Iran News Round Up May 14, 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 Imam Khomeini Research and Education Institute Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi said, “Lack of presence in the elections is a betrayal to Islam.”
  • MP Mohammad Dehghan claims that candidates serving in the current administration registered without coordinating with President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and that reports indicate Ahmadinejad has pressured them to rescind their candidacy in favor of his advisor Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei.
  • Presidential candidate and member of the 2+1 Coalition Gholamali Haddad Adel said, “Everyone who supported Mir Hossein Mousavi in [2009] is today supporting [Presidential candidate Akbar] Hashemi Rafsanjani.” 
  • Head of the Central Headquarters for Commemorating the Demise of Imam Khomeini Mohammad Ali Ansari said, “One of the reasons that the West has conquered the world is that it believes in criticism.” He added, “In my opinion, connecting critics to [elements] outside of the country is not right.”

Military and Security

  • The Armed Forces General Staff Communications Bureau released a statement in which it requested presidential candidates “to not use the armed forces, which are the symbols of national unity and resilience, as a tool, with attention to enemy strategies and measures that seek to create interference of the armed forces in elections.”
  • Head of the Basij Organization BG Mohammad Reza Naghdi stated, “The country’s achievements have come about in the shadow of resistance, irreconcilability, and continuation of Imam [Khomeini’s] thoughts. Today, if we pay attention to the domestic environment, some views for compromise [with the United States] are heard. Opportunistic people talk of compromise to fill their pockets and foreign media exacerbate it, and networks that influence currency rates seek to change the people’s political behavior.” He continued, “Resistance and persistence must continue and, just as the Imam affirmed, we should not establish relations with America unless America [stops meddling] in the region.”
  • Senior Military Advisor and Assistant to the Supreme Leader MG Yahya Rahim Safavi said, “Victory in each of these strategic battles requires the cooperation, coordination, and interaction of chiefs of all armed forces, particularly the the executive [should have interaction with the commander] of this strategy meaning the velayat-e faqih ­and the Supreme Leader.”
  • Kurdistan province IRGC Beit ol-Moghaddas Commander BG 2C Mohammad Hossein Rajabi said, “With the supreme leader’s trip to this province and [his] eight day residency, all enemies’  calculations turned upside down to the extent that [alleviated security concerns in] Kurdistan, and today we are among the most secure provinces of the country.” 
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader  in Kurdistan province Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Hosseini Shahroudi met with various IRGC commanders in the Kurdish province and said, “The IRGC will enter with full capabilities in any fields that the revolution requires.” 
  • Passive Defense Organization Managing Director Majid Agha Babaei said, “In cyber warfare, the enemy has placed the people as the target so it can create social abnormalities through them and place the government under pressure, but it has been unsuccessful so far.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Abbas Eraghchi is hopeful about future negotiations and believes that the upcoming presidential elections will strengthen Iran’s position:
    • “In the past three months we had two very serious, substantive, and accurate negotiations with [the P5+1] that resulted in the Almaty 1 and 2 [negotiations in Kazakhstan]. In this round of negotiations, accurate suggestions were introduced from both sides. The P5+1 in Almaty communicated their suggestions, which unlike previous suggestions, did not violate the rights of the Iranian nation. Therefore, our side was receptive and we assessed those suggestions in the framework of Iran’s suggestions that were introduced in the Moscow talks. We provided our answer in Almaty 2 alongside ideas and suggestions that can help negotiations proceed.”
    • “We believe any progress in nuclear negotiations and their resolution must be based on taking simultaneous mutual steps, and the suggestions we introduced in Almaty 2 were effective in this path. Our suggestions were very constructive, balanced, and symmetrical and we had and do hope that it would face a positive and favorable reception from the other side.”
    • “Elections will effect Iran’s nuclear file, but not to the extent that changes will occur in our fundamental positions because Iranian positions in nuclear discussions are principled and cannot be compromised. Any administration that comes after the elections will certainly continue this trend and will defend Iran’s principle interests and our nation’s rights in nuclear discussions. The difference is only that the people’s vast presence and participation in the elections will create such political valor that the next administration will be present in negotiations with greater strength, power, and esteem, and will certainly have a higher hand in defending the Iranian nation’s rights. If the P5+1 prefer to wait until after Iran’s elections then it is related to themselves, but from our perspective, negotiation trends can take their own natural course.” 

Economy

  • Oil Minister Deputy Abdolhossein Bayat announced that a number of Iranian private sector investors have been unable to fulfill their petrochemical plants financing contracts with the Oil Ministry. He added that 15/21 projects are being financed by a foreign company and with the cooperation of Iranian banks. The country’s goal is to produce and sell 19 million tons of petrochemical products domestically and export 17.4 million tons abroad. 
  • Economy Minister Shamseddin Hosseini discussed recent policies to control inflation and capital flow:
    • “In the past year we have had two currency shocks that caused problems in transferring and transporting currency for goods. In this regard, a measure began last year and has somewhat been successful. [The policy] has been conservation, especially for primary goods, and this policy continues.”
    • "Another area where work is being done is in the composition of the government’s fiscal budget. With attention to a mandatory reduction of exports, two measures were undertaken. The first measure was that we would compensate for the reduction in currency revenues with increasing non-oil exports, and by strengthening taxes and preventing tax evasion we would pursue a non-inflationary financing method.” 
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines CEO Mohammad Hossein Dajmar stated, “By using domestic capabilities we have reduced all negative Western sanction effects to the minimum, and we will recover.” 
  • Iran Telecommunications Company CEO Mozaffar Pourranjbar admitted, “Sanctions have made acquiring permanent telephone equipment problematic, and the three month delay in generating new GPON and IMS telephone switch [projects] is due to the sanctions that will be compensated soon. Regardless, sanctions have perhaps only had a 20% negative effect on projects and [we] must not exaggerate it.”

Photo of the Day

  • Former IRGC Commander and current presidential candidate Mohsen Rezaei attends a press conference at Allameh Tabatabaei University.