UPDATE 1700 GMT: President Rouhani spoke on Monday about the problem of corruption in Iran, “endangering” the Islamic Revolution — but it appears that some Iranian media may be trying to ignore him.
In a televised speech at a conference in Tehran against corruption, he said money once “given under the table now is being given on the table“.
Rouhani called for the “elimination” of monopolies: “Anything which does not have rivalry or whose management is monopolised is flawed. This is wrong and the problem has to be uprooted.”
However, Press TV says nothing about the speech and Fars News — linked to the Revolutionary Guards, who have been accused of claiming an extensive share of Iran’s economy, to the detriment of others — puts Rouhani at the bottom of its homepage, far below the speeches of the Supreme Leader and head of judiciary Sadegh Larijani.
On Mehr, Rouhani gives way to the Supreme Leader — who is at the top of the page — and even to the head of the Central Bank.
President Rouhani’s speech on National Student Day at Tehran University was marked by student protests in support of the President, reformists, and detained opposition leaders.
Throughout the Sunday ceremony, students shouted slogans for the President — “Long Live Rouhani” and “Thank You, Rouhani”; for leaders of the Green Movement, including ex-President Mohammad Khatami; and for Mir Hossein Mousavi, the 2009 Presidential candidate who has been held under strict house arrest for almost four years.
The chants included “Long Live Mousavi”, “1000 Days Have Passed, Mousavi Has Not Returned”, and “Ya Hussain, Mir Hossein”.
Iranian State TV and Radio tried to play down the demonstrations by muting the sound from the audience.
Rouhani insisted that he and his office are firmly standing by the promises which they made to Iranians in the 2013 campaign, “Our covenant with you is not breakable.”
The President has faced criticism for not pressing for the freedom of Mousavi, fellow 2009 candidate Mehdi Karroubi, and Mousavi’s wife, activist and academic Zahra Rahnavard. They were shut away in their homes in February 2011, with the regime fearing revival of the mass protests after the disputed 2009 Presidential election.
Rouhani spoke directly about the long-running battle between his Government and hardline MPs over Iran’s universities. He hailed the recent Parliamentary acceptance of Science and Higher Education Minister Mohammad Farhadi, after four other Rouhani supporters had been dismissed or rejected.
The President called for universities to be beyond politics, amid hardline criticism of the reinstatement of students and professors expelled and fired amid the mass protests.
Referring to the nuclear negotiations between Iran and the 5+1 Powers — extended until July 1 after the failure to reach a comprehensive agreement — he said, “Those who are against these progresses should stop caring about their personal transient gains….The more successful our foreign policy is, the more it benefits our people”
He insisted that he is not scared of critics “who are attempting to degrade and destroy his administration”.
Meanwhile, speeches by some of those hardliners were cancelled, possibly fearing student protest. Among the cancellations were the addresses of Kayhan editor Hossein Shariatmadari, a leading critic of the nuclear talks, at Amir Kabir University; MP Hamid Rasaei at Qom University; MP Mohammad Nabavian at Arak University; Kayhan reporter Payam Fazelinejad in Esfahan; and Mohammad Reza Mirtajoddini, Vice President under Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, at Tabriz University.
Iraq FM in Tehran as Zarif Declares, “We Will Stand to End of Fight Against Islamic State”
Iraqi Foreign Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari has been hosted in Tehran, with his Iranian counterpart Mohammad Javad Zarif declaring that the Islamic Republic will stand by the Iraqi nation until the conclusion of the campaign against the Islamic State.
Zarif said at a joint press conference, “The Islamic Republic of Iran realized the danger of violence and extremism in Iraq since the very first day and stood by the Iraqi nation, and we will stand by the Iraqi people including Shias, Sunnis, Kurds and Arabs until the end of [their] fight against extremism and terror.”
He added that Iran calls for amicable ties with all regional countries and believes that Takfiri and extremist groups are threatening the entire region.
Jaafari said that Baghdad is seeking further cooperation and assistance from Tehran to fight the Islamic State.
The Iraqi Foreign Minister will attend Iran’s World Against Extremism and Violence conference on Tuesday and Wednesday.
Iran Military: We Scared Away U-2 Spy Plane
Iran’s commander of air defenses, General Farzad Esmaili has told students that the Islamic Republic scared away a US U-2 surveillance plane last week.
Esmaili said the U-2, an advanced plane in US spy efforts since the 1950s, was “alarmed” when Iranian missile shields locked on it.
“Last week a U-2 spy plane was tracked in the proximity of our country’s borders; our missile systems came into action and we warned the aircraft and made it make a U-turn,” Esmaili said in Mashhad.
He said that, although the U-2 is a stealth aircraft which cannot be picked up by radar screens of other militaries in teh region, “it was tracked and identified by our systems”.