Iran, Sept 3: Regime Re-Builds Propaganda Line on Syria

Interior Minister: “70% of Iran’s Cities Are Bankrupt”

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Two days after the revelation of a dissenting statement by former President Hashemi Rafsanjani, officials and Iranian media are re-building the propaganda line on Syria.

Rafsanjani’s assertion that the Assad regime had used chemical weapons on its people countered the position of many officials, including Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, that insurgents carried out the August 21 attacks. The former President also implied that Damascus was responsible for mass detentions and many of the “100,000” deaths in the conflict.

This morning, Iranian outlets are filled with supposed warnings and hesitations over US-led airstrikes — from Russia, the Arab League, France, and Italy — and the promise that Syria “will give a crushing response“.

Minister of Defense Hossein Dehghan repeated the claim of Foreign Minister Zarif that Iran passed information to US at the start of 2013 that insurgents were bringing Sarin gas into Syria, but Washington ignored the warning “and practically paved the way for chemical attacks”.

Tehran University academic Seyed Mohammad Marandi, a “senior political analyst” for State media, added:

The US is encouraging the extremist Takfiris to use more chemical weapons because every time they do it, the Syrian government will be blamed and the Americans will attack it, so they will kill Syrian people and America will attack Syria.

Expect the head of the Revolutionary Guards, Mohammad Ali Jafari, to make a contribution today — he is speaking at the meeting of the Assembly of Experts on the Middle Eastern situation.


Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Interior Minister: “70% of Iran’s Cities Are Bankrupt”

Interior Minister Abdulreza Rahmani Fazli has said, “Because revenues did not cover the costs, 70% of the country’s municipalities are bankrupt.”

Fazli added, “[As] prices have increased and revenues have remained consistent, from the perspective of the public budget, we cannot be of much help to the municipalities. Because of the weakening of the economic condition, increase in prices, poor management at large, and low productivity, the municipalities have encountered financial problems.”

Syria Front: Defence Minister Urges Dialogue, Not Military Intervention

Defense Minister Brigadier General Hossein Dehqan has urged the international community to avoid military intervention in Syria that will exacerbate the conflict and to engage in comprehensive dialogue instead to end the violence.

He added, “Sowing the seeds of warmongering and violence has never resulted in lasting peace and security.”

City Council Reformists Back Rafsanjani’s Son for Tehran Mayor

 

Masoud Soltani, a member of the Tehran city Council, has said that reformist members of the council are backing Mohsen Hashemi, the son of former president Hashemi Rafsanjani, for mayor.

Soltani said “For now, Mr. Mohsen Hashemi is the choice of the Reformist members of Tehran City Council for the mayorship of Tehran; and we must try so that he gets the vote he needs.”

Meanwhile, Ahmad Masjedjamei, former Minister of Culture during Mohammad Khatami’s presidency, has been chosen as the council’s chairman.

43% of Tehran Families Have At Least 1 Unemployed Person

Mehr reports that almost half of the families in the Iranian capital have at least one member who is out of work.

Transcript of Rafsanjani’s Remarks on Syrian Regime Use of Chemical Weapons

On Monday, we posted claimed audio of former President Hashemi Rafsanjani’s speech last Thursday, in which he accused the Syrian Government of the August 21 chemical weapons attack near Damascus.

Arash Karami provides a translation:

Our problems are real. We are blockaded. We are sanctioned. We are boycotted. And we cannot use our resources. We cannot sell our oil. If we sell it, we cannot get the money in return. If we buy gasoline, we have to buy it at an extra cost and to transfer, we have to pay a lot of fees. And many other problems.

Lately we are witnessing a big danger. You all see the news. Today, America and the West and some Arab countries have basically announced war against Syria. And at any moment, ears should be ready to hear missiles and bombs, and God have mercy on the people of Syria.

In these two years, the people of Syria have seen much damage, more than 100,000 have been killed, more than 8 million have been displaced, the prisons are full of people, the prisons do not have room so that they take some of the stadiums and fill them.

From one side, the people have been attacked with chemical weapons by their own government, and on the other side, they must wait for American bombs.

Responding to claims that the audio might be faked, the local news site which broke the story has now posted video of the speech, albeit with a long-distance shot of Rafsanjani.

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Scott Lucas is Professor of International Politics at the University of Birmingham and editor-in-chief of EA WorldView. He is a specialist in US and British foreign policy and international relations, especially the Middle East and Iran. Formerly he worked as a journalist in the US, writing for newspapers including the Guardian and The Independent and was an essayist for The New Statesman before he founded EA WorldView in November 2008.

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