Khamenei: If Israel Attacks us, ‘Tel Aviv and Haifa Will Be Razed To The Ground’


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This was the top story and headline on many websites inside Iran. Even Iran’s English-language Press TV highlighted this part of the speech to lead one of their segments.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, Supreme Leader of Iran, made these statements while giving a speech in the Eastern Iranian city of Mashhad yesterday. This was his first speech of the New Year. Although the Supreme Leader made these controversial statements, some believe there were positive points to his speech as well, particularly about negotiations over Iran’s nuclear program.

After beginning his speech by discussing the “economic progress” Iran experienced the previous year, Khamenei change the subject to America. He said that “America is at the center of conspiracies against Iran, and after 34 years, whenever the [the word] enemy is mentioned, America quickly comes to people’s minds.” He added that “the leaders of America should carefully reflect on in this issue and ask themselves why” this is so.

The Supreme Leader said that “there are also other enemies, such as the wicked English government.” He also said that France “especially in recent years, since [former French President Nicolas] Sarkozy, has made clear its enmity with Iran.”

In regard to Israel, Khamenei said that they “are not at the level to be counted as Iran’s enemy.” He continued that “sometimes, the leaders of the Zionist regime also threaten us; they make threats of a military strike. But in my opinion, they know themselves, and if they don’t, they should know that if they make a mistake, the Islamic Republic will raze Tel Aviv and Haifa to the ground.”

Khamenei said that despite the efforts of the Americans, “the world community is in no way an enemy of Iran.”

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In regard to the Western sanctions on Iran, Khamenei said that “the Americans, despite their apparent statements of friendship with Iran, from the beginning of the previous year they started with severe sanctions on oil and banks, and they insist that with these hostile acts, not to be considered an enemy.” He said that “if the sanctions had an effect, the fundamental reason is that the country’s economy is attached to oil.” He stressed the need to design “a plan to have an economy not attached to oil as a priority for future administrations.” Khamenei added that an economy not dependent on oil “is possible on the condition that there is correct planning and execution.”

On the nuclear issue, Khamenei said that “it’s been some time that the Americans from various channels have sent messages that they want to hold separate negotiations with Iran about the nuclear program, but based on previous experiences I am not optimistic.” He added that “from the American’s viewpoint, the meaning of talks is to encourage the opposing side to accept their terms.” However, he said that he “is not opposed to negotiations.”

Khamenei said that “many times we said we are not after a nuclear weapon, but the Americans say, ‘We don’t believe you.’ Under these conditions, why should we believe the Americans?” about their intentions on negotiations. He added that “our take is that the recommendation of negotiations is a tactic by the Americans to deceive world public opinion and the Iranian people, and if that is not the case, the Americans need to prove this with their actions.”

One of the tactics Khamenei referred to was the issue of negotiations between America and a representative of the Supreme Leader. Khamenei said that “they said that some [representatives] of the Supreme Leader have negotiated with America, while such words are sheer lies, until now no one from the Supreme Leader has negotiated with America.” Khamenei however did admit that “various administrations, on some specific issues, have negotiated with the Americans, and on those negotiations the administration was bound to observe the Supreme Leader’s red lines.”

Khamenei said that “if the Americans are really inclined to solve the nuclear issue with Iran, they must acknowledge Iran’s right to enrich uranium for peaceful purposes.” He added, “if the Americans truly want to end this case, the path to a solution that we recommend is that in words and deeds, to stop the enmities with the nation of Iran.”

Former Reformist Interior Minister: We will try to free Karroubi, Mousavi and Rahnavard

Former Interior Minister and high-ranking Reformist politician, Abdollah Nouri, in the course of a meeting with members of the Central Council of the Islamic Society of the University of Tehran and Medical Sciences of Tehran, stated that “we will try to free Mrs. [Mehdi] Karroubi, [Mir Hossein] Mousavi and Mrs. [Zahra] Rahnavard and [the other] political prisoners”.

With respect to the prospect of changing the Constitution of the Islamic Republic, Nouri, who is a former member of the Council for the Re-examination of the Constitution said, “the constitution is not a sacred book and was written by the same individuals with the same qualifications, personalities and society and despite germane criticisms it for the prevention of disorder and chaos and the pivot for the movement of all [political] currents in pursuit of comprehensive reform and [who] form a critical front. The Constitution of the Islamic Republic was re-examined at one time and it was also predicted in [the document] that it is reformable. Of course it is not predictable at what time and in what conditions the decision to re-examine the constitution again will be taken. Necessarily, it is deserving of reflection and attention [whether] the civil institutions and defenders of the rights of the nation will have a bigger role and influence or the reverse. It will become clear with time”.

Hossein Shariatmadari, who is Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative at the Kayhan institute and editor of Kayhan newspaper, has written a critical op-ed of both the Reformist and the Mahmoud Ahmadinejad government.

In the article Shariatimadari rebuts Reformist politicians’ statements to the effect, that Ahmadinejad’s turbulent relationship with the Supreme Leader and the Revolutionary Guards, not to mention alleged “economic mismanagement”, confirms their early criticisms of Ahmadinejad. Needless to say, Shariatmadari rejects the Reformist’s conclusion i.e. that Ahmadinejad was always trouble, and defends Ahmadinejad’s disputed landslide electoral victory in June 2009. Shariatmadari is also sure to praise Ahmadinejad’s frontal assault on the “private interests” of the Executives of Reconstruction close to former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani (though he does not mention Rafsanjani by name) and the Reformist political elite.

Shariatmadari is also keen to praise Ahmadinejad for “throwing the myth of the Holocaust to the wind”.

Both Ayatollah Khamenei and Shariatmadari himself find themselves in a bind, since they confirmed and defended Ahmadinejad after the unparalleled post-election unrest which witnessed up to 3 million people demonstrate through Tehran’s streets in protest of alleged vote rigging. They had not foreseen that their relationship with Ahmadinejad would also come under strain, as the president sought to consolidate and aggrandise his position and that of his close-knit circle of allies, in the political establishment of the Islamic Republic.

Shariatmadari states that a “deviant circle” has appeared in the midst of the Ahmadinejad government, which has strayed from “some Islamic and revolutionary and popular teachings”. He goes on, “if only Mr. Ahmadinejad had kept guard of the vote of the people and the sanctity of the election of the people and according to the enemy, had not broken the pact of friendship. The people voted for Ahmadinejad in 2005 and not to the deviant current. The trust of the people which is a sacred custodianship in his possession, must not fall to the deviant current. Does Mr. Ahmadinejad not see that the closer he gets to the deviant current, by the same amount he distances himself from the people and the authentic line of the revolution?”

President Ahmadinejad’s press advisor Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who is currently serving an ongoing sentence in Evin jail, has been replaced as head of the Islamic Republic News Agency. In accordance with an order by Mohammad Hosseini, the Minister of Culture and Islamic Guidance, Majid Amidi Sharaki, has been appointed to Javanfekr’s position.

Javanfekr who was previously a special correspondent for IRNA, based in the Supreme Leader’s office, returned to Evin jail, after a stint in hospital and during that time was visited by President Ahmadinejad.

This comes after Ahmadinejad was not permitted to visit Evin prison by the Judiciary in October 2012, which led to a fiery exchange between the president and judiciary chief, Ayatollah Sadeq Larijani.

Javanfekr’s position as government representative to the supervisory council of Seda va Sima, the Islamic Republic state broadcasting service, was also given to government spokesman, Gholamhossein Elham.

Gholamreza Kateb, the Spokesman for the Majles Budgetary and Planning Commission, quoting the Minister of Oil, Rostam Qassemi, has said that the sale of oil has decreased by 40% and gas revenues have decreased by 45%, compared with the same time last year.

Mahmoud Ahmadinejad visits Ali Akbar Javanfekr in hospital before the latter returns to Evin prison via Fars News

Keyhan article indicates discontent with Supreme Leader’s course across the political spectrum

Keyhan, which is generally regarded at the Supreme Leader’s quasi-official mouthpiece in the Iranian media, on Saturday published an article titled “Worn-out Revolutionaries and the Conspiracy of the Poisoned Chalice.” The so-called “poisoned chalice” is an allusion to the Islamic Republic’s first Supreme Leader, Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini, and his famous statement at the end of the Iran-Iraq war (1980-1988) in which he compared the acceptance of the UN-brokered cease-fire to drinking a poisoned chalice.

Similarly, many analyses both inside and outside of Iran have claimed that the West’s strategy has been to force Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei to drink the figurative “poisoned chalice” by means of pressure brought on by energy and economic sanctions, and thereby compel him to curb the Islamic Republic’s nuclear ambitions and thus concede to Western demands.

The article by Ruholamin Saeidi claims that “the regretful, worn-out revolutionary” in recent years has “always adopted a pragmatic, tolerant strategy and mild-mannered approach which is in pursuit of amicable relations with the enemies of the revolution.”

Below are translated a number of excerpts from the article, which is interesting insofar as it admits that there are “distinguished politicians” across the political spectrum, not merely the regularly vilified Reformists, who are “worn-out revolutionaries” and desire the Supreme Leader to finally concede to Western diplomatic and economic pressure over Iran’s controversial nuclear program.

“According to the well-worn revolutionaries, because the Western countries control the largest measure of global power and wealth, resistance against them is ineffective and perhaps for progress and for earning international prestige and remaining immune from the threats of the superpowers, there is no remedy except prostration and retreat. These kind of individuals in particular in the eight years during which the Reformist current ruled the country politically, many efforts were made with the aim of normalizing Iran’s relations with the West, in particular with America.”

“Perhaps not too long ago it could be thought that the “worn-out revolutionaries” could only be found in the base of the Reformists, but the events of recent years and in particular recent months show that the ailment of fatigue and the loss of motivation for struggle, is not exclusive to a special political group or current and all politicians of the regime from every spectrum and wing, are always exposed to this affliction. Today the worn-out revolutionaries present in the circles of power in the Islamic Republic persistently pursue the dissemination of this deviant view. In the present circumstances, two adversarial movements in the country are lining up against one another: One is a moderate, peace-seeking and modernist movement supporting relations with the West and the solving of mutual problems for the removal of pressure and sanctions; and is backed by a group in the government, the Reformists, the elite, the technocrats and many of the distinguished politicians. The other current is a hardened, uncompromising, combatter of Arrogance [i.e., Western/US hegemony] that is demanding perpetual resistance against the West and endurance against the pressure of sanctions. This is the current backed by the Supreme Leader.”

“Sanctions” are the subterfuge of the worn out revolutionaries to prevail on society and the Supreme Leader to accept their beliefs. By exaggerating the effects of American and European Union financial and economic sanctions, they constantly emphasize this point that the pressure of the superpowers has reached intolerable levels and they can’t be resisted any longer.”

“It seems that the worn out revolutionaries at this sensitive point have the intention with their engineered targeting of the conditions of country and application of pressure from all directions to the Supreme Leader, to force him of his own volition to drink the poisoned chalice and retreat; withdrawing from revolutionary positions and [thus initiate] negotiations with America.”

“They want to inflame and make insecure the political atmosphere by offering incorrect analyses and relating all the problems to foreign sanctions and thereby provoke public emotions, so that the Leader has no other choice but to submit to their demands for the preservation of the interests of the country and the revolution.”

“Today our enemies, whether they be the American government or some European governments, have related sanctions to the issue of nuclear energy. They lie. The day they established sanctions, nuclear energy wasn’t in the country. What angers them with respect to the Iranian nation and compels them to make these kinds of decisions, is the spirit of unwillingness to submit that blessed Islam and the Koran brought into existence in the nation of Iran. It is this that angers them. They pretend that if the nation of Iran abandons nuclear energy the sanctions will be lifted. They lie.”

Gholam Reza Asadollahi, a member of the Majles’ Planning and Budget Commission has told ISNA news agency that 40% of the oil revenues factored in for this year’s budget have not been obtained. The Majles commission’s report claims that the primary reason for the shortfall are Western-imposed sanctions against the Islamic Republic which have by all accounts severely hampered its ability to sell its chief export, namely oil.

Majles Speaker Ali Larijani has today criticized the merger of two ministries, the Ministry for Roads and Urban Planning and the Ministry of Information Technology, calling it “inexpedient.” Larijani claimed that it will weaken the country’s “passive defense” against cyberthreats.

Last week President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad in the course of a cabinet reshuffle had cast aside the former Minister of Information Technology and appointed Ali Nikzad, the Minister for Roads and Urban Planning, the head of the former Ministry for which he now bears responsibility in addition to his own ministerial portfolio.

Since his appointment, Nikzad announced that the two ministries will be combined to form a new super-ministry called the Ministry for Infrastructural Affairs, a motion that would require Majles approval if it is to go ahead.

Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali, who heads Iran’s Organization for the Passive Defense of Iran, which oversees the country’s cyberdefenses, also criticized the merger. Jalali named cyberthreats to the Islamic Republic as only only third in critical importance to the threat posed by “military attack” and “economic warfare.”

Hardline Keyhan editor labels former President Khatami a ‘traitor’

Hossein Shariatmadari, editor of the hardline Keyhan newspaper and the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative to the Keyhan Institute, on Wednesday called former President Mohammad Khatami a “traitor” and “betrayer of his country” because of his meeting with the Hungarian-American business magnate George Soros and questioning the result of the 2009 presidential election.

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Ahmadinejad Responds after Revealing Judiciary Chief’s ‘confidential’ Letter

Despite the Judiciary’s ‘confidential’ letter to President Ahmadinejad’s request to visit Evin prison as “inexpedient”, the president has not only published the confidential letter in question by Judiciary Chief Sadeq Larijani, but also gone as far as to publicly declaim via the presidential office’s news outlet that he has no need for the judiciary’s permission if he so chooses to visit the notorious jail, which currently houses most of Iran’s high profile political prisoners, including his ally and press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr.

Ahmadinejad has been criticized by much of the Iranian press, both hardline and Reformist, who claim rather than address the dire economic situation, he would prefer to stir up controversy by insisting on a visit to Evin jail, against the advisement of the judiciary.

Ahmadinejad’s relations with Majles Speaker, Ali Larijani, and the head of the Judiciary, Sadeq Larijani, have long been fraught with tensions and have been progressively deteriorating in recent months.

Comments by Ali Larijani carried by Arman, close to former President Rafsanjani, seem to imply that Larijani sought to end the vicious circle of mutual recrimination because of the “conditions of the country” by cancelling a press conference in which Larijani intended to reply to the president’s direct attack made during the latter’s controversial press conference held on 2nd October.

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Iran’s Investigator of Government Corruption Accused of Embezzling

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.

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