Iran News Round Up October 2, 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 contributors John Lesnewich and Mehrdad Moarefian. 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

  • In his first press conference since the UN trip, President Hassan Rouhani discussed “effective interaction with the world,” his telephone conversation with President Barack Obama, nuclear negotiations, the Israeli PM's statements, and divergence on Iran policy between the White House and US Congress:
    • “In this trip, we sought to reevaluate the new circumstances that exist regarding Iran. The place and image of Iran in the international scene is new, and the international scene looks at the Iranian nation and government with a new outlook.”
    • “It seems that the international environment is such that sanctions must be removed.”
    • “The foreign ministers of the six countries [P5+1] acknowledged Iran’s nuclear rights and this was evident in their discussions. Therefore, we took a step forward.”
    • “Israel has a strong lobby in America and exerts pressure by using this lobby. We must fill the empty place of the strong Iranian lobby there and do something that some will attempt to express Iran’s thoughts and statements to [the American public].”
    • “There was the request for meeting [with President Obama; reportedly requested five times according to Rouhani]; we have no issues with meeting, but the necessary preparations and circumstances were not ready.”
    • During this contact [with President Obama] we talked for a few minutes and it was emphasized that there are many issues regarding Iran and America. I told Mr. Obama in this telephone conversation that many matters have emerged in the past thirty-five years, our people have opposed the behavior that America demonstrated in various matters, and the matters that have emerged between the two countries cannot be resolved in a short amount of time. They also emphasized that these matters will not be resolved overnight.”
    • “I emphasized in this telephone conversation that this matter must be resolved in a short amount of time, and Mr. Obama also said ‘I accept this matter.’ During this telephone contact, Mr. Obama told us, ‘You emphasized in your speech [at the UNGA] that you do not seek nuclear weapons and Iran’s leader has emphasized the taboo of construction and use of nuclear weapons. Given these positions, the road to achieving results in negotiations is open.’”
    • “The people must know that the foreign policy matters ahead are not a smooth road. We have a difficult road ahead and cannot resolve problems of eight or ten years in ten days. There are many ups and downs in the world of politics.”
    • “I emphasized in the meeting [with EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton] that the only way to resolve this matter is at the negotiations table. The EU President said in that meeting, ‘I accept your statement that the solution is negotiations.’”
    • Reaction to the Israeli PM’s UN statements: “That an aggressor regime in the region talks about the Islamic Republic with an incorrect tone must not sadden us at all. We expect nothing else from Israel.”
    • Divergence between the White House and Congress on Iran: “There are two opinions in America. Congress’ opinion is that the sanctions should intensify, but this is a path of error and a mistake, which apparently the American administration opposes.”
    • “When sanctions are removed, bilateral confidence will be created and will be a win for both sides. We hope the future Geneva meeting will succeed and the American Senate will not commit the errors of the past.”
    • “[People] are free to criticize the administration, and we are proud that we accept criticism, so anyone can criticize us with any tone. Of course, our hearts want the tone to be respectful and ethical and for free protests to be within a framework of rules.”
  • Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani discussed the recent release of some prisoners detained following the 2009 post-election protests and stated, “The trend of pardoning and freeing convicts by the Judiciary was based on a legal and continuous trend and is not a new matter. The recent release of a number of [2009] sedition security convicts has no connection to election results…. [2009] seditionists were those who pursued a coup d’état against the nation’s vote, and who sought to take over the people’s vote with instability and guffawed with the likes of Obama when they laughed against the Iranian nation. Seditionists are those who falsely introduced a runaway girl [Neda Agha Soltan] as martyred by the system, launched a mourning ceremony for her and then participated in it. Seditionists must know that the environment for sedition is categorically closed.” 
  • One of the MPs present during the phone conversation between Obama and Rouhani provided new details of the call: “In this meeting, President Rouhani presented a report of his travels to New York to the meeting’s representatives…. According to Mr. Rouhani, it was clear in the Iranian delegation’s last moments in New York that the Americans were requesting just a farewell contact between Obama and Rouhani. But, clearly, after the contact, this conversation went on for 15 minutes of discussions about nuclear issues.”
  • Senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani reacted to President Obama’s “military options” statement:
    • “The Americans say the military option is on the table. One must tell them ‘you beat the drums of war in Syria, what did you achieve? You have seen the Islamic Republic’s power in the region, so repeating additional declarations is a pure mistake.’”
    • “The Westerners’ opposition to Iran’s nuclear rights is nothing more than an excuse. All the world knows that the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program is peaceful.”
    • “The victory of Hezbollah in the Thirty-three Day War [2006 Hezbollah-Israel War] and Hamas warriors in Gaza against the Zionist regime demonstrate the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Axis of Resistance.”
  • Fatemeh Hashemi, daughter of former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, discussed President Rouhani’s campaign promise to include more women in government and the connection between her father and Rouhani:
    • “The discussion between me and the rest of women is, ‘Why did Mr. Rouhani, who spoke very well of women’s situation in his campaign slogans and introduced the matter, ignore their capabilities during cabinet selection?’”
    • “The closeness of our family with Mr. Rouhani does not belong to the present, but began during the revolution. In reality we were neighbors and had close relations with each other. When he stated that he sought to become a presidential candidate, I was present in his first election session and Yasser [son of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani] cooperated with Mr. Rouhani from a strategic aspect.” 
  • Head of the Presidential Cultural Council Hojjat al-Eslam Said Reza Akrami spoke on whether the slogan “Death to America” should still be chanted in the Islamic Republic: “I think that the slogan must be chanted and our nation look to its own work. [Yet] each time there is an agreement produced based on the interests and mutual respect between Iran and America, we will review the Death to America slogan.” Akrami also gave his thoughts on Rouhani’s trip to New York, “The principle of the trip was a suitable opportunity to introduce Iran, and it was done well.”
  • Parliament’s Principlist Faction addressed Parliament on Rouhani’s trip to New York in a speech that included five major points:
    • “Our dear President’s efforts are appreciated, and his stances in defense of the principles of Iran’s foreign policy are praiseworthy,” especially in regards to nuclear negotiations.
    • “There is no doubt that the oppressive, illegal, and inhumane sanctions of the enemy have created a problem for our country and people, but America and other negotiators must not imagine that they will negotiate a solution due to Iranian weakness by speaking of submission in a violent and demanding way.”
    • “We hope that the efforts of our dear nation and our foreign policy officials will observe the principle of ‘honor, wisdom, and goodwill’ in order to lift the enemies’ sanctions. Each previous time in history, America’s hostile conduct … has shown that it cannot be trusted or viewed optimistically.”
    • “The President correctly emphasized in his speech at the UN that Iran expects to hear one voice from America…. In his meeting with [Netanyahu], the US President spoke with a different tone that contradicted his previous [tone] (including the one during his phone conversation with Dr. Rouhani).”
    • “Some methods of negotiation, such as the phone conversation and the long negotiations with [John Kerry] were well-reviewed…. We hope that the Americans and other negotiators do not make the mistake that they made in the past by falling into the Zionist trap.” 
  • Recent ISPA [Iranian Students Polling Agency] poll results asking 1,200 Tehran citizens about Rouhani’s trip to New York were announced. 48.3% carefully or very carefully followed the President’s trip, while 14.6% followed it moderately. 78% of respondents viewed Rouhani’s UNGA speech positively, while only 5.7% viewed it negatively. Finally, 58.6% of those polled expressed a strong desire to see a solution to the nuclear issue that included the preservation of Iran’s nuclear rights, while an additional 18.6% moderately hoped to preserve those rights. 

Diplomacy

Military and Security

  • Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi reacted to Netanyahu’s UNGA speech:
    • “The Prime Minister of the occupying Zionist regime showed the UNGA that he is a militant; the Zionist regime gained nothing from his rhetoric.”
    • “This was clearly a desperate attempt by the Zionists to undermine negotiations with Iran…. The political supporters of Israel are in an unstable condition; their will for a military option is broken.”
  • Head of the Expediency Council’s Security-Defense Commission and former Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi reacted to the recent Israeli threats:
    • “The Zionist regime’s imagination that it can fight with the Islamic Republic is the end of the line for the Zionist regime’s life. The Zionist regime has received various weapons from the Americans but they will not [achieve their objectives]. The story of the conflict between the Zionist regime and the Islamic Republic is not a military conflict. The Islamic Republic does not accept the basis of the Zionist regime….”
    • “Imagine that our nuclear installations are damaged; well, can we not rebuild them? Then what will be Iran’s reaction? Well, if someone compares these and sees what is before his eyes, if a minimum of rationality exists, he will never think of this [attack].”
    • “Yes it is a very serious statement [Supreme Leader’s statements that Haifa and Tel-Aviv will be destroyed]. The Islamic Republic faces a country that is not bound to any principles…” 
  • IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour discussed the US decision to forego attacking Syria:
    • “The first matter that can be mentioned is the American’s mistaken analysis of the Syrian crisis and regional situation.”
    • “The second matter is the American’s media creation…. They were unable to create an international coalition, and even America’s allies, in a sense, opposed military intervention in Syria.”
    • “The Syrians possess the capability to defend themselves and do not need the aid or military presence of any other country.”
  • Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Gholam Asgar Karimian was appointed IRGC Ashoura unit (East Azerbaijan province) Commander, replacing Ali Akbar Pour Jamshidian. Jamshidian was promoted to Provincial Affairs Adviser to the IRGC Commander.
  • Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi addressing a ceremony introducing Mohammad Heidari as new head of the Basij University Students organization:
    • “People all over the world are tired of the West’s capitalist agendas and are in dire need of a new formula. It is within the aforementioned sense of urgency that the Islamic Republic must assume a global leadership role and export the revolution throughout the world. Our Islamic model is a formula of success that can be applied to all states.”
    • “We are so behind that, the West’s theories and practices are taught in our universities; rather than exporting our model, our universities have institutionalized their teachings. Now, we, the Basiji students, the witnesses of the message delivered by our Imam, are responsible for addressing this major shortcoming in our universities.”
    • “Today the enemy’s efforts are geared towards distracting us from the primary issues facing us; today the issue is an epic economic crisis. It is this same enemy that works hard to shift all of our focus towards diplomatic rhetoric so that we neglect the epic sanctions they have placed on us.”
  • Isfahan Province Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig Gen. Abdolreza Aghakhani stated, “We oppose confrontations [with respect to hejab laws] in which the people are disrespected, and in this regard the LEF pursue confrontation by observing the sanctity and morality of individuals so the individuals’ respect is preserved.” 
  • IRGC Malek Ashtar area (IRGC administrative zone in Tehran) Commander Colonel Hossein Ghafarian discussed the ideology and goal of the Basij force:
    • “At the time when his holiness Imam Khomeini founded the Basiji force, he had a divine and expansive vision that is still there for us today. The Basiji forces must, through a divine and holy vision fill the void and needs of this regime and society. At every front, including the: political, military, cultural, scientific, and economic, the Basiji elements shall provide assistance to these fronts. In reality, a Basiji is someone that follows a divine path and is willing to sacrifice himself for the leadership of this regime.”
    • “The original organizers of the Basij had a comprehensive plan. In the past when someone joined the Basij, from the beginning they were involved in the: political, cultural, and military sphere of the nation. Currently there is a strong focus on the cultural and religious aspect.”
    • “Our effort is geared towards mobilizing the entire population to join the Basij. We have paid close attention to the needs and interests of the people, especially the younger population. There is a place for everyone, whether their interests are rooted in cyber technology, cultural aspects, or sports, everyone has an opportunity to join the Basij in an area of their particular interest.”

Economy

  • In conjunction with the prospect to export natural gas to the European Union, INGC officials have announced that Iran will soon operationalize the first electric natural gas compressor installation in Tabriz, which will reportedly increase natural gas export capacity from 30-35 million cubic meters to more than 40 million cubic meters per day.  

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