Iran News Round Up June 7, 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

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with military officials, Islamic country representatives and some matyr families and addressed the needs of the world of Islam and division between Muslims:
    • “The enemy's main design is to create divisions and conflict between Muslims, therefore the most essential need of the world of Islam is unity and cooperation.”
    • “[One] cannot believe that insults to Islam and Islamophobia in the world [exist] without the design of the powers' intelligence agencies and their financial support.”
  • Foreign policy was the topic of the third televised presidential candidate debates. Candidate positions are as follows:
    • Said Jalili: “One of our fundamental discussions with America is that we have been placed between the two paradigms of Iranian and American foreign policies; there is opposition between them and our fundamentals are seriously opposed to one other. America is committed to the Zionists' security and we [are committed] to the opposite.... Commitment to the Zionist regime is one of the fundamental foreign policies of America, but the lack of the Zionist regime's legality is one of the fundamentals of Iran's foreign policies. The difference between these two principles is a theoretical topic; they say 'foreign policy is not the place for philosophy,' perhaps foreign policy is the place for contemplation. We say that occupation and invasion does not bring legality. Military powers and a monopoly [on nuclear weapons] do not bring legality. This is our intellectual basis and it is a vivid logic, and, actually, [one] can defend this logic well.”
    • Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf said, “A government that is not accepted by its people will not be successful behind any negotiation desks.” He then criticized diplomatic efforts for not fulfilling foreign policy objectives and stated, “It must be determined which goals our foreign policy should pursue. Foreign policy must guarantee our interests, security and national, religious and revolutionary identity.” Ali Akbar Velayati criticized Qalibaf's remarks and said, “The most important subject in this field is training capable forces.” Hassan Rohani retorted and discussed successful diplomatic efforts during his tenure as Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary: “...In [former president Mohammad] Khatami's administration we saved Iran from crisis, in circumstances when this era coincided with the Septmber 11 event when Iran was accused. After that two regional countries, meaning Afghanistan and Iraq, were invaded by the United States, but in circumstances when Iran was placed on the attack list, Iran exited this path with [correct] planning and design. We were even successful in helping Iraq during this era.... I do not believe that foreign policy during the past eight years has performed poorly either, and we do not plan on undermining foreign policy from the past few years.” Current SNSC Secretary Said Jalili also criticized Qalibaf's remarks and said, “Foreign policy is one of the strong points of the Islamic Republic and our revolution [but] the expected foreign policy is more than the current situation and foreign policy capacity has distance with its original message.”
    • Gholam Ali Haddad Adel: “Certainly economic issues are related to sanctions; sanctions that the enemies have called 'crippling.' Although we believe that with better management [one] could and can reduce these sanctions and their effects....The day we did not have nuclear activities we were under sanctions and the enemies know better than us that our nuclear activities are not military. Our problem with the Americans is the fundamental problem of the revolution [for them], and because we sought and achieved independence and insisted upon our independence, they oppose us.” Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf responded, “You said in your statements that this matter will not be resolved with management, while I believe that it is our diplomacy that cannot advance our policies they way they should to [address] the considered interests with the least effort.”
    • Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati: “Many of the people, based on opinion polls, recognize foreign issues and sanctions relief as the highest priority, and for this reason individuals must be chosen who have this experience. My experience in [UN] resolution 598 [that ended the Iran-Iraq War] and implementing the 1975 agreement [with Iraq] is just such [experience].” Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf criticized Velayati's inability to make Iraq pay war reparations and said, “The relationship between military warriors with policy is a two-way relationship and I believe that during your Excellency's tenure for sixteen [years] we always used warriors and veterans' capacities in favor of foreign policy.” Said Jalili reacted, “You said in your remarks that 'I will reconcile with the world.' I do not understand this. In international matters, neither reconciliation nor belligerent talk are put forth. The discussion of interests are at stake; if our interests are opposed to others we must defend ourselves.”
  • Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf's election documentary was broadcast on Iranian national television. Regarding his position on relations with the United States, he said, “A youth told me if relations with America are fixed the country's situation will be fixed, and I said [that] the country's situation is [because of] our inefficiency.”
  • IRGC Political Deputy Rasoul Sanaei Rad: "It is not the case that the result of the election is determined beforehand; rather, voting in Iran occurs in a free atmosphere and whatever the people vote is read and applied."
  • Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, “All eight candidates must obey the law and [accept] the people's vote on [June 14] and congratulate the elected person.” Regarding the Syrian army's victory in al-Qusayr he said, “The conquering of al-Qusayr humiliated the treacherous muftis.”
  • Interior Minister BG Mostafa Mohammad Najjar stated, “Not even the slightest possibility of interference or influence exist in any of the election's stages or results.”
  • Following yesterday's Alef News Agency editorial about an unannounced Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance delegation sent to Lebanon two weeks ago, the ministry wrote a letter to Alef explaining that the hosts were from the Lebanese Hezbollah Cultural department. The letter reads, “It has been more than two years that the Ministry of Islamic Culture and Guidance, with the cooperation of the Hezbollah Cultural department, has been responsible for training and implementing cultural and artistic programs in Lebanon and has done many joint activities in this field.” The letter elaborates that the trip was announced by Minister Seyyed Mohammad Hossein, who traveled to Lebanon with a ninety-seven member group consisting of artists. The group also visited southern Lebanon and the Lebanese-Israeli border areas.
  • Head of the Central Supervision Council on Islamic Council Elections Mohammad Javad Koulivand announced that the greatest number of disqualified candidate complaints have been from Tehran and Fars provinces.

Regional Developments

  • A suicide bombing attack against two buses carrying Iranian pilgrims in Iraq resulted in sixteen deaths and forty-four injuries.
  • Iranian media report heavy clashes between Syrian Kurds and the rebels in the vicinity of Homs. The fighting has resulted in many “terrorist” casualties.
  • [E] The Syrian army has reportedly taken three villages near al-Qusayr.
  • According to Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA), the head of the Tawhid Brigade Abdolghader Saleh AKA Hajjai Mara' was killed in al-Qusayr alongside 300 members of his forces.
  • Artillery shelling has reportedly inflicted some material damage to the Sayyeda Zeinab shrine in Damascus.
  • Thousands of Bahrainis are protesting the arrest of political activists, particularly women.

Diplomacy

  • In a letter, Ministry of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi congratulated Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary Hassan Nasrallah on the anniversary of Israel's withdrawal from southern Lebanon in 2006. Salehi called the event “a prideful point in the history of Muslims' resistance against the usurper enemy.”
  • In reaction to the third presidential debate, Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi told ISNA that “our nuclear position will not change.” 

Military and Security

  • IRGC Sarallah Unit (Kerman province) Commander BG Rouhollah Nouri:
    • “The duty and work of the IRGC and Basij is to defend the sublime ideals and values of the Islamic Revolution and the velayat-e faghih, We must not play games or [engage in] factionalism. We must be aware and not [rally around a single candidate].” 
    • “The enemy has focused on themselves in Syria and have tried to [achieve their goals] through Arab rulers connected to the US, but thanks to the Islamic Republic system and the prayers of the people they have failed.”
    • “We must be careful that the place of the clergy is not weakened, because [this] is equal to weakening the revolution and the Iranian nation and you [must] know that everything that we have achieved is thanks to the Islamic Revolution and the blood of martyrs.”
  • IRGC Salman unit (Sistan va Balouchestan) Commander and Quds Base Deputy Commander BG 2C Hassan Mortezavi: “Today we observe that the Islamic Awakening, which is a result of the great Islamic Revolution of Iran, has grown throughout the world, and the current view of all the world’s Muslims toward Iran is that they can achieve their own [goals] by using the successful model of Islamic Iran."
  • Head of the Basij Organization BG Mohammad Reza Naghdi said that the future president must be “velayat-centered” and that the people's participation in the upcoming presidential elections will “defeat the enemies.” 

Economy

  • In reaction to the increase of Chinese goods imported to support the Iranian oil sector, Oil Minister BG Rostam Ghassemi said, “Any contractor that imports goods and equipment into the oil industry that has a domestically built equivalent will be eliminated from the list of oil industry partners.”
  • The government issued a permit that allows the importation of goods by Iranian workers who are employed abroad.

Photo of the Day

  • IRGC Quds Force Commander MG Qassem Suleimani attends a gathering of representatives of Islamic countries and Iranian regime officials addressed by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei in Tehran.