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 expressed hope that “all parties involved” in the nuclear negotiations will continue to show political “willingness;” Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan reiterated Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s four-point plan to end the crisis in Yemen.
President Rouhani said that “all parties involved” in the nuclear negotiations “have already shown” political “willingness,” and expressed hope they would continue to do so. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, meanwhile, said that both President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “agree that the [nuclear] agreements must be approved by the Parliament.” Kowsari’s statement is indicative of the Parliament’s largely unsuccessful efforts at involvement in the nuclear negotiations.
At the 4th annual Moscow Conference on International Security, IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan reiterated Foreign Minister Zarif’s four point-plan to end the conflict in Yemen; the points include immediate cessation of military intervention and the formation of an inclusive government through dialogue between Yemeni political groups. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stated, “We do not conceal that we support religious democracy in Yemen and other countries, but we do not have any role in the Yemeni government.” Iranian officials have frequently depicted the al Houthis’ actions as advancing the ‘Islamic Awakening,’ or Iran’s narrative of the 2011 Arab Spring uprisings as a continuation of its own 1979 Islamic Revolution. For example, in an open letter last month to al Houthi leader Abdul Malik al Houthi, Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei praised al Houthi political wing Ansar Allah’s activity as part of the “real Islamic Awakening.”
Rouhani: “Not achieving a final nuclear deal is in no one’s interest.” President Hassan Rouhani stated, “Our most important aim of the [nuclear] agreement was to announce to the world that accusations and creating an atmosphere against Iran is insubstantial.” Rouhani continued:
- “What has been achieved today is very important. The [negotiating] parties have an understanding of the necessary or desired parameters, but the path…to achieving a final deal is difficult. Even if a final deal is not achieved, the past sanctions regime cannot continue, and the opposite side has come to this conclusion as well.”
- “We hope all parties involved have the willingness, which they have shown, to continue [talks].” Rouhani made the remarks at a press conference in the city of Rasht, Gilan province. (President.ir)
Zarif reacts to Senate bill on nuclear deal. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif responded to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee’s bill giving Congress the ability to review a final deal: “We still need to examine this issue, and we will see what the consequences will be for the [nuclear] agreement.” Zarif also stated, “If the consequences of this bill violate [anything] in relation to the Joint Plan of Action we agreed to in November 2013 or [anything] in the comprehensive nuclear agreement [we are discussing now]… then this topic will have implications for our negotiations. But I am not in a position to talk about it.” (Tabnak)
Kowsari: Zarif and Rouhani “agree” Parliament must “approve” nuclear deal. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari stated, “The government, especially Mr. Zarif and Mr. Rouhani, agree that the [nuclear] agreements must be approved by the Parliament.” The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member said, “The Islamic Republic of Iran’s constitution enumerates the approval of international agreements and treaties as one of the Parliament’s tasks; therefore, the Parliament is very sensitive on this issue…the government cannot violate this issue.” Kowsari referenced Article 77 of the Constitution, which states that “treaties, concords, contracts, and international agreements must be approved by Parliament.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Larijani: “We support religious democracy in Yemen.” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stated, “We do not conceal that we support religious democracy in Yemen and other countries, but we do not have any role in the Yemeni government, just as we did not have any role in Egypt and Tunisia; we only support democracy.” He also stated, “Today, our economy is suffering from problems and damage, and if we want to move and grow, a jihad-like movement must be carried out.” (Tabnak)
Defense Minister reiterates stance on Yemen and supports final nuclear agreement. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan spoke at the 4th annual Moscow Conference on International Security. Regarding Yemen, Dehghan warned that the Saudi airstrikes would lead to the fall of the Saudi kingdom. The Defense Minister reiterated the need for immediate unconditional cessation of military intervention, a stop to the internal conflict, and the formation of an inclusive government through internal ‘Yemen-Yemen’ dialogue.. Regarding Iran’s nuclear program, Dehghan said that over the last decade, Iran has shown goodwill by cooperating with the IAEA, and that the accusations against Iran are absurd. Dehghan further stated:
- On Yemen: “The Saudi government should know that when it provides financial, training, and logistical support to takfiri groups and terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Afghanistan, Central Asia, and the Caucasus, as well as brutally assaulting Yemen it cannot become an important country in the region.”
On a final nuclear deal: “Continuing negotiations could set the basis for a comprehensive nuclear agreement. However, this does not mean encroachment on Iran’s political independence, independent military identity, and security will be [allowed]. (YJC)
- Pourdastan: fate of Yemen will be decided “on the ground.” Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated, “Despite Saudi Arabia’s airstrikes on Yemen, it should be noted that the result of this war will not be revealed in the air.” The Artesh Ground Forces Commander stated, “The country of Yemen has strong ground forces, therefore the result of this war will be determined on the ground.” He added, “Saudi Arabia’s aggression against Yemen will clearly face defeat; its [the invasion’s] consequences over the past two weeks are clearly visible.” (Mehr News)
Next round of nuclear negotiations kickoff on April 22, in Austria. The EU announced today that P5+1 member states and Iran will meet on April 22-23, in Vienna. Bilateral talks between Abbas Araghchi, the Legal and International Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister and Helga Schmid, the EU’s Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs will take place on April 22. (Fars News Agency)
- IAEA and Iran conclude meeting on technical issues. Reza Najafi stated that Iran and the IAEA concluded their one-day meeting in Tehran. The Iranian Ambassador to the IAEA said that the talks were constructive; however two remaining issues need to be addressed in the next meeting. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Iran and Indonesia stress increased defense cooperation. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan met with his Indonesian counterpart Ryamizard Ryacudu in Moscow and stressed the expansion of bilateral cooperation to promote peace, stability, and security in the region. Dehghan and Ryacudu also exchanged views on regional and international development, especially practical strategies for dealing with terrorism, and highlighted the need to develop capabilities and capacities of the Muslim world. (Fars News Agency)
- Hezbollah condemns “genocidal” Saudi regime. Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) released a statement censuring the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen. LH called the government of Riyadh a “backward, ignorant, murderous regime that exports terrorists, extremists, and radical ideas…” The statement criticized the Arab states in the coalition for being bought out by the Saudi royal family to kill innocent people in Yemen. LH stated: “...the movement is in favor of genocide and crimes committed by the aggressor’s airstrikes against innocent civilians…without discrimination.” LH attributed ongoing regional crises to divisive Saudi measures and praised Iran for supporting the suppressed people of the region. (Mashregh News)