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).
At a meeting of Friday prayer leaders today, President Hassan Rouhani spoke about events in the region, including nuclear negotiations between the West and Iran.
In regard to the nuclear file, Rouhani said, “Maybe in the following weeks the first negotiations about the nuclear case will take place in New York and later be continued with P5+1 [the five permanent members of the UN Security Council plus Germany] at a designated location.” He continued, “The administration will put all of its efforts toward working for the nation’s inalienable rights and will try to resolve this issue with reason, logic and wisdom combined with esteem.”
Reformist Etemaad newspaper has drawn a list of potentials for President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s new nuclear negotiating team. Yesterday, Iran’s Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters that negotiations with the P5+1 will continue once Rouhani takes office and picks a new negotiating new team.
A source close to President-elect Hassan Rouhani spoke with Aseman Weekly about the incoming administration’s potential cabinet appointments and behind-the-scenes activities. Traffic at the Center for Strategic Research, a think tank under the Expediency Council headed by Rouhani since 1992, has increased since his surprising election and speculation has run wild about who will fill his top cabinet positions and what influence key players such as former presidents Mohammad Khatami and Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani will have.
In his speech to members of the judiciary yesterday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed Iran’s elections, the need to help president-elect Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s nuclear file with the West.
In regard to negotiations with the West, Khamenei said, “Several countries have formed an opposition front to Iran and they lie to the international community. Through stubbornness they want to solve the nuclear issue. But if they put aside their stubbornness, solving the nuclear issue is simple and easy.”
Sadeq Kharazi, Iran’s former ambassador to France and the United Nations, who is both close to former President Mohammad Khatami and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, and brother to former Foreign Minister Kamal Kharazi, has claimed that “China and Russia’s entry into the nuclear negotiations was not to Iran’s benefit”.
In an interview with the Iranian Student News Agency published Friday 1 March, Kharazi stressed that he was against the addition of China and Russia from the outset.
He claimed he had held the view that “the entry of putatively friendly countries like China and Russia, not only will not be to our benefit, but will turn Iran into a means for bargaining between Russia and China with the West…and will result in the reduction of Iran’s deterrent power”.
He continued, “the time we had discussions with America…they apologised for the coup against the legal government of the late Dr. [Mohammad] Mosaddegh and sought absolution for their imperialist behaviour and released Iran’s money. Today it has reached a point where the gentlemen put forward negotiations to pre-empt a military attack. This is a real decline”.
Kharazi also rebutted the prospect of adding Turkey and Saudi Arabia to the current P5+1 group, saying that neither of these countries has sufficient “capacity” for the task.
Regarding the recent negotiations in Kazakhstan he stated Iran “must not pursue a superior position” but rather “we must pursue a win-win game”.
Baztab-e emruz claims that President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad along with his family visited, and for some three hours, the home of the sister of Zahra Rahnavard, one of the political leaders of the so-called Green Movement and wife of Mir Hossein Mousavi, who is currently under house arrest. Baztab claims that Ahmadinejad visited the family in order to offer his condolences to Abdolhamid Noghre Kar and his wife Mrs. Rahnavard, Zahra Rahnavard’s sister. The alleged visit which has only just been leaked is reported to have taken place last week.
Ahmadinejad’s visit has as already been interpreted as another act of effrontery to the Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, who according to the head of Iran’s Law Enforcement Forces, is directly responsible for the house arrest of Mousavi, Rahnavard, and Hojjat al-Islam Karroubi.
Apparently Mrs. Rahnavard complained to Ahmadinejad of “lack of news” from Mousavi, Rahnavard, as well the opposition leaders’ children.
Ahmadinejad and Noghre Kar have known one another for some 40 years and have family ties. Noghre Kar, like Ahmadinejad, was a professor at the University of Science and Industry. When Ahmadinejad and other fellow students such as Sadegh Mahsouli (Ahmadinejad’s former Minister of the Interior) and Mojtaba Hashemi Samareh (a senior advisor to Ahmadinejad) were studying at the university, Noghre Kar encouraged them to continue their studies.
The head of the Majles’ National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, has told Tasnim News that “in the event of negotiations not yielding results, the West will be the real loser.”
Boroujerdi stressed: “The Islamic Republic of Iran doesn’t have a problem with the negotiations with the P5+1 yielding results and has always acted in accordance with its commitments in its peaceful nuclear activities.”
“The Islamic Republic of Iran in its negotiations with the agency [International Atomic Energy Agency] also has on numerous occasions proven its peaceful nuclear activities and the Agency with repeated inspections and research has reached this conclusion [the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities]. But again the interference of America and its Western allies confronts the Iranian nuclear file with a challenge.”
“The process of peaceful nuclear activity, not only in these last nine months but during the last 10 years have made notable progress and we have attained noteworthy results in nuclear technology.”
“Our expectations from the Western side are that it be prepared to come to the negotiating table with a rational approach, in the framework of its own commitments and without manoeuvring for the benefit of hegemonic countries, and not have a further expectationthan the actual rights of Iran.”
The Ministry of Intelligence has released a statement in connection with the recent arrests of in excess of ten journalists from a number of different Iranian newspapers and news outlets, claiming to have arrested “agents of a media network dependent on England”.
“This network was managed by means of the Organization for Psychological Operations of the Government of England, known as the BBC and benefiting from the experience of the events of the sedition of 2009 [i.e. the unrest which followed the 2009 presidential election] and the cooperation of a number of western governments. Because of the number of layers, breadth, use of special communication tools and methods for sending news and receiving directives from foreign agents, they were under the watch and pursued by the nameless soldiers of the 12th Imam [namely agents of the Intelligence Ministry], until ultimately with the completion of the process of uncovering the domestic agents, agents established outside the country, the gathering of information and preparation of necessary judicial documentation, they were made subject to legal action. In this respect a number of items will be noted:
1) For the reason of the special sensitivity of the case and numerous considerations relating to [issues of] information, security, and the law, the information gathered regarding the relations of the arrested individuals with the network of psychological-governmental operations of England, were completely documented and sound. Apart from the confessions of the accused, [the aforementioned] indicates [the network] is the kind and nature of media organization of the foreigners.
2) Because of the number of elements connected with this network (inside and outside the country) and with a view to the extant differences in the type and level of contact of the elements under watch with the said network and presented information and probable unawareness of a number of those linked to the foreign source of the network, during the ongoing research in the days ahead, it is possible a number of those connected to the network will be summoned and arrested and a number of the previously arrested will be released. Because it can be assured this process will continue until the last individual attached to this network is found and the controversies of the psychological war machine of the media of arrogance and so-called human rights organizations attached to that base, and the abundance of fabricated and ad hoc organizations, will not have the least effect on the will of the nameless soldiers of the 12th Imam and the current process of measures [being taken].”
In other news
Asadollah Badamchian, a central member of the Front of Disciples for the Line of the Imam and Leadership, has told Tasnim news agency, that it is preparing to introduce a team of nine persons into the electoral race, and that amongst this nine, one will be chosen to run as the presidential candidate on behalf of the Front.
Masoud Alavian, the Deputy for Cultural Heritage has announced that the location of an attempted assassination against Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, will become a recorded national heritage site. Khamenei had been the object of a failed assassination attempt in June 1981, and while he survived, he lost the function of right hand.
The sites of the assassinations of a number of Iran’s nuclear scientists are also under review as possible national heritage sites.
As covered by Laura Rozen on Al-Monitor’s The Back Channel, the website Baztab-e emruz posted an article (which has since been removed) addressing inter-elite disagreements over the handling of Iran’s nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. The article is entitled, “Brothers, the nuclear negotiations hold the fate of 75 million people, they’re not work experience”.
Below are some translated excerpts:
“[T]he direct criticisms of Manuchehr Motakki with respect to the actions of the nuclear negotiating team, shows the points of consensus amongst experts, and also touches on the thoughts of some of the politicians in the official sphere”.
“The criticism of Motakki regards some of the recommendations of the nuclear negotiating team, about the direct broadcast of negotiations and the emphasis on obtaining new locations for the negotiations. But it seems the problems of the negotiating team far surpasses these two problems”.
“At a time when one of the young writers of Keyhan newspaper who doesn’t have minimal experience and expertise in diplomacy and international relations, has been transformed into the theoretician of the nuclear negotiations and moreover strives to be a continuous presence as the face of the Islamic Republic and “the key member of the negotiating team” in interviews with foreign publications and putting forward strange preconditions, what expectation can be had from the negotiations?”
“The successive changes in the location of the negotiations and their transfer from Geneva, to Istanbul, Baghdad, Moscow and now the plan for Cairo, which is itself the centre of internal crisis and entanglement, takes place with what logic?”
“Is the principle of obtaining results and solving the problem of 75 million Iranians or globe trotting and entering third party countries under discussion?”
“It seems with respect to the will of the regime for controlling the effects of sanctions on the economy of the country and the reduction of economic damage, those responsible for negotiating must improve their methods, so that the benefit of these successive negotiations accrue to the country and perhaps choose a fixed location for negotiations in a non-partisan country, like Switzerland or by rotation in several countries and permanently solve the marginal issue of the negotiations’ location and prepare the way for addressing the core of the issue and solving the country’s problem”.