Iranian diplomats review Islamic Awakening in Arab states – Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab-African Affairs, Hossein Amir Abdullahian, chaired the diplomats annual meeting and referred to impacts of Islamic Awakening on Tunisia, Egypt, Yemen and Bahrain as well as people’s uprisings in the region (on Iranian foreign policy). Abdullahian said that the Islamic Awakening raised the expectations of people from Iran as a harbinger of the Islamic movement over the past decades. Iran’s role in regional development cooperation, maintaining security and stability of the region and vindicating the legitimate rights of people is clear to all. He said that role of media in demonstrating recent developments is of prime importance, adding that Iran seeks to broaden cooperation with regional countries in a bid to persuade them to meet their people’s demands.
FM stresses Syrian efforts for release of Iranian abductees – Ali Akbar Salehi and his Syrian counterpart stressed the Syrian government’s efforts to obtain the release of the Iranian abductees. Salehi expressed his concern over the fate of the Iranian abductees in Syria.
Iranian Red Crescent Society (RC) plans to open a third polyclinic in Kenya as part of Tehran’s medical and social aid program for improving the health care system of the African nation – According to a statement issued by the RC, Iran’s third polyclinic in Kenya will be opened in Mombasa in the near future. Iran has already set up two polyclinics in the capital city of Nairobi. The clinic will have different sections, including maternity and delivery wards, a drugstore and laboratory. Iran is an observing member of the African Union and has shown an active presence in previous AU summit meetings.
Defense Minister: NATO’s plan to deploy a missile shield in Turkey demonstrates the US and European states’ military and political weakness – Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi said, “The NATO missile shield is a show of power on the surface but, in fact, shows the enemy’s weak position and helplessness […] On the other hand, if Europeans see themselves in need of such a missile shield against Iran, why don’t they take any action in this regard, and it is just the U.S. that talks about this plan and advertises it.” Earlier IRGC Aerospace Commander, Brigadier General Amir Ali Hajizadeh, warned that Tehran will target the NATO missile shield in Turkey should it come under attack. “We have prepared ourselves, if any threat is staged against Iran, we will target NATO’s missile shield in Turkey and will then attack other targets.”
Banner headline in the ultra-conservative daily Kayhan: Maneuvers near the Strait of Hormuz Scare the West –
Lieutenant Commander of the Iranian Navy: Western chopper shooed away from naval drill zone – Admiral Seyed Mahmoud Moussavi said, “A chopper which belonged to the trans-regional countries tried to approach the region of the Velayat 90 war games, but it left the area when it received a serious warning after it ignored two other warning signals of our units.” Admiral Moussavi declined to provide any further details about the alleged incident.
Member of the Majlis’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee: Iran will use all its capabilities and possibilities against any invader, including closing the Strait of Hormuz – Zohreh Elahian said that, “Of course Iran has never welcomed military confrontation in the region […] but we will take all our options to hit the interests of the invading country and its allies […] The closure of the Strait of Hormuz is one of the options of the Army and the IRGC […] but for now, we will allow anyone to export oil via the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman.” Another Majlis Member Mohammad Taqi Rahbar said recently that “The closure of the Strait of Hormuz is not on Iran’s agenda, but if threats against Iran come to trample upon the rights of our nation while others use the strait for exporting their oil, then Iran will be entitled to the right to close the Strait of Hormuz”.
Majlis member praised Iranian experts for their production of long-range missiles – Hossein Hassani said that “The achievements of Iranian experts in developing long-range missiles have deprived the enemy of a restful sleep.” He described Iran’s ability to bring down the RQ-170 drone earlier in December and capture numerous CIA spies as examples of Iran’s ability to repel enemies’ threats.
Iran was the world’s 4th largest oil producer in the first decade of 2000 – Iran, with a daily output of 41,272,000 barrels of crude, was ranked 4th after Russia, Saudi Arabia and the U.S. from 2000 to 2009. Iran produced over 15,000,000,000 barrels of crude during the decade. According to the Iranian Petroleum Ministry, Iran’s proved natural gas reserves are about 1,045.7 trillion cubic feet (29.61 trillion cubic meters) or about 15.8% of world’s total reserves, of which 33% are as associated gas and 67% is in non-associated gas fields. It has the world’s second largest reserves after Russia. As it takes approximately 5,850 cubic feet (166 m3) of gas to equal the energy content of 1-barrel (0.16 m3) of oil, Iran’s gas reserves represent the equivalent of about 216 billion barrels (3.43au1010 m3) of oil.
Iran’s November crude supply to China up 5.3% – Iran exported about 622,000 barrels per day to China in November, maintaining its place as the third largest crude supplier.
Iran to grant development of three heavy crude oil fields to Ukraine – Iran will soon sign a deal with a Ukrainian company to develop three heavy crude oil fields with an estimated value of USD 1 billion. Accordingly, the Petroleum Engineering and Development Company (PEDC), a subsidiary of the National Iranian Oil Company, will sign the contracts for development of Mond, Boushgan, and Kuh-e Kaki oil fields with Ukraine’s Gazprom Pars Company. The deal follows Iran’s recent deal with the Russian Tartarstan’s Tatneft Group for the development of the Zagheh oil field.
IOEC Manager: Sanctions against Iran have not troubled the supply of tools and equipment for Iran’s offshore facilities – Manager of Fabrication Yards of the Iranian Offshore Engineering and Construction Company (IOEC) in Khoramshahr, Hossein Badvi, stressed his company’s ability to supply the tools, materials, equipment and spare parts needed for Iran’s oil and gas platforms. Badvi noted that “Although international sanctions (against Iran) are always an issue, these sanctions have not created any specific problem for us so far… All work has successfully moved ahead thanks to the efforts and endeavors of the company’s experts and personnel.”
FM: Iran, Armenia trade volume to hit USD 1 billion – Ali Akbar Salehi said that during one-day visit of Ahmadinejad and the accompanying delegation to the Armenian capital, Yerevan, given the potential of trade transactions between Iran and Armenia, the Iranian and Armenian officials agreed to increase the volume of trade transactions between the two countries to the level of USD 1 billion. He described Tehran-Yerevan relations as very special, adding that “Armenia is an important neighbor for Iran and our bilateral relations have improved since the independence of Armenia from the former Soviet Union in 1991. He noted that six important documents were signed between Iran and Armenia during Ahmadinejad’s visit.
PMO Managing Director: Iran building 300 multi-purpose ports along southern coasts – Managing-Director of Iran’s Ports and Maritime Organization (PMO), Seyed Ataollah Sadr, said that Iran has started building 300 small multi-purpose ports on the rims of the Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman. “As a first step, we have selected 300 geographical locations for construction of ports along the (Persian Gulf and the Sea of Oman) coasts, and we are now through with locating the exact sites of 120 of them.” He reiterated that 40 ports have been constructed thus far, each at a cost of USD 3 million.
Price of the dollar continues to rise: President instructs the Governor of the Central Bank to take immediate action to calm the market – Iran’s Minister of Industry and Commerce announced that President Ahmadinejad instructed the Governor of the Central Bank, Mahmoud Behmani, to take immediate action to calm the foreign currency market. A few days ago, Ahmadinejad also instructed the Governor to re-examine the bank’s foreign currency policy. Over the past 24 hours, the price of the dollar rose again, and the Central Bank announced its plans to restrain prices.
Dozens of census workers who have not received wages for the population and housing census project have staged protests in front of the Tehran governorship office – About 70 census workers who have not received wages for the population and housing census project staged protests in front of the Tehran governorship office and demanded a meeting with the governor, as the registration of candidates for the ninth Majlis has started.
Member of the Sunni-Turkish minority executed – Yousef Eslam Doust, a member of the Sunni-Turkish minority, was one of the seven condemned men executed in Orumieh this past week. Two other Sunnis from Azerbaijan are in danger of being executed. According to the reports of Amnesty International published in December, many of the people executed for serious drug-related crimes are tortured in order extract confessions to the crimes with which they are charged.
Sakine Ashtiani might be executed by hanging, not stoning – The sentence of death by stoning imposed on Sakine Ashtiani for adultery created a massive international media storm, until her execution was frozen last year. It is now reported that the Prosecutor General of East Azerbaijan province is considering the possibility of executing her by hanging.
Five more prisoners executed – At the prison in Shahrood, five people were executed. They were all convicted of drug-related crimes.
Activist journalist rearrested – Hamid Mozeni, a member of the Advar Tahkim student organization and a journalist, was again arrested by security forces. During the last elections he was a conspicuous activist in the headquarters of Kharroubi and worked as a journalist for many independent newspapers in Bushehr province.
Heads of the three branches met, vowed to fight corruption – Heads of the three branches of the government (President Ahmadinejad, Majlis Speaker Ali Larijani, and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani) met on Monday and vowed to fight corruption with “no red lines to eradicate the phenomena.”
Preparations for Majlis elections –
Representative of the Supreme Leader to IRGC: “The enemy is attempting to cause a revolution during the Majlis elections” – At a press conference on “Events in Iran and abroad,” Hojatoleslam Ali Saeedi, the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s representative in the IRGC, said that the Islamic Revolution of Iran is one of the “most divine revolutions. It has known ups and downs over the past 32 years, but it has successfully overcome all obstacles. One of these obstacles was the Fitna 88 (the conservatives’ name for events following the presidential election in June 2009). “Our people are very different from other peoples… The consciousness of the Iranian people is not like that of other peoples.” He also spoke about the enemies’ strategies for the next elections, “Their strategy for the Iranian elections is to bring down the regime. They want to take maximum advantage of the coming Majlis elections. They are also giving instructions. Mrs. Clinton recently instructed people whose candidacy will certainly not be approved to register so that they will be able to report and take advantage of their rejection.” The Supreme Leader’s representative commented on the security challenges to the elections, referring to them as a warning and said that the intelligence and security apparatuses must act with precision in response to these challenges.”
Chairman of the Majlis Cultural Committee and Majlis Speaker from 2004 to 2008 registers for parliamentary elections – Haddad-Adel visited the Interior Ministry headquarters to register for the upcoming parliamentary elections. “I’m so grateful to the Almighty God who helped me participate in the parliamentary elections once more,” he told reporters. The parliamentary elections will be held on March 2.
Majlis Member: In an attempt to create a division among principlists, reformists have announced that they will not run in the March parliamentary elections – Parviz Sorouri predicted that reformists will eventually present a list of candidates for the elections, saying that reformists believe that if principlists think they have no serious rival in the elections, their internal disagreements will resurface and their efforts to achieve unity will fail, and thereby reformists will be able to exploit the situation.
A vocal critic of Ahmadinejad calls reformists to participate in the upcoming elections thus easing sanctions and frustrating Iran’s enemies – Ali Motahari, a vocal critic of Ahmadinejad, called on the reformists to take part in the upcoming Majlis elections. “An energetic election for the 9th Majlis , with 70% participation, would stop further sanctions and discourage (Iran’s enemies) from considering a military attack… Elections are a golden opportunity for Iran to improve its internal and international situation, make up for all shortcomings and frustrate the enemy.” He urged the Guardian Council to refrain from disqualifying nominees for “having links to (Green Movement leaders) Mir Hussein Mousavi’s and Mehdi Karroubi’s elections headquarters or having protested against the results of the (June 2009) Presidential elections.”
Publication linked to former President Khatami banned; reformist website filtered – The monthly Ayeen-e Goftogou, linked to former President Mohammad Khatami, has been banned. Eslahate 76, a reformist website, has been filtered.
Interference of Internet in Iran – For the last two days the Internet in Iran has experienced serious interference, beginning on Monday morning. User access to the Internet was very slow and repeated disconnections were reported. According to official sources, this is due to technical problems with communications infrastructure.