The Syrian army has reportedly retaken control over the city of Qusair in Homs province after a year of Syrian rebels controlling the city. Qusair witnessed heavy fighting and many casualties on both sides, and stood out especially due to the heavy presence of Lebanese Hezbollah’s fighters who fought on the side of the Syrian army. Iran has invested heavily in keeping President Bashar al-Assad’s government in power and is the main sponsor of Hezbollah. Continue reading
Iran’s Deputy Chief of Staff of the Armed Forces said that “the apology from the prime minister of the Zionist regime to the government of Turkey for the attacks on the [Turkish] ship in 2010 is a new game by America, Israel and Turkey to influence regional resistance, especially the Islamic Awaking [Arab Spring].”
IRGC General Massoud Jazayeri told Sepah News on Saturday that “under today’s conditions, the prime movement of the world arrogance is to replace Iran’s [place] in the Islamic world.” He added that “the elite of the Islamic world must be alert and conscious and not allow America and its allies to lessen public awareness.”
On President Barack Obama’s trip to Israel last week, Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu called Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan to apologize for Israel’s raid on a Turkish ship that was attempting to pass through its naval blockade of the Gaza strip in 2010. The raid left nine dead. Netanyahu was quoted as saying that the crisis in Syria was “his main motivation” for the call.
General Jazayeri added that the “the combination of those against Syria proves the government’s and country’s legitimacy.” He explained that “right now, America, England, France, Arab reactionaries, Turkey, and the Zionist regime form the prime anti-Syrian ring and this combination is a good indication of an anti-resistance front.” Iran sees itself, Syria and Hezbollah in an “axis of resistance” against American and Israeli influence in the region. They view the support by the West and Gulf Arab countries as a means to weaken this axis.
Ahmadinejad Ally Warns About Interference in Elections
In an interview with state-run IRNA yesterday, Esfandiar Rahim Mashaei said that “the president has strongly emphasized and has even stated that if he feels that either secretly or openly the elections become tainted, he will deal with it seriously.” Mashei said that in a meeting with the governors of the provinces the president warned against “showing partisanship” towards any of the candidates during the administration of the elections.
Iran’s presidential elections are in June 2013 and President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been using the final months of his presidency to campaign and promote his longtime advisor Mashei as a candidate for the presidency. Since the president’s second term Mashaei has been attacked by conservatives and hardliners for an apparent promotion of “Iranianism” over “Islamism” and has been accused of being at the center of a “deviant” strain within the administration.
President Ahmadinejad had previously warned on several occasions about “interference” in these upcoming elections. In January of this year, Hojat al-Islam Ali Saeedi, Khamenei’s representative in the Revolutionary Guard said that “[the body’s essence] is to engineer the elections logically and rationally.”
Mashaei also criticized national media for their coverage of the elections. He said that “on the threshold of elections, from the view of partisanship towards candidates in the upcoming presidential elections, the national media has not performed well.” He added that “people remember well the performance the national media in the previous elections and that the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) should act with care and pursue a more moderate path.”
In the June 2009 elections, heated and somewhat sensational televised live debates between presidential candidates drew in millions of viewers. Live televised debates have been banned for these upcoming elections.
Hossein Shariatmadari, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative at Kayhan newspaper claimed in the course of a meeting in Yazd that “Saudi Arabia sent money for the leaders of the sedition [i.e. Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, the nominal heads of the Green Movement] but banking issues were an obstacle to its transfer to Iran”. Shariatmadari continued, “if not for the shadow of the [Ayatollah Khamenei], until now the revolution would have been defeated a 100 times and would have seen the country trampled under the feet of foreign militaries…Today our country is in the strongest circumstances since the revolution and the enemy is in the weakest of condition”. Continue reading
Serat News, a hardline outlet often critical of the president and his administration and said to be close to Kayhan, launches an attack against several of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s allies including, First Vice Minister, Mohammadreza Rahimi and Press advisor, Ali Akbar Javanfekr, who has been recently jailed. The main object of derision is their allegedly “eulogising” of political figures they turned against once they obtained high office in the Ahmadinejad government.
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”.
Influential Principalist MP for Tehran and former presidential candidate, Ahmad Tavakkoli, has accused the government of intentionally weakening the rial so that it is able to pay for the process of subsidy reform. In exchange for subsidy cuts eligible Iranians receive a monthly cash payment, the first round of which was approved by the Majles in January 2010.
Tavakkoli said the subsidy law approved by the Majles required the government to meet its budgetary shortfall by means of increasing the price of fuel, thereby closing the gap with global prices. Instead, he claims what the government has sought to weaken the rial and play on disparities in currency in order to pay the cash payments, which are meant to alleviate the brunt of prices increases on basic goods and services such as gas, water, and electricity. Tavakkoli alleged that such policies will exacerbate inflation and unemployment and result in people rejecting the second phase of subsidy reform altogether.
Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi has met with Syrian leader Bashar al-Assad in Damascus Mehr News Agency reports. Details continue to be sparse other than Salehi went to Damascus to discuss the “special circumstances” of Syria.
This visit follows on the heels of Salehi’s visit to Cairo, for a meeting of the “contact group” on Syria, along with his Turkish and Egyptian counterparts. The Saudi Foreign Minister was not in attendance. Salehi’s recommendations included sending observers to Syria and that the contact group’s next meeting take place in Tehran, with representatives from Saudi Arabia, Egypt, Turkey.
Khabar Online, close to Parliamentary Speaker Ali Larijani reports Egyptian President Mohammed Morsi’s comments in his meeting with Foreign Minister Salehi that “no problem exists between Iran and Egypt”. During their meeting in Cairo Salehi expressed the “warm greetings” of President Ahmadienajd, and thanked Morsi for his attendance of the Non-Aligned Movement summit in Tehran. Salehi also congratulated the president on the “victory of the revolution of the Egyptian people”. According to the report, Morsi reciprocated and asked the Iranian Foreign Minister to offer his “warm greetings” to the Supreme Leader and President Ahmadinejad.
Salehi also expressed Iran’s readiness for cooperation with the Egyptian government on the development of Egypt’s industrial infrastructure, adding that the two countries “complement one another”.
The hardline Kayhan newspaper reports on the death of the American ambassador to Libya, Chris Stevens:
“The people of Libya, Egypt and Yemen in response to the insult of an American filmmaker to the honorable Prophet have attacked the American embassy. The angry people, with the killing of the ambassador and three armed Americans, have punished Washington. … Available reports state that this attack was undertaken by the Islamist group “Ansar al-Shariah” in protest of the screening of an insulting film to the honorable Prophet in American cinemas, and the assailants attacked the American consulate building in Benghazi using light arms and RPGs.”
Attacks in Libya, Egypt and Yemen are said to be a response to the screening of the film entitled, “Innocence of Muslims,” by amateur filmmaker Sam Bacile.