Iran to Face Food Shortage, Tons of Medicine Stuck in Customs

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The head of Iran’s Commission Export Chamber of Commerce has warned that Iran can expect food shortages in the coming months. Meanwhile, a deputy in Iranian customs has said that 330 tons of medicine is currently stuck in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International airport due to issues stemming from Iran’s multiple exchange rates.

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Iran’s Hezbollah Issues Warning to Rouhani

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Hossein Allahkaram, head of the coordination council for Hezbollah, spoke to Fars News about Hassan Rouhani’s election on Friday in which he addressed president-elect’s foreign and economic policies and the role of “radical Reformists.”

Allahkaram criticized the “capitalist” policies of former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani “which helped the rich factory owners.” He warned, “If Rouhani wants to move toward the economic policy of that era, he should expect that the people who were patient during Ahmadinejad’s era will take to protests.”

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National Security Commission spokesman accuses US of funding and arming “terrorists” in Iraq

Hossein Naqavi Hosseini, the spokesman of the National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, has claimed “the Americans don’t want calm to be established in Iraq, because [if there is calm] relations between Iran and Iraq will be strengthened.”

He continued: “The Americans through their investment in terrorist groups and equipping of these individuals with the latest weaponry, have the intention of creating insecurity in Iraq, so that Iranian pilgrims cannot enter Iraqi soil on the brink of Arabaein [the Shi’i ceremony which is commemorated 40 days after the martyrdom of the grandson of the Prophet Muhammad, Imam Hossein] … In line with the government of Saudi Arabia in secret activities with covert and widespread financial support for Baathist elements, they have the objective of targeting the Shia, and evacuating Iraq’s towns completely of the existence of Shias.”

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Conservative MP: Principalists should admit they were wrong to support Ahmadinejad

Ahmad Karimi Isfahani, a member of the Front for the Disciples of the Imam and Leadership, and an influential figure amongst the bazaar guilds, has told Nameh News that Principalists should “admit” that supporting President Ahmadinejad was a “mistake.”

Karimi Isfahani made numerous noteworthy points that might be thought representative of a considerable swathe of opinion amongst Principalist politicians:

“When Ahmadinejad says he is not a Principalist it is correct, and also truthfully Principalists have thought correctly and his actions of the last 7 years show that he cannot be a reforming candidate for the presidency.”

“In 2005 after the election was brought to a second round and two people had to be chosen from [i.e., Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani and Mahmoud Ahmadinejad]. At that time the Principalist by necessity settled on Ahmadinejad, not as an acceptable individual or one affiliated with the Principalists. Though some had reached the opinion that they would support him against the Reformists.”

Karimi Isfahani’s next comment is particularly interesting insofar as he reckons it to be Ahmadinejad’s lack of respect for the clergy which reveals the extent of his lack of Principalist credentials.

“Being a Principalist depends on passing through special phases and observing a determinate principle. Ahmadinejad’s action in confrontation with the clergy and Grand Ayatollahs alone shows that he is not  a Principalist. His disrespect toward the clergy and the dissatisfaction of the Grand Ayatollahs from his first term resulted in some Grand Ayatollahs not permitting him to enter their quarters. This all shows Ahmadinejad is not affiliated with the Principalists.”

“Some of the main body of Principalists supported Ahmadinejad’s slogans and today must clearly accept that the introduction of Ahmadinejad as a Principalist and the candidate of the Principalists was mistaken. We were not in agreement with his candidacy during the first term and not the second.”

“The facilities that are today in the control of followers of Ahmadinejad, in particular the deviant current, is very dangerous. Money can have an effect on society and even this worry exists that this current never use this money they have gathered together to attract some votes toward themselves. In any case power and money is in the hands of a group who want to rival the Principalists.”

Finally, Karimi Isfahani stated clearly and without ambiguity, “until the time that the view of the president has the Leader’s approval and legitimacy bestowed upon it, it is nothing.”

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Obama’s New Term Shows a ‘Realistic Approach’?

The head of the Majles Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Ala’oddin Boroujerdi, has made a number of noteworthy comments in conservation with Khaneh-ye Mellat, the Majles’ news agency, regarding US President Barack Obama and the possibility of negotiations with the United States, saying “if these verbal statements aren’t political, it shows the realistic approach of Washington in the new term of Obama’s presidency.”

Boroujerdi added: “Iran is a country with mastery of nuclear knowledge and has operated persistently in the peaceful framework and seriously disagrees with any kind of tendency to the side of a nuclear bomb.”

Boroujerdi also once against emphasized the importance of sanctions relief, “the official recognition of the right of Iran for the use of peaceful nuclear energy by America can be the important starting point for solving the nuclear problem of several years and following that, in future negotiations the P5+1 must take serious steps for the removal of sanctions.”

Mohsen Rezaei, the secretary of the Expedience Discernment Council, has claimed  that Obama’s “silence” regarding Israel’s recent military engagement in the Gaza strip is the outcome of an “[pre]electoral agreement” with Israel.

Majles Commission blames government and Central Bank over drug shortages

Hossein Ali Shahriari, the head of the Commission for Health and Medicine has criticized the government over the fact that despite the increase in its budget after subsidies reform, the health and medicine budget with the existence of high levels of inflation has decreased by 6%. Shahriari also plainly stated that “the Central Bank in recent months has not allocated any currency for the health part [of the budget].”

Shahriari added: “We are always witness to the increase in the construction budget for different parts of the country, but the government has paid no attention to the domain of health and medicine.”

Shahriari emphasized that in the last six months the Central Bank has allocated “virtually no currency” for the health and medicine budget and the import of medicines, saying “the mismanagement of the Central Bank was the primary factor of the problems for the allocation of currency.”

As an example of the considerable increase in the prices of several treatments in his public report to the Majles he stated that the price of syringe angiographies have increased by 245%, radiological film has increased in price by 249%, electroshock therapy by 289%, helium gas by 667%, and dialysis sets by 352%.

Addressing President Mahmud Ahmadinejad, Shahriari commented, “from the 6,000  billion tomans in the targeted subsidies reform law which should have been designated to the health [budget], no amount has been fulfilled … Unfortunately the government only proclaims slogans and must apportion credit for these slogans and the government has shirked [its duties]. Certainly  individuals who need cancer drugs and [it is] imperative, today do not have appropriate access to these drugs.”

Petraeus and the perils of Gmail

Fars News has attempted to use David Petraeus’ resignation over having an extramarital affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell to claim Google’s Gmail service is “not safe.” The article claims that anonymity cannot be guaranteed, even under a pseudonym, and that past e-mails and chats even if deleted will be kept on a separate server and will still be able to be accessed. The article also claims that the access of the American government to the accounts of Google users is expanding. It also cites Petraeus’ and Broadwell’s use of Gmail’s draft function to message one another, without actually e-mailing one another and this too, says the article, has ultimately proven insecure as well.

Mashaei for president?

According to the Revolutionary Guard-affiliated Bashgah-e Khabarnegaran-e Javan, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s office has once again rejected rumors that the president’s controversial chief of staff, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, will run for president in April 2013.

This rejection has been released amidst rumors that Mashaei in a meeting with Mazandaranis (Iranians from the northern province of Mazandaran where Mashaei happens to be from) living in Tehran, said that he will enter the race and that “no one can prevent my candidacy.” He is also alleged to have said: “I am ready for martyrdom.” Asr-e Iran, which published the story also quote Mashaei as saying, “We have been constantly active for seven years and we won’t give the eleventh government that easily to [Mohammad Baqir] Qalibaf [that is, the mayor of Tehran].”