LATEST: Officials Warn of Shortages of Food and Medicine

Jump to Latest Update

On Monday, we featured the Supreme Leader’s declaration of his authority, in a rather grumpy speech to students, when he was apparently asked to tolerate political dissent. He lambasted the millions who protested after the disputed 2009 Presidential election and — possibly speaking to detained opposition leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, both candidates in that election — continued:

Those who condemned state for rigging in 2009 say the contrary in private. So why did you impose those damages on the country?

Three days before Hassan Rouhani becomes President, this is not the only example of the Supreme Leader laying down rules for proper behaviour. Tasnim News compiles a list, which includes:

*”In matters regarding the management of Islamic countries and affairs that are related to all Muslims, the opinion of the guardian of Muslims must be obeyed.”

*“Satellite antennas…are not allowed except for those who trust themselves that they will not prohibitively use them.”

*“Wearing clothes that emulate and spread non-Muslim invading culture is not allowed.”

*“Cutting part of beard is like cutting all of it and based on caution is prohibited.”*

*“Summoning ghosts and jinns, if it is for a rational motive and is not accompanied by prohibited acts or does not necessitate them, is not a problem.”

*”The science of magic and the learning of it are prohibited, unless it is for a rational and legal motive.”

*“Any contact with this misguided deceptive sect [the Baha’i faith] should be avoided.”

(Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translation and publication)

Latest Updates, From Top to Bottom

Officials Warn of Shortages of Food and Medicine

Asadollah Asgarouladi, the head of the Commission Export Chamber of Commerce and one of Iran’s richest men, has warned that the Islamic Republic can expect food shortages in the coming months.

Asgarouladi said, “Unfortunately, with the events that have taken place recently, and the differences between the Central Bank, Ministry of Industry ,and Trade and Customs, during the next two months the country will encounter a deficit and shortage of goods.”

The Central Bank has recently warned importers that it will not provide foreign exchange at official rates. That means importers will have to pay about 50% more to get exchange at open-market levels.

Asgarouladi claimed this effect:

A set of goods have been deposited in customs. Most of the goods are perishable, and a heavy cost is paid to keep them refrigerated.

There are 10,000 containers of food and medicine in the ports in the south of Iran and 5,000 containers in Port of Jebel Ali in Dubai that are waiting for this problem to be solved and [for importers] to receive the sum they desire.

Meanwhile, Mohammad Reza Nader, a deputy with Iranian customs, has confirmed that 330 tons of medicine are currently stuck in Tehran’s Imam Khomeini International airport over exchange-rate issues.

Fararu reports that “The Central Bank wants the importers of medicine to pay the difference in the exchange rate between the reference [official] rate and the market rate, and then after that give the document of clearance to the importers.”

Photo: A Young Rouhani In Army Uniform (With Officer’s Badges)

EA correspondent Hanif Kashani notes this photograph, posted by Borna News on Wednesday, of President-elect Hassan Rouhani in his Army uniform as a young man.

Kashani notes that the photograph is “quite a juxtaposition from Rouhani’s clerical garb that the general public has grown accustomed to”, and adds the interesting point that Rouhani’smilitary badges reveal that he was a Afsareh Vazifeh (Officer) and not a private, which could mean that he did his mandatory military service after college.

Gaza: Iran Sends Aid Through Islamic Jihad, Rather Than Hamas

In a sign of further distancing between Hamas and Iran, the Islamic Republic has sent aid via a rival faction in Gaza, Islamic Jihad.

Relations between Iran and Hamas have been strained over the Syrian conflict — with the Gazan organization moving away from the Tehran-backed Assad regime — and the November 2012 invasion of Gaza by Israel.

On, Tuesday, the Islamic Jihad Relief Society began distributing Iranian food aid valued at $2 million, with dozens of men and women lined up in front of trucks carrying pictures of the Iranian flag.

Islamic Jihad officials said they planned to distribute food packages containing cooking oil, rice, sugar, canned food, and school supplies to about 40,000 people.

(Cross-posted from Middle East Today)

Top Congressman: “Iran Has 35% More Medicine From US Despite Sanctions”

A follow-up scene to Tuesday’s analysis of “The ‘No Engagement’ Campaign” in Washington, protesting against any significant negotiation with Tehran….

At a press briefing on Iranian sanctions hosted by the Iranian Project, the chairman of the House of Representatives Foreign Affairs Committee tried to slap down an Iranian-American activist who said the US-led sanctions were preventing Iranians from getting medicine and food.

Representative Ed Royce told Samira Damavandi of the National Iranian American Council that Iranian “access” to medicine had risen 35% since last year.

A series of reports from Iran have depicted shortages of drugs and medical supplies through a combination of sanctions, currency issues, and Government mismanagement.

Royce insisted that NIAC was lying about sanctions because it spreads “propaganda” in support of the Iranian regime.

More denunciation of the Islamic Republic is expected today and Thursday in hearings by two subcommittees of the House Foreign Affairs Committee.

Will Central Bank’s Restriction on Currency Affect Food Supplies?

One of the most important announcements in the last week is the Central Bank’s declaration that it will no longer provide foreign currency at the “official” rate to importers.

Importers will now have to pay the open-market rate, effectively raising their costs by about 50%.

One sign of the effect has come from the Secretary of the Vegetable Oil Association, Ghassem Falahati. He announced that the Supreme National Security Council has had to allocate $1.5 billion in credit for importers of commodities to pay for the difference between official and open-market rates.

“Ministry of Intelligence Has Infiltrated Foundation for the Defense of Democracies”

Tasnim News Agency has profiled “the greatest achievements” of the Ministry of Intelligence since 2009.

Some of the claimed achievements are expected, such as the arrest of the leader of the Baluch insurgent movement, Abdolmalek Rigi — executed in June 2010 — seizure of 15 spies for the Israeli intelligence service Mossad “simultaneously”, and finding those responsible for the assassination of nuclear scientists.

There is a surprise, however: Iranian agents have apparently infiltrated the US neo-conservative — and ardently anti-Islamic Republic — movement, the Foundation for the Defense of Democracies.

A Supreme Leader’s Call for Detained Opposition Leaders Mousavi and Karroubi to Apologise?

An interesting follow-up to the Supreme Leader’s statement on Sunday condemning those who had protested the outcome of the 2009 Presidential election….

Ayatollah Khamenei’s representative to the Revolutionary Guards, Ali Saeedi, has said that the reason for the silence of leaders who have failed to criticise the protests is because “they are afraid of losing the extremist elements [who are their supporters] and this act has caused their silence”.

1. So are Saeedi — and by extension the Supreme Leader — sending a message to 2009 Presidential candidates Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, held under strict house arrest since February 2011?

2. If so, is Ayatollah Khamenei suggesting that a public apology is the condition for freedom for Mousavi and Karroubi?

More Condemnation Of Disruption Of Larijani’s Qom Speech

The Parliamentary Advisor to the Judiciary Chief, Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Banaei, said Tuesday that the Supreme Leader had condemned the February 13, 2013 disruption of a speech by Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in Qom.

Banaei urged Parliament to pursue the matter further. (Hat tip to Iran Tracker)

The February incident occurred when a group of President Ahmadinejad’s supporters forced Larijani to stop a speech he was delivering at the Massoumeh Mosque in Qom. The group chanted pro-Ahmadinejad slogans and even threw shoes at Larijani, who had to leave the mosque.