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

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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Sunni Group Takes Credit for Attack That Killed 14 Iranians

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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

Rouhani Promises ‘Larger Steps’ Than Phone Call

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After meeting with his cabinet today, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani spoke to reporters to answer questions about Iran-US relations, the meetings that took place last week between Iran and P5+1 at the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA), the Israeli reaction to Iran’s new foreign policy and the criticism he received for speaking with the American president on the phone.

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Revolutionary Guard: Syria Will Be ‘Second Vietnam’ for US

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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.

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Source of Rouhani’s Distorted Israel Comments Revealed

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When the Iranian media misquoted President Hassan Rouhani’s comments on Israel on Friday, Aug. 2 at Iran’s International Quds Day rallies, it sparked a major controversy in international media and received strong condemnation from Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

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Rouhani’s Comments on Israel ‘Distorted’ by Iran Media

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President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s comments at Iran’s Al-Quds (Jerusalem) Day rallies have caused considerable controversy within both domestic Iranian and international media. International Quds Day was initiated by the founder of the Islamic Republic, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, in 1979 after the Iranian revolution. It is a government-sponsored event that falls on the last Friday of Ramadan and is meant to signify solidarity with the Palestinian people.

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Nine Nations That Improved Iran-West Relations Will ‘Harm’

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The editor of Asr-e Iran, Jaffar Mohammadi, wrote an op-ed listing the nine countries that stand to lose the most from improved relations between Iran and the West. Although Israel and Arab countries in the Persian Gulf were included on this list, what made the article stand out was that Iran’s allies such as China and Russia made the list as well. What’s more, Mohammadi even included the United States as one of the countries with which improved relations can be mutually beneficial.

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Iranian Director’s Trip to Israel For Film on Baha’ism Causes Controversy

untitled The head of the Iranian Cinema Organization Javad Shamgadri has asked the head of Iran’s Cinema museum to remove all of the awards of Iranian director Mohsen Makhmalbaf from the national museum. The exiled Makhmalbaf is currently in Israel for the Jerusalem Film Festival promoting his latest film, The Gardner, a docu-drama shot in the Baha’i World Center in Haifa, Israel. In response to Makhmalbaf’s appearance in Israel, Shamgadri wrote in the letter, “The presence of an Iranian filmmaker, who made his first ten films with the support of revolutionary institutions and government organizations to practice film, today is in the embrace of the usurpers of Jerusalem and the criminal Zionism for an award.” On his film about Bahai’sm, the letter said, “He wants to give lessons on piece and piety by using a misguided faith, which was made up by the English, as document.” On Makhmalbaf receiving an achievement award at the festival Shamgadri said, “A few lost and rootless people, who stand against the greatness of the Iranian nation and go after wicked awards, are ready to allow their historic and Islamic identity be looted.” Mahkhmalbaf, a former revolutionary who became disillusioned with the Islamic Republic, has made over 20 films on sensitive social and economic issues and has received numerous international awards. He left Iran in 2005 shortly after President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad was elected. In a 45-minute English language video, Makhmalbaf explained why he chose the gardens at the Bahai World Center in Haifa, Israel as the setting for his latest movie. A number of foreign-based and some domestic based Iranian scholars, students and activists signed an open letter asking Makhmalbaf not to attend the Jerusalem Film Festival, believing that “his participation directly violates the International call for Boycott, Divestment, and Sanctions (BDS) of the State of Israel.” The letter continued, “As human beings of conscience, we are appalled by the brutality Palestinians undergo at the hand of Israeli occupation and we are supportive of the non-violent global BDS movement.” The open letter, which also did not absolve the Iranian government of persecuting Baha’is in Iran, said, “We recognize the repression that led to Mr. Makhmalbaf’s own exile, and we sympathize with his suffering as a filmmaker who has been persecuted by the Iranian regime. At the same time, we insist again on the political and ethical responsibilities that we as human beings have to resist oppression and tyranny wherever they may be.” In response to the open letter, Makhmalbaf told BBC Persian, “Boycotting and writing statements does not solve anything. Why don’t the intellectuals try to solve the problems by traveling and having dialogue? Why is there no effort to remove religious hatred?” He continued, “Not going to Israel has become fashionable. Why not start a peace movement? Why not start a movement to reduce religious hatred?” “In Israel, every year a thousand students graduate with a degree in cinema,” Makhmalbaf continued. “Go and see how they worship Iranian cinema and they know it as an alternative to Word Cinema Day. How can it be that a people can be in love with their enemy’s cinema? We have to stop this possible war that may provoke all of us.”

Rafsanjani Responds to Disqualification From Presidencial Race

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Opposition website Jaras, which is assumed to be run by a figure close to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, has published parts of Rafsanjani’s first statements since his surprising disqualification by the Guardian Council from running for the presidency. Although Rafsanjani doesn’t mention anyone by name, he has had issues with the hard-line policies of both Khamenei’s advisers and Sepah (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), who have increased their influence and presence in state affairs in the last decade or so.

Rafsanjani, addressing his campaign staff this afternoon, said, “I went to the Supreme Leader and told him that I won’t become a candidate if you have someone you prefer.”

Rafsanjani addressed the response to speculation about his running. “I said, ‘I didn’t say I’m not running,’ and that’s when they started gathering an army [against me]. But that’s also when a flood of letters started coming from Qom, Najaf and Mashhad [major Shia centers] for my candidacy. How could I be so obstinate to say no, especially to the youth?” Continue reading