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. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online
Key takeaway: Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized American police forces, while Ali Shamkhani called for a review of the Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) strategy. IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari called on Iranian officials to adopt a harsher stance against Saudi Arabia.
At the 20th General Congress of LEF Commanders and Staff, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized police forces in America, claiming their “authority is wrong and oppressive…[and] ultimately creates an insecure environment…” During the Congress, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani called for a “review [of] the strategies and coping mechanisms” of the LEF, citing the “changing nature of threats and socialization of the formational context of security risks.” Shamkhani particularly emphasized the need for greater resources ‘to counter the soft threats,” echoing broader regime concerns over the influence of Western culture and ideology on Iranian society.
IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari stated that the Saudi royal family is “facing collapse,” and called on Iranian officials to adopt a tougher stance against Riyadh. The public Iranian response to the crisis in Yemen has chiefly focused on condemnation of the Saudi airstrikes and support for a diplomatic resolution to the conflict.
The Iranian nuclear negotiating team arrived in New York to attend the Non-Proliferation Treaty (NPT) Review Conference. Upon his arrival, Zarif warned against Congressional impediments to any final nuclear deal, stating: “according to international regulations, domestic problems of any government does not exempt that government from carrying out its international obligations.”
Supreme Leader: Law enforcement must establish a secure environment. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed officials at the 20th annual General Congress of Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commanders and Staff, on April 26. The Supreme Leader underlined the establishment of security as the primary mission of the LEF and stated:
- “The [LEF] should have authority, you must be able to act authoritatively and act decisively.”
- “However, the point is not to confuse authority with tyranny; the mistake of proceeding with authority without recognizing boundaries and limits should not be made.”
- “The [LEF] needs to have plans for different aspects of insecurity and should counter them…”
- “Iran is not seeking an authoritative police, the Hollywood-style or in the way they are acting in western and American societies because such an authority will not only fail to provide security; it will create insecurity in the society.”
- “For example, suppose in some countries, like in America, the police are very strong; they place some muscular guys behind the camera to show that they are there to restore order… But they are killing innocent people… they fire 15 or 16 shots and destroy them; this authority is not good; this authority is wrong and oppressive, that ultimately creates an insecure environment… then the courts acquit these [officers].”
- “Now the funny thing is that in America whose so-called president is now a black person, the black people are still oppressed, disrespected and humiliated and such behavior has provided the ground for unrests too."
- “They celebrate on the occasion of the day a president abolished slavery, which is problematic and a fundamental flaw; namely, Abraham Lincoln is said to have abolished [slavery], in terms of historical accuracy the issues was not about eliminating slavery; the issue was a deep-rooted, perennial, North vs. South ongoing war… and the dispute [was mainly] between landowners and farmers on one hand, and industry on the other. The dispute was not based on sincere humanitarian emotions…” (Khamenei.ir)
Rouhani: Iranians are equal under law. President Hassan Rouhani stressed security and civil rights to LEF commanders and Iranian officials in Tehran, on April 25. Rouhani also highlighted the administration’s achievements in the past year. Rouhani stated:
- “As the late Imam Khomeini said tens of times… ‘The people of Iran are all equal under law and laws must be carefully implemented.’”
- “Police are not charged with enforcing Islam; the police are obliged to enforce the law. Law enforcement can enter where legal legislation exists.”
- “The [LEF] is the first group that deals with the people and is a symbol of armed authority.”
- “We all should be servants of the people, because there is no higher position than servitude to the nation…”
- “Some criticize the government and say that they thought this administration would not become a policing government… ‘So why has the police budget increased?’ Our society needs security and we have to allocate funds for it.”
- On the economy: “Iran will experience the lowest reliance on oil-revenues in its history in the budget plan forecast for the current calendar year.”
- “[The administration] has succeeded in fulfilling its commitments over the past two years despite financial problems caused as a result of sanctions imposed on the country over its nuclear program and a slash in oil prices.”
- “Some neighboring countries have hatched a plot to reduce oil prices, but their move has backfired on them.” (President.ir)
Shamkhani calls for review of LEF strategy. At the General Congress of Law LEF Commanders and Staff, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated, “The changing nature of threats and socialization of the formational context of security risks has made the need to review strategies and coping mechanisms in the police force inevitable.” Shamkhani also stated, “The budget and facilities were not enough to counter soft threats and it is necessary for soft capabilities to be a major source… and to be intelligently formed to give the country an incisive deterrence.” (IRNA)
IRGC Commander: Riyadh is on the verge of collapse. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari highlighted the advancements made by Iran following the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Jafari said the next wave of the Islamic Revolution will bring down global hegemony. The IRGC Commander called for jihadist movements in the fields of politics, economy, and science to strengthen the Islamic Republic. Jafari condemned Saudi Arabia for its military campaign against Yemen and called on Iranian officials to adopt a tougher stance against Riyadh. Jafari added:
- “Today our enemies believe in the power of the Islamic Revolution.”
- “Today, the treacherous Saudis are following in Israel's footsteps. At present, the opponents of the Islamic Revolution are better known every day and they can no longer hide themselves behind the mask of hypocrisy.”
- “Today, with shamelessness and obscenity, [Saudi Arabia is] bombing and massacring a nation [Yemen] that is fighting against the dominant system [the West].”
- “Now that these attacks have taken place… the House of Saud [Saudi Royal family] is facing collapse.” (Sepah News)
Fadavi: Iran can defeat America on the cultural and economic fronts. At an event commemorating the anniversary of Operation Eagle Claw, IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi stated, “American knows that it cannot overcome us on the military scene, [but] has been leading the economic and cultural scene; however, [this is wrong]… because with the revelations of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic nation of Iran, Iran will win on the economic and cultural scene.” “Hinting that if America could achieve victory over us with military action, it would not have started on sanctions,” Fadavi stated: “We have proved that in difficult scenarios, we can beat America; we must prove that in easy scenarios like the cultural invasion, we can defeat this country [America] well.” (Sepah News)
Rafsanjani censures ongoing Saudi airstrikes. Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani “condemned Saudi Arabia’s continued violation against Yemen,” and stated: “At the beginning…of a new government, the Saudis have chosen a bad path, and distorted the spirits of Muslims; they are sowing the seeds of enmity and hatred in the hearts of the people of Yemen.” Rafsanjani indicated that a nuclear deal was “achievable.” Regarding the Rouhani administration’s involvement in the nuclear negotiations with the P5+1, Rafsanjani stated: “Iran has the interest and the suitable areas for engaging with the world to develop relations and mutual cooperation.” (Fars News Agency)
Iranian negotiators arrive in New York. The Iranian nuclear negotiating team, led by Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, arrived in New York to attend the NPT Review Conference. (Tabnak)
Zarif and Kerry to meet in New York. Foreign Minister Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry are scheduled to hold bilateral talks later today in New York. Zarif will also give a speech at New York University on April 29. (YJC)
Zarif: domestic issues do not excuse governments form its international obligations. , Foreign Minister Zarif stated: “In addition to participating in [the NPT Review Conference], we have come to hear additional explanation from the American side about the effects of a possible agreement on the internal situation of this country’s [America’s] commitments.” He also stated, “We know the American government is responsible for the implementation of internal commitments, and according to international regulations, domestic problems of any government does not exempt that government from carrying out its international obligations.” Zarif also stated, “In the Lausanne negotiations, we reached a framework which, with its implementation, will remove economic and financial sanctions, and cancel UN Security Council resolutions, and a resolution will replace it which approves the agreement.” (Mehr News)
Velayati: negotiating team is aware of Supreme Leader’s redline on military site inspections. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati stated, “These warnings were [previously made] by the country’s senior officials and the Supreme Leader…have been answered, that the Supreme Leader of the Revolution completely identified the [red] lines; this warning of the Leader of the Revolution about the ban on inspections of military sites is a priority task of the negotiating team, and they know in what direction to move.” Velayati also stated, “No country under any name has any right to interfere in the internal affairs of Yemen or other independent countries of the world; therefore, this space of Yemen belongs to Yemen.” Velayati denied reports that “Iranian aircraft must have Saudi Arabia’s permission to enter Yemen.” (Fars News Agency)
Military and Security
Vahidi praises the Artesh. At a meeting of Iran Aviation Industries Organization staff, President of the Strategic Defense Studies Center IRGC Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi stated, “We have never heard Artesh commanders express their fatigue; they have had a strong presence in all scenes in the defense of the Islamic Revolution; after the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War], by the grace of God, with innovation and creativity, they were able to express themselves as the dominant power in the region.” Vahidi also stated, “The Artesh must be examined and admired, because an organization with such size and complexity which the Shah’s regime created, made such a transformation; this indeed is truly blessed.” Vahidi said, “In the past, the Artesh Navy was limited to the Persian Gulf region; but with the appropriate changes, the Artesh brothers in the Navy was able to act very strategically with a presence in open waters.” (Defa Press)
- Sayyari: Artesh Navy is focusing on expanding its presence in open waters. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated, “Presence in free waters is one of the main programs of the Navy.” Sayyari also stated, “Production of destroyers, missile carriers, support ships, and submarines for presence in the free waters of the world and the extension of the presence of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s Artesh Navy in free waters are among the main programs of the Artesh Navy for 1394 [2015-2015] for the improvement of scientific, military, and defense capabilities of this force.” (ISNA)