Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

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 Mary Ella Simmons and Marie Donovan. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • President-elect Hassan Rouhani's Media Affairs Desk requested the media to stop speculating about the incoming administration’s cabinet formation
  • Hassan Rouhani met with senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani and affirmed his earlier statements that “problems which have emerged in the past eight years will not be solved in a short time and we need time and planning.” He added that his administration would include the input of senior clerics in policy formation. 
  • Internal Parliament Rules Codification Commission First Vice-Chairman MP Gholam Reza Kateb announced a change in the method of Parliament’s vote of confidence to cabinet appointments and said that they must have at least ten years of experience with the relevant government ministry alongside a masters degree.
  • Planning and Budget Parliamentary Commission member MP Jafar Ghaderi discussed the recent proposal to form the Supreme Economic Resistance Council, which would function “…like the Supreme National Security Council or the Supreme Cultural Revolution Council in that it will be able to enter immediately into decision-making, and the representatives of the three branches and private sector activists will be able to participate in it.”
  • Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami spoke on moderation, developments in Egypt, and 2013 election debates about the state of the economy:
    • “Our doctrine is the doctrine of moderation and we expect the President-elect to interpret the slogan of moderation…so no [one] takes advantage of it.”
    • “The [model for] moderation in political positions is the Supreme Leader.”
    • “In the Presidential elections, the system completely [and] trustfully announced that the people’s selection is Mr. Rouhani….This trend was completely legal and no one was able to criticize it. The Tenth Elections [2009] also took place like this but the losers of that election shouted the slogan of cheating liars and attempted to [destroy] the country…”
    • “If the performance [of the administration} is good, encouragement will follow it, and if we see there is a position that is not in line with the law and the velayat-e faghih, we will pursue compassion and amr-e be maroof va nahy az monkar  [Literal translation: the ordering of good and the prohibition of evil; religious duty].”
    • “Some candidates…pretended [during the election campaign season] that perhaps the country is bankrupt in the economic sphere while [this is not true].”
    • “[The people of] Egypt called for Islamic Awakening and in the past year the Muslim Egyptian people went to the ballots and voted for a constitution and Islamist representatives, but those who formed the government became the underliers of a coup d’etat. Instead of inviting the world of Islam to unity, they supported murdering takfiris and were silent against them. Their slogan at the beginning was fighting the Zionist regime, but after reaching power they ratified the Camp David Accords and called Shimon Perez a brother and sent an ambassador to the Zionist regime.”
    • “They confused friend and foe [with respect to Iran] and pursued an anti-Shi’a program. The head of the Egyptian government then met and consulted with [President Barack] Obama and this brought the people to the streets…. We wish that the Egyptian people would be guardians of the Islamic Awakening and not allow Egypt to return to being the Zionist Regime’s backyard like [in Hosni Mobarak’s] government.”
    • "Wahhabism is a political party created by the English, which advances with murder and killing. Our expectation of the Sunni ulama is that, alongside fighting the effects of such violence, they fight the cause of it and plainly announce that Wahhabism has nothing to do with Islam. We will never consider Sunni brothers as equal with Wahhabism and the books that Sunnis have written to condemn Wahhabism [were written] before the Shi’a doctrine.”
  • Former President Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed sanctions, the 2013 elections, recent regional developments, and Sunni participation in the elections:
    • “Some incorrect policies [caused] the country to face issues that we must transform into opportunities for constructive interaction with the world.”
    • "The participation of more than 72% of the people in the elections was an example of democracy, which enabled us to hold such healthy and honorable elections within two weeks, to the extent that even mercenaries confessed to recognize this mass democratic presence.”
    • “One of the necessities of the world of Islam is the maintenance of total unity.”
    • “85% voter participation in some Sunni areas demonstrates the extent of their support for the Islamic system and the rule of moderation.”
  • Followers of the Velayat Principlist Faction Central Council member Javad Jahangir announced his support for cooperation with Reformists.
  • In separate fatwas, senior Shi’a clerics Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and Grand Ayatollahs Vahid Khorasani and Naser Makarem Shirazi prohibited their followers from wearing neck ties. According to Khamenei, “Overall, wearing ties and others clothes that are considered non-Muslim clothing, [since] wearing them causes the spread of decadent Western culture, is prohibited.”
  • The Eighth National Islamic Republic of Iran Biotechnology Conference and the Fourth National Environmental Security and Iranian Genetic Engineering Conferences will inaugurate tomorrow with a message of support from President-elect Hassan Rouhani.

Regional Developments

  • Qatari Emir Sheikh Tamim bin Hamad al-Khalifa gave Khalid Mashal, head of the Hamas political bureau, 48 hours to leave Qatar and confirmed that the Muslim Brotherhood offices in Qatar would also be closed. In the wake of Morsi’s downfall, Qatar, which had previously given vigorous defense to the Brotherhood in Egypt, announced that it would not shelter any political groups. Sheikh Tamim said that Qatar would cooperate with nations and states, but not political parties, and that his government "was not the Muslim Brotherhood." 
  • The African Union revoked Egyptian membership after the army coup which toppled Morsi on Wednesday. An unnamed senior African Union official explained that it was better after the steps taken by the army in dissolving political rule and pushing aside the elected president of this country, which constitute an illegal transfer of power, that the continuation of Egypt's presence in the African Union be prevented.
  • An editorial in the conservative newspaper Asr-e Iran discusses the reason for Morsi’s downfall, explaining that Morsi and his companions wrongly assumed that everyone in Egyptian society who was Muslim, was necessarily a supporter of political Islam and the legalized-compulsory Islamization of public life. Even the support of 33% of Egyptians for the Brotherhood’s manipulation of the constitution, could not introduce this elite Islamist consideration of Egyptian society into the social weight and political ability of the opposition party.

Diplomacy

  • Interior Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar signed a memorandum of cooperation with China to form joint Iranian-Chinese operational groups to combat narcotics, money laundering, human trafficking and passport fraud.
  • Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Eraghchi traveled to Myanmar and met with Myanmar’s Religious Affairs Minister San Sint to discuss the status of Myanmar’s Muslim population and Iranian humanitarian aid to the country. Eraghchi will meet with the Foreign Minister of Myanmar as well during this visit. 
  • Iranian ambassador to Beirut Ghazanfar Roknabadi confirmed Thursday that the four Iranian diplomats kidnapped in Lebanon 31 years ago are still alive in Israeli prisons, and he called on the international community to put pressure on Israel to free them. The call came at a ceremony observing the anniversary of the event in Beirut, and was attended by various Middle Eastern diplomats and the wives of the four captured diplomats. 
  • The Iranian Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi met Friday with Zimbabwe’s Defense Minister Emmerson Mnangagwa to discuss the two countries’ cooperation on a group of defense-related scientific and educational projects. Mnangagwa expressed his support for the Iranian peaceful nuclear program and condemned foreign intervention in Syria, and Salehi expressed his hopes that this visit might represent the beginning of a new stage in Harare-Tehran relations. After Zimbabwe, he will travel to Comoros and then Namibia. 

Military and Security

  • IRGC Quds Force Commander MG Qassem Suleimani discussed the value of the Iran-Iraq War at the commemoration of Malek Ashtar Brigade commanders and martyrs:
    • “No document in Iran is higher than the documents of the Sacred War.”
    • “The era of Sacred Defense was a religious exhibition and some religious values after the Sacred Defense penetrated society and transformed society.” 
  • Chief of the Artesh General Staff BG Amir Mohammad Hossein Dadras announced that the military’s budget is not compatible with “enemy threats, but due to Iranian honor zeal, the country’s military power has reached an acceptable level by relying on defense [industry] achievements."
  • Senior Military Adviser to the Supreme Leader MG Yahya Safavi discussed the necessity of using the latest technologies to preserve national documents as part of the country’s identity:
    • “Scientific cooperation in providing documents and scientific research, and by taking advantage of foreign resources and connecting with scientific documents of other countries, can precipitate rapid scientific progress in the country.”
    • “Waqf [religious endowments] can prevent cultural poverty in the field of books and literacy. We must head toward that direction in regard to books and literacy, so that through waqf resources and encouraging individuals to [provide] endowments with this goal, [we can engage] in cultural creation.”
    •  “It should be a priority to facilitate access to academic resources for students and researchers at the National Library.”
    • “The National Library has been part of the national identity and the use of the latest technologies is necessary for the preservation of scientific documents.”
    • “A society in which all segments [of the population] do not enjoy fair cultural benefits cannot have a growing and healthy culture, and such a society does not grow either in the material dimension or in the spiritual dimension.”
    • “The expansion of National Library services must be pursued in other province centers in addition to Tehran. The approach of province officials in creating and strengthening National Library branches must be a positive approach in the direction of strengthening National Library provincial services.” 

Economy

  • Oil Minister Rostam Qassemi spoke before Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami's address and announced that the expansion of the oil and gas industry will continue despite sanctions, and that they currently employ more than 100,000 workers. He added that seventeen phases of Southern Pars Gas fields are under construction and that five new phases will be operational by the end of the summer. In reaction to recently imposed sanctions, he said, “We do not welcome sanctions, but in current circumstances, this government which came to power in Iran with the slogan of interaction with the world must be given an opportunity before the imposition of new sanctions, but they did not delay these." 
  • Industry, Mining and Trade Economic and Industry Affairs Deputy Mohsen Salehi Niya announced that the current level of auto manufacturing production is not at a desirable level.

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