Sadeq Kharazi, Iran’s former ambassador to France and the United Nations, who is both close to former President Mohammad Khatami and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and brother to former Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, has claimed that “China and Russia’s entry into the nuclear negotiations was not to Iran’s benefit”.
In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency published Friday 1 March, Kharazi stressed that he was against the addition of China and Russia from the outset.
He claimed he had held the view that “the entry of putatively friendly countries like China and Russia, not only will not be to our benefit, but will turn Iran into a means for bargaining between Russia and China with the West…and will result in the reduction of Iran’s deterrent power”.
He continued, “the time we had discussions with America…they apologised for the coup against the legal government of the late Dr. [Mohammad] Mosaddegh and sought absolution for their imperialist behaviour and released Iran’s money. Today it has reached a point where the gentlemen put forward negotiations to pre-empt a military attack. This is a real decline”.
Kharazi also rebutted the prospect of adding Turkey and Saudi Arabia to the current P5+1 group, saying that neither of these countries has sufficient “capacity” for the task.
Regarding the recent negotiations in Kazakhstan he stated Iran “must not pursue a superior position” but rather “we must pursue a win-win game”.
Serat News reports on Dr. Houshang Amirahmadi’s recent interview with JNS.org and the announcement of his readiness to improve the Islamic Republic of Iran’s relations with both the United States and Israel in the event he wins the presidential race. Amirahmadi himself is an Iranian-American citizen and academic and is also president of the American Iranian Council.
Serat is keen to emphasise Amirahmadi’s ties with the controversial ally of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei. The latter was famously rebuffed by the Supreme Leader after stating that Iranians are “friends of all people in the world—even Israelis”.
Serat also posts a picture of Amirahmadi and Ahmadinejad together and claims that the former had previously expressed his enthusiasm for the president and praised him as “brave”. Finally, the article concludes that it is likely that both Amirahmadi and Mashaei will most likely be disqualified from running in the presidential election by the Guardian Council, half of which is directly appointed by Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei.
Hojjat al-Islam Kazem Sediqi, the Friday Prayer leader of Tehran, has said that the percentage to which Iran enriches uranium “has nothing to do with anyone”. He added, “a number of news agencies have said some nonsense that Iran has agreed to stop 20 percent uranium enrichment. This statement is baseless. Iran has become nuclear and it recognizes it as its inviolable right”.
Hojjat al-Islam Jafar Shojuni, a prominent member of the conservative Society of Combatant Clergy, has stated that Hojjat al-Islam Mostafa Pourmohammadi, the head of the Inspectorate Organization and a fierce critic of the Ahmadinejad government, is the Society’s likely candidate going into the upcoming election. Shojuni stated that thus far it seems when compared to other prospective candidates such as former Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Islam Ali Fallahian and Hojjat al-Islam Ali Akbar Nateq-Nouri, Pourmohammdi will receive the most votes.
The Front for the Followers of the Line of the Imam and Leader have stated that they will form a four man coalition of prominent Principalist politicians, comprising the Deputy Speaker of the Majles, Mohammadreza Bahonar, Mohammad Motakki, Mostafa Pourmohammadi and Yahya Al-e Eshaq.
Ahmad Nikfar, a member of the Central Council of the Islamic Society of Engineers informed Tasnim News of the coalition, whose candidate will in all likelihood compete alongside a number of other Principalist candidates, in particular the one put forward by the 2+1 coalition, consisting of Mohammad Baqer Qalibaf, Gholam Ali Haddad Adel and Ali Akbar Velayati.