- Gholam-Hossein Elham, Islamic Steadfastness Front co-founder, says the Supreme Leader appointed some individuals to the Expediency Council just to keep them employed. He continued: “In the Expediency Council, appointment of individuals is also based on some kind of expediency… Reappointment of Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani] is what the Leader found more expedient than his replacement, but it is clear that the Council has lost its effectiveness… which may be due to its vengeful and harsh behavior towards the cabinet…”
- The United Arab Emirates withdraws its ambassador from Tehran following Ahmadinejad’s visit to Abu-Musa island, which the UAE claims as its territory.
- Jomhouri-ye Eslami editorializes: “We found it necessary to recommend the Sheikhs of the Emirates know their limits… Reacting to the Iranian president’s visit to the Iranian island of Abu-Musa, the foreign minister of the Emirates did not even observe politeness in his words and used expressions outside the diplomatic norms like primitive Arabs… Statements made by the foreign minister of the Sheikhdom of the Emirates, should they not be due to his ignorance, may have a dangerous background. And one can see the hands of colonial powers and Zionist provocations behind it… We recommend the Sheikhs of the Emirates not to ignite the wood which would start the hell in the region which the Zionists and colonial Western powers desire.”
- Farzad Esmaeili, Air Defense Commander:
- “The Air Defense Force… is the first line of defense in the face of any aerial threat of the enemy. By using the entire potentials of the armed forces… and by establishing a command and control system, it safeguards Iran’s air territory… Divided into air defense zones, it is tactical and self-reliant in most areas in Iran. It reports to the Army, but has a centralized command structure utilizing the air defense units of the Army and the [Revolutionary] Guards…”
- [E] Chairman of the Iranian parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission Alaeddin Boroujerdi on Monday rejected a recent offer made by the US for the resumption of ties and direct negotiations between Tehran and Washington.
Military and Security
- Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base of the Revolutionary Guards is granted a no-bidding $17 billion Haraz Dam project. The handover takes place as a Chinese company pulls out of the project.
- [E] Lieutenant Commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps Brigadier General Hossein Salami announced that the IRGC plans to stage several war games in different regions of the country in the current Iranian year (started on March 20).
- Negotiations in Istanbul between Iran and the 5 1 Group:
- Said Jalili, Supreme National Security Council secretary, defends the Islamic Republic’s record of negotiations with the 5 1 Group:
- “We believe the positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and the behavior of the Islamic Republic of Iran provides a great opportunity for cooperation in nuclear issues. The fatwa [religious edict] of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution against nuclear arms and considering them haram [religiously impermissible] is a great opportunity to move on and to disarm…”
- “We have always cooperated with the nuclear inspectors… and it is not that the NPT demands unhindered access to all sites…”
- “You know that the IAEA general secretary has, in 25 reports, announced that Iran has not deviated from its peaceful nuclear goals. This was also announced by the United States intelligence agencies…”
- “The people of the United States should know that imaginary threats should not replace the real threats…”
- “Confidence-building measures are a two-way road and we have engaged in many confidence building measures. You know that the Islamic Republic of Iran suspended its nuclear activities for two and half years. It had done so voluntarily as a part of the confidence building measure. We also talked today. One of the good agreements in the talks was that the NPT must be the foundation and basis of any cooperation. As always, we declared our readiness to adhere to all the obligations mentioned in the NPT and enjoy the legal rights entitled to us in the NPT.”
- “20% [uranium] enrichment is vital for medical treatment of 800,000 patients in Iran.”
- Said Jalili, at the press conference in Istanbul:
- “As an active part of the NPT, Iran must, in addition to its obligations, enjoy its rights… It is most important that in our cooperation, there must be similar steps [by the other side], meaning that the trend of negotiations should win public confidence [in Iran]… We deeply believe that one of the issues which must be taken into consideration in the negotiations is the wish of the Iranian nation to lift the sanctions…”
- Ala al-Din Boroujerdi, parliamentary National Security Committee chairman:
- “As opposed to the last talks, the position of the Islamic Republic is more powerful. Yesterday’s negotiations were conducted in a good atmosphere and ending banking and oil sanctions against Iran is meant to be discussed [in Baghdad].”
- “In past negotiations we were in need of 20% enriched uranium which the Westerners did not provide us with. Under these circumstances we started enriching and prepared the components despite the complicated technology [required]. This is why we had the upper hand [in the negotiations], both from a nuclear point of view, and because we are in a better position due to a more stable domestic situation.”
- Hojjat al-Eslam Hossein Ebrahimi, parliamentary National Security Committee member:
- “Lifting the sanctions is the priority of the negotiations in Baghdad.”
- Kayhan’s editorial stresses that Iran expects the 5 1 Group to show good faith.
- Tehran Stock Exchange reports increased demand for bonds, expecting a positive outcome of Iran’s negotiations with the 5 1 Group in Istanbul.
- [E] A senior commander of the Islamic Revolution Guards Corps (IRGC) said that Iran now has a wining card in his hand after the six world powers acknowledged Iran’s nuclear rights during their latest round of negotiations with Iranian diplomats in Istanbul, Turkey, on Saturday.
- The Central Bank releases reports on the state of the economy following a year of silence:
- Masoud Daneshmand, Commerce and Industries and Mines Chamber member, warns against implementation of the second phase of reform of the subsidies scheme, arguing it would lead to declining purchasing power.
Photos of the Day
- The actor Vali-Allah Momeni plays the role of Grand Ayatollah Khomeini in a new TV series.