Iranian Press on Iraq Crisis
The USG Open Source Center gives highlights of the Iranian press on the Iraq crisis:
|Highlights: Iranian Media on Iraqi Developments 20-26 April 2007
Iran — OSC Summary
Friday, April 27, 2007
The following are highlights of Iran-Iraq relations as reported in conservative, reformist, and opposition websites monitored by OSC. Majles Vice Speaker Calls for US Troops to Withdraw from Iraq
(24 April) – – During a meeting with Denmark’s Foreign Minister in Tehran, Mohammad Hossein Abu Torabi-fard, the Vice Speaker of the Majles, said that Iran “seeks to soothe violence and insecurities in (Iraq) and assist establishment of security and stability as well as strengthening of the legal government of Iraq, which has ascended to power through public vote and the Constitution.” Torabi-fard went on to say that the “occupation of Iraq by alien troops has turned that country into a symbol of violence and unrest and a scene of terrorism and massacre of innocent people,” and he called on the “occupiers” to withdraw from Iraq (Tehran Fars News Agency — conservative news agency sympathetic to traditional clerics). Foreign Ministry Spokesman Condemns Attacks Near Iran’s Baghdad Embassy
(24 April) Following two car bomb explosions in a parking lot outside the Iranian embassy in Baghdad, Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Mohammad Ali Hoseyni described “the ignorant attitude of occupying troops toward such inhumane actions of terrorists as ambiguous.” Hoseyni condemned the terrorist attacks, saying: “Such dastardly moves can disrupt the resolve of the two countries to deepen relations . . . (they) are in line with the same series of explosions which shed the blood of innocent Iraqi people on a daily basis and aim to impair Iraq’s stability and security” (Tehran Fars News Agency — conservative news agency sympathetic to traditional clerics). Ahmadinezhad Urges US Troops to Withdraw from Iraq
(23 April) – – Speaking in an interview with an unidentified Spanish television station, President Ahmadinezhad urged the United States to withdraw its troops from Iraq. “However,” he said, they stayed in Iraq for the sake of oil reserves and are now facing problems . . . “For the sake of the Iraqi people, Iran was prepared to help, but the US again did not let us play a role in solving the problem” (Tehran IRNA in English — official state-run news agency). Mehr Editorial Accuses CIA of Aiding Terrorist Groups in Iraq
(23 April) – – An editorial on the conservative Mehr News Agency’s website criticized the US for allegedly “using” the Mojahedin-e Khalq Organization (MKO) to “destabilize Iran”; it was purportedly protected by the US Army at Camp Ashraf in Iraq, which the editorial maintained “makes the US government complicit in the terrorist acts that have been carried out inside Iran.” It also accused the US, and the CIA in particular, of using the Party for a Free Life in Kurdistan (PJAK) Jundallah (Gods Brigade) for the same goal, and cited Greg Elich of www.GlobalResearch.ca as saying that “US and Israeli officials are setting up front companies to help finance future covert activities in Iran.” The editorial concluded by saying that “An old adage comes to mind when thinking about how the CIA armed and financed Osama bin Laden and the Mujahedin in Afghanistan during the 1980s to undermine the Soviet Union: History repeats itself; the first time is tragedy, the second time is farce” (Tehran Mehr News Agency in English – conservative news agency sympathetic to traditional clerics). Iran Cuts Tariffs on Iraq-bound Goods by Half
(22 April) – – Iran’s Ports and Shipping Organization (PSO) announced that in line with the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on maritime cooperation between Iran and Iraq, Iran has reduced the port tariffs and costs for the vessels that transport goods to Iraq by 50 percent. The discount, however, does not include oil tankers or the vessel towing expenses that are normally charged by the private sector directly (Tehran Mehr News Agency in English – conservative news agency sympathetic to traditional clerics). Boroujerdi Calls for Stability in Iraq
(22 April) – – In a meeting with Iraqi provincial officials from the Islamic Party of Diala province, the Head of the Majles Commission for National Security and Foreign Policy, Alaeddin Boroujerdi, called the “systematic massacre of Iraqi people” a “dark page of history”; he said that “the enemies of Iraq have very inhumane plots for the whole region and partitioning Iraq is among them.” Boroujerdi went on to say that “Iran advocates the restoration of stability and security in Iraq,” adding “Iran would spare no efforts to bring the chaotic situation in Iraq to an end” (Tehran IRNA (Internet Version-WWW) in English — official state-run news agency). Editorial Calls for Creation of ‘Collective Security Arrangement’ of Gulf States
(21 April) – – An editorial by Mohammad Reza Nuri-Shahrudi argued that Iran and Saudi Arabia should “stand up to the arrogant policies of the West” and “not allow the common enemy of religion and humanity, whose scurrilous intent these days is to create discrimination and division and fan the flames of religious and sectarian war, to achieve its evil aims.” The editorial added that “(t)he enemy in Iraq sees it as in its interests to create discrimination and disunity” and urged that a “collective security arrangement of Persian Gulf states” be established, as recommended by the Supreme Leader. Doing so, the editorial claimed, would “gradually diminish this illegitimate presence in the region” and allow the “strategic Persian Gulf region (to) no longer be witness to the heavy investments which have been imposed from . . . an economic, military, and political point of view” (Tehran Jomhuri-ye Eslami (Internet Version-WWW) in Persian — Tehran daily insisting on strict adherence to Khomeyni’s ideals. Claims to be factionally independent but takes extremely conservative positions). Construction of Security Wall in Baghdad Commentary on Wall Being an ‘Outright Partition’
(26 April) — An unattributed commentary in Jomhuri-ye Eslami opines that the construction of the wall in Al-A`zamiyah is “unprecedented” in history and an “outright partition” of Sunnis and Shi`as by the “occupiers,” trying to fuel sectarian tension. Shi`as and Sunnis have gotten along in Iraq, according to the commentary. Together they ousted the British from Iraq, and even during the height of Saddam’s rule, there was no division. While Al-Maliki has expressed his opposition to the wall and US forces have said they respect the “wish of the government and the people,” they have prevented the Al-A`zamiyah residents from demonstrating against the construction of the wall. In the same way that the British used the Sikhs as a “superior class” for their own ends, the “occupiers” are trying to use the Sunnis (Tehran Jomhuri-ye Eslami in Persian, hardline conservative daily). Al-Maliki States Opposition to Wall (24 April) — Iraqi Prime Minister Al-Maliki said he has asked the US Army to stop the construction of the wall around Baghdad’s Sunni section of Al-A`zamiyah, Resalat reported, citing a Fars News Agency report, which in turn cited Al-Jazirah. The report said US forces started the construction of a four-and-a-half kilometer wall on 10 April, purportedly to end religious strife. According to the report, residents of this section have declared their opposition, adding that the wall will fuel ethnic tension and is only intended to protect the “occupiers.” Iraqi MP Muhammad al-Dayini called it an effort to divide Baghdad and turn sections into large prisons. According to Resalat, now that Bush and his policies in Iraq have failed, the neoconservatives are preparing to partition Iraq, weaken the Al-Maliki government and fuel religious-tribal conflict. A 23 April Resalat report suggested that, the US aims to return the Ba`thists to power to gain Arab countries’ cooperation ahead of the Sharm al-Shaykh sessions. Al-A`zamiyah Residents Prepare To Demonstrate (24 April) — The residents of Al-A`zamiyah whose movements are “under strict control by the US Army” because of the construction of the security wall, are preparing to demonstrate against the “occupiers,” Keyhan said, citing reports from Cairo where Prime Minister Al-Maliki, in a news conference after meeting with Arab League Secretary General Amr Musa, declaried his opposition to the construction of the wall (Tehran Keyhan in Persian, conservative daily edited by Hoseyn Shari’atmadari, Leader Khamene’i’s representative at the Keyhan Institute where it is published).
. Iraqis Oppose Building of Wall (23 April) — Residents of Baghdad have criticized the construction of the security wall by the US Army, Keyhan reported, citing Iraqi sources. According to the report, one resident said the building of the wall is not going to protect Iraqis, it will increase sectarian friction. The plan is to divide the different sections of the city in order for the US to better protect its own forces. Another city dweller said the wall will add to the difficulties of Iraqis, who are unable to drive even now in this area. According to the report, the residents of the affected Al-A`zamiyah area announced that they would target US forces if the building were to continue. Diplomats Continue To Be Detained
. Iraqi Security Official Says Diplomat Kidnapped on US Instructions (25 April) — A high ranking Iraqi security official said that Iranian diplomat Jalal Sharafi who was released a month ago, was kidnapped on the orders of US security organizations, Resalat reported, citing Fars News Agency. The source added that Sharafi was released because of the intervention of Iraqis in Al-Maliki’s government, such as the National Security Advisor Muwafaq al-Rabi’yi and Treasury Minister Baqir Jabar Sawlagh. According to Resalat, he but had to be hospitalized because of “severe torture” by US agents (Tehran Resalat in Persian, conservative daily owned by the Resalat Foundation; associated with traditional merchants and conservative clerics). Commentary on Detainment of Diplomats
(22 April) — Commentator Mehdi Mohammadi wrote that the attack on the Iranian Consulate was meant to blame Iran for the US “defeat” in Iraq, but the US has failed to show any proof of Iranian meddling in Iraq. Despite diplomatic efforts and over 100 days of waiting, the Iranian diplomats continue to be detained. Mohammadi added that Iran has a great deal of influence in the Middle East. The US ought to know, he warned, that aside from bargaining, “Iran has other means at its disposal and will use them when needed” (Keyhan in Persian). Arbil Kidnapping Indicative of Collapse of US Reputation (21 April) — Islamic Coalition Party Secretary General Mohammad Nabi Habibi described the 100-day “illegal detention” of the Iranian diplomats as an “unequivocal enmity” toward Iran, Resalat reported, citing Habibi’s conversation with Mehr News Agency. Habibi added that pursuant to “repeated US defeats” in the Middle East and especially Iraq, US has resorted to such acts in order “to salvage its reputation” (Resalat in Persian) Iraq Security Meeting in Sharm al-Shaykh
. Reza’i Urges Iran to Participate in Sharm al-Shaykh Conference (25 April) – – On the sidelines of a conference entitled “Persian Gulf, the Symbol of Convergence of Regional Islamic Countries,” Dr Mohsen Reza’i, the Chairman of the Expediency Council, answered a question by a Mehr correspondent about whether Iran would participate in the upcoming Sharm al-Shaykh conference on Iraq, saying: “I believe that Iran should take advantage of this opportunity and defend its position and influence in the region while preserving its interests and dignity. While conferences such as Sharm al-Shaykh and Riyadh are being held with special purposes, inter alia, to weaken Iran’s role in Iraq and the region, we should not become too sentimental and should powerfully and shrewdly take part in the conference” (Tehran Mehr News Agency in English – conservative news agency sympathetic to traditional clerics).
. Zebari: Success of Sharm al-Shaykh Contingent on Iranian Participation (24) — Iraqi Foreign Minister Hoshyar Zebari said the aim of his visit to Tehran is to ask Iranian officials to participate in the Sharm al-Shaykh meetings, Mehr News Agency reported, citing Al-Ahram newspaper. Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Seyyed Mohammad Ali Hoseyni had said Iran’s problem with the Sharm al-Shaykh meetings is its “venue and content” (Tehran Mehr News Agency in Persian – conservative news agency sympathetic to traditional clerics).
. Elham: Iran to ‘Facilitate’ Meeting with Iraq’s Neighbors (24 April) – – Government spokesman Gholam Hoseyn Elham said that Iran would “attempt to facilitate the next meeting of Iraq’s neighboring countries,” a reference to the upcoming conference in Sharm al-Shaykh, Egypt. Elham went on to state that “Given the high significance of Iraq to us and our intention to strengthen the Iraqi government, attempts toward withdrawal of foreign troops from the country and establishment of a popular and legal government are underway” (I assume the quotation ends here) (Tehran IRNA in English — official state-run news agency). Mottaki on Iraqi Security Meeting
(21 April) — Regarding Iranian participation in the Iraqi security meeting in Sharm-al Shaykh, Foreign Minister Manuchehr Mottaki said in an exclusive interview with Keyhan ‘s Gholamreza Taki that even before the first Iraqi meeting in Baghdad, Turkey had expressed interest in hosting the 2 nd meeting and Iran and Syria had agreed to it. It was also decided that should the 2 nd conference not take place in Baghdad, the Iraqi government with the consultation of its neighbors would announce the place. Unfortunately, Mottaki complained, the neighbors were not consulted. Regional or international meetings should not decide the fate of Iraq and its people, he added. In the last few years, he said, Iraq’s neighbors incorporated assistance to Iraq and Iraqis in their own developmental plans, but the meetings in Sharm al-Shaykh “sideline the role of Iraq’s neighbors.” Commentary on Egyptian Venue on Iraqi Security (21 April) — Commentator Mohammad Bustani’s said Egypt is “unsuitable” as the venue for the conference on Iraqi security as Egyptians have lost their former position in the Arab world because of their cooperation with the US. Furthermore, he claimed the US is trying to establish security in Iraq only on the surface but has given the terrorists a free hand. Bustani added that the US and the Ba`thists, who aim to “defeat” the Baghdad Security Plan, forced al-Maliki to bring into the Iraqi Cabinet Ba`thist figures “acceptable” to Washington (Resalat in Persian). ‘