Iran News Round Up - October 8, 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 contributors John Lesnewich and Mehrdad Moarefian. 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.
- President Hassan Rouhani addressed the Seventh National Elites Conference, discussed the economy and foreign policy and urged increased participation by intellectuals:
- “During the fifty days since we began work [Rouhani's assumption of office], important steps related to the resolution of issues were taken by colleagues. For example, we took steps in the foreign policy field, not to the amount of fifty days, but rather to the amount of 500 days.”
- “In the economic field in these fifty days, the administration took effective steps, including the administration's activities in the agricultural field.”
- “We are the only administration that in fifty days put more than [approximately $28 million] of credit to purchase agricultural machinery into the hands of agricultural job creators, and from another side allocated [approximately $16 million] to purchase fertilizers in the autumn season.”
- “We say to all of our dear people that this administration approved the guaranteed price of wheat purchase and other agricultural products at the Economic Council before the beginning of fall so farmers will be busy.”
- “This administration is proud of its critics’ criticisms.... Constructive criticism is our characteristic and this is beneficial for the country’s expansion, but we should all work to lessen our caustic statements and make a framework of decorum and ethical standard in our statements.”
- “We need to create an economic epic. An epic is created and one cannot create an economic epic without effort, solidarity, and unity. An economic epic requires an open intellectual horizon.”
- “Without the power of competition you will not have a stable economy.”
- Kayhan, viewed as an unofficial organ of the Office of the Supreme Leader, published an article claiming that, during a Sunday meeting with the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “Rouhani’s conversation with Obama and my lengthy meeting with John Kerry were improper.” MPs who attended the meeting and the Foreign Ministry denied that these statements were ever uttered:
- NSFP member MP Ahmad Reza Dastgheib: “Mr. Zarif provided explanations as to why the travel had many positive points but naturally some parts of the trip were criticized and mentioned by the Supreme Leader. It is necessary for us to not look at this trip absolutely optimistically and consider it a national victory nor to have an extremist outlook and view it coldly and negatively so as to affect its achievements. Therefore, the media must pay close attention to this matter because the Supreme Leader’s advice is for positive points noted as well as criticisms.”
- “Mr. Zarif also announced his obedience to the Supreme Leader’s commands in the National Security Commission meeting and gave an oath that he would hold future negotiations with the least amount of error, with the help of representatives, and by considering the Supreme Leader’s advice, God willing.”
- Advisor to President Rouhani’s Deputy for Legal Affairs, Hossein Sartipi, announced that the department would present a “Citizen's Rights Document” to the administration for approval within two weeks:
- “To compile the comprehensive citizen rights document, the current situation within the country’s legal framework [will be reviewed].”
- “Citizens' rights are not a strange matter in our country. When we see different laws we see many matters regarding the matter of citizens' rights, and these matters are addressed in Islam.”
- “What is pursued in the discussion of the comprehensive citizens' rights document is the review of attempted measures in various legal structures across the world.”
- The President’s Deputy for Legal Affairs Elham Amin Zadeh discussed the “citizens' rights document” in depth:
- “Dr. Rouhani had promised to approve the comprehensive citizens' rights documents during the eleventh presidential election campaign. After victory in the elections, he delegated the mission of compiling this document to the Legal Directorate, which alongside this directorate, the Presidential Strategic Research Center also conducts measures in this field.”
- “To compile the comprehensive citizens' rights document, we will hold meetings with legal intellectuals, ulama, professors, civil society and parties so the opinions of all citizens at various level will be heard and the compiled document will encompass all of society.”
- Tehran MP Mehrdad Bazriash spoke on the connection between the 2009 post-election movement in Iran and sanctions, and how this relates to ongoing negotiations:
- “If the negotiations in Geneva are not successful and there is no progress, America intends to simultaneously put political pressure on Iran with the strengthening of sections and with the ‘official,’ ‘open,’ and ‘widespread’ patronage of [Mir Hossein] Mousavi and [Mohammad] Khatami because any pressure on the Iranian government does not work without reinforcement from popular Western currents within Iran.”
- “In  the enemy did not relent against Iran and enacted unilateral oil and banking sanctions, and this is undoubtedly the result of the chaos of  and the opening of analytical space for the enemies to use internal capabilities to undermine the regime and result in leverage in the nuclear issue. Therefore, this talk about the sanctions, questions about the Holocaust, or resistance based on the people’s rights is unfounded because the primary purpose of the sanctions is to deceive the people.”
- Two Tehran MPs, including Mostafa Rahmandoust, chastised Minister of Foreign Affairs Javad Zarif for his repeated use of the word “Israel” instead of “usurper Zionist regime.”
- Former Khatami era administration official Mohammad Shariatmadari was appointed the President’s Executive Deputy earlier today.
- Speaking at the at 129th Inter-Parliamentary Assembly in Geneva, Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani criticized President Barack Obama’s “military options” comments:
- “Obscenely, America continuously repeats that the military option is on the table. Although America neither has the courage to invade Iran nor does the Iranian nation consider such statements important, those who use the language of threat still seek to create psychological insecurity.”
- Foreign Ministry Spokesman Marziyeh Afkham announced that the Islamic Republic will not accept any preconditions to participation in the Geneva 2 conference regarding Syria.
- Iran’s Ambassador to Lebanon Qazanfar Roknabadi announced that President Rouhani will travel to Saudi Arabi after Hajj, adding he hoped that the trip would be able to capitalize on positive space between the countries, “Relations between Iran and neighboring Arab countries in the Persian Gulf, especially Saudi Arabia, are a priority, and relations with non-aligned countries are likewise a priority. Iran has no reason to distance itself from Arab countries of the Persian Gulf.”
Military and Security
- Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi spoke on the “new economic war” and the importance of internal strength to succeed in negotiations:
- “Today we are in a new battle with the enemy, which after their failure to fracture Iran in the security, military, political, and cultural arenas, has become an economic war.”
- “In the [Supreme Leader’s] speech, he emphasized the production of internal strength and solving problems using these internal capacities. This is one very important principle for success in the economic war.”
- “If there is no creation of internal strength, there will likewise be no success in negotiations. Therefore, our primary focus must be on the internal strength of the system.”
- Naghdi then stressed the role the Basij could play in developing Iran’s economic epic through food production, “One of the most important activities for creating an economic epic is agriculture. With gradual action to reduce the space in production between the model farmers and ranchers and other farmers and ranchers, coupled with management, there will be significant development in production.”
- Former IRGC Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base Commander and Oil Minister under Ahmadinejad, and current Senior Advisor to the Minister of Defense, Brig. Gen. Rostam Ghassemi addressed staff at the IRGC Navy Nouh Construction Headquarters to discuss Iran’s deterrent strategy and its strategic viability. Ghassemi also discussed nuclear negotiations:
- Analyzing the nation’s “most important foreign policy and domestic political events”: “The core principles of the Islamic Revolution are not negotiable; we must adhere and protect these values.”
- Discussing “nuclear arms and the West’s contradictory policies”: “Iran’s nuclear issue [brought forth by the West] is a pretext for acts of hostility and sanctions against Iranian nation.... Why are the countries that are pursuing nuclear energy for peaceful purposes questioned, yet the nations who have used them for aggressive and militaristic means are not subject to the same scrutiny?”
- Referring to sanctions as a sign of Western “hostility and ignorance”: “Sanctioning medical supplies is a direct violation of the human rights of thousands of innocent people.”
- “Those who claim to want to pursue constructive engagement with the Islamic Republic must display their integrity in practice.”
- NSFP Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi praised Syria’s signing of the Chemical Weapons Convention and stated, “With attention to the multitude of dangers and harmful and destructive consequences of using nuclear weapons, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s policy is to fulfill the idea of a Middle East free of nuclear weapons, and with attention to the Syrian government’s courageous measure, the Zionist regime [should disarm its nuclear weapons].”
- Director of the Trade Expansion Agency Asia and Oceanic Commerce Desk Reza Abbas Gholi announced that Iran-India trade has ceased for eleven days due to the failure to introduce Iranian insurance companies to India in order to cover transportation vehicles.
- Per the official administration report to Parliament regarding the targeted subsidies budget, 75% will be financed by reforming energy transportation rates and 25% from the government budget. In 2012-2013, however, only 58% was financed from energy transportation and the rest was taken from the public budget and borrowing from the Central Bank and the National Expansion Fund.
- Parliamentary Energy Commission Chairman MP Massoud Mir Kazemi warned against “back door deals, rent-seeking and reduction of contract transparency” if petrochemical product trade is taken off the stock market. He added, “If any problems exist, the stock must be reformed...”
- Central Bank statistics indicate that primary goods prices are increasing, despite recent administration statements regarding price stability.
Photo of the Day
- An ISNA photo essay of children at play in Tehran parks, titled, “Hopes of Life.”