» Four political atmospheres in Iran
The ongoing political developments in Iran can be seen through four political trends:
First, the nuclear deal, which has affected the social powers and political currents. Opponents of the deal are only after their own partisan—and not national— interests, when making criticisms against it.
Second, the political partisanship, where the developments that have taken place on the domestic reforms exceed the issues within the conservative current. At the same time, conservatives and traditional rights can promote political competition by trying to restore their identity after separating themselves from extremists. Therefore, separation from Ahmadinejad’s approach and creating space between themselves and the radicals are effective steps in order to increase the level of competition. Estrangement from radicals is the main objective of the political currents in the country.
Third, the effect of moderates and reformists coalition, which will certainly change the political map in Iranian establishment.
Fourth, the impact and consequences of the post-Rafsanjani political atmosphere on the regime, while his absence is not considered as the end of the reform movement in Iran.
An Editorial in Vaqie Etifaghia Newspapers Jan. 23rd, 2017
» Trump’s Message
The new US president has delivered a clear message to everyone. The peaceful transition of power took place on Friday, pointing out to America’s unity, which will be disrupted by Trump. Whereas in 1933, Franklin Roosevelt asked Americans to be brave, Trump in his speech on Friday asked them to be cowards. The speech was full of lies, humiliating the U.S. policy and American establishment.
The speech also indicated that American and global concerns were at stake, as he did not seem like his predecessors. The subversive intentions of Trump will become clearer in the weeks and months ahead. There is skepticism not only about his domestic policies but also about his foreign policies. Escalation of the political tensions in U.S-China relationship will be the most serious issue that can happen during his presidential era. Everyone must wait and see the results of Donald Trump’s new policies.
An editorial in Nasl Farda Newspaper Jan. 22nd, 2017
» Iranian Legacy of Barack Obama
A large part of working policies of Barack Obama focused on engaging certain countries, with which there was no hope of improving relations, given the hostility that existed among them. Obama tried to establish relations with Iran, seeking to alleviate tensions in diplomatic relations between the two countries, in the light of the neo-liberals ruling on the Democratic Party.
The letter Obama addressed to the Iranian regime in Nowruz 2009 very much reassured Iran of regaining its role in the international community. The letter indicated not only his acceptance of the Iranian society but also the Iranian regime, while Obama saw achieving his objectives dependent on Iran’s constructive cooperation with the United States and the rest of the international community.
It must be acknowledged that this breakthrough in the US-Iranian relations, no matter how small it was, resulted from Obama’s efforts to have moral diplomacy and political strategies, so that he would be remembered in history as the president who sought peace and putting an end to disputes.
An Editorial in Jahan Sanaat Newspapers Jan. 21st, 2017
♦ Reza Khatami: Reformists and moderate conservatives support Hassan Khomeini
Mohammad Reza Khatami, former deputy speaker of the Iranian parliament and reformist politician, emphasized significant role Hashemi Rafsanjani played in Iran’s politics, saying “certainly his absence will create problems for us in future.” As to Hassan Khomeini’s running for Experts Council elections, Reza Khatami said, “This is a serious decision, but if he decides to run, not only the reformists but also a large part of moderate conservatives will support him.”
♦ Iran’s arms shipment seized in Ukraine
According to a Russian news agency, Ukraine has seized an aircraft carrying arms shipment to Iran. Russia’s Interfax news agency quoted Ukraine’s security forces as saying that the arms shipment was discovered in Kiev International Airport. The seized arms shipment included parts of missile systems and anti-tank systems.
♦ Most male teachers in Tehran are poor
A recent study conducted by Tehran University about poverty among male teachers shows that more than half of male teachers in Tehran are poor. Most of the teachers participating in this study who had a second or a third job earned their livelihood through taxi driving. The study shows that more than 51% of male teachers are suffering from financial poverty, while the number of those suffering from multidimensional poverty (poverty of income and lack of time) is more than this.
♦ Iran official: Army should be ready to defend country
Major general Mohammad Bagheri, the Chief of Staff of Iran’s Armed Forces, has said that the Iranian army should improve its capabilities on a daily basis. “We should not neglect thinking about increasing the country’s defensive power even for a moment”, urged Bagheri. He also mentioned that the real power of “our armed forces” is “true faith and being revolutionary.”
♦ Iran FM spokesperson: Donald Trump’s position still unclear
Iran Foreign Ministry Spokesperson said it is still soon to have an “exact assessment” of the new U.S. President’s positions. Bahram Ghasemi continued that President Trump has not yet declared his “precise and clear positions” regarding Islamophobia, global issues, East Asia, Europe and Latin America. Iran has “little hope for a major change” in the “viewpoint” of the U.S. administration, said Ghasemi. He also stated that currently Iran, except for nuclear negotiations, has “no relations” with the U.S. and “sees no prospect” for it.
♦ Two Iranians visited the White House 36 times during Obama era
Two top Iranian government backers have had more than 36 meetings with U.S. administration’s high-level officials at the Obama White House, reported Free Beacon. Seyed Mousavian, a former Iran diplomat and head of its National Security Council, and Trita Parsi, head of National Iranian American Council who is accused of lobbying on Tehran’s behalf, met with Obama administration officials 33 times, according to White House visitor logs. Both of them helped the White House during the nuclear deal with Iran.
♦ Problems of transferring Tehran prisons to suburbs
The head of Iran’s prisons organization said that health status of prisons in Iran is deplorable, and there is not enough budget for transferring prisons, including Tehran’s Evin prison, to suburbs. Asghar Jahangir said that prisons hold inmates twice their capacity, adding the budget dedicated to his organization is 50% less than necessary. He also said that prisoners suffer from malnutrition and health problems. Jahangir had previously asked Health Ministry to consider prisons as “deprived areas” and provide them with services. According to statistics, in 1979 Iran population was 36 million, and it had 10 thousand people in prisons. In 2011, Iran population doubled, but the number of prisoners increased 25 times more since then.
♦ Ali Motahari modifies his controversial comments
Ali Motahari, Tehran MP, has made some explanations about his recent interview with Asr Iran. “I said efforts to prevent JCPOA implementation through firing missiles is an instance of extremism,” wrote Motahari on his Instagram page. He added that he did not deny the necessity of improving missile industry, but it is the timing which is of significance. Now that we are going through the first months of JCPOA enforcement, such “saber rattling” could be postponed, urged Motahari.
Tasnim News Agency
♦ Takht Ravanchi lambasts British officials for stance on Iran
Iran’s deputy foreign minister for European and American Affairs, in a meeting with Britain’s deputy foreign minister, criticized recent positions of some British officials towards Iran, considering them against previous understandings between the two countries for developing relationships. In his meeting with Tobias Ellwood, Majid Takht Ravanchi emphasized that any progress in relationships must be based on mutual benefits and respect.
Iran’s deputy foreign minister also called for the exact implementation of commitments made in JCPOA by P5+1 countries.
Britain’s deputy foreign minister stressed Britain’s policy regarding developing a relationship with Iran and London’s commitment to fully implementing JCPOA, adding that his country is trying to remove existing obstacles in development between the two countries and resolve misunderstandings.
♦ Zarif: Iran not in favor of U.S. presence in Astana Summit
Iran’s Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, on the sideline of Davos Economic Forum, said that Iran has repeatedly announced its disagreement with U.S. presence in Astana Summit, but Kazakhstan is the host and invites other countries. Zarif explained that whereas past frameworks were not successful in reaching a solution, “currently there is a tripartite collaboration among Iran, Russia and Turkey, which has had tangible results—including the ceasefire– in past couple of months, which is why we believe that this framework must be kept, and no one should be added to it.”
Iran’s Foreign Minister said that due to his taking part in a special session of foreign ministers of Organization of Islamic Cooperation to address the issue of Myanmar’s Muslims, he would be participating in two short programs in Davos.
♦ Mirdamadi asks Iran’s leader to change policy
In a letter to Iran’s supreme leader, Hossein Mirdamadi, retired professor of theology at Mashhad University and Khamenei’s uncle, asked him to change his policy. In this letter published on Kalameh website, Mirdamadi mentions restrictions imposed on Hashemi Rafsanjani when he was alive, as well as bans which exist for Mohammad Khatami– urging that Khamenei silently approves all these heretical and dangerous procedures and does not take any measures to stop them.
The letter asks the leader to replace resentment, killing the innocents, and monopolization with mercy, tolerance and human dignity. Hossein Mirdamadi also asks Khamenei to take necessary measures to lift the house arrest of Mir-Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard, and issue an order to free all political prisoners, prisoners of conscience, journalists and human rights advocates.
♦ Reason for death of dialysis patients in Ahwaz hospital
Head of Khuzestan’s Health Center said that examining the death of 6 dialysis patients in Sina Hospital showed that these patients died of bloody diarrhea, being infected with e-Coli bacteria transmitted through drinking water. Shokrollah Salmanzadeh added that hospital-acquired infections have been one of the most important problems in past two decades.
♦ Police violence against Ahwazi vendors
Ahwaz police forces had a “violent” confrontation with sidewalk vendors, arresting several of them and confiscating their properties. This is not the first time police forces in Ahvaz have been accused of an improper confrontation with sidewalk vendors. In past 9 months, about 3,000 vendors have been faced with police in Ahvaz. This means that these 3,000 Ahwazi citizens have been deprived of their only livelihood to provide for their families, while some of them will face imprisonment penalty.
Currently, 300 to 500 thousand sidewalk vendors exist in Iran, responsible for providing for about 2 million Iranian citizens.
♦ Iranians meet with Taliban commander in Helmand
Hayatullah Hayat, Governor of southern Helmand, has said that recently a group of foreigners, including Iranians and Pakistanis met with the Taliban commanders in Garmsir district. Hayat added that Iranians have provided Taliban with “military aid” in Helmand. He also said that the Afghan Intelligence has begun to probe the event.
♦ Plasco rang alarm bells
Plasco disaster was not only a warning for many old buildings in Iran, but it also rang the alarm bells for Iranian officials to secure industries, particularly in industrial towns and cities. Currently, only 20% of these industrial towns enjoy a minimum of safety requirements, which means that 80% of these industrial towns lack necessary safety.
There are more than a thousand completed or developing industrial towns in Iran, which incorporate major part of Iran’s non-oil export.
♦ Former president filing complaint against Naghdi
Spokesperson of judiciary branch Gholam-Hossein Mohseni-Eje’I said that Iran’s former president Mohammad Khatami has filed a complaint against General Brigadier Naghdi, former commander of Iran’s Basij Forces. Mohseni-Eje’i added that this case is still in its initial stages and will be investigated by the district attorney.
♦ Aref: Plasco fire a serious warning
The leader of reformists’ “Hope” Fraction in the Iranian parliament Mohammad Reza Aref talked about the tragic accident in Plasco building, stressing that urban management requires expertise and experience. Aref who was talking in reformists’ policy-making council added that in upcoming elections for city councils, it is very important to have people with expertise and experience on all lists, so that specialize city managers are elected.
♦ Parliamentarian lambasts ‘Iran missiles are defensive’
Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi, Member of Parliament’s Legal and Judicial Committee, said that Iran’s missile activities “in no way violate U.N. Security Council’s Resolution 2231.” He maintained that Iran’s missile industry has a “defensive approach,” adding, “If we retreat before the greedy western countries, they will interfere in not only the country’s defense-related issues but our smallest internal affairs.” Jalil Rahimi Jahanabadi also emphasized that any country has the right to reinforce its defensive power, according to international laws.
♦ If Trump tears up JCPOA, Iran will react proportionately
Head of Atomic Energy Organization of Iran has criticized the new U.S. administration’s intention to develop a missile to confront Iran and North Korea’s missile attack. In an interview with CBC News, Ali Akbar Salehi said U.S. is 10 thousand miles away from Iran, and we were never after manufacturing missiles with such range. It is a “politicized” decision that is “against all rationality”, he added.
Pointing to Trump’s threat about “tearing up” nuclear deal, Salehi said that Iran would react proportionately. AEOI chief also urged that Iran can resume its nuclear activities fast: “We can very easily snap back and go back…not only to where we were, but a much higher position technologically speaking,” Salehi said, “I don’t want to see that day. I don’t want to make a decision in that course, but we are prepared.”
Tasnim News Agency
♦ Will Rouhani face hard times after Rafsanjani?
Iran’s former Deputy Interior Minister Morteza Mobalegh said that hardliners would escalate pressures against the government as presidential election approaches. Mobalegh continued that Hashemi Rafsanjani was a supporter of the government and his absence would influence the upcoming election. However, Hashemi’s death has boosted people’s support of Rouhani, said Mobalegh: “Therefore, there is no need to be worried about election and Rouhani.”
♦ No possibility for Iranian women’s political participation
Deputy Head of Women’s Fraction in Iranian parliament pointed out to the necessity of gender equality while criticizing men’s dominance over managerial positions in Iran. Tayebeh Siavooshi Shahenayati further emphasized that women’s political and economic participation is not proportionate to the rate of their entrance to universities. Siavooshi mentioned that achieving balanced and sustainable development requires attention to women’s capabilities.
♦ Students formations to Rouhani: Allow investigation of brother’s accusations
In an open letter to Iran’s president, a number of students’ formations have asked Iran’s president to pave the way for investigation of accusations against his brother, Hossein Fereydoun. Tasnim, IRGC-affiliated news agency, published this letter, which is said to have been signed by 104 student formations.
These formations have written to Rouhani that existing evidence shows that “your brother, Hossein Fereydoun, has been involved in corruption cases, which, for some reasons, judiciary branch is not allowed to investigate. The rumor has it that you as Iran’s president do not allow investigation of your brother’s case.”
In recent months, particularly after disclosure of astronomical salaries for some of the banks’ managers, Hossein Fereydoun’s name, president Rouhani’s brother, and senior assistant, has been repeatedly brought up and some allegations have been made against him.
♦ MP warns, selling children becomes business in Iran
Member of Parliament’s Judiciary and Legal Commission criticized “selling children” in Iran, saying that this has become a business for some in the country. Bahman Taherkhani added that with updating the laws, “safety margin of violators must be destroyed.”
Bahman Taherkhani also called for paying attention to cultural and economic conditions, while stressing that “these issues mainly go back to people’s financial weaknesses, and social problems like selling children are due to poverty.”
Selling children is a new social phenomenon in Iran, in which some families give away their infants in exchange for money.
♦ Obama, 8 years of enmity with Iran
Vice-chairman of Iranian Foundation of Preservation of Works and Dissemination of Values of Holy Defense mentioned the end of Barack Obama’s presidency, saying that some people inside the U.S. and in Iran were seeking to “embellish Obama’s bad behaviors against Iranian people.” Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Nami said, “But with the extension of sanctions, we saw that his enmity and hostility towards Iran is very deep, and cannot be embellished.” He added that Obama was never a friend to Iranian people, and even JCPOA could not make any changes in this enmity.
Brigadier General Mohammad Hassan Nami said that one thing Trump can do as new U.S. president is that he can learn from Obama’s past behaviors, and by lifting Iran’s sanction, he can create a different image of U.S. president in Iranian people’s minds.
♦ Tehran attorney calls for blocking Telegram during elections
Tehran attorney has asked government’s officials to block Telegram messenger during 2017 presidential elections, to which Iranian officials have not responded yet, said a human rights organization. International Campaign for Human Rights in Iran holds that, along with the arrest of some Telegram channels’ managers in Iran, pressures from security and judiciary officials keep mounting on Rouhani’s government for limiting activities in Telegram in the upcoming presidential elections.
In elections for Iran’s parliament and Experts Council in 2016, Telegram had a significant role in campaigning and mobilizing supporters of the opponent’s team. Extensive use of Telegram and other social media networks during elections has greatly restricted Iranian regime’s impact on the flow of information and election campaign.
♦ Hundreds of workers fired from Hormozgan refinery
One of the headworkers in Hepco told ILNA that there are about a thousand contract workers working in Hormozgan refinery, half of them were recently laid off. He believes that these layoffs were related to workers’ protest assemblies, held a while ago. After assemblies, a part of workers’ demands was paid. One of the workers said he was laid off while the project he was working is still going on.
♦ 3000 buildings in Tehran, same conditions as Plasco building
Head of the safety committee in Tehran’s “Islamic” City Council said that 3,000 buildings in the capital of Iran are under the same conditions as Plasco Building, which recently collapsed after a fire. Massomeh Abad added that among 17,000 inspections throughout Tehran, 3,000 are reported as unsafe. Abad also said that firemen trapped under the rubble and debris of Plasco building paid the price of officials’ incompetence.
♦ Sanctions lifted officially from Bank Saderat Iran
EU officially announced the lifting of sanctions from Bank Saderat Iran and Bank Saderat PLC. Bank Saderat’s public relations reported that following lifting of sanctions from Bank Saderat Iran and Bank Saderat PLC on 23 October 2016, EU officially confirmed this issue in its official newspaper on 16 January 2017.
♦ Rouhani: How could we pay people without JCPOA?
In a press conference held at the anniversary of JCPOA implementation, Iran’s President said that if there was no JCPOA and sanctions were still in effect, our oil revenue– that will be around 70 trillion Tomans by the end of this year– would be only 33 trillion Tomans with which we could not pay people’s salaries.
He also said that by the implementation of JCPOA, Iran has politically won. “We had told the world that we were not after nuclear weapons and mass killing”, said Rouhani, “and through JCPOA, we proved that Iran’s regime is truthful.” Pointing to a P5+1 agreement with Iran, Rouhani said that it is natural if some problems arise, yet will resist those who break their promises, “yet we won’t do anything hastily because for us the national interests come first.”
He also emphasized that JCPOA does not merely belong to the government but was approved by all high institutions in the country, so those who want to confront the government, should not think they need to confront JCPOA.
♦ 12 bank accounts activated for receiving oil money
The 4th quarterly review of JCPOA implementation was offered by Iran’s Foreign Ministry to the parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy. In the part related to the lifting of sanctions, the report emphasized that 12 bank accounts in Germany, Italy, Japan, Turkey, United Arab Emirates, Switzerland, China and foreign branches of 3 Iranian banks have been activated to receive the proceeds from selling oil products. The recent report by Iran’s Foreign Ministry highlights the fact that recently German Deutsche Bank and RBS ( a British bank) have started transferring Iran’s oil proceeds.
♦ Suleimani’s advisor as Iran’s new ambassador to Iraq
Iran’s Embassy in Baghdad is one of the strategic positions for Iran and appointing its ambassador has a lot of significance. Brigadier General Iraj Masjedi, the senior advisor to Ghassem Suleimani, will be introduced as Iran’s new ambassador to Iraq. After completion of administrative procedures, Masjedi will go to Iraq.
♦ Araghchi: No talks with new team in U.S. State Department
Abbas Araghchi, deputy for legal and international affairs of Foreign Ministry, said, “We have had no talks or consultations with U.S. State Department’s new team so far.” Previously a member of parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy had claimed that after Trump’s victory, FM Zarif had tried hard to contact Trump’s team, particularly his Secretary of State.
♦ Shamkhani: America not invited to Astana summit
Secretary of Supreme National Security Council of Iran said that because of Iran’s disagreement with the U.S. participating in Astana Summit, no joint invitation has been sent to America by three initiator countries of the Summit. Pointing out to U.S. incompetence in establishing a ceasefire and leading the parties involved in Syrian conflict towards establishing a dialogue, Ali Shamkhani stated that there is no reason for the U.S. to take part in managing and leading current political initiatives in the Syrian crisis. “Most certainly, America will not have any roles in dialogues and negotiations in the Summit, but might be invited by the host country as an observer,” added Secretary of Supreme National Security Council.
Shamkhani emphasized, “Iran, as a country that has played the most significant role in supporting the lawful government of Syria in combating terrorism, will have an active role in Astana Summit.”