The editorial of Jahan Sanat written by “reformist” academic Sadegh Zibakalam predicts that the new hardline Parliament will table a “show impeachment” against Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, blaming all issues and problems on him and his government.
The recent session of the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif in Parliament was indicative of the relationship between the new lawmakers and the government. Evidently, the “hardline” lawmakers who have the majority in the new Parliament are not going to pay attention to any positive remarks about Iran’s foreign relations. So, no matter what Zarif tells them, they will not believe him.
Therefore, Zarif should pursue any foreign policy that he and other officials think is in line with national interests and must not pay attention to the “hardliners”. The “hardliners” only want Zarif to chant revolutionary slogans like “Death to America and Israel.” If he says such things, they will not have any problems with him. But if for instance he says it is not Iran’s duty to destroy Israel, he will be immediately summoned to Parliament to answer a few questions!
Zarif should not pay attention to the Parliament and the “hardliners”, as they will object to any non-“hardline” views. This was quite predictable from the beginning. This is what the “hardliners” have been reiterating for years, blaming all issues and difficulties on the performance of Hassan Rouhani and his government.
For years, we have witnessed that the “hardliners” have blamed Rouhani and continuously attacked him. Under these circumstances, it is very likely that they will to try to impeach Rouhani. However, I do not think that impeaching Rouhani will be a serious issue or the Parliament will vote to oust him. In other words, Iran’s establishment will not allow the Parliament to do so.
This will be a “show impeachment” to put all the blame on Rouhani and his government. The status quo will last until the 12th government’s term automatically comes to an end next year.
But the main question remains: when Rouhani’s term comes to an end, what are the “hardliners” going to do, particularly given the fact that the country’s revenues are so low?
Poverty Is not Suitable for the Fifth Richest Country in the World
The editorial of Akhbar Sanat suggests steps that must be taken to fight poverty in Iran – which is one of the richest countries in the world.
The issue and extent of poverty has impacted and pushed low-income families towards misery. Poverty should be the main concern for all officials. The rate of poverty reflected in statistics has increased the risk of social ills and crimes.
Iran is the fifth richest county in the world, which makes poverty unacceptable; Iran’s abundance of natural resources means that it has the capacity for economic growth and to eliminate poverty. The first step in decreasing poverty and increasing public welfare is to stop the government’s unnecessary squandering of public money. The other step is that the taxation system in Iran needs restructuring because it puts all the pressure on low-income families, while it is heaven for the rich and those who evade paying their taxes.
On the other hand, Iran’s banking system must change and all its policies must be revised. The Central Bank of Iran must tell private banks that they are not private businesses. The activities of the banking system and businesses are very different, as banks pave the way for growth in economic productivity.
Bank must serve public interests. Unfortunately, the statistics show that banks in Iran have used public financial resources to their own advantage. In other words, public resources have not been used to improve living standards and the economy.
Most certainly, with the abovementioned economic reforms, as well as other issues that have been emphasized by economic experts, poverty in society can be uprooted. The abovementioned reforms have worked in countries that are much poorer than Iran. So, if taxation, banking, and digital policies are reformed, poverty will soon be contained. Iran has this competence, but there must be a will to use it to benefit the people.
We Should not Have High Hopes With Regard to Russia and China or the US Election Outcome
The editorial of Setareh Sobh argues that Iran should not count on support from Russia and China in dealing with tensions that exist between it and the United States, emphasizing that waiting for the outcome of the US election in November is also not wise.
Along with escalating tensions between Tehran and Washington, the policy of relying on the East is being more favored in Iran. The evidence shows that despite the efforts of different Iranian governments to create a balanced relationship with the East and the West, recent events have pushed Iran towards the East. This turnaround is because of the US maximum economic and political pressure campaign against Iran.
The policy of turning towards the East has been adopted even though Russia has nothing to offer but weapons. China, in addition to weapons, provides poor-quality goods and technologies. There have been some people in Iran who have always advocated an aggressive policy in foreign relations – a policy which has always resulted in increasing sanctions and the issuance of six UN Security Council resolutions against Iran.
Last week, the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) board of governors issued a resolution against Iran, while the UN Security Council also accused Iran of being involved in missile attacks against Saudi oil facilities. At the board of governors meeting, China and Russia did not do much to persuade other members to stop the resolution.
These two countries have objected to the US resolution in the UN Security Council, and this will continue until the voting day. But the evidence shows that western countries are reaching a middle way by extending the UN arms embargo on Iran and Russia and China will most probably go along with them as well. The Iranian people should not forget that Russia and China signed the six other UN resolutions against Iran, which inflicted heavy financial damage on Iran.
So, Iran’s diplomatic apparatus should revise its approach towards the East and not have high hopes for Russian and Chinese support in the UN Security Council.
The main question under the current circumstances is: what should be done to avoid possible engagement with the United States? The least costly solution is to pursue diplomacy rather than adopting a military solution which is promoted by “hardliners” on both sides.
These days, Trump is only thinking of winning the upcoming presidential election. Now that he is under the pressure from his opponents and COVID-19 , it is the best time to negotiate for concessions, not after the election. It is a mistake to wait for the outcome of the US presidential election in November, because if Joe Biden wins, his team will be much tougher against Iran.
Lawmakers Should Form a Poverty Faction in Parliament
The editorial of Arman Melli urges the 11th Parliament which has started its work to form factions to deal with real problems – poverty, inflation, soaring prices, and unemployment – instead of making empty promises.
Some lawmakers in the new hardline Parliament have indicated what will be the new norm in the legislative branch. Some tweeted about going to Parliament by metro on the day when Tehran’s metro was shut down, whereas others have requested to form a Lentil and Garlic faction in Parliament!
The lawmakers should go ahead and form a poverty faction, addiction faction, unemployment faction, inflation faction, and housing faction. The poverty faction is for those fathers who are unable to cope and feel ashamed because they cannot pay the rent; the inflation faction is to control prices for workers who are unemployed and their children who cannot eat summer fruits; and the cool air faction is for those who cannot install air conditioners in areas where the temperature is above 50 degrees Celsius.
In addition to the Lentil and Garlic Faction, several other factions need to be formed to deal with and resolve real problems.
Explosion at Natanz Nuclear Facilities: Accident or Sabotage?
A recent explosion shook the Natanz nuclear facilities. A few days later, Iranian nuclear officials confirmed that extensive damage occurred at the facilities. Later, government spokesperson Ali Rabiei said that if any foreigner was behind the explosion, Iran will respond “appropriately.”
Some Iranian media outlets including Noor news, which has close links to Iran’s Supreme National Security Council, and Hamshahri called the explosion in Natanz an “attack.” They stressed that even though the evidence indicates it was caused deliberately, there is no sign of an air attack against the nuclear facilities.
Iran’s domestic media outlets have stressed, “There are many similarities between the incident in Natanz and the assassination of Sardar Qassem Soleimani.”
Meanwhile, the New York Times in a piece quoted an IRGC commander, without mentioning his name, saying that the explosion (a powerful bomb) inside the building caused extensive damage to the Natanz facilities.
Hamshahri and Noor news reported on the technical specifications of the building where the explosion took place. According to the reports, the construction of this building started in 2013 and was stopped later on due to the nuclear deal. In 2018, the building became productive. According to Behrooz Kamalvandi, spokesperson for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, the building was still under construction.
According to Hamshahri and Noor news, this building was constructed for the development of IR-2, IR-4, IR-6 centrifuges which are considered to be Iran’s advanced centrifuges.
Iranian officials tried to downplay the damage caused to the Natanz facilities, but the satellite images later released showed the extensive damage caused by the explosion.
Whatever the cause of the explosion, what is for sure is that Iran’s enrichment plan will now face severe delays. Kamalvandi has confirmed that this incident may slow down Iran’s plan to develop and produce advanced equipment.
Lawmakers Call the Foreign Minister a “Liar” Rouhani on the Road to Impeachment?
From the start, Iran’s new Parliament made its disagreements clear against Hassan Rouhani’s government and his ministers. Recently, they asked the Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to go to Parliament to answer questions on foreign relations.
As expected, Zarif’s speech at the Parliament resulted in a commotion during which several lawmakers called him a “liar” while others chanted “death to the liar.”
In reaction to those lawmakers, Zarif defended himself and his actions by referring to Iran’s supreme leader calling him “honest and courageous.” “If I lied, he [Khamenei] heard it and said Zarif is honest,” said Zarif, “And if I told the truth, he heard it and said Zarif is courageous.”
The legislator Mojtaba Zolnour accused Zarif of not establishing good relations with China, despite the supreme leader’s emphasis in this regard. He highlighted the fact that Iran has assigned no ambassador to China for a long time, “If you hadn’t let go of [Iran’s] relations with China, people would not be under such economic pressure today.”
In the meantime, a Parliament member has called for the impeachment of President Hassan Rouhani, while two others said he should be questioned.
The legislator Ali Khezrian told Fars News Agency that 200 lawmakers have signed the bill to question Hassan Rouhani and submitted it to the Parliament’s presiding board. According to the Parliament’s internal regulations, 75 signatures are needed to question the president.
Parliament members plan to ask Rouhani questions on the following issues: the decline in the value of the national currency, the chaos in the country’s housing market and auto industry, inflation, the government’s policies with regard to compensation for the damage inflicted by the coronavirus pandemic as well as the way it plans to implement the JCPOA.
IRGC Navy Commander: We Have Underground Cities in the Gulf
IRGC Navy Commander Alireza Tangsiri has said that Iran has created “missile-launching floating cities” on the southern coast of Iran, urging that they will be put on display, “when necessary.” He stressed that all ships in the Strait of Hormuz are within reach of the Islamic Republic.
Tangsiri has also pointed to cooperation between the Islamic Republic of Iran Navy and the IRGC’s naval forces, saying that Iran’s navy oversees free waters and oceans, while the activities of the IRGC’s naval forces are within the range of the Gulf.
According to Tangsiri, the IRGC has two military bases on the southern coast of Iran. Recently, it was announced that the IRGC has decided to establish a permanent naval base in the Indian Ocean.
The IRGC Navy commander also talked of creating missile cities for aerospace forces and underground bases for naval forces.
He claimed that IRGC naval forces are present all over the Gulf and the Sea of Oman, emphasizing, “Our enemies know that along the entire coasts of the Gulf and Makran, underground cities of the IRGC and army forces exist, but their intelligence is not accurate.” He said Iran’s military presence in the Gulf and the Sea of Oman is a “nightmare for the enemies.”
Tangsiri said that IRGC naval forces reconnoiter all vessels from the time they enter the Strait of Hormuz until they leave the area, adding that these vessels are closely monitored and within the reach of missiles.
Tensions have been severely escalating in Iran’s southern waters for a while. IRGC officials have made confrontational remarks regarding the United States and its allies, while American officials have issued some warnings in this regard.
The United States has officially designated the IRGC as a “foreign terrorist organization.”
MP: People Are Keeping $35 Billion in Their Homes
With the dollar and other forex currencies skyrocketing in Iran, a Tabriz legislator said that according to the Central Bank of Iran, Iranian people are keeping $35 billion in their homes.
Mohammad Hossein Farhangi noted it is not war or sanctions that can eliminate morality in a society, but long-term inflation. “According to the Central Bank, people are keeping $35 billion in their homes,” said Farhangi. He added, “Why doesn’t the government encourage people to bring their foreign currency to the market by providing the right incentives?” He said this is what society needs and is a cure for the government’s declining social capital.
Farhangi also questioned Hassan Rouhani’s administration for not coming up with a practical solution to meet the country’s basic needs. “Different countries in the world owe us more than $60 billion,” he remarked, adding Rouhani’s government should provide people with national capital.