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Iranian Deputy FM denies military involvement in Iraq, lashes out against Kurdish secession

July 8, 2014 in News

Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian, speaking with the Arabic language Al-Alam news network, denied any Iranian military involvement in Iraq or cooperation with the United States there, came out strong against Kurdish succession, and criticized the Saudi role the conflict. In a recent interview with the Arabic language Al-Alam news network, Iranian Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African affairs Hossein Amir-Abdollahian laid out the Islamic Republic of Iran’s official position on the ongoing crisis in Iraq. He strongly refuted claims suggesting that Iran had military advisers in Iraq, saying that rumours about Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) Jerusalem Force (JC) commander Majour General […]

New wave of “reforms” hitting political science in Iran causes uproar among scholars

July 6, 2014 in News, Soft War

Recent planned reforms to Islamise political science in Iran has professors in an uproar and afraid that the discipline will be irrevocably damaged. In a recent interview with Tasnim News Agency Manouchehr Mohammadi, head of the political science group at the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute, laid out the proposed plan for reforming the political science discipline in Iran. Mohammadi completed his graduate work at the University Wisconsin-Madison and the University of South Carolina in international relations (IR). the Imam Khomeini Educational and Research Institute which employs Mohammadi is headed by the arch-conservative Ayatollah Mohammad-Taghi Mesbah-Yazdi, who is also the nominal head of the hardline principalist Persevering […]

Ali Motahari casts doubt on prospect for Green Movement leaders’ release

July 2, 2014 in Analysis, News

According to maverick parliamentarian Ali Motahari we should not expect Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi and Zahra Rahnavar to be released from house arrest anytime soon. Motahari, in an interview with Khabar Online, said that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei told him in a recent meeting that the leaders of the Green Movement have been treated gently given the gravity of their actions and, if taken before a court, could expect a severe sentence. Recent comments by maverick Iranian parliamentarian Ali Motahari may dash hopes that Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard will be released from house arrest anytime soon. […]

Three snapshots of how Rouhani’s domestic reform agenda is being stopped in its tracks

June 27, 2014 in Analysis, News

Even as EU3+3-Iran nuclear negotiations advance and some progress is made on the core issues, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s domestic reform agendas continues to face obstacles, even from conservatives who ostensibly support his handling of nuclear talks. This past week three snapshots of contemporary politics in Iran help show that while President Hassan Rouhani has been able to advance his foreign policy initiative of resolving the nuclear crisis in the framework of the EU3+-Iran nuclear negotiations with broad support from across the Iranian political spectrum, he is facing persistent obstacles on his domestic reform agenda. Sadegh Zibakalam sentenced to 18 months in prison University of Tehran Professor Sadegh […]

IRGC dep-com Salami: Our management must be rejuvenated

June 24, 2014 in Analysis, Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

In recent comments, IRGC Deputy Commander Majour-General Hossein Salami discussed the need for his organization to rejuvenate its management to better meet future challenges. As the Islamic Republic of Iran’s premier national security body, the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) derives much of its effectiveness as an organization from its strong corporate identity and cohesiveness. This is in large part derived from the joys and agonies of the 1979 Islamic Revolution and the Iran-Iraq War (1980-1988). This is especially true in the senior ranks of the IRGC officer corps today, where many current leaders served in field commands side-by-side in the trenches. Over the course of eight bloody […]

Ali Saeedi on the media attacks on Rouhani and IRGC’s role in the economy

June 12, 2014 in Analysis, Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

In recent comments Ali Saeedi, representative of the supreme leader to the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC), appeared to acknowledge Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces Chief of Staff Majour-General Hassan Firouzabadi’s statements admonishing IRGC-linked media for their attacks on President Hassan Rouhani. However, this should not necessarily be seen as reflecting warming ties between Rouhani and the IRGC. At a press conference at the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) public relations center, Ali Saeedi, representative of the supreme leader to the IRGC, acknowledged comments by Islamic Republic of Iran Armed Forces Chief of Staff Majour-General Hassan Firouzabad, who recently admonished IRGC-linked media for their attacks on President […]

Rouhani’s running battle with conservatives over heaven and the afterlife

June 10, 2014 in Analysis, News

Rouhani has been engaged in a running battle with Iranian conservatives over heaven and the afterlife, just one piece of his larger conflict with them over a number of contentious domestic policy issues. The last few weeks have seen Iranian President Hassan Rouhani engage in a running battle with Iranian conservatives over heaven and the afterlife, the subtext of the whole discussion being the state’s role in enforcing religiously based laws and norms regulating people’s social and cultural lives. While Rouhani has, at least in his public rhetoric, opted for a less restrictive approach which gives greater choice to Iranian citizens, conservatives see this as the road to […]

IRGC commander Jafari: Election of a reformist was a ‘red line’ in 2009

June 1, 2014 in Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

A leaked video, whose veracity and date have yet to be confirmed, purports to show IRGC commander Majour-General Mohammad-Ali Jafari discussing his organization’s political preferences and strategy toward the controversial 2009 Iranian presidential election and the post-election crisis.  In a leaked video posted on the Facebook account of Iranian opposition figure Mohammad Nourizad, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Majour-General Mohammad-Ali Jafari can be seen discussing his organization’s response to the Green Movement demonstrations in an open and frank manner with what appears to be members of that body’s senior leadership. Nourizad is a former journalist for the conservative Kayhan daily newspaper who was arrested after writing a […]

Rouhani and Iranian conservatives’ battle over cyberspace escalates

May 20, 2014 in Iran Cyber Front, News

Iranian President Hassan Rouhani’s recent speech on cyber-freedoms is significant and unprecedented in the Islamic Republic. But he will have to go beyond mere words to prove his administration’s commitment to keeping his cyber-promises, even in the faces of strong conservative obstruction, if he is to maintain the support of Iranian moderates. Rouhani makes unprecedented call in support of cyber-freedoms Speaking to an audience at the Fourth Information and Communication Technology (ICT) Festival, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani made an unprecedented call for greater cyber-freedoms in Iran. Invoking Marshal McLuhan’s concept of the ‘global village,’ he remarked that “Once the discussion was on that we are moving towards a […]

Tajzadeh: The same IRGC think-tank that engineered 2009 election behind attacks on Rouhani

May 11, 2014 in Ayatollah's Praetorians, News

Prominent reformist figure Mostafa Tajzadeh, allegedly speaking from prison through his wife, has a message for President Hassan Rouhani: The IRGC was behind what he calls the 2009 “engineered” election, and they are behind the attacks against Rouhani as well. Mostafa Tajzadeh, an imprisoned Green Movement advocate and former Reformist deputy interior minister under Mohammad Khatami administration, has a message for President Hassan Rouhani. According to Kalame, a website associated with the suppressed Green Movement, during a prison visit he asked his wife Fakhr ol-Sadat Mohtashamipour to: “Give a message from me to Mr. Rouhani, that he should not needlessly seek to find the source and faction of […]