Iran News Round Up June 25, 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

  • Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Kabi criticized Sunni extremists and said, “Today, Salafist takfiris and extremists are considered a major danger and threat to the Islamic community, especially in the realm of the Islamic awakening in Tunisia, Egypt, and Libya.... From a humanistic and Islamic point of view and with any logic, the terrible crimes of takfiri groups are against Islam, the Islamic awakening and Islamic unity.”
  • Sixty MPs sign on to and present a bill to establish the Supreme National Economic Resistance Council
  • Parliamentary advisor to Hassan Rouhani, Hojjat al-Eslam Teymour Ali Asgari, announced that Rouhani would meet with members of Parliament after the end of summer recess. He added that Rouhani’s cabinet selection would depend on whether a candidate fits in Rouhani’s vision of a non-partisan cabinet. 
  • The judge presiding over the Kahrizak detention center case, Modir Khorasani, said that the verdict against former Tehran General Prosecutor Said Mortazavi, facing charges due to several detainee deaths resulting from beatings while incarcerated following the 2009 post-election protests, will possibly be announced within the next three days. He denied rumors that Mortazavi has been sentenced to fifteen years in prison, including five years in solitary confinement.
  • Combatant Clergy Association Central Council member Hossein Ebrahimi said that the group would be receptive to Hassan Rouhani, but that it would decide on its relationship with Rouhani after a meeting with the President-elect today. 
  • Following statements by government spokesman Gholam Hossein Elham, who claimed that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad would return with the 12th Shi’a Imam Mahdi, Rahrouyan-e Velayat [the Priciplist majority faction in parliament] Central Council member Aziz Akbarian criticized Elham during the parliament’s open session and said that this statement is a reflection of “Hojjatieh Society thinking.” 
  • MP Nader Ghazipour criticized President Mahmoud Ahmadineajd and said, “In the last days of [his] administration, the President will use the treasury to give medals of honor to administration managers, which is not right.”
  • An editorial on Mashregh News claims that the “Holocaust myth allows Jews to receive billions of dollars from Germany and other countries for reparations. Zionists are also attempting to use this pretext [in order to] prepare public opinion of North Americans and Europeans for Israeli violence and transgressions.” According to the article, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said regarding this topic:
    • “From the beginning, the Zionists chose one propaganda method, which is [portraying a] façade of innocence. [To portray this] façade, many stories and myths were forged; news stories were created and relentless measures took place. These [individuals] introduced the matter of the Jews’ psychological concerns and said that because the Jews were under pressure during successive centuries, they are psychologically concerned and need psychological security. In negotiations with the leaders of Western countries and later in their conversations with Islamic and Arab countries, Zionists introduced the matter of psychological security and said that ‘we need psychological security and our psychological security must be secured.’ If any measures take place that are not to their advantage, they can neutralize by using psychological security as an excuse…. Jewish reparations from Germany have not ended yet…”

Regional Developments

  • At least three Iranian pilgrims were reportedly killed and fifteen wounded by a bus bombing in southern Baghdad.
  • Lebanese Hezbollah released a statement condemning “takfiri measures” to destabilize Lebanon.
  • Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA) published an article claiming that al-Asir was a puppet of the Qatari government used to create instability in the city of Sidon and the rest of Lebanon.
  • ABNA claims that Iraqi al-Qaeda Commander Abubakr al-Baghdadi has travelled to Turkey to “pursue the transfer of weapons and purchase of necessary chemical materials for al-Qaeda operations against Iraqi Army forces.” 
  • Fars News Agency speculated on the reasons behind the sudden power transfer from former Qatar Emir Sheikh Hamd Ibn Khalifeh Al Sani to his son Sheikh Tamim Ibn Hamd. Fars claims that one reason was a fear of the successes of Qatari-supported al-Qaeda and extremist elements in Syria and another is the former Emir’s support of the Muslim Brotherhood, which has reportedly drawn serious criticism from Saudi Arabia and other Arab governments in the Persian Gulf.

Diplomacy

  • Hassan Rouhani, in response to a message of congratulations sent by Cuban President Raul Castro, said, “I believe that positive relations between Iran and Cuba will expand more than before, to the benefit of the two great nations.”
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Abba Eraghchi criticized the Friends of Syria meeting in Doha, Qatar and argued that it will “increase tensions in Syria.”

Economy

  • In reaction to the rapid fall of the dollar exchange in the past few days, Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani announced, “I say candidly that, just as the Central Bank did not have a role in the noticeable reduction of currency rates during the past few days, it has not had a role in its noticeable increase during the past few years either. Political elements caused the dollar rate to increase.”
  • According to Central Bank statistics, food prices in Iran have increased by an average of 58% during this past year. 
  • According to the National Audit Agency, more than $11 billion from oil revenues was “spent illegally” in 2011.
  • Former Defense Minister and Pars Oil and Gas Company Managing Director Akbar Torkan criticized investments in the Southern Pars gas fields and said, “During the past three years, $46 billion has been spent but no new phases have reached production. Officials of the next administration must review monetary resource expenditures in this field.” He added that reaching maximum production in the Southern Pars gas fields requires a $40 billion maximum investment. 
  • Industry, Mining and Trade Ministry Deputy Vajiollah Jafari announced that steel production capacity will surpass 24 million tons this year. He later added that there are 40 billion tons of proven mining reserves in Iran and that more than 5,400 mines are currently active. 

Photo of the Day