Statements reportedly made by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani blaming “a government” for the chemical weapons attack in Syria have received considerable coverage, both in Iranian and foreign media, forcing Rafsanjani’s personal website to issue a statement on the matter.
According to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s granddaughter at a meeting in North Tehran on Friday, Rafsanjani said, “A government that uses chemical bombs against its people will face hard consequences, just like Saddam, who earned eternal shame in the bombing of Halabja and suffered such a horrible fate.” These comments solely place blame on a government whereas most Iranian officials have either generally condemned chemical weapons use and some have blamed the rebels. Continue reading
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.
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.
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.
“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.
As the United States sends a fourth warship to the eastern Mediterranean, Iranian commanders and officials have issued warnings against any attack on Syria in response to alleged chemical-weapons use by Syrian forces.
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
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
The debate in Iran’s parliament over President Hassan Rouhani’s 18-member cabinet nominations began earlier this week with conservative MPs accusing Rouhani of inviting “seditionists” into his cabinet who had a role in the 2009 election protests. The word “sedition” was used so often that Iranian social media users began tallying the number of times the word was used.
Since the beginning of the hearings, however, the atmosphere in parliament has calmed down considerably, and the word “sedition” was used far less frequently. There has still been strong objections to various nominations, however, both on the parliament floor and in Iranian media.
Tehran University professor and outspoken Iranian analyst Sadegh Zibakalam has written an op-ed on the front page of Reformist Bahar newspaper questioning the enmity between Iran and the United States, blaming part of the problem on what is “in the minds” of Iranians.