Iran News Round Up - August 5, 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 Mary Ella Simmons. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • President Hassan Rouhani presented his administration’s agenda to Speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani. It reads in part:
    • “Moderation will be the defining behavior of the President, officials and also the policies and structural measures of the administration.”
    • “The Eleventh Administration is committed to realism [in order to] fulfill ideals.”
    • “Respecting property rights [and citizens' rights] will be one of the most important components of citizen rights in the Eleventh administration.”
    • “[T]oday is the time for balanced, complete progress. Expansion with a comprehensive outlook will be the administration’s [priority]...."
    • “We believe that the country’s current condition is inappropriate for the competence of the Iranian nation and consider ourselves committed to strengthening quality of life in all dimensions for Iranians.”
    • “The Eleventh Administration is determined to confront the reasons and circumstances for the emergence of corruption by using scientific methods, experience and knowledge far, from chaos and slogan-based approaches.”
    • “Constructive relations with the world based on strength, wisdom, and expediency have always been affirmed by the system of the Islamic Republic, and the Supreme Leader reaffirmed this truth in a meeting with officials on [July 20, 2013].”
      • The administration has also committed itself to confronting “terrorism, extremism and the prevention of weapons of mass destruction proliferation."
      • Trade and integration within the global economy are also emphasized.
      • Rouhani plans to participate in regional defensive cooperation as well.
    • Economic strategies include:
      • Improving the people’s living conditions, reducing inflation and increase families’ purchasing power parity
      • Creating stable jobs and overcoming unemployment
      • Reducing poverty and expanding economic justice
      • Creating stability in various markets
      • Constructive relations with the global economy
      • Strengthening domestic economic institutions (economic resistance) and reducing vulnerability to foreign shocks
      • “Strengthening, spreading and deepening Islam’s ethics and teachings in social relations.”
    • “[Measures] to improve gender injustice in all fields is [one of the Administration’s] responsibilities.” 
  • In his inaugural address to Parliament yesterday, President Rouhani stated, “The only way to have relations with Iran is from a position of equality and mutual trust building, mutual respect and reducing hostilities…. I announce clearly that if you seek an appropriate response, speak not with the language of sanctions but rather with the language of respect.” He added, “I affirm that Iran has never sought to start war with the world and we will take all measures to inhibit warmongers.” 
  • During the tanfiz (validity) ceremony on Saturday, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei praised Rouhani and stated, “We must strengthen ourselves domestically as much as we can and not [becomes dependent on the outside world], because anyone who [becomes dependent on the outside world] will be disarmed"
  • Rouhani presented his official list of cabinet nominees to Parliament during his inauguration on Sunday:
    • Intelligence Minister: Former head of the Artesh Political-Ideology Organization Seyyed Mahmoud Alavi
    • Oil Ministry: Former Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh
    • Interior Ministry: Senior Head of the Supreme Audit Court Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli
    • Minister of Foreign Affairs:  Former Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations Mohammad Javad Zarif
    • Judiciary: Head of the National Inspection Organization Hojjat al-Eslam Mostafa Pour Mohammadi
    • Islamic Guidance and Culture Minister: Former Ambassador to Kuwait Ali Jannati 
    • Minister of Education: Mohammad Ali Najafi 
    • Eshagh Janagiri is appointed the President’s First Deputy. 
  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei appointed former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to membership in the Expediency Council
  • Vice-Chairman of the Economic Parliamentary Commission MP Mohammad Reza Pour Ebrahimi criticized cabinet proposals for their high average age and stated, “[I]t was expected that the opportunity to manage the country would be placed in the hands of active youth forces.”
  • Former Head of the Cultural Parliamentary Commission Emad Afrouq said that the Minister of Culture must be “a cultural strategist, have cultural work experience….and understand the role of culture in the Islamic Republic and the Islamic revolution. ” 
  • IRGC Imam Sadegh University Basij University Political Unit Director Mostafa Taheri criticized Rouhani’s nominee for Science Minister because his positions “[do not align] with Rouhani’s own position, and Rouhani probably introduced him under the pressure of groups and some parties.” He added that “Islamizing universities” must be one of the most important priorities of the minister
  • Senior cleric Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi urged the new administration to emphasize “ethical and religious matters.” 

Diplomacy and Regional Developments

Military and Security

  • Head of the Kerman Revolutionary Court Dadkhoda Salari announced that the Ministry of Intelligence arrested an Israeli agent in the province gathering “economic, geographic and even some intelligence” information regarding the province. 
  • The proposed Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alavi discussed his agenda, expansion of parties, disqualification of Head of the Expediency Council Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and prospect of relations with the United States:
    • “I admit that, to a certain extent, there is currently a security environment [in the country] and individuals are not comfortable talking. But I am certain that the situation will change, and I believe that the changes that must occur in the country include emphasizing the culture of value and purity more than security. I do not believe that parties must necessarily be related to power.”
    • “[Rasfanjani’s] qualification was higher than all the respected candidates…. It is not sufficient for a government institution named the Guardian Council to perform the role of parties. Parties must refine various individuals and their management experience.”
    • “Moderation in the arena of foreign affairs is very beneficial. We have said since the beginning of the revolution that we will establish relations with all of the world, except the Zionist regime. If America comes from a position of mutual respect and seeks to establish relations with us, we will even accept it.” 
  • Tehran Police Chief BG Hossein Sajedi Nia announced a plan to “confront inappropriate and vulgar clothing vendors” beginning next week
  • Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff MG Hassan Firouzabadi congratulated Rouhani on his inauguration and announced the readiness of the Armed Forces to cooperate with him and the administration of “hope and moderation.”
  • Senior Military Adviser to the Supreme Leader MG Yahya Safavi reaffirmed the IRGC’s non-involvement in political affairs and dismissed the potential of an American or Israeli attack, because “the Islamic Republic is so strong that it will answer any military threats with greater power.”
  • Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy BG Masoud Jazayeri welcomed recent US House sanctions bill and stated, “[The] cultural arena is the primary center of the enemy’s attack…. Currently, [institutions] from kindergarten through university are in the aim of the enemy’s poisonous and invasive plans, and any failure and tolerance in this field will cause irreversible damages, and this is a red line that must never be [crossed].”

Economy

Photo of the Day

  • Son of Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei, Mojtaba, IRGC Commander MG Mohammad Ali Jafari, Artesh Commander MG Ataollah Salehi, Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff MG Hassan Firouzabadi, and head of the Office of the Supreme Leader's Intelligence and Security directorate Asghar Mir Hejazi attend President Rouhani's tanfiz ceremony in Tehran.