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.
- Supreme National Security Council Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani is scheduled to address Parliament next week.
- At today’s cabinet meeting, President Hassan Rouhani emphasized the “sensitivity of chastity and hejab ethical and social matters” and the necessity of respecting them, but also requested the Law Enforcement Forces to enforce the law “with an ethical approach, the observation of human dignity, and distance from any extremism.” He then issued orders to the Minister of the Interior and the cabinet’s Cultural Commission to pursue and introduce the issue in the Social and Supreme Revolutionary Cultural councils, respectively.
- Communication and Information Technology Minister Mahmoud Vaezi announced that President Rouhani will propose a new Supreme Cyber Space Council Secretary.
- Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani reacted to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei’s speech yesterday, in which he advocated “heroic flexibility” and diplomacy:
- “Just as the Supreme Leader pointed out during the [IRGC] commanders meeting, our country’s officials and policy makers must pay attention to America’s true personality, behavior and nature.”
- “Negotiations must take place in the framework of a complete and total understanding of the opposing side, and we must not forget America’s tricks and deception. We must not forget how they supported this current in the  sedition matter [Green Movement] and were determined to confront the great Iranian nation in their velvet reserves [referring to Velvet Revolution] with their cast iron and steel claws.”
- Parliament Executive Council member MP Mohammad Dehghan also reacted to the Supreme Leader’s speech and said, “Imam Khomeini emphasized years ago that peace between Islam and kufr [non-belief] has no meaning. But alongside this fixed principle, any time the country’s interests are considered, one can adopt tactics proportional with national interests and based on that fixed principle.”
- MP Laleh Eftekhari stated, “The ‘heroic flexibility’ phrase means that there are no dead ends in the Islamic Republic of Iran’s system, and, with attention to present laws and capacities, [we] can negotiate with opposing sides to achieve goals …. The ‘heroic flexibility’ phrase shows that Iran is ready to interact with the world while maintaining its current strength. It must always be considered that within heroic flexibility, we must not back down from our national interests or the nuclear program and forego the nation’s rights.”
- Iranian media continues reacting to Supreme Leader Khamenei’s speech. An editorial on Asr-e Iran writes, “In Islamic culture and teaching, war and peace do not have intrinsic value alone, rather proper use of these two criteria in preserving Islam and society’s interests has intrinsic value…. Each one in its specific circumstance is a model to preserve national interests…. Today, [we] can even negotiate and compromise with America if Islamic society national values make it necessary …. From the Battle of Hunayn to the Treaty of Hudaybiyyah and from [Third Shi’a Imam] Hossein’s rebellion to [Second Shi’a Imam] Hassan’s peace, all are full of lessons that open the hand of the Islamic society’s leader to elect the best choice to preserve societal value in the best possible form.”
- Supreme Leader Khamenei appointed former Ahmadinejad Administration official and Head of Rouhani’s Headquarters Clerical Campaign Committee Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Ali Shahidi Mahalati as Representative of the Supreme Leader to the Martyr and Self-Sacrificers Foundation. Mahlati was appointed foundation chairman earlier.
- 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.”
- 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.”
- The Tehran Stock Exchange has increased by 1.19% following positive political and currency news and depreciation of the dollar and gold in the market.
- Shiraz Oil Refinery Company Managing Director Abdolrahim Shameseddini announced that Parsian Oil and Gas Company will secure 70% of the direct investment needed to establish the new Pars refinery in Shiraz.
- Industries, Mining and Trade Deputy Minister Hamid Safdel announced that export restrictions have been significantly reduced and producers can begin exporting certain products after a period of six months. They include dairy product, chicken, eggs, rice, bread and commodity products such as steel sheets.
Photo of the Day
- Ceremony of the Birth of Eighth Shi’a Imam Reza at his shrine in Mashhad.