Rafsanjani: I Wanted to Negotiate With the US



In an interview with the International Studies Journal, Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed a variety foreign policy issues regarding Iran’s relationship with the United States and Saudi Arabia, controversial comments he made on Israel and nuclear weapons in 2001 and extremist elements in Iran. Parts of the article have been reprinted by various Reformist publications.

Rafsanjani, who was the speaker of parliament from 1980 to 1989, claims to have written a letter to Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini toward the end of his life asking him to address a variety of issues. In the letter, which Rafsanjani claimed to have delivered himself, he warned Khomeini that there are issues “that if you do not cross yourself, after you, crossing them will be very difficult.” Toward the end of Khomeini’s life it is believed that some of his top advisers and family were involved in making key decisions. Rafsanjani, who is now head of the Expediency Council, is considered to have been one of Khomeini’s closest advisers. Continue reading

Prominent Reformist: Rouhani Must Address Sunni-Shiite Strife


Famous journalist and prominent politician Saeed Hajjarian, who is known as the one of the main theoreticians behind Iran’s reform movement, gave a rare interview to Reformist Bahar newspaper yesterday. Hajjarian stressed the importance of solving regional and sectarian issues with Iran’s Arab neighbors, especially Saudi Arabia, while dismissing the importance of presidential trips to New York for the United Nations General Assembly.

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Iran Summons Saudi Chargé d’Affaires Over Spy Allegations


The Iranian Foreign Ministry has summoned the Saudi chargé d’affaires in Tehran over the arrest of 18 individuals accused of spying for Iran.

On Tuesday, Saudi Arabia’s Interior Ministry announced that the arrest of 18 individuals who they claim has links to “Iranian intelligence services.” Of those arrested, 16 were Saudi, one was Iranian and one was Lebanese. Shiite leaders in Saudi Arabia criticized the arrests as being politically motivated and sectarian.

The Iranian Foreign Ministry called the accusations by the Saudi interior minister “baseless” and meant for media consumption. Iran has sought “official explanations” in these accusations.

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Khatami Receives Blueprint for Reform Agenda


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


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.

Revolutionary Guards issue statement against those posing a threat to regime unity

The Revolutionary Guards have issued a statement for the anniversary of the Iranian Revolution warning that “any action which destroys unity is deserving of decisive rebuttal”.

“The spirituality and guidance of the Supreme Leader in various areas, in particular in the field of the preservation of national unity and the interests of the regime and the revolution, are recognized by the Revolutionary Guards as the “clarifying explanation” for all. Without doubt any kind of action which destroys unity and prepares the basis for deviant movements and controversy in the media of the enemy is playing a role in the plans of the enemy”.

It is of course important to read this statement against the recent backdrop of the all out and very public war of words which has been unfolding and ongoing between President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and Majles Speaker Ali Larijani, who was pelted with shoes and prayer stones in one of Iran’s most holy shrines by Ahmadinejad supporters on Sunday. A series of videos have also been leaked in recent weeks, which appear to implicate the allies of the two men in financial corruption and political horse-trading.

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Deputy Chief of Revolutionary Guards says Nuclear Weapons Red Line of Islamic Republic

Sepah News, an official outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, reports the comments of Hossein Salami, Deputy Commander of the Revolutionary Guards, stating “our nuclear energy is peaceful and entry into the domain of nuclear weapons is the red line of the defence doctrine and beliefs of the Islamic Republic”.

When asked about the sanctions against Iran Salami added, “the greater the pressure, the [more] spirit of resistance and steadfastness will increase. Our nation sees this occurrence as a form of battle and at this stage the nation of Iran has taken the decision to obey and take inspiration from the Supreme Leader. Iran is entirely capable of crossing this circle besieging it”.

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