Head of Ammar Strategic Base: Syria is Iran’s 35th Province; if we lose Syria we cannot keep Tehran

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Mehdi Taeb

Hojjat al-Islam Mehdi Taeb, the head of the Ammar Strategic Base (an organization established to fight the “soft war” against the Islamic Republic of Iran), in a meeting with university student members of the Basij paramilitary force, has stated: “Syria is the 35th province [of Iran] and a strategic province for us. If the enemy attacks us and wants to appropriate either Syria or Khuzestan (in southern Iran), the priority is that we keep Syria.”

Taeb added: “If we keep Syria, we can get Khuzestan back too, but if we lose Syria, we cannot keep Tehran … Syria had an army, but did not have the ability to manage a war inside Syria’s cities. It is for this reason the Iranian government suggested that “in order to manage an urban war you must form a Basij …The Syrian Basij was formed with 60,000  [members] of the party of God [the religious and ideologically zealous] who took over the war in the streets from the army”.

Taeb also commented on the upcoming presidential election stating: “The main choices of the Reformists are [Mohammad Ali] Najafi, [Mohammad Reza] Aref, and Eshagh Jahangiri, although they still haven’t reached a conclusion on them. Hojjat al-Islam Mousavi Khoeiniha [the head of the Reformist Association of Combatant Clerics] says don’t participate in the election, but [former President Mohammad] Khatami says we will participate and his argument is that if we don’t enter [the election] we will forever be eliminated … The hit we [Taeb is now referring to himself and fellow radical Principalists] took from the last election was that Ahmadinejad was not a team player. If he stayed with the team of the ninth government [Ahmadinejad’s first term], he would have become a legend and the difficulties endured because of sanctions wouldn’t have been as much.”

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Mashreq News claims Mossad and “Jewish Mafia” assassinated JFK

The ultra-hardline Mashreq News has a piece on the American Mafia claiming that the image of the criminal organization as one comprising “Italian criminals” from Sicily is at least in part a Hollywood concoction and that “at the apogee of the years of Mafia groups’ activities, the biggest and most mysterious American gangster was a Jewish Zionist.” The article then goes on to provide a “portrait” of famous “mob accountant” Meyer Lansky and the “Jewish Mafia” and make numerous strange and unsubstantiated claims drawing on marginal and dubious anti-Semitic literature.

The article then continues by describing Lansky as a “great defender of the formation of the government of Israel.” It also claims Lansky “performed an important role in the establishment of the country of Israel” and that he “was the Godfather of the modern government of Israel.”

The article even goes as far as to claim that Israel and the Mafia had “the most to gain” from the assassination of President John F. Kennedy and that Israel’s relations with the Kennedy administration had been brought to a “dangerous dead end” over Israel’s “decision to produce a nuclear weapon” and that Israeli Prime Minister David Ben Gurion left his post as prime minister over the impasse.

“Perhaps [Ben Gurion’s] last action as prime minister was to order Mossad to plan the assassination of John F. Kennedy.”

After making this allegation, the article states Lansky was also implicated in the conspiracy to assassinate Kennedy on the basis of a book by Michael Collins Piper, titled Final Judgement: The Missing Link in the JFK Assassination Conspiracy.

An online search for the book in question shows it featured on a number of Aryan supremacist and anti-Semitic websites. The book was translated into Persian in 2008, and the article quotes Piper on a number of occasions from the Persian translation. At one point Piper is quoted as claiming, “Some rightly claim, if the Mafia killed John F. Kennedy, it couldn’t have done this without the prior knowledge and leadership of Meyer Lansky.”

Further research yields that Piper was invited to the infamous 2006 “Holocaust conference” at President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s invitation.

Finally the article describes Lansky’s return to Israel in 1970, and his eventual extradition back to the United States to stand trial, though states he was later exonerated as a result of his “magical influence.”

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Reformist Letter to Khamenei Calling for Approval of former President Khatami’s candidacy?

Asadollah Badamchian, one of the most prominent figures of the traditional-Conservative Islamic Coalition Party, referring to the various views amongst Iran’s Reformists, and that they have written a letter to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, in order to prepare the way for former President Mohammad Khatami to run in the June 2013 presidential election.

Moreover, Badamchian has claimed that the letter in question was delivered to the Supreme Leader by Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, the Chairman of the Expediency Discernment Council.

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Former Ahmadinejad Deputy Calls for Mehdi Hashemi’s Execution

Zohreh Tabib Zadeh, a former Ahmadinejad deputy and chief of the Center for Women’s Affairs and currently an MP and member of the neoconservative Endurance Front for the Islamic Revolution, has protested the release of Mehdi Hashemi, the controversial son of former President Ali Akbar Hasehmi Rafsanjani, and has called for the former’s execution.

Tabib Zadeh told Shabestan, the news agency of the Ministry for Islamic Guidance, that “the judiciary must issue a ruling for Mehdi Hashemi like the one they did for [Abdolmalek] Rigi [the former head of the armed Baluchi group the Jundollah].”

She continued, “the behaviour of the judiciary with Mehdi Hashemi was not just. His crime was similar to that of Rigi, but because Rigi didn’t have a father who was a member of the regime leadership, just as he was arrested, he was executed. But because [Hashemi’s father] is part of the regime leadership, this kind of action doesn’t take place with respect to his crime. … Was Mehdi Hashemi involved in the sedition of 2009 [i.e., the post-2009 unrest which took place after the controversial re-election of Mahmoud Ahmadinejad] or not? Were six Basiji individuals martyred because of his management of the sedition or not?

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Mehr: “Who manages the Facebook pages of the Supreme Leader?”

Mehr News’ magazine has posted this article asking, “Who manages the Facebook pages of the Supreme Leader?”:

“Speculation regarding the Facebook page with the name Khamenei.ir, in particular, after the introduction of this page in the domestic and foreign media has found broader and more complex dimensions.” The most common guess was ‘the Facebook page of Ayatollah Khamenei was initiated by his office.’ Of course, these same sources at the end of their reports mention this point, as this page has not been officially approved, it is still not clear whether someone or the leader’s office in fact initiated the page or not.

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Iran announces 6-point plan for Syria

Iran’s Foreign Ministry has offered a six-point plan for solving the Syrian crisis, while Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi continues to emphasize that Iran would not under any circumstances support a “Western project for the overthrow by force of Bashar al-Assad.”

The plan stresses at the outset that “only the people of Syria have the right in a democratic process to determine their destiny and the political future of their country.”

The six points are translated below:

  1. The immediate cessation of any kind of violent or armed action under the supervision of the United Nations. At this stage the government and all armed groups must immediately end all their military activities, especially in residential areas and cooperate with the representative of the United Nations and the committee under their supervision for the stabilization of the conditions [of the country] and the return of calm.
  2. After the cessation of conflict the provision of humanitarian aid must immediately begin to [be given to] all conflict-stricken areas and without discrimination. In order to secure this important aid it is necessary that economic sanctions against Syria are lifted [and] the ground prepared for all refugees to return to their place of residence.
  3. At the same time as the establishment of calm, comprehensive national dialogue with the presence of the entire [political] spectrum and different social and political tendencies and the government of Syria, the urgent pursuit of the formation of a committee for national reconciliation. This dialogue must provide the way for the formation of a transitional government on which there is consensus. The main obligation of this government is the holding of free and competitive elections for the formation of a new parliament, the formation of an Assembly of Experts for the formulation of a Constitution and the holding of presidential elections that will be set for a fixed date.
  4. All individuals who have been merely arrested because of peaceful political activities, irrespective of group or sect, must be quickly freed by the government and opposition groups. Individuals who have perpetrated crimes must be fairly investigated in a competent court.
  5. The process of incorrect news transmission regarding changes in Syria must end as soon as possible. All the media and media owners must have the possibility to prepare and send news on the conditions of Syria from a secure place and send all the views of the people of this country for the informing of public opinion, in contrast to malicious and discriminatory approaches.
  6. The formation of a committee for estimating the cost of damages and reconstruction, with attention to the damages to the country’s infrastructure. The obligation of this committee will be for the creation of the appropriate modus operandi for the attraction and guidance of foreign aid, determining priorities for reconstruction and the conditions for the participation of organizations and friendly countries in the process of reconstruction.

In the final part, the Foreign Ministry said that the “key aim of this plan is for the return of calm and peace to Syria and ending the sufferings of the people of this country.”

“This plan like any other similar well-intentioned plan, will have the power to be implemented when the ability for mutual, constructive and collective political engagement between all domestic, Syrian political currents and forces under the influence of regional and international powers rules.”

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Iran makes arrests in connection with death of blogger

Shabakeh-ye Iran has reported that three interrogators of the blogger and online activist Sattar Beheshti have been arrested in connection with his death. The death of Beheshti was reported last week when his family received a call from the authorities to retrieve his body from the Kahrizak detention center’s coroner’s office.

The General Prosecutor Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ezhei also confirmed to journalists that evidence has been found of “the effects of bruising in five places” on Sattar Beheshti’s body.

The admission comes after much confusion and obfuscation over whether Beheshti had in fact died under torture at the infamous Kahrizak detention center, the very same detention center where a number of other young Iranians had died and allegedly endured physical and psychological abuse after Iran’s controversial 2009 presidential election.

This admission by Mohsen Ezhei conflicts with earlier comments by Ato’allah Boroujerdi, head of the Majles’ Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, and who had been appointed to follow up on Beheshti’s case and how he had died. Boroujerdi had claimed  based on “preliminary information” there was no evidence of assault on Beheshti’s body.

The Reformist albeit banned party, the Islamic Iran Participation Front, has condemned on their affiliated website, Nowruz News, the torture and death of Sattar Beheshti in very forceful terms.

During the same news conference Mohseni Ezhei also stated that “special privileges” have been given to Mehdi Hashemi, son of former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, which have not been given to other prisoners. Last week, the hardline Raja News alleged that while in hospital Hashemi had had prepared numerous “fatty” foods and snacks, before undergoing a heart angiography.

Mohseni Ezhei responded to a statement issued by the Rafsanjani family which had been critical of the authorities’ treatment of Mehdi and his transfer from hospital back to Evin prison. Mohseni Ezhei stated that doctors had confirmed that Hashemi’s heart was healthy, adding, “I must say that we like to pay attention to every prisoner as is possible, but it is not feasible for us to provide whatever the families of prisoners want.”

The head of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s political bureau, Mohammad Jafar Behdad, has said that certain groups, i.e., the Basij and Revolutionary Guards, though Behdad doesn’t mention any organization by name, compare the president in their “internal bulletins” to former President Abdolhasan Banisadr who was ousted and forced to flee the country and Masoud Rajavi, the leader of the much maligned People’s Mojahedin of Iran.

Both leaders fell out with and eventually found themselves marginalized by forces loyal to Ayatollah Khomeini, the Islamic Republic’s founder, and forced into exile in the early years of the revolution.

International perspectives

Ali Akbar Velayati, Supreme Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s advisor on international affairs and a prospective presidential candidate has claimed that “more than 90% of the people in Syria who are at war against the government and people of this country are not Syrian.” Velayati made his remarks at the inauguration of the new Islamic Awakening News Agency.

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Is Fars News Misrepresenting China’s statements?

 

Fars News covers China’s Foreign Affairs Spokesman, Hong Lei’s comments and criticism of the lastest push by the EU to increase sanctions against Iran.

Fars News, which is close to the Revolutionary Guards, claims in its headline that Hong Lei dubbed the sanctions “illegal” on the basis of a Reuters report from earlier today. However nowhere in the Reuters report does the Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokesman call the sanctions “illegal”. He states they pose an obstacle to solving the nuclear stand off, but does not call them “illegal”.

Fars News and a number of other Iranian news sites were caught out last month plagiarising a fake poll from the U.S. based satirical news site, The Onion.

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Larijani restates claim that 80% of Iran’s economic problems derive from mismanagement

Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, has forcefully criticized the government’s economic management, and continues to apportion 80% of the country’s economic woes to government management, and a mere 20% to the effects of sanctions. “80 percent of our economy’s issues and problems relate to management and incidentally the error imagined by Westerners is that because of sanctions they can provoke turbulence in our economy”. Of particular note was his comment that the “Robin Hood-like methods don’t work in economics” [i.e. distributing money/resources to the poor for its own sake], questioning the government’s designation of funds for its flagship low cost housing project, Maskan-e Mehr, stating that instead funds should have been used to in a measured fashion to help subsidize struggling domestic industries. Larijani has long been a stalwart critic of the government, in particular its populist economic policies, which he has repeatedly blamed for feeding inflationary pressures. Larijani also claimed that because of the government’s profligate spending, the cash payments Iranians receive as a result of the first phase of subsidies reform, have been also eroded into irrelevance. Continue reading

Hamas’s Representative in Tehran speaks of “strategic relationship”

Foreign Affairs

Etemaad paraphrases Al-Masry Al-Youm’s interview with Hamas official Mousa Abu Marzook in which he admits Hamas’s relationship with Iran has been affected by events in Syria. In the interview he is paraphrased as saying “the relations between the Hamas movement and Iran has been effected by events in Syria, but we desire our relations to remain as they were in the past and it is better if we can we make these relations more active”. Etemaad sought comment from the Palestinian ambassador in Tehran to little avail.

However, Etemaad did manage to obtain an interview with Hamas’s political bureau chief in Tehran, Khaled Ghadoumi, who attested to the “strategic relationship” between Iran and Hamas. “I am confident that the relations between us and Iran are a strategic relationship. Khaled Mashal, the chief of the Islamic resistance movement Hamas also a month ago in the course of an interview with Fars News Agency pointed to this strategic relationship and had announced his backing [for it].”

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