– Sharq handled the speculations over the situation of the Minister of Culture who is undecided about leaving or staying.
Iranian News Roundup
– Iran and Pakistan to ditch dollar in bilateral trade.
– India is flooded with Iranian oil.
– 80% unemployment rate in some Iranian cities.
– Zarif attends Lausanne meetings on Syria.
– Iraqchi appears before the parliamentary national security committee.
– Iran to attend the next Islamic Cooperation Council.
Ministry Slays Ministers
An editorial in Saturday’s Shargh newspaper comments on the news that Ali Jannati, the Iranian Minister of Culture, has been abruptly dismissed from his position. The editorial states that if even Jannati was unable to retain his job, the future of other personnel at the culture ministry is even more uncertain.
The editorialist names some other ministry officials who reportedly also face dismissal, including Safar Harandi, and Ataullah Mohajerani, claiming that they seem set to join the former minister shortly.
The editorialist further suggests that the reason for the minister’s dismissal may be the partisan political battles between different groups within the government leadership, with the conservative lobby’s criticism often focusing on reformists’ various interpretations of culture and Iranian societal identity: Jannati, a reformist, came under sharp attack from conservatives in the leadership from the first day of his appointment, and was viewed as arguably the only moderate minister in Rouhani’s administration. Another possible reason mooted for his dismissal is the settling of political scores between different government factions.
The editorial sharply criticized Rouhani, asserting that while he used to talk about moderation during his first presidential term, he has in fact implemented policies which are far more radical at the cultural level, with the editorialist asserting that Rouhani may even have brought back the Dark Ages of the Ahmadinejad era to Iranian culture.
Rouhani lost the argument on state censorship of literature, the editorial asserted, leaving Jannati to protest that the government should not be able to control the production of all cultural materials unilaterally. Jannati was also left alone to face the conservatives’ attacks, with his ministry unable to stage the cultural events planned under his leadership and approved by him, the editorial continued, with the showing of films and the publication of books which he had endorsed being routinely banned, and concerts which he also supported being canceled. It was inevitable in this climate that Jannati would be victimized for his supportive position towards cultural events, the editorial suggested, asking how, in this situation, Rouhani could implement the plans for political development which he spoke of when he had sacrificed the cultural development which is the bedrock of policies and other development.
Another possibility is that Rouhani had made the same calculations as the former president Hashem Rafsanjani who sacked the minister of culture in his administration.
A further clue on the reasoning behind Jannati’s dismissal unmentioned by the editorial is that it may have been prompted by other recent events, including a public statement issued two months ago by the prominent, politically influential clerical union of Qum Hawza in which they warned that their continuing support for the government was conditional on its commitment to the religious and revolutionary values espoused by the Islamic Republic. Rouhani’s response to the clerics’ statement was not published, but Khamenei’s unusual decision to publicize his advice to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad not to stand in next year’s election could be seen as an indication that Rouhani may have agreed to mollify the conservative clerics to maintain his position as president.
There is unlikely to be a compromise for Rouhani’s more moderate approach, which has previously upset the clergy, with most believing that it’s probable he will agree to shun the reformist lobby to receive Khamenei’s approval for his second presidential term. In return for being given a relatively free hand in dealing with the West to maximize Iran’s gains from its nuclear deal, it’s believed that Rouhani would commit himself to adhering to and aligning himself with Khamenei’s fundamentalist policies domestically. Signs of such a trade-off have already emerged, with Rouhani’s recent speech at the UN in New York already paying dividends for the regime, while Iran domestically has been growing more authoritarian.
The white cane: an urgent need for black thoughts
An editorial in Saturday’s Afarinesh newspaper condemned what it said were the “Black Thoughts” taking control of Iranians’ minds and making them incapable of assessing the right path on all issues, whether economic, social or cultural.
The editorialist, Hamid Reza Askari, said that all the methods used to help the blind should be deployed in helping the people to overcome this threat, including a metaphorical white cane. Askari explained that Saturday’s date, October 15, was the sixty-sixth anniversary of UNESCO’s announcement of the adoption of a white cane as a symbol of independence for the blind in 1950. He added that some officials suggested that sighted people should try spending time with their eyes closed on that day to discover what the blind live with permanently. He further suggested that those who close their eyes metaphorically to their reality and duties should also use a figurative white cane of conscience to guide themselves towards the right path, whether they wish to follow it or not.
The lack of such a metaphorical white cane in the minds of many Iranians had led the people to take the wrong path without heeding their social reality, the editorialist warned. He added that this behavior had resulted in crises afflicting many aspects of the people’s lives, from social problems to financial dilemmas, with any escape from these crises becoming onerous and costly.
Askari asserted that Iranians must return to the right path using their mental ‘white cane’ to guide them in dealing with an issue such as marriage, divorce, women’s head-coverings, and other problems afflicting Iran’s society. He added that the guidance offered by this metaphorical white cane is the only way to escape these crises and expressing hope that all members of the community, from leadership officials to ordinary citizens would cling tightly to their white canes to guide them on the right path.
From the beginning, these issues have deviated from the right track and become difficult to reform. The white stick of mind is the only way to pave the crises. I hope all members of the community from officials and citizens cling to them.
♦ Iran and Pakistan to ditch dollar in bilateral trade
Iran and Pakistan have agreed to ditch U.S. dollar in bilateral trade and replace it with the local currencies of both countries. The agreement was signed by the Pakistani ministry of commerce with the Iranian ambassador to Pakistan to boost trade ties between the two nations.
♦ A good-bye meeting for the Iranian ambassador in Syria with the Syrian prime minister
The Iranian ambassador to Syria Mohammed Riza Raof Shaibani has met the Syrian Prime Minister Imad Mohammed Dib Khamis at the end of the five-year mission of the Iranian ambassador in Syria. Khamis expressed his appreciation to the efforts of the Iranian ambassador in enhancing cooperation between the two countries and gave him an Arabic sword as a souvenir
♦ Rouhani’s brother gives an $1100 carpet gift to an American official
The American federal registration department has released a list of the gifts the American officials received from their counterparts in the world during the past years. The list included Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif, the Iranian president’s brother Hussein Faridoun, and Deputy Foreign Minister for international and legal affairs Abbas Iraqchi. According to the list, Zarif gave a book titled “Rosum Ustad Frashichian” to his American counterpart John Kerry on January 16th, 2015, on September 28 Hussein Faridoun gave an $1100 carpet to the American democratic diplomat Windy Sharman. Also on September 28th, 2015, Abbass Araqchi also gave another $1150 carpet gift to Sharman.
♦ After eight years breakup, new Moroccan ambassador arrives in Tehran
Moroccan has appointed a new ambassador to Iran, after severing ties since 2008. The Moroccan ambassador Hassan Hami will represent his country in Iran after working as an ambassador for Morocco in Azerbaijan.
Arman Amroz Newspaper
♦ 80% unemployment rate in some Iranian cities
Head of the Anti-drug Committee in the Expediency Discernment Council, Ali Hashimi said that the real unemployment rate in some Iranian cities had reached 70% and 80%. He also denied statistics that revealed 2.5 million addicts in Iran saying that the number exceeds 4 million, and the number of single young is 11 million and 200 thousand people.
♦ India is flooded with the Iranian oil
India has recently received two million barrels of the Iranian oil as a first shipment of the 6 million barrels agreed. The Indian stockpile capacity is 12 million barrels; 6 million from Iran and the other six will be provided by the UAE and Kingdom of Saudi Arabia.
Abrar Eghtisadi Newspaper
♦ Zarif attends Lausanne meetings on Syria
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammed Javad Zarif has left Tehran headed to the Swiss city of Lausanne to attend the meetings on Syria accompanied by Hussein Jabiri Ansari, deputy minister of the Arab and African Affairs. In addition to Zarif, foreign ministers of Russia, the U.S, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and Qatar have confirmed participation. In his visit Zarif is
Earlier, Tehran has expressed its rejection of the involvement in the meeting, but later Zarif has decided to participate in negotiating about certain issues and adding three countries to the list.
♦ Iraqchi appears before the parliamentary National Security Committee
National Security and Foreign Policy Committee in the Iranian parliament, Hussein Naqavi said that Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal Affairs, Abbas Iraqchi had attended the meeting of the parliamentary Nuclear Committee that reports to the National Security Committee to respond to the questions asked by representatives about the implementation of the deal. Naqavi added that the Nuclear Committee is now working on preparing the biannual report on the implementation of the nuclear deal.
♦ Iran to attend the next Islamic Cooperation meeting
Uzbekistan’s Deputy-Foreign Minister, Gairat Fadil Ef announced that Iran would be participating in the 43rd session of the Islamic Cooperation Organization in the capital Tashqand on October 18th and 19th. He added the following countries would be involved in the meeting,
Azerbaijan, Afghanistan, Bahrain, Yemen, Indonesia, Jordan, Qatar, Kuwait, Malaysia, Maldives Islands, Nigeria, Pakistan, Palestine, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Tajikistan, and Turkey. The Uzbek official also announced the attendance of Secretary General of the organization Iyad Madani and president of the Islamic “Development” Bank Bandar Hajjar. Representatives of the United States, France, Italy, Britain, Switzerland, the United Nations, the European Organization for Security Cooperation, the Economic Cooperation Organization, the Asian Cooperation Council, in addition to many other Organizations will also be attending.
“During the meeting, Kuwait will hand over the presidency of the organization to Uzbekistan for the next year,” Madani declared.