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 Mehrdad Moarefian and Marie Donovan, with contributors Farzin Farzad and Diana Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Over 200 Parliamentarians asked Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif to release the Iranian fact sheet on the framework nuclear agreement. Iranian officials hailed Moscow’s lifting of the ban to deliver the S-300 advanced air defense missile systems.
213 Parliamentarians signed an open letter to Foreign Minister Zarif requesting that he release the Iranian fact sheet on the framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi stated last week that the Iranian fact sheet created by the AEOI and the Foreign Ministry was in Zarif’s possession. Zarif stated that the Foreign Ministry has already followed the Supreme Leader’s guidance to “communicate [its] views to the people” in lieu of a fact sheet, although it is unclear whether he was directly responding to the Parliamentarians’ open letter. Zarif also stated that the Foreign Ministry has “carried out” a “series of measures [which]… implement the [Supreme] Leader’s requests” to converse with domestic critics of the nuclear negotiations. The regime may be using the appearance of consensus-gathering among key players to lay the groundwork for future adjustments on sanctions relief and other challenging issues, given the seeming incompatibility between Iran’s and the P5+1’s statements on that topic.
At a conference in Spain, Zarif laid out a four-point plan to end the war in Yemen, including a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, domestic dialogue in Yemen, and the formation of an inclusive government” as well as “the end of Saudi-led airstrikes against the Yemeni people.”
Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan said that President Vladimir Putin’s decree to lift Moscow’s2010 ban on selling S-300 missile systems “…represents the political will of the two countries for the development and promotion of…cooperation in all areas.” During his meeting with President Putin, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani praised the lifting of the ban as “valuable,” while Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri stated that “a more purposeful relationship between Russia and Iran has been established.”
Zarif: we are obeying Supreme Leader’s call to converse with domestic nuclear critics.Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “…the Supreme Leader…gave orders for us to talk to all the skeptics and critics [of the nuclear deal].” Indicating that the process of engaging the critics has begun, Zarif stated, “Again, we will continue these discussions, and I think that the series of measures we have carried out implement the [Supreme] Leader’s requests.” Regarding the possibility of an Iranian fact sheet, Zarif said, “The Supreme Leader stated [that] as the Americans have published a fact sheet, you [the negotiating team] [must] communicate your viewpoints to the people. In the beginning, before the Americans released a fact sheet – not an official document because an official document doesn’t exist – we provided the public with the details of the agreement… in the [media].” (Mehr News)
Zarif provides four-point plan to end the war in Yemen. At a conference in Spain, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif laid out “Iran’s four-point plan to stop the war in Yemen.” According to Tasnim New Agency, the points include “a ceasefire, humanitarian aid, domestic dialogue in Yemen, and the formation of an inclusive government” as well as “the end of Saudi-led airstrikes against the Yemeni people.” Zarif stated, “Iran and Saudi Arabia need to talk, but we cannot talk to determine the future of Yemen.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Dehghan reacts to cancellation of the transfer ban on S-300. Regarding Russia’s recent announcement to lift the ban on the transfer of the S-300 missile defense systems to Iran, IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan said, “This command represents the political will of the two countries for the development and promotion of levels of cooperation in all areas.” The Defense Minister added that cooperation between Russia and Iran has deepened to counter “trans-regional threats and the spread of takfiri terrorist groups.” (Sepah News)
Shamkhani: lifting of the ban on defense systems to Iran is “valuable.” In his meeting with Ali Shamkhani, Russian president Vladimir Putin praised Iran’s policy of constructive engagement with the world and claimed that the decision to lift the ban on the shipment of S-300 missile defense systems “…was taken today with a clear message on the need for all countries to adhere to their commitments.” The Supreme National Security Council Secretary said that this move is “…valuable in the development of cooperation between the two countries.”
On Yemen: Shamkhani noted, “Today countries claim security-building by skirting laws and international conventions have been a source of insecurity in the world.” (YJC)
- On Yemen: Shamkhani noted, “Today countries claim security-building by skirting laws and international conventions have been a source of insecurity in the world.” (YJC)
Foreign Ministry dismisses Saudi allegations. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham rejected Saudi claims of Iran’s “alleged involvement” in Yemen’s internal affairs. Afkham added “Saudi officials speak [about Iran’s] interference in Yemen while this country’s military forces have violated international laws for more than two weeks.” Afkham emphasized that the continuation of military attacks will make the problem more complex and added that “Yemen-Yemen dialogue” with the participation of all parties, groups, and political-social movements, and the formation of a national unified government, are the only solutions to the current crisis. (Foreign Ministry)
- Jazayeri welcomes Russia’s agreement to deliver S-300s to Iran. Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri welcomed Moscow’s decision and said, ”Globalization is such that communication and a more purposeful relationship between Russia and Iran has been established… [Together] we hope to…further assist global order and security.” (Defa Press)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Velayati: Iran has not interfered in Yemen. Ali Akbar Velayati met with Pakistani Ambassador Nour Mohammad Jadmani in Tehran. The two discussed regional developments and the nuclear negotiations. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor stated that Iran will act based on the prescribed negotiating guidelines of the Supreme Leader. Regarding the discrepancies in the U.S. and Iran stances on the Lausanne framework agreement, Velayati said that Washington’s interpretation is “incorrect.” Velayati continued: “What the Americans published as a fact sheet is inconsistent with the provisions of the declaration [framework agreement].” Velayati thanked Pakistan for its stance on the Yemen crisis and added:
- "We demand the international bodies to exert pressure on Saudi Arabia to pave the way for Muslim countries' aid to Yemen; the Saudi Navy has besieged the Yemeni ports and they do not allow the flow of humanitarian aid from either Muslim or non-Muslim countries to Yemen.”
- “What the Saudis are doing in Yemen is contrary to public opinion in the Arab world.”
- “What right do the Saudis have to drop bombs and kill innocent [Yemeni] people?”
- “Iran has no form of interference in Yemen's affairs; if you find a single Iranian in Yemen, then you could say that there are signs of Iranian interference in Yemen…" (Tasnim News Agency)
- On Iran-Pakistan relations: "Pakistan and Iran should further expand their economic and trade relations and I hope that this could happen through increasing exchange of visits by their officials.”
- “[Tehran and Islamabad] should make greater efforts to resolve some problems and fight against extremism.” (Fars News Agency)
- Velayati: Iran will continue to support Palestine. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor met with Secretary-General of the Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine (PFLP) Abu Ahmad Fouad in Tehran. Velayati reiterated that Iran will continue to support the oppressed people of Palestine. Velayati censured Saudi aggression against Yemen and stated: “The reason the Houthis have shown restraint in response to the Saudis is so that the Arab and Muslim world could see how the people of Yemen who have always… supported the liberation of Palestine, stand against unreasonable attacks.” Velayati also criticized the U.S. for its role in exacerbating regional crises and said:
Larijani writes open letter on Yemen. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani wrote an open letter to his counterparts around the world, highlighting the damage to Yemen’s “military and economic infrastructure” as well as the civilian casualties from the Saudi-led airstrikes. Larijani stressed that “resorting to false pretexts to launch an invasion of the privacy and integrity of a country in contrary to the principles of the UN Charter and internationally-recognized rules; if this method is accepted, global peace and security will be compromised.” Larijani stated, “These attacks and military operations are done against the innocent people of this country, while the major source of concern inside of Yemen is the expansion of the movements of terrorist groups.” Larijani stated that, “no party must prevent [humanitarian] assistance with known mechanisms of the ICRC to the people of Yemen.” Larijani reiterated that, “the best and most effective solutions to the problems…are a political solution based on dialogue between all Yemeni parties.” (Mehr News)
- Ravanchi: Iran and Latin American countries need to increase political and economic ties. Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht-Ravanchi met with ambassadors and representatives from Brazil, Mexico, Venezuela, Cuba, Uruguay, Bolivia, Ecuador, Argentina, and Nicaragua in Tehran and discussed bilateral, regional, and international issues. Ravanchi said, “Changes… in the international community and the significant economic potential of the region have provided significant opportunities for cooperation.” (ISNA)
- Nobakht: Inflation rate not expected to exceed 14% this year. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht said this year’s inflation rate is projected to decrease from 14.8% from last year. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President also said the government has agreed to reduce bank interest rates commensurate with the inflation rate. Nobakht noted that inflation is a major policy for the government and said the government would not allow some prices to increase without legal provisions. (IRNA)
IAEA delegation scheduled to meet with Iranian officials tomorrow. Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that the IAEA team will arrive in Tehran on April 14. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Spokesman said that that the two sides will hold direct talks on April 15. (Mashregh News)
Next round of nuclear negotiations begin on April 21. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that the next round of nuclear negotiations with the P5+1 will take place on the deputy and expert level. Zarif stated that they would “begin formulating the text” of the framework agreement. (Tasnim News Agency)
- 213 Parliamentarians call for the publication of Lausanne framework fact sheet. 213 members of Parliament signed a statement addressed to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, requesting that he release the fact sheet on the framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program. The letter stated: "Since no credible text on the part of the Islamic Republic is available other than the joint statement, and because the explanations and interpretations of the Foreign Ministry can be useful for examining and clarifying stances and the viewpoints of critics can help in drafting the final text properly, we ask the [Foreign] Ministry to release the Iranian fact sheet." (Tabnak)
Military and Security
- Basij to hold drills in Tehran. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Ahmad Zolghadr announced that 12,000 members of the Basij’s rapid reaction forces will participate in a large scale war game called ‘Towards Beit al Moghaddas’ in Tehran on April 16 and 17. The IRGC Mohammad Rasoul Allah [Greater Tehran] unit Deputy Commander said the drills will feature mosaic defense, ambush and counter ambush exercises. Zolghadr stated the purpose of these exercises is preparedness for potential threats through organization and education and to increase mobility. (Sepah News)