Iran disputes White House ‘fact sheet’ on nuclear agreement

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Marzieh Afkham, spokesperson for Iran’s Foreign Ministry, has disputed what was published on the White House website outlining the specifics of the nuclear deal between Iran and the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany (P5+1).

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Khatami: If I Run In The Elections, The People Will Pay the Price

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Former President Mohammad Khatami spoke to a group of veterans, discussing not only the likely outcome of his candidacy but also the critical state Iran is facing domestically and internationally.

“The reality is that they will not allow me to enter the political scene,” Khatami said,  meaning the security and intelligence forces, who are under the control of Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. He added: “Assume I run … their unhappiness and concerns will increase and they will make you pay the cost, and it will be a cost with no results. Personally, for me, the cost that will be imposed on the people with my candidacy is an unbearable cost. Especially when they don’t want it and they will not allow it how can I run, and even more so, how can one move forward a nation which has so many difficulties and hardships? Assuming I run, it would be to pay the price to make things better, but not to pay a price for things to get worse.” Continue reading

Ahmadinejad ‘Will Never Leave’

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Samina Rastegar wrote an op-ed in Reformist newspaper Etemad that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “speaks in such a way that he will never leave the political scene.” The president cannot run for a third term, but there are many indications he is actively promoting his longtime ally Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei, and perhaps even others, for the presidential elections in June.

Rastegar referenced a speech the president made to his governors recently in which he said “I believe the future administration will reach a higher level than my previous two terms because the revolution and the nation is moving toward completion, and the indication of that is what the Iranian nation is introducing today.”

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Iran Official: Leaving NPT an Option

untitled The chairman of the parliamentary Committee of Foreign Policy and National Security, Alaeddin Borujerdi, said in an interview with Iran’s Arab-language station Al Alam that when it comes to the West and the chances of more sanctions through the UN, “for parliament, all options are on the table.” Last weekend Iran and the P5+1 finished another round of negotiations in Almaty, Kazakhstan with inconclusive results. Borujerdi said, “It is not acceptable for Iran to respect the provisions of the Non-Proliferation Treaty [NPT], but [it is] for America and the West to ignore Article 6 [regarding nuclear-arms reduction] and Article 4 [Iran’s inalienable nuclear rights]. In this case, there is no reason for Iran to be a member of the NPT, and parliament can review this matter.” Borujerdi added that “we cannot be indifferent to the oppression the Iranian nation is facing; of course, this is a strategic decision that the Supreme National Security Council must adopt, but parliament will use its abilities to defend the rights of the nation.” Continue reading

Khatami Receives Blueprint for Reform Agenda

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The contents of the first of a series of strategy sessions were presented to former Reformist president Mohammad Khatami yesterday to address the problems Iran is currently facing.

The contents of the session, which was signed by 46 former Khatami advisers, experts, analysts, economists and political and cultural activists, was presented under the name “Fears and Hopes, Dos and Don’ts.” The purpose of the session was “to find a path to free people from the various economic, social, political and cultural problems” they are facing. The various problems were described in various categories such as “social and cultural, economic,” and “political” sections. A list of 11 conditions, such as “freedom, justice,” and “civil rights” were also presented.

In response to the plan presented to him, Khatami wrote a short letter in appreciation. He wrote that he has “hope that the next steps […] to solve the problems” will be taken. Khatami’s positive response is seen by some as an indication he may be getting ready to announce his candidacy for the presidential elections this summer.

On Sunday Hojat Al-Islam Jaffar Shojouni, a member of the Society of Militant Clergy, predicted that Reformists would not be approved by the Guardian Council to participate in the presidential elections this summer. He also called Reformists either “stupid, ignorant or culpable” for the events surrounding the 2009 elections.

On Saturday, an opposition website reported that former Reformist politician Hossein Loghmanian was arrested in Hamedan on his way to visit Khatami in Tehran. Hamedan is just over 200 miles southwest of Tehran. Loghmanian was Hamedan’s representative in Iran’s 6th parliament. He was arrested alongside four companions described as “Reformist activists.” No reason for their arrested was given.

In Other News

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An employee from the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran was involved in a car accident that left an Iranian citizen dead yesterday in north Tehran. The Saudi employee was reportedly drunk and speeding, and bottles of alcohol were found in his car. Alcohol is banned in Iran; however, a variety of alcoholic drinks are smuggled inside the country. The position of the Saudi employee was not given, and only his initials were provided by the Iranian media.

Ramin Mehmanparast, spokesperson for the Minister of Foreign Affairs, said today that “a strong protest was sent to the [Saudi] embassy for this event from an individual that did not abide by domestic laws and exceeded speed limits […] that resulted in the death of an Iranian citizen.” Mehmanparast said that Iran would pursue “a diplomatic and legal” path in regards to this case.

Tehran prosecutor Abbas Jaffari Dowlatabadi announced on Sunday that 18 individuals have been indicted in relation the assassination of nuclear scientists. Jaffar Dowlatabadi said that “the following year, important work will be done, which I will announce now, and that is a number of people involved in the assassination of martyrs of the nuclear program.”

Jaffar Dowlatabadi added that the 18 people indicted “had designed many plans; they were considered our elites in the nuclear program,” adding that these indictments were a joint operation with the prosecutor’s office and the ministry of intelligence.