» Dangerous game of power in Syria
The editorial of Etemaad focuses on Syria after the defeat of ISIS, considering the newly created opening much more difficult to manage than the period of war against ISIS.
According to the editorial, there are currently two problems in Syria: managing the current situation in Syria and sharing the power in that country. All countries who played a role in Syrian crisis during this time are now after their share of the power of decision making. Turkey, Iran, Russia and other Arab countries all see themselves as deserving a share in Syria. The Syrian government has its own army and supporters, but Assad’s government is not the only actor in that country. Armed opponents within Syria, as well as refugees and displaced persons, consisting of 7 million people, have their own claims on power.
The editorial continues: the U.S. as a superpower is another force asking its share in Syria. The U.S. played a role in liberating Raqqa and Deir ez-Zor, and along with Turkey and with forming Syrian democratic forces, participated in the liberation of these regions. Currently, the supposition is that the U.S. has lost the game to Iran, Syria, and to some extent, Turkey. But the U.S., with forming a centralized power, intends to increase its own capacity to influence sharing power in Syria.
The editorial concludes that Russia and the U.S., as permanent members of UN National Security Council, can make the political deadlock in Syria more difficult, especially now that Syria that is being shaped requires the cooperation of world powers and international organizations.
An Editorial in “Etemad” on January 17, 2018
» Oil Tanker Sanchi Crash: Unanswered Questions
This editorial addresses the collision of Iranian oil tanker Sanchi with a Chinese cargo ship which resulted in the death of 32 crew members.
The editorialist starts by finding it hard to believe that the collision caused the death of Sanchi’s crew given the security systems of oil tankers. First of all, the part of the tanker with which the Chinese ship collided was at least 50 to 80 meters away from the dorms of crew members. Furthermore, as Sanchi was carrying gas condensate containing hydrogen sulfide, it might be said that gas release caused the immediate choking off all the crew. However, this is possible only if all security systems of the oil tanker were broken.
The editorialist also states that there are lots of respiratory equipment in the tanker, not to mention two lifeboats near the dorm which are not only completely impervious but also can pass through fire. In addition, such tankers contain tens of rescue vests. Therefore, how did all crew members lose their lives? Were they even alive before the collision? Was there anyone in the tanker at all?
At the end, the editorialist urges authorities to leave expediency aside and tell the truth to people.
An Editorial in “Mostaghel daily” on January 16, 2018
» JCPOA Achievements to be Continued until Judgement Day?
This editorial is a criticism of Hassan Rouhani’s major accomplishment, namely JCPOA, calling it a costly and harmful deal.
The editorialist holds that Iranian authorities and those involved in nuclear negotiations still insist on the success of JCPOA. However, a large number of Iranian people feel that the nuclear deal has had a negative impact on their lives as Rouhani failed to keep his promises of an economic boost.
Rouhani needs to elaborate on the achievements of JCPOA. For instance, he has pointed out that in the past two years, Iran’s oil revenue has doubled, and a hundred cases of foreign investment have been created in the country, ranging from factories and power plants to airplanes. However, if such achievements are true, Rouhani should show them to people so that they can become believable. Of course, a few number of passenger planes have been bought, yet the major ones– including Boeing and Airbus– have not entered Iran because of the U.S. breaking its promises.
The editorialist ends by saying that as Europe is following U.S. regarding JCPOA, neither of them can be trusted. Therefore, Iran is the loser of this game; in fact, what seems to be continued until the Judgement Day are not the JCPOA achievements, but the obligations that Iran has eagerly fulfilled.
An Editorial in “Siasat-e Rouz on January 15, 2018
» Do Not Politicize People’s Beliefs!
This editorial slams Hassan Rouhani for his recent remarks regarding people’s rights to criticize officials.
Rouhani has recently said that all officials can be criticized, adding that no one is a ‘saint’ in the country; even the twelfth Imam can be criticized. Rouhani also stated the Prophet Mohammad, too, allowed people to criticize him.
The editorialist holds that Rouhani’s words are contradictory: on the one hand, he says there is no saint the country, and even if there was one, it was not necessary to criticize him. On the other hand, Rouhani says a saint can be criticized too. According to the Koran, the Prophet utters nothing but revelations. Therefore, how can a prophet or a saint utter anything against interests of believers that can be criticized by ordinary people?
According to this editorial, a saint is beyond criticism, for any criticism of a saint means denying his infallibility. The editorialist concludes that Hassan Rouhani needs to take a test in ‘ijtihad’ as his words over the past years are against the Koran doctrines.
An Editorial in “Afkar” on January 14, 2018
♦ Salami: IRGC is not political entity
The successor to IRGC commander, Brigadier-General Salami, said IRGC is not a political entity and has transparent positions, adding that IRGC’s political domain is responding to political threats ahead of the Iranian revolution and regime. Salami urged that in recent events, the U.S. tried to unite the world against Iran, but failed, and even U.S. allies did not accompany this country in this regard. He said the U.S. is the biggest power in the world but has become inefficient, and it did whatever it could to decrease Iran’s influence, but it couldn’t; as a result, it turned to creating unrests in Iran, but again to no avail.
♦ Rouhani: Iran has long-standing relations with Syria
Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, in meeting with Syrian Speaker of Parliament Hammouda Youssef Sabbagh, congratulated Syrian government, people, and army for “great victories against terrorists and for liberating important Syrian cities”. He urged that strategic and friendly relations between Iran and Syria are long-standing while emphasizing on developing, boosting and strengthening comprehensive relations between Tehran and Damascus. Rouhani condemned the presence of U.S. forces in Syria, saying the Americans’ recent plan for Syria is against international laws, and it threatens the territorial integrity and security of Syria and the region.
♦ Germany: 10 individuals spied for Iran
Germany announced that it is after 10 suspected Iranian spies. German officials said widespread search all over the country has started for finding these suspects. One of the German officials said: “We believe the suspects spied on institutions and persons in Germany on behalf of an intelligence unit associated with Iran.”
♦ Sadeghi: Individual who died in prison informed of forcing prisoners to take pills
Iranian lawmaker Mahmoud Sadeghi said one of the prisoners who recently died in prison had told his family that prisoners had been forced to take pills which would make them feel bad. Sadeghi wrote in his Twitter: “According to relatives of one of those who died in prison, he had told his family that officials had forced him and other detainees to take pills that would make them feel bad.”
While human rights activists and sources have announced deaths of 3 to 5 detainees during recent protests in Iran’s prisons, Iranian officials have admitted “suicide” and death of 2 people during this period, claiming that these people had not been arrested in recent protests.
♦ IRGC official: Achieving causes only possible through jihadi management
Deputy coordinator of the supreme leader in IRGC emphasized on the significance of jihadi management, urging that going towards causes and making slogan come true is only possible through successful jihadi management. Brigadier-General Mohammad Hossein Sepehr added that jihadi management is a jihadi and religious strategy that was raised by the supreme leader for economy and culture. He said Jihadi Management Association is a nonpolitical NGO, formed with people’s support to implement the leader’s intention, and is identifying 10,000 jihadi mangers.
♦ Constructing Bagratashen border bridge; economic priority of Iran, Armenia in 2018
The first economic step for Iranian presence in Armenia in 2018 is going to be taken with constructing Bagratashen border bridge by an Iranian company, Aryana. Vahan Martirosyan, Minister of Transport and Communications of Armenia, said, in the ceremony of signing contract for construction of border bridge between Armenia and Georgia (Bagratashen), that “I am sure Aryana Company will complete this project on time and with high quality. Aryana is obliged to finish construction of Bagratashen bridge in 19 months.
♦ Sanchi, Iranian oil tanker with Panama flag
Numerous questions are raised in cyberspace, domestic and foreign media, and even among people about Iranian oil tanker Sanchi which after 8 days of burning over the sea, sank with its crew. One of the questions in this regard is the reason why Iranian tanker was with Panama’s flag: was it because of sanctions or was it a cover for hiding the nationality of the oil tanker?
In response to this question, Captain Mohsen Bahrami, spokesperson of Emergency Committee for Sanchi oil tanker incident, said this tanker has been registered under Bright Shipping Company, and the ownership of such ships doesn’t belong to Iran National Oil Company but are just managed by Iran. Since this oil tanker has been registered in Panama, it should move with this country’s flag.
♦ 6 times increase in exporting wheat
Exporting wheat has increased 1351% compared to last year, while due to the continuation of banning, its import has almost completely stopped. According to latest statistics published by Ministry of Agricultural Jihad, in first 9 months of this year, more 276,410 tons of Iranian wheat worth $70,780,000 has been exported to different countries of the world.
♦ Lawmakers’ visit to Evin prison
Deputy head of Omid Fraction in Parliament pointed out to a favorable view of Speaker of Parliament, judiciary branch’s representative in Parliament, and deputy intelligence minister regarding lawmakers visiting Evin Prison, adding that this visit will have a positive impact on the public opinion in Iran. Mohammad Reza Tabesh said, “we hope the visit from Evin Prison will take place soon, because this is to the benefit of the regime, and the public opinion will receive this positive impression that their rights are being defended.”
♦ Rouhani’s office: President’s remarks fabricated
President’s office in a statement denied attribution of the sentence “Imam Zaman too can be criticized” to Hassan Rouhani, emphasizing it is one of the definitive beliefs of Shia that the prophets and immaculate imams are infallible. The media, politicians, preachers, and religious authorities are asked to refer to main remarks of the president, instead of basing their judgments on fabricated remarks of some political figures in the media.
♦ 29% increase in South Korea’s import of oil from Iran
Even though import of crude oil by South Korea from Iran show 30.6% decrease compared to the same period in 2016, the level of this country’s import from Iran in 2018 shows 29.1% increase. Asian buyers including South Korea have increased purchasing Iran’s oil since nuclear sanctions were removed.
♦ Employee arrested in Herat Province on charge of espionage for Iran
Local officials of Herat Province in Afghanistan said a senior employee has been arrested by national security forces on a charge of espionage for Iran. Jilani Farhad, the spokesperson of Herat Province, announced this individual was arrested by a special delegation and sent to Kabul for further investigations. Prior to this, some Afghan officials had talked about Iranian citizens having a role in instabilities in this region and Iran’s support for armed oppositions.
♦ Death of detainee in Chaloos police station
A citizen called Ali Pooladi lost his life in Chaloos police station, northern Iran. Harana, the news agency of human rights activists in Iran, announced details of this incident, saying this person was taken into custody by law enforcement forces in Chaloos, and the day after the detainee’s family was told to go for receiving his dead body. Pooladi’s brother has told Harana that his brother wasn’t suffering from any particular disease, and was healthy at the time of arrest. According to Harana, following the release of news of the death of this young person in the police station, some people from the region including Ali Pooladi’s relatives went to the police station to protest. They believe that this individual has lost his life due to either misconduct or under torture.
In recent days and following suppression of widespread protests, there is a growing concern about detainees, given the horrible records in this regard.
♦ Iran ready to implement land part of exporting gas project to Oman
Iranian deputy oil minister in gas affairs, Hamid Reza Arghi, said according to negotiations between Tehran and Muscat, Iran will be in charge of implementing the land part of the project for exporting Iran’s gas to Oman, along with necessary infrastructure in the sea part. Araghi said as soon as the sea part of this project is completed, the land part of the project will start. According to 2013 agreement between Iran and Oman, 1.5 billion cubic meters of Iran gas will be daily exported to Oman for 15 years.
♦ Motalefeh: U.S., Europe actually pulled out of JCPOA
Secretary-General of Islamic Coalition Party (Motalefeh) said in reaction to Trump’s recent statement that the U.S. has in actuality pulled out of the nuclear deal (JCPOA), adding now that the U.S. and Europe have actually pulled out of JCPOA, Iranian government must make a decision in this regard. Mohammad Nabi Habibi urged that sanctions were going to be revoked, not suspended; banking sanction, Iran-phobia, and threats were also going to end, but this didn’t happen either. Therefore, Habibi concluded, the U.S. has pulled out of JCPOA but insists on Iran fulfilling its obligations.
♦ Lawmaker: Iran ready for any U.S. measure
Sabzevar MP Hossein Maqsoudi said Iran has proper scenarios for any measures of the U.S. In relation to U.S. Congress recent sanctions against 14 Iranian individuals and entities, Maqsoudi held that the U.S. Congress has repeatedly had ratifications against Iran that have been either violation of JCPOA or against its spirit. He urged that in case the U.S. pulls out of JCPOA, Iranian Parliament and government have planned proper scenarios, which will be accordingly implemented.
♦ Iranian Middle East expert: Iran, Iraq relationship exemplary
Saadollah Zaree, Middle East expert, said the relationship between Iran and Iraq is an example of a deep relationship in the international domain. He added despite the 8-year war between the two countries and the fact that Iran’s western borders have been always considered a threat, good relationship between Tehran and Baghdad exists today.
Young journalists club
♦ Motaheri: Following up suicides of some prisoners
Iranian Deputy Speaker of Parliament Ali Motaheri announced the Parliament is following up the suicides of some of those arrested in recent events in the country. Motaheri said he hasn’t asked to visit those arrested in Evin Prison yet but has asked questions from the related officials about these suicides. Deputy Speaker of Parliament confirmed that 1 person in Tehran and 2 persons in other cities have committed suicide.
♦ Lawmaker: Iranian government puts blames for its inabilities on parliament
Isfahan MP Ahmad Salek said Iranian officials in government put all the blames on the Parliament and say that if it votes for government’s proposals in Budget Bill for 2018, employment problem will be resolved; otherwise, it will remain the same. Salek added 2018 Budget Bill has serious problems which need to be resolved.
♦ Telegram unfiltered in Iran
Temporary filtering of Telegram and some restrictions enforced by demands of certain entities in Iran during past 2 weeks were removed by the order of the Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. According to ISNA, Instagram was unfiltered last Saturday as well. On January 13, some users said that it has become possible for them to access Telegram messenger through the home internet and without VPN.
♦ Lawmakers to possibly question Hassan Rouhani
Hossein Maqsoudi, Sabzevar MP, said following up people’s demands from financial and credit institutions has left the MPs with no choice but to question Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. Maqsoudi added about 185 MPs from Velaee, Omid and Independent Fractions have signed the legislation for questioning the president. According to Maqsoudi, speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani has blocked the process of questioning, saying that “under present conditions, it is not in the interest of the country to question the president.”
♦ Seizing explosives in Saravan border region
IRGC public relations announced in a statement that a shipment containing explosives and suicide vests has been seized in Saravan region in Sistan and Baluchistan. According to the statement, “Jondollah operatives intended to take this shipment into the country for creating instability, riots, and terrorist measures.”