Iran News Round Up - February 18, 2014
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by the AEI Critical Threats Project's Iran research team. 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.
- On Monday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei hailed nationwide participation at the 35th anniversary of the Islamic Revolution. He also backed Rouhani’s diplomatic initiative despite pessimism towards nuclear negotiations:
- “The Iranian nation had a more dense and passionate presence at the 22nd of Bahman marches [35th anniversary of Islamic Revolution] and in answer to the impudent, greed, rude and brazen American officials, announcing that it would not surrender to America’s bullying and extortion whatsoever.”
- “Based on precise and expert reports, the people’s gathering in this year’s marches across the country was denser than previous years and this truth demonstrates that the celebration of the Islamic Revolution’s anniversary is an unprecedented phenomenon like the revolution itself.”
- “Contrary to the unrealistic propaganda and analyses of foreign media, their think tanks notice the message of this presence and also the people’s faith and slogans.”
- “The people’s slogans in the 22nd of Bahman marches contained the two primary messages of ‘perseverance and unity.’”
- “Some individuals are trying to introduce the American government as a humanistic government that is interested in the Iranian people by covering up America’s ugly and violent image. The attempts of these individuals will lead to nowhere.”
- “The Iranian nation has constantly faced the foul plays, conspiracies and sanctions of America since the [August 19, 1953] coup d’etat until 1979 and since the victory of the Islamic Revolution until now. Its most recent case was the American President’s obscene support of the  seditionists and lately announcing his support again.”
- “This list is only a part of America’s wickedness regarding the Iranian nation that continues today.”
- “The imagination of officials from the previous administration and also some officials in the current administration is that if we negotiate with America on the nuclear issue the matter will be resolved. I said that I do not have any opposition due to their insistence on negotiations regarding the nuclear matter, but I emphasized then [as I do now], that I am not optimistic.”
- “The signs of not being optimistic are currently revealing themselves. The prominent reason is the insulting statements of American Senators and officials against the Iranian nation.”
- “The message of the Iranian nation at the 22nd of Bahman marches to all the hardworking officials of the country’s internal and external affairs administration has been that Iranians have spoken and officials must not feel weakness in encountering the enemy.”
- “In the impossible scenario that one day the nuclear matter will be resolved based on America’s desire, the Americans will pursue another matter. Today everyone is a witness that the spokesmen of the American government are talking of human rights matters and Iran’s missile and defensive capabilities.”
- “Are the Americans truly not shameful of mentioning human rights? Americans must not even bring the name of human rights to tongue with all their disgrace.”
- “What the Foreign Ministry and administration officials have started regarding the nuclear negotiations will continue and Iran will not violate what it has started. But all must know that America’s hostility is with the fundamentals of the Islamic Revolution and Islam and that this hostility will not end with negotiations.”
- “The only cure to this hostility is reliance on national strength and domestic capacity and buttressing the country’s internal structure.”
- “The solution for the country’s problems are implementing economic resistance policies and relying on the inside and not looking to the outside.”
- “Everyone saw how all foreign countries thronged for presence in our country by witnessing a smile in Iran. Therefore, the Americans cannot resist based on their stubbornness and if we rely on our internal capacity, their persistence will be broken.”
- “As long as our eyes are fixed upon others, or the reduction of sanctions, or the statements of American officials we will not get anywhere.”
- “I emphasize for officials to rely on internal force and to trust the people…If this is done, certainly all the closed doors will open; we must move and act towards this path.”
- “With God’s favor, the goals of America and Global Arrogance [West] regarding the Iranian nation and the Islamic system will be broken, and this nation will celebrate its victory in front of the malevolent.”
- Principlist MP and father-in-law to Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei's son, Mojtaba, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel stated, “The presence of the Iranian nuclear team at the negotiations table is not because of Iran’s fear of America.”
- Lebanese Hezbollah announced the death of a member, Mohammad Ahmad Torki al-Awat, and the burial of another, Qassem Abd al-Raouf Allaw, yesterday. Both were killed in Syria. Head of Lebanese Hezbollah in the Southern Region Ali Zaoun and Deputy to Head of Lebanese Hezbollah Executive Council Sheikh Abd al-Karim Obayed attended the burial service of al-Awat.
- The latest round of nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1 began in Vienna today. On the agenda were bilateral and separate discussions between the Iranian delegation and the P5+1:
- Iran held bilateral talks with the Chinese and Russian delegations prior to meeting with Western delegations.
- International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister and senior nuclear negotiations Abbas Eraghchi met with US Undersecretary of State Wendy Sherman at the sidelines of negotiations.
- At a press briefing, Eraghchi reacted to the Supreme Leader’s speech and discussed the latest round of negotiations:
- “We have a long path ahead, but today had a good beginning. The new round of negotiations will continue with the goal of reaching a comprehensive and final resolution to the nuclear matter…We will have bilateral meetings with America and the three European countries and afterwards the negotiations will begin at the specialist level on Wednesday.”
- “We will not pay attention to sporadic statements prior to the negotiations, some of which are for domestic consumption. Today we hope to precisely hear their opinions in the negotiations.”
- “What has been announced as the dismantling of Iran’s nuclear program and installations is not on our agenda.”
- Eraghchi also reacted to the Supreme Leader’s statements yesterday and reiterated Khamenei’s support of the nuclear talks, Iranian commitment to the agreements and general pessimism towards the US. He added, “It is possible for each country to have its own interests in the negotiations, but it is important where we end up in the results. Meanwhile, a cease in the Iranian nuclear program has neither occurred, nor will occur in the future.”
- “The goal of negotiations is creating trust regarding the Iranian nuclear program; sanctions will be lifted after creating this trust.”
- “It became clear in the Geneva Accord that in the final step, Iran’s enrichment will continue with limitations. These limitations are the subjects of final step discussions. It has been emphasized that transparency-creating measures like the [IAEA] Additional Protocols will be in the final step, which we will negotiate about it in its own place.”
- Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marziyeh Afkham announced, “We do not expect results from this round or the next round of negotiations. Certainly multiple negotiations will be held to create the necessary agreements. Military discussions have no relation to the nuclear matter.”
- Atomic Energy Agency of Iran Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi stated, “Like all NPT members, the right to enrichment, possessing reactors, constructing research reactors and also having an economy without pressure brought on by sanctions are our unequivocal rights. We will not disregard these rights.” Kamalvandi added, “The important point is that cooperation between Iran and the International Atomic Energy Agency [IAEA] has a close relation with Iran and the P5+1 negotiation” and then praised recent Iran and IAEA progress.
- MP Alireza Zakani announced the firing of nuclear scientists from Natanz and new appointments at this nuclear site. He stated, “Apparently, the story is about revenge, but at the heart of the matter I do not doubt it to be connected to foreign intelligence services with one or two degrees of connection.”
Military and Security
- Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari responded to President Hassan Rouhani’s labeling of the Geneva Accord critiques as “illiterates” and threatened retaliation against US strikes in a separate speech:
- “The simplest thing that the fulfillers do is grouting the statements of others and only using big words. Our universities consider these to be scientifically based and they say that the person is not scientific if he does not possess [those words], therefore we will do a great scientific jihad.”
- “We witness that when we say such words they accuse us of being uneducated and illiterate, but that we must have scientific jihad. Humanities based on Qur’anic, revolutionary and religious bases are different than other sciences [President Rouhani criticized treatment of humanities inside Iran]. Science does not only mean to only follow the West, you the Guards have taken a step in a very difficult path and face difficult claims. Anyone who feels that they cannot act like this should move aside.”
- “Deflecting sanctions is possible by concentrating on internal capabilities and resources.”
- “The enemy fears a wide and long-term ground attack against Iran. Their considered military option is missile and aerial attack against sensitive nuclear areas. But they know themselves that we will not let them go with this measure and will threaten them from the inside.”
- Special Advisor to the Supreme Leader’s Representative to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Zolnour expressed pessimism to the nuclear talks and stated, “In the matter of economic resistance, we can consider this point that we have always been sanctioned since the beginning of the Revolution. The nuclear matter was only an excuse for oppressive sanctions that have imposed a variety of issues upon us. They have a problem with us based on our nature; therefore we cannot be too hopeful to the lifting of sanctions. Thus, in this arena, culture creation and knowing the characteristics of economic resistance have high importance. The clergy can create a role by spreading the culture of self-reliance and national belief in this arena.”
- Head of IRGC Public Relations Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif denied reports of the IRGC launching a private radio-television network called the Asr network. He said that the network’s launch was a decision made by Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) and that the IRGC only supports the Owj Cultural Organization, which has reportedly signed a contract with IRIB to launch the network. The Asr network will “strengthen and spread the values of the Islamic Revolution and Sacred Defense culture.”
- Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Information and Communication Technology Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Agha Kishi claimed that the Iranian Armed Forces possesses one of the most advanced cyber defense programs in the field and announced, “Iran is completely prepared to confront any cyber attacks.”
- President Hassan Rouhani delivered an address at the Ninth Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union meeting in Tehran. He urged Islamic unity and emphasized support of the Palestinian cause:
- “As Iran’s President, I announce that I will include the interests of all Islamic countries, especially regional Muslim countries in my approach towards the Islamic world.”
- “The Islamic world needs a great transforming theory. In this theory, the Islamic world must be known better and in the end the groundwork for using the capacities of the Islamic world will be created.”
- “It is not in the dignity of Muslims for other countries to want to solve their problems or attempt to mediate. Lack of unity and solidarity and separation from the teachings of the great prophet of Islam has created such circumstances for us.”
- “We Muslims must overcome the security phase dominant on our society and reach the phase of targeted progress, creation of wealth and power at the global level.”
- “From the perspective of Imam Khomeini, Supreme Leader and the Islamic Republic of Iran, the matter of the occupation in the Islamic lands [Palestine] will only be resolved when Muslims confront the usurpers [Israel] with true unity.”
- “The Islamic Republic of Iran extends its hand of friendship, cooperation, love, peaceful coexistence to all Islamic countries [with the goal of] codifying a comprehensive agenda for mutual goals, knowing mutual political and security interests and [building] great coalitions to expand bilateral or multilateral trade.”
- “Defending the oppressed Palestinian nation, liberation of Quds and also support of the globally oppressed countries have always been considered by the Islamic Republic of Iran officials.”
- Parliament Vice Chairman MP Mohammad Hassan Abu Torabi Fard considered the Islamic summit to be “coordination of the Islamic world to confront takfiri deviant currents.”
- President Rouhani expressed confidence in expansion of bilateral relations with Turkey in the near future after meeting with Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayypid Erdogan at the sidelines of the Islamic Inter-Parliamentary Union Meeting.
- Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh delivered a final warning of possible expulsion of China National Petroleum Company International (CNPCI) if the company is unable to increase Iranian oil production in a joint oil field with Iraq. Iranian oil production in the Majnoun field has stagnated at 50,000 barrels per day (bpd) while recent Iraqi production began at 175,000 bpd and is slated to increase to 400,000 bpd.
- First Deputy to the President Eshagh Jahangiri announced that gasoline prices will not increase until at least the beginning of the Persian New Year in mid-March.
Photo of the Day
- Mehr News photo essay: Maghbareolshoara, a tomb containing the remains of more than 400 poets in Tabriz.