Father of assassinated nuclear scientist unhappy with nuclear deal

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Father of Iranian nuclear scientist Mostafa Ahmadi-Roshan, who was killed in a January 2012 car explosion along with his driver in north Tehran, has expressed his unhappiness about the nuclear deal between Iran and the five permanent permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1). He believes that the efforts of his son and his former colleagues are left in a precarious state as reports emerge of some scientists being re-assigned. He added that any future or permanent deal should include finding the culprits behind his son’s assassination.

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Iranian hard-liners mixed on nuclear agreement

While most Reformist media and administration officials have touted the latest nuclear agreement between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) as a “win-win,” the Iranian hard-line media has had a mixed response, with Kayhan newspaper, whose editor is chosen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, taking perhaps the harshest stance.

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Ayatollah Khamenei: agreement can be basis for ‘next steps’

After Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council reached an interim agreement on Iran’s nuclear program that limits parts of Iran’s nuclear activities in exchange for partial sanctions relief, President Hassan Rouhani and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei exchanged public letters of gratitude.

What is notable about the public letters is that both the president and supreme leader stressed the “next steps” of the negotiations. This interim deal is a 6-month deal that both sides hope will lead to a permanent deal.

In response to Rouhani’s letter, Ayatollah Khamenei wrote: “What you have gained, an appreciation and thanks for the nuclear negotiation body and officials is befitting, and can be the basis for the next wise steps. Undoubtedly, the … prayers and the backing of the Iranian nation was the factor in this success, and will be in the future. God willing, persistence against those who want too much has to always be the criteria for the straight path of the officials, and will always be, God willing.” Continue reading

Khamenei slams Israel, ‘arrogance’ ahead of negotiations

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In a speech today in front of 50,000 Basij, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a wide range of issues, including Israel’s position in the region and with European countries, the policy of the United States — which he called the “leader of the arrogance” — and the nuclear negotiations

Based on an early transcript from Fars News, on the nuclear negotiations, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “On the one hand, I insist that the current officials in the negotiations be supported. They need help, and I, too, help them. On the other hand, I insist that they do not retreat one step from the nuclear rights of the nation — the red lines must be observed.” The supreme leader has the final say in the nuclear program; however, he has not publicly stated what the red lines are. In previous statements he has also publicly supported the nuclear negotiators and warned others to support them as well, despite saying he was not optimistic about them. Continue reading

Newspaper close to Khamenei slams reduced nuclear activities

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With Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1) set to meet on Nov. 20 in Geneva to resolve the dispute over Iran’s nuclear program, Kayhan, whose editor is chosen by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, has questioned the continuation of talks after it was reported that Iran has reduced some of its nuclear activity, suggesting that a concession to do so was influenced by the same people who, with the help of the United States and Israel, brought millions of protesters to the streets after the contested 2009 presidential  elections.

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Iran: We expect ‘components’ of enrichment to be respected

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Days before another round of negotiations between Iran and the five permanent members of  UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1), Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif told the Iranian Students’ News Agency (ISNA) that “components” of Iran’s right to enrichment should be respected but that a complete suspension is their red line. He also said that the specifics of enrichment are being negotiated.

While Zarif struck an optimistic tone in the ISNA interview, some Iranian media are predicting this upcoming round of negotiations will not achieve a deal, despite appearing to be close in the previous round.

Zarif said: “Iran’s right to enrichment does not need to be officially recognized because it is a right that according to the Non-Proliferation Treaty is an inseparable right. What we expect is respect for components of these rights. In the previous years, Iran has applied this right, but unfortunately it was not respected.” Rather, he added, it led to sanctions.

“We have reached an extremely sensitive point of the negotiations and I don’t want to discuss the specifics,” Zarif said. “We have officially stated that enrichment certainly has to exist in any framework of an agreement; but how, what methods and where is an issue we are currently negotiating.”

Zarif continued: “Not only do we see the right to enrichment as nonnegotiable, we do not see any necessity for it to be identified as a right, because this right is inseparable, and all of the countries should respect this.”

“In the negotiations with P5+1 we didn’t hear anyone want us to suspend enrichment,” Zarif said. “This issue in the first round (for an interim deal) in general was not the demand of any side. Some of the issues are related to enrichment that it’s possible it is the views of some of the delegations. In the previous negotiations this issue was also discussed but a general suspension is certainly our red line and we are not entering [negotiations] on this red line.”

On how long the specifics of the deal would remain confidential, Zarif said: “We have to reach a result on the various issues. … The negotiations are serious. If we wanted to use negotiations for propaganda purposes as was done in the past, we could have discussed the details in the media, but we want to reach a result and agreement and test every possibility for an agreement while protecting the rights of the Iranian nation.”

While Zarif appeared optimistic about the Nov 20 negotiations, some Iranian media are beginning to think a final deal is out of reach.

Hard-line website Yarasalat wrote that even if an interim deal is agreed to, the United States’ ultimate objective is to have Iran completely suspend their entire nuclear program. Mashregh news called the concessions that the United States put on the table for the interim “low value.” There are various reports that the P5+1 is offering about $10 billion in sanctions relief should they reach an interim deal with Iran. Raja News also balked at the figure, claiming it was close to $6 billion or $7 billion.

Tabnak website wrote: “In all of this optimism, one cannot have certain trust that in a successful nuclear negotiations in Geneva.” Citing various examples, it concluded that the history of negotiations between Iran and the West in the last 10 years has caused a “distrust towards the West.”

Iran cleric sees conspiracy in Netanyahu’s comment on jeans, music

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Hard-line Iranian cleric Hojat ol-Islam Alireza Panahian has said that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s recent comments about Iranians not having access to blue jeans and Western music was rooted in a desire to make the Iranian youth “weak” so that they could be controlled.

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