Iran News Round Up October 3, 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

  • Officials reacted negatively to former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani's statements yesterday that founder Ayatollah Rouhollah Khomeini favored the removal of "death to America" slogan, calling them false:
  • Hardliner group "Absolution from Polytheists" was officially formed earlier today on a platform of opposition to negotiations with the United States, with the attendance of some Qom Seminary "cultural and political activists." Basij university students and supporters of hardline cleric Ayatollah Mohammad Taghi Mesbah Yazdi also established "The Preservation of National Interests Committee" on Sunday. The group said in a statement that after the telephone conversation between Presidents Obama and Rouhani, "It was natural for a shock to enter the children of the Revolution," and warned Rouhani against negotiating with the United States.
  • NSFP member MP Mohammad Karimi Ghodousi criticized former President Mohammad Khatami's statement earlier this week that, if left unchecked, throwing shoes at President Rouhani would lead to assassination. Ghodousi stated, "With what evidence and in what place does Mr. Khatami link shoe throwing to physical assassination? The Supreme National Security Council must request an explanation from Khatami". 
  • Ayatollah Abdollah Javadi spoke about the phone conversation between Presidents Rouhani and Obama in the presence of a number of senior ministry officials. Javadi said that “President Rouhani’s conversation with President Obama displayed Iran’s greatness.” He added that “relations between the nations must be based on honor and goals,” and that Iran “must pursue diplomatic language, wisdom, and its own goals in the international equation.” 
  • Member of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Mohsen Heidari Al Kasiri also evaluated Rouhani’s trip to New York: “Dr. Hassan Rouhani, with his presence at the UN, his speeches, and his meeting on the sidelines, presented the Islamic Revolution’s stances to the world with flexible language, which is equivalent to heroic flexibility.” He added, “It is still early to evaluate the achievements of this trip because [the West] has still not even given the slightest promise of removing sanctions.” The Ayatollah also criticized the US: “After Obama’s telephone contact with Dr. Rouhani, the Americans announced that Iran’s president had asked for the phone conversation with Obama, showing that these communications were not honest and that they have things behind the curtain.”
  • Tehran Temporary Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sadighi spoke on the various pressures facing Iran, “Having perseverance and patience in difficulties will be the cause of people reaching summits.” He elaborated, “Having patience for religious and Quranic teachings will cause peoples’ growth…  A prominent example we have seen, and are currently witnessing,  is the Artesh, IRGC, and Basij forces.” Sadighi continued, “During the Holy Defense [Iran-Iraq War] and afterwards, we have proven that with all of the attacks from the East and West, and despite the economic pressure and blockade, we have not broken. This has also been due to the warriors of the Resistance.” 
  • Political Deputy to the Council of Friday Prayer Leader Policy Hojjat al-Eslam Abu Al-Ghassem Alizadeh spoke in support of Rouhani at a meeting for Friday Prayer Leaders, “Friday prayer leaders support the wisdom of Rouhani’s government.” He added, “Dr. Rouhani’s personality and views on problem-solving are very worthy.” He concluded, “Our country's nation and government are waiting for political space to be created between the two countries of Iran and America and what changes are to be seen in the American government’s conduct. As long as no changes are seen, Iran will not retreat one bit from its stances.” 

Diplomacy

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif evaluated the UN trip as having shifted international favor towards the Islamic Republic. 
  • Iraq’s Representative to the UN Mohammad Ali al-Hakim announced that Iraq has joined the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty. He said that it was a sign of Iraq’s serious sincerity and willingness to cooperate with international institutions in removing nuclear weapons from the world. UN Secretary General Ban Ki Moon is also reported to have met with Iraqi Minister of Foreign Affairs Houshiar Zebiari and said, “the Hypocrites [Mujahedin e-Khalq] must be quickly removed from Iraq.” 
  • Iranian Ambassador to Damascus Mohammad Reza Shibani gave an interview on Syrian television and spoke to the Syrian government’s successes, “Without a doubt, Syria has been victorious. Stability for more than two years is a victory for the Syrian nation.” He added, “They have been hoping for the collapse of governing institutions in Syria for the past two or three months. However, Syrian institutions are now acting with more power than in the past. The Syrian Army is more united and integrated than in the past.” He warned, “The Syrian nation has a strong will for stability against the Zionist and American plots in the region, and each day this will becomes stronger… Foreign proposals from the Americans, Zionists and Arabs against Syria failed, and have clarified the view of victory. The agreement of the opposition to participate in talks means Syria is victorious.” 

Military and Security

  • IRGC Karaj (city near Tehran in Alborz province) unit officer Mojtaba Ahmadi was shot dead, reportedly by two men on motorcycles. According to Tasnim News, Ahmadi was an intelligence official with one of the Karaj IRGC district units. Tasnim added that, "Karaj Security and Law Enforcement officials have been busy gathering information on the motive and perpetrators of this event since this morning. Until now, they have not officially announced any information.” Some sources only referred to the victim as "M.A."; however, IRGC affiliate Afsaran.ir reported Ahmadi's full name, as well as pictures reportedly of the site of the assassination. The original Afsaran page is currently inaccessible. As reported in the October 1, 2013 Iran News Roundup, the IRGC Alborz public relations unit originally issued a statement denying that a member of the Imam Hassan Mojtaba Division (Alborz province) had been assassinated, and said that the matter was under investigation.
  • IRGC Political Deputy Col. Rasoul Sanaei Rad discussed "heroic flexibility" and negotiations with the US:
    • "The goal of heroic flexibility is holding the field not losing the field. So we must not let go of our principles for the excuse of change." 
    • "Today, the circumstances are those of the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah [Peace treaty that Muhammad signed which established a ten-year peace between Muslims and polytheists] which was eventually followed by Mecca's conquest. Today, the Islamic Republic of Iran is prepared for interaction with the world while [preserving] its strength, interactions that have been described on the basis of our country's goals and national interest."

Nuclear Issue

  • NSFP Vice-Chairman MP Mansour Haghighatpour discussed conditions under which Iran would accept to suspend 20% uranium enrichment:
    • "In the nuclear discussion, the fundamental and main matter that we will not forego is the continued enrichment to produce clean electricity and operationalize the fuel cycle with the uranium that we produce ourselves."
    • "The West must take confidence building measures first and recognize Iran's enrichment and fundamental right to enjoy nuclear rights as well as Iran's capability to secure the needs of its power and research units through enrichment. We desire enrichment for other intentions, but currently our secondary intention and goal is producing medicine. [If] they give us medicine we will suspend 20% enrichment."
    • "The West must know that Iran has currently found nuclear capability and technical knowledge. It must consider that enrichment on the basis of indigenous capability is at [Iran's] discretion."
    • "The West must take the first step toward confidence building and remove all sanctions from Iran within the next few months."

Economy

  • Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht announced that President Rouhani has approved thirty-five resolutions regarding the improvement of customs processes and the banking system as part of his campaign promise to improve the population's livelihood within 100 days. Rouhani will brief the Parliament on the details next Tuesday. 

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