Iran News Round Up May 17, 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 Chairman and Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati said elections have to be free, and that Iranian elections have been free since the revolution. He added, "In vetting candidates preferences are not assessed, rather circumstances are assessed."
  • Former Tehran Mayor and presidential candidate Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf said, "Political partisanship in the country's management has caused the people's current economic woes to increase to [their current state]. In this path, [we] must remedy these issues with the implementation of jihadi management."
  • Islamic Coalition Party Central Council member Hamid Reza Taraghi stated, "Our people have left the [2009] sedition behind and, in current circumstances, logical and rational individuals are making decisions. Certain candidates cannot achieve anything with illegal and unethical measures."
  • Mohammad Bagher Qalibaf's Election Headquarters spokesman Parviz Esmaili responded to the BBC Persian's dissemination of recordings of Qalibaf, in which he bragged about his direct role in repressing protests in 1999, 2003, and 2009:
    • "[The fact] that the BBC network begins the destruction of the Islamic Republic of Iran's presidential candidates beginning with Qalibaf is notable, and the record of the English government meddling in Iranian internal issues is clear for our alert people."
    • "The project to destroy Qalibaf began some time ago with the release of a program by Voice of America, and with the approximate clarification of the election scene, the new phase of this psychological and destructive operation has been continued by the BBC network, and this was predictable."
  • Steadfastness Front Central Council member Sadegh Mahsouli said, "[Former president Akbar] Hashemi [Rafsanjani's] presence in the election arena has caused many changes in Reformists' election makeup, therefore [we] must wait the announcements of candidate qualifications [from the Guardian Council]." 
  • Head of the Ammar Base [pro-Khamenei think tank] Hojjat al-Eslam Mehdi Taeb stated, "The enemy is trapped in a quagmire in Syria and [one] must say that Iranian elections will certainly affect Syria." He added, "Hashemi is not an enemy agent and the the revolution's Supreme Leader seeks to maintain him for the system..." but, he noted, "One must know that Hashemi cannot continue this speed of progress in the next administration."
  • Shiraz Interim Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Abolfazl Razavi Ardekani said, "The people's vast presence in the elections will foil enemy plans."

Regional Developments

  • Iranian media report that the Al-Qaeda-affiliated "apostate Jubhat al-Nusrah, with an attack against 'Yarmouk' base in Damascus, has desecrated the shrine of the founder of the Palestinian Islamic Jihad movement Fathi Shaqaqi."
  • According to Ahlul Bayt News Agency, Syrian "terrorists" have begun fighting each other and 300 armed individuals have been killed in the vicinity of Aleppo as a result of the three-way fighting between al-Qaeda affiliated Qarba al-Shaam, military wing of the Muslim Brotherhood Lawa al-Tawhid, and al-Qaeda affiliated Heyat al-Shariah.
  • Fars News Agency reports that the Syrian army has taken control of 75% of Daraa province in the south of the country and that this province will soon be declared a secure area.
  • In Iraq, head of the Sadr Movement Muqtada al-Sadr called for protests to close Bahrain's embassy in Iraqi in response to a reported attack by Bahraini authorities against senior Bahraini Shia cleric Sheikh Issa Qasem.
  • Mass protests have been reported in Najaf, Iraq around the Bahraini embassy "to protest the al-Khalifah regime crimes" against Sheikh Issa Qasem.

Military and Security

  • Armed Forces General Staff Deputy BG Said Masoud Jazayeri, in an interview with Hezbollah television network al-Manar, said that "the liberation of the Golan Heights from the Zionist regime's occupation" is a possibility. He added, "It appears that in the next few months we will witness fundamental changes in the region. In that case we will witness a new Syria. The new Syria is a Syria that is the initiator of a new resistance and will have a message for the stability of regional countries, and, as I said, in that case, we will witness major changes in the region, part of which will take place in Golan with God's help." When asked about reported organization of forces to support Syrian holy sites, Jazayeri replied, "Yes, many measures take place in this field that is constantly being increased."
  • Law Enforcement Forces Deputy Commander BG Ahmad Reza Radan announced, "We promise the people that the elections will take place successfully and with total security."
  • IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Ali Fadavar said that none of the armed forces will take sides in the elections, and added, "This weakness that is economic dependency on crude oil exports will be remedied by these sanctions."

Economy

  • Newly released Iranian Customs Agency statistics report a 68% automobile imports decrease, 57% meat import decrease, 62% clothes import decrease and 52% cigarette import decrease.
  • Head of the National Airplane Agency Hamid Reza Pahlevani announced the establishment of two new Iranian airlines in the upcoming year and the import of nineteen airplanes in the past year.
  • Pars Gas and Oil Company Managing Director Mohammad Reza Zahiri announced a temporary halt to the expansion of Northern Pars, Golshan, and Ferdowsi oil fields due to sharing the Southern Paris gas fields with Qatar.

Photo of the Day

  • General Prosecutor Ayatollah Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei, presidential candidate and head of Expediency Council Strategic Research Center Hojjat al-Eslam Hassan Rohani, and Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Heydar Moslehi attend Tehran Friday Prayer.