United States Institute of Peace

The Iran Primer

U.N. Nuclear Watchdog Chief on Iran

             International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) Director General Yukiya Amano called on Iran to take concrete measures to resolve outstanding issues with the U.N. nuclear watchdog during an address at the Brookings Institution on October 31. He discussed the IAEA’s role in the verification and monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program and noted that Tehran has been hesitant to disclose the potential military aspects of its program. Amano stated that “Iran’s nuclear material under IAEA safeguards is in peaceful purposes, but we cannot provide assurance that all material in Iran is in peaceful purposes.” But in a comment to Al-Monitor after the event, Amano also said that Iran's faltering cooperation “should not be an impediment” to reaching a comprehensive nuclear deal. The following is a video from the event with excerpts from Amano’s remarks.


            The main safeguards issues on the agenda in recent years have concerned Iran, North Korea, and Syria. These are very different cases. What they have in common is the fact that these countries have failed to fully implement their safeguard agreements with IAEA and other relevant obligations. This makes it very difficult for us to do our job effectively. As far as the IAEA is concerned the Iran story began in August 2002 when media reported that Iran was building a large underground nuclear related facility in Natanz which had been declared to the Agency previously. Iran subsequently acknowledged its existence and put it under IAEA safeguards. Let me say at this point that it is vitally important that the IAEA and this Director General should be impartial. That means applying the same principles to all country. For me the fundamental principle is that all of the safeguards agreements which we conclude with our member states should be implemented fully, so should other relevant obligations such as resolutions of the United Nations Security Council.
            When I became Director General in late 2009 I applied this principle to Iran. I felt that spelling out the issues with clarity was an essential first step towards resolving the problem. My quarterly reports from February 2010 almost stated that nuclear material declared by Iran was not being diverted from peaceful purposes. But I also stated that Iran was not providing sufficient cooperation to enable the Agency to conclude that all nuclear material in Iran was in peaceful activities. I urged Iran to implement the additional protocol and clarify the issues related to what had become known as possibly military dimensions to its nuclear program. The next important question was how to approach these possible military dimensions. Our technical experts has spent years painstakingly and objectively analyzing a huge quantify of information about theft program from the wide variety of independent sources including form the Agency's own efforts and from interim information provided by Iran itself, as well as from a number of member states. After carefully reviewing the issue I decided to present the detailed report in November 2011. In that report I stated that the information assembled by the Agency was overall credible. It was consistent in terms of technical content, individuals, and organizations involved and timeframes. The information indicated that Iran had carried out activities relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device. The information also indicated that prior to the end of 2003 these activities took place under structured program in that some activities might still be ongoing.
            I would like to be very clear on this issue because there have been some misunderstandings. The IAEA has not said that Iran has nuclear weapons; we have not drawn conclusions from the information at our disposal about possible military dimension to the Iranian nuclear program. What we have said is that Iran has to clarify these issues because there is broadly credible information indicating that it engaged in activities of this nature. In other words Iran has a case to answer. In response to my report both the IAEA Board of Governors and the United Nations Security Council adopted resolutions asking Iran to cooperate and to clarify their issues relating to possible military dimension in order to restore international confidence in an exclusively peaceful nature of its nuclear program. On the basis of these resolutions the Agency had talks with Iran over the next two years; however, virtually no progress was made. At times we were going around in circles.
            Last year we started to see some movement. In November I when to Tehran and signed the framework for cooperation with Iran under which it agreed to resolve all the outstanding issues, past and present. We agreed to take a step-by-step approach. Initially Iran implemented the practical measures which is agreed with the Agency under the framework for cooperation fairly well. However, since the summer of 2014 progress on implementing agreed measures has been limited. Two important practical measures which should have been implemented two months ago have still not been implemented. The Agency invited Iran to propose new practical measures for the next step of our cooperation, but it has not done so. Clarifying issues to possible military dimensions is not an endless process. It could be done within a reasonable timeline, but how far and how fast we can go depends very much on Iran's cooperation. I have made clear that Agency will provide an assessment to our Board of Governors after it obtains a good understanding of the whole picture concerning issues with possibly military dimensions. It is then up to the Board to decide the future course of action.
            As you may know there are two tracks of negotiation on the Iran nuclear issue. One is the IAEA Iran track, the other is the other so-called P5+1 and Iran track in which the IAEA is also involved. These six countries, China, France, Germany, Russia, Britain, and United States, agreed on a joint plan of action with Iran in November 2013. The aim was to achieve a mutually agreed long-term comprehensive solution that would ensure Iran's nuclear program will be exclusively peaceful. All seven countries asked the IAEA to undertake monitoring and the verification of voluntary measure to be implemented by Iran which we are doing. The P5+1 negotiations with Iran are continuing. I should mention that Iran is still not implementing their additional protocol. This is contrary to the resolution of the Board of Governors and under Security Council. Implementation of additional protocol by Iran is essential for the Agency to provide credible assurance about the absence of undeclared nuclear material and activities in the country. The current status of affairs is that Iran's nuclear material under IAEA safeguards is in peaceful purposes, but we cannot provide assurance that all material in Iran is in peaceful purposes. In order to provide that assurance Iran has to clarify the issues relating to possible military dimensions and implement the additional protocol.
            What is needed now is concrete actions on the part of Iran to resolve all outstanding issues. I remain committed to working with Iran to restore international confidence in the peaceful nature of its nuclear program. But I repeat, this is not a never ending process; it is very important that Iran fully implement the framework for cooperation sooner than later. The IAEA can make a unique contribution to resolving the Iran nuclear issue, but we cannot do this on our own. The sustained influence of the international community are needed, as is Iran's full cooperation to resolve all outstanding issues.
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Tags: IAEA, Nuclear

World Bank: Easier to Do Business in Iran

            Iran was ranked 130 out of 189 economies by the World Bank in its new Doing Business report, two positions higher than last year. The report measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Iran ranked 62 for starting a business, 89 for acquiring credit and 172 for obtaining a construction permit. The following are excerpts from the report.

Starting a business
The Islamic Republic of Iran made starting a business easier by stream-lining the name reservation and company registration procedures.The Islamic Republic of Iran combined name reservation with company registration at a single window.
Getting electricity
The Islamic Republic of Iran made getting electricity easier by eliminating the need for customers to obtain an excavation permit for electricity connection works.
Data from World Bank
Difficulty of hiring
Fixed-term contracts prohibited for permanent tasks?
Maximum length of fixed-term contracts (months)
No limit
Minimum wage for a full-time worker (US$/month)
Ratio of minimum wage to value added per worker
Rigidity of hours
50-hour workweek allowed?
Maximum working days per week
Premium for night work (% of hourly pay)
Premium for work on weekly rest day (% of hourly pay)
Major restrictions on night work?
Major restrictions on night work?
Paid annual leave (working days)
Difficulty of redundancy
Maximum length of probationary
period (months)
Dismissal due to redundancy allowed by law?
Third-party notification if worker is dismissed?
Third-party approval if worker is dismissed?
Third-party notification if workers are dismissed?
Third-party approval if workers are dismissed?
Retraining or reassignment?
Priority rules for redundancies?
Priority rules for reemployment?
Redundancy Cost
Notice period for redundancy dismissal (weeks of salary)
Severance pay for redundancy dismissal (weeks of salary)
Research questions
Unemployment protection scheme?
Health insurance for permanent employees?


Click here for the full report.


Iran's Logic in Iraq War vs. Nuclear Talks

            A comprehensive nuclear deal between Iran and the P5+1 may be possible prior to the November 24 deadline, despite widespread pessimism among analysts. In a new briefing, Seyedamir Hossein Mahdavi, a researcher at the Crown Center for Middle East Studies at Brandeis University from 2013 to 2014, draws parallels between the conditions surrounding today’s nuclear negotiations and the conditions in 1988 when Iran agreed to accept a UN resolution to end the Iran-Iraq war. By examining the economic, religious, and ideological similarities between the two cases, Mahdavi concludes that Iranian leaders will likely be compelled to accept a nuclear deal. Just as the end of the Iran-Iraq war paved the way for renewed economic development, choosing the path of compromise in the nuclear negotiations would relieve sanctions and allow leaders to address the mounting economic crisis. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has referred to this as "heroic flexibility." The following are excerpts from the brief.

            To answer the myriad of questions surrounding the prospects of reaching a comprehensive agreement by the November deadline—or soon thereafter—requires insight into the Iranian regime’s decision-making process, insight that, for the most part, has eluded analysts due to the opaqueness of the Iranian political system. This Brief argues that a deeper insight is possible by comparing the circumstances and mechanisms that led to the Islamic Republic’s decision to end the war with Iraq in 1988 with those prevailing today.
            Using documents made public since 1988, this Brief demonstrates that although the political players have changed in the past two decades, there are important similarities between the conditions that prevailed and the logic that led to Iran’s decision to accept the UN proposal to end the war with Iraq and the conditions and logic that now affect its nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. The Brief makes this argument by comparing these two crises along three common dimensions: economic, religious, and ideological.
The Economic Dimension
            Iran’s economic crisis in 2012-13, when growth plunged to a low of negative 5.6 percent under crushing international sanctions, most resembles that of the final years of the Iran-Iraq war. Lack of resources during the second half of the 1980s had pushed the Iranian economy to an unmanageable brink. According to official Iranian reports, the dual necessity of fighting a prolonged war and providing for the population in the first decade after the 1979 revolution had created an unsustainable situation. According to former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, Iranian experts then estimated that in order to win the war against Iraq, several more years of fighting plus nuclear weapons were needed.
            Khomeini, who favored the prolongation of the war, suddenly shifted positions based on the warnings issued by economic experts, even though he never publicly acknowledged the economic constraints as reasons for accepting the ceasefire. Specifically, what seemed to have changed his mind was a letter he received from the head of the Budgeting and Planning Organization, which in addition to enumerating the myriad of economic problems the country was facing, claimed that the Islamic Republic had no choice now but to choose between “expanding the revolution” and “holding on to power.”
            Economic dilemmas have played the same role in the nuclear case as they did in forging the decision to accept peace with Iraq. To a large extent, Rouhani’s election reflected Khamenei’s acceptance of the need to deal with Iran’s deteriorating economy. In mid-2012, as the country experienced crippling recession and skyrocketing inflation three ministers from former President Mohammad Khatami’s reformist government (1997-2005) met with Khamenei and impressed upon him the dire state of Iran’s economic situation. This meeting seems to have set in motion a series of developments that eventually led Khamenei to support holding a competitive election in 2013 and to permit explicit criticism of the government’s nuclear policy—a subject which until then had been off-limits for public debate—that in turn set the stage for Rouhani’s success in the election.
            The strategy adopted by Khamenei echoes Khomeini’s historic phrase that “safeguarding the Islamic Republic is more obligatory than any religious duty.” The actions of both supreme leaders suggest that despite some of Iran’s ideologically motivated foreign policy maneuvers, macro foreign policy decisions are rooted in their economic ramifications and are based on practical considerations, namely the longevity of the regime.

The Religious Dimension
            As a Shi’a source of emulation (marja’), Khomeini combined his religious and political authority to reject the peace treaty signed by Imam Hassan. But the pro-peace camp in the government and parliament used the same Shi’a literature to sway Khomeini to accept the need to end the war. As debates and conflict over war or peace became more intense, Rafsanjani proposed a middle ground that was also predicated upon Shi’a teachings. At its core was the idea of peace after a victorious offensive on the enemy, a peace that was the result of triumph in the war followed by compromise—a combination of the different methods adopted by the two Imams. Fittingly, the last offensive in the Iran-Iraq war was called Karbala, in remembrance of Imam Hussein’s last battle.
            Khamenei has also used similar religious language to navigate between his own uncompromising rhetoric over the nuclear issue and the practical necessities of Iran’s economic situation. In 1996, in one of his most famous speeches titled “Lessons from Ashura,” Khamenei explicitly endorsed Imam Hussein’s policy of no-negotiations by stating that one was obliged to fight evil and that regardless of winning or losing, the outcome was victory. However, in 2013 when the economic conditions of the country had deteriorated in a fashion similar to that experienced during the final years of the Iran-Iraq war, Khamenei resorted to Imam Hassan’s peace, dubbing the new negotiating strategy of Iran as “heroic flexibility.”
The Ideological Dimension
            In today’s Iran, the political elite is roughly divided into two camps—representing the two poles of reconciliation and resistance—the “Worried” and the “Valiant.” By the end of the war with Iraq, the political elite was similarly divided between those favoring peace and those favoring the continuation of the war. The dominant inclination among the IRGC was to continue the war until victory, which was defined as capturing Karbala and toppling Saddam Hussein’s Ba’ath regime. By contrast, most members of the executive branch and especially the Ministry of Foreign Affairs defended the pursuit of a peace based on preserving national sovereignty.
            Despite the obvious differences between the two camps over the continuation of the war, it was Khomeini’s maneuvers that actually prevented either side from completely eliminating the other. As mentioned earlier, until the last year of the war, Khomeini explicitly defended the war’s continuation to the degree that even to this day, the Iranian public continues to believe that while Khomeini wanted to continue the war, politicians such as Rafsanjani imposed the ceasefire on him.
            This dual approach is being repeated today by the second Supreme Leader of the Islamic Republic with regard to the nuclear negotiations. Much like Khomeini, Khamenei consistently defines himself publicly as a supporter of “resistance” over the nuclear issue, while giving Rouhani’s moderate foreign policy team permission to actively engage in negotiations.
            Today in the public mind, Rouhani is identified with peace much like Rafsanjani was in the late 1980s. If reaching peace with Iraq had failed and the war continued, it would not have been possible to advance Rafsanjani’s plans for economic development during the second decade of the Islamic Republic. Iran’s power would have depreciated, the economy would have deteriorated, and those advocating for war would have been emboldened enough to outmaneuver Rafsanjani and his pragmatic allies. Now it is Rouhani who hopes to save Iran by achieving a nuclear agreement and resolving the deep economic crisis brought upon by sanctions. Should a nuclear agreement be concluded, the government will likely be able to bring the economy out of recession in time for the 2015 parliamentary campaigns. By improving the standard of living of Iranians, Rouhani can become powerful enough to push back against his extremist opponents. But if the negotiations fail, and subsequently the hardliners win a majority in the 2015 elections, Rouhani’s government will not be able to fulfill its economic promises or implement its political and cultural agenda as both will be blocked by the new parliament.
Click here for the full briefing
Tags: Nuclear

Economic Trends: Month of October

Garrett Nada

            The biggest news in October was President Hassan Rouhani’s announcement that oil revenues have been slashed 30 percent. The cut is due in part to the falling oil price, now at about $85 a barrel, the lowest since 2012. Iran is largely dependent on crude oil exports, which account for nearly 80 percent of Iran’s foreign revenue. So the fall in price has placed even more pressure on Rouhani’s government to secure a nuclear deal that will lift wide-ranging economic sanctions on Iran. 
The economy, however, is still projected to grow 2.2 percent in 2015, according to a new report released by International Monetary Fund. The interim nuclear deal, which was implemented in January, has enabled Iran to repatriate foreign oil revenues held overseas. In October, India transferred a $400 million oil payment to Iran’s central bank.
            Also in October, a flurry of statistics was released due to the close of the first half of the Iranian calendar year (March 21 to September 22). Some findings suggested that sectors of the economy are slowly recovering. For example, 400,000 Iranians reportedly found jobs and 520,000 vehicles were produced, nearly a 75 percent increase compared to last year. Iran’s oil and non-oil exports were also up compared to last year. 
            But many people are still struggling to make a living. Seven million Iranians, about eight percent of the population, are living in extreme poverty, according to Minister of Labor, Cooperatives and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei.
            Another significant development was Boeing’s sale of aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts and data to Iran Air —the first acknowledged deal between U.S. and Iranian aerospace companies since the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis. The sales, however, only generated $120,000 in revenue and $12,000 in net profit in the quarter. The following is a run-down of the top economic stories with links.

Domestic Developments
Inflation: President Hassan Rouhani said inflation will fall below 20 percent by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March 20, 2015). “Iran’s average monthly inflation increase was around 3 percent in the last year of the previous administration. But now the average monthly rise is around one percent,” he noted in a live television interview. Inflation is now at about 21 percent. “We are containing the inflation, and simultaneously snapping economy out of recession,” said Rouhani.
Economic Projections: Iran’s economy is projected to grow 2.2 percent in terms of real gross domestic product in 2015, according to The International Monetary Fund’s World Economic Outlook for October. In April, the group had predicted a growth rate of 2.3 percent.
Iran’s economy is projected to grow by three percent this year, according to the governor of Iran’s Central Bank, Valiollah Seif. “The economic situation in Iran is on the mend,” he said in an interview with Bloomberg. “The economic program we have right now is based on the fact the sanctions will continue, so this is a given assumption,” said Seif. “Naturally, if sanctions are removed, we would experience much better results.”
Employment: Some 400,000 jobseekers found employment during the first six months of the current Iranian year (March 21 to September 22), according to President Rouhani’s advisor for supervision and strategic affairs, Mohammad-Baqer Nobakht.
Iran needs to create 8 million new jobs in the near future to employ those currently out of work, according to Iranian Minister of Economic Affairs and Finance Ali Tayebnia. The workforce is expected to grow from 22 million to 25 million within seven years, which will require the creation of 13 million new jobs, according to the Ministry of Labor, Cooperatives, and Social Welfare.
Poverty: Some seven million Iranians, about eight percent of the population, are living in extreme poverty, according to Minister of Labor, Cooperatives and Social Welfare Ali Rabiei. “The poverty is linked to gender too, such that women breadwinners are twice more likely to live in poverty compared to men,” he said at a conference on development and education equality. Rabiei warned that urban poverty has been on the rise for the past decade. He also announced that the government will introduce programs for eradicating illiteracy, one for people under age 30 and one for older adults.
Living costs: The prices of some staple foods in Iran have risen significantly since last year, despite the Rouhani administration’s efforts to stabilize inflation. The price of milk has risen 28 percent and the price of eggs has risen 24 percent, according to one Tehran resident interviewed by the Financial Times. Official statistics show that food prices have generally risen 6-12 percent since last year.
The living cost of an urban household in Iran was about $18 million rials or $560 per month during the first quarter of the year, according to a survey conducted by the Statistical Center of Iran. The living cost for a rural household averaged about $340 per month.
Banking: International banks are still avoiding dealing with Iran for fear of violating U.S. and E.U. sanctions. They are even shying away from processing humanitarian deals, according to Tehran-based Middle East Bank’s chief executive, Parviz Aghili. "Going through a very simple process of opening letters of credit for the importation of goods, even humanitarian goods, has become much more difficult and a hassle," Aghili told Reuters.
Automobiles: Iranian automakers produced more than 520,000 vehicles in the first half of the Iranian year, a 74.3 percent rise compared to the same period last year, according to the Financial Tribune.
Steel:  Iran’s steel production during the first nine months of 2014, 12.1 million tons, increased by six percent compared to the same period in 2013, according to state news.
International News
Foreign Trade: Iran’s foreign trade volume grew 22 percent to more than $53 billion during the first six months of the Iranian calendar year, according to the head of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Valiollah Afkhami-Rad. In an interview, he projected foreign trade to reach $110 billion by March 2015. So far, Iran’s major exports included propane, methanol and bitumen. The main destinations for goods, in descending order, were China, Iraq, the United Arab Emirates, Afghanistan and Turkey.
Oil, Petrochemicals and Natural Gas: Crude oil revenues have been cut by about 30 percent, according to President Rouhani. “We have to deal with the new conditions and the global economic conditions. In the issue of oil, the economy has not been the sole important factor and international politics and plots have been also involved,” he told parliament, likely referring to the drop in oil prices worldwide.
Iran exported 7.8 million tons of petrochemical products worth some $5.1 billion during the first half of the Iranian calendar year, according to the National Petrochemical Company’s production manager, Ali Mohammad Bosaqzadeh. The value of the exported products increased by seven percent compared to last year.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei warned against relying on oil revenues. “Iran should be managed through reliance on its internal forces and the resources on the ground, meaning the youth's intelligence and talent, and production of science and knowledge and if so, no world power can turn the country's economy into a plaything,” he said on October 22.
Iran exported $6.5 billion worth of natural gas condensates during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year (March 21 to Sept 22). The amount represents an 85-percent increase compared to last year.
Non-Oil Exports: Iran exported $16.7 billion worth of non-oil goods during the first half of the current Iranian calendar year. Exports to Asia, which accounted for 93 percent of total exports, increased by nine percent in comparison to the same period last year. And exports to Europe increased by 33 percent.
The government plans to boost non-oil exports to $61 billion in value by March 2015, according to the deputy chairman of the Trade Promotion Organization of Iran, Yaghmour Gholizadeh. The Islamic Republic actually registered an overall trade surplus of some two billion dollars between March and September 2014.
Non-oil exports from Shahid Bahonar Port in Bandar Abbas increased by 231 percent during the first half of the Iranian year compared to the same period last year, according to an official from the ports and maritime organization.
European Union: The value of Iran’s exports to the European Union increased by 77 percent in August 2014 compared to August 2013. The value of the goods reached $102 million, according to Eurostat. The total trade turnover from January to August 2014 between Iran and the 28 E.U. member states totaled $5.8 billion.
Boeing: Boeing, a U.S.-based aerospace and defense company, announced that it sold aircraft manuals, drawings, navigation charts and data to Iran Air. The sale marked the first publically acknowledged transaction between U.S. and Iranian aerospace companies since the 1979 U.S. hostage crisis. The sales generated some $120,000 in revenue and $12,000 in net profit in the quarter.
Ease of Doing Business: Iran was ranked 130 out of 189 economies by the World Bank in its new Doing Business report, two positions higher than last year. The report measures regulations affecting 11 areas of the life of a business. Iran ranked 62 for starting a business, 89 for acquiring credit and 172 for obtaining a construction permit.
Data from World Bank
Iraq: Iran exported some $5.5 billion in technical and engineering services and other commodities to Iraq between March and September 2014, according to the head of the Iran-Iraq joint chamber of commerce, Jahanbakhsh Sanjabi Shirazi. Iran’s Export Development Bank allocated $300 million to further boost exports to Iraq.
India: India transferred a $400 million oil payment to Iran’s central bank via the United Arab Emirate’s central bank. Under the interim nuclear deal that took effect in January, Tehran received $4.2 billion in blocked funds across the world. Iran was later granted access to another $2.8 billion, of which some $1.4 billion has been repatriated.
Turkey: President Rouhani reiterated Iran’s determination to boost its trade with Turkey to $30 billion by 2015 in a meeting with Turkish Ambassador to Tehran Reza Hakan Tekin. Bilateral trade value in the first half of 2014 totaled $6.5 billion, according to the Turkish Statistical Institute.
Germany: Michael Tockus, chairman of the Germany-Iran Chamber of Commerce, pledged to continue enhancing trade relations between the two countries, irrespective of the outcome of nuclear talks between Iran and the world’s six major powers. “The present improving trend will continue even if there will be no change in the West's economic sanctions against Iran,” he told reporters in Berlin.
United Kingdom: A group of Iranian businessmen hosted a forum in London on E.U.-Iran trade relations. The purpose of the event, held in cooperation with the European Voice newspaper, was to “evaluate the post-sanctions trade framework and investment opportunities.” No current U.K. or E.U. officials participated. But former British Foreign Secretary Jack Straw and former French Foreign Minister Hubert Védrine attended. And U.K. and U.S. officials reportedly attended as observers, according to Asharq Al-Awsat.
Tags: Economy

Khamenei Comments: The West Created ISIS

            In his speeches, interviews, and tweets from September and October, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei commented on the Islamic State, the economy, women, and the death of Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani.
            In a speech on September 4, Khamenei claimed that the West is responsible for creating ISIS and other jihadist groups in the Middle East to undermine Iran. During an interview on the same subject, he also ruled out cooperating with the United States against ISIS, stating that “we will not cooperate with America particularly because their hands are dirty.”
            On the economy, the Supreme Leader warned against relying too heavily on oil, and called for more scientific research to help boost growth. Khamenei's office also tweeted frequently about women’s issues, expressing support for women’s education and economic activities.
            The following are excerpts from his key speeches and statements in September and October.
The Islamic State
            "[The West] claims that [creating orientations such as al Qaeda and DAESH] has nothing to do with them, but everyone knows that they are involved. Once, I quoted a statement from a well-known American politician, but they denied it later on. It can be witnessed that they have created these orientations. They themselves acknowledge that it was they who created these orientations. Even if they do not acknowledge it, we have certain evidence which proves it. We know it.”
            “There is no doubt that these orientations have been created by these western powers and their regional agents. It is possible that they are not directly involved in some cases and that they use their agents for this purpose. Of course, they were directly involved in some cases as well. On the issue of Taliban, I do not forget that American newspapers somehow supported and promoted the ideas of Taliban. They did not do it openly and outspokenly, but in fact, their propaganda work was based on promoting Taliban during a time when it had just been formed.”
            Sept. 4, 2014 in a
speech at a meeting of the Assembly of Experts

            “During the past two, three days, I had a source of entertainment which was listening to the statements of the Americans on the issue of DAESH [ISIS] and fighting against it. They made absurd, hollow and biased statements. One of the issues which was really a source of amusement for me was that the American secretary of state and the girl who stands there and talks, openly said, ‘We will not invite Iran to the coalition against DAESH’ First, what honor is greater than the fact that America is disappointed with us and does not want us to participate in a wrong collective task. This is a source of pride for us, not a source of regret.”
            “Second, I witnessed that all of them are lying. Since the first days that the issue of DAESH arose, the Americans asked our ambassador in Iraq - through their ambassador - to organize a meeting and reach an agreement on the issue of DAESH. Our ambassador relayed this inside the country and some of our officials were not against it. But I was against it and said, ‘On this issue, we will not cooperate with America particularly because their hands are dirty. How can we cooperate on this issue with those whose hands and intentions are dirty?’”
            Sept. 8, 2014 in an interview
            “This takfiri orientation - the thing that has emerged in Iraq, Syria and some other regional countries today and that confronts all Muslims, not just Shias - is the handicraft of colonialists themselves. They made something called al-Qaida and DAESH in order to confront the Islamic Republic and the movement of the Islamic Awakening. However, this product has become a burden for them.”
            “We see that the unreal effort which America and its allies are making in the region today under the name of confronting DAESH is, in fact, an effort for channeling enmities among Muslims more than it is an effort for nipping this evil movement in the bud. They try to pit Muslims against one another. Today, they have chosen this ignorant, prejudiced, fossilized and dependent group as the element for doing this. Otherwise, the goal is the same old goal.”
            “If someone does something to provoke the feelings of the other side and to create enmity, they should certainly know that they are helping America, vile England and Zionism. They should know that they are helping those people who create DAESH, al-Qaida and the like and who create the takfiri orientation in order to create discord between Shia and Sunni. Today, Islamic unity, Islamic brotherhood and Islamic solidarity is one of the most necessary and urgent responsibilities for all Islamic societies. All of us should be committed to this responsibility.”
            Sept. 13, 2014 in a speech on the occasion Eid al-Ghadir



             “The country’s economy should rely on the brilliant talents of its young students and elites and not on underground resources.”
            “As emphasized on the directive issued recently for the Supreme Council of Cultural Revolution, scientific movement should not be stopped, since any lag in this movement would lead to retrogression.”
           “With rapid scientific progress, Iran has not yet found its place it should have, since it had been lagging behind since long ago; so, it is necessary to push scientific movement forward with all necessary components as science-based economy.”
            “In an economy relying on the ready-made oil and gas and other underground resources, the system would be too tedious to produce innovations; neither would it foster elites, with no real progress in the path to success.”
            “A country relying on crude oil to handle its economy and the well-off child are the same in this regard.”

            “Any policy tailoring its economy on oil would be tantamount to leave it on the mercy of brute forces of international economics given the fluctuations in crude prices; any country with such policies would have imagine its future very grim.”
            “A well-connected chain should incorporate all organizations in production of knowledge, where all rings of the chain would work in harmony with other members.”
           Oct. 22, 2014 according to Mehr News


Death of Ayatollah Mohammadreza Mahdavi Kani
            On October 21, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani passed away at the age of 83. He was the chairman of the Assembly of Experts, a group of clerics responsible for overseeing the activities of the Supreme Leader.

            “This great and pious man appeared always and everywhere in the position of a religious scholar and an honest politician and a candid revolutionary.”
            Oct. 23, 2014 according to the press



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