Iran News Round Up March 1, 2012

A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by Ali Alfoneh, Ahmad Majidyar and Michael Rubin.  To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Politics

  • Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei‘s speech on Tuesday. Video:
  • Abd al-Hossein Rouh-al-Amini, Development and Justice party general secretary whose son was killed in police custody in the aftermath of the 2009 presidential election: “Ahmadinejad was not without guilt in the post election events.”
  • Mashreq runs a backgrounder on parliamentary elections in Iran since 1980.
  • Shafaf News runs a chronological backgrounder on the formation of the United Principled Alliance.
  • News stories about the Islamic Resistance Front:
    • Ayatollah Mohammad-Taqi Mesbah Yazdi addresses members of the Revolutionary Guards:
      • “We were under circumstances in which the elected president in reality acted against Islam, the Imam [Khomeini] and the interests of the state. He was even guilty in shedding the blood of hundreds of innocent martyrs… Despite the president being elected by the people, [the voters] did not know him and were deceived by his appearances… One can’t say there was electoral fraud and that he came to power by fraud. There was no fraud. However, there was lack of knowledge. After that some events took place and we understood that we were mistaken [in our support to Ahmadinejad].”
    • Hojjat al-Eslam Mojtaba Mesbah Yazdi officially begins his political career by speaking at the last Islamic Resistance Front seminar prior to the parliamentary election. Mojtaba said: “Opposing the Resistance Front is opposition to original Islam.”
    • Hojjat al-Eslam Morteza Agha-Tehrani calls the existence of the Islamic Resistance Front “a divine act of benevolence.”

Diplomacy

  • Jomhouri-ye Eslami editorializes:
    • “The al-Khalifa must have realized that with the present conditions Bahrain’s crisis will not end. The crisis will only end when the popular will is realized. The majority of the Bahraini people do not consider the present regime a legal regime, demand its resignation and want free elections. Foreign governments, too, contribute to the crisis in Bahrain and prevent the victory of the people. In the Bahrain issue as well it is the Saud clan which plays a major role in debilitating the popular struggle of the Bahrainis. The Saud clan fears that establishment of a popular regime in Bahrain in which the majority of the people are Shi’a would create problems to the Saudi society and the regime in Riyadh. They fear that the revolution would spread to Saudi Arabia. Under any circumstances, such attempts can’t prevent the victory of the popular revolution in Bahrain in the long run and with the present trend the autocratic regime of Bahrain too will be thrown into the dustbin of history.”

Military and Security

North Africa and the Persian Gulf: Lingering Tensions, Different Stakes | STRATFOR

English: An effigy of Moammar Gadhafi hangs fr...

Image via Wikipedia

Despite its proximity to Europe and its status as a major African oil producer, Libya‘s sparse population and relative isolation from its neighbors make the stakes of civil unrest much lower than in other regions of the Arab world

Libya returned to the headlines Saturday when a protest in front of the headquarters of the National Transitional Council (NTC) turned violent. A group of demonstrators in Benghazi broke into the building, vandalized and looted the property and reportedly drove NTC head Mustafa Abdel-Jalil to flee through a back exit. A leading member of the council has since resigned, and Abdel-Jalil has warned that the country risks heading toward civil war if protests continue to intensify. The euphoria many Libyans felt at the death of former leader Moammar Gadhafi last October has faded, and though elections for a constituent assembly are scheduled for June, it is hard to see a stable, democratic government on the horizon in Libya. Continue reading

Is Iran Still Center Of Middle East’s ‘Great Game’?

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An Iranian student holds up a sign with a picture of a Bahraini protester in front of the Saudi Arabian Embassy in Tehran. Iran has been vocal in its criticism of Saudi actions against Shi’ite protesters in the Persian Gulf state.

April 13, 2011  By Robert Tait

From being the most assertively visible actor in the Middle East, it has seemingly become quiet and unnoticed, almost the forgotten country. Yet three months into what has become known as the “Arab awakening,” non-Arabic-speaking Iran remains the giant elephant in the living room for foreign-policy makers in Washington. Continue reading