» Iranian Conservatives to Surpass Prophets?
This editorial criticizes the hostile way the Iranian Republic establishment deals with the world.
The editorialist holds that Iranian people will soon welcome the Iranian new year after experiencing a hard year due to high inflation, irritating currency fluctuation, the unrests which left many people dead, as well as Donald Trump’s rising to power. As far as the economy is concerned, the New Year will bring no promising prospect either. Trump is planning to exit JCPOA and foreign countries are still reluctant to invest in Iran. According to Iran’s oil minister and head of the chamber of commerce, industries, and mines, other countries are under pressure or threat to avoid economic cooperation with Iran.
The editorialist continues that some senior conservatives in the country believe that it is the nature of the Iranian revolution that causes the arrogant countries’ enmity towards Iran. While it is also possible to follow the revolution’s goals with a kind language like that of the Prophet Mohammad. During the presidencies of Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mohammad Khatami, Iran pursued the revolution’s goals without hostility. Is it necessary to encounter the world with a harsh language and a harsh attitude?
The editorial closes his piece by saying that the Iranian Republic establishment seemingly does not approve of the prophets’ methods and want to surpass them in dealing with the world.
An Editorial in Jahan-e Sanat daily on March 19, 2018
» Reformists and Effective Relationship with Leader
The editorial of Arman Emrouz deals with the necessity of different political groups adjusting themselves with issues that the Iranian leader Ali Khamenei emphasizes on. The editorialist holds that these different groups must take the leader’s guidelines as central to their own political activities because Khamenei’s thoughts are crucial to the unity in the country.
According to the editorial, if these different political groups want to act within the framework of law, they must be in line with Khamenei’s strategies. Currently, reformists and fundamentalists play an essential role in the political arrangement of the country. Even though there are radicals in both political factions, there are also moderate figures in them that are advancing their own ideas reasonably, wisely and far from any extremism. These currents must do their best to have a better reaction in the political atmosphere and act according to the roadmap.
The editorial continues that reformists, including Majid Ansari and Eshaq Jahangiri, have had very good efforts to establish their relationship with Iranian supreme leader. In meeting with the editorialist, Jahangiri has pointed out to his own good relationship with the supreme leader, saying that the leader has been interested in having meetings with theorist from both factions.
The editorial at the end urges reformists to have more meetings with the supreme leader. The most important issue is that reformists and fundamentalists cannot eliminate each other; therefore, the wisest path is for these political currents to have dialogues with each other and establish fair, balanced relationship with the leader. Realistic politicians must theorize based on facts, not on mental illusions.
An Editorial in Arman Emrouz on March 18, 2018
» The Most Corrupt Organization in Iran
The editorial of Sedaye Eslahat deals with corruption in Tehran’s municipality.
The editorial asserts: one of the members of Tehran City Council has recently said that according to an opinion poll, 30% of Tehran municipality’s customers have said that managers and employees in Tehran municipality have asked bribes from them. Of course, this bribery has not taken place only during past 6 months in which Najafi was the new mayor of Tehran.
The editorial then focuses on former mayor of Tehran, Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, saying that perhaps the fact that Ghalibaf’s heritage in that body of Tehran’s municipality is corruption is not a crime by itself, but it can be thought-provoking for Tehranis and those hardline fundamentalists who still defend the former mayor. The editorialist then suggests holding a debate among Najafi, Karbaschi, and Ghalibaf (mayors of Tehran during past years), asking the debate to be broadcast online as the IRIB has never been on people’s side and has always broadcast the parts that were to its own benefit.
The editorial concludes that in its investigations, Tehran City Council has found documents indicating that Tehran municipality is the most corrupt organization in the country. When Najafi became Tehran mayor, this organization owed $10.416 billion, and every day the creditor contractors used to gather and protest in front of the building of City Council.
An Editorial in Sedaye Eslahat on March 18, 2018
♦ Head of Export Confederation: Export infrastructure not ready
Mohammad Lahooti, Head of Export Confederation, believes that due to lack of proper export infrastructure, Iranian exporters have not been able to take advantage of new opportunities and markets in this regard. Lahooti added that certain conditions exist in Iran’s economy under the influence of domestic and foreign policies such as sanctions and mismanagement, as a result of which export infrastructures are not ready in Iran; as a consequence, Iranian exporters have not grown in proportion with the country’s capacities.
♦ Sarpol-e Zahab citizens protest against government unfulfilling its promises
Along with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s trip to earthquake-stricken regions in Kermanshah Province, a number of Sarpol-e Zahab citizens gathered in front of governor office in this city to protest cut-off of drinking water for several months and government unfulfilling its promises.
Meanwhile, based on footages published in some websites, at the time of the visit of Mohammad Noubakht, spokesperson of the government, and Houshang Bazvand, Kermanshah’s governor, from the earthquake-stricken region, a number of Sarpol-e Zahab citizens had also protested against the government unfulfilling its promises by shouting “lying government”.
A strong 7.3 earthquake rocked Kermanshah province on November 12, 2017, killing more than 600 people and destroying tens of thousands of houses. In past months, there have been many reports in media and social networks regarding shortcomings and people’s criticisms.
♦ The U.S. arrests Iranian citizen on a charge of circumventing sanctions
U.S. attorney announced arresting an Iranian citizen on a charge of circumventing sanctions against Iran. Ali Sadr Hasheminejad’s charges reportedly include attempting circumvention of sanctions against Iran, money laundering, and banking corruption. According to U.S. attorney, Hasheminejad has entered more than $115 million from a construction contract in Venezuela into U.S. financial system by creating fake companies and accounts with different nationalities.
♦ Shahidi: Hassan Rouhani should publish ratification for house arrest
Hengameh Shahidi, the member of National Trust Party, asked Iranian president to publish the ratification of Supreme National Security Council for house arresting Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi – leaders of Iranian Green Movement.
She wrote in her Twitter: “According to documents of Supreme National Security Council, in 2011 when Karroubi and Mousavi were house arrested, Hassan Rouhani, as the main and permanent member of this council, was one of the signatories and supporters of the house arrest project. Reformists, despite being aware of Hassan Rouhani’s signature in confirming the house arrest, concealed this fact from people in order to have a share in power [in 2013 presidential election]. It seems that Hassan Rouhani is interested in the continuation of house arrest and the game of house arrest will continue to the end of his presidency.”
Hengameh Shahidi continues: “As a demand, ask Rouhani to publish the ratification of Supreme National Security Council for house arrest.”
♦ More than 30 million used VPN in December unrests
It was said in a closed session of Iranian Parliament that during widespread protests in December 2017, more than 30 million people used VPN (anti-filter). Reformist MP Mahmoud Sadeghi wrote in a tweet that in the closed session of the Parliament, speaker of the Parliament Ali Larijani had referred to the report of Telecommunication Minister Mohammad Javad Azari Jahromi to Supreme National Security Council, saying that during the days when Telegram was filtered in Iran, more than 30 million people had used VPN.
♦ Lawmaker: People don’t trust domestic messengers
Parvaneh Salahshoori, member of Cultural Commission in the Parliament and Omid Fraction, said people use Telegram Messenger not because domestic messengers do not meet the needs of the people or have technical and infrastructural issues, but because Iranian people do not trust them.
She added that telecommunication ministry is not in charge of filtering social networks, and the main decision-makers in this field are Committee for Determining Criminal Cases, Supreme Council for Cyberspace, etc.
♦ Larijani congratulated Nowruz to counterparts in the region
Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani congratulated Nowruz to his counterparts in Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Turkey, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Azerbaijan, Kyrgyzstan, Kazakhstan, and Iraq. In his message, Larijani emphasized that Iran welcomes any cooperation and consultation with neighbors to strengthen security, progress, and comprehensive economic, political and cultural developments in regional and neighboring countries.
♦ Lawmaker: Rouhani’s government put an end to Resistance Economy
MP Nader Ghazipour said in the Parliament that Rouhani’s government depends on importing, and when import increases in the county, that means putting an end to Resistance Economy, national production, and youth employment. Ghazipour added that undoubtedly the main factor in economic prosperity is only supporting domestic producers for creating jobs and fighting unemployment.
♦ Mashaee’s arrest has nothing to do with Ahmadinejad
Following the arrest of Esfandiar Rahim Mashaee by the judiciary branch, Mohammad Taghi Rahbar, member of Combatant Clergy Association, urged that it has nothing to do with former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, adding that “everyone is responsible for his own behaviors and actions”.
Rahbar recommended that Ahmadinejad should mind his own business, and not “sacrifice himself to others.”
Recently, Hamid Baghaee and Esfandiar Rahim Mashaee, both close to Ahmadinejad, have been arrested by the judiciary system. Hamid Baghaee is sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment on the charge of embezzlement from IRGC.
♦ Boroujerdi: U.S. likely to pull out of JCPOA
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, Boroujerd MP and head of National Security and Foreign Policy Commission in Parliament, pointed out to recent remarks of Israel PM Benjamin Netanyahu about the likelihood of the U.S. withdrawing from the nuclear deal (JCPOA), saying that it is strongly possible that the U.S. may pull out of the JCPOA. Boroujerdi added that if the U.S. withdraws from the JCPOA, the deal will be useless, urging that “we will be faced with a new condition and will decide based on our own national interests.”
♦ Reopening of two European consulates in Tabriz
Tabriz Mayor Iraj Shahibahardor said two European consulates will reopen in the city of Tabriz, adding that the ground for renewing activities of the German consulate in Tabriz, upon the request of the German ambassador to Iran, has been prepared. According to Shahibahardor, head of Russian consulate in the city of Rasht has had a similar request for diplomatic activities in Tabriz, and Russian consulate will reopen in this city after many years.
♦ Ghassemi: We will not negotiate over defense issues
Spokesperson of Foreign Ministry Bahram Ghassemi urged that Iran will not negotiate with others over its own defense issues, domestic issues, and national security. Ghassemi rejected French FM Jean-Yves Le Drian’s remarks as to Iran’s dubious role in the region, saying that raising such issues is nothing new.
As to Iran’s missile program, Ghassemi said Iran will not talk about such issues, asserting that it is “Iran’s inalienable right to adopt policies that are in its own interests in such a way that others are not allowed to threaten it.”
♦ Tehran mayor resigned over “pressures from security entity”, “prosecutor’s humiliating attitude”
A member of Tehran City Council announced that Tehran Mayor Mohammad Ali Najafi resigned due to “pressure from a security entity” and “prosecutor’s humiliating attitude”. Ali Atta, spokesperson of Tehran City Council said even though Najafi’s disease is “not fake”, it is not the only reason for his resignation.
One week after the prosecution of Tehran’s mayor and those involved in Women’s Day ceremony in which some little girls danced, Mohammad Ali Najafi resigned.
♦ Tajzadeh: Entities under the supervision of leader are corrupt
Mostafa Tajzadeh, reformist political activist, wrote an open letter to Ahmad Tavakoli, principlist political activist, urging that Iranian leader is only theoretically “standard bearer of fighting corruption,” but in practice, he and his appointees are either “corrupt themselves” or “indirectly play a role in spreading corruption.”
Tajzadeh writes in the letter: “Factional confrontation of the leader and his appointees with corruption has resulted in spreading corruption.” He urged that one the mistakes of “generation of revolution” was to think that “despotism might return to the country in form of presidency”, but “we didn’t pay enough attention that when we concentrate the control and management of armed forces, the judiciary system, Guardian Council, IRIB, and a significant part of the country’s economy and give them all to a single person, then it is more probable for him to go towards despotism.”
Tajzadeh’s letter has faced harsh reactions from some hardline fundamentalists in the social media, and a number of them have asked for his arrest.
♦ Jahangiri: House arrest of Mousavi, Karroubi to remove next year
Iranian first vice president Eshaq Jahangiri said even though some believed that by the end of [Iranian] year, the house arrest of Mir-Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi will be removed, no such thing happened, hoping that this will happen next year. He added that good measures have been taken in this regard in Secretariat of Supreme National Security Council.
Mir-Hossein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavard and Mehdi Karroubi (leaders of the Green Movement) have been under house arrest since 2011. Deputy speaker of the Parliament Ali Motahari had said their house arrest would be removed by the end of Iranian new year (March 20, 2018).
♦ Rouhani: Iran resolved to develop a relationship, cooperation with Oman
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in meeting with Oman FM Yusuf bin Alawi, considered relationship and cooperations between the two countries “friendly, brotherly and developing,” emphasizing on more development and strengthening of Tehran-Muscat relationship.
In this meeting, Rouhani considered developing banking relations and facilitating trips of both countries’ businessmen as significant in expanding trade and economic relations and cooperations between the two countries, adding that Iran is determined to fully and comprehensively develop its relations and cooperations with Oman.
♦ Vaezi: Iran will react to Europe’s pressures, sanctions
Iranian Chief of Staff Mahmoud Vaezi said with regard to Europeans trying to formulate a new package of sanctions against Iran that Europeans are trying to preserve the nuclear deal (JCPOA) against the U.S. measures, but if these efforts result in pressures on Iran or imposing new sanctions, Iran will react to them.
♦ Baghaee: Money mentioned in the indictment was Suleimani’s gift to Ahmadinejad
Hamid Baghaee had said in his own defense that 3,766,000 euros that is said to have been given to him was “a gift” from IRGC Quds Force commander, Qassem Suleimani, to Mahmoud Ahmadinejad for his “social and cultural activities”, and Suleimani had announced it at the time of giving the money. According to Baghaee’s defense that is published on “Bahar Government” website, former president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad had said in a letter to the court that “the foreign currency” was given to him as “a gift by General Suleimani to promote educational, cultural and social goals”.
According to Tehran prosecutor office’s announcement, Baghaee is charged with embezzling 3,766,000 euros and $590,000 from the money given to him by IRGC Quds Force to be distributed among leaders of African countries.
♦ New sanctions to be considered a violation of JCPOA
Mohammad Ali Hosseini, the former spokesperson of the foreign ministry, said about Europeans’ decision as to imposing new sanctions on Iran that new sanctions against Iran will close the windows to Europe’s effective role in resolving significant international disputes.
He added, “it has been a while that we have been witnessing contradictory positions by European countries, particularly Germany, England, and France, with regard to the nuclear deal (JCPOA).” He urged that recent positions taken by some officials of these countries regarding pressing Iran in non-nuclear fields will have destructive impacts on the JCPOA.
♦ General Javani appointed as IRGC political deputy
In a ceremony in presence of Haji Sadegh, supreme leader’s representative in IRGC, General Yadullah Javani was appointed as IRGC political deputy. In addition to teaching in the university, Javani was an advisor to supreme leader’s representative in IRGC and was IRGC political deputy during 1999-2001. Also, Brigadier-General Ghassem Ghoreishi was appointed as deputy coordinator of supreme leader in IRGC.
♦ 40% of university graduates unemployed in 2016
40% of youths who had university degrees and were looking for jobs remained unemployed in 2016. In some western provinces like Kurdistan, only one out of four educated women can find a job. The highest rate of unemployment of youths with university degrees in provinces are: for men: Kermanshah, 45.9%; East Azerbaijan, 45%; Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, 44.2%. For women: Kermanshah, 75.3%; Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari, 71.3%, South Khorasan, 71%.
♦ Filtering Telegram ratified by Supreme Council of Cyberspace
A reformist member of Parliament’s Industry Commission, Hamideh Zarabdi, pointed out to officials’ decision as to permanent filtering of Telegram after recent unrests, urging that filtering Telegram will have no impact on users’ using it. According to Hamideh Zarabadi, permanent filtering of Telegram Channel in the next year has been ratified by Supreme Council of Cyberspace.
Zarabadi said if the government and telecommunication ministry are against this decision, they should transparently inform people of their own position and tell them such an incident is going to take place despite the government’s disagreement. She urged that since telecommunication ministry is not transparent in this regard, people will naturally think that the government is behind this decision.
♦ Iranian judiciary publishes details of Baghaee’s sentence
Iranian judiciary branch, after few days of media controversy over the sentencing of Hamid Baghaee, published the full text of his sentence, in which one of the IRGC officials confirms Quds Force giving money to Baghaee.
According to the published sentence, IRGC Intelligence Organization has said that Baghaee had embezzled 3,766,590 euros in the money that IRGC had given him for “African countries’ affairs”.
Apart from the embezzlement in IRGC’s money, Hamid Baghaee has other charges as well, but for this charge, he is sentenced to 15 years of imprisonment, returning 43 billion Tomans and paying 43 billion Tomans fine.