Revolutionary Guards’ Chief dismisses prospect of military attack


Revolutionary Guards Chief, Mohammad Ali Jafari, has stated in a meeting with a reported 20,000 members of the Alborz Basij that “a military attack against Iran isn’t underway”, calling such threats “hollow” and “empty”. He added, “When the leaders of the regime occupying Jerusalem speak of an attack on Iran, immediately the leaders in the White House object to it and say we will not support a military attack on Iran”.

This statement is clearly Jafari’s attempt to moderate his alarmist comments last week in which said “we must all prepare for war”.

Jafari also exhorted the authorities to ensure the “complete remedy of economic threats and make more effort so that the people aren’t embroiled in difficulties”.

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President Ahmadinejad’s Media Ally Jailed

Ali Akbar Javanfekr, President Ahmadinejad’s press advisor, Managing Director of the Islamic Republic News Agency and director of the Iran Media-Cultural Institute has been jailed for 6 months on charges which include “insulting the leader”. Javanfekr’s sentence was issued in November 2011, as a result of an interview he conducted with the Reformist daily Etemaad in which he strongly criticized Ahmadinejad’s Principalist critics, as well as a supplement in Iran Newspaper deemed insulting to the black veil known as the “chador”. His sentence was subsequently upheld upon appeal. Javanfekr has also been banned from any media-related activities for a period of 3 years.

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“Insulting” caricature might result in closure of Reformist daily Sharq

120 MPs have protested a caricature in the Reformist daily Sharq deeming it insulting to the “warriors of Islam”, in this instance, the men who fought in the Iran-Iraq war.

It has been speculated by Digarban, a website outside Iran which follows the Conservative media, that the caricature is being used as a pretext to close the newspaper. In the caricature Iranian soldiers are depicted as blindfolded and “blindly” following one another in succession to the war front. Irrespective of whether the caricature is being used cynically by Iranian MPs in order to close down Sharq, the so-called “sacred defence” as it is referred to in official literature remains an extremely sensitive subject in Iran and has been transformed into the IRGC’s chief source ideological legitimacy.

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Rafsanjani reacts to his Son’s Arrest ; Ahmadinejad’s Last Visit to New York

Baztab has posted a video of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani biding goodbye to his son, Mehdi Hashemi, before he is taken to Evin prison. The controversial ex-President’s son returned after a three year absence, after being accused of playing an important role in stoking the protests and unrest, commonly referred to as “the sedition” in official literature, which followed Iran’s 2009 presidential election, as well as numerous charges of corruption.

For the last three years Hashemi has been living in between London and Dubai, and various rumours had been circulating of when he might decide to return to Iran. The Iranian authorities on numerous occasions had also expressed their intent to pursue the case against Hashemi in the event of his return.

The release of this video of Rafsanjani embracing his son before he leaves for Evin prison is an attempt to humanise this “aqazadeh” (noble born, the term used for the sons of powerful clerics in the political establishment) and most likely arouse sympathy for Mehdi Hashemi, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration has long sought to tap into populist resentment at what many Iranians have come to see as an entitled class of elite children, who have aggrandized themselves politically and above all economically from their fathers’ power and patronage.

Aftab News, close to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has posted a letter from the latter’s 1986 memoir in which he refers to his son Mehdi, who was arrested yesterday on a whole raft of charges, contending “more than my child, you are a child of the revolution”.

Similarly, Rafsanjani’s reaction to his son’s arrest has been posted on numerous outlets stating, “my children are like other people’s children and there is no difference between my children and the people’s children”.

Rafsanjani has been widely accused of nepotism by the Iranian and foreign-based Persian media for decades. Such statements are likely attempts to distance himself from such accusations and dispel this deep-seated image of the former President and incumbent head of the Expediency Discernment Council.

Ahmadinejad’s Visit

For obvious reasons the Iranian media is widely reporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s final visit to New York as president to attend the UN General Assembly. A number of his comments in a meet with American journalists have been highlighted, especially those pertaining to Iran’s relations with the United States.

The “ present condition in the relations between Iran and America are to the detriment of both countries and perhaps to the detriment of the entire world, but for their improvement we must look at the path and changes which brought relations to their present state, and pay attention to the point that the United States from the outset always stood opposed to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran”.

He added, “the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to reflect on its own negative view of America and help until the time when the American government takes steps for the creation of mutual agreement between the two countries, so that an improvement of relations between them can be obtained more quickly”.

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Controversial Son of Former President Rafsanjani Arrested upon Return to Tehran

Yesterday BBC Persian broadcast footage of Mehdi Hashemi, son of former President Rafsanjani, who continues to head the Expediency Discernment Council, at Dubai International Airport en route to Tehran, stating “I will speak in Iran”. Interestingly enough, Iranian news agencies proved to be heavily reliant on BBC reporting of Mehdi Hashemi’s return after it was thought he might be a no show, after his sister Faezeh Hashemi had been arrested earlier that day. Itwas announced that Ms. Hashemi would begin her 6 month jail term, which had been issued in January of this year, and upheld upon appeal.

Last night Fars News published photos of Mehdi Hashemi returning to Tehran’s Imam Khomeini airport, accompanied by his brother and sister, Yaser and Fatemeh. Upon arrival Mehdi was met by a representative of the Public Prosecutor and told to present himself to the latter’s office within 24 hours.

The charges are reported to be numerous, and range from his alleged role in instigating and funding opposition to the ruling elite (in contrast to the establishment as a whole) and Ahmadinejad government specifically, in the turbulent aftermath of the 2009 re-election, which saw the incumbent return to the presidency, and Supreme Leader Khamenei further tighten his grip on power, to millions of dollars’ worth of corruption.

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Revolutionary Guards on Sanctions and Islamophobia

The IRGC affiliated weekly Sobh-e Sadeq carries an article which addresses the issue of sanctions during the Iran-Iraq war. The op-ed begins, “The new intensification of sanctions which in fact is an economic war, has similarities with the eight year “sacred defence” [the official term used to refer to the 8 year conflict with Iraq]. The enemies’ goals and cowardly methods are identifiable in any period and in our confrontation with them it is possible to benefit from those valuable experiences. In the same way the Islamic Republic resisted in the face of a war on all sides while under sanctions, and which increased inequalities, it is today able to face the enemy and neutralize the economic war through reliance on the “resistance economy” [Supreme Leader Khamenei has called on the government and country to forge a “resistance economy” in the face of Western-led sanctions].

The article then goes on to enumerate the factors which allowed Iran to fight against the Ba’athist regime of Saddam Hussein while also under the pressure of sanctions. These included nimble and brave commanders and managers, the use of native excellence, the domestic production of armaments, including missiles and mortars, trust in “insider forces”, the circumvention of sanctions, and “wariness of the influence of traitors”.

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Salehi in Damascus; a Rift Within the Endurance Front?

Domestic Affairs

Arya News has reported on divisions between the Tehran and Qom wings of the radical Endurance Front affiliated with hardline cleric Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi. Former government spokesman and current presidential advisor, Gholamhossein Elham has been removed from the founding council of the Endurance Front and replaced with Meisam Nili. In the course of a recent meeting of the Front, Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi stressed that “for us the most fundamental issue is the deviant current”. The “deviant current” though often a rather nebulous and all-encompassing term, began as a derogation referring to President Ahmadinejad’s chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, and other key members of Ahmadinejad’s inner circle. Elham and his wife Fatemeh Rajabi, who runs the hardline new service, Raja News, have been amongst the president’s most vocal supporters in the past. Rajabi famously published a book after the president’s election victory by the name of “Ahmadinejad: The Miracle of Third Millennium”. A statement she has since retracted. Nonetheless, Elham has remained a staunch supporter of the President, going so far as to refer to Ahmadinejad in a recent interview with Iran Newspaper, as “a real truth for the revolution”.

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Foreign Minister Salehi in Cairo

Foreign Affairs

Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Damascus Mehr News Agency reports. Details continue to be sparse other than Salehi went to Damascus to discuss the “special circumstances” of Syria.

This visit follows on the heels of Salehi’s visit to Cairo, for a meeting of the “contact group” on Syria, along with his Turkish and Egyptian counterparts. The Saudi Foreign Minister was not in attendance. Salehi’s recommendations included sending observers to Syria and that the contact group’s next meeting take place in Tehran, with representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey.

Khabar Online, close to Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani reports Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s comments in his meeting with Foreign Minister Salehi that “no problem exists between Iran and Egypt”. During their meeting in Cairo Salehi expressed the “warm greetings” of President Ahmadienajd, and thanked Morsi for his attendance of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. Salehi also congratulated the president on the “victory of the revolution of the Egyptian people”. According to the report, Morsi reciprocated and asked the Iranian Foreign Minister to offer his “warm greetings” to the Supreme Leader and President Ahmadinejad.

Salehi also expressed Iran’s readiness for cooperation with the Egyptian government on the development of Egypt’s industrial infrastructure, adding that the two countries “complement one another”.

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Former “Kahrizak prosecutors” return to the headlines

On the home front

Ali Akbar Heydari Far, the former deputy to the Tehran’s former chief prosecutor, Saeed Mortazavi, has lodged a complaint against the news site Baztab after being released from jail. Heydari Far’s name was revealed as amongst those responsible for allegations of torture and 3 deaths which occurred in Kahrizak detention centre after Iran’s controversial 2009 election and the unrest which followed. He was suspended as deputy prosecutor of Tehran as a result.

But in May of this year, Heydari Far was arrested after discharging a firearm at a gas station in Isfahan, when other customers protested his jumping line. Heydari Far was arrested on charges of “disrupting public order and security”, but has since been released. According to Baztab, Heydari Far’s complaint concerns his protesting the leak of his release from prison.

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Revolutionary Guard Chief Holds Press Conference

Commander Mohammad Ali Jafari, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) delivered an important speech at a press conference on Sunday, which has been reported by virtually all of the Iranian news outlets. What follows below is a summary and translation of the key parts of the Commander’s speech and some of his answers to journalists’ questions. The speech should be regarded as significant and news of the press conference was announced on several news agencies a number of days in advance.

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