Sunni Group Takes Credit for Attack That Killed 14 Iranians

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A Sunni terrorist group claimed credit for an attack that killed 14 Iranian border guards on Friday, Oct. 25.

In the statement published in Persian on their website, the Army of Justice took credit for the attack that killed mostly conscripts in the city of Seravan in the Sistan-Balochistan province on the Iran-Pakistan border. The statement read: “This successful operation is an answer to the violent crimes of Sepah (Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps) in the Islamic land of Syria and is also an answer for oppression and crimes the regime has committed against the oppressed Sunnis of Iran.” Continue reading

Iran’s Hard-liners Oppose US-Iran Negotiations, Handshake

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As Iranian President Hassan Rouhani landed in New York yesterday for the UN General Assembly with the apparent blessing of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei to solve Iran’s nuclear crisis, Iranian media has begun to speculate over whether Rouhani and US President Barack Obama would meet, or at least run into one another and shake hands.

Many Iranian Reformist publications have favorably covered the meeting between foreign minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton and appear to be eagerly anticipating the meeting on Thursday between Zarif and US Secretary of State John Kerry at a P5+1 ministerial meeting. Reformist newspaper Arman even published a picture of Zarif and Kerry shaking hands (above).

Iran’s hard-liners, however, have attempted to counter this enthusiasm.

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Khamenei: US Interference in Syria Will Be Disaster For Region

untitled Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei expressed his views for the first time on Syria since accusations of chemical weapons led to the possibility of military strikes by the West on Syria. President Hassan Rouhani also warned of another war in the region and parliament speaker Ali Larijani addressed the possibility of an attack on Syria on the parliament floor today, issuing perhaps the harshest and most direct warning to Israel and countries supporting the military strike. Continue reading

Can Iran Compromise With US?

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“Is it possible to compromise with America and reach an agreement?” The Iranian hard-line Jahan website asked this question after comments by Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani that “Compromise with a peaceful enemy is permissible.” In Iran, “enemy” is typically a reference to the United States, and negotiations or direct talks with America have lately been a prevalent theme in Iranian media, especially in light of the high-profile visits yesterday by the sultan of Oman and the United Nations undersecretary-general for political affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, who some believe traveled to Tehran to carry messages from Western countries.

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Iran’s Foreign Minister Encourages US to Pursue ‘Win-Win’ Strategy

untitled Iran’s new Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif sat down with Iranian television in a one-on–one interview yesterday, where he discussed his views on the United States’ foreign policy, the new US sanctions against Iran and Iran’s nuclear program,. On US foreign policy Zarif said, “There is a serious need” to “understand this reality, and we have to encourage others to understand this reality, that in the field of foreign policy a positive-sum game and a win-win game” is “in everyone’s interests.” In the article from the Iranian Students News Agency which transcribed the interview, the title was “Foreign Minister: America Should Pursue Win-Win Game.” Continue reading

Rafsanjani: I Wanted to Negotiate With the US

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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

Iran Judge Behind Three Deaths Fined $60

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Saeed Mortazavi, the judge long accused in the deaths of three individuals involved in the 2009 post-election protests, has been sentenced.

Mortazavi, who was prosecutor-general of Tehran in 2009, was charged along with two other deputies in February with “filing a false report” and “unlawful arrest” in connection to the transfer of street protesters to Kahrizak prison.

According to various reports, Mortazavi and two others were suspended for life from judicial duties and banned for five years from government work. Mortazavi received a 200,000 toman fine ($60 based on today’s open market rate). His lawyer said that they will appeal the verdict. The light sentence has shocked many Iranians on social media.

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Khamenei: Nuclear Issue Solvable if US Ends ‘Stubbornness’

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In his speech to members of the judiciary yesterday, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed Iran’s elections, the need to help president-elect Hassan Rouhani and Iran’s nuclear file with the West.

In regard to negotiations with the West, Khamenei said, “Several countries have formed an opposition front to Iran and they lie to the international community. Through stubbornness they want to solve the nuclear issue. But if they put aside their stubbornness, solving the nuclear issue is simple and easy.”

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Rafsanjani Responds to Disqualification From Presidencial Race

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Opposition website Jaras, which is assumed to be run by a figure close to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani, has published parts of Rafsanjani’s first statements since his surprising disqualification by the Guardian Council from running for the presidency. Although Rafsanjani doesn’t mention anyone by name, he has had issues with the hard-line policies of both Khamenei’s advisers and Sepah (the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps), who have increased their influence and presence in state affairs in the last decade or so.

Rafsanjani, addressing his campaign staff this afternoon, said, “I went to the Supreme Leader and told him that I won’t become a candidate if you have someone you prefer.”

Rafsanjani addressed the response to speculation about his running. “I said, ‘I didn’t say I’m not running,’ and that’s when they started gathering an army [against me]. But that’s also when a flood of letters started coming from Qom, Najaf and Mashhad [major Shia centers] for my candidacy. How could I be so obstinate to say no, especially to the youth?” Continue reading