At today’s Tehran Friday prayers, hard-line cleric Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati warned that officials are trying establish “secret relationships” with the United States. Jannati’s comments came on the heels of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s warning that the nuclear negotiations will not resolve the issues between Iran and the United States. Continue reading
In a speech today in front of 50,000 Basij, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a wide range of issues, including Israel’s position in the region and with European countries, the policy of the United States — which he called the “leader of the arrogance” — and the nuclear negotiations
Based on an early transcript from Fars News, on the nuclear negotiations, Ayatollah Khamenei said, “On the one hand, I insist that the current officials in the negotiations be supported. They need help, and I, too, help them. On the other hand, I insist that they do not retreat one step from the nuclear rights of the nation — the red lines must be observed.” The supreme leader has the final say in the nuclear program; however, he has not publicly stated what the red lines are. In previous statements he has also publicly supported the nuclear negotiators and warned others to support them as well, despite saying he was not optimistic about them. Continue reading
Iran’s Foreign Ministry has offered a six-point plan for solving the Syrian crisis, while Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi continues to emphasize that Iran would not under any circumstances support a “Western project for the overthrow by force of Bashar al-Assad.”
The plan stresses at the outset that “only the people of Syria have the right in a democratic process to determine their destiny and the political future of their country.”
The six points are translated below:
- The immediate cessation of any kind of violent or armed action under the supervision of the United Nations. At this stage the government and all armed groups must immediately end all their military activities, especially in residential areas and cooperate with the representative of the United Nations and the committee under their supervision for the stabilization of the conditions [of the country] and the return of calm.
- After the cessation of conflict the provision of humanitarian aid must immediately begin to [be given to] all conflict-stricken areas and without discrimination. In order to secure this important aid it is necessary that economic sanctions against Syria are lifted [and] the ground prepared for all refugees to return to their place of residence.
- At the same time as the establishment of calm, comprehensive national dialogue with the presence of the entire [political] spectrum and different social and political tendencies and the government of Syria, the urgent pursuit of the formation of a committee for national reconciliation. This dialogue must provide the way for the formation of a transitional government on which there is consensus. The main obligation of this government is the holding of free and competitive elections for the formation of a new parliament, the formation of an Assembly of Experts for the formulation of a Constitution and the holding of presidential elections that will be set for a fixed date.
- All individuals who have been merely arrested because of peaceful political activities, irrespective of group or sect, must be quickly freed by the government and opposition groups. Individuals who have perpetrated crimes must be fairly investigated in a competent court.
- The process of incorrect news transmission regarding changes in Syria must end as soon as possible. All the media and media owners must have the possibility to prepare and send news on the conditions of Syria from a secure place and send all the views of the people of this country for the informing of public opinion, in contrast to malicious and discriminatory approaches.
- The formation of a committee for estimating the cost of damages and reconstruction, with attention to the damages to the country’s infrastructure. The obligation of this committee will be for the creation of the appropriate modus operandi for the attraction and guidance of foreign aid, determining priorities for reconstruction and the conditions for the participation of organizations and friendly countries in the process of reconstruction.
In the final part, the Foreign Ministry said that the “key aim of this plan is for the return of calm and peace to Syria and ending the sufferings of the people of this country.”
“This plan like any other similar well-intentioned plan, will have the power to be implemented when the ability for mutual, constructive and collective political engagement between all domestic, Syrian political currents and forces under the influence of regional and international powers rules.”
Controversial hardline parliamentarian, Ruhollah Hosseinian, has told Mehr News that two groups are trying their utmost to ensure that President Ahmadinejad’s government comes to an end before his second term officially ends. The two groups in question, according to Hosseinian are the “seditionists”, which is a broad reference for the Green Movement and its Reformist sympathisers, but also “those inside the regime who support the seditionists”, sometimes referred to as the “silent seditionists”, which are said to include Majles Speaker Ali Larijani and his Deputy, Mohammadreza Bahonar, two Principalist politicians who were reported to have congratulated opposition leader Mir-Hossein Mousavi for winning the 2009 presidential election. Other Conservative politicians who are deemed to not have condemned the uprising of 2009 with sufficient severity also fall into this category. He stressed that Ahmadinejad’s opponents endeavour to anger the president, so as to provoke and “abuse” his main “weakness”, his “bad temper” and “stubbornness”, which is not expedient for the country.
Hosseinian also expressed his disagreement with the President being summoned before parliament to answer questions on his government’s role in the on-going economic crisis.
Baztab has posted a video of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani biding goodbye to his son, Mehdi Hashemi, before he is taken to Evin prison. The controversial ex-President’s son returned after a three year absence, after being accused of playing an important role in stoking the protests and unrest, commonly referred to as “the sedition” in official literature, which followed Iran’s 2009 presidential election, as well as numerous charges of corruption.
For the last three years Hashemi has been living in between London and Dubai, and various rumours had been circulating of when he might decide to return to Iran. The Iranian authorities on numerous occasions had also expressed their intent to pursue the case against Hashemi in the event of his return.
The release of this video of Rafsanjani embracing his son before he leaves for Evin prison is an attempt to humanise this “aqazadeh” (noble born, the term used for the sons of powerful clerics in the political establishment) and most likely arouse sympathy for Mehdi Hashemi, after Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and his administration has long sought to tap into populist resentment at what many Iranians have come to see as an entitled class of elite children, who have aggrandized themselves politically and above all economically from their fathers’ power and patronage.
Aftab News, close to former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, has posted a letter from the latter’s 1986 memoir in which he refers to his son Mehdi, who was arrested yesterday on a whole raft of charges, contending “more than my child, you are a child of the revolution”.
Similarly, Rafsanjani’s reaction to his son’s arrest has been posted on numerous outlets stating, “my children are like other people’s children and there is no difference between my children and the people’s children”.
Rafsanjani has been widely accused of nepotism by the Iranian and foreign-based Persian media for decades. Such statements are likely attempts to distance himself from such accusations and dispel this deep-seated image of the former President and incumbent head of the Expediency Discernment Council.
For obvious reasons the Iranian media is widely reporting Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s final visit to New York as president to attend the UN General Assembly. A number of his comments in a meet with American journalists have been highlighted, especially those pertaining to Iran’s relations with the United States.
The “ present condition in the relations between Iran and America are to the detriment of both countries and perhaps to the detriment of the entire world, but for their improvement we must look at the path and changes which brought relations to their present state, and pay attention to the point that the United States from the outset always stood opposed to the victory of the Islamic Revolution in Iran”.
He added, “the Islamic Republic of Iran is ready to reflect on its own negative view of America and help until the time when the American government takes steps for the creation of mutual agreement between the two countries, so that an improvement of relations between them can be obtained more quickly”.