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 emphasized that the solution to Iran’s economic problems lies in the ‘resistance economy,’ not in the nuclear negotiations. Rear Admiral Habibbolah Sayyari underscored that the Artesh Navy has maintained a presence in the Gulf of Aden since 2007-2008.

Correction to the April 28 Iran News Round Up: we mistakenly identified the ships which seized the Marshall Islands-flagged ship Maersk Tigris as belonging to the Artesh Navy. We accept the U.S. military's reported assessment that they were IRGC Navy vessels. The Iranian media has not explicitly identified them as IRGC or Artesh.

In his speech commemorating Worker’s Day, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed that the solution to Iran’s economic problems lies in implementation of the ‘resistance economy,’ “not in Lausanne, Geneva, and New York.” Khamenei also stated, “We do not the effects of the cruel sanctions…however, I do not accept that sanctions could prevent an organized effort to boost production.”  The Supreme Leader may be pushing back on President Hassan Rouhani’s earlier statement on the connection between sanctions relief and economic improvement; on April 28, Rouhani stated that, “the nuclear issue and its resolution is the first step to solving fundamental problems,” because the West used accusations against Iran’s nuclear program to “disrupt…the path to development for Iran.”

 The Foreign Ministry confirmed reports that Iranian naval forces seized a cargo ship navigating under a Marshall Islands flag on April 28. Iran’s Port and Maritime Organization released a statement indicating that the detention of the Maersk Tigris was based on a lawsuit filed by private Iranian oil production company Pars Talaee against Danish shipping group Maersk. 

Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibbolah Sayyari emphasized that Iranian naval presence in the Gulf of Aden is “not a new issue.” He stated that Iran had sent naval forces to the region in 2007-2008 “at the request of the International Maritime Organization.” Sayyari blamed “other countries’ hypersensitivity” about Iranian naval presence in the Gulf of Aden on Iran’s independent operational status there, in contrast to the fact that “most countries present in the Gulf…operate under NATO.”


Official Statements

  • Supreme Leader: P5+1 will not solve our economic challenges. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a large gathering on the occasion of Worker’s Day on April 29. The Supreme Leader pointed to the economic challenges facing Iran and reiterated his call for increased manufacturing and production. Khamenei added:   
    • "The key to solving economic problems is not in Lausanne, Geneva, and New York; the key is inside the country.”
    • “The issues with layoffs and the [people’s] livelihood… are things that exist in the country and among the workers… the authorities are aware of these issues more than ever.”
    • “The existing problems will not be solved by talking; initiative and action is required.”
    • “The economic problems in the country must be identified… the backbone of the ‘resistance economy’ is based on boosting domestic production; if attention is focused on this problem, it will gradually resolve labor issues…”
    • “We do not deny the effects of the cruel sanctions that the enemies of the nation of Iran; certainly they have an impact, however, I do not accept that sanctions could prevent an organized effort to boost production.”
    • “Government officials must not purchase consumer goods [from abroad], which can be produced domestically.”
    • “We have made great progress in various fields, such as nano, nuclear, and biotechnology… no one in the world helped us.”
    •  “Any government with a strong economy will negotiate from a position of strength; negotiating from a position of need makes the enemy aggressive.” 
    • “We must accept hard work and challenges; we cannot always take the easy route.”
    • “The issue of corruption is something that keeps coming up; talking about corruption is not going to solve anything. We need to take action and stop corruption in the true sense of the word.” (
  • Rouhani: with the power of logic, we will lift all UN Security Council resolutions. President Hassan Rouhani addressed a large gathering of workers on April 29, in Tehran. Rouhani reassured the people that the government is working to advance the national economy and stated, “No one in the world can continue to impose sanctions against Iran.” Rouhani added:
    • “[Iran’s] foreign policy [is based on] logic, tact, and moderation.”
    • “The nuclear negotiating team can be heard defending your rights, in the heart of the West.”
    • “Iran’s negotiations with the P5+1 serve to prove the point that Iranians are a nation of logic and rationality. The power of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team is more important than that of centrifuges.”
    • “Some say [domestic critics] that the [Rouhani] administration has its eyes set on the outside. The government’s trust is in god first, and then it is in the powerful hands of the Iranian nation.”
    • “God willing… we will succeed in removing the unfair UNSC resolutions against Iran.” (
  • Foreign Ministry issues statement on seized cargo ship. Marzieh Afkham confirmed reports that Iranian naval forces seized a cargo ship navigating under a Marshall Islands flag on April 28. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stated: “The move was within the framework of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s laws and regulations and International protocol.” Afkham added that the ship will be released once the issue of overdue debt owed to Iran’s Port Authority is resolved. (Foreign Ministry)
    • Iran’s Port and Maritime Organization statement on the foreign ship. The port authority released a statement on the legal grounds for the Marshall-Islands flagged-ship. The message stated that a lawsuit was filed against MAERSK, by a private Iranian oil production company named Pars Talaee last year. The port authority added that the matter was based on a legal issue, not a political or military matter. (Ports and Maritime Organization)
  • Sayyari: Iranian naval presence in the Gulf of Aden is nothing new. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibbolah Sayyari discussed the presence of the 34th Fleet in the Gulf of Aden. He stated, “The major reason for Western and Arabic media’s reporting of the departure of this [34th] Fleet was to create an atmosphere in the media against Iran; Iranian naval forces have been present in the Gulf of Aden since 1386 [2007-2008]; this is not a new issue. However, foreign and Arabic media raised the issue today for advertising uses and creating an atmosphere in the media against Iran.” Sayyari also stated, “With the presence of pirates in 1386 [2007-2008] in the Gulf of Aden and at the request of the International Maritime Organization [IMO], Iran sent its fleets that same year to provide security to the area…” “The reason for other countries’ hypersensitivity about Iran’s presence in this region [of the Gulf of Aden] is that most countries present in the Gulf of Aden operate under NATO; however, the countries of Iran, China, and Russia act independently.” “Denying the [Artesh Navy’s] sending of weapons to Yemen,” Sayyari stated: “…adhering to international law, Iran has never entered the maritime borders of the countries [in the region]...” Sayyari insisted that despite permission to “follow [pirates] onto the beaches and ports of the [regional] countries,” Iranian forces “have never done” so. (Tasnim News Agency)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Dehghan meets with Syrian Defense Minister. “On the sidelines of the second round of meetings with Syrian Defense Minister [Fahd Jassem al-Freij]” Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated, “Takfiri [heretical] and Zionist groups are the main cause of instability in the region, and in the future, the world… and the international authorities have no response.” Dehghan also stated, “As an independent and powerful country, we [Iran] are always sensitive to peace and stability of the region.” Dehghan also stated, “We [Iran and Syria] share the same views on regional issues…” (Fars News Agency)


Nuclear Talks

  • Zarif: Iran and the U.S. can cooperate to “gradually eliminate….wall of mistrust.” In an interview with Charlie Rose, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “If the American government wanted to be the enemy of the people of Iran… the imposition of sanctions has been successful.” Zarif also stated, “We must understand and accept that in this regard [Iran-America relations], historical contexts exist; we must see that through working together to resolve the problems, we can gradually eliminate this wall of mistrust.” Zarif also said, “When America changed its views about Iran’s nuclear rights, Iran returned to the negotiations.” When Rose asked Zarif, “do you acknowledge that sanctions damaged your economy?” Zarif answered, “Of course; but the sanctions did not change the perspective and mindset of the Iranian government. The Iranian government continued its work, and built more centrifuges.” (YJC
    • Zarif meets with EU Foreign Policy Chief. Zarif met with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in New York on the sidelines of the NPT Review Conference to discuss the ongoing nuclear negotiations and “Tehran-EU relations.” On April 27, Zarif also met with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry “at the residence of the Ambassador and Permanent Representative of Iran to the United Nations.” (Tabnak)
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