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The Iranist
Week of April 1st
Happy Sizdah Bedar from The Iranist! 🌷
Khamenei’s speech criticizes Rafsanjani
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei defended Tehran’s ballistic missile program during a speech. Khamenei said, “If the Islamic establishment seeks technology and negotiations but does not have defensive power, it will have to back down in the face of any petty country that threatens it.”
The Supreme Leader also indirectly condemned Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani for criticizing the missile program on social media. He chastised domestic critics saying, “That they say the future of the world is one of negotiation and not one of missiles.” Then Khamenei invoked, almost verbatim, a recent Tweet by Rafsanjani, the head of the country’s Expediency council, who said, “The future of the world is one of dialogue, not missiles.”  Khamenei said, “if that is said out of ignorance, well it is ignorance, but if it’s said knowingly, it is treason.” Following the speech, Rafsanjani’s social media team issued a correction, claiming the original Tweet only contained part of Rafsanjani’s comments.
Defense Minister General Hossein Dehghan believes the United Nations Security Council will not take any measures over Tehran’s ballistic missile tests. "I am certain that the Security Council and the United Nations will not respond as our actions are neither a breach of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (the July nuclear deal) nor are they against Resolution 2231," he said.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said Tehran will counter new sanctions by boosting missile power.

Austria visit canceled
President Hassan Rouhani canceled this week’s visit to Austria due to security reasons. The Iranian president was set to meet Austrian President Heinz Fischer and other Austrian officials on Wednesday and Thursday, his second trip to the European Union since the JCPOA. According to Die Presse newspaper, Iran demanded Austria stop planned demonstrations over the country’s nuclear program during the visit. A spokesman for Austria’s Interior Ministry said there were “no concrete signs of a security threat” and the preparation for the visit was “completely ordinary and routine.” IRNA claims the cancellation was “based on mutual agreement in order to allow better planning and coordination from both sides.” A new date has not been announced.
Meanwhile, Rouhani visited Pakistan for two days to boost economic trade and ties. He was the first Iranian president to do so in 14 years.

After the suicide attack on a park in Lahore, Rouhani offered condolences on behalf of Iran.


Tehran and Riyadh talk normalizing ties
While in Pakistan, President Rouhani said Tehran wasn’t interested in maintaining tensions with Saudi Arabia. At a news conference in Islamabad, Rouhani claimed Saudi Arabia played an important role in the Muslim World and "if there is any problem between two countries, it should be resolved through talks.’’ He added, ‘‘Iran’s nuclear pact is an example for the world. We have overcome problems through dialogues.”
A day later, Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al-Jubeir urged Iran to change its "behavior" in order to normalize ties with one another.
Months after the Saudi foreign minister Tweeted damning remarks about Iran, Mohsen Rezaee, the Secretary of the Expediency Discernment Council, replied on Twitter: “Wherever a terrorist attack has carried out, there always have been the footprints of a Saudi, but never an Iranian.”

Cyber-attack denial
Tehran denied last week’s cyber-attack charges issued by the U.S. Department of Justice against seven Iranian citizens for lack of evidence. Hossein Jaberi Ansari, Iran’s Foreign Ministry spokesman, said the U.S. “is not in any position to charge citizens of other countries, not least Iran’s, without providing any documentary evidence. Iran has never had dangerous actions in cyberspace on its agenda nor has it ever supported such actions.” He added that the U.S. was behind a number of cyber-attacks on the country’s nuclear program, which put “the lives of millions of innocent people” at risk of an environment disaster.
One of the Iranians charged, Hamid Firoozi, reportedly used “Google dorking” to hack a New York Dam. According to cyber security experts the act is “neither illegal nor always malicious” and is primarily used to test a computer system for vulnerabilities.
Is the U.S. a hypocrite on Iran’s cyber-attack? A Harvard law professor weighs in.

Happy Sizdah Bedar!
Today marks the thirteenth and last day of Nowruz. Iranians traditionally spend the day at the park with family and friends.
Other stories that made headlines
-- Man sentenced to have eye gouged out after blinding another man in a fight.

-- Jailed blogger on hunger strike: “The status quo is a slow death sentence”.

-- Iranian group gets help from Islam to save juveniles from execution.
-- Air ambulance helicopter crashes near Shiraz, killing seven on board.
-- Iran’s absence from the Nuclear Security Summit is a missed opportunity.

-- Jordan's King Abdullah accuses Iran of exporting weapons to Africa.

-- NSA director makes secret trip to Israel to discuss cyber defense against Iran.
-- Iran's answer to pop stars: religious singers serenade Syria war.

-- Tehran congratulates Syrian President Bashar Al-Assad on regaining Palmyra.

-- Neoconservative argues Iran is crucial to stabilizing an out-of-control Middle East.
 -- Crown Prince says Saudi Arabia will only freeze oil production if Iran, others join.
-- What Reza Zarrab's arrest means for President Rouhani.
-- Severing Iran ties in 2012 did nothing for us, says new Canadian FM.
-- Who will be the next chair of Iran's Assembly of Experts?
-- French seize weapons cache in Indian Ocean that may have come from Iran.
-- Tehran working with Asian investors and builders to revamp several key refineries.
-- Iran says “very likely” that a Boeing deal coming.

-- Iranian expats hard to woo as Western firms seek foothold in Tehran.

-- Sanctions, western misunderstanding and religion: 100 Iranians share their views.
-- Iranians losing confidence in U.S. compliance with JCPOA.
-- New U.S. sanctions concession to Iran may be in works.
-- Obama administration puttering on sanctions relief risks derailing Iran Deal.
-- Why does Rouhani want a second JCPOA?

-- Four more Iranian banks have reportedly reconnected to SWIFT.
-- U.S. moves to give Iran limited access to dollars.

-- Updated frequently asked questions on the visa waiver restrictions.

-- Have you heard of Hashem Beni Torofi: the Arab, the Iranian, the revolutionary?

-- A sanctuary for stray dogs grows in Iran thanks to social media.
-- "Blackheart" documentary follows black metal diehard fans from Colombia, Iran.

-- Check out TechRasa, a website that provides Iran startup news and analysis.
-- Slovenian guys make a cute video about backpacking in Iran.

-- From Iran, with love: Virtual lessons in cooking and diplomacy.

-- NASA names asteroid after Iranian scientist who was former director for JPL.

-- A visual tour of Iran's tilework.

-- Iranian-American artist 3D prints replicas of artifacts destroyed by ISIS.

-- How art can help defuse Middle East tensions

-- The man who took actress Elizabeth Taylor to Iran in 1976.
-- University of Oklahoma to establish Center for Iranian and Persian Gulf Studies.
-- Prince Charles ‘plans’ historic royal trip to Iran.
...تا هفته بعد

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