Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, the head of the Ammar Strategic Base (an organization established to fight the “soft war” against the Islamic Republic of Iran), in a meeting with university student members of the Basij paramilitary force, has stated: “Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us. If the enemy attacks us and wants to appropriate either Syria or Khuzestan (in southern Iran), the priority is that we keep Syria.”
Taeb added: “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran … Syria had an army, but did not have the ability to manage a war inside Syria’s cities. It is for this reason the Iranian government suggested that “in order to manage an urban war you must form a Basij …The Syrian Basij was formed with 60,000 [members] of the party of God [the religious and ideologically zealous] who took over the war in the streets from the army”.
Taeb also commented on the upcoming presidential election stating: “The main choices of the Reformists are [Mohammad Ali] Najafi, [Mohammad Reza] Aref, and Eshagh Jahangiri, although they still haven’t reached a conclusion on them. Hojjat al-Islam Mousavi Khoeiniha [the head of the Reformist Association of Combatant Clerics] says don’t participate in the election, but [former President Mohammad] Khatami says we will participate and his argument is that if we don’t enter [the election] we will forever be eliminated … The hit we [Taeb is now referring to himself and fellow radical Principalists] took from the last election was that Ahmadinejad was not a team player. If he stayed with the team of the ninth government [Ahmadinejad’s first term], he would have become a legend and the difficulties endured because of sanctions wouldn’t have been as much.”
In other news
Entekhab has reported the latest news surrounding the death of Hossein Shateri, aka Hossam the Engineer and Hossam Khoshnevis, who was the head of the Iranian Committee for the Reconstruction of Lebanon. The spokesman of the Revolutionary Guards is quoting as saying, “Commander Shateri was martyred by mercenaries and patrons of the Zionist regime.”
He continued, “he also as a disciple of Guardianship and servant of the Imam and Leader, in recent years was occupied with the reconstruction of areas damaged in Lebanon as a result of the 33 day war with the Zionist regime.”
“This martyrdom was recompense for Commander Shateri, after a lifetime of struggle in the path of God and [his endeavours for] the revival of Islamic values and also in service to the innocent people and oppressed of Lebanon.”
Entekhab also reports the comments of Lebanese newspaper Al-Saffir: “Khoshnevis was targeted in the town of Aleppo. He was in this town to appraise the state of the city for reconstruction projects.”
According to the article, Al-Arabiyya has also claimed that the IRGC commander had been bestowed with diplomatic immunity in Lebanon by the Ahmadinejad government.
Bashgah-e khabarnegaran, has posted photos of all the sons of former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at the funeral ceremony of Mohammad Kazem Marashi, the brother Effat Marashi, Rafsanjani’s wife. Mehdi Hashemi is out on bail after being released from Evin prison and has been faced with a number of allegations including bribery.
Entekhab claims that the group of 100 supporters who greeted President Ahmadinejad upon his return from Egypt, was the “first electoral action by Ahmadinejad and Mashaei,” and posts the pictures of the both of them interacting with the crowd. Speculation is still rife on whether Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, the president’s controversial ally and confidante, will decide to run in this year’s presidential race.