– Ebtikar criticizes covering up of scandals in Iran
– Jahan Sanaat handles the US Republicans’ plan for a 10-year extension of sanctions
Iranian News Roundup
– Zarif to hold talks in Moscow on Friday.
– Suleimani in Mosul operations room.
– Tehran’s Attorney General denies retrial of Rafsanjani’s son.
– Iran claims its readiness to participate in the international peace operations.
– Iran and India to wrap up gas field deal by March.
– A cleric calls officials to improve the Iranian economy.
Ebticar Newspaper: From Unnecessary Secrecy to Essential Transparency
An editorial in Thursday’s Ebticar newspaper condemned government efforts to cover up scandals in Iran, saying that this policy backfires by ensuring that the scandals spread even faster via the grapevine, with their impact becoming far stronger than it might otherwise have been. The editorialist said that transparency is essential to enable Iran to confront the problems facing it.
As examples of government efforts to cover up scandals, the writer cited the cases of accusations of child rape against Khamenei’s favourite Quranic recitalist Saeed Toosi, and of the Tehran mayor’s alleged handouts of large tracts of prime real estate land and properties in the capital worth billions of dollars to friends and family members, which was followed by the arrest of Yashar Sultani, the journalist who published documents exposing this corruption.
All of these cases and others have attracted unprecedented attention from traditional media and social media due to the lack of transparency in coverage from the start, the editorialist asserted, adding that if they had been treated with openness, the issues could have been resolved by now.
The leadership’s efforts to cover up these scandals and to deny what’s happening, no matter what, leads only to mistrust and serves to pique public curiosity and imagination, encouraging the people to construct elaborate lies and fantasy scenarios, the writer continued, stating that the people could not be blamed for this reaction since the facts concerning the cases had not been available to them since the beginning.
As a result of these official cover-ups, people are not willing to wait for predictable official media statements about these scandals, but instead follow reports on social media, the writer asserted, adding that over the past six months Iranian society has been bombarded by an unbroken chain of major scandals concerning every aspect of the regime, including revelations about astronomical salaries being paid to Rouhani administration officials, the discovery of Ahmadinejad’s ownership of billions of dollars in US treasury bonds, and government officials’ massive embezzlement from the teachers’ pensions fund, as well as the other scandals mentioned above. The writer concluded by stating that all of these scandals and the government’s efforts to cover them up mean that the Iranian regime no longer can claim financial integrity and moral chastity, with its mask now slipping off entirely.
Jahan Sanaat Newspaper: Game of Republicans with sanctions against Iran
Thursday’s Jahan Sanaat newspaper featured an editorial concerning the US Republican party’s plans to introduce legislation which would extend sanctions on Iran for another decade. The editorialist said that despite the ability of the nuclear deal brokered by the Democrat administration of Obama to reduce tensions in US-Iranian relations, it seems that these will continue for a lot longer than expected due to the US parties’ partisan vision and the shift in policy with the upcoming presidential elections
Republicans believe that Iran is supporting violent extremist groups in the Middle East, such as Hezbollah, Hamas and Islamic Jihad in Palestine, said the editorial, adding that from the perspective of Republicans, any support for Iran would contribute to the country’s support for overthrowing the United States’ allies in the region. Republicans also believe that Iran is not interested in establishing peace between Arabs and Israel and that Iran has an organized presence and keeps interfering in Middle East countries affairs, in particular through instigating regional crises. Therefore, says the editorialist, Republicans feel the need to implement a system of sanctions against Iran to force it to abandon its hostile policy toward other Middle Eastern nations. The editorial concludes by expressing hope that Obama will use the veto on the Congress’ decisions in the remaining period of his presidential term to thwart the draft penalties against Iran since it also seems unlikely that the Senate will approve these sanctions.
Donyai Eghtisad Newspaper: Iranian economic bridge to Europe roof
An editorial in Thursday’s Donyai Eghtisad Newspaper analyses the future of economic relations between Iran and Finland, coinciding with a visit to Iran by the Finnish president accompanied by a high-ranking politico-economic delegation.
Initial talks between the senior Iranian and Finnish officials concluded that the current lack of banking ties is the most important problem to resolve in improving the economic relations between the two countries. The present round of talks is the third between the two countries since the signing of the nuclear deal in 2015, with four bilateral cooperation agreements being signed to date in the field of energy, communications, technology, environment and joint investments. The editorial pointed out that the trade exchange between the two countries in 2006 had reached 200 million Euros, falling by 2014 to 23 million Euros under international sanctions.
Iran has a great opportunity to cooperate with Finland, especially in the fields of natural resources and communications technology, as well as in waste recycling projects, the editorialist stated, with the European nation also providing another market for Iran’s ever-increasing export of petrochemical products. It seems, however, that Iran’s petrochemical industry is unlikely to benefit from the Finnish market due to competition from Russia in this field. Perhaps the most ambitious proposals from the Iranian side is to complete the unfinished parts of the railway line linking Iran with Finland, through Russian territory.
♦ Qassem Suleimani in the Public Mobilization Forces Operations room
The Iraqi Public Mobilization Forces have launched extensive operations in western Mosul although the American pressure.
On the other hand, an Iraqi well-connected source said that the public forces are waiting for orders of the Iraqi Prime Minister Haider Alabadi who is waiting for an American green light that is exerting high pressure about the role of these forces. Another Iraqi figure also confirmed arrival of Qassem Suleimani in the Public Mobilization Operations room that will play an advisory role in the operations
♦ New gas agreement between Iran and India
The India OVL Company has declared that it will sign a new agreement with Iran to develop Farzad B gas field with 18.75 trillion cubic feet by March.
India is the second importer of Iran’s oil after China and seeks to boost trade ties with Iran after lifting the sanctions imposed on Tehran.
Abrar Eghtisadi Newspaper
♦ Cleric: Iranian officials have to improve the Iranian economy
The Iranian cleric, Safi Jalbaijani, in his meeting with Secretary General of the Higher Council of National Security, Ali Shamkhani, stressed on dedicating all efforts of officials to improve the economic and living conditions in Iran. On his side, Shamkhani presented a special report about crises management in Iran.
♦ Tehran’s Attorney General denies retrial of Rafsanjani’s son
Tehran’s Attorney General Ja’fari Dawlat Abadi has denied the news about accepting a request for Mahdi Hashemi Rafsanjani’s retrial, asserting that the defendant made the request but was rejected by the higher court.
♦ ISIS Leader killed in Iran
When Abu Baker Albaghdadi declared himself the Muslim Caliph, he was only 20 miles away from Iran, and the domination of the ISIS of Diyala Province was a significant threat to the country, which made Iran dispatch hundreds of thousands of revolutionary guards to fight side by side with the Kurdish and the Iraqi Bader forces that have strong ties with the Iranian regime in order to counter the ISIS.
Nowadays, Iran is participating in the war in Iraq to eliminate the ISIS. The Iranian Intelligence Minister Mahmoud Alawi has many times claimed the arrest of terrorists belongs to this organization close to the Iranian borders.
Last September the Iranian security forces announced killing Abu Aisha Alkurdi and another leader in the neighboring city of Kermanshah.
Earlier, an Iranian anonymous official claimed that Abu Aisha Alkurdi, Assistant of Operations in the Isis was eliminated with his group after entering Kermanshah province in Iran to launch terrorist attacks.
Afkar News Site
♦ Baha’i General Assembly: A Baha’i was killed in Yazd out of religious hatred
Baha’i International Committee said that two persons had killed Farhangi Amiri 63 in Yazd because of his religious beliefs. The committee added that the offenders went to his house under the pretext of buying his car and stabbed him in the chest. The murderers were captured and admitted that they killed him because of his religion.
Farda Radio Site
♦ Khoshro: Iran ready to join UN peacekeeping missions
In the meeting of the Fourth Committee of the UN on peacekeeping missions, Iran’s permanent envoy to the UN, Golam Khoshro claimed that Iran is ready to contribute to the UN peacekeeping missions by providing personnel and logistic equipment.