Iran News Round Up May 13, 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

  • 150 members of Parliament have written a letter to the Judiciary Branch urging it to investigate President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s accompanying of his senior advisor and presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim Mashai to the Interior Ministry for candidacy registration.  Iranian law prohibits incumbent presidents from endorsing presidential candidates. 
  • The President's Public Affairs Office released a statement denying that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s accompanying of Esfandiar Rahim Mashai is tantamount to "meddling in the elections."
  • Speaker of the Guardian Council Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei, in reaction to President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s actions, stated, “This matter has been reviewed in the session of the Central Board of Supervision on the presidential elections. With attention to presidential placement, the majority of the board members believed that the president’s recent attempt to introduce an individual as presidential candidate has violated [the law] and has criminal implications, and [we] plan to introduce it to the Judiciary branch.” 
  • President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s first Deputy Mohammad Reza Rahimi has rescinded his presidential candidacy qualification application. 
  • Presidential candidate Manouchehr Mottaki said, “Relations with America are possible and its introduction [depends] on the will of the two nations to do this.”
  • Vice-Chairman of the Parliament's National Security and Foreign Policy Commission MP Mansour Haghighatpour reacted to the entrance of presidential hopefuls former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Esfandiar Rahim Mashai to the race:
    • “With Hashemi [Rafsanjani’s] entrance to the election scene circumstances have been more complicated. It appears that the people have rejected his qualification by not voting for him [in previous elections] and even made him stay at home.”
    • “It is possible that the Guardian Council will include [Rafsanjani’s] oldness of age in its review and this may [be a factor in his candidacy disqualification].”
    • “These members [of Parliament] have requested the Judiciary Branch to legally address the president’s open violation in supporting one of the presidential candidates during registration....”
    • “It is not in the dignity of a country’s president to enter the Interior Ministry with candidates such as Mashaei and create disruptions in the implementation and supervision of elections.”

Regional Developments

  • According to Fars News Agency, the Syrian army has been successful in taking complete control of the strategic Kharbeh al-Ghazaleh area in the southwest of the country.  
  • Iranian media has sharply criticized the “grand devilishness” of an episode in an al-Jazeera historical series which undermined the Persian origin of one of the Islamic era's greatest scientists Abu Reyhan Birouni.

Diplomacy

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi met with the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Secretary Akmoloddin Ehsan Oghlou in Saudi Arbia and affirmed Iranian and OIC opposition to military intervention in Syria.

Military and Security

  • Head of the Basij Organization BG Mohammad Reza Naghdi, in a speech to Basij members, praised the positive effects of sanctions and encouraged maximum participation in the upcoming presidential elections:
    • “Today our defense industry is more advanced than our automobile industry because they sanctioned our defense industry and we stood on our own feet. Today we domestically produce the most advanced electronic combat equipment and missiles that are [only] in the hands of a few select countries.”
    • “A valorous presence in the elections is the prelude to a greater global valor, therefore, the upcoming elections must transform into a referendum against America.” 
  • IRGC Cultural and Propaganda Deputy BG Mohammad Ali Asoudi said, “Our dear people, with their glorious participation in elections and creation of valor, will rub the backs of America and the Zionists to the dirt and impose another defeat in this arena against them.” 
  • A source close to IRGC Commander BG Qassem Suleimani told Arabic-language outlet Almayadeen on the commander’s behalf that “just as ‘Sang’ transformed to a 100 kilometer range missile, soon the production capability of resistance missiles will reach 400 kilometers.” 
  • Law Enforcement Forces Chief BG Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam said, “The new deviant sect claim that they receive their orders from Imam of the Age [12th Shia Imam]. It has been eight years that they are speaking about this matter but it is not clear who is their deputy [of the 12 Shia Imam]. The velayat-e faqih is the protraction of Quranic guardianship and some deviants begin from here that '[if] anyone communicates with the Imam of the Age then htere is no need for a deputy.'” He added, “Acting on the Quran is obeying the velayat, and if the velayat is not followed and if we only pay attention to the Quran then the result of the matter ends in Salafists, Wahabists, and even excommunicated groups.”

Economy

  • Oil Minister Rostam Ghassemi said, “Currently the status of market oil prices have not been as expected and we do not assess price trends to be favorable.” He added that $100 per barrel is the reasonable price of oil for Iran.

Photo of the Day

  • Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Heydar Moslehi, Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar, and General Prosecutor Hojjat al-Eslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei attend the third 2013 Central Election Executive Board meeting.