Iran News Round Up September 30, 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.

Politics

  • President Hassan Rouhani has ordered Advisor and Head of the Supreme Council of Iranian Expatriate Affairs Akbar Torkan to introduce a proposal on how to establish direct flights between Iran and the United States.
  • National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary (NSFP) Commission member and former IRGC commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari discussed Iran's support of Bashar Assad:
    • “We transferred this experience [‘perseverance and resistance’] to Syria and observed a popular front taking shape in Syria. The Americans, who thought that they could wrap up Syria within two months, have been trapped in Syria for twenty-two months.”
    • Syria’s support in the Sacred Defense era [Iran-Iraq War] was when Iranian soldiers went to Syria in [1983-1984] and received missile training. They provided ammunition and equipment and now it is our turn to help them, and our help is not hidden at all.”
    • “We cannot abandon Syria in such circumstances and we must transfer our experiences to the officials and people of Syria.”
    • “When you saw that [the West] could not do anything in the scene and field of combat and were defeated, they pursued the chemical discussion and wanted to attack Syria with this excuse. These matters demonstrate the enemy’s weakness. It commits economic measures [against Iran] and the like because it cannot carry out any [military] measures.”
    • “Our interest is sometimes within the geographic confines of the Islamic Republic of Iran and sometimes within Syria.”
    • “For two and a half years, we have spiritually supported Syria, but have not provided material support. Spiritual support means that we transfer our experience and tell them, ‘Because we succeeded, if you do the same, you will succeed.’”
    • “We have stated an example, ‘Train and organize popular forces alongside the army and use them in a way that can aid you,’ which can have very excellent effects and we saw [these effects] occur. So this itself is a transfer of experience. For example, beginning  7-8 months ago [when they began to train and organize popular forces] they successively experienced their best successes.” 
  • Principlist MP Ali Motahari discussed potential relations with the United States:
    • “With an incorrect outlook towards the discussion of negotiations with America, some imagine that if a negotiation takes place, the Revolution will have reached its end, yet this is not so. From the beginning, there was no emphasis on cutting relations with America. The Americans themselves cut these relations.”
    • “We have altered our method in proportion with their change of method. We will demonstrate flexibility to the extent the Americans demonstrate flexibility. Whenever we feel that these flexibilities have no practical [basis], we will also cease. It is not for us to lose a concession in this process; we will proceed step by step and with caution.”
    • “[We] must pay attention to whether our country’s President retreated from the fundamental positions of the Revolution or not, and we know such an event did not occur.”
    • “It is no problem for us to expend flexibility where the enemy itself expends flexibility, so we can achieve the Revolution’s ideals.”
    • On the reason previous administrations did not have permission to negotiate with American officials: “The previous administration had such an approach towards its end, but this road did not open because the necessary confidence did not exist in the administration's team, those close to the president, and those who went to New York.”
    • “The Eleventh Administration has a different criteria and there are more secure, experienced, and trustworthy individuals in this administration for negotiations. In addition, the Islamic Republic of Iran did not possess its current strength in the past few years. We have had noticeable progress in the nuclear program and are in a more elevated, effective position in the region, to the extent that the Americans need us. When we compile these factors next to each other we see that an appropriate opportunity has emerged to alleviate tensions, negotiate, and create new relations.”
    • “Negotiations do not require concession, rather negotiations are a tool for us to receive concessions.”
    • “The American President has demonstrated noticeable flexibility in his recent statements and had a reconciliatory tone. We changed our tone to that extent and so far nothing special has occurred.”
    • “Whenever we feel that there is not honesty at work, Iran will change its position and without concern. Of course, some have mixed political issues with this matter and are perhaps seeking political benefits and sometimes adopt extreme position. In my opinion, things have progressed in a reasonable form.”
    • “The President is the people’s choice and, in his own words, has much discretion.”
    • “It is not that the President must seek permission in every issue. This is sort of an insult to the President that he must request permission for any measure.”
    • “When the Supreme Leader introduced the heroic flexibility discussion, this was a permission in itself, meaning he has opened the road and there is no longer a need for Rouhani to seek permission for every single detail.” 
  • Following President Rouhani’s arrival in Tehran this past Saturday, a group of “extremist elements” protested his telephone conversation with President Barack Obama and reportedly threw eggs and a shoe at him. Asr-e Iran identified Mohammad Sadegh Shahbazi, campaign coordinator to 2013 presidential candidate Said Jalili, as a protestor and linked the group to the February 10 protest against Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani, an event “seriously criticized by the Supreme Leader.” 
  • Al-Mostafa Society Scientific Committee member Hojjat al-Eslam Mohseni Qorouyan and NSFP Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi praised President Rouhani’s UN speech and telephone conversation with President Obama as demonstrative of “Iran’s position of strength.” 

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

Military and Security

  • IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari praised President Rouhani’s UN speech last week but stated, “Telephone conversations with Obama should have been postponed until after America showed practical measures.” 
    • “Mr. Rouhani and the accompanying delegation on this trip showed, praise be to God, that they stood on the fundamentals and moved in the path of the Islamic Revolution and the policies and frameworks of the military and Supreme Leader.”
    • “With respect to Iran’s positions and speeches in the 68th meeting of the UN, [Iran] showed its good intentions, and it is now America’s turn to take its own practical trust-building steps as an example to prove the veracity of its own [good intentions].”
    • Asked what practical steps he would like to see: “The complete lifting of sanctions on Iran, freeing its assets, desisting in its unfriendliness and plots against the people of Iran, allowing Iran’s nuclear program,  and not putting obstacles in the path are the things that America should undertake. The nation of Iran is awaiting some action from the US.”
  • Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan addressed the First National New Scientific, Active Medical, Hygienic, and Treatment in Combat Systems Conference and said, “The Armed Forces take steps towards increasing their defensive power and future-oriented outlook, and strategic studies are their light…. Combat services must change and upgrade with attention to change of combat circumstances.”
  • IRGC Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Haji Zadeh discussed potential relations with the US and the recently unveiled Shahed 129 combat drone:
  • Former Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Heydar Moslehi warned against negotiations with the United States and stated, “The assessment of America’s behavior in the past thirty-five years demonstrates that even if America opens its arms to Iran, its goal from this is to slap the Islamic system.”
  • Head of the Supreme Leader’s Military Office Brig. Gen. Mohammad Shirazi visited the Imam Ali IRGC naval base near the shores of the Gulf of Oman to speak with soldiers stationed in the area. He praised the soldiers for their defense readiness, saying, “Without a doubt, moment by moment, these efforts and struggles thank and please God, the happy heart of the [12th Imam], and the Supreme Leader. It is in the light of these struggles that the power of resistance has been achieved in different areas and that we have become very close to stable security conditions.”
  • Deputy IRGC Commander Hossein Salami spoke at the second Security in the Armed Forces Conference and announced the formation of an IRGC Security Directorate to be headed by Brig. Gen. 2C Hamid Khodadi. Salami also addressed the role of individuals in security and the Armed Forces’ improvements in the field.
    • “Security is a human subject, and for this reason it is considered the most important element of command and management.”
    • “Command in the Armed Forces is not just a department, ruling, or command, though of course these are a part of the character and nature of command. Command is a general responsibility, group undertaking, and serious mission.”
    • “Security must be the continuous and uninterrupted focus and worry for commanders in the Armed Forces. In this way, the decrease of salient, tangible, and tolerable events, occurrences, casualties, and institutional waste will be taken head on.”
    • “We cannot attribute any event to chance, accident, unknown powers, or the will of God, since nowhere does God want disaster to enter the lives of his people. We attribute anything to the will of God, except where we disregard our duties.”
    • “To gain security we needed to identify the roots and backgrounds of events. In the investigation of events of past years and their analysis, we found that nothing has been involved to the same extent in shaping events as human factors.”
    • “In the same way, we have found that the armed forces are a pivotal protector of security needs, and logical and systemic supervision, thought, and planning must take shape here. Thus, since the time that security operations and assistance have taken shape in the IRGC, we have witnessed a decrease in the rate of salient events.”
    • “We must use culture-building equipment in order to make the people and our equipment one whole in order to prevent accidents and dangers.” 
  • Head of the IRGC Center for Strategic Studies Brig. Gen. Ali Akbar Ahmadian spoke at the IRGC-hosted second Security of the Armed Forces Conference, speaking on the IRGC’s principle of strategic confidentiality: “When a threat is undisclosed, these safeguarding measures play 70% of the role. Surprising the enemy is a principle that also took shape in the 33-Day War. Thus, hiding our desires from the eye of the enemy is an element of surprise in the unfortunate case that sometimes we announce our desires in interviews. It is natural that the enemy thinks on how to counter our thoughts… If the enemy sees that his thoughts are being observed, and that a good counter-strategy has formed, this is a deterrence measure and blocks the ideas of the enemy.” 

Nuclear Issue

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the Holocaust, discussed nuclear negotiations and also  protests against President Rouhani:
  • NSFP Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi reacted to Secretary John Kerry’s recent statements about the Fordo nuclear site:
    • “In current circumstances, the Parliament does not consent to accepting the additional protocols [that Secretary John Kerry requested regarding the Fordo nuclear site]…. John Kerry must know that decision making about this matter is with the Parliament. Until the time that America’s oppressive and irrational policies continue, the Parliament will not consent to the additional protocols because representatives are sensitive regarding the perseverance of national rights.”
    • “Fordo is under supervision, and the work the Islamic Republic of Iran conducts there is completely under [IAEA] supervision.”
    • The necessity of this work [for Iran to suspend higher percent enrichment] and its percentage are determined by the Islamic Republic of Iran, not John Kerry.” 
  • NSFP Commission member Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari reported that ten NSFP Commission members inspected the Fordo nuclear site this past weekend “after rumors about the activities of this important site.” He added that centrifuges have been “completely installed” and that 20% enrichment takes place at this site. 

Economy

Photo of the Day

  • Supporters and protesters of President Hassan Rouhani’s telephone conversation with President Barack Obama attend Rouhani’s arrival in Tehran on Saturday.