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).
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].”
Mohammad Sadeq Kharazi, who served twice as Iran’s deputy foreign minister and as its ambassador to Paris and the UN, and who is also known to be close to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khamenei, has discounted the prospect of negotiations with the United States until after the June 2013 presidential election, when President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad leaves office. Kharazi was also reported to have been highly involved in Iran’s so-called offer of a “grand bargain” to the United States via the Swiss embassy in 2003, which was dismissed by the administration of George W. Bush.
Kharazi made his comments at the 19th meeting of “Iranian Diplomacy.”
His speech reproduced on his website, Iran Diplomacy, makes interesting reading, in particular his significant praise for US President Barack Obama and his administration. Continue reading
Responses to controversial film continue
Former President Khatami, in a letter to the secretary general of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, has condemned the making of the controversial video, “The Innocence of Muslims,” which has sparked controversy across the Muslim world. Many have held the video to be the chief reason for several attacks against American targets across the region, the most dramatic being the assault on the American consulate in Benghazi, Libya, which resulted in the death of the American ambassador, Chris Stevens.