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: Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani voiced his support for the negotiating team, while Defense Minister Hossein Dehghan explicitly stated that Iran will not permit inspections of its military facilities. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif promoted enhanced bilateral relations with Oman and Pakistan as part of Tehran’s ongoing diplomatic initiative to reconcile regional tensions.

Ayatollah Larijani praised the Iranian negotiating team for acting based on the Supreme Leader’s prescribed guidelines. The Judiciary Head urged the negotiators to delineate the framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program and said, “The…team has a very difficult job ahead we must support, acknowledge, and appreciate…so that in the crucial and momentous months ahead, the negotiating team can bring the nuclear issue to the correct conclusion…” Larijani’s endorsement reaffirms the overwhelming support of senior Iranian officials for the Tehran-P5+1 agreement.

The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) and the Foreign Ministry finalized a factsheet on the nuclear framework agreement. Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, meanwhile, reiterated that the regime will reject any IAEA-initiated proposal that would grant inspectors access to its sensitive military sites.

Foreign Minister Zarif met with his Omani counterpart Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah in Muscat on April 8. The two discussed regional developments and called for increased cooperation in deescalating the ongoing Yemeni crisis. Zarif also held bilateral talks with his Pakistani counterpart in Islamabad. Zarif reiterated Iran’s commitment to strengthening joint cooperation efforts with Pakistan. The Foreign Minister’s trip appears to be part of Tehran’s larger diplomatic strategy to undermine Riyadh’s interests and divide the Saudi-led coalition against Yemen.


Official Statements

  • Larijani: we must support the nuclear negotiating team. Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani stated, “The nuclear negotiating team has a very difficult job ahead, and we must support, acknowledge, and appreciate…in this process; so that in the crucial and momentous months ahead, the negotiating team can bring the nuclear issue to the correct conclusion; of course, this support does not conflict with efforts to remove existing ambiguities.” He added, “If the negotiating team defends the nation’s nuclear rights…with the strength and independence of the framework set by the system and the Supreme Leader…certainly, all of the [government] officials and the people will be behind them, and support them.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Salehi: AEOI and Foreign Ministry finalize fact sheet. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran [AEOI] Head Ali Akbar Salehi stated, “The Atomic Energy Agency and the Foreign Ministry have prepared an Iran’s fact sheet, and is now in the hands of the Foreign Minister and will be published if appropriate.” Salehi also stated, “If we analyzed the Swiss statement [the P5+1 and Iran’s framework nuclear agreement] overall, the talks were positive.”  (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Kowsari calls for reciprocity in the removal of sanctions. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari claimed that “the lives and blood of our nuclear scientists honored our nation,” and stated that sanctions should be removed simultaneously with the execution of Iran’s commitments. The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member added, “It should not be similar to the past that we perform our measures, but they remove sanctions step by step…Just as we, in the preliminary agreement in Geneva, did; now have other commitments expected of us, the negotiations team has a few basic steps to take.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Firouzabadi censures West for greenlighting Saudi aggression. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi asserted that since Saudi Wahhabis are incapable of handling their own domestic opponents and issues, Riyadh launched attacks against Yemen. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief criticized the Arab countries involved in the military operations and the West for providing logistical support. Firouzabadi stated: "The silence of western states and the international bodies on the current developments in Yemen and the destruction of the country's infrastructure has taken the world’s opinion to the conclusion that the Saudi aggression was staged with the [West’s] green light." (Sepah News)
  • Larijani slams harassment of Iranian youth in Jeddah airport. In a Women’s Day address to the spouses of Parliamentarians, including his own, the Parliament Speaker discussed women’s issues, including the role that Hazrat Fatima can play in the modern feminist movement. Larijani also criticized Saudi Arabia’s actions in Yemen and for creating divisions in the Muslim world. He added, “For a country that claims to be Islamic, they have no shame that a young pilgrim went there to get harassed… so the issue will not be resolved until all the problems of the Muslim community are resolved.” (YJC)
  • Shirazi criticizes Saudi security in the wake of an airport incident. Grand Ayatollah Naser Makaram Shirazi slammed the harassment of two teenage Iranian pilgrims by airport security in Jeddah and claimed that he would boycott the Umrah [pilgrimage] in a speech today at the Grand Mosque in Qom. Regarding sanctions, Shirazi said, “We hope the outcome of the negotiations will be good, but should not lose our self-respect in the discussions.” (Tabnak)
  • Defense Minister: Iran will not grant inspectors access to military facilities. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan rejected reports claiming that the framework agreement on Tehran’s nuclear program will permit inspections of sensitive military sites. The Defense Minister stated, "No such agreement has been made; principally, visiting military centers are among [Iran’s] redlines and no such visit will be accepted." Dehghan added that, the Iranian negotiating team has the support and confidence of the nation and that it will safeguard national interests. (Tasnim News Agency)


Military and Security

  • Artesh Navy’s 34th Fleet headed to the Gulf of Aden. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari announced that the 34th Fleet departed for the Gulf of Aden and the Bab el Mandeb Strait to ensure the security of Iranian shipping lines. Sayyari said the Fleet will be deployed for approximately three months. (Defa Press)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani’s special envoy stresses national dialogue in Yemen. Morteza Sarmardi called for inclusive dialogue to resolve the Yemeni crisis, in a press conference at the Iranian Embassy in Algeria. The Deputy Foreign Minister and President Hassan Rouhani’s special envoy stated: “Tehran has several times extended its full support for Yemeni talks, and in order to make the reconciliation efforts successful, foreign aggression and bombardment of Yemen must come to an immediate end, because negotiations amid aggression and under incessant bombardments are meaningless." Sarmardi pointed to the al Houthis and said that the Yemeni group was fighting al Qaeda, which is beneficial to the neighboring countries. (ISNA)
  • Zarif thanks Omani King for his role in nuclear negotiations. In a meeting with Foreign Minister Yusuf bin Alawi bin Abdullah this morning in Muscat, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif praised the special role of the Sultan of Oman in the final stage of the nuclear talks. When asked about the possibility of future negotiations in Oman, Zarif replied, “I think academics are all interested in visiting Muscat again, but no decision has been made on the issue… of course it has not yet been decided anywhere.” The two also discussed regional issues, including Yemen. (ABNA)
  • Abdollahian and Chinese special envoy to the Middle East discuss Yemen. Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with China’s special envoy to the Middle East Gong Xiaosheng today in Tehran. Abdollahian blamed outside involvement for driving regional catastrophes, and urged “immediate cessation of Saudi military attacks on Yemen, and national dialogue with all parties in a neutral country” as the sole solution to the problems in Yemen. (Mehr News)
  • Zarif: “we must consult Pakistan” on regional affairs. Following his visit to Muscat, Foreign Minister Zarif traveled to Islamabad to meet with his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz. Addressing reporters in Islamabad, Zarif stated, “We believe that to resolve regional problems, we must consult with Pakistan.”  Zarif also discussed Tuesday’s terrorist attack in the Negur region of Sistan va Baluchistan province, which killed eight Iranian border guards: “Today, unfortunately, both Iran and Pakistan are exposed to extremism and terrorism, and unfortunately, last night we saw terrorists martyr a number of Iranian border guards in the southeast of our country.” (IRNA)


Domestic Politics

  • Rezaei reportedly returning as IRGC commander. Mohsen Rezaei allegedly wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader requesting to return to the IRGC. Khamenei reportedly granted the Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former IRGC commander’s request. According to Hossein Kanani Moghaddam, Rezaei is currently teaching at Imam Hossein University. Moghaddam, a close friend of Rezaei, did not specify whether or not Rezaei will remain politically active, given his return to the IRGC. (Mashregh News)
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