Iran News Round Up November 1, 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 and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributor John Lesnewich. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Politics

Diplomacy and Regional Developments

Military and Security

Nuclear Issue

  • Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Iran will continue enriching uranium at 20% to reinforce nuclear reactor research, while adding that Iran will continue negotiations with the P5+1 with “good intentions, respect, a will to achieve an agreement, and the hope to reach an agreement in primary stages.” 
  • Senior nuclear negotiator Deputy FM for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Eraghchi discussed nuclear negotiations:
    • Iran increased its cooperation “due to the uncertainties that created concerns regarding Iran's nuclear program in the past and present.”
    • Negotiations with P5+1 and IAEA are separate “but affect each other in the way that progress in one helps progress in the other.”
    • “20% enrichment is not the topic of discussion between Iran and the Agency because the Agency fundamentally has a supervision duty. Therefore this matter will be introduced in the Iran and P5+1 negotiations.”
    • “In the last step, the condition of the scene must be clear to the extent that sanctions are completely lifted. The peaceful program, including enrichment, must exist in the frameworks of a peaceful program and [for the future of] Natanz, Fordow and Arak be determined and clear in a time period.”
    • Eraghchi then criticized recent billboards in Tehran that warned against negotiations with the United States and said, “When our warriors were present at the front of battle, all of the country mobilized to give them morale and no one placed posters in the streets to address them in another way. Criticisms must not exist across certain borders.” 
    • “Our red line is the rights of the Iranian people who have persevered ten years. In practice, enrichment itself is the red line. Of course, its dimensions and size will be discussed with attention to Iran's realistic needs.”
    • “We hope to at least reach results in between three and six months in the broader framework and first steps, and then conclude regarding the details of the final steps and a comprehensive solution, which will take nine months to a year."

Economy

  • Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht vowed “not to give away the people's money” to quasi-government institutions after Parliament opposed the administration's proposal to prevent the auctioning of 37,000 billion tomans [approximately $15 billion] in government assets or to reduce the sale because, as Etemaad reports, the administration has reached the conclusion that the possibility of selling these assets to “real private” companies does not exist. Nobakht also contended that the administration will not be able to execute the current 2013-2014 budgetary mandate to auction these assets before the end of the Persian year in mid-March. 
    • Etemaad notes, “The reality is that quasi-government [companies], in action and in a not-so long term trend, can implement an economic dictatorship and can cause the activities of normal companies and private firms to be disrupted.”
    • The quasi-government firms emerged in the Ahmadinejad Administration due to a lack of competition from foreign firms and Iranian private sector firms unable to acquire government assets. “During the time that the Tenth Administration needed money to pay subsidies and the salaries of its employees, and in a situation in which the injection of the dollar to the market due to the intensification of sanctions was not possible, the administration and Parliament legalized privatization [of government assets] in the the fantastic number of 37,000 billion tomans, while the Eleventh Administration [Rouhani] must welcome the asset sale of government companies” due to an empty treasury.
  • Head of the Central Bank Valiollah Seif reaffirmed the fulfillment of the administration's effort to implement a floating exchange rate system and a single currency exchange rate with the goal of creating “economic stability” that can “support production and jobs.” The Ahmadinejad Administration had previously permitted agricultural institutions to import certain products with a lower exchange rate than the market and paid the difference.
  • Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines CEO Mohammad Hossein Dajmar talked about his hopes for the end of sanctions: “There are hopeful conversations presented both by Iran and by the other sides. Of course, we cannot expect to solve all of the problems at once, and we must move step by step…. It seems to me on the basis of the government’s promise, that the most important issues will be resolved in about a year, and then we will see positive developments in foreign trade.” 
  • Parliamentary Energy Commission Chairman MP Massoud Mir Kazemi stated, “Total and Shell companies are interested in Iranian oil contracts but are afraid of America.” 
  • Fiduciary Auditor of the Tehran Stock Exchange Abbas Hashi announced that company managers mostly hide their adjustments, and added, “The strength of the exchange cannot overcome major shareholders, and no one dares punish major shareholders because at least 10% of company stocks are at the hands of the people and the rest are sharedholders and managers of quasi-governments institutions.”

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