Iran News Round Up June 6, 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

  • Former Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf criticized opponents who label him as a technocrat and said, “Some have said to me, 'You are a technocrat.' When have I said this [about myself]? Not one person has said, 'How does the Qalibaf who stood in front of an Iraqi tank at the age of 18 resemble a technocrat'.... I do not have the time to answer some people’s claims, but I believe that a person is a technocrat [if they have] not seen the color of the front [during the Iran-Iraq war].” 
  • Presidential candidate Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said, “Their eight year militarily imposed war [Iran-Iraq war] did not achieve any results; therefore, it is possible that they have planned an eight-year imposed economic war. Our path is that just as the nation resisted in the Imposed War, economic resistance will maintain the country in the economically imposed war. We have no other way except this [path].” Haddad Adel also revealed that his cyber space platform is to follow the strategic directives of the Supreme Cyber Space Council. 
  • Presidential candidate Mohsen Rezai said he would alleviate international concerns regarding the nuclear program but would not abandon “national interests and the values of the revolution.” He added that he would form a 5+3 international group to politically resolve the Syrian crisis. The countries would be Syrian neighbors Turkey, Iraq, Jordan, Palestine and Lebanon, in addition to Iran, Saudi Arabia and Egypt.
  • Ali Akbar Velayati’s Cyber Space Committee Headquarters published the candidate’s platform regarding cyber space. The three main points are: “An opportunistic perspective instead of a threatened [perspective] towards cyber space; Ethics and partial immunity instead of limitation in cyber space, and; alignment with the Supreme Leader’s policies in establishing the Supreme Cyber Space Council.” His proposed policies also include establishing security operation centers in all sensitive parts of the country and supporting the indigenous development and construction of internet infrastructures.
  • According to Kurdistan Press Agency, two Ahl-e Haq religious minority Kurds, Hassan Razavi and Nik-mard Taheri, self-immolated to protest Islamic Republic security forces arrest and abuse of coreligionist Kiumars Tamnak and his religious beliefs during an interrogation. 
  • Alef News Agency reports that the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance sent an approximately 120 member group to Lebanon two weeks ago without any official announcements. The article questions the reasons and the financier of the trip, since the minister is reportedly known to be frugal regarding international travel and the ministry has recently had to cancel cultural events due to budget constraints. The group reportedly consisted of artists, poets and cultural officials, and the article notes that it used a conservative estimation based on oral reports so the group may have included as many as 200 individuals. The author attributed the trip to potential government abuse and waste. 

Regional Developments

  • Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA) reported that the Syrian army has captured the Qanitareh Passing in the Golan Heights, one hour after its capture by rebel forces.
  • Head of the Free Syria Army Headquarters Salim Idris said that the main reason for the Syrian rebels’ defeat in al-Qusayr was the presence of Lebanese Hezbollah forces, and another commander threatened to take the war to Lebanese soil.
  • Saudi Arabia has expressed its serious concerns regarding the recent violent clashes between pro and anti-Syrian government groups in Tripoli, Lebanon. 
  • Six Jubhat al-Nusrah Lebanese commanders were identified among the fatalities in al-Qusayr. 
  • Iranian media have reported that at least 1,200 “terrorists” were killed in al-Qusayr.
  • ABNA reports that Lebanese Shi'a villages welcomed Hezbollah fighters who returned from the battle of al-Qusayr.
  • Lebanese Hezbollah Deputy Sheikh Naim Qassem said, “Today’s war [in Syria] has only one pretext and that is fighting the Zionist regime and anyone who serves that regime." He added, “It was proved today that relying on the disintegration of the Syrian system is an illusion. Positioning based on American and Zionist strategic designs will be defeated.”
  • Austria withdrew its forces from the Golan Heights because, according to the Austrian government, it could no longer cooperate with peacekeeping forces. 
  • Iraq Karbala Province Council Vice-Chairman announced that al-Qaeda and Baathist elements were responsible for the execution of fourteen individuals yesterday. 
  • The Iraqi Interior Ministry requested Kurdish area forces to withdraw from Saliman Beik and Touz Khormatou areas in Kirkuk province.

Diplomacy

  • In response to yesterday’s comments by White House Spokesman James Carney that the Syrian army was able to capture al-Qusayr with Iranian and Lebanese Hezbollah support, the Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Middle East and Africa Affairs Deputy Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that Tehran will continue to strongly support the Assad regime and added, “Victory in al-Qusayr was the result of fortitude and endeavor by the resistant Syrian army and people.” 
  • Head of the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi said that presidential candidate Ali Akbar Velayati is qualified to be president and that Iranian nuclear policy would succeed under his administration. Boroujerdi added, “With American leadership, the Westerners were unable to find any luck during the past two years in Syria and this country’s political system is continuously supported by the vast majority of its people.”

Military and Security

  • The Iranian Telecommunications Company denied that it was responsible for reported widespread internet disruptions yesterday.
  • IRGC Fath Unit Commander BG 2C Yunis Amiri announced that the IRGC established more than 300 subsidiary companies in Kohgilouyeh and Boyer Ahmad province this past year. 
  • Head of the Basij Organization BG Mohammad Reza Naghdi vehemently denied rumors that the Basij endorses a presidential candidate.
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Aerospace Force Hojjat al-Eslam Ayoub Hassanzadeh said, “Despite vast attempts by the revolution’s enemies to damage the image of the sacred Islamic Republic system by using the elections as an opportunity, the aware and insightful Iranian nation will once again neutralize the evildoers’ conspiracies with their valorous presence.” 

Nuclear Issue

  • Iran’s Permanent Representative to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) stated, “It is this agency that has prolonged the matter and must be scolded. In recent negotiations in Vienna, they re-introduced a matter that we had agreed upon [earlier].” 

Economy

  • Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani announced that gold reserves have significantly increased and Iran would not need to import any gold for the next fifteen years. He added that oil and banking sector sanctions created immense obstacles for the economy this past year and reduced the Central Bank’s capability to effectively intervene in the currency market and alleviate the effects of sanctions. 

Photo of the Day

  • Presidential candidate Said Jalili campaigns in the city of Varamin.