Iran News Round Up - September 23, 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’s website has published a “heroic flexibility” infographic. The graphic explains that, “Strengthening the system’s internal structure” supports heroic flexibility. It is described as “correct and logical diplomatic moves while maintaining the Revolution’s principle” whose goals are “progressing and fulfilling the goals of the Revolution and the Islamic System.” Attempting to “please Arrogance [West]” is an incorrect interpretation.
- Acceptable: “Active and creative diplomatic measures; preserving the strong, offensive and protesting position; Not forgetting the enemy and the fight; identifying the enemy’s attack waves.”
- Unacceptable: “Humility against international powers, especially America; neglecting warm relationships with ambassadors and intellectuals of Islamic countries; separation from Islamic groups; crossing red lines; not paying attention to ideals; misplaced extremism.”
- Principlist MP Ali Motahari welcomed the release of 2009 post-election event political prisoners and stated that Iran and the United States “have given each other the green light.” He is unaware whether President Hassan Rouhani has received permission to directly meet with President Barack Obama. He added, “The President has total control in resolving the nuclear case, and it is possible that he has permission to meet with the rest of American officials, including this country’s Secretary of State.”
- Judiciary Spokesman Hojjat al-Eslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei announced that the Supreme Leader has pardoned eighty prisoners jailed for security crimes, some of whom were imprisoned due to the 2009 post-election protests. He then denied reports that Supreme National Security Council Secretary Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani has met with jailed 2009 presidential candidate Mir Hossein Mousavi.
- Islamic Guidance and Culture Minister Ali Jannati pledged to end “rent-seeking” in the ministry.
- Asr-e Iran identified groups opposed to resolving sanction issues: “Some Islamic Republic opposition groups residing abroad; countries benefiting from sanctions, with Russia, China, India and United Arab Emirates as major benefactors; Russian, Chinese, Emirate and recently Indian lobbyists inside the country; oil and non-oil dollar importers who have gained significant profits in the past few years.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) commander Hossein Assam Shabli, who reportedly commanded LH forces in al-Qusayr, Syria, has reportedly passed away today due to a “stomach illness.” Ahlul Bayt News Agency denied reports that Shabli was killed in combat. Three other LH members Yusuf Hamli Halavi (Jihad Brigade), Hassan Saleh Mostafa (Jibraeil Brigade) and Zahir Shoqi Salameh (Zolfaghar Brigade) were buried in Lebanon yesterday.
- Before boarding his New York City-bound flight to address the 68th United National General Assembly, President Hassan Rouhani said, “Unfortunately, certain hands have introduced the Iranian nation’s face in another way and our goal in this trip is introducing Iran to the world as a peace loving and cultured nation that does not want to inflict harm on other countries…. We want to say that the Iranian nation itself was a victim of weapons of mass destruction and does not pursue such weapons…. Certainly the sanctions path is illegal and the issuers of the sanctions will not reach their goals. They must pursue the path of dialogue and understanding because only this path will allow the achievement of mutual goals.”
- Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh will not accompany President Rouhani to New York City as previously reported. Zanganeh will instead attend “Oil Ministry diplomatic meetings.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated on his Facebook page, “We cannot expect accumulated problems to be resolved with one or a few meetings” while expressing hope for nuclear negotiations success.
- First Deputy to the President Eshagh Jahangiri met with Turkish Parliament Speaker Cemil Cicek and announced that Turkish-Iranian economic cooperation “will expand.”
Military and Security
- The IRGC issued a statement commemorating the Iran-Iraq War. It reads in part, “It is evident that the Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps will support any measure within the framework of Supreme Leader’s strategies, national interest, and in the orbit of grandeur, wisdom and expediency. It will place its interactions affecting capabilities at the hands of the respected administration.”
- Supreme National Security Council Secretary and former IRGC commander Maj. Gen. Ali Shamkhani published statements commemorating the Iran-Iraq War and urged unity with the administration instead of “focusing on sideline issues.” It reads in part, “In the end, I state that only religious teachings, national honor, revolutionary experiences and the guidance of Imam [Khomeini] and the Supreme Leader only give us this opportunity to continuously ask ourselves: How can we aid the administration in these difficult times so we can reach that bright horizon faster?”
- Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei praised the country's efforts during the Iran-Iraq War and said, “From the beginning of the revolution until now, we have had several heroic flexibilities like the Spy Nest [1979 US embassy hostage crisis], Imposed War, etc. Currently, we must be careful that the enemies do not take advantage of our heroic flexibilities.”
- IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stated, “The meaning of heroic flexibility does not categorically mean retreating from our fundamental, national security, and essential lines, and these rights are not something that can be exchanged for any benefits. Our fundamental frameworks are stable and inflexible and our ideal goals will never degrade. For example, possessing peaceful nuclear energy based on criterion is preserved for us and this right is unchangeable and there is no flexibility in it. But in this framework, any political flexibility as a tactic is acceptable because we do not want to create a deadlock in resolving political issues.”
- Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi spoke about the IRGC's strategic successes over the US Navy in the Persian Gulf on the basis that, “The Americans’ long-term strategy in its naval forces was based on these colossal carriers and patrols that are today most vulnerable in confrontation with the IRGC's capabilities in the areas of sea mines, speedboat patrols, and missiles. All of these caused the Americans to change their strategy and turn to smaller vessels.”
- IRGC Aerospace Force Commander BG Amir Ali Hajizadeh also spoke to the readiness of his forces for any conflict, stating “Our primary task in the current conditions is to convey deterrence, and this is the only way to make other enemies not even think to attack Iran... The summit [desired by the Supreme Leader] is the point when we arrive at 100% deterrence. In the past 35 years, especially after the Holy Defense, many actions have taken shape, including developing forces and an air force. If America attacks Iran, it will receive fatal blows and certainly will be the loser.”
- Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy Brig. Gen. Masoud Jazayeri said, “America has shown in action that it will not let go of its arrogant and dominance-seeking character. [We] must view America with a pessimistic look and any optimism in confronting America’s suggestions and propaganda in Iran’s broader policies will be rejected.”
- Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi stated, “Unfortunately, today some individuals preach [Second Shi’a] Imam Hassan’s peace against a nation that has demonstrated its perseverance in the most difficult situations and has defended the religion and the country with its entire being. [This] stems from ignorance and will receive a slap in the mouth from the nation if they repeat it…. When reaffirming the Revolution’s perseverance to wipe out Israel against an enemy that defends the criminal and usurper Zionist regime, heroic flexibility means negotiating with this approach to resolve nuclear issues and the rest because the rule of Islam, the country and defending the oppressed is the Revolution’s flag and these values will never be set aside…. God Almighty will not abandon a nation that does not back down from defending Islam for a single moment.”
- Head of Iran's Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi announced that the Bushehr nuclear power plant will be handed over to Iranian scientists temporarily under Russian supervision and will then be transferred permanently after two years. He added that a new power plant will soon begin construction, without providing details.
- After the Parliament’s special session with National Iranian Oil Company Modulation Director, Parliamentary Energy Commission member MP Jali Jafari announced, “Approximately 40 million cubic meters of [natural] gas are burning… stemming from Oil Ministry mismanagement that must come to an end…. Auctioning oil-accompanying gas to private companies will encourage their investment in the construction of gas extraction facilities and power points.”
- National Expansion Fund dollar exchange reserves have reached $54 billion.
Photo of the Day
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s handwritten speech for the 20th National IRGC Commanders and Officials Gathering excerpt states, “The [IRGC] is the Revolution’s guardian…. One of the important parts of the [IRGC]’s record is living the Revolution and staying Revolutionary.”