Iran News Round Up March 27, 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. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani referred to the upcoming elections as a symbol of the Supreme Leader's "political valor" goal and advised all parties and groups to "learn the lessons of the [2009] election events and not imagine that they can implement what they want in elections through force, deviatory paths, and illegal means."
  • Head of the Parliamentary Cultural Commission Hojjat al-Eslam Morteza Agha-Tehrani said that the worst events of the past year were "anywhere that the Supreme Leader was upset," because "when the Supreme Leader becomes upset from something this means the foundation of the system has been damaged, because he does not enter minor issues but looks at the whole [picture] and strategic issues."  

Regional Developments

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi criticized the Arab League's recent decision to grant representation to the Syrian opposition in the Arab League. 
  • Influential Bahraini Shia cleric and activist Ayatollah Sheikh Isa Qassem said "Saudi occupation in Bahrain is a black day in the history of the Islamic ummah" and added, "changes are the only solution and a delay must not occur." 
  • Ahlul Bayt News Agency reported that Saudi authorities arrested Jordanian opposition activist Khaled al-Natour for supporting the Bahraini opposition in January 2013.
  • Member of the Iraqi Parliament's Security and Defense Committee Hakem al-Zamoli told Fars News the al Qaeda linked Jubhat al Nusra is responsible for smuggling weapons to Syria through Iraq and is establishing a branch within Iraq:
    • "This situation took place after protests in Anbar and Mosul provinces and the increase in scope and intensity of Iraqi security force confrontations with these protests."
    • "Weapons smuggling operations have cause the spike of weapons prices in Western and Southern Iraqi regions to the extent that the price of every BKC [machine gun] unit has become $25,000 and the price of every rifle has reached $3,000."
    • "This profitable trade is an appropriate opportunity for profit-seeking and self-interested individuals to enter weapons purchase and selling market and transfer them to Syria, and it seems that the Iraqi Armed Forces General Staff command [should] become active and combat this phenomenon."
    • "Events and issues that are in motion in Iraq [make it seem] that the Iraqi government does not pay much attention to it and this has caused weapons smugglers to easily expand their activities and cross borders without facing problems. For this reason the Iraqi government must have more supervision on border crossings in the West to combat this phenomenon."
    • "The number of border patrol troops who currently have the responsibility of protecting the Western borders is not sufficient to combat terrorist groups or prevent weapons smuggling, as the military equipment possessed by border patrol troops is not porportionate with the weapons and military equipment possessed by armed groups and terrorists."

Military and Security

  • Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Heydar Moslehi announced that the Ministry of Intelligence has properly planned for the upcoming elections, in line with the Supreme Leader's declaration of the year of "political and economic valor":
    • "This matter was in the speeches of the eminent Supreme Leader and all currents that believe in the system and the revolution and are loyal to them must enter electoral debates."
    • "Entrance of these currents into elections must be serious in the format of heavy competition, although they must observe the system's frameworks and red lines so elections can be held with vast presence of the people in the direction of advancing the goals of the Islamic revolution."
    • "This ministry has, by divine strength, done various plannings within the framework of duties that it has. [It] has thought about necessary arrangements and in reality has designed it so God willing we will witness the holding of passionate, competitive, and valuable elections, and with the people's help we will advance these attempts and designs."

Economy

  • National Iranian Excavation Company Deputy Mohammad Reza Takayedi announced the expansion of 11 well rings in Southern Pars Phase 17 and 18 gas fields. 

Photo of the Day

  • Officials attend the first government cabinet meeting after Persian new year.