LATEST: Literary Network PEN Condemns Execution of Poet

Iranians marked the anniversary of the 1979 Islamic Revolution on Tuesday, with President Rouhani addressing crowds in Tehran’s Azadi Square.

In another challenge to the US, Rouhani declared, “The Americans thought the country of Iran belongs to them. They interfered everywhere even on security issues.”

Amid the tough rhetoric, Rouhani maintained the line of nuclear discussions with the West, with negotiations on a comprehensive agreement opening in Vienna on February 18:

Iran is determined to hold fair and constructive talks within the framework of international regulations and we hope to see such an intention on the other side as well….

a href=””>The talks are a historical test for Europe and the United States. And if they respect the interests of our nation, and cooperate in a lawful way, they will hear positive response from our nation. But if they repeat the mistaken approaches of the past, it will be harmful for themselves, the region and world stability.

In what may be seen as a reference to the discord after the disputed 2009 Presidential election, Rouhani said, “We want to increase national unity, and clear our hearts from some past events.”

Rouhani also pledged to bring inflation down to 25%, from the level of more than 40% that he inherited last August.

Mehr News sets the tone, “The greatest referendum is going to be held in Iran on the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution victory, 11th of February, with no similar example anywhere else in the world.”

A message to the West: “We Are Eager For Your options On The Table”:



The Supreme Leader introduced the celebration on Saturday with a speech to Air Force officers, in which he not only proclaimed “independence” and an “enlightened” Islamic Republic but took aim at the US — a full English translation has now posted on the Leader’s website:

This arrogant (international) system is completely manifested and represented by the current regime and government of the United States of America. Imam [Khomeini] openly adopted a position against America. Our position against America is not based on the people of America or on racist outlooks. The issue is not this. The issue is that the behavior, nature and conduct of the government of the United States of America is based on interference and imperialism.

Ayatollah Khamenei again asserted that Washington was seeking to overthrow the regime but would fail:

American politicians say in their speeches to our officials is that they do not intend to change the regime of Iran. First, they are lying. If they could, they would not hesitate even for a moment to destroy the foundation of the Islamic Republic. Second, they cannot. Arrogant regimes can only topple those governments which are not reliant on the masses of the people.

Amid the rhetoric, however, the Supreme Leader proclaimed his support of the Rouhani Government, which has included backing of an interim nuclear deal and further discussions with the US and the other 5+1 Powers:

Considering the fact that it is only a few months the administration has taken charge of the country, we should give executive officials time so that, by God’s favor, they can move things forward in a firm and powerful way. Critics should pay attention to this point and they should behave towards the administration with equanimity and executive officials should do the same. Everyone should respect one another and everyone should behave in a polite way towards one another.

Literary Network PEN Condemns Execution of Poet

The literary network PEN International has condemned last month’s execution of Ahwazi Arab poet Hashem Shaabani.

Relatives of Shaabani say they were told on January 29 that he had been executed “three or four days before”, along with fellow teacher Hadi Rashedi.

Shaabani and Rashedi were arrested in September 2011 and convicted in July 2012 of enmity against God, ‘corruption on earth, gathering and colluding against state security, and spreading propaganda against the system.

Military Celebrates Revolution’s Anniversary With Test-Firing of New Missile

Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan said on Monday that Iran has successfully test-fired a new generation of a ballistic missile and a laser-guided missile.

Dehghgan said the domestically-designed and indigenous ballistic missile can “evade the enemy’s missile defense systems” and can “destroy multiple targets”.

The Minister added that the Bina laser-guided missile can be fired from the ground or from above, “striking important targets such as bridges, tanks and the enemy command centers with great precision”.

President Rouhani added his congratulations:

On the eve of February 11 and concurrent with the beginning of the 36th year of the blessed life of the Islamic Republic of Iran, your Mujahed and scientist children succeeded in test-firing a new generation of long-range ballistic missiles successfully.

Iran Complains to Swiss Embassy Over Latest US Sanctions

The Foreign Ministry summoned the Swiss Ambassador on Monday night to protest the latest US sanctions against Iranian companies and individuals for claimed ties with Tehran’s nuclear program.

The Director General for the North American Affairs Bureau at the Foreign Ministry said Washington’s steps were “against the spirit” of November’s interim nuclear deal.