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News | Friday Prayers Leaders: 'No Crisis,' But Ahmadinejad Gov't at Fault


06 Oct 2012 04:24Comments

Press Roundup provides a selected summary of news from the Farsi and Arabic press and excerpts where the source is in English. Tehran Bureau has not verified these stories and does not vouch for their accuracy. Any views expressed are the authors' own. Please refer to the Media Guide to help put the stories in perspective. You can follow breaking news stories on our Twitter feed.

Khatami10512PressTV.jpgQuote of the Day

"The circumstances in the country are normal and there is no crisis. We do have problems, and will have them again in the future. But there is no crisis.... If you are looking for crisis-ridden countries, take a look at those very countries that have sanctioned Iran. Just take a look at the enormous economic and social problems they face. Take a look at the United States, where the number of the poor exceeds our country's entire population. This is not mere propaganda; it is based on the statistics they themselves release.... What the Global Arrogance [the United States] tried to achieve during the eight-year war [with Iraq], they want to achieve in the 'Imposed Economic War.'... The people resisted in that war, saying constantly, 'We will not capitulate.' We are experiencing something similar. Today, the people, trusting in divine promises, will endure this pressure. The nation has demonstrated that it will not weaken under pressure [having] experienced harsh conditions [before].... While some of the pressure is due to sanctions, we must not ignore other factors.... Bad policies are also to blame."

-- Leading Friday Prayers in Tehran, Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami denies Iran is experiencing an economic crisis. Khatami also condemned the U.S. State Department's removal of the Mojahedin-e Khalgh Organization (MKO) from its list of foreign terrorist groups.

Aftermath of Black Wednesday

Clerics target Ahmadinejad as ordinary Iranians take economic hit

Khatami's mention of "bad policies" is an implicit but clear reference to the administration of President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, and hardly the only one of its kind made by Friday Prayers leaders around Iran over the past day. "In my view, only a small portion of the economic problems and inflation is related to the enemy sanctions; the main cause is the [government's] erroneous economic policies," said Isfahan's Ayatollah Seyyed Yousef Tabatabainejad according to the semiofficial Mehr News Agency. And Fars New Agency, a subsidiary of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps, quoted Mashhad's Ayatollah Ahmad Alamolhoda saying, "The day you took the votes...if you knew that you couldn't take on these problems and crises but told people you could, you have undoubtedly betrayed their rights."

On Friday, as well, United Nations Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon's most recent report to the General Assembly on the human rights situation in Iran, submitted last month, was made public. The report states, "The sanctions imposed on the Islamic Republic of Iran have had significant effects on the general population, including an escalation in inflation, a rise in commodities and energy costs, an increase in the rate of unemployment and a shortage of necessary items, including medicine.... Even companies that have obtained the requisite license to import food and medicine are facing difficulties in finding third-country banks to process the transactions." Many of those effects are tied to the declining strength of Iran's currency, the rial, which has not abated. Since the report was filed on September 15, the rial has lost over 40 percent of its hard currency value in the open market.

The Washington Post reports that in a radio interview Thursday, Israeli Foreign Minister Avigdor Lieberman said that he thought Iran's economic situation could spark a "Persian Spring" and called on world leaders to support the political opposition within the country. According to Iranians who communicated with Reuters, the crashing foreign-exchange value of the rial is already having an impact at the grocery register. "Eggs, milk, cheese, infant formula, cooking oil, rice and beans have all increased over the last six days," wrote one Tehran-based blogger via email. "I've seen people buying lots of food and some of them are stockpiling." Bloomberg Businessweek reported yesterday on Iranians' foregoing meat for less expensive foods.

Video of the Day

An excerpt from Ayatollah Khatami's Tehran Friday Prayers sermon. No translation from the Farsi is provided -- this excerpt includes part of the passage quoted above as well as Khatami's call for a crackdown on those he describes as "hoarding" goods.

Opinion of the Day

Nuclear physicist Yousaf Butt, a professor and scientist in residence at the James Martin Center for Nonproliferation Studies at the Monterey Institute of International Studies, writes at the Foreign Policy website that sanctions are not working and are "not designed to work":

In a recent Foreign Policy article, Alireza Nader argued that U.S. sanctions on Iran have played an important role in preventing the country from acquiring nuclear weapons. To the contrary, because of their wording, the sanctions have been -- and still are -- a roadblock to resolving the nuclear issue. As they bite further, and with the value of the rial dropping precipitously, the sanctions are simply shifting the focus of anger in the Iranian street from the regime toward the United States.

As Nader correctly states, "the Iranian regime has not made any major concessions on the nuclear program." Because the sanctions were (ostensibly) designed to influence Iran's nuclear calculus, it is safe to say that they have objectively failed. There is a reason for this: The legislative text of the sanctions goes way beyond Iran's nuclear program and, in fact, provides a disincentive for Iran to cooperate with the United States.

[... T]he sanctions can only be lifted after the U.S. president certifies to Congress "that the government of Iran has: (1) released all political prisoners and detainees; (2) ceased its practices of violence and abuse of Iranian citizens engaging in peaceful political activity; (3) conducted a transparent investigation into the killings and abuse of peaceful political activists in Iran and prosecuted those responsible; and (4) made progress toward establishing an independent judiciary." [...]

So even if Iran were to completely shutter its nuclear program tomorrow, it would still be sanctioned by the United States. But if it's going to be sanctioned no matter what it does with its nuclear program, why should Tehran make any nuclear concessions at all?

Video Grab of the Day


From Press TV, the English-language subsidiary of Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting. A crowd, including hundreds of young students, gathered in Tehran Friday to protest the anti-Islamic "Innocence of Muslims" video.

Copyright © 2012 Tehran Bureau

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