Did Rafsanjani Condemn ‘Government’ for Chemical Weapons?

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According to the granddaughter of former Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani recently condemned the use of chemical weapons by “a government,” a distinction that other Iranian officials have not made, and reminded those at the meeting of the fate of deposed Iraqi President Saddam Hussein.

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Revolutionary Guard: Syria Will Be ‘Second Vietnam’ for US

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Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jaffari, commander of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, spoke yesterday about the threat of an American military attack on Syria in response to accusations that Syrian forces used chemical weapons in a Damascus suburb.

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Khamenei: US Interference in Syria Will Be Disaster For Region

untitled Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his views for the first time on Syria since accusations of chemical weapons led to the possibility of military strikes by the West on Syria. President Hassan Rouhani also warned of another war in the region and parliament speaker Ali Larijani addressed the possibility of an attack on Syria on the parliament floor today, issuing perhaps the harshest and most direct warning to Israel and countries supporting the military strike. Continue reading

Can Iran Compromise With US?

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“Is it possible to compromise with America and reach an agreement?” The Iranian hard-line Jahan website asked this question after comments by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani that “Compromise with a peaceful enemy is permissible.” In Iran, “enemy” is typically a reference to the United States, and negotiations or direct talks with America have lately been a prevalent theme in Iranian media, especially in light of the high-profile visits yesterday by the sultan of Oman and the United Nations undersecretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who some believe traveled to Tehran to carry messages from Western countries.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Encourages US to Pursue ‘Win-Win’ Strategy

untitled Iran’s new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat down with Iranian television in a one-on–one interview yesterday, where he discussed his views on the United States’ foreign policy, the new US sanctions against Iran and Iran’s nuclear program,. On US foreign policy Zarif said, “There is a serious need” to “understand this reality, and we have to encourage others to understand this reality, that in the field of foreign policy a positive-sum game and a win-win game” is “in everyone’s interests.” In the article from the Iranian Students News Agency which transcribed the interview, the title was “Foreign Minister: America Should Pursue Win-Win Game.” Continue reading

Iran’s Minister of Intelligence Invites Activists in Exile Back, With a Caveat

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At a press conference yesterday, Iran’s minister of intelligence said that some individuals who left Iran after the 2009 election protests should not have doubts about returning to Iran.

Seyed Mahmoud Alavi, Iran’s new intelligence minister, was asked,“During the 2009 events, some individuals who were active on the campaign staff of two candidates, after the round of arrests began, without having committed any crimes or violations, because of fear or doubts, left the country. Now with the present condition they want to return back to their country, but they are scared and have doubts. What are your statements on this?” Continue reading

Rafsanjani: I Wanted to Negotiate With the US

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In an interview with the International Studies Journal, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed a variety foreign policy issues regarding Iran’s relationship with the United States and Saudi Arabia, controversial comments he made on Israel and nuclear weapons in 2001 and extremist elements in Iran. Parts of the article have been reprinted by various Reformist publications.

Rafsanjani, who was the speaker of parliament from 1980 to 1989, claims to have written a letter to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toward the end of his life asking him to address a variety of issues. In the letter, which Rafsanjani claimed to have delivered himself, he warned Khomeini that there are issues “that if you do not cross yourself, after you, crossing them will be very difficult.” Toward the end of Khomeini’s life it is believed that some of his top advisers and family were involved in making key decisions. Rafsanjani, who is now head of the Expediency Council, is considered to have been one of Khomeini’s closest advisers. Continue reading

The Revolutionary Guard’s Ideological Plan Under Rouhani

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A website close to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) has presented four distinct roles that they believe they should play in the next four years under President Hassan Rouhani’s administration. Although the IRGC, also known as Sepah, still plays a significant role in the Iranian economy and intelligence community, with Rouhani’s new cabinet they have lost key cabinet positions that they enjoyed the last eight years under former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad.

The article begins by saying that some of the main issues that Sepah will need to confront are “an emphasis on negotiations with America, accepting the entrance of globalization, the demands of 2009 (elections) … and satisfying Europe and the White House.” The author believes that “some around the new administration” have shown an inclination toward the above demands. Continue reading

Faezeh Rafsanjani: Prison Was the Best Time of My Life

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Faezeh Rafsanjani, daughter of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, spoke to Reformist Etemaad newspaper about her political activities and incarceration, some of the customs that have been imposed on women in Iran and her father’s warnings about her outspokenness. A former parliament member and founder of a women’s newspaper which was later banned, Faezeh has been a high-profile activist who served 6 months in prison for her statements and activities during the 2009 election protests.

On her stay in prison, Faezeh said that not only did she not think that she would go to prison but also that “because my verdict was not just, I did not think it would be carried out.” She added that she was never worried about it. On her days in prison, she said, “I liked, and still like those days. It was a strange experience and costly, and I thank God. I still look at it as the best time of my life, and I thank those who offered this opportunity for me. Prison opened another world to me. I think it was my own spirits that turned this threat into an opportunity.” Continue reading