Iran News Round Up June 3, 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

  • According to recent public opinion polls published by Fars News, presidential candidates Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf and Said Jalili lead the election field.
  • At a campaign rally, a female student asked presidential candidate Said Jalili if he would swear to the Quran to obey the velayat-e faqih in all areas and be prepared to sacrifice his life for the Supreme Leader. Jalili replied, “God willing, we are.” 
  • IRGC Cultural Deputy Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi said sanctions will cause Iran to become self-sufficient and added, “A country this grand and prideful and influential cannot be given to rootless individuals, and an individual who seeks to distance himself from the center of an event is not useful for the country, and the enemies will not be satisfied until they get at existence [itself]. We want to elect a president, and an individual must be chosen so the country can advance, someone who becomes sick with every enemy threat is not qualified to steer the revolution’s ship that is the hope of many countries. The president must have received the Imam’s message, someone who has not received the revolution’s message and [its] redeeming message is not qualified to be president.”
  • Presidential candidate Gholam Ali Haddad Ali announced that the 2+1 Coalition would “make an appropriate decision” if reformist candidates Hassan Rohani and Mohammad Reza Aref form a coalition.

Regional Developments

  • Protests against Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan across Turkey are entering the sixth day. Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Abbas Eragchi expressed Iran’s hope for the peaceful resolution of the protests.  
  • The Iranian Ambassador to Syria Mohammad Reza Raouf Sheibani visited Fars News Agency headquarters today and said, “Fars News has acted as a superior and distinguished media in these events [in Syria].”
  • Fresh clashes broke out between supporters and opponents of the Syrian government in Tripoli, Lebanon, leaving fourteen injured. 
  • According to Alul Bayt Bews Agency, Lebanese Hezbollah forces ambushed and killed thirty-eight Jubhat al-Nusrah fighters in Syria who were attempting to fire rockets into Lebanon.  
  • Lebanese Hezbollah Deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem stated, “Hezbollah does not defend the Syrian system because Syrian officials must defend it themselves." He added, “In the city of al-Qusayr or the rest, we are active in order to prevent the fire of sedition from spreading and damage to the backbone of the Resistance. This matter requires sacrifice and the amount that we have sacrificed...is much less than the amount that we must [do] to prevent meddling and to support the backbone of the Resistance.”
  • The body of slain Houthi Shia combatant Hossein Badr al-Din al-Houthi was laid to rest after being in government custody for nine years.

Diplomacy

  • Foreign Affairs Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said, “We must call upon Western society’s intellectuals to become familiar with the essential reasons for Islamic movements by focusing on Imam [Khomeini’s] basic thoughts, and consider the necessity for creating areas of understanding instead of opposition.”

Military and Security

  • The Ministry of Intelligence announced the “annihilation” of another “terrorist network” that aimed to disrupt the upcoming presidential elections. 
  • After some clerics criticized the potential for visual cell phone communication to violate moral religious laws, the Supreme Cyber Space Council issued an order that bans this capability on cell phones.
  • After Mehr News published an interview with Sarat News Managing Director, in which he criticized the performance of the Committee on Determining Criminal Instances, Mehr News Agency Managing Director Reza Moghaddesi announced the committee’s request to filter Mehr News Agency.
  • Representative of Managing Officials in the Council for Media Supervision Hossein Entezami discussed internet policing and stated, “In my belief, the Judiciary Branch or Police, with the existence of capacities that the law has bestowed upon them, consider the Council for Media Supervision to be the leading [entity] as the enforcer in the media arena. As specialists, they consider it to be the supreme investigative reference, and news websites must also be managed with that order. Meaning the filtering committee and FATA [cyber] police [should] focus on [other cyber space] crimes, because news websites are only one [component] of cyber space....” He added, “The policy of the Council for Media Supervision is to oversee the situation of news websites, and if you have paid attention, lately permits have been issued for a number of websites in every session.”
  • On the anniversary of Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s passing, Passive Defense Organization Commander BG Gholam Reza Jalali stated, “It is hoped that our country’s revolutionary and honorable nation, by relying on divine ideals and depending on that late Imam’s [legacy], will commemorate his name and famous memory and will utilize this spiritual opportunity for greater contemplation regarding the high ideals and deep and bright thoughts of that era's great man.  [It is also hoped that they] will renew their pledge with the wise Islamic revolution leader, and we announce our preparedness for the creation of another valor in the eleventh round of presidential elections and fourth round of city and village Islamic council elections on Friday [June 14].” 
  • Head of the Basij Organization BG Mohammad Reza Naghdi said, “If [you] open this will [of Khomeini] you can find the most important points regarding current issues. In this will, the Imam said, ‘My will to the honorable nation is to be present in the scene of all elections.’ This will is our duty today.” 

Economy

  • According to Iran Statistics Center figures, the average inflation rate in the past twelve months has been 31% and the inflation rate for this past month was 38.2%. 
  • In the 53rd Central Bank annual meeting, Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani approved the bank’s attempts in the past year to reduce liquidity growth, secure currency needs and confront sanction effects. 
  • One of the largest natural gas extraction projects will reportedly be operational in the next few days. This project will increase Iranian liquefied natural gas refining capacity from 5,000 tons to 6,000 tons per day. 

Photo of the Day

  • Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf addresses supporters in Tabriz.