Iran News Round Up May 16, 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

  • Guardian Council Spokesman Abbas Ali Kadkhodaei announced a moratorium extension of the Guardian Council candidate vetting process from five to ten days, and that the final results will be announced on May 21, 2013. 
  • Guardian Council member Ayatollah Mohammad Mo'men said, “It is possible that the Guardian Council will approve more than ten individuals.” 
  • Guardian Council member Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi ridiculed the possibility of a female candidacy and said, “Among the individuals who have registered, ten to twelve ladies are present. One of them has said, ‘If I become president, half of the cabinet will be [composed] of ladies and the other half will be gentlemen.’ There is a famous saying about someone who wants to enter a village but they do not let him in, but then he says, ‘Where is the village chief’s house?!’ The law does not allow ladies to become president, now how has this individual determined a cabinet composition!” 
  • Presidential candidate and Principlist Alireza Zakani criticized presidential candidate Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and said, “Mr. Hashemi, despite his services in the past, has shown that he is the man of major mistakes. We were not interested in him making another major mistake at his age, but eventually he was influenced by his family and friends, and I believe that he will very much regret this decision after the elections.” 
  • Spokesman of Parliament’s Article 90 Commission, a government oversight committee,  MP Mostafa Afzali Fard announced, “…A case has been established against [President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s advisor and presidential candidate Esfandiar Rahim] Mashaei by the commission that we will hand over to the oversight bodies so it can be considered in their decision making.”
  • Fars News Agency accused BBC Persian of being the “…megaphone of sedition and deviant currents.” 
  • According to Dana News Agency, Rafsanjani’s website has deleted its 2009 news archives “…that spread a particular meaning in the minds of public opinion.”
  • Presidential candidate and Steadfastness Front member Kamran Bagheri Lankarani denied divisions within the faction regarding a unified presidential candidate and added that the faction's Isfahan headquarters' recent decision about supporting chief Iran nuclear negotiator and presidential candidate Said Jalili is “their own personal opinion.” 
  • Fars News Managing Director Nezamoddin Mousavi denied 2009 election rigging claims and stated, “Hashemi’s candidacy in the [2013] elections means that the allegations of cheating in [the 2009 presidential elections] were a lie.”
  • Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Abbas Kabi defended Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi against recent allegations of election meddling and said, “Slamming of Ayatollah Allameh [honorary clerical title] Mesbah Yazdi for his active and valorous presence in the election scene is against religious law and ethics and is certainly an anti-revolutionary move.”  
  • Vice-Chairman of the Parliament and Principlist Coalition of Five official nominee Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Hassan Abu Torabi Fard said, “We must attempt to strengthen both the Islamic and Republican pillars [of the Islamic Republic system],” and added he would “act in another way” if his presence prevents the success of the revolution and Principlism.
  • Tehran University professor and prominent political activist Sadegh Ziba Kalam said that the Guardian Council will not approve Mashaei’s candidacy and that Hashemi’s entrance to the elections has “necessitated Principlist unity."
  • Senior Shia cleric Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said, “Campaign advertisements must not transform from an Islamic to a Western form.”

Regional Developments

  • Iranian media report that the Syrian army has achieved battlefield successes in the Damascus region by capturing the al-Jarba and al-Bahriyeh areas in the eastern parts of greater Damascus.  
  • Mehr News Agency attempted to link al-Qaeda and terrorist elements to the broader Syrian opposition by highlighting the recent video depicting the execution of eleven individuals accused of cooperating with Syrian president Bashar Assad’s regime by Jabhat al-Nusra members. 
  • According to Iranian Students’ News Agency, Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki considers the Baath party to be responsible for all the recent bombings across the country, mass graves, burying of people alive, and suppression of protests.

Diplomacy

  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Abbas Eraghchi condemned the recent United Nations General Assembly resolution against Syria and the Canadian Foreign Minister John Baird’s recent remarks urging the Iranian people to end “clerical military dictatorship”:
    • “Issuing this resolution against Syria is done during circumstances when Syria and the region need peace and stability more than ever before.”
    • “In current circumstances, it was expected from some primary commissioners of the resolution to concentrate their efforts in condemning the Zionist regime’s attack against Syria.” 
    • “The Canadian government’s attempt to hold a conference with the presence of a number of well known anti-Iranian elements and its cheap and irresponsible remarks against Iran’s internal issues are clear violations of non-involvement in countries’ internal affairs as one of the most obvious international principles, and we strongly condemn it.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Supreme National Security Council Secretary Said Jalili is slated to meet P5+1 chief nuclear negotiation Catherine Ashton in Istanbul, Turkey. In a press conference, Jalili recommended that the P5+1 group think about Iranian suggestions made in the Almaty negotiations last month because “…if they do not use it, then it will cause a loss of opportunities.” 
  • The tenth round of specialist and technical negotiations between the Islamic Republic of Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) took place at Iran’s mission in Vienna on Wednesday. Iran’s permanent representative in the IAEA Ali Asghar Soltaniyeh referred to the negotiations as "condensed," and said, “Dialogues between the two sides will continue, and the date for next round of negotiations will be determined in the future.”

Economy

  • Central Bank Chairman Mahmoud Bahmani announced that the bank has purchased enough gold reserves for 15 years and, added, “With measures such as bonds and gold coins sale and liquidity control, we have [controlled] inflation and hope that this year we will reduce liquidity growth and inflation.” 

Photo of the Day

  • Newly appointed Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Abbas Eraghchi following a press conference.