Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem announced, “Our war in Syria is an inseparable part of the plan of resistance against Israel…”
  • Ahlul Bay News Agency reports the death of Hezbollah operative Hassan Esmail Zalqout “in jihadi operations and defending the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine [in Damascus].” Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Ghazanfar Roknabadi wrote a eulogy that was read by Mehdi Shoushtari at the ceremony.
  • Following clashes between Lebanese Hezbollah and followers of Lebanese Sunni Salafist cleric Sheikh Ahmad al-Asir in Sidon, Lebanon, yesterday; al-Asir threatened Hezbollah and said, “We will abide by the cease fire until next Monday, but after Monday we absolutely will not abide, and we do not accept that Hezbollah members are in these apartments [by al-Asir’s mosque], because this matter has resulted in numerous attacks against us. If Hezbollah members do not leave these apartments, we have numerous strategies [at our disposal], and security and military strategies are [options].”
  • Syrian opposition groups have reportedly launched artillery shells at the Syrian Shia villages of al-Nabl and al-Zahra. 
  • In Iraq, fifteen continuous attacks reportedly shook Mosul and Ramadi on the day of al-Anbar and Ninewa provincial council elections.

Diplomacy

Military and Security

  • The pro-government Asr-e Iran newspaper claimed that "rogue" forces did not have orders to attack two rallies celebrating Hassan Rouhani's victory and the Iranian soccer team's advancement to the World Cup.

Economy

  • The National Audit Bureau blamed the Central Bank for the reduction of the country’s currency value. 

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