IRGC Suggests Khamenei Pressured Into Negotiations

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In a live hour-long television interview, the head of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) spoke about the functions and operations of IRGC, his experiences during the Iran-Iraq war, and the different views of top officials toward signing UN Security Council Resolution 598, which called for a cease-fire in that war.

Major General Mohammad Ali “Aziz” Jafari, the head of IRGC, drew a parallel between differences between Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini and other political figures who convinced him to end the war to circumstances today, in which some political figures are pushing Iran’s top leadership to pursue relations and negotiations with the United States.

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Rouhani’s Holocaust Comments on CNN Spark Controversy

Yesterday, Fars News published a partial transcript of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s comments on the Holocaust from his interview with CNN’s Christiane Amanpour, headlined, “Exclusive: CNN Fabricates Iranian President’s Remarks About the Holocaust.” The article, which was also published on Fars English and meant for a foreign audience, has gone viral and claims that CNN had “added or changed” parts of Rouhani’s comments on the Holocaust.

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No Handshake, But ‘Taboo’ of US-Iran Negotiations Broken

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One of the more anticipated events at the UN General Assembly this week was the possibility of a handshake between US President Barack Obama and Iranian President Hassan Rouhani. The handshake, which ultimately did not happen, would have been a first for the presidents of the two countries since the 1979 Iranian revolution.

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Iran’s Hard-liners Oppose US-Iran Negotiations, Handshake

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As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani landed in New York yesterday for the UN General Assembly with the apparent blessing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to solve Iran’s nuclear crisis, Iranian media has begun to speculate over whether Rouhani and US President Barack Obama would meet, or at least run into one another and shake hands.

Many Iranian Reformist publications have favorably covered the meeting between foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and appear to be eagerly anticipating the meeting on Thursday between Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry at a P5+1 ministerial meeting. Reformist newspaper Arman even published a picture of Zarif and Kerry shaking hands (above).

Iran’s hard-liners, however, have attempted to counter this enthusiasm.

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Will Obama, Rouhani Meet?

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“Thirty-four years have passed since Iran and America severed relations,” wrote Reformist newspaper Etemaad in an article headlined “Rouhani-Obama: One Meeting, 50 Views” that compiled the views of Iranian politicians, economists, sociologists and writers on whether Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and American President Barrack Obama would meet one another at the UN General Assembly this week.

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No ‘Flexibility’ on Nuclear Rights, Says IRGC Commander

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Since the supreme leader of Iran, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, said in a speech on Sept. 17 that he is “not opposed” to diplomacy and that he supports a “heroic flexibility,” many Iranian officials and media have sought to explain and expound on the term.

While Reformists’ publications have generally responded positively and optimistically to “heroic flexibility,” a term Khamenei coined himself when translating a book on Imam Hassan, hardline media and officials have attempted to temper their enthusiasm with their own interpretations.

In a live program on Iranian TV yesterday, the deputy commander of the IRGC (Sepah), Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami, spoke about how he viewed “heroic flexibility” within the goals of the Islamic Republic.

Salami said that “heroic flexibility is an exalted and invaluable concept and it is in need of a theoretical and operational expansion.” He continued: “The concept of heroic flexibility means that in no way will we retreat from fundamental lines and national and vital interests and this right is not something that without any concessions can be exchanged.”

“Our fundamental framework is permanent and it is inflexible and our ideal goals will never be reduced,” Salami said, adding, “for instance, the right to have peaceful nuclear energy according to the criteria that has been secured for us; and this right cannot be modified and there is no flexibility on it, however, within this framework a political flexibility as a tactic is acceptable because we do not want to create a dead end in solving the political issue.”

Salami said that “solving this political issue must be in an environment that is just, balanced and respectful.” He added that “heroic flexibility does not include passivity or surrender.”

In response to the widespread coverage and analysis of “heroic flexibility” and Khamenei’s support of diplomacy, hard-line Javan Online wrote that some appear to be “overwhelmed with joy” at the prospect of negotiations between Iran and the West.

In an article titled “The Wall of Mistrust Will Not Collapse With a Diplomatic Smile,” Ali Rezaei reminded readers that the “imagined news” of a meeting between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and US President Barrack Obama in New York at the UN General Assembly session “has not been confirmed by either side.” Some have suggested that Rouhani and Obama may greet one another there.

While Rezaei wrote that “just and wise” negotiations are acceptable, Iranians should not forget that the root of conflict between Iran and the US runs deep.

In regard to the “complete trust in negotiations” some seem to have, Rezaei wrote that “the behavior of the Americans toward the Iranian government and nation proves something in contradiction to this.” Rezaei continued that the “differences and conflict with America is not about the nuclear issue or human rights [but] our main issue with America is the accumulation of several decades of American interference and Iranian resistance.”

Rezaei wrote that the roots of our differences could be seen in “1953 coup, imposing an eight-year war on the nation of Iran, giving chemical weapons to Saddam to bomb Iranian women, men and children and events such as these that today has built a dark image of the American government in the minds of Iranian people, a dark image that with a diplomatic smile will not be erased.”

Iranian Commander, Filmmaker Killed in Syria

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On Sept. 9, video footage of what appears to be Iranian commanders working with Syrian troops was posted online by the Syrian Dawood Brigade, a rebel group that is fighting the government of Syrian President Bashar al-Assad. Days later, Iranian media reported that both the commander and the filmmaker from the video had been killed.

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