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.
Iran’s Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces said that “the apology from the prime minister of the Zionist regime to the government of Turkey for the attacks on the [Turkish] ship in 2010 is a new game by America, Israel and Turkey to influence regional resistance, especially the Islamic Awaking [Arab Spring].”
IRGC General Massoud Jazayeri told Sepah News on Saturday that “under today’s conditions, the prime movement of the world arrogance is to replace Iran’s [place] in the Islamic world.” He added that “the elite of the Islamic world must be alert and conscious and not allow America and its allies to lessen public awareness.”
On President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for Israel’s raid on a Turkish ship that was attempting to pass through its naval blockade of the Gaza strip in 2010. The raid left nine dead. Netanyahu was quoted as saying that the crisis in Syria was “his main motivation” for the call.
General Jazayeri added that the “the combination of those against Syria proves the government’s and country’s legitimacy.” He explained that “right now, America, England, France, Arab reactionaries, Turkey, and the Zionist regime form the prime anti-Syrian ring and this combination is a good indication of an anti-resistance front.” Iran sees itself, Syria and Hezbollah in an “axis of resistance” against American and Israeli influence in the region. They view the support by the West and Gulf Arab countries as a means to weaken this axis.
Ahmadinejad Ally Warns About Interference in Elections
In an interview with state-run IRNA yesterday, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei said that “the president has strongly emphasized and has even stated that if he feels that either secretly or openly the elections become tainted, he will deal with it seriously.” Mashei said that in a meeting with the governors of the provinces the president warned against “showing partisanship” towards any of the candidates during the administration of the elections.
Iran’s presidential elections are in June 2013 and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been using the final months of his presidency to campaign and promote his longtime advisor Mashei as a candidate for the presidency. Since the president’s second term Mashaei has been attacked by conservatives and hardliners for an apparent promotion of “Iranianism” over “Islamism” and has been accused of being at the center of a “deviant” strain within the administration.
President Ahmadinejad had previously warned on several occasions about “interference” in these upcoming elections. In January of this year, Hojat al-Islam Ali Saeedi, Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guard said that “[the body’s essence] is to engineer the elections logically and rationally.”
Mashaei also criticized national media for their coverage of the elections. He said that “on the threshold of elections, from the view of partisanship towards candidates in the upcoming presidential elections, the national media has not performed well.” He added that “people remember well the performance the national media in the previous elections and that the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) should act with care and pursue a more moderate path.”
In the June 2009 elections, heated and somewhat sensational televised live debates between presidential candidates drew in millions of viewers. Live televised debates have been banned for these upcoming elections.
Tasnim News has claimed that the candidacy of Hassan Rowhani in June’s presidential election has become “final.” Hassan Rowhani is a member of the Assembly of Experts, the Expediency Discernment Council and a member of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). He was also formerly Iran’s top nuclear negotiator as head of the SNSC.
The conservative news outlet, Entekhab, also reported on the likelihood of Rowhani’s candidacy, saying, “this experienced political activist described as being in the Principalist circle, apart from attracting a large number of the Principalists, is also subject to serious support by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani and the leaders of the Principalist Front”.
“He has a good image amongst foreign governments and most think [Rowhani] a very desirable and valuable choice for the Principalists, and even the Reformists.”
It should be noted that Rowhani has been especially vocal in recent weeks, not merely criticizing the Ahmadinejad government’s foreign policy, but also addressing domestic issues such as the high rate of youth unemployment in Iran’s cities.
In other news
Alaeddin Boroujerdi, the head of Iran’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission told Khane-ye mellat, the Majles’ news agency that, “the Agency’s [International Atomic Energy Agency] exit from the Western puzzle is a condition for negotiations yielding results with Iran.”
Boroujerdi added, “For the Agency to take a step forward in the negotiations with Tehran, it must base its reports on a legal rather than political principle… The IAEA must in its negotiations with the Islamic Republic save itself from the political pressures of America and the West so that it can undertake its obligation to support countries which are members of the Agency.”
Gholam Hossein Esmaili, the chief of the Organization of Prisons, in conversation with the Islamic Republic News Agency, has claimed that “we do not have any religious or doctrinal prisoners”.
“Someone who perpetrates a crime, regardless of doctrinal inclination, or tribal [affiliation], is treated accordingly and in fact no one in the country is imprisoned for the beliefs they have or adhering to a particular religion…With the occurrence of a crime and treatment of a criminal, the law does not recognize Shia, Sunni or Bahai.”
With Benjamin Netanyahu’s re-election as prime minister of Israel, the hard-line outlet Mashreq News reports on an article posted on Bloomberg by American journalist Jeffrey Goldberg [Mashreq doesn’t post the link to the original article], commenting on President Barack Obama’s strained relations with Netanyahu.
“It is reported that Barack Obama recently in a private conversation has said that Netanyahu doesn’t have the power to identify Israel’s interests and his actions will conclude in Israel’s severe international isolation.”
“According to Goldberg after the approval of Palestine’s observer-state status at the United Nations, Obama in a private gathering said, ‘Israel doesn’t know where its interests lie.’ He also said about Netanyahu’s decision to continue building settlements: Netanyahu is taking Israel in the direction of total isolation.”
“Obama believes if the small government of Israel in an unwelcoming region, loses its only friend and ally, America, it will be destroyed. Iran is a short-term threat for Israel, but the behaviour of the Israeli authorities threatens the government of Israel in the long term.”