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: President Hassan Rouhani responded to the passage of the Senate bill giving Congress the ability to review a final nuclear deal. The Parliamentary Nuclear Committee released a memo of recommendations for the Iranian position to counter the U.S. Fact Sheet on the nuclear framework agreement announced April 2.
Addressing a large crowd in Gilan province, President Hassan Rouhani responded to a Senate committee’s passage of a bill on Tuesday giving Congress the ability to review a final nuclear deal with Iran. Rouhani stated, “I am announcing here that what the American Senate says, or what the House of Representatives wants… is not relevant to our nation and government.” Rouhani also reiterated the Supreme Leader’s longstanding redline of complete, rather than phased, sanctions relief in the nuclear negotiations.
Parliamentary Nuclear Committee Chairman Ebrahim Kharkhanei published a memo of recommendations for an Iranian fact sheet entitled “Proposition Page” that would counter the U.S. Fact Sheet on the nuclear framework agreement announced April 2. Notable highlights include “lifting of all sanctions [all] at once, immediately, on the first day of the implementation of the final agreement,” limiting the time period of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to five years, and retaining Fordow as an enrichment facility. The memo also calls for 10,000 active centrifuges, and states that “all available active and inactive centrifuges…will be replaced” “with new generation centrifuges” at the conclusion of the JCPOA time period. The committee’s actions should have no substantive effect on the Iranian government’s negotiating position. The memo likely does not reflect the Iranian Foreign Ministry’s official position on the framework agreement, but rather provides the legislature’s recommendations for a final nuclear deal.
Rouhani: we are negotiating with the P5+1 not U.S. lawmakers. President Hassan Rouhani addressed a large gathering in Gilan Province on April 15. Rouhani reassured Iranians that the negotiating team will safeguard Iran’s nuclear rights and called for unanimity in-spirit of national interests. Rouhani stated:
- “The Great powers and even America came to the conclusion that the strong Iranian regime cannot be overthrown…”
- “The world acknowledged the fact that the development and the path of this nation to the peaks of science and industry will be permanent.”
- “Our negotiations with the world powers showed that, in this country, there are diverse opinions and there may be differing views, but where there is a crucial issue of national interest and an agreement is vital to the nation, we are all united and cohesive.”
- “In the year designated as the 'Year of Harmony and Unanimity', the Supreme Leader and all people from all walks of life call for a dignified deal and constructive interaction with the world.”
- “The Iranian people believe that this is the era of moderation, because the days of extremism are numbered and all are unanimous in having constructive interaction with the world.”
- “Today we have demonstrated our solidarity in this country. I would like to declare to the other side, meaning the P5+1, that Iran seeks a dignified deal. We have taken the necessary steps and we will [continue to] moving forward, but you must respect the rights of the Iranian people.”
- “I am announcing here that what the American Senate says, or what the House of Representatives wants, and what American radicals are after, and what their mercenaries [U.S. allies] in the region are saying, is not relevant to our nation and government.”
- “Our path [in the nuclear talks] will be the path of moderation, interaction, dialogue and logic…”
- “We want interaction in return for interaction. We want goodwill in return for goodwill. The other side in the negotiations is not the American Senate or the House of Representatives; it is collection [of states] called the P5+1.”
- On sanctions: “Sanctions will be the main topic [in next week’s talks], meaning the inhumane cruelty they inflicted on the great Iranian nation.”
- “The world, the P5+1, the American government, the President [Barack Obama] and Senate should know that there will be no deal if the sanctions are not removed.”
- “At the end of the negotiations and the time of signing a [final] deal should be [the time of] declaring an end to and the lifting of cruel sanctions on the great Iranian nation.”
- “You think that the Iranian nation only calls for lifting of economic sanctions… but the fact is that your companies are more eager for this. You know all European and American companies… are waiting for the signing of a final deal…”
- On the economy: “We [the government] promise you this year will be the year of economic prosperity.”
- On regional security: “[Iran] helped every country in the region that was facing terrorism… We did not allow the terrorists to be successful in the region. We announce to the regional countries the path to security and stability is through interaction and respect for people.”
- “Bombing the oppressed will not get you anywhere. Why are you [Saudi Arabia] bombing the oppressed Yemeni people, destroying the infrastructure of a weak country, and killing women and children by the warplanes supplied by America? Are you seeking to dominate the region?”
- “If you [Saudi Arabia] want regional stability then listen good for the Iranian nation’s call, it is to your advantage.”
- “Iran’s objective is not to dominate the region, do not make a mistake. There is no domination of Shi’as over Sunnis. Our goal is for the nations of the region to be proud. There is no difference between Shia’s, Sunnis, Turks, Arabs, and Persians… for [Iran].” (President.ir)
Parliamentary Nuclear Committee publishes recommendations for Iranian fact sheet. Parliamentary Nuclear Committee Chairman Ebrahim Kharkhanei published a memo entitled “Proposition Page”; the memo describes itself as “corrective” on several issues.
- The proposition calls for: “Observance of redlines and designed guidelines set by the Supreme Leader,” “reversibility of decisions in case of a breach by the other party,” “lifting of all sanctions [all] at once, immediately, on the first day of the implementation of the final agreement,” “no compromise on security or defense policy or the country’s national interest,” “supply of 190,000 SWU,” “no stop in research and development [or] speed of the country’s science and technology,” and “continuous [application] of research and development results to the country’s industrial enrichment cycle.”
- On enrichment: "The time period of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action will be only 5 years, with about 10,000… active centrifuges at Natanz; Fordow will also continue its production of enriched material below 5%.” It also stated, “According to the Geneva Agreement, enrichment rates should be determined based on the needs of the country; 10,000 active centrifuges have been determined on the same basis.” The memo also states, “All available active and inactive centrifuges based on the capabilities of the new generation [centrifuge] machines (IR-N) will be replaced with no restrictions on their operation at the end of the five year period.”
- On the Fordow facility: “The Fordow nuclear facility will remain as a center of enrichment and nuclear research and development.”
- On Arak heavy water reactor: “Due to the P5+1 countries’ single concern on the 40-megawatt Arak heavy water reactor’s plutonium production in used fuel, therefore the reactor’s used fuel will be transported out of the country.”
- On supervision and inspection: "Supervision and inspection of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s nuclear program will be made within the framework of the safeguards of the Nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty…”
- On sanctions: “At the same time as the beginning of the implementation of a joint comprehensive plan of action, immediately the lifting of all sanctions from America, the three European countries, and the EU, and the performance of Iran’s obligations under the IAEA’s verification, will begin.” The memo also stated, “Security Council resolutions against Iran will be dismissed, all the nuclear-related sanctions will be lifted, and the Islamic Republic of Iran’s record will return to normal.” The memo also stated, “The P5+1 countries, the European Union, and the [U.N.] Security Council will refrain from imposing new sanctions against Iran on the nuclear issue.”
- On international cooperation: “International nuclear cooperation with Iran, including the members of the P5+1, will be [made] possible… in the area of construction of nuclear power plants, research reactors, nuclear fuel, nuclear safety, and nuclear medicine and agriculture…
- On implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action: "At the end of the five year period of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, all restrictions will be removed, and according to the Geneva Agreement, the Islamic Republic’s nuclear program will be like [those of] the other NPT member countries.” (Tabnak)
Marzieh Afkham addresses various issues during weekly press conference. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham addressed a number of issues ranging from the crisis in Yemen to the IAEA talks in Tehran.
- Regarding the passage of the Senate Foreign Relations bill to monitor a possible nuclear agreement: “We, in our negotiations are working with the heads of governments, and each obligation is the responsibility of the governments. [This is also true] of the relationship with the opposition in the government.” Afkham added that it was important that the U.S. government honor its commitments under international law.
- On the opening of embassies in the UK and Iran: “There is dialogue and travel among the Charges d’affaires… for the issuance of visas. Meanwhile negotiations are underway for the possibility of reopening embassies…and this requires expert negotiations and the removal of obstacles on the path to gradually reopen embassies.”
- On IAEA talks: “…based on that understanding, some issues in the framework were reviewed…and discussed step-by-step, and during today’s talks two remaining issues from the third phase were discussed.” Afkham added, “We think that the agency [IAEA] will also gradually come to the conclusion that Iran has not deviated from the peaceful [nature] of its nuclear program and we hope that the continuation of these visits will resolve outstanding issues. The two issues discussed today were the visit to the Marivan site and published articles related to the calculation of neutron matter.”
- Regarding the release of Iran’s fact sheet, Afkham said, “…let it be at the discretion of officials. At the same time, the public and the media needed to know that the contents of Iran’s fact sheet are based on Mr. Salehi and Ravanchi’s comments and discussions in the media after the negotiations in Lausanne, Switzerland.”
- The next round of talks between the IAEA and Iran is likely to be next Wednesday.
- Afkham added that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be in New York on May 16 for the annual NPT review conference and could conduct meetings with P5+1 ministers during that time.
On the UNSC resolution on Yemen: “We expected the UN Security Council to have dealt with the issue of the attacks targeting the infrastructure and innocent people. But this important issue was ignored…” Afkham added that there was “no military solution to the crisis in Yemen and the only way to solve the crisis dialogue between individuals and parties under the framework of the 4-point plan.” “The plan begins with the cessation of attacks and calls for sending humanitarian aid to Yemen and then… the formation of a national unity government.” (ISNA)
Jazayeri reiterates regime opposition to inspections of its military facilities. IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri stated: “Normalizing the necessity to inspect Iran’s military facilities, is a measure of psychological operations carried out by American officials and the media.” The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy added: "What is quoted from officials in the American administration, or Congress, or members of that country’s negotiating team about inspection of the Islamic Republic of Iran's military sites is completely unfounded and a fantasy and not even worthy of answering.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Velayati censures UN Security Council resolution against al Houthis. Ali Akbar Velayati censured the UN Security Council resolution on Tuesday, which places an embargo on and blacklists several leaders from the al Houthis. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor stated, “The people of Yemen are innocent people who have endured the adverse effects of Saudi Arabia’s brutal bombing, and issuing this resolution was by no means fair.” Velayati also stated, “…synchronization of limiting nuclear facilities with sanctions removal is one of the major gaps which must be met.” He stated, “For Iran [to] shut down its nuclear activities and the opposite side to wait for International Atomic Energy Agency confirmation to lift sanctions is not acceptable in any way for the Islamic Republic…” (YJC)
- Judiciary Head deplores ‘unsubstantiated’ attacks on Judiciary. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani attributed attacks from ‘counter-revolution’ forces on the Judiciary system in recent years to its dealing with economic corruption and its resistance to political pressures and rants. Larijani added, “The judiciary has a limited patience and hopes to see an end to these unsubstantiated attacks.” (IRNA)
Military and Security
Rafsanjani discusses S-300 missiles and Saudi strategy in Yemen. The Chairman of the Expediency Council said Saudi airstrikes on civilian areas were a “strategic mistake” and reiterated that the only solution to the crisis in Yemen is political dialogue. Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani also said Russian President Vladimir Putin’s decree to deliver S-300 missile defense systems to Iran is the first effect of the nuclear agreement between Iran and the West. He added, “I can assure you…the country’s defense is very good.” (Fars News Agency)
Dehghan: Tehran will have S-300s this year. Ahead of travelling to Moscow for the 2015 International Security Conference, Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan said that during his trip, he will sign a contract with Russia to deliver the S-300 missile system to Tehran this year. (Sepah News)
Pourdastan says S-300 will enhance defense capabilities. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced that the subsystems of the ‘Bavar-373’ missile have been created and said he looked forward to putting the system into operational testing and that he hoped it would be operational by the end of the year or next year. Pourdastan added that the ‘Bavar-373’, which is similar to the Russian S-300 model, would increase the army’s defense capability. (YJC)
Iran unveils new military equipment. Ahead of Iran’s Islamic Republic Army Day, the Artesh unveiled five new conventional military weapons indigenously designed and built at a ceremony attended by Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan. The new hardware included: an eight-wheeled tactical vehicle equipped with a 90mm cannon named “Aqareb,” four unmanned armed “Nazir” robots, the “Fallagh” ultra-light tracked reconnaissance vehicle, the “Shahar” 14.5mm sniper rifle, and “Baher” 23mm anti-aircraft sniper rifle. (Defa Press)
Artesh General Staff praises the military. In a statement commemorating Islamic Republic of Iran Army Day, the Artesh General Staff issued a statement congratulating Iran, calling its military the “bastion of defense for the system and the nation.” (Fars News Agency)
- Artesh Air Forcedrills over Tehran. Artesh Air Force drills involving F-14s, F-5s, F-4s, F-7, Mig-29s, Mirages, Su-24s, and “Lightnings” were held in Tehran on the Shaheed Lashkari air base. (Defa Press)
- IAEA delegation arrives in Tehran for technical talks. Behrouz Kamalvandi said that bilateral negotiations between the IAEA and the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) will start today. The AEOI Spokesman stated that the purpose of the visit is to discuss the roadmap to resolving outstanding technical issues with the IAEA, which entails cooperation in a step-by-step process. Kamalvandi added that the two sides will also address allegations of explosives testing in Marivan. (Mehr News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Shamkhani attends SCO security meeting in Russia. Ali Shamkhani participated in the 10th meeting of the senior security officials of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO), in Moscow. The Supreme National Security Council Secretary highlighted Iran’s close relations with SCO member-states during the meeting. Shamkhani underscored the increasing role of Asia in various sectors, while censuring the West for its duplicity and disregard for international law. (IRIB)
- Ansar Allah welcomes Iran’s proposal to end the conflict in Yemen. Alial Imad, a member of Ansar Allah’s political council reportedly “welcomed Iran’s plan to resolve the crisis” in Yemen, and is currently reviewing it. Al Imad stated, “In Iran’s plan, unacceptable solutions do not exist, therefore, it can be depended on to resolve the crisis.” (Tabnak)