Iran News Round Up September 18, 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. 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

Regional Developments

  • Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA) reports that Iraqi Shi’a militant and Zolfaghar Brigade Deputy Commander Fazel Sobhi AKA “Abu Hajer” was killed in Syria in the Southern city of Dar’a by the Jordanian border. Zolfaghar Brigade member Issa Abu Nouh was also reportedly killed attempting to retrieve Sobhi’s body. One of the Seyyeda Zeinab shrine commanders “Abu Qadir” confirmed these casualties and said, “Seyyeda Zeinab shrine defenders … are also performing duties in Syria’s Shi’a areas that are targeted by the terrorists.” Abu Qadir added that their bodies will be transferred to Iran on Thursday or Friday and then sent to Najaf, Iraq, for burial.  
    • Before leaving for Syria from Iraq, Abu Hajer reportedly said, “We have formed the Abu Fadl Al-Abbas Brigade and the Zolfaghar Brigade, which are composed of Shi’a from Iraq, Syria and other countries. When clashes began in our region, we entered military operations alongside the Syrian Army to secure areas that were taken over by the rebels. Our group is responsible for protecting the Seyyeda Zeinab shrine and Shi’a areas around Damascus.”
    • ABNA had published images of Abu Hajer “on pilgrimage” in Iran on August 22, 2013.    

Military and Security

  • Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated, “I will discuss this matter [of employing individuals who participated in the 2009 post-election protest in the administration] in depth in the future.” 
  •  IRGC Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base Commander Brig. Gen. Ebadollah Abdollahi discussed IRGC economic activities and reacted to President Rouhani’s calling to IRGC earlier this week:
    •    “For two decades the Khatam ol-Anbia base has been trusted with the responsibility to implement many of the country’s large projects. In discussions on construction and the execution of large projects in the country, for example one can see the projects of Oslaviyeh, railroad and road infrastructure like the highway from the shrine in Qom to the shrine in Meshhad, and other projects in a factories and mines framework.”
    • “For example, the shrine to shrine project is a highway whose construction will have many effects in the areas of road safety and security, and will also shorten the path. Likewise, the shortening of the road will lead to a decrease in fuel consumption.”
    • “Completion of the first phase of this highway will be executed quickly, and the road between Qom and Semnan and Garmsar will be operational in the coming 2-3 months.”
    • “Today, the Khatam Base is also present in large national projects, but we do not know what [future] projects Mr. President [was referring to in his previous speech].”
    • “These meetings [with the government] have taken place in the past as well. For example we have gotten good results from negotiations with the Oil, Road and other ministries.”
    • “This matter is completely observed [not entering projects less than 100 billion toumans]. We have passed over small projects.”
    • “The Political Epic this year was formed by the people, and we are completely ready to realize the Economic Epic. We are prepared to implement large national projects oriented towards an economic boom and taking action to help the government.”
  •  IRGC Navy Commander Admiral Ali Fadavi discussed IRGC response to a potential US attack on Iran:
    • “If for whatever reason, the Americans commit an idiotic act against the Islamic Republic, then they will certainly not observe the return of American destroyers to America, rather they will witness the return of American bodies to their country.”
    • “The Americans conduct the largest training exercises to confront mines, but when we observe them closely, we see the measures they conduct are not worthy of their claim as a superpower. It is not worthy of small countries either, and it is like this in other dimensions as well.”
    • “The Americans have turned from the strategy of militarily attempting or even threatening Iran to implementing sanctions. The reason for this change of approach is that they are certain that they will not be able to get anywhere with military measures.” 
  • Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi inspected Tehran research reactors in the Atomic Energy Organization building and reacted to Supreme Leader Khamenei’s speech:
    • “These statements are so clear that no doubt remains for any wise individual. From the Supreme Leader’s outlook, not only will resistance and perseverance against the enemy and total negation of America’s rule in the world continue with certainty, but the trend of the Islamic Revolution’s continuous victories over America in the regional and global scenes will also continue.”
    • “It would be good for these individuals [who isolated the “heroic flexibility” phrase] to look at the whole context as well. If they have any desires they should also know that they cannot please themselves with such unrealistic imaginations. Even though Imam Hassan’s peace is a holy, intelligent and divine measure and we are proud of it, it is related to a time when the people let go of the velayat for lack of awareness and no commander was left to resist. [Not true] for the heroic, courageous, and aware Iranian people who are on the scene with all of their being and every Basiji youth who has the potential of a commander ready for great conquests.”
    • “Imam Khamenei only needs to say the word to see how Hezbollah youths from Iran, Iraq, Lebanon and Syria will roll the scroll of Zionism upon itself.”
    • America will take the wish of repeating Imam Hassan’s peace to the grave…. No sanction or threat can make [the Iranian people] tired or [force] them to leave the field.”
  • Hezbollah Cyber Conference will be held tomorrow in Tehran with the goal of “determining methods of defending the Resistance Axis in the cyber realm.”

Nuclear Issue

  • Head of the Iran Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi dismissed rumors of Fordow nuclear site’s closure and announced that the Iranian nuclear negotiations team’s composition has been completed. He added, “Just as I had announced earlier, we are very hopeful about the trend to resolve the nuclear matter that has begun, and we expect to observe the beginning of a trend towards leaving the nuclear matter.” 

Economy

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