» Trump does not represent America
It is naive to believe in Trump’s America, which is a result of a rational system based on interests, rather than individuals’ efforts. The dream is to make America as it is now– the dream that enabled Afro-American Barack Obama to reach the White House, while Trump has come to shatter this dream.
The US survival is guaranteed by its dynamic culture and open society, as well as its free economic system. Trump is an outsider; he does not take the standards and frameworks of the free global economy into account and does not defend cultural dynamics resulting from acceptance of immigrants. This makes him a wrong choice in the time of global village, yet because of the American capitalist system, this mistake should not be accepted as an absolute matter. It seems that Trump will not be able to change ways of controlling the global system, and in case he does not change his approach, his fate will be like “Kennedy.” He will be one of those American presidents who would be elected only for one term.
An Editorial in “Waghie Ettifaghia” Newspapers Jan. 31st, 2017
» Trump, an opportunity or a threat?
Given recent Trump’s decision and decisions to come, the question is: Is Trump a threat to Iran and Iranians or not? The answer is “yes”, he is a threat not only to Iran but also to most of the world– a threat to global peace and stability. But more specifically, Trump may increase threats against Iran, possibly escalating them in future.
Politicians like Trump will face domestic opposition quickly because of their extreme policies, so they will take the battle abroad to isolate the domestic opposition by entering international crises through their provocative behaviors.
Trump also can be considered as an opportunity for Iran for two reasons:
First, if Iran follows certain policies that, unlike what Americans say, show the Iranian state is not the reason for conflicts in the region, but the reason is the irresponsible interference by foreign countries, led by the U.S.
Second, it is an opportunity for domestic forces in Iran, according to Etimad daily. America has proved that its problem is the very existence of Iran, not its violations. This hostility could bring unity to domestic forces—a unity which does not currently exist in Iran. It gives them a chance to unify themselves, in conjunction with the emergence of Trump the “Savior”.
An Editorial in “Etimad” Newspapers in Jan. 30th, 2017
» Trump and Iran’s alternative policies
Europeans say, “If America sneezes, the world will have a cold,” indicating the extent of U.S. impact on global economy. The U.S. has an average of 25% of the global GDP, and even its tiniest movement will have a negative or positive impact on the world. From this perspective, Trump’s policy should be evaluated on a global scale, and Iranian politicians must pursue alternative policies based on this global standard. But what are these policies?
Iran must strengthen its political alliances, and should move –according to Taadol newspaper— to establish strong regional alliances, which requires adopting effective regional policies. Iran must take advantage of this opportunity to strengthen relations with its neighbors.
Editorial in “Taadol” Newspaper Jan. 29th, 2017
♦ Rouhani, reformists’ only candidate for upcoming election
In an interview with Khabar online, former Minister of Roads and Transportation in Mohammad Khatami’s government expressed his views about Iran’s upcoming presidential election and impact of Rafsanjani’s death on political trends. Ahmad Khurram said that reformists have no candidate other than Hassan Rouhani. “Introducing a rival for Hassan Rouhani by reformists and moderates is not only undesirable but dangerous,” said Khurram. He added that death of Rafsanjani, who acted as a moderator, would cause more rift among radicals and those who resort to violence; it would also “increase the tendency towards Hassan Rouhani, making him the definite winner of next year’s election.”
♦ Iranian Parliament increases defense budget
The Iranian Parliament’s Combined Budget Commission has ratified $1.3 billion for reinforcing the country’s defensive power next year, reported Tasnim. The commission’s spokesperson Mohammad Mehdi Mofateh added that the budget would be taken from the national development fund to be provided for the General Staff of the Armed Forces and Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics.
♦ Three thousand Iranian workers stage protest strike
Three Thousand workers of Haft Tapeh Sugarcane Factory have gone on strike to protest their wage arrears, according to ILNA. The strike started on January 26. A worker who has participated in the protest said, “no government official” has responded to their demands yet.”
♦ More regulations to ban bank debtors from leaving Iran
Iran Central Bank has issued a new circular tightening policing against bank debtors, reported IRNA. According to the new circular, bank debtors cannot leave the country even for medical treatment, undertaking the Hajj or doing business. Previously, bank debtors could do so after providing “necessary collateral.”
♦ No one served Iran’s establishment more than Hashemi, Khatami, Mousavi
Deputy speaker of Iranian Parliament Massoud Pezeshkian said that character assassination against those close to Iran’s president harms the government’s opponents themselves, asking for a judicial confrontation with accusers. Pezeshkian criticized all insults and attacks against Hashemi Rafsanjani, saying, “Did anyone served the regime more than Hashemi, Khatami, and Mousavi? So how come whoever enters the [political] arena is called a traitor, spy, and seditionist?”
He pointed out to stories about violations committed by Iranian president’s brother, asking, “The question is if there is a case against him, why isn’t it handed over to the court? And if the case related to this person is untrue, then why aren’t there any confrontations with the accusers?”
♦ IRGC’s political deputy reacts to British Prime Minister’s remarks
General Brigadier Rassul Sanaeezadeh, political deputy of Iran’s Revolutionary Guards, responded to British Prime Minister Theresa May’s recent remarks about Iran, saying, “this is the second time she is making this political mistake.” He added, “These remarks are political gestures to flex muscles and fleece some of the region’s countries and find markets for selling their arms.”
In her recent trip to the U.S., British Prime Minister warned about “Iran’s malign influence in the Middle East,” in a speech delivered to Republicans in Philadelphia. Theresa May said that pushing back “Iran’s aggressive effort” was a priority for her country.
♦ Head of Judiciary: Government must react to Trump’s decision decisively
Iran’s Head of Judiciary Sadegh Larijani pointed out to recent decisions of U.S new president regarding travel ban on citizens of some Islamic countries, asking Iran’s administration and other Islamic countries to show a decisive and proportionate response to it. He called Trump’s decision as to banning Muslims from entering the U.S. “inhumane and against human rights regulations, adding fuel to Islamophobia.”
Sadegh Larijani asked Iranian government and to learn from “JCPOA’s important and bitter experience”, and decisively react to the U.S. unjust and inhumane behavior.
♦ Iranian carpets banned from U.S.
According to Razi Miri, member of Iran’s Carpets Export Board, the U.S. has banned importing and exporting handmade carpets to and from this country, causing a significant number of Iranian handmade carpets to remain in the U.S. Regarding the impact of JCPOA on export of Iranian handmade carpets, Razi Miri said that closing of banking channels on Iranian businessmen has made export difficult for them. He added, “Even though European countries have created some openings in their banking system [for Iran], the U.S. has still closed all its financial ways on Iran, resulting in loss of 25 and 30 percent of Iran’s carpet which used to directly go to the U.S.”
♦ Kurdistan Governor: Sunnite elites must enter macro-management positions
Kurdistan Governor Abdul-Mohammad Zahedi in a session with this province’s elites and top talents told them not to wait for the creation of government jobs, instead focus and invest on their talents to create opportunities for development of this province.
To one of Kurdistan’s elites who asked why president Rouhani’s order as to general participation in the country’s macro-management is not implemented, Abdul-Mohammad Zahedi responded: “This taboo must be gradually broken, and Sunnite elites must enter macro-management positions in the country.”
♦ An Iranian member of German Parliament barred from U.S.
Following Donald Trump’s recent immigration ban, Omid Nouripour, an Iranian member of German Parliament, has been barred from entering the U.S., reported Spiegel. Nouripour who is a member of Germany’s Green Party in the Bundestag used to travel to U.S. several times a year to meet with politicians. “My case shows how absurd and meaningless Trump’s directive is,” said Nouripour.
Fars News Agency
♦ Execution and 10-25 years imprisonment sentence for Iranian Kurds
The Revolutionary Court of Orumieh has sentenced seven residents of two villages in Oshnavieh to execution and imprisonment, according to Human Rights Activists News Agency (HRANA). One of these individuals received a death sentence, two of them were sentenced to 15 years in prison, two others to 10 years, one to 2 years and one got a life sentence.
These individuals, who were all arrested after armed clashes between Kurdistan Democratic Party (KDP) and the revolutionary guards’ Hamzeh headquarters in Ghareh village in Oshnavieh, are suspected of collaboration with KDP. However, a source close to defendants’ families said that the person who received 10 years in prison was not even in the village during the clashes.
♦ Iran government’s passive position towards Trump’s immigration ban
Donald Trump’s immigration ban is a testament to the U.S. enmity towards Iranian nation, yet Iran government has remained silent in this regard. FM Mohamad Javad Zarif recently tweeted “unlike the U.S., our decision is not retroactive. All with valid Iranian visa will be gladly welcomed,” in reaction to Trump. It seems that Zarif once again wants to solve the problem with “smile diplomacy.”
President Hassan Rouhani has not taken a strong position either. His only response to Trump was what he lately tweeted: “Let’s help neighboring cultures, not build walls between nations. Let’s not forget what happened to the Berlin Wall.” The government needs to tell people what part of its foreign policy shows resistance to the U.S. bullying.
♦ Ahmadinejad’s donations from Iranian people’s pocket
Tahmasb Mazaheri, former Central Bank Governor during Ahmadinejad’s government, gave a new narrative about Iran’s financial help to African countries and Lebanon at that time. In a meeting called “Iran’s Relationship with Third World Countries, Donation or Investment?” Mazaheri explained how Ahmadinejad had ordered him to give $50 million to Lebanon. In Tajikistan, former Central Bank Governor said that Ahmadinejad had given $40 million for a tunnel construction project, calling it “a gift from Iranian people to Tajik people.”
♦ Swiss Ambassador summoned as representative of U.S. interests
Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghassemi said that Swiss Ambassador to Tehran as representative of U.S. interests in Iran was summoned to the Foreign Ministry, and Iran’s protest note as to U.S. president’s recent executive order, and imposing restrictions and discriminatory measures against Iranian citizens was given to him. In this meeting, U.S. president’ executive order to impose travel ban for Iranian citizens to the United States on unsubstantial and discriminatory excuses was called unacceptable, and in contradiction with human rights conventions.
Ghassemi pointed out to Swiss Ambassador that Iranian people themselves have been victims of U.S.-backed terrorist groups in the past decades, and in whichever society they have lived, they have not only not been a part of extremists’ terrorist groups, but have also been considered as the most lawful citizens.
♦ Ahwaz MP: people’s problems in Khuzestan more than wartime
Ahwaz lawmaker Homayoon Yusefi said in the parliament’s open session that nowadays people’s problems in Khuzestan are more than the time of Iran-Iraq war, given the environmental threats, sectarian conflicts, unemployment, a high number of weapons, dust and pollution issues in this province. He urged that Khuzestan has 80% of the country’s oil and gas, one-third of its water, 40% of the industry and 20% of GDP, which all add to the significance of this region, making it a unique place in the world.
MP Yusefi added that investing in regions like Khuzestan will benefit all, “but unfortunately 28 years after the end of the war, Khuzestan’s people are still suffering from numerous problems due to the destruction of its infrastructures.” With regard to transferring Khuzestan’s water to other regions, he said, “Today we are witnessing that life is endangered due to projects aiming at transferring [Khuzestan’s] water.”
♦ Flood demolishes 160 residential units in Sistan and Baluchestan
Torrential rains in southern Sistan and Baluchestan province has taken the life of a 60-year-old woman and destroyed 160 residential units so far. Director of Crisis Management Office in Sistan and Baluchestan said that most damages were done to farmlands and residential units. Reza Arbabi added that the government plans to lend 200 million rials at 4% to people whose homes have suffered more than 60 percent damages. The farmers’ damages will be paid through agricultural insurance fund, said Arbabi.
♦ Two Iranian Kurds detained in Turkey
Two Kurdish activists from Iranian Kurdistan have been arrested in Mardin (southeastern Turkey) on charges of providing information and conducting reconnaissance for PKK (Kurdistan Workers’ Party), reported Turkey’s Hurriyet Daily News. Sajad Jahanfard and Hasan Balade were arrested when taking photos from Mardin municipality. Jahanfard told the police that he was a writer visiting Turkey to publish his book. Balade introduced himself as an engineer who came to Turkey to receive his M.A. from Mardin Artuklu University. Their lawyer has rejected all the charges pressed against them.
♦ Airlines ask Iranian travel agencies not to sell tickets to America
Agence France-Presse (AFP) said that several airlines have asked travel agencies in Tehran not to issue tickets to Iranians who want to go to America. Several world’s major airlines have not allowed citizens of seven countries included in U.S. traveling ban to board their flights, and some of them have requested travel agencies in Iran to stop selling tickets to Iranian passengers who want to travel to the U.S.
Two travel agencies in Tehran told AFP that Emirate, Al-Etihad, and Turkish airlines have told them to stop issuing tickets or to prevent Iranian passengers with American visas from boarding flights to U.S. destinations.
♦ Injection of UF6 Gas to IR-8 centrifuges
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) announced in a statement that with an injection of UF6 Gas, Iran has started an important phase in the process of research and development of an advanced generation of IR-8 centrifuges. IR-8 is the most advanced centrifuge designed and built by Iranian scientists, with 20 times more enrichment capacity than IR-1, Iran’s first generation of centrifuges. AEOI has emphasized that Iran’s peaceful nuclear activities will continue within JCPOA framework incessantly and according to predicted plans.
♦ Zarif: U.S. new immigration law, gift to extremists and supporters
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, in reaction to new restrictions law about immigration, signed by Donald Trump and mainly targeting Muslims, Zarif wrote on his Twitter account that Muslim ban from entering the U.S. will be “recorded in history as a great gift to extremists and their supporters.”
Iran FM added, “Muslim ban shows baselessness of U.S. claims friendship with Iranian people, while only having issues with the Government.” He wrote on his Twitter account, “While respecting Americans and differentiating between them and hostile U.S. policies, Iran will take reciprocal measures to protect citizens.” Zarif continued, “Unlike the U.S., our decision is not retroactive. All with valid Iranian visas will be gladly welcomed.”
♦ Rouhani responds to Trump on Twitter
Hassan Rouhani reacted to U.S. president Donald Trump’s reaction as to building a wall in U.S.-Mexico border with sending a twitter message. In the Twitter message, Rouhani wrote, “Let’s help neighboring cultures, not build walls between nations. Let’s not forget what happened to the Berlin Wall.”
♦ Iran to receive two Airbus 330 aircraft
After a Brazilian company canceled its order for purchasing two Airbus 330 aircraft due to financial difficulties, these two planes will be delivered to Iran Air, while Airbus Company will start producing Iran’s aircraft orders several months from now.
With receiving these aircraft, Iran Air will resume its long-distant flights to Asian countries such as China and Malaysia. With the grounding of its Boeing 747, Iran Air has temporarily canceled all its long-distant flights.
♦ Iran’s capacity in electricity production increased to 76 thousand megawatts
Iran’s deputy minister of Energy announced that capacity for electricity production in the country has increased to 76 thousand megawatts. According to official estimates, Iran needs 5% annual increase in producing electricity to meet the domestic consumption demands. But annual statistics of Ministry of Energy shows that 1.3% growth in producing electricity last year.
♦ New U.S. Ambassador to UN is anti-Iran
Nikki Haleywill replaced Samantha Power, as U.S. new ambassador to UN. She is originally from India and was the governor of South Carolina from 2011 to 2017. She has harshly criticized nuclear negotiations and JCPOA. Haley was one of the 14 governors who, in an open letter, unequivocally expressed her disagreement with JCPOA, and said that she would keep the state sanctions against Iran, despite the nuclear deal. During her confirmation hearing in the U.S. Senate, she called JCPOA a “big mistake” again, adding that the nuclear deal resulted in increasing threats.
♦ Larijani: tens of billions of tomans deficit in 2017 budget
Iran’s Speaker of Parliament demanded to cut the costs in 2017 budget, as he believes that they are far more than predicted revenues. Ali Larijani pointed out to the difference between predicted revenues and costs in the 2017 budget, saying, and “distribution of bonds shows that we have 50 to 60 thousand billion Tomans deficit in the budget, which means adding debts to debts.”
Iran’s economy has not yet achieved the growth and prosperity that the government expects, which makes oil revenues the most viable way to cut the budget deficit, thus making Iran’s budget more reliable on oil. If government’s proposed Budget Bill is ratified without any changes, oil’s share in the next year’s budget will be 10% more than the current year.
♦ Iran economic corruption rank worsens
Transparency International announced in its latest ranking of world countries based on Corruption Perceptions Index that Iran’s rank has dropped one spot down to 131, which shows worsening of economic and bureaucratic corruption in Iran. According to the most recent report of Transparency International, Corruption Perceptions Index ranks Iran as 131 among 167 countries in the world. Iran stood at the rank 130 last year, dropping one spot this year.
♦ 30.2% youth unemployment rate
Iran’s Ministry of Economic Affairs and Finance announced that unemployment rate for ages 15 to 24 has reached 30.2%, with 628 thousand people joining ranks of the unemployed this year.
♦ Salehi: Iran entered new level of nuclear industry
Head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said that after JCPOA, Iran has entered a new phase in the nuclear industry. Ali Akbar Salehi added that after lifting of international sanctions, Iran has an “open space for developing and expanding peaceful nuclear technology.”
♦ Iranian air fleet to add 200 planes
Chairperson of Iran Airport and Aviation Company (IAC) Rahmatollah Mahabadi said that 200 planes would be added to Iran’s air fleet in a 10-year period. Mahabadi added that 80 percent of flights in the country are operated via 8 international airports. “Infrastructure projects in different airports have turned from agreement to contract, according to which Iran’s air fleet will be modernized,” said the company’s CEO.
♦ Aref: Reformists will support Rouhani for the presidency
Mohammad Reza Aref, head of Hope Fraction in the parliament and chairperson of Supreme Reformist Council for Policy-Making, said that this council would support Rouhani and his government for the 2017 presidential elections. He added that the Supreme Reformist Council for Policy-Making was formed during 2015 parliamentarian elections, and now it is most important strategy is following the path that started with presidential elections in 2013, trying to preserve its achievements.
Regarding the remarks of Mohsseni Eje’i’s about Hussein Fereydoun’s [Rouhani’s brother] case and his relationship with those who are economically corrupt such as Danialzadeh, Aref stated that whoever has violated the laws must be confronted, and it has nothing to do with any factions. He added, “Hope Fraction created Transparency Fraction immediately after the 10th parliament, and we will seriously deal with the issue of corruption as a national—and not factional—problem.”
Aref called people’s presence the biggest challenge ahead of Rouhani in the upcoming presidential elections. He also saw disqualification of Rouhani [by the Guardian Council] as almost impossible, “unless he himself does not want to run because of exhaustion.”
Fars News Agency
♦ Government questioned about charges against Rouhani’s brother
Following Iranian lawmakers’ economic accusations against President Hassan Rouhani’s brother, Iranian government spokesperson Mohammad Bagher Nobakht was asked about the government’s position on the subject. Nobakht, who was talking in a press conference, said that if anyone commits a crime and get involved in corruption, the judiciary would deal with the issue independently. He added that there is no need for lawmakers or anyone else to send request letters in this regard.
A reporter told Nobakhat that in recent days some lawmakers, as well as the judiciary spokesperson, talked about relations between Hossein Fereidoun (Rouhani’s brother and senior aid) and some defendants and large bank debtors including Danialzadeh. “Does the government still want to remain silent about such charges?” asked the reporter. Nobakhat criticized those who accuse people before cases are proved at a court. “If the judiciary comes to the conclusion that the charges were not correct, how are we going to be accountable to the public conscience?” added Nobakht.
A few weeks ago, 46 Parliament Members in a written warning to President Rouhani accused Hossein Fereidoun——of “economic corruption” and asked the judiciary to investigate his case.
Fars News Agency
♦ Tehran’s Friday Mass Prayer Imam tells Trump to keep promises
Muhammad Ali Movahdi-Kermani, Tehran’s Friday Mass Prayer Temporary Imam, mentioned new U.S. administration, asking Donald Trump to keep his promises about serving American people, repairing the ruins that have remained from before and not interfering in other countries.
Movahdi-Kermani also accused previous U.S. presidents of “breaking their promises,” “mistaking the terrorists,” and “belligerence.” Addressing Donald Trump, he said, “Do not repeat their mistakes.”
♦ Increase in oil production from Iran’s joint fields with Iraq
Iranian official Saeed Naseripour pointed out to increase in oil production from joint fields with Iraq in western Iran, saying that currently about 180 thousand barrels of oil and 7 million cubic meters of gas are produced per day in the western fields of the country. He added that in 10-year production prospect, crude oil production must reach to 440 thousand barrels and gas production to 15 million cubic meters per day.
♦ Nagavi Hosseini: Trump’s visa ban on Iranians, racial discrimination
Spokesperson of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission emphasized that U.S. president’s ban on issuing visas for Iranians to enter the U.S. shows this county’s return to Middle Ages and racial, religious and ethnic discriminations. Hossein Naqavi Hosseini added that this is against all American claims about commitment to democracy, free flow of information, and relations between the countries. He said that the fact that U.S. president has put a ban on Muslim countries is an obvious example of racial and religious discrimination, indicating the spread of Islamophobia in the U.S.
Fars News Agency
♦ Iran to hold air defense drill with missile systems
Commander of IRGC Aerospace Force General Brigadier Amir-Ali Hajizadeh said that “air defense drill of IRGC Aerospace Force” would be held in near future, using different kinds of missile systems and local radars. He added that following the regime’s officials “is correct in so far as they are hand in hand with the supreme leader, and follow his line.”
♦ Kamalvandi: Iran to become 4th producer of stable isotope in world
The spokesperson for Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization said that given the cooperation document with Russia, Iran would become the fourth producer of stable isotope in the world. Behrouz Kamalvandi added that stable isotopes have medical and industrial uses and are currently produced only in Russia, America, and Europe.