Ali Akbar Velayati, former Foreign Minister and the Supreme Leader’s top foreign policy advisor, has called for direct Iran-US talks on the nuclear issue.
Tehran reached an interim deal with the 5+1 Powers (US, Britain, France, Germany, China, and Russia) on November 24 but implementation of the agreement to limit Iran’s enrichment of uranium and begin the easing of US-led sanctions has not started.
The third set of technical talks on the agreement will begin in Geneva on Monday. After last week’s discussions, Iranian Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said progress was slow.
Velayati said in a Friday TV interview, “If we don’t have interactions with each of these six countries and don’t hold one-on-one talks with them, we have not used a right method. We should negotiate with different countries separately.”
The Islamic Republic has only directly spoken to Washington on nuclear matters on the sidelines of recent discussions with the 5+1 Powers, but Velayati pointed to Iran-US talks over Afghanistan — including after the downfall of the Taliban in 2001 — and Iraq.
Revolutionary Guards Campaign Against 2009 “Sedition”…Including Rafsanjani Daughter
Fars News, the outlet of the Revolutionary Guards, appears to be ramping up a campaign against the “sedition” of the protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.
The site has posted footage of demonstrations in December, with attention to the presence of Faezeh Hashemi — the daughter of Hashemi Rafsanjani, former President and mentor of current President Hassan Rouhani.
Head of Court: Ahmadinejad is a “Liar”
The head of the Court of Administrative Justice has called former Iranian president Mahmoud Ahmadinejad a liar.
Mohammad Jafar Montazeri said:
The former president would lie and openly violate laws. When people see the highest executive position is violating laws, whom can they trust?
Montazeri referred to Ahmadinejad’s appointment of Saeed Mortazavi as a leading advisor and head of the Social Security Fund, even though the former Tehran Prosecutor General is accused of involvement in the deaths of protesters at the Kahrizak detention centre after the disputed 2009 Presidential election:
This individual [Ahmadinejad] appointed a criminal suspect, and when the court told him that his appointment was null and void, he would not accept it.
Despite repeated court orders, Ahmadinejad kept Mortazavi as head of the Fund. Montazeri contrasted this with this week’s resignations of Turkish ministers amid a graft investigation.
Earlier this month, Parliament released more reports claiming extensive corruption in the handling of the Social Security Fund under Mortazavi’s oversight.
Leading Editor Criticizes Rouhani For Failing to Act for Freedom of Press
Mashallah Shamsolvaezin, the editor-in-chief of the Neshat daily, has criticized President Rouhani for failing to take any effective steps for freedom of the press.
Shamsolvaezin said, “In the media field, there has been no change with the arrival of the new government.”
Neshat has been blocked from publishing. Both and the publication Hammihan were promised they could resume in the autumn, but the judiciary blocked the lifting of the ban.
Shamsolvaezin said the Rouhani era had brought no change for the media:
In the past and under the former administration, the Ministry of Guidance’s press branch would accept media community members with open arms. They would talk with them, but it would all end up with no result….
There appears to be no obstacle to launching it, all the officials are highly encouraging, but nothing positive happens and we are doomed to remaining hopeful.”
Neshat and another publication, Hammihan, were promised they could begin production this fall, but the process has been halted by the judiciary.
Tehran Friday Prayers Leader: “80% of US Congress Are Zionists”
Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, leading Tehran Friday Prayers, offered a notable statistic to explain supposed attempts” by Zionists to impose new US sanctions on Iran and undermine the interim nuclear deal: “While Zionists account for only 5% of the US population, 80% of the US Congress seats are occupied by them who want to introduce Iran as a source of insecurity in the world,”
The Ayatollah continued, “The Zionist lobby in the US Congress are exercising a news boycott in relation to Iran.”
He said, “The Iranian nation is a powerful and integrated nation and it will never allow its dignity and rights to be ignored and it will fully defend its rights.”