Baztab-e Emruz on the rumour of Velayati’s secret trip to the U.S

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Amid rumours originating on the opposition website affiliated with Mir Hossein Mousavi Kaleme, about Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s trusted advisor Ali Akbar Velayati’s secret visit to the United States with Hossein Taeb, former head of the Basij militia and incumbent chief of the Revolutionary Guard’s Intelligence Bureau, Baztab-e emruz, close to former IRGC commander and presidential hopeful Mohsen Rezaei, comments:

“In the language of diplomacy dialogue and negotiations are different and [dialogue] is counted as an introduction for [negotiations]. The most optimistic view of that rumour [i.e. that Velayati visited the U.S. to pursue negotiations] is that Velayati wasn’t there, someone else was, it wasn’t in America, but somewhere else, Taeb wasn’t there at all, nor were there negotiations, there was dialogue and it didn’t result in agreement”.

The article goes on to call the rumour the “most important rumour in virtual space” and then goes on to provide some noteworthy analyses:

“Firstly, negotiations between Iran and America at the outset will certainly for a number of rounds take place in a third country. The first options seem to be Qatar, Oman, Iraq or Turkey and America seems the least likely option for the Islamic Republic.

Secondly, the individual logically must have a different role from that of Dr. Velayati who is a political-diplomatic personality and a presidential candidate. The regime will use its other individuals for such negotiations that have a direct and indirect political function.

Thirdly, the accompaniment of Taeb, the chief of the Intelligence Bureau of the Revolutionary Guards is the most improbable part of the rumour. His travelling to American soil when on the black list seems a little satirical.

Another point that can be reflected upon is that negotiations and agreement with a government that has less than ten days remaining seems strange for both sides of this dispute. Unless the view is to help preserve Obama and dialogue is a winning hand for Obama.

Probably the same rumour that was broadcast about the Velayati’s trip to America at the beginning of the summer in Tehran recently reached friends. Of course perhaps it might be accurate. In any case the U.S. spokesperson under these sensitive circumstances prior to the election cannot lie to reporters, so we wait.”

In other news

The Islamic Republic News Agency reports on “preparing the ground for dialogue between [Saeed] Jalili [head of Iran’s Supreme National Security Council] and [Catherine] Ashton [the European Union’s foreign policy chief]” and the telephone conversation held between their respective deputies, Ali Baqeri and Helga Schmid on Wednesday. Since their conversation Schmid has affirmed the need to continue diplomacy and the process of trust building and that Jalili and Ashton are also due to speak again soon on the best way to proceed going into the future.

Members of the European parliament are also scheduled to visit Tehran to meet with their counterparts in the Iranian parliament.

BBC Persian reports Ahmadinejad’s comments stating that he had suggested the establishment of direct flights between Tehran and New York, but “some inside [Iran] are in disagreement with these things and I know why they have not agreed”. In a meeting on Tuesday celebrating the 14th century Persian poet Hafez, President Ahmadinejad also alluded to the comments of a foreign ambassador resident in Iran who the president claims told him, “Some politics and politicians have taken our culture and humanity hostage and don’t allow us to establish relations”. The president didn’t clarify the country to which the ambassador in question belongs.

In Domestic News

According to Digarban, a site outside Iran which follows the Conservative media, albeit relying on the report of Nameh News inside Iran, one of Tehran’s most famous preachers, Mansur Arzi has said “I still believe that [Esfandiar Rahim] Mashaei [Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff] is of the “Jewish people” after having appeared in court because of threats he had previously made against Mashaei.  He also stated Mashaei is an “infidel” and “Jew”, who should be “lashed” and “jailed”. Arzi affirmed before a religious celebration and meeting with the clothes salesmen guild that despite the complaint lodged against him his views have not changed.

BBC Persian also covers  news of a gasoline tankers strike in the city of Isfahan. According to protesters  the provincial governor has promised to investigate the alleged grievances, which relate to the “low” fee the tanker drivers receive for the load they are transporting. According to the report, the significant increase in the price of auto-mobile parts has also markedly increased the burden of tanker drivers.

The video below shows a very long queue of cars in Isfahan waiting to fill up their cars with gasoline.