Mohammad Sadeq Kharazi, who served twice as Iran’s deputy foreign minister and as its ambassador to Paris and the UN, and who is also known to be close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has discounted the prospect of negotiations with the United States until after the June 2013 presidential election, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves office. Kharazi was also reported to have been highly involved in Iran’s so-called offer of a “grand bargain“ to the United States via the Swiss embassy in 2003, which was dismissed by the administration of George W. Bush.
Kharazi made his comments at the 19th meeting of “Iranian Diplomacy.”
His speech reproduced on his website, Iran Diplomacy, makes interesting reading, in particular his significant praise for US President Barack Obama and his administration. Continue reading →
Former Reformist Interior Minister, Hojjat al-Islam Abdollah Nuri, in a meeting at his home with students from Eastern Azerbaijan, has said that “we must not wait for a miraculous event to change the atmosphere”. Numerous other Reformist-inclined activists were present at the meeting and asked questions surrounding the future of the Reformist movement and the best course of action and strategy for the future.
The Reformist daily Etemaad quotes Nuri as saying, “today for the creation of dynamic and effective relations between the Reformists and the general public, particularly with the deprived classes, their various issues and hardships must have priority over the special concerns of political activists, and more or less a comparable priority alongside these concerns. [This is] because the most basic concern and preoccupation of the Reformist movement is the destiny of the country and the people. Political and student Reformist activists across the country with the creation of a kind of camaraderie and accompaniment of the people can point out the roots of the economic problems, deprivations and backwardness. The causes of the economic hardships and livelihood of the people must be clearly explained for society. Excessive emphasis regarding concerns it’s possible are not the first priority of the people causes us to be oblivious to the basic problems of the people and society. Our problems in truth are only a part of the difficulties of the whole of society and perhaps we don’t correctly perceive the depth of the problems and economic crises, because we were less amongst that segment of society and those individuals who were afflicted by these issues. This of course doesn’t mean that we must dilute our own concerns. Perhaps the objective is to make the public concerns of society a priority”.
Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s advisor on international affairs, has denied rumours which have been the object of much discussion regarding his alleged secret visit to the United States to pursue direct negotiations with the United States, calling the rumours a “baseless lie”. As the Reformist daily Etemaadstates Velayati was the first to rebut President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s comments regarding the prospect of establishing relations with the United States on the latter’s most recent trip to address the UN General Assembly, stating that any such decision is strictly the prerogative of Iran’s Supreme Leader. In an interview with Mashreq, reprinted by Etemaad Velayati also called Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney’s performance in the debates “clumsy” arguing that President Obama seems “further ahead” in his approach to Iran.
The story itself seems to be a leak attempting to embarrass Velayati, possibly ‘payback’ for his forceful rebuttal of the president, by individuals close to Ahmadinejad. The rumour was also picked up by opposition website Kaleme and similarly used to decry the disparity between the Conservative establishment’s public statements and private activities. On the whole, both analysts and media outlets have come to the conclusion that the rumour and particularly many of the details do not make much sense and seem inconsistent with the Islamic Republic’s standard diplomatic modus operandi.
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”.
Baztab-e Emruz, an unremitting critic of President Ahmadinejad, compares his publication of Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani’s ‘confidential’ letter in which he deemed the President’s request to visit Evin prison “inappropriate”, to the nineties publication of the Islamic Left’s newspaper Salaam [i.e. those who would emerge as Reformists and President Mohammad Khatami’s most vociferous defenders] and its publication of a ‘confidential’, but also notorious memo by the infamous Deputy Intelligence Minister, Saeed Emami.
In his letter Emami, who is alleged to have been directly involved in the murder of several prominent Iranians intellectuals and journalists, urged changes in the country’s press laws and a crackdown against the Iranian media during the tenure of Reformist President Mohammad Khatami. The law was under consideration in the 5th Majles and many at the time suspected that its provenance resided in the security services. With the publication of Salaam’s letter the law’s true source was revealed.
Salaam was closed as a result of publishing Emami’s letter, an act protested by widespread student demonstrations which were in turn brutally repressed by the security services and have come to be known as the events of 18th Tir. At the time the prominent Revolutionary Guards wrote a letter to then President Khatami stating that if he was unable to bring the situation under control, they would be forced to step in.
Controversial hardline parliamentarian, Ruhollah Hosseinian, has toldMehr News that two groups are trying their utmost to ensure that President Ahmadinejad’s government comes to an end before his second term officially ends. The two groups in question, according to Hosseinian are the “seditionists”, which is a broad reference for the Green Movement and its Reformist sympathisers, but also “those inside the regime who support the seditionists”, sometimes referred to as the “silent seditionists”, which are said to include Majles Speaker Ali Larijani and his Deputy, Mohammadreza Bahonar, two Principalist politicians who were reported to have congratulated opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi for winning the 2009 presidential election. Other Conservative politicians who are deemed to not have condemned the uprising of 2009 with sufficient severity also fall into this category. He stressed that Ahmadinejad’s opponents endeavour to anger the president, so as to provoke and “abuse” his main “weakness”, his “bad temper” and “stubbornness”, which is not expedient for the country.
Hosseinian also expressed his disagreement with the President being summoned before parliament to answer questions on his government’s role in the on-going economic crisis.
Despite the Judiciary’s ‘confidential’ letter to President Ahmadinejad’s request to visit Evin prison as “inexpedient”, the president has not only published the confidential letter in question by Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani, but also gone as far as to publicly declaim via the presidential office’s news outlet that he has no need for the judiciary’s permission if he so chooses to visit the notorious jail, which currently houses most of Iran’s high profile political prisoners, including his ally and press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.
Ahmadinejad has been criticized by much of the Iranian press, both hardline and Reformist, who claim rather than address the dire economic situation, he would prefer to stir up controversy by insisting on a visit to Evin jail, against the advisement of the judiciary.
Ahmadinejad’s relations with Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, and the head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, have long been fraught with tensions and have been progressively deteriorating in recent months.
Comments by Ali Larijani carried by Arman, close to former President Rafsanjani, seem to imply that Larijani sought to end the vicious circle of mutual recrimination because of the “conditions of the country” by cancelling a press conference in which Larijani intended to reply to the president’s direct attack made during the latter’s controversial press conference held on 2nd October.
Ali Saedi, the Supreme Leader’s representative in the Revolutionary Guards, in an exclusive interview with the Reformist daily Etemaad has said of the President, “we didn’t have occult foreknowledge to know what is going through the mind of Mr. Ahmadinejad and in the future what he will want to do ”. The interview is fairly long, but several key comments are highlighted.
“Incidentally, I told Ahmadinejad his problem to his face. I told him you could have become an historic hero of the nation of Iran, but unfortunately it didn’t happen. It doesn’t get any worse than you turning all the people who were your supporters into your opponents”.
Serat News, a hardline outlet often critical of the president and his administration and said to be close to Kayhan, launches an attack against several of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allies including, First Vice Minister, Mohammadreza Rahimi and Press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who has been recently jailed. The main object of derision is their allegedly “eulogising” of political figures they turned against once they obtained high office in the Ahmadinejad government.
Sepah News, an official outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, reports the comments of Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, stating “our nuclear energy is peaceful and entry into the domain of nuclear weapons is the red line of the defence doctrine and beliefs of the Islamic Republic”.
When asked about the sanctions against Iran Salami added, “the greater the pressure, the [more] spirit of resistance and steadfastness will increase. Our nation sees this occurrence as a form of battle and at this stage the nation of Iran has taken the decision to obey and take inspiration from the Supreme Leader. Iran is entirely capable of crossing this circle besieging it”.