Iranian press round-up (25th Aug. 2016): Unprecedented risks against borrowing from Russia, and Guards’ Navy intercepts US destroyer


Etimad Newspaper
– Rouhani’s performance over recent years and Khamenei changes his mind, as well as the possibility of an alliance with the Conservatives

Jehan Sanaat
– Washington’s effort to revive its relationship again with Ankara, and the impact of this on regional coalitions and conflicts.

Ebtikar Newspaper
– Transparency and its role in Iran’s progress, and in broadcast rumors

Break News
– Defense Minister’s remarks coincided with a US destroyer intercepted in the Gulf waters by Revolutionary Guards.
– Differences in the reformist policies committee

– Iran’s foreign trade surpasses 35 billion dollars
– Iranian-Ecuador cooperation

“Efforts to restore the American-Turkish correlations”
This newspaper handled the restoration of the American-Turkish correlations after a period of tension between the two countries following the failed military coup in Turkey. In reference to vice president, Joe Biden’s visit to Ankara, the editorial said, “This visit came to review all American-Turkish relations, and the Turkish demand of handing over the opposition leader Fathallah Golan, the first suspect in the military coup, in addition to the Turkish position toward the Kurdish protection forces and the American support to these forces.” It added, “After the coup Erdogan made crucial changes and priorities in the Turkish foreign policy; the first priority has become countering terrorism after the terrorist attacks in the country, preventing the establishment of a Kurdish state, and finally, the arrest of Golan; the latter two faced opposition by the United States; consequently, Turkey approached Russia to exert pressure on the United States after the warnings of John Kerry of reviewing the Turkish membership in the NATO, which made Turkey take a sustained and firm position, and started approaching Bashar Assad because of his refusal of establishing a Kurdish state in northern Syria through the call for a role for his regime in the transitional period as stated by the prime minister Ben Ali Yeldrem, in addition to the Turkish forces mobilization inside the Syrian territories under the so-called Forat shield. As a result, Joe Biden’s visit to Ankara came as a response to the Turkish demands, which is an indication of the Turkish autonomy in decision-making, disregarding the American position that is characterized by hesitation and caution toward the Syrian crisis. Although the Turkish operations in northern Syria against the ISIS in Jarablis territory are supported by the United States air force, Turkey, for sure, will mobilize against the Kurdish protection forces.”

Ebtikar Newspaper
“Transparency against rumors”
This newspaper criticized the decline of Iran’s categorization on the international transparency indicator, saying, “When we think about the decline of Iran’s position back to rank 130 on the international transparency indicator and the loss of three Oil tankers during Ahmedinejad’s era, we feel disappointed, especially we are called The Islamic Republic.” It added, “When the Iranian Minister of defense said that the Russians were arrogant and traitors when they revealed their presence in Hamadan, we wonder how he could think of keeping such information a secret? It is just like the scandal of the inflated salaries of senior officials. Any honest citizen would have recognized the foreign airplanes in Hamadan and easily take pictures then post them on social media networks.” In conclusion, the editorial asserted that the lack of transparency of the Iranian government with its people paves the way for rumors that might drive them to extremes. For example, in regard to the Russian use of Hamadan air force base side by side with the Russian five billion USD loan and the purchase of sixty Russian-made choppers, the Iranian independence will be endangered through the fall in the Russian trap, which comes about by the government’s lack of transparency with the hiding of information from the Iranian people.

Etimad Newspaper
“Reformists and the government of Rouhani”
This newspaper evaluates the relationship between reformists and the government of Rouhani over the past three years, saying that the Reform current is one of the two major political trends in Iran that can’t be excluded. Even during the period of cooperation between Hashemi Rafsanjani and fundamentalists when they excluded reformists, some of the regimes prominent figures called reformists to return to political work because the country cannot be run by one political trend, and the necessity of the existence of a second party for the Iranian political game. The editorial added, “After 2009 elections, some tried to reshape the Iranian political life as one political trend government and exclude opposition, but they failed, and reformists returned back to political action.” It added that although reformist current includes many different parties, it is, in essence, loyal to the ideas of Khomeini and is considered one pillar of the revolution, in addition to its broad experiences in political work. In fact, the editorial reflects the reformists’ fears of the Khamenei-Rouhani meeting and the change in Khamenei’s speech toward Rouhani when he said that he was not against the nuclear deal but he rejects the practices of the United States through breaking its commitments. Khamenei also praised Rouhani and his government’s economic performance, which contradicts his statements last march, asking Rouhani to stand against the dangers facing Iran, especially Mujahedeen Khalq. On the other hand, reformists said that the popularity of Rouhani comes from their support to him, which emphasizes their fears of a Rouhani-Conservatives coalition just like his ancestor Rafsanjani during his electoral campaign for a second term. In addition to that, with the growing threat of the Kurdish separatist groups, Khamenei seeks to decrease local tension and make a sustained and firm position against those separatists, which is an evidence of the impossibility of reformists’ exclusion from the political game in Iran.

♦ Iranian boats intercepted a US destroyer in the Arabian Gulf

US defense official announced that four boats of the Iranian Revolutionary Guards “harassed” an American destroyer on Tuesday to carry out “high-speed intercept operation” in the Strait of Hormuz. Speaking on condition of anonymity on Wednesday, a US defense official said that the Iranian vessels approached to within approximately 300 meters of the American naval destroyer, the USS Nitze, which he condemned as an unsafe and unprofessional act. “These sorts of unsafe and unprofessional actions can lead to escalation and miscalculation, which may necessitate additional defensive measures,” said Commander William Urban, the spokesman of the US Fifth Navy fleet,” adding, “Commanding officers have an inherent obligation for self-defense.” Cdr Urban further explained that the USS Nitze was obliged to change course to avoid collision with the Iranian ships, adding that while the incident could otherwise have led to a diplomatic incident, the United States does not have diplomatic relations with Iran. Iranian Revolutionary Guard forces have stepped up patrols, suspecting US naval activity near the Iranian coast. In January, the Revolutionary Guard forces detained 10 American sailors aboard after they entered Iranian territorial waters. They were released the next day after spending almost 15 hours in custody.
Source: Fares Newspaper

♦ Iran’s foreign trade surpassed 35 billion USD

According to the latest Iranian customs statistics, the volume of non-oil foreign trade in the past five months rose by approximately $19,108,000,000 to the US $35, 817,000,0000, an increase of 10.22 percent. The latest statistics also indicate that the volume of imports in this period posted a decline of 2.85 percent compared to the same period last year, around $16,709,000,000.
Source: Tejarat Newspaper

♦ Zarif: Iran and Ecuador’s cooperation does not harm anyone

Speaking at a conference analyzing joint economic opportunities between Iran and Ecuador, Iranian foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said, “Given the strength of political will of the two countries and the fact that the two nations’ private sectors are interested in cooperation with each other, we should exploit these opportunities and direct them toward serving our common interests.
He added, “Iran is proud of its cooperation with friendly countries in Latin America and will continue to cooperate with them.”
Iranian foreign minister, also said, “Consolidation of cooperation between Iran and Latin American countries, including Ecuador is no longer harming anyone and will bring peace and stability in the region and the Middle East.
Source: IRNA

♦ Differences in the reformist policies committee
The state’s Supreme Committee for Reformist Policies has played a major role in achieving all the strategies developed by this political bloc in the previous and current presidential election, despite the many obstacles encountered, said an editorial in Arman Emrouz.
Although the reformers don’t head the current parliament, no reformists have been undermining the committee’s role , it added.
Given its role, committee work has been extended, but differences have begun to loom among its members, after the Vice President of National Trust Party announcement about the formation of a new committee for the elections, in addition to some parties’ rejection of extending decision.
Source: Arman Emrouz Newspaper

♦ Defense Minister: We don’t need Russian S-400 system

Speaking at press conference on Tuesday Iranian defense minister Hossein Dehghan, that the systems produced at three levels to develop air defense and security, noting that Iran faced possible danger from long-range missiles and bought the S-300 air defense system from Russia since it was felt that the country did not currently need the S-400 system.
Dehghan emphasized that the Iranian Navy will deal with any foreign vessel entering Iranian waters. He said that since the Navy is responsible for the country’s security protection in the Arabian Sea and the Gulf, it is normal to monitor foreign vessels in its waters. If a foreign ship enters Iran’s territorial waters, it will be warned and troops will attack immediately, he added.
Source: Tasnim News Agency

♦ Dehghan: Unprecedented risks against borrowing from Russia

Mohammad Dehghan, a member of the Iranian Shura Council’s Law and Judiciary Commission, has strongly criticized the leadership’s decision to borrow US $5 billion from Russia, saying that the parliament’s decision is contrary to the Constitution and that such a thing has not happened since the Iranian Revolution.
Dehghan questioned the parliament’s decision to approve the government’s borrowing from a foreign state, which he said is unprecedented in Iranian history.
The MP for Torqabeh said that while the government has previously taken loans to fund projects and contracts, this was the first time that the parliament had issued a statement on its borrowing.
He added that according to Article 80 of the Constitution, the government should submit a report to the parliament about the subject describing the reason for the loan in detail and explaining how it would be repaid.
Source: Mehr Agency

Editorial Team