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Iranian press review: Raisi further militarises his administration

Meanwhile, Tehran blames US over deadlock in nuclear talks, late president’s daughter charged with 'insulting the sacred' and thugs recruited in Tehran’s housing market
Gholam Reza was a member of the Quds Force, the international branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (AFP)

Raisi appoints former Soleimani ally as deputy

The appointment of a high-ranking intelligence officer as a deputy interior minister has fuelled concerns over the increasing presence of military and intelligence officers in Iranian President Ebrahim Raisi’s administration.

Interior Minister Ahmad Vahidi appointed Mohammad Reza Gholam Reza as his political deputy on Sunday, Ensaf News reported.

Little is known of Gholam Reza, although local media reported he had served as deputy intelligence minister and head of Tehran’s provincial intelligence organisation.

The state-owned Iran Newspaper wrote that Gholam Reza was also a deputy of Qassem Soleimani, the late commander of the Quds Force, the international branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC).

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The newspaper said that Gholam Reza had fought alongside Soleimani, without elaborating where or when.

Ahead of the new appointment, a reshuffle was reported last week at the highest level of the IRGC, with two of the force’s most influential intelligence commanders being dismissed.

The men who lost their positions were Hossein Taeb, the IRGC spy chief, and his close partner Brigadier General Ebrahim Jabbari, commander of the IRGC's Hefazat-e Vali-e Amr forces.

The Hefazat-e Vali-e Amr is responsible for the security of Iran’s supreme leader.

Nuclear deal 'will fail' unless US addresses Iran’s demands

Mohammad Marandi, the media adviser to Iran’s nuclear negotiating team, has said that attempts to revive the 2015 nuclear deal, known as the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), will fail if the West does not guarantee Iran’s economic gains from the deal.

“The two topics related to receiving a guarantee [from the West] and the removal of sanctions have been very crucial for Iran, and the implementation of the JCPOA will fail again unless these are solved,” Marandi said in an interview with the hardline Jam-e Jam daily.

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Iran agreed to curb its nuclear programme in 2015 in return for the lifting of international sanctions against its economy, however, the US unilaterally left the deal in 2018, subsequently imposing more than 1,000 new sanctions against the Islamic Republic.

During negotiations to revive the deal which began in April 2021, Iran urged Washington to guarantee it would not leave the deal again.

Marandi said that Iran’s three leading concerns regarding any new deal were: the removal of sanctions; a guarantee from the US over its commitments to the agreement; and an initial verification period for the US commitments.
“We should wait and see what the US will do. We will see if the US has finally decided to reach a good agreement or will continue procrastinating,” said Marandi.

Rafsanjani's daughter charged

A branch of the Islamic Revolutionary Court in Tehran has charged Faezeh Hashemi Rafsanjani, the daughter of former president Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, of “carrying out propaganda against the Islamic Republic” and “insulting the sacred,” the pro-conservative Javan daily reported.

Hashemi, a women’s rights activist, is known for her stand against the wearing of the obligatory hijab, defending religious minorities, and opposing the IRGC’s role in Iran’s foreign policy and economy.

According to the Javan daily, the charges against Hashemi were issued following comments she made about what she said was the Prophet Muhammad’s failure in managing financial affairs.

In a video that went viral on Farsi social media, Hashemi said: “The Prophet Muhammad wasted Khadija’s money... The Prophet Muhammad didn’t [know how to] do financial activities; he did prophecy,” referring to the Muhammad’s wife, Khadija bint Khuwaylid.

Hashemi, who was elected to Iran’s parliament in 1996 for one term, opposed the conservative politics of her father, who had assisted Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in becoming Iran’s supreme leader.

In 2012, she was imprisoned for six months over similar charges of “propaganda against the Islamic system”.

Property developers recruit gangs

Property developers in Tehran are employing thugs to terrorise municipal officials reporting building code violations on new constructions in the capital, a report in the Shahrvand newspaper has revealed.

In line with the increasing cost of living in Tehran, accommodation prices have risen sharply, benefitting those in the construction industry.

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According to official data, flats in Tehran sold for an average of 400m Iranian rials ($9,500) per square metre in June.

The Shahrvand said recruitment of thugs had occurred most in Tehran’s 18 and 19 districts, two of the most disadvantaged neighbourhoods in the south of the capital.

One of the most common code violations in Iran takes place when constructors build more storeys than they have been given permission to from the municipality.

In May, such violations led to the collapse of a 10-storey building in the southwestern city of Abadan, which left 37 people dead.

The Shahrvand said that in some southern districts of Tehran, thugs had prevented municipality officials from sealing off buildings constructed higher than the permit allows.

On other occasions, the newspaper said, owners of buildings with irregularities had let them to low-income families for free in order to prevent their demolition.

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