Iran News Round Up September 26, 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 Lisnewich. 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 Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei released a statement today on Martyrs and Self-Sacrificers Commemoration Day. It reads in part, “With the sacrifice of martyrs, the patience and perseverance of the veterans, and the honor of their families, the Iranian nation was able to reach the peaks of greatness.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member and former IRGC commander Safar Naeimi Zar expressed optimism that Iran and the United States can establish relations within “a framework of Iranian national interest …. if they can control their excited political behaviors.” He then said “radical groups” exist within the two countries “whose interests can be threatened” by improved Tehran-Washington relations.
- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani talked about President Rouhani’s visit to the UN: “Through its honest relations, rational approach, and responsibility, Iran showed that it is looking for accountability and the creation of security and psychological peace.” He also talked about future relations with America: “In the past, [Americans] looked to overthrow the regime but were unsuccessful; however, they must say why they have taken their foot out of this valley, unless the Iranian people have some sin other than exiling a dictator…. We must witness changes in their actions.”
- President Rouhani met with Secretary General of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation Ekmeleddin Ihsanoglu in New York and said that Iran would be more willing to cooperate with the organization in fields such as education, science, technology, and trade. The secretary said that “if trade among members reaches a few trillion dollars, member countries will become richer and more independent,” and that “Cooperation of other member countries, especially Iran, is growing day by day.”
Diplomacy and Regional Developments
- President Hassan Rouhani met with European Council President Herman Van Rompuy and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton. Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will hold another meeting with Ashton tonight.
- President Rouhani addressed the United Nations General Assembly to discuss nuclear weapons disarmament:
- “I want to acknowledge the fundamental role of nuclear weapons-free regions in the way of nuclear disarmament and international peace and security. I consider it necessary to praise the determinant role of non-nuclear countries, especially the Non-Alignment Movement member states, who comprise the vast majority of this region.”
- “On behalf of the Non-Alignment Movement, I urge all nuclear countries to ratify a joint protocol to all related treaties related to creating this region, abrogate any delays or interpretive announcements that are in conflict with their intent, and respect the non-nuclear situation of these regions.”
- “I insistently urge all nuclear governments to sign, speedily and without delay, the protocol and related documents related to the logical agreement of a Southwestern Asia free of nuclear weapons.”
- “Unfortunately, four decades of international attempts to create an area free of nuclear weapons in the region have been faced with failure. In this path, adopting practical, pressing steps to create such a region is necessary.”
- “As the only non-member of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) in this region, Israel must join this agreement without delay so all nuclear activities in the region will be placed under the safeguards of the International Atomic Energy Agency.”
- “The international community must redouble attempts to support the formation of this region whose creation will have an important [role] in fulfilling nuclear disarmament.”
- “In this path, I affirm that governments that have not signed the NPT request a conference to be held immediately in order to create a region free of nuclear weapons and other weapons of mass destruction in the Middle East with the participation of all countries in this region, so any unforeseen outcomes in this path can be prevented.”
- President Rouhani also met with Iraqi Vice President Khodair al-Khozaei on the sidelines of the UNGA and spoke about the countries’ developing relationship, as well as regional violence.
- “We see two great, brotherly nations who always have an interest in securing their shared interests.”
- “Without a doubt, there are many capacities in which to grow our relations, including in the cultural, political, economic, touristic, and pilgrimage arenas.”
- “We are very sorry that the people of [Iraq] also suffer from terrorist actions.”
- “If the crisis in Syria is not resolved, it is possible that its scope will spread to other countries in the region.”
- Khozaei responded: “We are very happy and pleased that a wise, thoughtful, and logical person was elected President of Iran by the people of that country…We seek relations with the government and nation of Iran in all areas.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed Iran-US relations and nuclear negotiations:
- “[Today’s session] is a substantive meeting at the level of Foreign Ministers. This session is to demonstrate the Islamic Republic of Iran’s political will that can progress the nuclear issue, the Iranian people’s will and international rights.”
- “These two-stage measures can create confidence from our perspective by agreed-upon steps with mutual goals while also reaching results in a defined time.”
- “[W]e hope that the next round of negotiations in mid-October will continue with this shape and outlook.”
- “This meeting [between Presidents Obama and Rouhani] could have taken place if the necessary preparation and coordination were provided. The President has no fundamental problem with the meeting and he has always said that he will pursue what is in the national interest and advancement of Iran’s ideals.”
- “We did not seek theatrical works. The American government announced readiness to hold this meeting the day before the [General Assembly] and there was no sufficient opportunity for the necessary cooperation to be provided so we know this is not a theatrical move.”
- Regarding President Obama’s UN speech: “We have disagreements regarding some outlooks that were stated. But more moderate statements were introduced from Obama than before, and if statements are in the path of alleviating the Iranian people’s concerns, having more than one meeting can help resolve these issues.”
- “There are indicators that John Kerry is inclined [to advance the nuclear matter in Iran’s interest].”
- Foreign Minister Zarif met with his counterparts from Poland, New Zealand, Singapore, and Belarus to discuss expansion of economic and trade cooperation. These ministers reportedly welcomed Iran’s new approach. The Singapore Speaker of Parliament has announced that he will visit Tehran. Belarusian Foreign Minister Vladimir Makei stated, “We consider Iran a key partner in the region,” and Zarif also emphasized Iran-Belarus relations.
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Middle East and North African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian welcomed President Obama’s UN speech and said, “The determining factor will be the practical steps that the United States of America takes regarding Iran.”
- Senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi announced that the Islamic Republic is financing the religious seminaries of “nine Islamic countries.”
Military and Security
- IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani addressed the Kerman province Sacred Defense Martyrs Conference and reacted to President Barack Obama’s UN speech:
- “Obama states ‘we are not seeking to overthrow the Islamic Republic of Iran’ because they are unable to overthrow it.”
- “All of America’s attempts to this day have been to overthrow the Islamic Republic.”
- Addressing the US: “The important side of your attempts to this day have been confronting the Islamic Republic. Your statement that ‘we are not seeking the Islamic Republic system’s overthrow’ is not a statement of kindness, but rather an announcement of incapability. You have been, and will remain unable to be, successful in overthrowing the Republic's system.”
- “In the past thirty-five years, America has conducted the most dishonorable and worst measures against the Islamic Republic system, and this record will remain in the nation’s memory.... You even set restrictions for medicine purchases by the Iranian nation.”
- “That you say ‘we are not thinking to overthrow the system’ is acceptable when the effect of Obama’s statement is erased from American policy.”
- Deputy Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid issued a statement urging Iranian officials “to imagine that we are on the brink of a potential war. It has been ten years that they have beaten the drums of war against us. We must imagine the possibility of its occurrence for ourselves and always possess deterrence capabilities.”
- Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan and Iraqi Defense Minister Sadoun al-Dalimi signed the Iran-Iraq Defense Cooperation Agreement today. The two sides emphasized the expansion of defense cooperation as a “catalyst in expanding and strengthening peace and stability in the region” and the Iraqi Army’s strength.
- IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour met with Iraqi Army Ground Forces Command Lt. Gen. Ali Ghaidan Majid on the sidelines of the defense ministers’ meeting. The two emphasized increased cooperation in training, counter-terrorism, and border security.
- Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam addressed the Circle of Intimacy with Jihad and Martyrdom Veterans and discussed the UN and relations with the United States:
- “America, whose president does not consider any other countries’ heads of state as his equal, is trying very hard to establish the groundwork to shake Mr. Rouhani’s hand. Iran was the start of the General Assembly, and today America needs our negotiations. This matter is no small greatness and demonstrates Iran’s position of power.”
- “What is important is that our goals and ideals will never change, even though it is possible for tactics to change.”
- Cinema industry members met with LEF Chief Brig. Gen. Ahmadi Moghaddam and conveyed their criticisms:
- Director Habibollah Kaseh Saz: “In the past few years, the relation between LEF and the cinema industry has become tighter and can transfer social issues to society via movies and television series…. There is a red line in expressing social issues.”
- Farhad Tohidi: “Unfortunately, there has been a closed and security-oriented outlook in the past decade that has caused social cinema to reach a dead end; social cinema is the product of cinema industry members’ interactions with social issues. If we want to have this type of cinema, we cannot consider any matter as a red line…. No country has seen detriments from constructive criticism and realistic outlooks. Exhilaration and development must return to social cinema.”
- Actor Mohammad Reza Sharifi Nia: “Cinema industry members are the LEF's cultural arm to resolve issues and problems.”
- Brig. Gen. Ahmadi Moghaddam: “Holding these types of meetings, even if they have no results, demonstrate that the LEF welcomes cinema industry members, and they know that there is an ear to hear their statements and that events have occurred in this arena with creative changes in outlook.”
- “We are moving toward these stages, and the society-centered policy possesses power and soft attractions.”
- “The Supreme Leader’s opinion is intelligent and combined use of these two powers [soft and hard]; in case, we will excellently execute our duty.”
- Foreign Ministers from Iran and the UN Security Council will meet today regarding nuclear issues and they will meet once again in October in Geneva to continue negotiations.
- President Hassan Rouhani discussed the nuclear negotiations timeline and said, “The shorter this time line is, the more beneficial it is for everyone. Iran believes that this timeline is three months. If it is six months it will be appropriate too. This matter will be resolved within a few months, not a few years.”
- Deputy of Legal and International Affairs of the Foreign Ministry and member of Iran’s nuclear negotiations team Abbas Eraghchi spoke on the future of Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1, as well as the country’s goals for the process:
- “With these negotiations, a new period of negotiations begins between Iran and the P5+1. This is the first time that the Foreign Ministry has held a joint meeting with the six countries and Iran.”
- “The first stage is arriving at a framework of understanding with a perspective on the negotiations and the presentation of the final goal. The first way to a goal is arriving on a shared path with the P5+1, knowing where we will be going and what steps we will be taking.”
- “Today’s meeting with the P5+1 is not a theatrical and symbolic session. We are certainly seeking a new round of substantive negotiations.”
- “Of course this is difficult work. Arriving at an understanding and framework of shared thought and designing the steps is a very difficult and complex job.”
- “We are entering the negotiations with a completely cooperative and professional spirit. We will put past details to the side and enter the contents of the negotiations.”
- “Our expectations [on the negotiations’ length] must be limited, reasonable, and rational. We neither expect to arrive it results in one night, nor are we looking for negotiations to last years. However, we hope that we can arrive at a result within a reasonable time period."
- The Tehran Stock Exchange is continuing its growth in the face of positive political developments and has increased by 4% in the past week and 67% since March.
- Urban Development and Roads Minister Abbas Akhoundi stated, “The country’s public environment is improving, and through it, investments and inclinations of various shipping companies to come to Iran will increase.”
- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani met with Qom’s Director of Inspection and said that “We must provide security in areas of investment in order to grow investments in the areas of manufacturing, services, and production.” He added, “Actions must take shape to protect investors’ sentiments. This discussion in the industrial field is more necessary than in the past, and we must have the necessary regulations.”
Photo of the Day
- President Hassan Rouhani discusses nuclear disarmament at the United Nations General Assembly.