Iran News Round Up
The Iran News Round Up ran from February 2009-September 2018. Visit the Iran File for the latest analysis.
A selection of the latest news stories and editorials published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Project Iran Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Ken Hawrey and Alice Naghshineh. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Friday prayer leaders reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s call for a renewed and aggressive effort to implement the Resistance Economy doctrine.
Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi stated that the Resistance Economy doctrine means Iran will not be forced to endure sanctions or submit to Western pressure by creating a self-sufficient economy that would be immune to Western sanctions. Hardliners have repeatedly criticized President Hassan Rouhani and his economic team for appearing to prioritize developing external ties instead of pursuing policies in line with the Resistance Economy doctrine. Sedighi was likely referring to the Rouhani administration and its supporters when he noted that some individuals have presented a false choice of either “submitting” to the West or being targeted by sanctions. Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Mojtaba Mirdamadi Mir, meanwhile, called for the “problems of the country” to be solved “practically” by the Resistance Economy and not by "slogans and words.”
National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that Parliament and the NSFP Parliamentary Commission will “use all of its capabilities to approve the budget required for the projects developing Iran’s missile capabilities.” The annual budget is still under review in the Parliament and will likely be approved by the new parliament in May.
Paul Bucala and Frederick W. Kagan debunk Iran’s repeated assertion that it is only training, advising, and assisting Syrian forces by analyzing data collected from Iranian media reports on military casualties in the Critical Threats Project’s latest report, “Iran’s Evolving Way of War: How the IRGC Fights in Syria.”
Matthew McInnis discusses Iran’s calculations following the partial Russian withdrawal from Syria and the consequences if Russia scales back its use of airpower in his latest blog, “Did Putin just leave Iran holding the bag in Syria?”
Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader: The enemy wants to put the economy under pressure. Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi discussed the importance of the Resistance Economy doctrine during his Friday prayer sermon. The Interim Tehran Friday prayer leader stated that there are some individuals in Iran who claim that the government is faced with a false dilemma of either “submitting” to the West or being targeted by sanctions. Sedighi noted that the Supreme Leader has offered a third alternative in the form of the Resistance Economy doctrine, “which would mean neither sanctions nor submission,” by effectively creating a self-sufficient economy that would be immune to Western sanctions. Other Friday Prayer leaders stressed the need to implement the Resistance Economy as well, including:
- Qom Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Hashem Hosseini Busheri stated that “the path out of the enemy’s sanctions is moving towards achieving the Resistance Economy.”
- Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Mojtaba Mirdamadi Mir stated that the “problems of the country should be solved by the Resistance Economy practically and and not by slogans and words.”
- Assembly of Experts member and Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari noted that the Resistance Economy “must be pursued seriously” and stressed that Iran will continue developing its missiles and drones despite Western pressure. (ISNA) (IRNA) (IRNA) (Mehr News Agency)
- Supreme Leader’s representative criticizes Rouhani administration. Ayatollah Gholam Ali Safaei Bushehri stated, “In the domestic context, basic work in the economic sphere has not been done.” The Supreme Leader’s representative to Bushehr province added, “Hopefully, Parliament and the [Rouhani] administration will try to work faster towards the ideals of the martyrs and the values of the Islamic Revolution, and make this year’s slogan a priority in the Parliament and the government’s programs.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Military and Security
Boroujerdi underscores Parliament’s support for missile program. Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that the Parliament “strongly believes that the armed forces’ policy in the field of missiles is tied to national security.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman promised that the commission and Parliament at large will “use all of its capabilities to approve the budget required for the projects developing Iran’s missile capabilities.” Boroujerdi stated, “For a country [Iraq] which imposed a war [on Iran] for eight years, many of whose towns are located [within a] missile strike, the missile policies will be a means of deterrent.” He also criticized the U.S., UK, France, and Germany’s statement addressed to UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon calling Iran’s recent missile tests a violation of UN Security Council Resolution 2231 as “illogical.” (Donya-e Eqtesad)
Khamenei’s representative: Khamenei called for missiles and negotiations, not just missiles. Hojjat ol Eslam Mehdi Ghoreishi, the representative to Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei in West Azerbaijan province, stated that foreign news outlets have “distorted” Khamenei’s March 30 speech. Ghoreishi added, “Unfortunately, the foreign media has claimed that the Supreme Leader announced that the future is for missiles. He had instead emphasized increasing the country’s missile capabilities alongside negotiations and conversations.” Ghoreishi also personally defended the missile program, stating:
- “Unfortunately a group wants to set back our country’s military might. This is while the enemies of the Islamic Republic of Iran continue their hostilities against the Iranian nation. Therefore such statements are unwise.”
- “The United States of America itself has spent a huge budget on its own military, all while striving to limit our country’s missile capabilities.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Alleged Rafsanjani Twitter account “amends” controversial tweet. A Twitter account under the name of Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani issued a correction to its controversial March 23 tweet that had read, “The world of tomorrow is a world of discourse, not missiles.” The account stated that the March 23 tweet was incomplete and then included the text of the “complete” tweet, which stated, “The world of tomorrow is a world of the discourse of the Islamic Revolution, not intercontinental missiles and nuclear bombs.” (Twitter)
- Votes recounted in southwestern district. Fatah Mohammadi, the Political and Security Deputy to the Governor of Kohgiluyeh and Boyer Ahmad Province in southwestern Iran, announced that votes are being recounted in Boyer Ahmad for that district’s single parliamentary seat. Gholam Mohammad Zarei and Setar Hedayatkhah had received the highest and second-highest number of votes respectively. Zarei was endorsed by the Voice of the Nation list, a group of moderate Principlists and Reformists led by parliamentarian Ali Motahari. The Principlist Coalition had endorsed Hedayatkhah. The Guardian Council must still confirm five electoral districts, including Boyer Ahmad. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Iranian embassy denies involvement with alleged Indian spy. The Iranian embassy in Islamabad issued a statement in response to Pakistan’s recent detention of an alleged Indian spy carrying an Iranian passport. The Iranian embassy claimed that reports of Iranian involvement were aimed at undermining the “friendly” and “growing” relationship between Pakistan and Iran. Pakistan has reportedly asked Iran to conduct an investigation of the alleged Indian officer. (Nasim Online)