Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.{{authorBox.message}}

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Key takeaway: Former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh’s death and the fracturing of the al Houthi-Saleh alliance will likely allow Iran to increase its influence in Yemen.

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati said that former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh “got what he deserved” after Iranian-backed al Houthi rebels killed Saleh on December 4. IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari commended al Houthi forces and the Yemeni people in “neutralizing” the “Saudi-led plot” of overthrowing the rightful Yemeni government.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from December 3 - 6.

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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4 days ago

Iranian officials: Saleh’s death is a win for the Yemeni people

Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati said that recently-killed former Yemeni president Ali Abdullah Saleh participated in a failed Emirati and Saudi Arabian-led plot to stab the Yemeni people in the back. Velayati stressed that the “Yemeni people decide their own future” and that “Saleh got what he deserved.” Velayati indicated Yemeni resistance forces will be successful like other resistance forces such as Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraqi Popular Mobilization Forces (PMF), and the pro-Assad Syrian Arab Army. Foreign Ministry spokesperson Bahram Ghassemi invited all Yemeni forces to remain calm and to exert self-control. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari suggested that the Yemeni people “neutralized” the “Saudi-led plot” to overthrow the Yemeni government. Jafari likened recent events in Yemen to the failed efforts of the Kurdish Regional Government (KRG) in Iraqi Kurdistan following the September 25 Iraqi Kurdistan independence referendum. Iranian-supported al Houthi forces killed Saleh on December 4 in Sanaa, Yemen following clashes between Houthi and pro-Saleh forces. (IRIB) (Tasnim News Agency) (Defa Press)

4 days ago

Iranian officials condemn Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as Israel’s capital.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called President Donald Trump’s recognition of Jerusalem as the official Israeli capital a sign of weakness and a failure. President Hassan Rouhani said that Iran will not tolerate the violation of sacred Islamic sites and urged the global Islamic community to take serious countermeasures against Trump’s decision. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani warned that the U.S. will be responsible for the destabilizing effects of its unwise decision. Trump officially recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel on December 6. Trump instructed the State Department to formulate plans to move the U.S. embassy from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem. (Reuters) (E) (Fars News Agency) (IRIB)

  • President Hassan Rouhani condemned regional countries for “revealing” their ties to Israel in a statement delivered on December 5. Rouhani emphasized that the Muslims of the world will not allow these plans to come to fruition. Rouhani’s statement follows Israeli Energy Minister Yuval Steinitz’s November 19 remarks that Israel maintains covert contacts with “many Muslim and Arab countries” to address concerns regarding Iran. (President.ir)
4 days ago

IRGC official commends alleged Houthi missile strike on Abu Dhabi

IRGC Political Deputy Brig. Gen. Rasoul Sanaei Rad said that the alleged Houthi targeting of an Emirati nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi, UAE indicates Houthi forces’ advanced defensive capabilities. Houthi rebels claimed that they targeted and successfully destroyed the Barakah nuclear reactor with a cruise missile on December 2. The UAE denied the Houthis’ claim. Several reports noted that the cruise missile shown in a video published by the pro-Houthi outlet Al Masirah bears a striking resemblance to the Iranian-made Soumar long-range cruise missile. (Donya-e Eqtesad)

  • Hardline Iranian newspaper Kayhan published the front-page headline “Abu Dhabi startled! Riyadh in terror of next strike!” on December 3 following the alleged Houthi missile strike on a nuclear power plant in Abu Dhabi. Kayhan also republished their controversial November 5 front-page editorial of “Houthi missile strike targeting Riyadh, next [target] Dubai.” (Kayhan)

Citations & Links

1. IRIB
http://www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/1931773/%D8%A2%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%DB%8C%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85-%DB%8C%D9%85%D9%86-%D8%AA%D8%B9%DB%8C%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF

2. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1396/09/12/1591526/%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%85%DB%8C-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%DB%8C%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%DA%AF%D9%81%D8%AA-%D9%88%DA%AF%D9%88-%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AD%D9%84-%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF

3. Defa Press
http://www.defapress.ir/fa/news/269290/

Citations & Links

1. Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-usa-trump-israel-iran/u-s-plan-to-move-israel-embassy-sign-of-failure-irans-leader-says-idUSKBN1E00VI

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960915000706

3. IRIB
http://www.iribnews.ir/fa/news/1932891/%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%B5%D8%AF%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B7%D8%A6%D9%87-%D8%AC%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D9%87%D8%A7-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%AD%DA%A9%D9%88%D9%85-%D9%85%DB%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF

4. President.ir
http://president.ir/fa/101886

Citations & Links

1. Donya-e Eqtesad
http://donya-e-eqtesad.com/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-62/3323242-%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%88%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D8%B4-%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B4%D9%84%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B4%DA%A9-%DB%8C%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%AA

2. Kayhan
http://kayhan.ir/fa/news/120203/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D9%82-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%DA%86%D8%B4%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%A8%D9%88%D8%B8%D8%A8%DB%8C-%D9%BE%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B6-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%88%D8%AD%D8%B4%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B4%D9%84%DB%8C%DA%A9-%D8%A8%D8%B9%D8%AF%DB%8C

Military and Security
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4 days ago

Jafari appoints new IRGC Ground Forces Deputy Commander

IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari appointed Brig. Gen. Ruhollah Nouri as new IRGC Ground Forces Deputy Commander on December 4, replacing IRGC Brig. Gen. Abdollah Eraghi. Nouri previously commanded the IRGC Ground Forces Madineh Operational Base and the IRGC Sarallah (Kerman Province) Unit. It is unclear who will assume Nouri’s previous post at the IRGC Ground Forces Madineh Operational Base. Iranian media did not specify Eraghi’s new post. (Defa Press) (ILNA)

Citations & Links

1. Defa Press
http://www.defapress.ir/fa/news/269123/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AD-%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%86%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B4%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%81%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%B4%D8%AF

2. ILNA`
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/566571-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A8-%D8%A2%D8%AA%D8%B4-%DA%AF%D9%84%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%B3%D8%AA-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%85-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B2%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%AA%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AE%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AF

Key takeaway: Israeli Defense Forces targeted a recently-constructed Iranian military base in southern Syria.

Israeli Defense Forces launched several missiles toward Iranian military base in Kiswah, Rif Dimashq Governorate in southern Syria on December 2. The BBC published satellite imagery illustrating Iran’s  construction of new buildings and the refurbishment of existing buildings at a compound in Kiswah eight miles south of Damascus. Iranian and Israeli officials have not publicly confirmed the attack or that the target of the strike was likely an Iranian military site. The Iranian military base is located approximately 40 miles from Israel’s northeastern border with Syria.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from November 30 - December 2.

 

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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December 05, 2017

Israeli missiles target Iranian base in southern Syria

Israeli Defense Forces launched several missiles toward a newly-constructed Iranian military base in Kiswah, Rif Dimashq Governorate in southern Syria on December 2. The BBC recently released a series of satellite images showing the construction of an Iranian military base in an old Syrian Arab Army military base in Kiswah located eight miles south of Damascus. Syrian state media reported that the Syrian army intercepted two of the Israeli missiles with surface-to-air missiles after midnight on December 2. Iranian and Israeli officials have not addressed the missile strike publicly. (Twitter) (BBC Persian)

  • Alleged Iranian deaths in Israeli missile strike. The Times of Israel stated that IRGC-affiliated Telegram accounts allegedly reported the deaths of 12 Iranian military personnel in the Israeli missile strike targeting the Kiswah base. Iranian state media and news outlets have not confirmed the deaths of any Iranian soldiers relating to the December 2 strike. (Times of Israel)

 

December 05, 2017

UN links al Houthi missile strikes to Iran

UN sanctions monitors linked recent al Houthi missile strikes fired into Saudi Arabia to Iran in a November 24 confidential report to the UN Security Council (UNSC). The UN officials stated that four Houthi ballistic missiles launched in 2017 shared characteristics with missiles designed and manufactured in Iran. The report indicated that the design and dimensions of the Houti ballistic missiles are consistent with the Iranian-made Qiam-1 missile. The report noted that brokers likely transferred the missiles to al Houthi forces along land routes from Oman into al Mahrah Governorate in eastern Yemen or via ship-to-shore transshipments. UN monitors assessed that brokers transferred the ballistic missiles in pieces into Yemen, and pro-Houthi missile engineers subsequently assembled the missiles. The report indicated that UN monitors “have not seen any evidence of external missile specialists working in Yemen in support of Houthi-Saleh engineers.” (Reuters) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Twitter
https://mobile.twitter.com/QalaatAlMudiq/status/936987421274755073

2. BBC Persian
http://www.bbc.com/persian/world-42207791

3. Times of Israel
https://www.timesofisrael.com/arab-media-12-iranians-killed-in-israeli-strike-in-syria/

Citations & Links

1. Reuters
https://www.reuters.com/article/us-yemen-security-un-exclusive/exclusive-yemen-rebel-missiles-fired-at-saudi-arabia-appear-iranian-u-n-idUSKBN1DU36N

Nuclear Deal Developments
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December 05, 2017

Zarif commends EU positions on JCPOA.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif said that Europe has taken a more positive, decisive position on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during a meeting with EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs Federica Mogherini on November 30. Senior Iranian officials, including Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, have previously criticized EU countries for not taking practical measures to oppose President Trump’s policies on the JCPOA. Zarif added that European companies have travelled to Iran in recent months to negotiate agricultural and nuclear cooperative agreements. (Mehr News Agency) (ILNA)

December 05, 2017

French official says Iran’s missile program violates UNSCR 2231

French Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Agnes Romatet-Espagne stated that Iran’s ballistic missile program is not compliant with UN Security Council Resolution (UNSCR) 2231. UNSCR 2231 endorsed the nuclear deal signed between the P5+1 and Iran in July 2015 and calls upon Iran to not undertake any activity related to ballistic missiles designed to be capable of delivering nuclear weapons, including launches using such ballistic missile technology. Romatet-Espagne urged the U.S. and EU countries to address Iran’s ballistic missile program and destabilizing regional activities outside of the framework of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Romatet-Espagne reiterated France’s support for the JCPOA and emphasized that “France does not wish to renegotiate or amend [the JCPOA].” She added that France has entered into political talks with Iran over the past few months to address the issues related to Iran’s ballistic missile program and destabilizing regional activities. (Alef) (Fars News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Mehr News Agency
https://en.mehrnews.com/news/129849/Zarif-appreciates-EU-s-solid-stances-towards-JCPOA

2. ILNA
http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/565082-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%88%D9%BE%D8%A7-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B9%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B6%D8%B9-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B4-%D8%A8%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%82%D8%A7%D8%B7%D8%B9-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA

Citations & Links

1. Alef
http://www.alef.ir/news/3960910116.html

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960910000862

Key takeaway: U.S. Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) sanctioned new entities and individuals involved in a “large-scale” IRGC Quds Force-orchestrated counterfeiting scheme, increasing pressure on European partners to address Iran’s destabilizing regional behavior.

OFAC designated two Iranian companies, two German-registered front companies, and two Iranian nationals for providing material and financial support to the IRGC Quds Force in printing counterfeit Yemeni bank notes. The sanctions were likely designed to urge European countries to address Iran’s destabilizing regional activities and to disincentivize European companies from conducting business with Iran.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from November 17-20.

Economy
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November 21, 2017

OFAC sanctioned new entities and individuals involved in counterfeiting scheme.

Treasury Department’s Office of Foreign Assets Control (OFAC) designated two Iranian companies, two German-registered front companies, and two Iranian nationals involved in a counterfeiting scheme with the IRGC Quds Force to print counterfeit Yemeni bank notes. Treasury Secretary Steve Mnuchin said that the “scheme exposes the deep levels of deception the IRGC Quds Force is willing to employ against companies in Europe, governments in the Gulf, and the rest of the world to support its destabilizing activities.” (Treasury.gov) (E) (Treasury.gov) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Treasury.gov
https://www.treasury.gov/press-center/press-releases/Pages/sm0219.aspx

2. Treasury.gov
https://www.treasury.gov/resource-center/sanctions/OFAC-Enforcement/Pages/20171120.aspx

Domestic Politics
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November 21, 2017

Supreme Leader advisor criticizes politicization of earthquake.

Office of the Supreme Leader Representative Vahid Haghanian dismissed senior Iranian officials’ criticisms of the Ahmadinejad-era Mehr Housing Project buildings following the November 12 earthquake in western Iran. Several public officials, including President Hassan Rouhani and First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri, suggested that Mehr Housing Project buildings’ poor construction and inattention to geological factors resulted in additional, unnecessary casualties. Haghanian defended the government-sponsored housing units, saying that the buildings were safe and structurally sound. He also chastised Jahangiri for politicizing the earthquake. The November 12 earthquake reignited a heated domestic debate regarding government-funded construction projects and the need for greater privatization within the Iranian economy. Rouhani promised to hold the “culprits” responsible and appointed three ministerial-level cabinet members to the Supreme Council for Spatial Planning following the November 12 earthquake.

  • Supreme Leader visits earthquake-affected town. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for rapid housing reconstruction during a visit to the earthquake-stricken town of Sarpol-e Zahab, Kermanshah Province on November 19. Khamenei stressed the need for a centralized effort toward reconstruction and to provide housing for many of the displaced victims. Khamenei also lauded the contributions of the IRGC, Artesh, and Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) toward earthquake relief efforts. (Radio Farda) (E) (Sepah News) (Fars News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. Radio Farda
https://en.radiofarda.com/a/iran-earthquake-mehr-public-housing-controversy/28861732.html

2. Sepah News
http://www.sepahnews.com/index.php/component/k2/item/4855-%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A8%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B9%D8%B8%D9%85-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%87-%D8%B1%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%AF%DA%AF%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%B4%DA%A9%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%B2%D9%84%D8%B2%D9%84%D9%87%E2%80%8C%D8%B2%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%86-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%A7%DA%A9%DB%8C%D8%AF-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86%D8%AF-%D9%84%D8%B2%D9%88%D9%85-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%B9%D8%AA-%D8%B9%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%87%E2%80%8C%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%85%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%85-%D8%A2%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A8%E2%80%8C%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D9%87-%D9%88-%D8%AA%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%84-%DA%AF%D8%B1%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B4%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%B3%D8%A6%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%B3%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C%D9%86-%D9%85%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%D8%AA%D9%85%D8%B1%DA%A9%D8%B2-%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%85-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA.html

3. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960829001425

Military and Security
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November 21, 2017

Bagheri discussed Syria with Russian and Turkish counterparts.

Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri traveled to Sochi, Russia on November 20 to meet with his Russian counterpart Chief of the General Staff Gen. Valery Gerasimov and Turkish counterpart Chief of the General Staff Gen. Hulusi Akar. The three top military officials discussed conflict resolution in Syria, regional stability, and counterterrorism. The high-level military gathering took place two days prior to the arrival of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, Russian President Vladimir Putin, and Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan in Sochi to discuss an end to the Syrian Civil War scheduled for November 22. (ISNA) (Defa Press)

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
https://www.isna.ir/news/96082917098/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%B4%D8%AF

2. Defa Press
http://www.defapress.ir/fa/news/267138/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%82%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D8%B2%D9%85-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF

Nuclear Deal Developments
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November 21, 2017

Schmid travels to Tehran to discuss JCPOA and regional developments.

European External Action Service (EEAS) Secretary General Helga Schmid met with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi to discuss regional developments and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) in Tehran on November 20. Both sides emphasized the importance of political dialogue in solving political challenges in Syria, Yemen, Qatar, and Lebanon. Schmid reiterated the EU’s support for the full implementation of the JCPOA. (IRNA) (E) (Fars News Agency)

Citations & Links

1. IRNA
http://www.irna.ir/en/News/82736957

2. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13960829001994

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