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: Iran and the P5+1 reach a political framework for a final nuclear deal.
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini issued a joint statement announcing that Iran and the P5+1 had reached a framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program, entitled “Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action” [JCPOA].The two sides will write the full text of the JCPOA between now and June 30, which is the self-imposed deadline to reach a final deal. Notable tenets of the framework include limiting uranium enrichment to Iran’s Natanz facility for 15 years with 5,060 first-generation centrifuges, removing its Fordow facility’s uranium enrichment capabilities, and redesigning the Arak heavy water reactor to prohibit weapons-grade plutonium production. Lifting of U.N. Security Council as well as U.S. and E.U.-nuclear related sanctions will occur when Iran has completed “nuclear-related actions addressing key concerns (enrichment, Fordow, Arak, PMD, and transparency)” and “key nuclear-related steps,” respectively. U.S. nuclear-related sanctions will remain "for much of the duration of the deal,” although it is unclear how much time the “duration” entails. Non-nuclear U.S. sanctions will persist.
Prior to the announcement of the political framework, Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi warned, “Prolonging of nuclear negotiations is better than haste in decision-making.” Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, moreover, censured U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s recent comments that the military option is a contingency plan for dealing with a bad nuclear deal. Dehghan claimed Carter’s comments are “passive” and had “no substantial effect” on Iran’s stance in the negotiations.
Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief discuss latest developments of negotiations. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Federica Mogherini, along with Deputy EU Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmid and Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araghchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi, met in Lausanne on April 2. (IRNA)
- Foreign Minister Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry met Wednesday night to discuss unresolved issues. Araghchi, Ravanchi, and President Rouhani’s political advisor Hossein Fereydoon were also present along with Wendy Sherman. (IRNA)
Zarif projects cautious optimism during early morning press conference. Prior to the announcement of the political framework, Zarif emphasized that the P5+1 needed to come to an agreement in order to release any joint Iran-P5+1 statement today. Zarif said he was hopeful a solution would be reached and that a final agreement would be made before the July deadline. Zarif added that the P5+1 would begin drafting a preliminary deal with the details of the agreement once an understanding was reached. Zarif also stressed:
- “From the beginning, we have said that an agreement would not be signed. We always said there would be an agreement, but that agreement will be made at the end of the negotiations on June 30.”
- “What we are hoping to achieve today is a solution. There are many ups and downs in multilateral negotiations, and now that I am talking to you there is much hope that a common solution to the issues will be reached.” (Mehr News)
Dehghan rebukes Ashton Carter’s remarks on military options. In response to U.S. Secretary of Defense Ashton Carter’s claim that the military option is a contingency plan for dealing with a bad nuclear deal, IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan said, “These hollow remarks, which are consistently repeated by some American officials, are passive and worthless…Statements made by American officials during the sensitive and complex nuclear talks...are baseless…”The Defense Minister added that though the statement has led to Iran’s distrust of America, it has had no “substantial effect on the Islamic Republic’s reasonable, logical, and fair position on the nuclear issue.” Dehghan continued, “under any circumstances, the Islamic Republic has been ready to deal with threats from hostile invaders and will give a decisive response on the battlefield.” Implying that America’s defense minister suffers from “Alzheimer’s Disease,” Dehghan said, “If Ashton Carter’s remembers America’s recent failures in the region and the world, these absurd statements would have been avoided.” (defapress.ir)
Boroujerdi: don’t rush into a bad framework. Commenting on the nuclear talks in general, Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated, “Prolonging of nuclear negotiations is better than haste in decision-making.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman stated, “Based on past experience, Iran should refrain from any hastiness in achieving results in the nuclear negotiations.” Boroujerdi stated, “Because we are against a country like America, surely they will use all tricks and deceits in order to give the fewest and gain the most concessions.” (YJC)
- Shariatmadari warns against binding elements in P5+1 statement. Prior to the P5+1’s joint statement announcing a political framework, editor of the conservative newspaper Kayhan Hossein Shariatmadari stated, “The key criterion for an acceptable agreement is the lifting of all sanctions.” Shariatmadari also emphasized that the P5+1 joint statement is a “sum of all the negotiations and agreements up until now,” and a “pre-agreement statement.” He warned that “a statement [which] includes frameworks following the negotiations…is not a statement but a deal.” He indicated that a statement which included a framework would be the same as a “two-stage agreement” which Iran “did not agree to accept.” (Fars News Agency)
- Naghdi: “squeamish” Saudis cannot manage a war in Yemen. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi claimed that the U.S. is directing the military strikes in Yemen. The Basij Organization Head said, “An army cannot stand against the will of a nation. It appears as if the Saudi military is on the field, but America has the great role of directing the war and the squeamish Saudi princes have no role.” Naghdi stated that Riyadh is strategically inept, citing its ineffective airstrikes in Yemen and added: “A [multi] billion dollar air force is attacking gas tanks and flour factories in the city… Saudi Arabia, which has a weaker army than Saddam Hussein had [in Iraq], will suffer the fate of Saddam.” (Fars News Agency)
- IRGC commander warns of consequences for Saudi Arabia. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Yadollah Javani said that the Saudis will face major consequences for attacking Yemen. The Senior Advisor of the Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC praised the people of Yemen for advancing the Islamic Awakening in the region and for “pushing out the corrupt regime of [resigned] Yemeni President Abdu Rabbu Mansour Hadi, to find your independence.” (Basij.ir)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Ahl al Bayt World Assembly Supreme Council members meet with senior Iraqi officials. Senior Iranian clerics Ayatollahs Mohsen Araki, Mohammad Mojtahed Shabestari, Ghorban Ali Dori Najafabadi, Mohammad Hassan Akhtari, along with several other Iranian members of the Supreme Council of the Ahl al Bayt World Assembly, along with the Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati traveled to Iraq for a three-day official visit. The Iranian delegation met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi, Vice President Nouri al Maliki, and Foreign Minister Ibrahim al Jafari. (ABNA)
- Rouhani issues message to Iraqi Prime Minister about Yemen. Morteza Sarmadi delivered a message from President Hassan Rouhani to Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi informing him on developments in Yemen on Wednesday night. Rouhani called for an immediate end to military operations, the resumption of dialogue between political groups, and for Iraq and international organization to help end the invasion and quickly send humanitarian aid to Yemen. He also congratulated Iraq on its success in dealing with “terrorists and takfiri movements.” (Tasnim News Agency)