In a speech at Tehran University, former President Mohammad Khatami urged the students to be patient in their expectations of the new administration and warned them that there are forces inside the country who are hoping President Hassan Rouhani will fail in his international and domestic goals.
Contradicting his previous statements, Iran’s Justice Minister Mostafa Pourmohammadi said that President Hassan Rouhani’s administration would not get involved in the effort to release Mir Hussein Mousavi, his wife Zahra Rahnavarad and Mehi Karroubi, who are approaching nearly 1,000 days of house arrest.
Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s media advisor, Mohammad Ali Ramin, has been credited with the idea of Ahmadinejad raising the issues of Holocaust denial and that Israel must vanish from the pages of history. In a recent interview he responded to rumors that the anti-American billboards in Tehran were his idea and his beliefs that opposing talks is the best strategy in negotiations and that the United States would soon break apart into several independent countries.
After anti-American billboards were removed from the streets of Tehran, Iranian hard-liners promised that they’d be back.
The posters, which received much attention online and were even criticized by Reformist newspapers, were put up shortly after Iranian negotiators returned from Geneva after meeting with the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) and held direct talks with the United States.
Most of the posters depicted two men sitting at a table facing one another. One showed a US official wearing a suit jacket but military fatigues beneath, and holding a shotgun under the table pointed at the Iranian negotiator, who wore the customary grey suits of Iranian officials. In another poster, next to the American official stood a snarling dog held back by a leash. In English, the text read, “The US Government Styles Honesty” and in Persian, “American Honesty.”
After much attention and controversy, Tehran municipality spokesman Seyed Mohammad Hadi Ayazi said that there was no agreement with the city in regard to putting up the billboards, so many were collected and taken off the streets.
Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari questioned the move to remove the billboards. He wrote that they “had no other message than to warn about American dishonesty” and that they would help the negotiating team rather than weaken it.
Hard-line Mashregh defended the billboards as accurate depictions of the American position in negotiations, writing, “The interesting point about the billboards is that no matter how diplomatic the negotiator acts above the table, underneath the table they use violent tools and arms pointed at the Iranian negotiator.” As evidence for this position, the article said that after US President Barack Obama spoke with Iranian President Hassan Rouhani in what was called a historic step between the two countries, he immediately met with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu and said that with respect to Iran, “We take no options off the table,” meaning the military option against Iran is still present.
In an article titled “The Billboards Will Return To the City,” another Kayhan piece republished by Ansar-e Hezbollah, strongly criticized the removal of the posters and blamed members of the Iranian negotiation team for putting pressure on municipal Tehran officials to remove the posters.
The editorial said, “In the last few days, some of the compromising community, hiding behind the policy of the administration, labeled the artistic revolutionary designs of “American Honesty” as disturbing to the nuclear negotiations. And with this ridiculous excuse, they put so much pressure on the city that they were forced to remove many of the posters from Tehran.” It called the removal “cultural bullying” and expressed “serious criticism toward some of the inappropriate actions of our diplomats.”
The editorial concluded that the billboards will return during Ashura, when Shiites mourn Imam Hussein, the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad.
The editorial explained, “We have not installed all of the billboards” and that on Ashura, “The entire city will yell ‘Hussein’ and on that day, no one will want to negotiate with Yazid.” Imam Hussain was brutally killed on the orders of Yazid in 680 CE because he would not submit to Yazid’s unjust rule. The name “Yazid” has become synonymous with an unjust or oppressive ruler for the Shiites. The article continued, “Our billboards will return to the city. We will never reach a win-win with Yazid.” Rouhani administration officials have insisted that Iran and the West, particularly the United States, reach a “win-win” solution.
The posters were designed by Ehsan Mohammad Hassani, who manages Oj, the company that paid to have the billboards installed in Tehran.
A Sunni terrorist group claimed credit for an attack that killed 14 Iranian border guards on Friday, Oct. 25.
In the statement published in Persian on their website, the Army of Justice took credit for the attack that killed mostly conscripts in the city of Seravan in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the Iran-Pakistan border. The statement read: “This successful operation is an answer to the violent crimes of Sepah (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in the Islamic land of Syria and is also an answer for oppression and crimes the regime has committed against the oppressed Sunnis of Iran.” Continue reading
Iranian Urban Development Minister Abbas Akhoundi said that many of the low-income housing units built in the last few years lacked basic utilities and that construction of the housing units needs to be suspended.
Akhoundi said of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s “Mehr housing scheme,” “The Mehr housing units that were constructed are in need of water, gas and sewage, and the administration is heavily involved with this issue.” He added, “Several thousand units of inappropriate housing were constructed, and while this type of home construction appears to be in the interest of the people, in reality, it is trap for the future government and the people.”
The head of Iran’s Basij organization, Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi, spoke at a cultural event on clothing on Oct. 21 about the influence of Western styles on Iranian clothing and how cultural values in Europe are causing Europeans to become extinct.
“The European race, just like the dinosaurs, is in the process of extinction,” said Naghdi. “An obscene and vulgar culture is becoming prevalent over there.” He added that one “reason their race is becoming extinct is the prevalence of homosexuality and living with animals.”
Traditional conservative politician Ali Motahhari, who is known for being particularly outspoken in Iran, talked about the possible performance of Reformists in future parliamentary elections, the controversy over keeping the nuclear talks confidential and the positive role hard-liners can play in the negotiations.
The active presence of Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on Facebook and Twitter has been a great tool and venue for Iran’s public diplomacy with Western journalists. It has also served as an unfiltered source of direct interaction between Zarif and the Iranian Internet-savvy youth.
Three recent comments by young Iranians on the foreign minister’s Facebook page has caught the attention of Iranians on social media, and even Iranian domestic media.
On Oct. 9 David Keyes of The Daily Beast published what he called an “exchange” between himself and Iran’s foreign minister in which he quoted the foreign minister denying that he knew who imprisoned student activist Majid Tavakoli was. The Daily Beast article was shared widely by Iranians, who were shocked that the foreign minister did not recognize the name of one of Iran’s most high profile political prisoners. Continue reading