» Turning Syria into Afghanistan?
This editorial addresses the future of Syria with respect to policies of the U.S. and Russia.
The editorialist believes that the U.S. President has no clear strategy for Syria. Seemingly, Washington has deliberately adopted a vague policy in this regard to keep other countries in the dark about its objectives. However, given the similarity of conditions in Syria and Afghanistan during the 1980s, the U.S. might be after implementing the same strategy in Syria.
The editorialist then points to differences between the former Soviet Union and current Russia, saying Russia, no longer an ideological establishment is mainly concerned with its geopolitical issues in order to turn from a regional power to an international one. Any country with such a goal should have a military and political base beyond its own territory. Syria provides that opportunity for Russia. In addition, continues the editorial, the U.S. is not in pursuit of directly getting involved in clashes in Syria but is rather interested in involving other players in this game. Thus doing, Washington can raise the cost for supporters of the Syrian government in a way that the same scenario played out in Afghanistan and the former Soviet Union can be enacted in Syria, with Russia leaving Syria without any achievements.
Having said that, the editorial predicts that Syria is heading towards a future in which it might have a government like those of Iraq or Lebanon.
An editorial in Etemad daily on April 25, 2018
» It is people’s turn now
This editorial tries to shed light on the crisis the current Iranian government is facing.
The editorialist starts by saying that Iran’s establishment has had a long time to create infrastructures and carry out strategic programs, but has not been successful so far as it was merely occupied with either factional concerns or making infeasible plans. What is more, the establishment has mostly used empty slogans and made empty promises rather than fulfilling them. The editorial then focuses on Iran’s ninth and tenth government, criticizing its non-accountability. Hassan Rouhani’s administration has remained in power thanks to Iran’s nuclear deal up to now. However, this administration needs to be accountable to people.
In the editorialist’s opinion, the only advantage of Rouhani’s government is its transparency. For instance, it has provided people with information about all payments of the country’s treasury. Now that international pressure on Iran has risen, it is time for the institutions which created challenges for this year’s budget plan to be transparent about how they have used or will use it.
An editorial in Jahan-e sanat on April 24, 2018
» Iran is Thirsty!
The editorial of SMT news focuses on the critical issue of drought and water crisis in Iran.
According to the editorial, meteorological maps show that in next three months, there will only be three or four days of precipitations in Tehran Province and probably the whole country, which means 20 millimeters of water will be added to water reservoirs of the country. Many experts believe that given these statistics, the danger of severest drought in coming years is very likely – a danger that will create security and livelihood issues if not enough attention is paid to it. According to statistics, Iran has entered the 8th year of drought – a crisis which is more obvious in provinces like Bushehr and its neighboring provinces, as well as southeastern and eastern regions of the country. NASA has gone so far as to say that Iran has entered a 30-year period of drought 8 years ago. The editorial asserts: it is high time to prioritize the issue of water in agenda of people and officials, along with political, social and international issues. Some experts and activists believe that to investigate and resolve the crisis of water, special headquarters or commissions must be formed with the presence of representatives from three branches. At the same time, certain entities and organizations must be formed to follow this issue up seriously, and they must be bound to report to the Parliament and people regularly. Otherwise, in a not very distant future, Iran might reach a point where regretting might be useless.
An editorial in SMT news on April 24, 2018
» Iran’s holy city of Qom to become the Shi’ite Vatican?
This editorial questions an Iranian cleric’s recent suggestion about turning the holy city of Qom into an independent country like Vatican City, the home of the Roman Catholic Church.
Ahmad Zadhoush, the head of Murtaza School at the Qom Seminary, has suggested turning the city of Qom into an independent country like Vatican City. Zadhoush has said that this new country should be independent of Iran, having its own flag, borders, and constitution. The editorialist criticizes the cleric’s suggestion, saying it promotes isolationism in the country. This is not the first time an individual or group has called for establishing their own island. Ahmad Alamolhoda, a senior cleric who leads Friday Prayers in the city of Mashhad, once made the same suggestion for Khorasan province, saying that Mashhad is a sacred city, not a center for revelry and asked its residents to leave if they want to hold music concerts. In conclusion, the editorialist criticizes building a private paradise, saying it is not isolationism or colonization that brings happiness to a nation, but tolerance.
An editorial in Ghanoon daily on April 23, 2018
» Euro replacing US dollar: Its impact on Iran’s economy
This editorial deals with the possibility of Euro replacing US dollar in Iran and its disadvantages for the country’s economy. The editorial begins by saying that Iranian establishment has repeatedly tried to eliminate US dollar from its exchanges to no avail. In fact, such a decision is entirely political without any economic gain whatsoever for the county. The plan is to first do all calculations and reports by Euro instead of the dollar, which in the editorialist’s opinion, will cause new hurdles for Iran’s economy given the soaring rates of Euro in recent months. Second, Iran’s Central Bank is to determine Euro’s rate on a daily basis while considering other currencies, such as the dollar, as its subordinate. This is not feasible as US dollar is the world’s dominant currency. Consequently, this new policy will be limited to Iran’s official financial reporting while the exchange currency would still remain US dollar. Also as always, US dollar will be decided by domestic and international variables. So Euro’s rate can raise in Iran only if that of the dollar does. Moreover, if the rate of US dollar remains the same, changes in Euro’s rate will depend on the international market. The editorial closes by inferring that the changing rates of the dollar in Iran in the new Iranian year and Central Bank’s policies in this regard still remain unclear, especially given Donald Trump’s radical position on JCPOA.
An editorial in Eghtesad-e Emrouz on April 22, 2018
» Iranian journalist arrested for “insulting infallible ones”
Amirhossein Mir-Esmaili, Jahan-e Sanat daily’s journalist, was arrested for a tweet deemed as an insult against a Shia Imam. Mir-Esmaili was summoned by the court of Culture and Media for “insulting the infallible ones”. He later announced his own arrest on his Twitter account. This satirist journalist had tweeted in reaction to Ahmad Alamolhoda’s remarks as to calling dance and music as desecrating Imam Reza, Shia’s 8th Imam. Facing harsh criticism against his tweet which had to ask for his punishment, Mir-Esmaili later deleted it.
According to the judiciary branch news agency, Mir-Esmaili was arrested at Tehran airport, while “trying to flee the country to go to Georgia and was handed over to judiciary officials.”
» 700 Iranian convicts to be extradited from Turkey
Deputy to justice minister in human rights and international affairs announced early agreements for extraditing 700 Iranian convicts from Turkey. Mahmoud Abbasi also said that along with Hassan Rouhani’s trip to Turkmenistan, 283 Iranian convicts were extradited from that country to Iran, and four Turkmen convicts were delivered to them He added that 5 Iranian convicts were extradited from Afghanistan, and Kuwait too is going to extradite 47 convicts to Iran in the coming week.
» Sunni clerics object to being banned from traveling inside Iran
Sunni clerics in Iran asked the officials not to prevent traveling of Sunnis within the country. A Sunni cleric said even though they claim there is freedom in the country; he is not allowed to travel to other provinces. Iran’s security forces have prevented a number of Sunni clerics from taking part in “Forum of Graduates of Baluchistan Seminaries”, which has caused objection among these clerics. One these clerics, Hassan Amini, Kurdistan’s popular sharia justice, told Human Rights in Iran Campaign that Sunni religious scholars are not allowed to travel in Iran to go to other Sunni cities and provinces, and intelligence ministry wouldn’t allow them to hold any forums or meetings among themselves.
» Bahar Government website inaccessible
Bahar Government website, close to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has become completely inaccessible after the arrest of Mohammad Hossein Heidari, a manager in charge of the website. Heidari was arrested on Sunday, April 22 at his home.
A while ago, judiciary officials of Islamic Republic arrested Ahmadinejad’s supporters, following the escalation of his criticisms against the judiciary officials.
» 24 million people not to receive cash subsidies
While the first cash subsidies of new Iranian year were deposited into people’s accounts, Government’s Spokesperson Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said 24 million people must be dropped from the list of those who receive monthly cash subsidies; otherwise, the Iranian government will face a budget deficit. Currently, about 77 million people are on the list of those receiving monthly cash subsidies from the government.
» Health minister: 55% of Iranians live less than 70 years
Health Minister Ghazizadeh Hashemi said lifespan of 55% of Iranians is less than 70 years, adding that to increase this number, proper culture must be created in the health field. According to the health minister, 35% of mortalities is due to a heart attack. Ghazizadeh Hashemi urged that obese people who do not observe the health issues must pay their own expenses, and it isn’t possible for them to use health services for free. Obesity and high blood pressure are very common among people living in Tehran, said the health minister.
» 15 thousand vehicles entered Iran illegally
Deputy chairman of vehicle importers association, Farhad Ehteshamzadeh, said more than 15,000 vehicles have entered Iran, after registering order was closed. Ehteshamzadeh added that when there is no order registry for importing vehicles, there will be rent-seeking and corruption.
» Tehran to host 6th Iran-Europe banking forum
Ali Divandari, head of Banking and Monetary Research Center of Central Bank of Iran, said that the 6th Iran-Europe Business and Banking Forum will be held in Tehran in later April. Ali Divandari added the forum would focus on several issues including Iran’s banking and business relations two years after implementation of JCPOA, EU as a partner for Iran, the prospect of trade and banking cooperation between Iran and EU, and management of modern adjustment.
» Lawmakers to Rouhani: Talk about youths’ unemployment
Three lawmakers gave a written notice to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, calling for avoiding creating sidelines and dealing with main problems of the country such as corruption of people close to him and resolving the issue of unemployment.
The written notice addresses Rouhani, saying that instead of making explanations about foreign currency crisis or reporting on resolving the issue of unemployment, Rouhani has insulted the monitoring organizations.
In his recent speech, Rouhani praised Iranian army for not taking part in “political games”, which was seen as an attack on IRGC. His remarks faced criticism from the conservatives who defended the IRGC.
» Rear-Admiral Sayyari: World countries accept the position of Iran naval forces
Coordinating deputy of the army, Rear-Admiral Habibollah Sayyari, said that today the countries of the world have accepted the position of Iran’s naval forces, and the naval forces have been able to prove its position successfully. Sayyari who was talking in the sideline of the Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS) conference held in Tehran said this conference shows the power and capability of naval forces, and these forces have been able to provide security in the Indian Ocean.
» Khatami’s private meetings tapped
Hamid Reza Taraghi, the member of Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefa), said implicitly that private meetings of former president Mohammad Khatami are being tapped. Taraghi urged that “Mr. Khatami shouldn’t think that if he talks in private meetings, no one would understand or hear his remarks. All his positions and the issues he talks about are heard by the establishment!”
» Mashhad city councilor arrested
A member of Mashhad city council was arrested. Amir Shahlafar, from Omid reformist list, has been taken into the custody for finance charges and exerting influence. Apparently, he had been arrested by the judiciary branch before and was asked to resign from his position in the city council, to which he had said no. It must be mentioned that according to informed sources, the charges of Mashhad city councilor are not just financial.
» Defense minister: Economic projects in Makran has security, social impact
Major General Amir Hatami, Iranian defense minister, said construction of the pipeline for transferring gas from Iranshahr to Chabahar is a big economic project and will have positive social and security impacts. In the ceremony of signing the contract for constructing a pipeline to transfer gas from Iranshahr to Chabahar, Hatami urged that Makran is a very significant region for the country, and it has many coasts and capacities that have not been considered before.
» Mohammad Reza Rahimi released
First Vice President to former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was released after three years of imprisonment. Mohammad Reza Rahimi who was condemned to 5 years and 91 days of imprisonment was released after 3 years and one month and two days in jail – disregarding his vacations during this time and by using “conditional freedom”.
It is interesting that Rahimi’s release was announced on the day Saeed Mortazavi was arrested and taken to Evin Prison. Now the question is how long the former prosecutor of Tehran who is sentenced to two years of imprisonment will be in jail. Mortazavi’s sentence has already been commuted from five years to two years of imprisonment due to his remorse.
» Price of Chinese goods on the rise
Deputy Chairman of the joint chamber of commerce of Iran and China pointed out to the fact that dollar is nominally priced at 4200 tomans in Iran and it doesn’t exist in the market. He added that given the fact that all goods imported from China, Japan, and Korea are not necessarily traded with currencies of these countries and are transacted with euros and dollars as well, the prices of these goods have increased. During past couple of months and following fluctuations in Iran’s foreign currency market, the price of some imported goods including those from China have been on the rise.
» Khatami’s office denies meeting with Rouhani
Khatami Media channel wrote that former president Mohammad Khatami’s office has published a statement to deny any remarks attributed to Khatami criticizing President Hassan Rouhani’s performance. The statement says that despite remarks these days as to “friendly meetings” of Iranian president with Nateq Nouri, Hassan Khomeini, Eshaq Jahanigiri, and Mohammad Khatami, these are just based on speculations and not true. Recently, it was stated in the media that Mohammad Khatami and Ali Akbar Nateq Nouri had met with Rouhani in his house, in which Khatami had openly criticized Rouhani for not keeping his election campaign promises.
» Karimi Ghodoosi: Small power plants with higher efficiency must be built
Member of National Security Commission in the Parliament, Javad Karimi Ghodoosi, pointed out to the fact that nuclear technology can create progress and innovation in the country’s industry, saying that Iran must be after building power plants and oil refineries with less capacity and less expensive, but with higher efficiency. He called the west reaction against Iran’s nuclear technology as the hostility of Islamic Republic, saying the “world arrogance and allies are after weakening the Islamic Republic on groundless excuses and will do anything to do so.”
» Makarem Shirazi: Qom is not the Vatican
In reaction to recognizing the city of Qom as an independent country, Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi urged that Qom isn’t another Vatican. Makarem Shirazi pointed out that during the Shah’s regime the same proposal was suggested, whose purpose was to isolate religious authorities and Qom’s seminary.
» Army chief commander, commanders of Ground Forces meet with Khamenei
On the occasion of Army’s Day in Iran, Ali Khamenei met with Major General Mousavi, chief commander of Iranian Army, and a number of commanders from Army’s ground forces. In this meeting, Khamenei praised Major General Mousavi for his “revolutionary position”, adding that he has made very good points about the unity of armed forces.
Recently, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani had said that “the Army knows politics well, which is why it hasn’t entered political games.” Rouhani’s remarks faced criticisms of IRGC and Basij commanders. Following these remarks, Major General Mousavi took part in an IRGC ceremony to show support for this military entity, saying that he had taken part in the ceremony to “slap the enemy of establishment in the face.”
» UN special envoy in Syrian affairs meets Jaberi Ansari
Staffan de Mistura, the special envoy of UN Secretary-General, met with Hossein Jaberi Ansari, a top aide of Iranian foreign ministry in special political affairs and top Iranian negotiator in international talks regarding peace in Syria, to discuss ways for ending the Syrian crisis. In this meeting, both sides talked and exchanged views about latest developments in Syria, ways for implementing Astana agreement and final document of Syrian National Dialogue Congress in Sochi, and cooperation of the Islamic Republic of Iran with UN to end Syrian crisis and restoring peace and stability to this country.
» Lawmaker criticizes IRGC security approach in countering social issues in Iran
Tehran MP Mahmoud Sadeghi wrote an open letter to Hossein Taeb, head of IRGC intelligence organization, saying the measures of this organization have made the country’s elites and the youths hopeless and forced them to leave the country. In this letter, Sadeghi has criticized the security approach of this organization in countering social issues in Iran, asserting that the manner of IRGC intelligence organization “has damaged the sense of security within the Iranian society.” Tehran MP emphasizes that the country’s security depends more than anything else does on citizens’ sense of security, while the security approach will result in the youths losing hope participating to serve the country.
» Netherlands navy commander enters Tehran
Commander of the Netherlands navy forces, along with his delegation, entered Tehran as the first European guest to take part in Indian Ocean Naval Symposium (IONS). This is the first European delegation to enter Tehran to take part in this symposium. The IONS is expected to be attended by 35 high-ranking military delegations from across the world.
The IONS are a series of biennial meetings among littoral states of the Indian Ocean region, to increase maritime security cooperation.
» Reformist activist: Pressure groups want Rouhani to fail
Recently Iranian first vice president, the government’s spokesperson and the president himself have made remarks as to “hands behind the curtain in a recent event in the foreign currency market.” Ashraf Boroujerdi, the reformist political activist, said in this regard that there are “certain pressure groups who do not want Rouhani to succeed; these groups have media, the press, and platforms that have many audiences.” This reformist activist pointed out to the nuclear deal (JCPOA), saying that during JCPOA, these groups did anything they could to smear Rouhani and his government, and today they are following the same approach in other forms.
» First vice president criticizes protests in Kazeroon
Eshaq Jahangiri, first vice president of Hassan Rouhani, pointed out to recent protests in the city of Kazeroon, saying that this issue must be resolved, and people cannot take to streets every day, which “allows some people to take advantage of the situation and chant their own slogans.” In continuing their protests to dividing the city of Kazeroon in Fars Province, people gathered in a place where Friday mass prayer is said on Friday, chanting “Our enemy is here; they are lying that it is America.” In recent months, different provinces in Iran have witnessed protests for different reasons. Since December protests which took place all over Iran, there have been other widespread protests against ethnic inequality and water crisis in different provinces.
» Ahwaz parliamentarian: 150 arrested in protests
Kazem Nassab Albaji, Ahwaz MP, announced that in recent protests in this city, more than 150 people have been arrested, asking the security and judiciary officials to release them. Nassab Albaji said, “We are still waiting for all detainees to be released in next couple of days,” adding, “we expect the security officials to order the release of these citizens as soon as possible.”
Kazem Nassab Albaji has defended the protests, saying that their protests have been civil and peaceful. Broadcasting a TV program in which different ethnic groups were shown with their proper dresses on the map of Iran, except for Arabs, caused widespread protests in different cities of this province. Protesters considered lack of proper Arab dress on the map of Iran as an insult to Iranian Arabs.
» Jahangiri threatens Ahmadinejad
Following recent criticisms of former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad against the judiciary and Iranian establishment, Iran’s First Vice President, Eshaq Jahangiri, said “somebody who was president of Islamic Republic for 8 years and most of the problems today are fallout of his job has become so reckless as to say that a bigger revolution is on the way.” Jahangiri warned Ahmadinejad, “If you approach the establishment, you will face the majority of people who will not tolerate someone who was in charge of affairs for years to give them a warning.”
Recently, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has criticized the entities overseen by Iran’s leader, saying that his proposals to Ali Khamenei are the “last chances” for the establishment of Islamic Republic.