– Ebtikar discusses the future of North Iraq after the war in Mosul.
– Ebtikar also handles the Venezuelan president’s visit to Iran and Khamenei’s views about South America.
Iranian News Roundup
– 2000 young Iranians buy out their military service every day.
– MP: cabinet reshuffle came about for electoral purposes and had no impact on peoples’ lives.
– Teachers funds embezzlement cannot be elapsed.
Resalat newspaper: The risk of political poison in the Ministry of Education’s meal
An editorial in Sunday’s Resalat newspaper evaluated the performance of the Minister of Education dismissed recently by Rouhani. The editorialist condemned what he said was the lack of progress in Iran’s education sector, which he claimed had deteriorated since the early 1990s when it was rebuilt under the leadership of the Rafsanjani government.
The editorial said that the real reason behind Rouhani’s sacking of the ministers of education, youth, and sports was the weakness of their management style, despite evidence to the contrary, dismissing claims by the former culture minister that he was fired for holding music concerts which the fundamentalist lobby disapproved of, as well as other issues.
Rouhani’s reformist associates are hoping to attain the leadership of these ministries since they believe that their policies will have a positive effect in reconstructing these ministries and have a particular interest in these areas, the editorialist asserted. Further asserting that Ali Asghar Fani, the former Minister of Education, was a victim of reconciliation between Rouhani and the reformists.
It should be noted that the editorial ignored the fact that the new Minister of Culture, Sayed Abbas Salehi, is a cleric who formerly ran the Islamic Dawa office in Hawza in Qom, which rather makes a nonsense of claims that the cabinet reshuffle could be considered to represent a policy of appeasement for the reformists. It is, in reality, closer to ratification of the agreement between Rouhani and Khamenei; indeed, there is an expanded deal between Rouhani and the fundamentalists, led by Khamenei, to allow Rouhani to win the next presidential elections in exchange for sacrificing his reformist alliances.
The editorialist continued by warning that under the reformist leadership, the education ministry has suffered damage to the work done to rebuild and strengthen it under the Rafsanjani government in the 1990s, warning that reformists had attempted to eradicate the education system’s ideological orientation and to introduce a degree of secularism. The writer further accused reformists of presenting what he said were “perverted” changes in textbooks and the education curriculum in Iran, especially in subjects such as history, particularly the history of the Islamic revolution. Moreover, in introducing sex education for children under the pretext of preventing the spread of AIDS and other sexually transmitted diseases. As well as by indoctrinating children with liberal principles. The editorialist further claimed that reformist leadership of the ministry had resulted in corruption, such as embezzlement of funds from the teachers’ pension fund, adding that these corrupt policies had been encouraged under the recently dismissed minister Ali Ashgar Fani.The writer continued by alleging that the education ministry had implemented partisan and secular policies rather than focusing on providing a proper specialist education.
The editorial concluded with a call to avoid any recurrence of these policies by future education ministers, adding that no minister should elevate the values of political affiliation over the public interest or undermine the values of experience and specialization. The general message from the editorial is that the ultra-conservative wing of the nominally reformist lobby in Iran will now have control of the education sector, with this faction believing firmly in the importance of making the values of the Iranian Islamic revolution’s ideology central to the education process. Moreover, fearing possible changes wrought by any deviation from this by fewer hardline reformists, due to a worry that this might lead to what they deem unacceptable changes in Iranian culture and the public’s worldview.
Ebticar newspaper: Difficult test for Abadi
An editorial in Sunday’s Ebticar newspaper offered an insight into the Iranian regime’s view of the ongoing military operations in Mosul, and the future of northern Iraq after these are concluded. The editorial began by noting a close correlation between the battle of Mosul and the future of the war in Syria, claiming that the United States and its allies are opening the way for elements of ISIS to escape from Mosul to Syria to support groups opposed to Bashar al-Assad.
It can be clearly seen that ISIS easily gained and retained control of Mosul over the past almost two years due to the weakness of the [Tehran-controlled] central government in Baghdad and its inability to create any meaningful national reconciliation between the country’s various ethnic minorities and different Iraqi groups. Along with the absence of any strong motivation amongst Iraqi forces to oppose ISIS and protect the city. These factors, along with the divisions among the decision-makers in Baghdad and the gathering of the remaining Saddam’s army troops and the Baath Party in Mosul, all contribute to the speed of the fall of Mosul and ISIS’s continuing presence there.
A disturbing aspect of the editorial is that it peddles the favorite regime line that one of the primary reasons for the fall of Mosul to ISIS is that the city is predominantly Sunni. The editorialist claimed ludicrously that the people there welcomed ISIS due to their hopes of ridding themselves of rule by the Shiite-dominated government in Baghdad. After two years, the editorialist claimed, the people had realized that ISIS had brought them Hell rather than the Paradise he claims it had promised them. Such claims, which are increasingly popular in Iranian media, seek to legitimize the Shiite militias’ crimes against Sunnis in areas of Iraq controlled by ISIS as a form of “revenge” against the terrorist group, despite the fact that the Sunni civilians are also ISIS’s primary victims.
The editorial also warns of a significant probability that ISIS will return to attack Iraqi territory after they are expelled from Mosul if they manage to escape to Syria, adding that this would increase their strength in the areas they control there. Therefore, it concludes, the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi should call for the creation of a national reconciliation body in Iraq to avoid any recurrence of the events of two years ago.
As the world has seen since the start of the operations, however, Abadi wishes to make changes in the demographic fabric in Iraq’s Sunni regions
Iran Newspaper: Iran and Venezuela relations are advancing
The editorial in today’s Iran newspaper lauds the current visit to Tehran by Venezuela’s President Nicolas Maduro within the framework of joint programs for the two countries to improve political and economic relations. The editorial says that this visit comes in response to Rouhani’s visit to Venezuela two months ago in the framework of the meeting of non-aligned countries and because of the direct invitation by Rouhani to the Venezuelan President to visit Iran.
While Venezuelan-Iranian relations blossomed during the Ahmadinejad era, they were largely stagnant during the first three years of Rouhani’s presidency. However, are once again flourishing following intervention by Khamenei, whose political vision prioritizes the goal of establishing a strong Iranian presence in Central and South America to goad the USA and send a message to Washington reminding it of Iran’s ability to access it from its own ‘back garden’, so to speak.
US concerns over this were reflected during the last month in a resolution passed by the US Congress, commissioning the US Department of Defense to prepare periodic reports on Russian-Iranian rapprochement in several areas, including the Iranian presence in South America and the impact of this in strengthening the Russian presence in South American countries. The editorial says that despite the fact that Venezuela is currently experiencing an economic crisis, it is a good market for Iran, which can benefit from its expertise in the oil sector and from importing related engineering and technical services to Iran.
That may also be a means of strengthening the recent decision by Iran to prioritize local companies when rewarding oil contracts; although Iran needs external expertise in its oil sector it does not wish to involve Western companies in such major contracts, with Venezuela providing a preferable alternative to the Iranian regime.
♦ Iranian Scholar: internet close down is a religious duty
Scholar Marji’ Subhani has warned of the adverse internet impact on the beliefs of the Iranian young and called for adopting free and controllable internet by the government.
“When the internet entered the country, it was promoted as a mean of communications with the world and one characteristic of the 21 century, Subhani said. “After two years the internet became very dangerous, and all young Iranians could easily get to Baha’i and Christian propaganda that curse the Prophet and the Imam.”
Subahani added, “In the beginning, our enemies sought to ruin Iran through military approach but failed; now they are trying to do that by the cultural approach from the inside through the internet,”
“Evil comes from America, so why not adopt independent internet in Iran away from the U.S.?” Subhani wondered.
The scholar concluded, “The internet drags young Iranians to deviation and bombards their beliefs, which means that it is a religious duty to close it down gradually and adopt an independent internet.”
♦ President-General of Tehran’s justice administration ensures neutrality in the elections
President of Tehran’s higher court, Gholam Hussein Isma’ili stressed on dealing with local officials within the law and following up with land and natural resources encroachment through a group that preserve the treasury and assure complete neutrality during the next elections. He added, “Judges are committed to promoting justice and equality for all components of the society, and in the case of any disputes, their job is to achieve justice for all.”
♦ Iran signs 10 MoUs with international oil companies
Assistant head of the Iranian Oil Company for engineering affairs, Golam Riza Manotshahri said that Iran had signed ten memoranda of understanding and six more to be signed shortly in the oil sector.
♦ MP: cabinet reshuffle came about for electoral purposes and had no impact on peoples’ lives
About the cabinet reshuffle, Kermanshah MP Abdul Reza Masri said, “The government does not sign lifetime contracts with ministers; such changes frequently happen, especially governments that are running a second term.”
“The reasons behind these changes are inefficiency, lack of coordination, and political considerations,” Masri added. “When cabinet reshuffle happens for political reasons, people will be satisfied more.”
In his response to the resignation of the minister of education Masri said, “Although the minister of education has a long experience and assumed many positions in the ministry, he could not meet teachers’ demands because he did not assume control over those funds, which means that he was expelled in order to take the blame over all violations in the ministry rather than the government due to the approach of the presidential elections.”
Masri has also commented on the resignation of the three Iranian ministers saying, “Incompetence of these ministers resulted from the funds allotted at their disposal, had they received enough funds, they could have achieved the incomplete projects and satisfy people.” He added, “Minister of Economy is responsible for all expenditures and abides by the government’s policies to eliminate inflation.”
In fact, the three ministers have resigned to cool down matters and give more chances to the government to fulfill the promises it has given before the elections, which confirms that the cabinet reshuffle came about for electoral purposes,” Masri concluded
♦ 2000 young Iranians buy out their military service every day
Last year one million and 500 thousand young Iranians were included in the “buy out” military service. 320 thousand registered the previous year and 140 thousand have done registration so far this year.
Deputy Chief of Enlistment and Public Service, Brigadier Ibrahim Karimi said that the army would be sending letters to soldiers that have gone AWOL, noting that if these individuals do not respect deadlines and do not determine their position toward enlistment, they will be prosecuted.
Karimi revealed that 140 thousand have registered to buy out their military service, noting that the registration process in still running and 2000 individuals register every day.
♦ Crisis of teachers’ fund embezzlement cannot be elapsed through political maneuver
In reference to the latest political events in Iran and the expel of three ministers of Rouhani’s government, political officer of the Basij forces in Tehran’s universities Mujtabi Thabiti said, “in time the minister of education was supposed to respond to the fuss on the embezzlement of teachers’ funds and inform the media of the facts, and what has actually happened, he was expelled, which is a political action that has given the government a chance rather than undergoes an investigation.”
Thabiti added, “The difference between Babic Zinjani and the minister of education regarding embezzlement and its size is that Zinjani did not steal from the funds of the poor, he stole from oil networks. Both have to be punished, but the punishment of the minister of education should be uncompromising.”
Thabiti continued, “It seems that the cabinet reshuffle is a political strategy and an introduction to the elections of 2017, but people cannot be deceived by such political manipulation.” He added, “Rouhani is a smart person, but the crisis of the ministry of education has reached a level that cannot be covered by these games of politics.”