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Iranian armed forces deputy chief joins cacophony against American “infiltration”

November 16, 2015 in Analysis, News

A recent speech by the Iranian armed forces deputy commander underlies President Hassan Rouhani’s relative isolation when it comes to the Islamic Republic’s campaign against American “infiltration”. At an event on Thursday 12 November 2015 commemorating the death of Hassan Tehrani-Moghaddam, a father of Iran’s missile program, a new and influential voice was added to the cacophony of voices raging against the threat of American “infiltration” of Iranian society, politics, and the economy. On the occasion Majour General Gholam-Ali Rashid added his weight as deputy chief of staff of the armed forces behind the campaign against what Iran’s supreme leader has labelled as U.S. efforts to infiltrate Iran. […]

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s conditional approval of the Iran nuclear deal

October 24, 2015 in Analysis, News, Nuclear File

Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has conditionally approved the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), more conventionally known as the Iran nuclear deal, for implementation. But the conditions he’s place on the implementation of the deal highlight his ambivalence about it, with serious potential long-term ramifications for Iran’s political future. Context The road to implementation of the JCPOA in Iran has not been a straightforward one. From the beginning, it was unclear when Iran’s supreme leader would give his formal public approval to the deal. Furthermore the precise route the deal would take through Iran’s Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) and Islamic Consultative Assembly (parliament), the two […]

Ayatollah Khamenei: “Negotiations with America are banned”

October 9, 2015 in Analysis, News

Iran’s Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has banned the Islamic Republic from negotiating with the United States. In September 2013, Ayatollah Khamenei gave his consent to nuclear negotiations between Iran and the United States aimed at reaching a final accord, citing the precedence in the history of Shi’a Islam of showing “heroic flexibility” under the right circumstances. During a speech among Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps Navy (IRGC-N) commanders, employees, and their families on 07 October 2015, however, Ayatollah Khamenei appeared to definitively close the door to negotiations with the United States on non-nuclear issues for the foreseeable future. Critically, his comments appeared to directly target President Hassan Rouhani, […]

Khamenei v Rouhani: Consensus gives way to discord after the Iran deal

September 20, 2015 in Analysis, News

Nuclear negotiations were one of the few areas of broad consensus among the political elite of the Islamic Republic of Iran. With the nuclear deal in hand, however, underlying tension between moderate and conservative currents in Iran has been increasingly coming to the fore. This tension has manifested in a number of ways, for example in the debate over the role of the Council of Guardians in vetting parliamentary election candidates. Another majour debate has been about the threat of Western, and especially American, penetration of the country and whether the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) is uniquely empowered to confront such threats. The latter was a majour […]

Ayatollah Khamenei backs the Guardian Council in its dispute with Rouhani

September 11, 2015 in Analysis, Iran Election Watch, News

In a speech on Wednesday 09 September 2015, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed the the prospects of negotiations on other issues with the United States and also injected himself into a dispute between Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and senior conservative politicians, potentially setting the tone of Iran’s foreign policy and domestic politics for the coming months. Relations with the United States Rapprochement and reconciliation between states is often a matter of putting the past in the rearview mirror and letting bygones be bygones. But Ayatollah Khamenei called on Iranian youth in his Wednesday address to remember crimes against Iran which he held the United States, directly […]

The IRGC’s Jafari warns of enemy-backed parties in the mold of new Iranian political organizations

September 4, 2015 in Analysis, Ayatollah's Praetorians, News, Resistance Economy

In a press conference on Tuesday 01 September 2015, Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) commander Majour-General Mohammad-Ali “Aziz” Jafari followed in the footsteps of Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in warning against a multifaceted American attempt to penetrate Iran in the post-deal era. On Iran’s role in Syria He presented the IRGC as a bulwark against American and Israeli penetration in the region, especially in Syria. He emphasised that the Islamic Republic (especially the IRGC) was ready to help those countries that had made a request to the utmost of its ability, in addition to the “military advisory support” it is already providing, to counter the “proxy […]

Rouhani call for greater electoral plurality may presage rising post-deal domestic tensions

August 21, 2015 in Analysis, News

Hassan Rouhani has called for the Council of Guardians to take a supervisory rather than executive role in elections. But this may have more to do with the Iranian president’s fears of disqualification of his allies than a desire for greater electoral plurality. In a speech on Wednesday 19 August 2015, Hassan Rouhani called for a more cautious Iranian foreign policy and for the Council of Guardians (CoG) to take a more limited supervisory role in election. Rouhani’s opening salvo Speaking at a meeting of his Cabinet and provincial governors, the Iranian president discussed the nuclear negotiations and the post-deal course of the country’s foreign policy. Saying that […]

After the nuclear agreement, Iran’s supreme leader warns against American penetration

August 18, 2015 in Analysis, News, Nuclear File

In a speech yesterday Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for an end to Sunni-Shi’a conflict in the Middle East, laying these tensions at the feet of the United States. He also stated his staunch opposition to any move toward the Americans, political, economic, cultural, or otherwise. During a meeting with members of Ahl ul-Bayt World Assembly and Islamic Radios and Televisions Union (IRTVU) on Monday 17 August 2015, Iranian Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed the Sunni-Shi’a conflict in the Middle East and US-Iran relations after the nuclear agreement. This speech was a clear indication that while Ayatollah Khamenei may push his country toward lowering tensions […]

Mehdi goes to Evin: Hashemi-Rafsanjani under pressure in lead up to potential 2016 election run

August 11, 2015 in Analysis, News

Mehdi Hashemi has surrendered himself to Evin prison to serve a sentence on political and economic charges. Mehdi’s imprisonment may have been a preemptive strike against Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani’s participation in the upcoming 2016 elections and highlights this once mighty figures continued political decline. Mehdi goes to prison Iranians awoke on 09 August 2015 to news that Mehdi Hashemi, son of legendary Iranian politician Ayatollah Ali-Akbar Hashemi-Rafsanjani, had surrendered himself to prison officials to serve out his 10 year sentence on a slew of political and economic charges. In a video of their farewell posted on his official website, a haggard looking Ayatollah Rafsanjani prayed for his son’s […]

Banning of “He Who Said No” and the undermining of Iranian culture

August 8, 2015 in News, Soft War

The withdrawal of Ahmad-Reza Darvish’s “He Who Said No”, an acclaimed film about revered Shi’a figure Imam Hossein, from Iranian cinemas this past week highlights how censorship in Iran continues to be an obstacle to the indigenous production of culture. This past week director Ahmad-Reza Darvish’s award winning film Rooz-e Rastakhiz (entitled “He Who Said No” in English), about the revered Shi’a figure Imam Hossein’s uprising against and martyrdom at the hands of the Umayyad Caliph Yazid, was pulled from cinemas in Iran due to what some claim is the film’s irreverent treatment of its subject matter. The film was originally created in 2010 and first shown at […]