Authors: Will Fulton and Amir Toumaj
Contributor: Mary Ella Simmons
Former IRGC Air Force Commander says he is Rouhani’s only pick for Defense Minister; Ambassador to Russia announces readiness to resume P5+1 negotiations in September
Former IRGC Air Force commander and current Expediency Council Political, Defense and Security Commission Secretary Hossein Dehghan announced that he is President-elect Hassan Rouhani’s only candidate for Minister of Defense.
Conservative MP Fatemeh Rahbar advised Rouhani not to hasten and introduce his cabinet appointments on inauguration day, stating, “Some of his potential choices…have problems, and I think that if these individuals are introduced to the Parliament we will distance ourselves from the meaning of moderation and the first opposition in Parliament to Mr. Rouhani’s cabinet will take shape.” She added, “The President-elect’s contemplation can aid cabinet introduction so that the Parliament’s vote of confidence can be cast without tension, contention or revealing some of the gentlemen’s cases in open session. [This will also avoid] creating a difficult political environment at the beginning of the administration.”
The Guardian Council invited “the Islamic ummah” to vastly participate in Quds Day in order to “repeat the pronouncement of total support for the oppressed Palestinian nation and to attempt to free holy Quds.”
Head of the Judiciary Ayatollah Sadegh Amoili Larijani stated, “Naming Quds Day was a grand invention by our Late Imam [Khomeini] so all Muslim nations can unite in shouting upon the Quds imposters [Israel] and Global Arrogance [West].”
To commemorate Quds Day, Head of the Assembly of Experts Ayatollah Mohammad Reza Mahdavi Kani condemned and threatened the derailment of the recent renewal of Israel-Palestine peace talks in a statement. It reads in part: We must commemorate this great day and disseminate its grandness to the world. This year, America, with the Arabs’ negligence and confusion and some sell-out leaders of the Islamic world, is managing a new round of compromise dialogues that will be faced with defeat…. The line of jihad resistance and steadfastness against the occupying Quds regime will stand stronger than ever against this compromise. On global Quds Day, Muslims will condemn such desperate measures and will not permit the betrayal and erasing of more than half a century of Zionist regime crimes by anyone.”
An editorial in unofficial Khamenei organ Kayhan urged Rouhani to consult the Parliament regarding cabinet appointments and not to include anyone involved in the “ sedition.”
Political activist Sadegh Ziba Kalam stated, “80 or 90% of Rouhani belongs to the Principlist current and 10-20% is Reformist.”
Diplomacy and Regional Developments
Ahmad Badr al-Din Hassoun, Grand Mufti of Syria, spoke on the occasion of World Quds Day, saying that “the Iranian defense of Palestine is really the defense of humankind…. Imam Khomeini, in announcing World Quds Day, demanded that this place be free and also that Mecca be free from alignment with one family or group…. The Arab and Islamic countries must be united around their goal because the Palestinian issue is one of justice and injustice.” He called for assistance from the Arab and Muslim countries to address the violence and instability in Syria, saying, “If Syria plummets, Jordan, Lebanon, and Saudi Arabia will not remain standing and fire will rise up in the Persian Gulf region.”
The number of foreign officials reportedly planning to attend Rouhani’s inauguration is now 44. Officials are now coming from Sudan, Pakistan, Armenia, Afghanistan, Tajikistan, Lebanon, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Guinea-Bissau, Togo, Qatar, Iraq, Nicaragua, Tanzania, Cuba, Ghana, Swaziland, Syria, Ukraine, Uzbekistan, UAE, Azerbaijan, North Korea, Russia, Congo, Venezuela, Algeria, Kuwait, Malaysia, South Africa, India, Brazil, Turkey, Sri Lanka, Mauritania, Brunei, Palestine, Oman, Moldova, and Spain.
Military and Security
The IRGC, Basij Organization, Defense Ministry and Armed Forces General Staffissued statements commemorating Quds Day, condemning the recent peace talks and reaffirming their support for Hamas. The IRGC’s statement reads in part: “[T]he day is not far when the sword of Islamic resistance and awakening will cut away the disgraceful lifeblood of the usurpers from the sacred land of Palestine.”
Head of Intifadha and Quds Headquarters and IRGC Public Relations Deputy BG 2C Ramazan Sharif condemned the recent peace talks and announced Iran’s support for “jihadi movements and Palestinian resistance groups.” He added, “The only strategy that can help the Palestinian nation achieve its ideals is fighting and resistance against the Zionist regime.”
Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy BG Masoud Jazayeri commemorated Quds Day and said, “The durability of the usurper Israeli regime is not due to the capability and power of this occupying imposter government, rather it is due to the excessive weakness of Arab countries…. America and the Zionists will have no option but accepting the reality of defeat against coherent global will.”
Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Abdollah Haji Sadeghi stated, “The primary mission of the Basij and other defense forces of revolutionary values is creating the groundwork for the emergence [of the 12th Shi’a Imam].”
Minister of Science, Research and Technology Kamran Daneshjou discussed his role in disrupting the “2009 sedition,” and said, “Look, If I did not know what happened in the sedition and was purely a scientific figure, I would not have been able to predict the enemy’s plan in relation to the university. I read the enemy’s plan in the universities and sensed 18 Tir [1999 student protests] in my flesh and bones. A few sought to bring chaos to the universities and I knew where 18 Tir [stemmed from] and how it was guided.” He advised that the next Minister of Science should have “a political outlook but not a partisan one,” adding, “The Minister of Science must move on the path of the system’s interest. I attempted this, and when I realized that we do not want a secular professor, my view was not at all about [which party he belonged to]. I spoke on the path of the system and said that a secular professor cannot build the Imam [Khomeini] and Supreme Leader’s expected university.” He also said that Rouhani has a “deep understanding” of higher education issues.
The Iranian Ambassador to Russia Mahmoud Reza Sajjadi said that “there are no obstacles” to resuming of P5+1 negotiations in September.
At the ceremony launching Southern Pars Phases 15 and 16 refineries, outgoing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad stated, “Breaking the confinement of Arrogant powers in the world is more important than building a refinery.”
IRGC Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base Commander BG 2C Abdollah Abdollahi said, “The inauguration of these phases is the symbol of the [IRGC]’s [ability to] break deadlocks in the field of the country’s construction.”
Mehr News Agency reports that the inauguration of the aforementioned refineries took place when only the desalination unit was operational.
Head of the Central Bank Mahmoud Bahmani defended the bank against differences between its statistics and those of other institutions, monetary value and non-distribution of primary goods and medicine:
“On some occasions, the Central Bank has acted as a thermostat and only shows the inflation or liquidity rate, while several causes such as political and diplomatic relations affect the inflation rate.”
Regarding non-distribution of important products and lack of cooperation with customs, he said:
“In this matter, necessary coordination has taken place, a large part of currency rate difference has been paid from importers to the Central Bank and necessary agreements for paying the remaining difference have also been received.”
“The Central Bank is only responsible for securing currency of goods, and other matters are not part of Central Bank duties.”
The Central Bank organized an emergency session to find a strategy to distribute primary goods and medicine that have been in customs storage due to “currency issues.”