Iran News Round Up - February 19, 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. 

Military and Security

  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari addressed national Basij university student officials at the “den of spies,” the former US embassy. Jafari stressed obedience to the Supreme Leader and discussed the nuclear negotiations, Islamization of universities, and the 2009 post-election protests and what it means to be a revolutionary. He then tied the raison d’état of the Islamic Republic to the Islamic Revolution:
    • On nuclear negotiations: “Today, we are at a very sensitive stage of foreign policy negotiations. The administration has participated in the negotiations with heroic flexibility, by preserving frameworks, principles and observing red lines. Administration officials must stand against the enemy’s arrogant disposition and not allow national pride to be damaged.”
    • “Due to the sensitive level of negotiations, we must remain silent and hold our tongues for now so we do not give an excuse to anyone. The work is very sensitive and the primary goal is removing economic pressure on the people, which is very important so we must proceed with caution.”  
    • “I truly do not know what will happen in these negotiations. We cannot be optimistic towards America.  It seems that we have faced a problem in negotiations, but I hope that is not the case.” 
    • 2009 election protests: “Their punishment [referring to 2009 presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karoubi] is the imprisonment which they are suffering.”
    • “The street fight of [2009] was about the Islamic Revolution.”
    • “The agreement of views between America and the arrogant opponents of the Revolution’s righteous path is a serious threat against the Islamic Revolution. All security, internal and political problems stem from this matter.”
    • “In the Second of Khordad [1997 Reformist Movement] the slogan of ceasing the Revolution was introduced. We have a problem with this line of thought and individuals who gravitate towards Westerners and Europeans.”
    • “During the Second of Khordad era, some with influence in the government sought to cease the revolution; our problem is with such out looks.”
    • “Do not have hope in the previous generation, because they are either old or were trained in foreign universities and have exited the revolutionary state.”
    • “Our problem with many of the previous revolutionaries is that they have been revolutionaries, but have not remained revolutionary.”
    • “Some do not show their [true] faces to the people and do their work. This is that same hypocrisy and our problem is that these issues have been tied with external enemies.”
    • On Islamic Revolution and society: “During the Eight Years of Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War], we exported the Revolution’s normative ideals. But we can export the Revolution’s required ideals when we build a model society.”
    • “Our problem is that some individuals have different beliefs, and this is a serious and fundamental problem because they coordinate with external enemies.”
    • “We passed the 35th anniversary of the Revolution’s victory. With God’s favor, the Islamic Revolution today is in a good situation, despite the ups and downs that it has had during previous years. It even has a better situation outside the country than the inside and is continuously expanding throughout the world.”
    •  “If our looks are not Islamic, looking at the Islamic Revolution is like looking at other revolutions.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution has not been completely fulfilled yet and we strive to reach our ultimate goal, the advent of the Imam of the Age [12th Shi’a Imam Mahdi].”
    • “The Islamic Revolution is the common point between the IRGC and the Basij. Wherever the name of the IRGC and Basij comes to the field, the name of the Islamic Revolution also exists and this makes our path and goal closer to each other. We must embrace the dangerous task that is upon our shoulders.”
    • “Basijis must constantly ask that how must they create their role today, because if this concern does not exist among Basijis then they cannot claim to be Basijis.”
    • “In the beginning, the Islamic Revolution must be defined. The Islamic Revolution means popular movement in society under the leadership of the vali-ye faghih [guardian of the jurisprudence] that takes society towards fulfillment of Islamic goals and religious teachings.”
    • “Today, the Islamic government moves within the framework of Shi’a religious bases and political jurisprudence. The vali-ye faghih is responsible for guiding and advancing the goals of the Revolution.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution has acted successfully in defying the Dominant System [West] and standing against the arrogant and tolerating difficulties and pressures. In this trend, ideals such as expansion, social justice and Islamization of universities have been left out, which they must be achieved as well.”
    • Islamization of universities: “Today, our universities must produce Islamic forces; however that is not the case, which is becoming the greatest crisis. Transformation must occur in all universities.”
    • “In the arena of humanities, attention to Western humanities, which has been established on materialism, is sufficient for the sake of knowing the West’s philosophy. But this act will not empower our youth to perform their role in the future, therefore in humanities, knowledge in religious basics is necessary.”
    • “So far a specific event has not occurred in the transformations of humanities that are considered by His Excellency and we must make special effort to address the Supreme Leader’s concerns.”
    • “The required ideals of the Revolution, including acting upon Islam’s teachings fulfilling social justice and independent economy, are responsibilities that are on the shoulders of the revolutionary and Basiji student.”
    • “The roles of Revolution and demand-orientation that the Basijis perform today are satisfactory, but you must build yourselves in a way that you will remain revolutionary until 40 or 50 years old. Our fundamental basis for being a revolutionary is obeying the vali-ye faghih, because the Islamic system depends upon the advancement of the Islamic Revolution. If the Islamic Revolution does not persevere, then the Islamic Republic has no meaning and these two truths are tied to one another.”
    • “A Basiji student must act jihadi in the arena of scientific and specialist empowerment. He must know that learning science has no meaning without attention to religious basics, refinement and spirituality. If spirituality and self-building is associated with learning science, being a revolutionary follows it and the doors of science from the material of divine wisdom opens to a human.”
    • On revolutionary individuals and institutions: “Unfortunately after the Revolution, managerial systems and existing methods did not change in the country. You the student must prepare yourselves to perform your role in this arena, and without this change the goals of the Revolution will not be fulfilled.”
    • “Individuals whom managerial talent is hidden in them have a duty to grow it within themselves and accept responsibility.”
    • “Interest in Islam, the Revolution and martyrs are not sufficient by themselves. We must ask what was the path and goal of the martyrs. Supporting the vali-ye faghih and the Islamic Revolution are points that are observed in the will of all martyrs.”
    • “The support of you Basijis must be in a way that we know we are affecting the future generation and strive to perform this role in the best way possible.”
    • “Our university teachings, which will determine the future of the Islamic Revolution, are unfortunately not proportionate with our goals. On this basis, we are facing a problem in humanities.”
    • “Several revolutionary institutions were established at the beginning of the Islamic Revolution, which were permutated with the passage of time through administrative systems. The IRGC heavily resisted against this assault. Fundamental transformation in the IRGC must bear in mind the goal of confronting such an assault.”
    • “When the level of management becomes national, this management must take a strategic and transformational form. The manager himself must have a strategic and revolutionary mindset. The country’s system, administration, and contents of science require transformation and you must perform an effective and transformational role in the Revolution’s future.” 
  • Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi issued a statement with regards to the Saudi intelligence chief Bandar ibn Sultan no longer being the lead in Syria: “Without a doubt, Saudi rulers have discovered the high costs of incorrect and criminal policies that Bandar ibn Sultan pursued and decided to remove him. The era of Saudi Arabia’s support of extremist and bigoted takfiris has ended. Evidence and narrative indicates this country’s reconsideration of foreign and domestic policies and orientation towards a more rational course.” 

Regional Developments

Nuclear Issue

Diplomacy

  • President Hassan Rouhani met with the Syrian Head of Parliament Mohammad Jahad al-Laham and announced, “It is very important to Iran, that Syria achieves stability as soon as possible and creates the necessary preparation for holding these elections; Iran supports these free elections.” 
  • The Palestinian Envoy to Iran Salah Zawawi commended Palestinian-Iranian relations and stated, “Our relations with the Islamic Republic are firm on the two fundamental bases of Islam and Palestine. Iran can neither lose us, nor can we lose Iran; these two entities are connected to the history of the Islamic Revolution…The Islamic Republic of Iran has continuously supported Palestine and has participated in our military operations. Perhaps some Iranian brothers did not mention that a number of these people were martyred in defending the Palestinian people.” 

Economy

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei ratified the “resistance economy” policy document after consultation with the Expediency Discernment Council and called it capable of realizing “an inspirational model of Islam’s economic system.” The policy’s broad aims encourage domestic production and reduce economic vulnerabilities. Major initiatives include:
    • Encouraging investment in the economy; increasing production with the goal of minimizing imports; consumption management; securing food and medicine and creating strategic reserves; encouraging foreign investment for exportation; reducing economic vulnerability through expansion of relations and cooperation especially with neighboring countries, utilizing diplomacy to support economic goals and utilizing capacities of international and regional institutions.
    • Confronting the vulnerabilities of revenues from oil and natural gas exports via: Choosing strategic partners; partnership of private sector in sales; increasing natural gas, petrochemical and oil products; and increasing oil and natural gas strategic reserves.
    • Annual increase of the National Expansion Fund from revenues of natural gas and oil exports until cutting the budget’s dependence on oil. 
  • Deputy Economic Minister Behrouz Alishiri announced, “The latest statistics related to foreign direct investment was declared to be $4 billion by the President. However, the latest statistics we have now indicate that about $300 to $500 million has been added to that, which means that total foreign direct investment in the country is close to $4.5 billion. This is considered an unprecedented record and it will be very good if this trend continues.” Alishiri then announced domestic planning for up to $10 billion of Chinese direct investment in Iran.  

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