Iran News Round Up - August 15, 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
- President Hassan Rouhani defended his cabinet appointments, praising them for their bipartisanship. He also criticized the Parliament’s “tone” during debates but said that he recognized all criticisms.
- Defending Abbas Ahmad Akhoundi for Minister of Roads, Housing and Urban Construction: “He had the courage to say in the presence of the Supreme Leader during sensitive years that not only no cheating has taken place in the election but that there is no possibility to cheat in Iranian elections. I congratulate him for expressing his belief; he is one of the individuals who will be committed to the system, [Supreme Leader] and the velayat-e faqih.”
- During the pre-vote Parliamentary debates of Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet appointments, there has been heavy opposition to Rouhani’s Oil Minister nominee Bijan Zanganeh, who was Oil Minister during Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani’s administration. The opposition, consisting of Principlists, alleges rampant corruption, rent-seeking and “shameful oil agreements” during Zanganeh’s Ministry. MP Ali Reza Zakani criticized all oil agreements during Zanganeh’s tenure and stated, “[R]ecorded statements of Mr. Zanganeh exist, and if you are inclined, I will put on the recording so you can observe what was his saying ‘yes’ was about.” Zanganeh's supporters defended his record and expertise.
- Addressing the Parliament, Zanganeh said, “The massive importance of oil in the country has caused the enemies of the Islamic Republic system to [emphasize] oil industry imposed sanctions, and from this, oil is the main target of our enemies’ dishonorable sanctions.” His immediate priorities in the oil industry:
- Bringing oil production capacity to 2005 levels [4 million barrels per day] from current levels [2.56 million barrels per day].
- Utilizing “oil diplomacy to overcome current conditions”
- “Southern Paris field phases must be completed as soon as possible…”
- “Completing gasoline [refinery] design and completing the stage-to-stage Bandar-e Abbas refinery will be my most important priorities.”
- "Reforming agreements so that we can have more capital for expanding domestic and joint fields…”
- He added, “Today, oil seriously needs investment and strengthening professional management to attract investment…”
- Several Oil executives and specialists announced that their signatures were forged in statements supporting Zanganeh and urged the Judiciary to investigate.
- Rouhani’s proposed Energy Minister Hamid Reza Chit Chian announced that Iran has reached a water shortage crisis.
- Some MPs criticized and others expressed support for Rouhani’s proposed Minister of Intelligence Mohammad Alavi. MP Bahram Biranvand criticized the proposal to establish a Presidential Political Security Directorate and MP Hamid Rasaei criticized Alavi’s lack of direct Intelligence Ministry experience. His supporters defended his record and integrity. When he addressed the Parliament, Alavi laid out his priorities:
- “Attempting to increase public trust toward the minister; Lack of interference in the private space of individuals; Not making the country’s environment a security environment and activating hidden diplomacy.”
- “Maintaining the place and role of the Ministry of Intelligence's authority within the ray of the Supreme Leader’s guidance; maintaining the independence of the ministry and preventing political currents from affecting it; abiding by religious and legal laws and ethical values; maintaining personnel; codifying a professional ethics manual; utilizing cutting edge technology; and creating hope among employees by attending to their spiritual and material needs.”
- He added, "The Ministry will not be a tool to settle political disputes.”
- In a televised interview, Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary Hassan Nasrallah stated, “[Former U.S. Vice-President] Dick Cheney sent us a grand proposal via a Lebanese-American individual. He said that America can internationally recognize Hezbollah, [allow] weapons to remain in the hands of this party and take this party off the terror list, but only upon the condition that Hezbollah guarantees [no more interference in Palestinian issues], but we rejected these proposals.”
- Iraqi Prime Minister Nouri al-Maleki reported the arrest of more than 800 terrorists in Iraq within the past few days. He also urged Arab countries to begin a new chapter in relations with Iraq.
- Ahlul Bayt News Agency (ABNA) reports widespread Bahraini government attacks against various villages in the countryside.
- Covering the Syrian crisis, ABNA reports that the Syrian Army is advancing in the mountainous Lazeqiyeh region in the northwest by the Turkish border. The report added, “Intercepted rebel communications indicate that individuals from various nationalities are fighting the Syrian people.”
- The President’s Media Advisor Mohammad Reza Sadegh announced that Rouhani will travel to New York after establishing his administration.
- Rouhani’s proposed Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Reza Zarif said that he would defend “the nation’s rights” regarding the nuclear program and would reduce tensions by “expanding the circle of friendship in the world.” He added, “If I was able to create division among American warmongers, it is my pride.”
Military and Security
- Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei defended Rouhani’s proposed Ministers of Defense and Intelligence and said that they will expand Iran's “intelligence superiority and defensive capabilities.”
- Kish Province Law Enforcement Forces released a warning about the internet, claiming that “going to unethical websites is like a virus whose resistance against anti-viruses increases every year.”
- Rouhani’s proposed Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan emphasized that he would enhance the defensive capabilities of the Armed Forces to “confront any devious measures.”
- Earlier, various media outlets reported that outgoing Minister of Foreign Affairs Ali Akbar Salehi has denied rumors of his appointment to Iran's Atomic Energy Organization. Tasnim News Agency reports that Rouhani appointed him to the post after Salehi met with Rouhani’s advisor Mohammad Reza Sadegh earlier today.
- According to Alef, investors in Iran's housing market have made 70-150% profit in the past two years. The housing market has reportedly stabilized and “7% of the bubble has been eliminated with 13% left,” citing measures that legalized the buying and selling of residential units without requirement to acquire government approval of ownership last week.
- Outgoing Oil Minister Rostam Ghassemi stated that the country is under “total sanctions and working in these circumstances has its own special features." He added that several phases are almost completed.
Photo of the Day
- Azadi Square, Tehran.