The Strait of Hormuz. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analyst Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj. (E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
- Addressing the 21st Friday Prayer Leaders Assembly, President Hassan Rouhani announced that it is possible for future nuclear negotiations to take place in New York City and said, “If the West’s language is the language of rationality and reason, the administration is completely ready to talk with the language of wisdom and moderation.” He added that Iran stands with Syria and will provide food and medical supply in case of war.
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary [NSFP] Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi discussed the closure of the Strait of Hormuz, and Lebanese Hezbollah and Russia’s potential responses to an American strike on Syria:
- “The Russians have practically lost their bases in the region and the only point that this country has in the Middle East is Syria. On this basis, the Russians will not repeat their past mistakes and will not allow their ally in the region to be captured by the Americans. This is my prediction of Russia’s reaction, which will be different than during the West’s attack on Libya.”
- “If America attacks Syria, Putin enters the field and the Syrians answer this attack by attacking the Zionist regime, all of which may cause the implementation of the American members of Congress’s threat and Obama’s impeachment.”
- “The result of the Resistance’s four wars against the Zionist regime since 2010 demonstrate that the Zionists’ Iron Dome is inefficient and could not persevere against the Resistance’s missiles. Syria’s missiles are not comparable with the Resistance’s missiles. Syria is a powerful military country and possesses advanced Russian missiles and a strong defensive system. Therefore, Syria’s reaction will not be normal.”
- “Iran’s positions regarding the Resistance, Hezbollah, other Resistance groups and also Syria as the supporter of the Resistance is clear for the entire world. Iran will not be silent against illegal, irrational and challenge-creating attacks against Syria. We will support our allies in the region and are not indifferent, but military officials design the method of reaction.”
- “We are not interested in closing the Strait of Hormuz, but in a crisis situation all options can be on the table. If America miscalculates, its dimensions will not be clear.”
- “Hezbollah possesses special characteristics and complicated military and political formations, therefore, one cannot predict their reaction regarding the Syrian crisis. This movement acts based on existing realities; the Hezbollah movement’s record is sufficient for judgment.”
- “Certainly, America’s allies in the region (Syrian terrorists) used Sarin chemical gas in the form of hand-made weapons. Giving chemical weapons technology to terrorists means a threat against America, Europe and all of humanity because they can build a chemical weapon in a house team in Europe or anywhere else.”
- President Hassan Rouhani appointed former Defense Minister Admiral Ali Shamkhani to Supreme National Secretary Council Secretary.
- Former Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi was appointed head of the Expediency Council’s Security-Defense Commission, a position he occupied before being appointed Defense Minister by Mahmoud Ahmadinejad. Current Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan replaced Vahidi in this position at that time.
- Press TV Managing Director Mohammad Sarafraz claimed, “Within the past few days, Press TV reporters along the Syrian and Turkish borders have observed al-Qaeda forces entering Syria under the cover of ambulances and World Health [Organization] vehicles. Therefore, it seems that the war’s strategy is, after heavy bombardment, forces will enter [Syria] from Turkey and Jordan.”
- Secretary of the Supreme Religious Seminaries Council Ayatollah Reza Ostadi warned Haj pilgrims “not to give excuses to the Wahhabis, Iranian women particularly must demonstrate the Shi’a woman’s equanimity.”
- Ahlul Bayt News Agency reports that Saudi Arabia sent 1,300 prisoners in April 2013 to Syria in exchange for suicide mission operations.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokesman Maziyeh Afkham announced that the Islamic Republic welcomes Russia’s proposal to place Syrian chemical weapons under international control. She added that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton will be at the United Nations General Assembly later this month unrelated to P5+1 negotiations.
- Ministry of Foreign Affairs Middle East and African Affairs Deputy Hossein Amir Abdollahian reportedly met with the Russian Foreign Minister regarding Russia’s chemical weapons proposal and announced Iran’s agreement with this proposal.
- On his Facebook page, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reported that Iraqi officials have a shared outlook regarding expanding relations with Iran.
Military and Security
- Filtering Instances and Computer Crimes Determination Workgroup member Mohammad Reza Agha Amiri stated that Facebook “has not abided by the country’s regulations and laws and has crossed our red line in many instances.” He added that if Facebook conforms to Iranian law, the workgroup would consider removing the censorship.
- Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, IRGC Command Network members [please refer to Critical Threat’s IRGC Command Network publication for further details on this network’s members], IRGC organization, Armed Forces General Staff [AFGS] Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi and the Artesh publicly expressed their condolences for the passing of IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani’s mother.
- Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan discussed the US’ inability to pursue its regional goals in Syria, why Syria is “so important” to Iran and the reaction of Syria’s supporters to America’s potential attack:
- “After the fall of the British empire half a century ago, Americans have continuously attempted to establish their hegemony and widespread political, military and economic dominance in the world…. Naturally in global geography, from a geopolitical or geostrategic perspective, there are regions whose capture guarantees this hegemony or military, economic and even cultural dominance.”
- “America’s dominance in the region is pursued with the goal of securing Israel’s security and securing the flow of energy security from the region to the rest of the world, and this is an action that has been considered by the Americans from years ago.”
- “In the past, the Axis of Resistance was pursued by Arab countries in uniting against Israel, but today [Lebanese] Hezbollah, Syria, Lebanon and Iran are placed in this square of resistance.”
- “Americans are seeking to weaken the power of the Axis of Resistance, in a way, to pursue advancing their goals in the region meaning they [do not allow the Resistance] to prevent and American invasion and Israel and destroy it.”
- “Today, America does not have the military capability for launching a ground invasion to occupy Syria or for overthrowing this country’s political system. If it seeks to execute any measures, it can be an aerial attack where it can target and strike areas in this attack, but this attack cannot cause the fall of a political system.”
- “America cannot occupy Syria, but they seek to justify their military measure against areas that they imagine have chemical, military and such capabilities so they can make this country’s recent successes less effective.”
- “We believe that the Americans must rationally ponder the consequences of militarily striking Syria and be cautious, because this military measure in the region, per the statements of the Supreme Leader, is like exploding a powder keg and the crisis area will be uncontrollable.”
- Why Syria is so important to Iran: “Due to the Axis of Resistance, the Palestinian matter, which is an Islamic matter, and the Late Imam’s [Khomeini] statements. Muslims are not indifferent to the Palestinians’ fate and will not tolerate what happens to Muslim nations.”
- “In the past and present, Syria has been one of the countries that has continuously placed itself in the trench of Resistance, opposite the Zionist regime and in defense of the Palestinian nation, and has remained present in this field.”
- “We fundamentally cooperate with Syria due to the Axis of Resistance and the Palestinian matter and have no other reason.”
- “Countries that support America’s military attack against Syria by sending manpower, monetary, propaganda and political support must certainly be concerned about their future.”
- “Today, takfiri forces and terrorists from all countries have gathered in Syria and are fighting the Syrian people and political system. The question is whether these groups will stay within this geography and these borders or whether they will spread like a virus and create instability and insecurity. Certainly the second case will occur.”
- “The Syrian regime and Bashar Assad will not stand by so [foreigners can] overthrow their political system, drop bombs on their people and not show any reactions. This reaction, naturally, can take place with the Syrian leaders’ political decision and cause the creation of a new counter attack in the region that may drag others to this field of conflict.”
- Reaction of supporters to an American strike: “Any reaction will occur [in the case of a strike] and one must see with which dimensions, goals and motivations military measure takes place in Syria. Naturally, the Syrian regime and its supporters will react proportionally.”
- “That which can be a threat for the Islamic Republic are intraregional threats that are mainly from America and Israel. Our defensive capabilities, their vulnerability, and our national will to confront any measures by their side depends on the people’s massive support. Of course, our political system possesses complete political unity and the eight years of Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War] experience has transformed our culture of self-sacrifice and martyrdom into the capability to deter against any invading forces that seek to execute any measures beyond our borders.”
- “The element of the velayat-e faghih at the center of the Armed Forces accompanies religious legitimacy and duty-centered measures.”
- Omani Sultan’s complaint of regional countries: “I was surprised in this meeting [with the Omani Sultan] about the views some regional countries have of Iran and that they feel danger to this extent. The foreigners’ presence has nothing but costs for them and, in reality, they seek to secure their interests with these countries’ money while regional countries are more competent in creating security. Sultan Qaboos also claimed that though the foreigners’ presence existed in the past, which of course we must strive to lessen, regional countries are not faultless either and say these statements.”
- AFGS Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri discusses Syria’s response to a potential American attack:
- “Countries that are, in a sense, America’s partners in providing money, capabilities and bases to invaders are placed in Syria’s sight, and predictions indicate that nothing can prevent confrontations like Syria.”
- “Apparent intelligence plainly says that Syria is aware of the enemy’s deceitful operations, therefore it considers any military measure from America as a pervasive act and this basis will answer fire with fire actively and widely.”
- Head of the Passive Defense Organization Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali announced the establishment of Passive Defense Operations Base, named Shahid Mehdi Zeinelabedin (Ali Ibn Abi Taleb 17 Brigade Commander killed in the Iran-Iraq War), which will “be active within the framework of Armed Forces General staff Khatam ol-Anbia Central [Passive Defense] Base.” The base will be constructed in the vicinity of Tehran. A five year passive defense strategy plan has reportedly been designed as well.
- Armed Forces General Staff [AFGS] Intelligence and Operations Deputy Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri spoke at the Passive Defense Operational Base inaugural ceremony and praised Iranian defensive capability and discussed the new base’s role in Iranian defense strategy:
- “If a few years ago, we were concerned about the enemy’s ground, and other, invasions with America’s attack to Iraq, today no one dares to invade [us] by ground and they simply do not contemplate military invasion.”
- “The [Supreme Leaders’] Headquarters Base, the Khatam ol-Anbia Central Base, is responsible for commanding the country’s defense. The Commander in Chief [Khamenei] is the commander of this base and the Armed Forces General Staffs’ elements are its elements, and passive defense is active within this complex.”
- AFGS Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi thanked former Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Agency Fereydoon Abbasi for his efforts the passive defense arena .
- NSFP Commission Deputy MP Mansour Haghighat Pour announced his opposition to transferring nuclear negotiations from the SNSC to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, but he will not oppose the measure if it causes the transfer of the Iranian nuclear file from the United National Security Council to the International Atomic Energy Agency. He added that he hopes former Defense Minister Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi is appointed SNSC Secretary.
- The President’s First Deputy, Eshagh Jahangiri, criticized recent privatization measures and claimed, “Some wearing the private sector outfit pressure the government to use rent-seeking, but we do not consider them as the private sector and will operationalize confrontation with such rent-seeking because the administration seeks to work healthily.”
Photo of the Day
- Burial of IRGC Quds Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Suleimani’s mother in Kerman province.