Iran News Round Up October 25, 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

Military and Security

  • Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Passive Defense Organization Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali spoke about the varied nature of attacks against Iran, while noting the benefits of passive defense:
    • “Passive defense is a task intended to minimize the threats on the people. We are seeing that countries are moving away from military attacks, but other threats in new forms are taking shape, changing from a military state to an economic or even cyber form.”
    • “Threats are split into natural and unnatural, and we must codify separate programs. Natural threats take shape without any specific enemy, while unnatural threats take shape with hostile motivations and the use of technology.”
    • “We are seeing that unnatural threats have a very different nature because they have technological components. For the same reason it is necessary for us to focus on these threats and be able to identify these threats. That is why the nature of passive defense is challenging.”
    • “We must be able to put forth passive defense in all fields. Passive defense is an injection of the Resistance gene into the country. Passive defense means that we use it as an element to stabilize the country.” 
    • “Iran must be powerful, immune, and stable from the inside, which is not possible without passive defense. Today, passive, with other defenses, frustrates the enemy’s capabilities and goals in these types of threats. http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/174225 ">With the design of very secure infrastructure and foundations in Fordo and the [Esfahan Uranium Conversion Facility], passive defense has been a thorn in the eye of the enemies, Israel and the US.” 

Nuclear Issue

  • Tehran Temporary Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sadighi claimed that Iran has always been transparent in its stances and relations and commented further on nuclear negotiations:
    • “The use of nuclear weapons has been forbidden and the Supreme Leader and Muslim community have explicitly, not only considered it forbidden, but we have [stated our desire] to also get rid of others’ weapons if we had the power. “
    • “Uranium enrichment is our incontrovertible right. Using nuclear energy to meet the research and lifestyle needs of its people is the right of any nation and our nation, and using nuclear weapons is prohibited to all. We have not relented and will not relent in the issue [of uranium enrichment.]”
    • “Right now all of the [IAEA’s] cameras are active in our nuclear centers and all of the visits are also under control. If it is said during the talks and negotiations that they want intrusive supervision, this is not a new request and is a sign of Iran’s strength.”
    • “If negotiations were presented, they were not from a position of passivity and weakness. The weakness is connected to them. Today, Iran is stronger than any other time, and America is weaker than any other time.” 
  • Ambassador to the IAEA Reza Najafi commented on meetings that will take place before the Geneva 2 negotiations: “Before the experts’ negotiations, Deputy for Legal and International Affairs [Abbas] Eraghchi will meet with Director General of the [IAEA] Yukiya Amano.”
  • Deputy Speaker of Parliament MP Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Hassan Abu Torabi Fard stated, “The great and aware Iranian nation will not retreat a step from its specified rights or its right in the matter of peacefully using nuclear energy that is clear to all the world.”

Economy

  • Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht and Head of the Budgetary Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission Hojjat al-Eslam Gholam Reza Mesbahi Moghaddam discussed major changes to the 2013-14 budget in a joint press conference:
    • 30% of targeted subsidy recipients will no longer qualify. Iran's total population receives subsidies; a 30% reduction would mean approximately 22 million would no longer receive subsidies.
    • Nobakht announced the establishment of 25 information bases to identify high-income earners. They will be drawn from existing government institutions, such as Law Enforcement Forces and banks. In addition, the government officially urged high-income earners to voluntarily announce themselves, because “the voluntary announcement of these families will be a great help to the government.”
    • Nobakht: “There are 3,000 civil projects, and if all projects are to receive the same money, none of them will be executed.”
      • The commission approved the administration's request to dedicate 6% of the National Expansion Fund to these projects.
      • The commission's requirement was that a maximum of 10% from sources could be cut and moved.
    • Mesbahi Moghaddam announced that $32 billion is left in the National Expansion Fund. He said, “The private sector must be revived and create jobs. Following that the government will be smaller and lighter.”
    • He said, “Based on the Supreme Leader's policies, at least 20% of oil sales must be deposited into this fund and an additional 3% must be added to it.” 
    • Mesbahi Moghaddam added that energy prices must increase, up to 37%, in lieu of increased consumption and that “Gasoline, gas oil and oil can be smuggled. This act has occurred in the country; therefore, we are forced to import them and when prices are low it will leave irreparable costs.” Increasing costs will serve as revenue for targeted subsidies and also reduce consumption and imports. 
  • National Iranian Oil Company Managing Director Rokneddin Javadi announced $1 billion per month must be allocated to expand the Southern Pars gas field, as each day of delay inflicts $100 million in costs. 
  • Head of the Iranian Statistical Center announced that the unemployment rate has reached a crisis point, where official youth unemployment is 26% and the aggregate unemployment rate is 12.2%
  • The government announced that the 1,226 toman exchange rate [below the market rate] allocated to primary goods, such as dairy products and rice, will all be eliminated, except for the rate on rice. 
  • Former Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani stated, “We currently possess more than $100 billion in exchange reserves” contradicting statements by Rouhani Administration officials

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