- 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…”
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad ended a weeklong tour of Latin America on Jan. 12. Tensions between the United States and Iran in Latin America surrounded the visit. While Iran’s influence in the region poses some risks to the United States, those risks are limited by the lack of resources among Iran’s Latin American partners and the fear of U.S. retribution. The main contest between Washington and Tehran will remain in the Middle East.
Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad left Ecuador on Jan. 12 after a weeklong tour of Latin America, during which he also visited Venezuela, Cuba and Nicaragua. This was Ahmadinejad’s fifth visit to the region, and it came amid elevated tensions between the United States and Iran in the wake of the U.S. withdrawal from Iraq. Although Ahmadinejad signed many cooperation agreements during his Latin American trip, the visits were largely geared toward garnering international attention.
The ongoing covert war between the United States and Iran generally plays out in the Middle East. However, much like Russia, Iran sees utility in cultivating close relationships in Latin America to maintain involvement in a traditional U.S. sphere of influence. Iran has close diplomatic ties with many of the countries on the left end of Latin America’s political spectrum, primarily because these countries’ relations with the United States are strained. Washington’s objections to Iran’s influence in Latin America have grown in recent years, peaking with the October 2011 allegations that an Iranian agent intended to solicit a Mexican cartel to help assassinate the Saudi ambassador in Washington and more recent allegations that led the United States to expel a Venezuelan consul general. Continue reading
December 29, 2011The website of Iran’s former President Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani was filtered on December 29 for several hours, according to Iranian news websites, including “Tabnak.”No explanation has been provided by officials or the managers of Rafsanjani’s website about the reason for the temporary blocking of the site.The website is now reportedly accessible in Iran without the usual antifiltering tools that many use to access banned websites. Continue reading