Iran News Round Up September 6, 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.
- Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami warned President Hassan Rouhani’s administration against including “leaders of sedition” and reacted to U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry’s statements on the August 21 chemical weapons attack in Syria:
- “Choosing colleagues who were  sedition leaders is not compatible with the slogan of moderation.”
- “[The U.S. Secretary of State's] big lie was denying al-Qaeda’s presence among terrorists in Syria. Who has not seen their crimes and does not know that al-Qaeda executes America’s orders?”
- “The American government and humanity are two opposite poles, because their lives are associated with savagery.”
- “If we want to ignore religion, we must [ask] what need does a government have to launch a chemical attack when its army has forced the opposition to retreat.”
- “This is America’s accusation, because when Saddam killed 5,000 in Halabcheh with chemical weapons, America [did not say anything].”
- “America is seeking an excuse and has created a lie in order to attack Syria, though the Syrian people are prepared.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member and IRGC Brig. Gen. MP Mohammad Esmail Kowsari reacted to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee's vote to authorize a strike on Syria:
- “That a country’s congress votes to attack Syria along with a number of greedy countries is illegal, and we must see what role the United Nations will perform in this.”
- “Such an answer from the U.S. Congress demonstrates that [they are acting unilaterally], and the United Nations must think for itself.”
- “The Syrian Army has demonstrated that it can easily confront any attack and invasion and has no problems. They have shown that they can be victorious.”
- “Global Arrogance [the West] with America at its center seek to preserve Israel, and sell-out regional countries like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and Kuwait because these countries support America’s conspiracies.”
- “These countries have announced that they will pay the cost of America’s attack against Syria, and this act proves that such countries are sell-outs and will show no mercy to Muslim countries such as Syria.”
- “Imam Khomeini deemed the next century as the century of Islam. It is this Islam that takes superpowers into the dirt of abjection. It is from this that Global Arrogance has become afraid of the spread of the culture of self-sacrifice and martyrdom and seeks to prevent the Islamic Awakening with all possible instruments.”
- Interim Isfahan Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Mirdamadi discussed the potential U.S. strike on Syria:
- “If you are intent upon attacking Syria by relying on some Saudi and Qatari Sheikhs, be certain that Islamic countries and Iran will not be silent and will give a strong answer.”
- “America and Israel designed the greater Middle East plan before the [1979 Islamic] revolution and even set time tables. Based on this plan, Iran is also not safe, but the enemies are gravely mistaken. Be certain that the nation is resistant, relies upon God’s infinite power and has stood in the path of its religious, ethical and moral ideals and will drive America and Israel into the dirt of abjection.”
- “They give Saudi-constructed chemical weapons to the terrorists, and then say that the Syrian government used chemical weapons against its people and [that it] must be punished.”
- “If you want Israel’s death and obliteration, enter the Syrian crisis.”
- Head of the Islamic Motalefeh party's International Center Hamid Reza Taraghi discussed Syria:
- “America’s loneliness in its decision making and lack of cooperation from various countries and governments [on this issue] will cause harm to the U.S..”
- “America seeks to target various points of this country’s army, but Syria’s strategy in this field is [launching] aerial and missile attacks towards American and Israeli positions, and will certainly include various points in the Mediterranean and Saudi Arabia. This will cause the war to expand and another strike against America.”
- “Naturally, if American destroyers are harmed in this war, it will lose its international prestige against a government and country like Syria. But even if Syria is defeated in this war, it will have harmed a global power and will pay fewer costs against America’s higher damages.”
- “Certainly, attacking Syria will seriously harm Israel, and the Haifa and Tel Aviv areas [whose damages] will not be repairable for the Zionists.”
- The conservative Resalat newspaper alleged that a “certain current” within the administration is attempting to show the country’s economic situation as “critical” and that some want to use these “blackenings to fill the poison chalice [Referring to Ayatollah Ruhollah’s Khomeini’s statement after reluctantly signing the end of the Iran-Iraq War treaty] in the matter of sanctions.”
- An editorial on Shargh Daily discusses concerns within the Islamic Republic regarding Bashar Assad’s excessive use of force:
- An audio tape of Expediency Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani surfaced earlier this week, in which he allegedly stated that the Syrian government used chemical weapons. While he officially denies this, the tape has caused controversy in Iran, compelling 170 MPs to sign a letter indirectly criticizing Rafsanjani.
- Principlist MP Ali Motahari stated, “[I]t is possible that he has information, news and documents that he [he used to] reach the conclusion that the Syrian government [executed] a chemical attack. If this is the case, he wants to say that Iran and the Islamic Revolution should not invest more than the limit and wants to prevent this matter. Perhaps he has such a goal; these must be clarified.”
- The editorial then reads, “The Assad government must think more about reforms and, ultimately, a small mention to some mistakes that were committed in those early days by the Assad administration in confronting the people [that] were never moderated.... If we accept Ali Motahari’s statements regarding the validity of Hashemi Rafsanjani’s statement, perhaps it is necessary for him to meet unofficially with members of Parliament to the state concerns that have brought [Rafsanjani] toward this [conclusion]; that is, concerns about Iran’s positions in Syria….”
- MP Ahmad Tavakoli also reacted to Rafsanjani’s statements and said, “Mr. Hashemi’s position is an egregious mistake with respect to national security. It is necessary for him to personally and strongly deny his statements as soon as possible.”
- An official announced that former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s private university proposal is awaiting approval by the Supreme Revolutionary CulturalCouncil, and that it is scheduled to be constructed in Tehran.
- Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA) reports that 10,000 Lebanese Hezbollah forces are present in Damascus “to prevent the fall of Assad’s system.”
- ABNA reported that Ibrahim Mahi al-Din, son of a senior Bahraini official, is the “sixth Bahraini terrorist who joined Jubhat al-Nusrah and was killed fighting against Bashar Assad’s system in Syria.”
- Iranian media have published a photograph of a member of the “al-Farouq brigades," reportedly linked to the Free Syrian Army (FSA), that shows a picture of Saddam Hussein on a vehicle alongside the FSA’s logo.
- An editorial in As-re Iran reacted to yesterday’s breaking news that IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. reportedly ordered Iraqi Shi’a militants to attack American interests in Iraq should the United States strike Syria. It reads in part, “On this basis, it seems that the goal of publishing such claims in American media is creating the groundwork for a justification to attack Syria, more than anything as an attempt to harm Iran. [This is] a point that American officials have pointed out many times these past few days and have linked the decision to attack Syria with the Iranian nuclear program.”
- President Rouhani is scheduled to travel to New York City on September 22 for six days to address the 66th United Nations General Assembly.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif affirmed that U.S. President Barak Obama has sent a letter to President Rouhani and added, “We must reach a point in which the world cannot violate the Iranian people’s rights with pressure and sanctions. From the other side, we have no fear that the world believes our policies in the nuclear arena are anything other than purely peaceful…. [W]e hope that by pursuing constructive negotiations [these sanctions will be lifted].”
- Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Qazanfar Rokn Abadi met with his Lebanese counterpart Adnan Mansour and conveyed Minister Zarif’s message regarding regional developments.
- Iran-Turkmenistan negotiations for the exchange of goods for natural gas and building a pipeline to transport Turkmenistan’s natural gas to Turkey and Europe have begun. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh and Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani will meet with senior Turkmen officials as Iranian representatives.
Military and Security
- Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi discussed chemical weapons in Syria:
- “Syrian takfiris and protestors are seeking Syria’s destruction with Zionist support.”
- “There is no opinion among the Islamic Republic of Iran's people and government other than support for [Bashar Assad].”
- “It is clear who provided chemical weapons to Saddam to use against the Iranian nation and Iraqi people in Halabcheh, and Americans’ use of these weapons in Vietnam is infamous.”
- “Why must a government that has acted successfully and is victorious in the field harm itself by using such weapons. It is completely clear that this was not the Syrian government’s doing.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi said, “Individuals who introduce negotiations with America are beating the drum of abasement…. If a nation seeks to be independent, America will confront it.”
- Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Abdollah Haj Sadeghi stated, “The clergy must have a strategic role for becoming a model in the velayat system.”
- Agricultural Jihad Deputy Minister Naser Tavakoli announced that weekly meetings will take place between the administration and private sector to improve agricultural mechanization and that agricultural products will be imported with a dollar currency rate lower than the market rate.
- The Oil Ministry will fund the next monthly targeted subsidies payment into Iranian citizens’ account. Oil Minister Zanganeh also announced the establishment of “a supporting structure in the National Iranian Oil Company International Management [Department] so we can use it as a strategic headquarters to make use of all capacities from previous years in oil sales, new markets, tankers and transportation.”
Photo of the Day
- Senior Military Adviser to the Supreme Leader and former IRGC Commander Maj. Gen Yahya Rahim Safavi.