December 21, 2011 – Full Report – Iran Daily Brief

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International Affairs

Majlis Speaker: Islamic Awakening, reflection of Palestinians resistance – Ali Larijani said that Islamic Awaking in the region is a reflection of the Palestinian nation’s resistance. Larijani noted the effects of the Palestinian nation’s resistance are seen inside the region, and the Islamic Awaking is the reflection of resistance of Iranian nation at the time of the victory of the Islamic Revolution and Palestinian resistance as well. Larijani stressed Iran’s support for Palestinians, pointing out that resistance is the only way for Palestinians to realize their rights and a path for Zionist regime’s retreat. Larijani referred to the presence of two members of Ismail Haniyeh’s Cabinet who were freed from Zionist regime jails and were in the Iranian Majlis and said, “The main reason the Zionist regime has freed more Palestinians is that Palestinian resistance has continued on its course and never showed any sign of compromise.” More photos

Foreign Minister defends foreign policy – Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi responded to cumulative criticism targeting Iran’s foreign policy by certain quarters in Iran and said that diplomatic relations are not based on sentiments, but on international conventions. He defended the official position of Iran regarding the storming of the British embassy in Tehran and said that the action of Iranian students cannot be justified, as Iran is bound by international regulations. “We managed to prevent a greater crisis through the appropriate actions of the Foreign Ministry […] How can we explain entering a foreign embassy which is regarded sovereign soil of that country? We cannot sever diplomatic relations because we have conflicts with a country. Did the Prophet (Muhammad) not engage in dialogues with the polytheists and hypocrites of his time?”

Deputy Foreign Minister: Iran supports Syrian President’s decision to start implementing the Arab League plan – Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that Tehran suggested it was not entirely happy with the pressure Arab states had brought on Damascus “Iran’s official stance regarding Syria and the Arab League plan is that we would approve and accept whatever Bashar al-Assad deems as acceptable.” He added that the Arab League plan “contains many of the points Iran was also looking at,” even if not all concerns were addressed. Ahmadinejad said that “Certain regional countries carry out acts which Iran considers to be more like a joke […] Some regional countries, which have never held elections, have come together and passed resolutions against another country saying ‘Why don’t you hold an election’?” He said that Saudi intervention in Bahrain was a strategic mistake, adding that the only solution to the problem is responding to the Bahraini people’s desire for democracy. He did not give response to IRNA’s question about the outcome of Intelligence Minister Heidar Moslehi’s negotiations with Saudi leaders in Riyadh and said that the question must be posed to the Intelligence Minister. Read on

Former foreign minister: Turkey should revise its Syrian policy – Manouchehr Mottaki, criticized the Turkish stance on Syria and recommended that the Turkish authorities revise their policy. Mottaki also urged the Syrian government to focus on reforms and rejected the possibility of Iranian military intervention in Syria.

Kayhan editorial: “How Iran won the game” – The article reads, “It is still too early to end the discussion surrounding the American UAV that Iran captured. As it pertains to the Americans, the discussion is continuing at ever-greater intensity. Anonymous sources constantly being interviewed in the media are all saying the same thing, “The US fails to realize the blow that it has suffered.” This article attempts to provide a more comprehensive look at this issue, and examine its impact on the strategic conflict between Iran and the US under the currently extremely sensitive circumstances. For the Americans to fully understand how this plane was taken over, they must look at the composite of events in a broader perspective and review all of the scenarios. Perhaps they will realize the full magnitude of the incident.

The Americans must first reexamine all of their assessments regarding Iran’s capabilities in electronic and cyber warfare The incident, in and of itself, shows how little the Americans know about their most sensitive battle arena with Iran. The capture of the UAV proves how far ahead Iran is and how much more advanced it is than the Americans, whereas the Americans think that Iran has stopped and is waiting for them.

The “inconceivable scale of the radius of Iran’s intelligence” – The most important question Americans are asking themselves is not “How did Iran take control of the drone,” but how Iran spotted this drone. That is the question they must work very hard to answer, and one they may never solve. See Fars News Agency cartoon

U.S. basket of alternatives against Iran completely empty – For some time, the US has established intelligence operations as a permanent strategy against Iran, at least since the June 2009 elections. One of the most important messages from the capture of the drone is that just as the West’s soft actions against Iran have lost their power, the time needed for semi-tough actions against Iran has expired. From a strategic perspective, the basket of U.S. options against Iran is now empty.

“Implementation of reactions” against the latest U.S. pressures – What is more important than anything is that the capture of the UAV is not an isolated incident, but the start of the middle- to long-term destructive ramifications for U.S. security and interests. The incident launches a process that can be called ‘implementation of responses’ to the latest U.S. pressures that are gradually becoming more exposed to the price they must pay for their anti-Iranian measures.

Iran reserves the right to implement ‘legal countermeasures’ on U.S. soil – Another important point is that this illegal action and breach of Iranian airspace has essentially allowed Iran to commit a legal countermeasure. According to international law, Iran is now permitted to implement any countermeasure against any American target it wants. The massive US presence around Iran provides Iran with critical opportunities.

Head of the Majlis’s National Security and Foreign Policy Committee criticizes deployment of NATO missile shield in Turkey – Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with the Turkish ambassador to Tehran. He said, “We should not allow enemies (by deploying the Missile Defense Shield in Turkey) to disturb the process of development of friendly relations between the two countries.” He further stated that Iranian and Turkish officials should continue to emphasize brotherly relations between the two countries.

Majlis member accused Azerbaijan of sheltering “anti-revolutionary” groups -Nader Ghazipur said that representatives of Iran’s Azerbaijan province, including Ardabil, Tabriz and Orumiyeh, have prepared a draft project, according to which the Majlis will revise the Turkmanchay contract signed in 1828 between czarist Russia and Iran if it is proven that Azerbaijan is sheltering such groups. Foreign Minister Ali Akbar Salehi was expected to attend the Majllis session on December 19 to discuss Azerbaijan’s “anti-Iran” moves with the National Security and Foreign Policy Committee.

Military Affairs

Mohammad Khaza’i: U.S. Military bases in Afghanistan are centers of espionage activity – Mohammad Khaza’i, Iranian ambassador to the UN said that the recent developments are “clear” evidence that U.S. military bases in Afghanistan have turned into operation centers for “espionage activities” against Iran and other neighboring states. He expressed Tehran’s concern over the long-term presence of foreign troops in Afghanistan and the threat of their covert operations against regional countries. Khaza’i added that although he hopes this intrusion will be the last act of spy craft over Iran (video), it’s certainly not the first — and he sent a letter to UN leadership detailing the Islamic Republic’s objections. Press TV said many analysts believe the “U.S. intelligence war on Iran has recently taken a new turn.” Full text of his speech

Senior military advisor to Supreme Leader: Iran credits Hassan Moghadam “the father of Iran’s missile program” for its long-range ballistic missile program – In a memorial service for the senior IRGC officer killed in the explosion at the IRGC base several weeks ago, Hassan Tehrani Moghadam, Senior Military Aide to the Supreme Leader (and former IRGC commander) General Yahya Rahim Safavi said that “Iran’s owes its long-range ballistic missiles to Moghadam.” Calling Moghadam “the father of Iran’s missiles,” Safavi emphasized that he was also part of a team that is continuing the development of Iran’s missile industry even after his death. Safavi added that his name would be revered throughout history, claiming that “the force of our deterrence against the major enemies, such as the US and the Zionists, is our ballistic capabilities and Moghadam was the most important figure in creating this deterrence.” Safavi praised the Islam-seeking spirit of Arab women in their uprisings against the West-affiliated regimes and said they have been inspired by Iranian women. “The uprisings of Arab women in Egypt, Yemen, Bahrain and recently Saudi Arabia were inspired by the spirit and morale shown by Islamic Iranian women and the mothers of martyrs.” He also reiterated that the Iranian nation serves as a role model for the other Muslim countries as far as freedom and independence are concerned, and that is why the Western countries are exerting pressure on Tehran… the West is pressuring Iran in a bid to stop the spread of its revolutionary spirit to the other countries.

Iran’s Defense Minister launched 20 science and defense projects; first airport for private training purposes – In a ceremony at Malek Ashtar University of Technology, Iranian Defense Minister Vahidi launched 20 key defense and scientific projects. These projects are being carried out in nanotechnology, microelectronic, optic, laser, missile and naval fields. Vahidi said, “One of the projects is the design and construction of a high-frequency electronic part named David Salitani, which will pave the way for the production of Salitani transistors in Iran.” Vahidi explained that the transistor would enable Iran to produce very fast electronic circuits for large capacity telecommunications which cannot be tapped by anyone. He mentioned “Another system – a machine which generates electricity and heat concurrently, while using only one energy source like natural gas or oil.” Vahidi pointed out that the system has very high and unrivalled efficiency rate of 80% of energy production, while the figure stands at approximately 30% to 35% in power plants. Defense Minister Vahidi inaugurated the first airport for private training purposes in the new city of Golbahar in Mashhad (Khorasan Razavi Province). Construction of the airport cost about USD 2.8 million.

Economic Affairs

Japan to continue importing Iranian oil – In a report titled, “Another U.S. Failure,” Mehr News Agency is reporting that in a meeting between the Japanese Foreign Minister and U.S. Secretary of State, the Japanese official clarified that his country would not stop importing oil from Iran. According to U.S. government statistics, Iran’s major customers are China, India, Japan and South Korea. Over the past six months, Japan has imported 543,000 barrels of crude oil a day.

Ten committees to neutralize impact of sanctions set up – The newspaper Khorasan is reporting a senior government economic official as stating that ten sub-committees meet regularly, on a daily basis, to actively review ways of neutralizing the impact of Western sanctions against Iran. The official added that information about committee measures has not been released to the public in order to prevent the enemy from gathering intelligence about the measures Iran is adopting to counter the sanctions.

Iranian Oil Minister: “Many OPEC member nations interested in adopting Iranian economic subsidy reform model” – Speaking at a ceremony marking the first anniversary of Iran’s subsidy reform, Iranian Oil Minister Rostam Ghasemi  claims that many OPEC member nations have contacted him and expressed their interest in adopting Iran’s successful economic reform model. Ahmadinejad said addressing a gathering on the occasion of the first anniversary of the implementation of the Subsidy Reform Plan that “Many countries are asking Iran to help them with the management of their economies.”

Iran negotiating with Qatar Airways on domestic flights – Minister of Roads and Urban Construction, Ali Nikzad, said negotiations are underway with Qatar Airlines to use its capacity in Iran’s domestic flights. The Qatari airline is already carrying out 21 flights from Doha to a number of destinations inside Iran. He added that Iran is now to further use the airline’s capacities in domestic flights under the supervision of the Iranian airlines. He also noted that air transportation accounted for 9% of total transport of passengers in Iran. He said the Qatari airplanes will only provide 1-1.5% of the total Iranian passenger transportation once the two countries come to an agreement on the issue. The Minister stressed that the Iranian airlines are trying to carry out their mission in the best possible way and with maximum security despite sanctions.

Iran suspends trade ties with UAE “until further notice” – Minister of Industry, Mining and Commerce, Mehdi Ghazanfari, has suspended all trade with the United Arab Emirates until further notice. The decision was made in the wake of the anti-Iran positions of the United Arab Emirates. Apparently, all registrations of orders related to UAE have been frozen by the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran.

Surprising and sharp increase in dollar exchange rate – The decision by Iran’s Central Bank to stop the sale of foreign currencies has resulted in what is being referred to by Iranian media as an earthquake in Iran’s foreign currency market, with the dollar exchange rate rising overnight to USD 1 = 1500 Tomans, up from USD 1 = 1400 Tomans the previous day.

Human Rights

Teacher arrested – Former student activist from Shiraz University and current junior high school teacher, Ruhollah Ghasemi, was summoned to the Intelligence Ministry in Shiraz, where she was arrested. No information about his condition and reason for his arrest is available. While studying at the university, Ghasemi was summoned and questioned several times.

Political activist summoned to court – Political activist Fatemeh Arab Sorkhi and daughter of Feyzollah Arab Sorkhi, a senior member of the Mojahedin of Islamic Revolution who has been imprisoned since the post-election events, was summoned to court. Fatemeh was arrested last year and released on bail two weeks later. She is accused of ‘”interfering with elections.”

Domestic Affairs

Another accident in Iran – this time in Isfahan oil refinery – On Tuesday afternoon, there was an accident that nearly caused an explosion at the oil refinery in Isfahan. According to official reports, water leakage from generators caused electricity and the electricity reserves in the refinery to shut down. The entire refinery complex filled with heavy smoke, and there was concern that any spark would result in an explosion. To prevent an explosion, all activity in the refinery was stopped and all mobile cell phones shut off. Reports claim one person injured and heavy air pollution in Isfahan due to smoke.

Reformists continue to deliberate over participation in upcoming Majlis elections

Mohammad Khatami: All signs show that we cannot participate in the elections” – Discussing the elections, former Iranian President Mohammad Khatami said, “We expected that conditions would arise that would allow all streams to participate in the elections. At this moment, this is not a boycott of the elections, I expressed my opinions on this matter in the past and I expected that all opinions and streams would be allowed to participate. I believe that all signs at this moment show that we cannot participate in the elections, because participation would mean nothing.

Green Path of Hope Coordination Council:  the elections are illegal and participation counters the interests of people and country – A third statement issued by the reformist Green Path of Hope Coordination Council on the upcoming Majlis elections stated that the Majlis elections were not legal or justified. Participation in this show known as the elections counters the interests of the Iranian public and country.

Pro-Ahmadinejad website filtered – Kianpress, which introduced itself as the news website of the Islamic government’s supporters, was filtered. The news website’s staff used to work for Dowlat-e Ma news website. After Dowlat-e Ma was filtered, they continued their activity in Kianpress.

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