Iran News Round Up September 4, 2012
(E) = Article in English
- Reactions to the scandal of misquoting U.N. chief Ban Ki-moon's statements in a meeting with Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei:
- Ban Ki-moon says he has not called Khamenei "the religious leader of not only Iran but also this region."
- Ali-Akbar Velayati, foreign policy adviser to Khamenei, insists Ban Ki-moon said: "As a supreme leader and also religious leader of not only Iran but also this region, you can play a crucially important role."
- Reactions to the scandal of manipulating Egyptian president Morsi's address to the Non-Aligned Movement's summit in Tehran, and the state-controlled media's false explanation about the Syrian delegation's walk-out:
- The Foreign Ministry of Egypt insists that Morsi did not mention Bahrain in his speech – contradicting the official Persian translation of his speech in Tehran.
- The Islamic Republic's Arabic language al-Alam TV claimed the Syrian delegation walked out from the Non-Allied Movement Summit in Tehran "in order to give TV interviews." Foreign Minister of Syria insists that the Syrian delegation walked out in protest against Morsi's speech, which criticized the regime in Syria.
- Asr-e Iran ridicules the work of "village idiots" which led to translation scandals.
- [E] Iran's Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi left Tehran for Kabul Tuesday afternoon to attend the fourth meeting of the two countries' joint economic cooperation commission.
Military and Security
- Mohammad-Ali Asoudi, Revolutionary Guards Propaganda commander: "Syria's allies will take action in case the United States attacks this country [Syria]."
- Salar Abnoush, Revolutionary Guards' Qavin unit commander: "Today we are engaged in a multifaceted war: In Syria, we are fighting in the military and cultural dimensions."
- Revolutionary Guards Navy Commander Ali Fadavi says the IRGC Navy is the "first priority of enemy espionage."
- Hezbollah General Secretary Hassan Nasrallah: "Whatever Israel does would make the United States responsible. Iran's answer to any Israeli violation would not be limited to [retaliation] against this regime [Israel], but would also aim at the United States bases in the region."
- Khabar Online releases a more complete version of Andisheh-ye Pouya's interview with Intelligence Ministry co-founder Said Hajjarian:
- "When [Ali] Shariati's pamphlet on 'Man in Islam and Marxism,' was published, it proved to be controversial. The young people boycotted Shariati. Religious youth tore his articles to pieces at the library and threw it out and purged the library of Shariati. They believed he had cooperated with the SAVAK [the pre-revolution intelligence organization] and asked: 'Why has he published articles in Kayhan?' I was very saddened, was unhappy with what the kids had done and believed one must understand the prison circumstances..."
- "I have never been interested in partisan work. I had studied partisan warfare, but the Organization [Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization] turned to the left very fast and acted accordingly… I was not deceived. Back then, everyone, in particular the Tudeh [Iran's Communist Party] members, worked against armed struggle."
- "I was doing my military service, but the Imam [Khomeini] asked us to escape. I took a bunch of service completion certificates with a stamp, and deserted. For some time, I was issuing the [military] service completion certificates, which I stamped and handed out to everyone, but revolution happened very soon. When the revolution began, I returned to military service. I joined the Naziabad [Revolutionary] Committee. Members of the Welcome Committee [Grand Ayatollah Khomeini's personal bodyguards] asked: 'Why did you join the Naziabad Committee? Come join the Armed Forces Joint Command Council.' I joined it and worked at the 2nd Bureau of the Army... In the military we would identify people who had killed people and would introduce them to the [Revolutionary] Tribunal."
- "[Prime Minister Mehdi] Bazargan issued the decree for us, and I had the responsibility for the 2nd Bureau of the Navy. The rightists had recently disclosed this decree. They investigated the documents at the Prime Minister's Office, saw my file and disclosed it. Otherwise no one knew I was the head of the Navy's 2nd Bureau... It was Bazargan who officially made me an intelligence person. He issued me the decree [as the head of the] Navy's Counter Espionage... I had joined the Army's Counter Intelligence towards the end of 1979, before Bazargan issued the decree."
- "We sat with the Mojahedin-e Enqelab young members and discussed the threats the revolution was facing. We asked: 'If the revolution receives blows where would it be from? A coup? Where does a coup take place? The Joint Forces Staff? What center is important in the Joint Forces Staff? The 2nd Bureau? Therefore we joined the Army's 2nd Bureau. We had to read through the files in order to find out who could potentially join a coup so we could find those behind it."
- "In the beginning of the revolution everybody had gone somewhere. Some were pursuing money and went to the palaces… There were some who were seeking the files. They stormed SAVAK in order to cleanse their own footprint. The Tudeh and Hojjatiyeh [Charitable Society] members did so, for example. The kids of the Mojahedin-e Enqelab, following the analysis which I discussed, gathered at the 2nd Bureau of the Army, such as Mohammad Razavi and the martyr Mohammad Boroujerdi. I too joined and took two persons with me from Naziabad. Along with Davoud Karimi and Taqi Mohammad we gathered there to counter a coup."
- "At the Den [of Espionage, reference to the American Embassy in Tehran] there were two groups of spies: Military and non-military. According to my responsibilities, the military spies were given to me for interrogations and in order to prepare the case [against them]."
- "I was both good friends with the kids from the Mojahedin-e Enqelab Organization and the members of the [Islamic] Republican Party, but I was not member of any party. Upon the request of Mr. [Mohammad] Beheshti, I gave the booklet of Shenakht [identification] to Engineer [Mir-Hossein] Mousavi so he could publish it in the Jomhouri newspaper. This is how I got to know him. The first year of the Jomhouri Eslami had many articles by me. And then, [Mohammad-Ali] Rajaei became prime minister and I was transferred to the Intelligence [Bureau] of the Prime Minister's Office, where I worked with Khosrow Tehrani."
- "We created a division of labor between the Prime Minister's Office and the [Revolutionary] Guards. The Prime Minister's Office had three responsibilities: foreign intelligence, counter intelligence, and protection, but domestic security was the responsibility of the Guards."
- "The Tudeh members knew only about a part of the Nozheh Coup: the political branch led by Nasrollah Qadesi. They had a source in one of the sub branches and they would give news of their meetings, but did not have total intelligence. Back then the Tudeh members had still not become our problem. Neither had the Fedayeen Khalq nor the Tudeh members and the Organization [Mojahedin-e Khalq] become alien to us... I led the interrogations after the Nozheh coup. I was the one who interrogated Lieutenant Nasser Rokni. He did not have a remarkable character. Most of those involved in the coup did not have a particular aspect, had frail personalities, and were not complicated."
- "[Question:] When you were at the Prime Minister's Office, why did you arrest and kept in prison Seyyed Hassan Nasrallah, who had come to Iran?
- [Answer:] Back then Nasrallah was not well known at all. Seyyed Abbas Mousavi was the head of Hezbollah. The Prime Minister's Office had a bureau at the airport. The Liberation Movements of the Guards was led by Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi. He and Mohammad Montazeri would bring people into Iran without visa and passport. Imagine: Some Arabs without visa and passport enter Iran with planes. It is natural that they are interrogated by the Office of the Prime Minister at the airport. Nasrallah did not have a passport. He had entered [Iran] illegally and without visa, which is a crime. He was asked why he had come to Iran. The kids at the airport were interrogating him. After that, they kept him under arrest in a separate building for a couple of days. The issue was an administrative one without a political dimension. Seyyed Mehdi Hashemi and the kids from the Guards came, recommended him and took him away."
- "About the explosion at the Prime Minister's office and the flight of Kashmiri [the person who is widely believed to be the perpetrator] there was an idea that Kashmiri had not yet fled from the country and it that was better for us to believe as if [we thought] he was dead, so we have better time to arrest him. To begin with, the kids really believed his corpse was totally gone and had become powdered. Therefore they asked the sources of emulation about what should be done if his death body was not available. Therefore, the sources of emulation were consulted, and a tombstone was produced for him. However, when they guessed he might have been the perpetrator of the explosion and had fled, they kept the issue secret so it appeared as if we did not know. Maybe Kashmiri would leave the country later [rather than sooner] which would give an opportunity to find him. Kashmiri called his family, after which it was clear that he was alive. It was not known where he was. He had possibly gone to Iraq, but it was not known. It was not known where Kolahi or Kashmiari was. It took three days to find out that he was not dead. To begin with, his family was mourning him... after three days we found out that his sister was happy and not mourning. His mother too had become much calmer after finding out that her son had not died. When they were calling his mother to extend condolences, she would say: 'Our chandelier is intact and safe, don't worry.' She wanted to indirectly [make the family members] understand that nothing had happened to Kashmiri and that he was not dead."
- The (Monafeqin) [Hypocrites, reference to the Mojahedin-e Khalq] Organization was in a phase of hitting the heads of the regime and all their infiltrators were activated. For example, like Kolahi in the [Islamic Republican] Party, Qadiri and Abbas Zaribaf in the Guards thought the regime was finished. They had activated all their infiltrators. The aftermath of the explosion at the Prime Minister's Office played out in two phases. First, some people were arrested, and a few years later, when the case was fundamentally closed, they arrested some others. Qouchkanlou, Mohsen Sazegara, Ali Tehrani and Kamran were arrested in the first round, and Khosrow Tehrani, Bijan Tajik and others in the second round. In the first round, the arrested people who were cooperating closely with Behzad Nabavi and had 'invented' the corpse [of Kashmiari]. The second round was when Mr. Khoeiniha was appointed prosecutor and started the process again. Mr. Khoeiniha said: 'I'll give them the file so they can go to the very end of it, so they can find out that there is nothing in it and the case closes once and for all.' They arrested Khosrow, and they also wanted to arrest me. They also wanted to arrest Behzad Nabavi, but Khoeiniha did not allow them to arrest Behzad [Nabavi], and had a chat with the Imam [Khomeini]. To Mr. Khoeiniha, it was clear that the aim was to settle [factional] scores. I had said on many occasions that the Islamic Republican Party was one case, and the Prime Minister's Office another. Why do they keep talking about the case of the Prime Minister's Office, but keep quiet about the [Islamic Republican] Party [bombing]? There were infiltrators here and there. Why did they follow the lead in the other case? The issue was one of settling scores. They wanted to settle scores with [Mohammad-Ali] Rajaei. They expected Rajaei to be in their total control, but Rajaei appointed as his right hand Behzad Nabavi, with whom they had trouble since the days of prison [during the Shah]. It is of interest for you to know that they showed up at Imam Sadeq University to arrest Khosrow Tehrani, but Mr. Mahdavi Kani would not allow them. He was the protector of Khosrow and took a fight with them about Khosrow's arrest."
- [Question]: "'Following the explosion at the Prime Minister's Office, Taqi Mohammadi, who was one of your close comrades at the Office, was sent to Kuwait as the Intelligence and Investigations agent. He was later appointed charge d'affaires at the Iranian embassy in Afghanistan. The Revolutionary Tribunal called him back to investigate the explosion and arrested him, but he committed suicide.' [Answer by Hajjarian:] He was a good and clean kid. I don't know why he committed suicide. It was not in my hands; it was in the hands of Ladjevardi's forces and the guys at the 7th Bureau. Mr. Razini said he [Taqi Mohammadi] had committed suicide. I received the corpse from Evin and we buried it. They had pressed him. He was a delicate and artistic man. He was a painter and was very sensitive. Hassan Kamran too was arrested in the first round, but lost it while in prison and would say insult to this and that person. I don't want to express any opinion on Taqi Mohammadi. But they are now so insolent to claim we killed him. The guy was in their hands in prison; could they please come and tell us how we managed to kill him?"
- "The Nozheh coup file was in the hands of Mohsen Rezaei and his kids. One dimension was about the espionage [activity] of the Tudeh, and the other dimension was about internal security [since the Tudeh] claimed to cooperate with the revolution. But the truth was otherwise. From the beginning of the establishment of the intelligence system they were always under surveillance. Whatever they [the Tudeh] reported was on Monarchist forces; for example, Qotbzadeh. The Prime Ministry followed their espionage case, and the Guards was on their internal security case, but things were heading towards a serious conflict [of interest between the Guards and the Prime Ministry's Intelligence Bureau]. For example, the [Tudeh General Secretary] Kianouri was being overshadowed by the Prime Ministry… The sensitivity on Tudeh Party taken into consideration, this parallel work was proving to be problematic. Khosrow Tehrani asked Mr. Mousavi Khoeiniha to make a final decision in order to prevent the parallel work. Mousavi Khoeiniha, authorized by Imam [Khomeini] established a staff in which he himself, a representative from the Imam, a representative from the Guards and a representative from the Prime Ministry, were present. Mr. Mousavi Khoeiniha would arrange the meetings at his home in Jamaran, and Mr. Khosrow Tehrani would participate at the meetings as the Prime Ministry's Office. The work was meant to proceed in a coordinated manner and under Mr. Khoeiniha's supervision. But during one of these meetings, the people from the Guards gave wrong intelligence to Mr. Mousavi Khoeiniha that the Tudeh members were on the run. They might even have arrested the Tudeh members, but gave the wrong information. Back then, the Prime Ministry too had them [the Tudeh] under surveillance, and if they were on the run, the Prime Ministry too would find it out. Apart from this, they did not focus on peripheral members of the [Tudeh] Party, but arrested Kianouri, who was then General Secretary. Well, the nature of the staff changed. We approached Mr. Mousavi Khoeiniha and asked why this had happened. He said that 'the kids from the Guards told me they [the Tudeh top members] were on the run. This is both a security and espionage issue.' In espionage, arrest is the final phase. It must first be established whom the person has a relationship with and what he is doing. From our point of view, the time for arrest had not come yet. Now, the problem that the kids from the Guards had was that they were pursuing the case as a security one, but they did not have any file on elements whom they had arrested. Their [the Tudeh members] meetings would take place at Fereshteh Avenue at a fixed time. There was nothing secret. So, the kids from the Guards could not advance in interrogations and did not know what to do. The kids from the Prime Ministry who were not involved in the Nozheh Coup interrogations did not pass the files and past record of the Tudeh members to the Guards, because they insisted that 'we are interested in espionage, but you have zoomed on a coup.' To make it short, the Tudeh Party case was hijacked, but afterwards we made bulletins with our analysis and gave it to the gentlemen. The result was that Ayatollah Khamenei, who was president, stopped execution of the rest [of the Tudeh members]. Some of them were killed, but it was stopped."
- "I and the kids from the Mojahedin-e Enghelab prepared the first plan to establish the Intelligence Ministry. The idea was that the institutions were separate and had to be united and made responsible towards an authority. On this issue there was a fight with the three powers [of government]. We were entangled with the Guards. Lajevardi was very unhappy with us [asking] why we wanted to establish a ministry rather than making the intelligence subjected to the Leader. The Imam [Khomeini] too was very unhappy. Martyr Mahallati had gone to the Imam and said: 'They want to establish a ministry and nowhere in the world is there such a ministry.' I told Mr. Seyyed Ahmad Khomeini: 'If the Intelligence is under the Imam's supervision, whatever happens, the Imam will be blamed for it, which is not good.' In the end, we managed to convince the Imam and others and the plan to establish a ministry achieved parliamentary vote. My goal was noble, but when the intelligence ministry was established, they said he [Hajjarian] finally managed to achieve his goal."
- "We took upon us the task of organizing the intelligence. There was no ministry where we could have our position and we organized it all. I had studied the intelligence services. I had read the SAVAK documents, the Mossad, Turkey and many others and began drawing the organizational chart of the ministry. Afterwards I planned the internal training program of the ministry."
- "In the Intelligence Ministry I never had an encounter with those who interned after the revolution. Anyone who makes this claim should come and announce it. This was not my job. I was not the good cop, and not the bad cop. I only and only made an effort to release Shahsavandi. About Shahsavandi, I used to say that he was not with us, but his relationship with the [Mojahedin-e Khalq] Organization was worse and it was better to release him. The Intelligence Ministry Security Directorate asked for my opinion. They would consult me for political viewpoints. I met with him a couple of times, and said [to the Intelligence Ministry Security Directorate] that he had problems with Masoud Rajavi, and was Rajavi's enemy. He was not good with us, but he was harmless and one could release him. Shahsavandi was a high-ranking [individual]. He could operate abroad. He was a sensible, clean and wise man. Just like Sa'adati he understood that armed struggle did not pay off. Therefore, rather than executing him, it was better to use him. Shahsavandi was better alive than dead. Pardon was in the hands of the Leader. He was pardoned and he continued his life."
- "Once they said, Kianouri was not ready to write his memoirs, but if you asked him, he would. I accepted. Back then he was at his own place. I visited him at home. They had asked me to talk with him and persuade him to write his memoirs, which he did not accept."
- "In the 'Armenian death bus' incident, one of those writers [in the bus, which was meant to fall off the cliff killing a group of Iranian writers traveling to Armenia] visited Mr. Khoeiniha at the [office] of Salam newspaper and explained the affair. We did not believe him. Later more intelligence was received and we found out it was true. Mr. Khoeiniha said this to Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani]. We told Mr. Hashemi Rafsanjani: 'Be careful of these events.' I was a nobody [at the time of the bus incident]. This is all nonsense that there were two Saids at the Intelligence Ministry [Said Emami and Said Hajjarian]. I was an employee of the Presidency, had gone to the Intelligence Ministry for a few years after which I returned to government. When Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani's] cabinet was formed, I visited him and said that I could no longer work at the Intelligence Ministry. He [Rafsanjani] ordered Mr. Fallahian [Intelligence Minister] that he [Hajjarian] should work part time at the Strategic Studies Center, and part time at the Intelligence Ministry. Mr. Fallahian asked me 'With whom do you work there [At the Strategic Studies Center]. I said my boss is Mr. Khoeiniha and Behzad Nabavi works for me. He panicked and asked me to leave for good, 'there is no reason for you to work here part time.' I did not need to resign. All our friends exited and from 1989; none of our friends was at the [Intelligence] Ministry. They were not ready to work with Mr. Fallahian."
- "Two projects had begun which in my opinion did not lead to results. One was the idea of religious intellectualism which began with Dr. Soroush, and the other the idea of economic development which Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] and Mr. Tabibian's team had begun. I predicted that without a political reform both projects would reach a dead end. Without political development one couldn’t bring reform to religion or the economy. This is how the political development project began. My project was renewing Iran politically - which was the same as reforms. I had some theoretical information and connections with some political faces. Therefore I reached the conclusion that I had to study. Like a good boy I participated at the entrance exam and entered university. I did not use any quota or decree. It was the first time since the cultural revolution that there was entrance exam for MA and there were many who participated. I was admitted to Tehran University. I did not receive any scholarship. The government did not pay me anything. Now they even did not pay my pension. In sum, I studies MA and Ph.D. in political science. I went to Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] and told him 'I want you to concentrate on political development.' He said: 'Is political development something which exists in the world or have you made it up yourself based on economic development?' We started the political development department at the Strategic Studies Center so we could advance this project. Our department had five groups: The Islamic revolution group; the government group, which aimed at identifying the nature of government in Iran; political behavior group; political culture group; and political renewal group. We wanted to produce a policy paper for Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] based on these discussions, but Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] was not interested in these issues. Mr. Hashemi's criticism was that 'this is not the editorial board of the Salam newspaper; it is as if you have created intellectual backing for Salam here.' We believed we should continue our work regardless of Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani's] opinion, and he would eventually understand that his project would reach a dead end. Economic development had side effects which necessitated political development."
- "When Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] got the vote for a second term [as president] he no longer cooperated with Mr. Khoeiniha. The Combatant Clergy Association had problems with Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani]. In the second term the Association defended Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani], but he said: 'Had the Association not defended me, it would have ended in the dustbin. They had to defend me.' Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] ridiculed the Association. Salam had become serious for Mr. Khoeiniha and used his time there. He would not come so often. Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] appointed Mr. Rowhani the head of the Research Center. I and Behzad Nabavi were at the Research Center until 1997. We argued that one must work with Hashemi [Rafsanjani] and one must not abandon him. We felt that Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] was gradually getting closer to us and political development. I spent the days at the Research Center, and in the afternoons, I would go to the office of Salam and Asr-e Ma weekly. Mr. Khoeiniha was a principled man. He could not accept that Hashemi [Rafsanjani] insults the Association in its entirety. Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] had gone to the right and appointed Besharati, Golpayegani and Al-e Eshaq as cabinet ministers."
- "At the beginning of political renewal Mr. Khatami entered office. Mr. Khatami would say: 'My duty is to administer the country. I have no other political obligation.' Khatami did not desire to be considered a partisan element. He wanted to be popular, but not party political. It was suggested that we be members of the Mojahedin-e Enqelab Organization. We had a couple of meetings together, but Mohammad Salamati said: 'Wait until our statute is corrected.' We asked when it would be corrected, and they said it would take a year. It was not the world view of the Organization which had changed. The Organization was a minibus, and there was no space. We argued that 1997 brought 20 million people to the arena, and there was a need for a mass party. There was need for a front. But the Organization had not even the capacity for the 120 signatories establishing the Mosharekat Front. The Organization had absolutely no members in the provinces and said it was enough just to have sympathizers."
- "Political development had side effects, and very soon after the  election the side effects became clear as the [chain] murders surfaced. We knew that there would be problems, but did not predict that it would lead to assassination. We considered it unlikely."
- "I am totally in favor of reforms. I have never been and am not a reformist partisan."
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