Ahmadinejad: Western governments targeted Iranian people by imposing sanctions on Iran – Ahmadinejad said, “You (the West) are the real enemy of people and are putting pressure on them, but the Iranian people are intent on being victorious in this battle and to recover itself in the history… I admonish you to pave the right track and not to make any excuses while the time is ripe for negotiations.” Ahmadinejad added, “Why should one make excuses and avoid negotiation, while he is rational and has something to say. Only the arrogant and oppressors make these excuses… I once again advise you to be friendly to the Iranians, because it is no longer a time of making noises and bullying others in the world.” He downplayed sanctions on Iran saying, “Once about 90% of Iran’s trade was with Europeans, but it is currently about 10%, so, we did not voluntarily cut ties with them, and they will be the real loser from their unilateral sanctions.”
Ahmadinejad: West must wake up from this long dream of defeating Iran, securing Israel – Ahmadinejad said that the Western governments are dreaming of their supremacy of colonial times over the world. “You, the arrogant people, arrange an assembly with some deceived and ignorant people and issue declarations against other nations who are in the canons of humanity and rationality and have a long-standing history and rich culture… Stop these ugly behaviors such as killing some people with some others.” He criticized certain Arab governments lobbying to finance anti-Syria insurgency to topple the legitimate Syrian government and said, “How confident you are, if you will not be omitted after omitting the Syrian government, while you are a monkey playing for Europeans and Americans?…You are serving the Western governments to destroy Syria for oil, but, I advise you to stop this play, because after Syria it will be your own turn to be destroyed. The greed of imperialism has no end.” Ahmadinejad said that regional leaders committed to the West are ruling their nations without holding any elections. He said that some of these regional countries, in a harmony with the U.S. and European governments are also commenting about Iran, while they are agitated and ignorant about the greatness of Iranians… Western governments must wake up from this long dream of defeating Iran with the help of puppet leaders in the region, because this cannot help secure Israel.
Young Islamic Awakening Conference opens – The first two-day International Meeting of Young People and Islamic Awakening opened on Sunday. Over 1,000 young people from 73 countries are participating in the conference, which will discuss the Islamic awakening and young people’s role in it. “Why did they install the Zionist regime (Israel)? To gain control over oil, as well as the popular and revolutionary uprisings in the Middle East… It is clear that this was a historical scheme.” He warned regional countries against the West’s plots to sow discord in the Middle East to save Israel and added that the West intends to cause religious and ethnic rifts in a certain countries by using other regional states. According to Press TV, nearly 1,200 young participants from 73 countries are in Iran to attend the two-day international conference in Tehran.
IAEA Inspection team in Iran –
A high-level delegation of the IAEA, headed by Herman Nackaerts, the IAEA Deputy Director and the head of the IAEA Department of Safeguards, arrived in Iran on Sunday and is scheduled to hold talks with Iranian officials on the issues of concern to the UN nuclear watchdog during their three-day visit.
FM: “Tehran will never stop its enrichment process – Iran is not pursuing building nuclear weapons Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi said in a news conference held in Ethiopia on the sidelines of the 18th African Union summit, “We had general agreements on visits and this is not the first time that the agency’s inspectors have visited Tehran… Iran’s nuclear activities are totally clear. We continue our cooperation with the agency, and we have nothing to hide. Iran has responded to the agency’s queries before too.” He added that “Enrichment is our legal right and we will do so according to the NPT. No one has the right to ask us to stop enrichment… Iran had said that it can be independent with regard to nuclear affairs. Iran has achieved nuclear science, but they couldn’t believe this. And today, we will witness how nuclear fuel will be injected into Tehran (research) reactor (TRR) within the next month.” Salehi said that “Iran follows Islamic laws and therefore, it. And the Supreme Leader (Ayatollah Ali Khamenei) has emphasized this point a number of times.”
Students gave IAEA inspection team “a warm welcome” – Basij “students” gave the IAEA delegation a warm reception with pictures of assassinated nuclear scientist Mustafa Ahmadi Roshan upon arrival in Tehran. The protesting students gathered at Tehran’s Imam Khomeini Airport on Sunday, holding posters with the photographs of assassinated Iranian nuclear scientists and banners reading, “Nuclear energy is our right.” The demonstrators protested the political approaches of the IAEA, and the agency’s failure to condemn the assassinations of Iranian scientists.
IAEA inspectors have given assurances that they will not leak Iranian Info – A member of the Majlis National Security and Foreign Policy Committee, Hossein Naqavi, has said that Iran has received assurance from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) inspectors who arrived in Iran on Sunday that they would not leak information on the particulars of Iranian nuclear scientists. “When the delegation wanted to enter our country, the Islamic Republic decided to exercise its rights. We set conditions for the inspectors and obtained assurance from them because we had seen that inspections were carried out, and (then) our nuclear scientists were assassinated.”
Majlis Speakers: the visit a test for the IAEA; two roads diverged for the IAEA – Ali Larijani said that what is expected of IAEA’s inspectors is that they revise their past, i.e. not to become a political tool in the hands of for the “adventurists in the international arena.” What Iran expects from the agency is to carry out its technical work, to open the path for further cooperation. Thus, the current visit serves as a test for the agency. If the IAEA behaves logically and professionally, the path will be cleared …But if they diverge from the path and turn the IAEA into a tool, Iran will be forced to reconsider its relations with the agency, and to consider new frameworks.
Basij Commander: The US and the EU are too weak to create any problem for Iran; US requested to be allowed to commute in the Persian Gulf – Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naqdi said, “Measures taken by several European countries in imposing an oil embargo on Iran are in line with the interests of the country… If we want to do as the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution Ayatollah Seyyed Ali Khamenei has said to enter the economic arena, we can pave the path of 20 years in just two years.” General Naqdi pointed out that there are no better measures than halting oil exports to Europe, adding that Iran ought to have done this a long time ago. Referring to the presence of the military presence of the US in the Persian Gulf region, he noted that after Iranian Army’s Chief Commander, Major General Ataollah Salehi, warned the U.S. navy to avoid returning to the Persian Gulf, the U.S. officials in a letter requested to be allowed to commute in the Persian Gulf region, and Iran showed leniency towards them. However, General Naqdi noted that it does not by any means mean that the Americans can do whatever they want in the Persian Gulf region. He added that “Today not only the Straits of Hormuz, but the most important straits of the world, are controlled by Muslims and the Supreme Leader’s soldiers.”
F-14 crashed pilot and the navigator killed – An F-14 crashed in southern Iran, near the Bushehr nuclear power plant. Both the pilot and the navigator were killed.
Defense Minister: During ten days of ‘new dawn,’ important defense, aerospace and missile achievements will be unveiled – Ahmmad Vahidi announced that during the ten days marking the victory of the Revolution, ten achievements will be unveiled for the first time in the spheres of defense, aerospace and missiles, all planned and manufactured by young scientists in Iran. He said the products also include achievements in electronics, communications, air defense, marine defense and smart weapons, to be revealed in the coming days. He added that some of these achievements have already reached the mass-production stage and that with their unveiling they will be transferred to the armed forces. He emphasized that this proves yet again the futile lack of impact of the sanctions.
Senior International Adviser to the Supreme Leader: If Iran can’t sell oil – no one can – Ali Akbar Velayati, Senior International Adviser to the Supreme Leader said, “In the absence of Iranian supply, oil prices will go up, and they (the Western states) know it. However, Iran will never allow itself to be in a situation in which it cannot sell oil, but other regional states can.” He said that Europe’s decision to embargo Iranian oil exports is in no one’s interest. “Western policy makers know just too well that their sanction regime is a political maneuver… Iran doesn’t need any favors from any country to sell its oil, because global demand is always there.” China and India will never follow sanctions imposed by the West.
Majlis Energy Committee proposal to draft a bill for cutting the export of Iran’s oil to Europe consulted with the government prior to drafting the bill – Emad Husseini, Spokesman for the Majlis Energy Committee said, “No bill has been prepared or received by the Majlis yet… We have a general idea, which is being examined by Majlis members to reach a result.” Husseini added, “In the discussions we had with Majlis deputies, it has been decided that the plan will be sent to the Majlis Energy Committee for expert revision, and the bill will be prepared based on the current circumstances and Iran’s interests.” He said he hoped negotiations on preparing the bill would be finalized before Friday. Hosseini added earlier that conducting “an oil war with Iran will force Europe into its knees, since Iran will not allow export of a single drop of oil.”
NIOC Chief: Iran was ready to stop its exports to Europe at a moment’s notice – Ahmad Qalebani, Deputy Minister of Oil and Head of the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC), said that Iran was ready to stop its exports to Europe at a moment’s notice, and that clients elsewhere in the world were willing to buy the oil. “Either they (European companies) immediately stop buying Iranian oil, or they decide to keep long-term relationships” with the NIOC. Qalebani added, “Since long ago, NIOC has started marketing its oil in non-European countries… and with regard to the quality of Iran’s oil and widespread contacts with other countries across the world, there are no problems redirecting Iran’s oil sales… It is too difficult to ignore Iran’s role in global energy market, because it sits atop the largest accumulated oil and gas reserves of the world. He warned that if exports to Europe were halted, EU companies that had Iranian oil shipments owed to them would be hurt. “They would be disadvantaged, and they would have a problem getting their capital back.” He also warned that that oil prices could reach USD 150 per barrel after the European Union banned imports of crude from Tehran, effective 1 July. “Although a precise prediction cannot be made on the oil prices, it seems we will witness USD 120 to USD 150 oil price per barrel for future.”
Iran’s oil revenues will total USD 57 billion in the next Iranian calendar year, starting March 20 – If the average price per barrel is USD 85, as the upcoming budget bill is expected to forecast. Fars news agency reported that some USD 21 billion is to be deposited into the National Development Fund, bringing its assets under management to around USD 51 billion. In November 2011, Finance and Economic Affairs Minister, Shamseddin Hosseini, said that the National Development Fund’s reserves stand at USD 24.4 billion and at least 20% of this sum will be allocated to promoting foreign investment. Iran’s Oil Minister Rostam Qasemi announced in September 2011 that the Iran plans to increase oil output by one million barrels per day (bpd) within the next two years. Iran’s oil production is now more than 4 million bpd, which will be increased to 6 million bpd by 2013, the Shana news agency quoted Qasemi as saying.
Kayhan “mocks the sanctions” and claims West has no anti-Iranian weapons remaining; it stresses that sanctions had allies in Iran, were designed to influence public participation in Majlis elections – An editorial in Kayhan, called “The Majlis should deliver the second blow,” asserts that by imposing sanctions on Iran, the EU has “used up its last bullet,” and that it too will be largely ineffectual in its attempts to neutralize Iran. Kayhan asserts that the main reason for the West’s ineffectiveness is that for the last thirty years, particularly in the last decade , the West confronted less dangerous resistance in Iraq, Afghanistan, Libya, Lebanon and Palestine, but refrained from the real [military] challenge of opposing Iran, and as a result the latest EU embargo can be examined from a number of aspects, both from the reasons that led to it and from its implications:
Lack of international agreement – Europe’s anti-Iranian steps were only carried out after any new steps against Iran in the UN Security Council were made impossible by opposition from China and Russia, indicating that from now on there will be no global consensus within a legal framework, and international organizations or even technical organizations such as the IAEA cannot be harnessed against Iran.
The final recourse – What happened a few days ago in the EU was the limit of Western anti-Iran activities. The boycott of Iran’s oil and its Central Bank are the final step mentioned by the West for the last two years, thinking it would bring results. But even if Iran does not export to Asia the 17% of its [former] oil exports to Europe, its economy will not be affected at all, because Iran’s economy is currently stronger than those of all the EU member states.
A reckless and foolish step – The EU embargo is actually an embargo of Europe itself. It is a reckless and foolish step, since the boycott of Iranian oil by the EU will lead to the cost of oil increasing by at least 20%. The major Iranian oil buyers are not willing to boycott Iran, therefore Iran will find an alternative for the European markets, maintaining and even increasing its foreign currency income. As a result of this, it is absolutely clear that the Europeans are being forced to reduce the effects of the sanctions themselves in some way. An example in case is the French company Total which, while announcing its compliance with the sanctions, is at the same time using an intermediary to sign new oil contracts with Iran. In other words, Europe has boycotted Iranian oil only in its propaganda, while it is actually interested in continuing its oil trade with Iran. But Iran must put a stop to this double game with Europe.
“Internal collaborators involved in sanctions conspiracy” – There is no doubt whatsoever that the European Union was not alone in taking this latest decision. Although the European Union has always cooperated with the U.S. and been influenced by it, this time another factor was also present; the current boycott was undoubtedly called for by internal Iranian elements. Elements in the Fitna [‘civil war’ – those opposing the Iranian regime inside Iran] have doubtless made a strong connection between the life breath they need and the anti-Iranian punitive steps. The link between the Fitna factions and those making the decisions in the West is only too obvious, and does not need to be exposed.
Western efforts to influence Majlis elections – The steps taken by the EU and its allies at home and abroad have a significant link with the coming Majlis elections. The ultimate goal of the West is to reduce the number of those participating in the elections. The West is well aware that for the last 33 years, Iran has always rendered all Western pressure null and void through mass public participation in its elections. The West hopes the elections will become a scene of conflict.
Sanctions have nothing to do with price of foreign currency and gold – The sharp drop in the price of foreign currency and gold a few days after the declaration of sanctions refutes Western claims that sanctions have led to price increases. The fall in prices proves that the sanctions have no relation to the rising value of foreign currency and gold.
Deputy Majlis speaker warns: mishandling of foreign currency and gold price-rise crisis will have negative effect on Majlis elections – Deputy Majlis Speaker, Mohammad Reza Bahonar, referred to the latest crisis in the gold and foreign currency markets and the lack of response of some of those in government, claiming, “The psychological atmosphere that has emerged in Iran in the last few days as a result of the increased price of foreign currency and gold requires an immediate solution, otherwise it may influence the elections. These are the first elections since the Fitna 88 [2009 election] events, and their outcome and public participation are very important. All the evidence and signs are that Iran’s enemies at home and abroad are very active, and are planning to increase the pressure on Iran ahead of the elections.” Bahonar went on to claim that some form of conspiracy may be behind these price increase, but it may also be some kind of economic problem. He also criticized the silence of some government elements, specifically mentioning Bahmani, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran.
CBI sets new currency rate – Mahmoud Bahmani, Governor of the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), has announced new rate for the foreign currency higher than the previous official rate of rial 11,300 to the U.S. dollar, but much lower than the free market rate. He said the new rate for the U.S. dollar will be valid as of Saturday, January 29, will be 12,260 rial. He added that hard foreign currencies at this rate will be available for imports, students in abroad and people in need of medical treatment in other countries, as well as Iranians traveling out of the country. Last week the bank ordered the exchange shops to sell their dollars at 14,000 rial and threatened with closures and fines if they did not follow the new rules, a measure ignored by almost all exchange shops. The rate however was rocketing despite the CBI intervention in the market to even IRR 24,000 to the dollar. The volatile foreign currency market has complicated business in Iran tremendously say shopkeepers who do not know at which rate they can replace their goods.
Iranian media on Thursday are reporting a down trend of dollar rate and gold coins on the Ferdowsi Street, where the majority of capital’s exchange shops are located and street money-changers offer discretely foreign currencies. For the latest rial vs. USD, click here. The website is blocked inside Iran. The price of gold has also started to rise again, after falling more than 20% last week.
Alef website hails Mohammad Khatami for preserving value of the rial during his presidency, slams Ahmadinejad’s poor record – According to Alef, a website affiliated with Ahmad Tavakoli, leading Principlist Majlis member and head of the Majlis Research Center, the government of Reformist Mohammad Khatami was the most successful in preserving the value of the rial (chart attached to Alef‘s report clearly demonstrates the claim). Compared to this, Ahmadinejad’s “record is a shame.”
Satirist and blogger sentenced to death – Satirist and blogger Mahdi Alizada has been condemned to death in the Revolutionary Court by Justice Salavati. The judge pronounced him a terrorist and sentenced him to death. Thirty-year-old Mahdi Alizada, a married man living in Mashhad, was arrested for the second time last March.
Escaped prisoner from Ilam Prison executed in prison yard directly following recapture.
Condemned man from Kurdish minority, aged about 30, executed in Evin Prison yard. Several more prisoners were executed together with him.
Two prisoners accused of participating in armed robbery sentenced to death. The general prosecutor in Bushehr Province announced that immediately after the judicial proceedings the two would be executed in public.
Baha’i woman sentenced to three years in prison – Semnan resident Elham Roozbehi was sentenced by the Revolutionary Court to three years in prison. She was arrested a year ago while pregnant, together with several other Baha’i members, and released on bail after a while. Last October she was summoned for further questioning, as a result of which she was sentenced to three years in prison.
Woman student summoned to intelligence headquarters – Open University student Azadeh Tavana was summoned to intelligence headquarters in Gilan Province. No reason was given for her summons, but she was told that if she did not report for interrogation she would be arrested.
Political prisoner declares hunger strike – Jafar Eghdami, a political prisoner being held in Rajai Shahr Prison, declared a hunger strike on Saturday to protest his medication being withheld, and also at the lack of respect and proper treatment of the families of political prisoners by prison guards. Jafar has not been given the medication brought him in prison by his family for four weeks straight.
Labor activist arrested – Ali Akhavan has been arrested after security forces raided his home.
Nobel Peace Laureate calls for boycott of elections, release of Green Movement leaders; calls upon all Iranians to boycott upcoming Majlis elections – Shirin Ebadi, the Iranian Nobel Peace Laureate, is throwing her support behind the 39 Iranian political prisoners calling for an election boycott and the release of Iran’s opposition leaders from house arrest. Ebadi commended the daring of the 39 prisoners and, in response to their call for support, writes, “I urge all freedom seekers all over the world to work to secure the release of all political prisoners in Iran, specifically Zahra Rahnavard, MirHosein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi.” She has also called upon all Iranians to boycott the elections. “I call on dear compatriots to boycott the sham elections for the 12th Islamic Parliament in March in order to once more announce to the entire world that the Islamic Republic regime lacks legitimacy.”
First phase of professional dress standards for women launched – Zahra Abassi, the Interior Ministry’s Director General for Women and Family Affairs, announced the launch of the first phase of professional dress standards for women in Tehran. She added that an emphasis will be placed on suiting the dress to the relevant profession, while ensuring that the values of modesty and Islam are upheld. Abassi said that the dress would be compatible with women’s values and honor, and would certainly not be in bold and strong colors inappropriate for work. According to Abassi, it is necessary to ensure that women’s dress in the workplace will ensure a healthy work environment, to emphasize the moral value of a woman rather than her outward appearance.