LATEST: Trouble for Supreme Leader with Assembly of Experts?


Apparently disregarding the injunction of President Rouhani to halt threatening talk during nuclear negotiations, the Iranian military has renewed its warnings of destruction for America if its military attacks Iran.

The deputy head of armed forces, Masoud Jazayeri, said on Tuesday:

All US forces in the [Middle East] region are in the military dragnet of the Islamic Republic of Iran, and should the Americans make a mistake, the region will turn into hell for them.

Unintelligent US President [Barack Obama] and the country’s Secretary of State John Kerry speak of the impact on Iran of the US “options on the table: at a time when this phrase has turned into the laughing stock of the Iranian people, particularly children.

Kerry’s statement in January — that the US maintained its military option if Iran did not adhere to an interim nuclear deal — fed weeks of threats by the military, notably the Revolutionary Guards, and Iranian officials.

However, at the opening of talks last month on a comprehensive nuclear agreement, Iran and the US agreed to pull back from rhetoric that would undermine the negotiations.

On Saturday, Rouhani told military commanders:

It is very important to formulate one’s sentences and speeches in a way that is not construed as threat, intention to strike a blow.

We must be very careful in our calculations. Launching missiles and staging military exercises to scare off the other side is not good deterrence, although a necessity in its proper place. A misfire could burst into flames and wreak havoc to everything.

See Rouhani Tells Revolutionary Guards “Back Off Anti-US Tough Talk”

Meanwhile, Rouhani addressed the issue of US rhetoric as he restated Iran’s “red lines” in the nuclear talks — recognition of right to enrich uranium, maintenance of nuclear facilities, and lifting of sanctions — in a statement to the Assembly of Experts:

Our nation’s rights will be preserved. I affirm that no concern should exist in this country at all, because this administration will not cross the red lines under any circumstances.

It is clear that they have accepted enrichment. The discussion is that what should be our level and limit of enrichment according to their interpretation that can create the most confidence.

What the Americans say is for the pressure of their public opinion, extremists and Zionists. Of course there are countries pressuring the Americans in this story. It is clear that the statements of the Americans and Zionists have lots of distance with realities.

Trouble for Supreme Leader with Assembly of Experts?

A well-placed EA source says that this week’s Assembly of Experts meeting has not gone well for the Supreme Leader.

The source say the 86-member panel, which chooses the Leader and is authorized to remove him under the Iranian Constitution, is wary of Ayatollah Khamenei because of his past support for Mahmoud Ahmadinejad and has been emboldened to criticize him becaue of the political atmosphere after the election of President Rouhani last year.

Rumors even spread about a discussion of Khamenei’s successor, met by the concern of hardline members that these would be used by those pursuing “sedition”.

In a statement which may or may not be related, Ayatollah Mahdavi Kani, the head of the Assembly, said:

We should ensure not to disrespect (certain) people. In Islam nothing happens over the night but everything should be done over a period of time.

Last week Ayatollah Dastgheib wrote the Assembly in an open letter, “People expect the freedom of the Green Movement leaders” — Mir Hossein Mousavi and Mehdi Karroubi, under strict house arrest since February 2011 — “and you should supervise the actions of the Supreme Leader, not just approve whatever he does”.

Battle Between Rouhani and State Broadcaster Continues

The fight between President Rouhani’s office and the State broadcaster IRIB continued on Tuesday.

Hesamuddin Ashna, the President’s representative on IRIB’s Supervisory Board, said, “I am still critical about the IRIB’s attitude towards the Government. IRIB hasn’t yet believed that the election is over and the people have chosen their new political approach.”

See Iran Special: The President v. The State Broadcaster — The Full Story

Ministry of Science Refuses to Certify “Ahmadinejad University”

The Ministry of Science has announced that it is not certifying the university being established by former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, as the Board of Directors are not qualified.

Ahmadinejad proposed Iranian University just before he left office. Critics claim he tried to fund the initiative with millions of dollars from the Government.

Judiciary Official: Ahmadinejad’s 1st Vice President Will Be Found Guilty of Fraud

Iran Prosecutor General Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said on Tuesday that Mohammad Reza Rahimi, 1st Vice President in the Ahmadinejad Government, has been found guilty of insurance fraud and his sentence is being confirmed.

Rahimi was accused of involvement in the “Fahimi Street Ring”, accused of a multi-million dollar insurance scam. After years of maneuvers, he was finally brought to trial in the last months of the Ahmadinejad era.

Ejei also commented on the situation of tycoon Babak Zanjani, arrested last autumn on charges of embezzling billions from the Government: “The more we progress, the more complicated his case gets”.

The judiciary official said Zanjani was cooperating with the Revolutionary Guards and the intelligence services, but this cooperation would be “temporary”.

Hardline Opposition Leader Ayatollah Yazdi Blasts Rouhani Over Civil Rights Charter

Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, the leader of the hardline opposition Endurance Front, has again attacked President Rouhani over a proposed Civil Rights Charter.

Yazdi, who launched the assault last week, told the National Defense University Board of Directors on Tuesday:

The matter of the citizen rights charter introduced stems from…thinking in which Baha’is and Muslims and revolutionary and anti-revolutionaries are all equal. Therefore, we must feel danger thirty-five years after the Islamic Revolution that the highest office after the President states something that (impeached former President Abolhassan) Bani Sadr did not even dare say — even though they state their words indirectly and in shroud.

Members of the Baha’i faith have been harassed and detained for decades. Rouhani’s proposed Charter makes general statements of rights for all Iranians.

Yazdi, whose Endurance Front was founded for the 2012 Parliamentary elections, linked the Charter to the evils of mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election:

The ideological basis of the sedition took shape in London, (because) some of the sedition’s founders were educated in England.

Many who were educated there share common fundamental thinking. Perhaps this matter (humanities in Iranian universities) could be the enemy’s way of overthrowing Islam and the Islamic Revolution, even though these individuals may not be aware of this.

On another front, Deputy Foreign Minister and lead nuclear negotiator Abbas Araqchi, said he had reassured Yazdi about Tehran’s fundamental position in talks with the US and other powers, “We are entering nuclear negotiations in circumstances in which we do not have optimism and confidence beyond a reasonable level in the enemy, but we are hopeful about reaching results.”

The assurance did little to appease Yazdi, who responded, “I am more worried about the Government’s cultural policies rather than its nuclear polices.”

(Hat tip to Iran Tracker for translation)

We will have more on Yazdi’s campaign against the President in a video analysis this week, “Rouhani, the Revolutionary Guards, and the Hardline Opposition”.