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, Marie Donovan, and Paul Bucala, with contributors Ryan Melvin, Caitlin Pendleton, and Jordan Olmstead. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi lent his support for the nuclear deal in a published letter outlining several advantages of the agreement.
Hassan Firouzabadi expressed concerns about the “impact of the deal on Iran’s defense capabilities,” but stressed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and UN Security Council Resolution 2231 have “merits to which, unfortunately, critics pay less attention.” For example, Firouzabadi highlighted the noticeably weaker “tone” of Resolution 2231 in comparison to previous resolutions, stating, “The resolution’s tone has been downgraded from the authoritarian fashion of the previous four resolutions to recommendations and requests.”
IRGC Brigadier General Massoud Jazayeri reiterated that “Iran will not grant foreigners access to military resources” in response to comments made by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano that Iran has denied IAEA inspectors access to scientists and military officials. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, meanwhile, rejected allegations that Iran has engaged in clean-up activities at the Parchin military site ahead of IAEA inspections of the facility.
Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the son of former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, began his ten-year prison sentence in Tehran’s Evin prison. Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani was convicted in March of embezzlement, bribery, and “anti-security issues.”
Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei stressed that the nuclear deal gives Iran the opportunity to increase foreign trade. Rezaei warned, however, that “American mischief may continue.”
The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on www.irantracker.org to help clarify the hyper complex language of sanctions relief under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action and to provide additional information about some of the entities that will be freed of international restrictions.
AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis analyzes statements from Iran’s senior leadership addressing the ballistic missile provisions of the UN Security Council Resolution 2231 in his most recent blog post, "Iran has no qualm about exploiting the nuclear deal's weaknesses."
Rezaei: 20,000 centrifuges brought the P5+1 to the table. Mohsen Rezaei reiterated that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) is currently under review by Iranian officials; he reassured the nation that once the appropriate legal bodies have reviewed the nuclear deal, “the public will be notified.” The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary touted Iran’s position at the P5+1 negotiating table and claimed, “If it were not for the 20,000 centrifuge slap from the previous government [Ahmadinejad] they [the P5+1] would have never sat at the negotiating table…” Rezaei also stated:
- On the JCPOA: “We will continue investigations and this will be complete, comprehensive, and transparent…”
- On the economy: “The government [under President Rouhani] devised hope; and with respect to foreign policy it has an impressive defensive record. But still we see no momentum in the country’s economy; therefore we hope in the two remaining years of… [Rouhani’s] term that the government’s moves in the country’s economy are observed more than ever.”
- “Foreign diplomacy always paves the way for trade, but if a country is productive and the trade routes are closed, it cannot exchange [goods]…trade and commerce provides an opportunity to export national products.”
- “If we can open up for business, but we do not have anything to trade and export, the situation will virtually be no different than before sanctions were overturned.”
- “It is important to open up to the international space so that we can exchange our products to the world.”
- On internal corruption: “Corruption arises from disorder and weak laws and the only way to fight the underlying corruption is with authority and discipline.”
- “Parts of the banking system are not transparent and the exchange that takes place is not clear…and the rules are not respected, corruption will occur. Therefore, my suggestion is that issues with order, use of new technology, transparency, and authority must be strengthened in order to prevent corruption.”
- On Iran-U.S. relations: “It should be noted whether our [Iran’s] opposing side is America or [President] Obama. Many people recognize Obama as America…[but] the decisions of Congress are important. Second, the next president may renege [on the nuclear deal]. Similar to the agreement between [President] Clinton and Palestinian leader Yasser Arafat that Mr. [George W.] Bush set aside. The Democrats always speak to Iran from a diplomatic position, while the Republicans speak from a position of war.”
- “Reagan and [George H.W.] Bush arrived from a position of war and we [Iran] in that period of time went to the brink of war and during Reagan’s [presidency] five of our [Iran’s] provinces were occupied.”
- “[George W.] Bush under the pretext of nuclear activities issued an order to attack Iran; but American military commanders saw that war was not in the interests of America.”
- “On this basis, we can now say that Obama has set this policy [of negotiating with Iran] and the policy will be sustained… But American mischief may continue.”
- “In reality, government officials should thank the Artesh and IRGC for thwarting America’s dreams of attacking Iran.” (Rezaei.ir) http://rezaee.ir/fa/news/2144/%D8%A8%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA%D8%B4-%D9%88-%D8%B3%D9%BE%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AE%D9%86%D8%AB%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%86-%D8%B1%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%82%D8%AF%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%AA%D8%B3%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%85
Firouzabadi highlights sixteen “advantages” of the JCPOA and UNSC Resolution 2231. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi discussed the JCPOA and UN Security Council Resolution 2231.
- On problems in the JCPOA and Resolution 2231: “Today, an important issue and major concern for our authorities and people is the issue of Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA…” The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief stressed, “The Armed Forces have the most concerns about the impacts of the deal on Iran's defense capabilities and they are concerned about the US officials' misinterpretations from the post-nuclear deal sanctions." He also stated that the “Islamic Republic has never and will never use unconventional weapons, including nuclear ones, in its defensive strategy.”
- On the “advantages” of the JCPOA and Resolution 2231: Firouzabadi continued, “Nevertheless, the resolution and the JCPOA have merits, to which, unfortunately, their critics pay less attention…I think that I [will] describe the advantages for the information of the people.” Firouzabadi outlines sixteen such “advantages” of Resolution 2231 and the JCPOA. For example, point 5 states: “The resolution’s tone has been downgraded from the authoritarian fashion of the previous four resolutions to recommendations and requests. The issue in the case of missile sanctions and inspections of Iranian planes and ships is evident.” Point 13 states: “The position of the government of Iran has been that it does not accept Annex 2 of Resolution 2231. This point has been inserted in the introduction of Annex II based on the will of the P5+1 in the enacting of the aforementioned restrictions, that Iran’s name will not be removed regarding the participation in the writing of this annex.” Firouzabadi also highlighted the decrease in the “amount of monitoring of the implementation” of certain “restrictions.”
On Parliament’s involvement in approving the deal: Firouzabadi also stated, “In fact, in the instance of a breach in the JCPOA obligations, a mechanism for accounting for or claiming damages or possible compensation will not exist, but simply the [UN] Security Council will re-impose its old sanctions. This is why the Parliament should not be involved in the approval of the JCPOA in order to transform it into a legal obligation for Iran.” (Fars News Agency) (Entekhab) (Alef) (http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940517001353 http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/219552/16-%D9%86%D9%82%D8%B7%D9%87-%D9%82%D9%88%D8%AA-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%81%D9%82-%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87-%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%86%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%B1%D9%84%D8%B4%DA%A9%D8%B1-%D9%81%DB%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A2%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AF%DB%8C http://alef.ir/vdcb5zb50rhbw9p.uiur.html?287926
Araghchi: We are indebted to the resistance of the Iranian nation. Abbas Araghchi discussed “the various dimensions of the nuclear deal” during a meeting at the headquarters of the Iranian newspaper Ettelaat. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs praised the nuclear deal, saying that “one of the achievements of the nuclear deal is that the level of consciousness and political maturity has increased.” Araghchi also added:
- On the removal of sanctions: “Economic and financial sanctions will be removed on Implementation Day and the arms embargo and missile restrictions will be removed in a reasonable period of time, as the Supreme Leader intended…one technical problem exists because the commitments have different time requirements; if we implement our commitments quickly, it will last two or three months, but the removal of their sanctions will at maximum require two weeks.”
- On the nuclear negotiations: “During the negotiations, one of our requests was to remove Iran from a security atmosphere and bring to an end the atmosphere of anti-Iranian and anti-Shia sentiment.”
On the resistance of the Iranian nation: “We are indebted to the resistance…of the Iranian nation…the resistance of the past 12 years has led to this [nuclear deal] and this achievement belongs to all the people of Iran because of our defense and technical capabilities.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=90637
Jazayeri: “Iran will not grant foreigners access to military resources.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri responded to comments made by IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano that Iran has so far refused to allow IAEA inspectors to interview scientists and military officers. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy stated, “As has been clearly stated before, the Islamic Republic of Iran will not grant foreigners access to military resources…our people trust Iran’s armed forces to protect their capabilities…” Jazayeri added that “contrary to the plans and schemes of our enemies, the state of resistance in the region is growing and advancing and we hope that in future days we will have good news from the resistance front and against the aggressive stances of others.” (Basij Press) http://basijpress.ir/fa/news-details/53142/
Zarif dismisses Parchin allegations. Mohammad Javad Zarif dismissed recent claims that Iran is covering up illicit activity at the Parchin military site ahead of IAEA inspections. The Foreign Minister said the allegations “are aimed at undermining the good atmosphere” following the nuclear deal and attributed satellite imagery of bulldozers and heavy machinery near Parchin to nearby road construction. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/823671
Zarif emphasizes Iran will continue its defense program and regional aid. Foreign Minister Zarif stressed Iran’s “firm decision” to continue developing its defense program and sending aid to its regional allies. He said that ISIS is close to being annihilated due to Iranian aid in Iraq. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940518000828
- Zarif emphasizes Iran will continue its defense program and regional aid. Foreign Minister Zarif stressed Iran’s “firm decision” to continue developing its defense program and sending aid to its regional allies. He said that ISIS is close to being annihilated due to Iranian aid in Iraq. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940518000828
Boroujerdi: Distrust of U.S. is still very strong. Parliamentarian Alaeddin Boroujerdi stated that Iran's continued distrust of the U.S. stems from the "country's arrogant nature and its [support of Israel] in the massacre of the oppressed people of Palestine and its move to back Saudi Arabia's killing of Yemeni people." The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman added that in the "climate of mistrust," if the U.S reneges on the nuclear agreement then "we will do the same." (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/825386
- Salami: The Islamic Revolution cannot be restrained. IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami commented on the nuclear deal during a conference at Imam Hossein University in Tehran. Salami stated that “for the first time, the power and resistance of the Islamic Revolution has reached the point where it has caused a change in the behavior in the policies of the world powers, including America…in the past, America has used force wherever it has felt…this is a sign of the advancement and power of the Islamic Revolution.” Salami added that “this development has laid the groundwork for the creation of a new Islamic civilization...” (Mehr News) http://www.mehrnews.com/news/2879113/%D9%85%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%85%D8%AA-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D9%86%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%82%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%A8-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%85%DB%8C-%D9%85%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B1%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%BE%D8%B0%DB%8C%D8%B1
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Sadeghi: The nuclear deal does not mean reconciliation with the West. Hojjat ol Eslam Abdollah Haji Sadeghi discussed the nuclear deal during a ceremony commemorating “National Journalists Day.” The Deputy Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC emphasized that “the nuclear deal does not mean reconciliation with the West” and added that “one of the worries of the nuclear deal is it means an end to our confrontation with arrogant powers.” Sadeghi also discussed the role of the media, saying that “the injustice of some news agencies stem from the fact that they do not believe in the Islamic Revolution…news agencies know to help decision-makers.” Sadeghi added that “the errors of many occur due to false information...in the 2009 protests many people made incorrect decisions and took false positions due to bad information.” (Basij Press) http://basijpress.ir/fa/news-details/53211/
Ravanchi: The next U.S. president is unable to reinstate sanctions against Iran. Majid Takht Ravanchi stated that there is a paragraph within the JCPOA "which requires the U.S. administration to stop implementation of the sanctions [against Iran]...this means that there won't be a change once [President] Obama leaves office." The Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs added that it is not likely for the U.S. to veto the nuclear agreement, as it would isolate the country against the UN. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940518000888
Parliamentary commission questions Araghchi on nuclear deal. Parliamentarian Abbasali Mansouri Arani said that the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission questioned Abbas Araghchi on how the JCPOA observes Iran’s red lines during a three-hour session on August 9. Arani added that the Deputy Foreign Minister’s answers “were very thorough” and that Araghchi will likely be invited back to the commission’s next meeting to discuss the same topic. (Mashregh News) http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/451372/%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3%D9%87-%D8%B3%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%AA%D9%87-%DA%A9%D9%85%DB%8C%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D9%85%D9%84%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B9%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%82%DA%86%DB%8C
Larijani acknowledges “Iranian resolve” to end the nuclear stalemate. Ali Larijani stated that the government came to terms with the West "after investigating all the aspects" of the nuclear deal. The Parliament Speaker compared UNSC Resolution 2231 to that of UNSC Resolution 598, which ended the Iran-Iraq War in 1988, by stating that "Iran has always pursued a logical, rational approach for [a] resolution of its nuclear issue." Larijani added however that implementing the JCPOA will take time, while also describing how the Israelis are trying to sabotage the nuclear deal. Larijani stated that the nuclear deal is a national achievement and can boost the economy by "bringing in modern technology and foreign investment." (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81712407/
Salehi: JCPOA upholds Iran’s red lines. Ali Akbar Salehi told a meeting to survey the JCPOA that Iran faces “no limitation to continue with [its] peaceful nuclear program” after the deal. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head said that the IAEA should continue its inspections in Iran as it does for other member states. He added that the Iranian negotiation team “managed to gain what it wanted” in the deal. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81713909/
Parliament collects signatures for petition requiring JCPOA to be sent to Parliament as a bill. Parliamentarian Ramezan Shajaee Kiasari told reporters that 160 signatures have been collected from Iranian lawmakers on a statement requiring that the government send the JCPOA to Parliament in bill format. (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5287248/%D8%A8%DB%8C%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%87-160-%D8%A7%D9%85%D8%B6%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D9%86%D9%85%D8%A7%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%84%D8%B2%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%AF%D9%88%D9%84%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%A7%D8%A6%D9%87-%D9%84%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AD%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3
Lawmakers call for missile exercise. In a statement to Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, several members of Parliament missile tests and war games. The letter calls for a strong response to “excessive demands” made by the “enemies of the Islamic Revolution.” (Raja News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/219236
Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani begins prison sentence. Mehdi Hashemi Rafsanjani, the son of former President Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, presented himself at Evin Prison on August 9 to begin his ten-year prison sentence on charges linked to embezzlement, bribery, and “anti-security issues.” Rafsanjani was, however, acquitted of espionage charges. (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=90652
- Cabinet approves “Protection of Industrial Ownership” bill. President Hassan Rouhani’s cabinet approved a bill entitled “Protection of Industrial Ownership” during its afternoon session on August 9. The bill seeks to protect the “moral and material” rights of idea-holders regarding patents, designs, and trademarks. The cabinet also approved regulations facilitating more efficient energy and water consumption in industrial, agricultural, construction, and service sectors. (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88685
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Firouzabadi: Iraqi people need to show more “self-restraint.” Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi discussed the situations in Iraq, Syria, and Bahrain, as well as ISIS. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief stated:
- On Iraq: “Evaluations of Iraq’ central government [show] that it has operated very well; by obtaining important achievements in stabilizing Iraq’s sovereignty and protecting its territorial integrity and independence, [the government] has been successful against the enemies of the nation of Iraq.” Firouzabadi decried the “calling for street protests by stimulating specific and sometimes non-Muslim groups, and the blowing up of Iran-Iraq power lines and other vandalism.” He added that “each successful revolution has seen such noise and obstructions against itself… The revolutionary people of Iraq should show self-restraint more than ever, and must help the central government on the path of progress and overcome the enemies.”
- On Syria: “The Syrian government has enjoyed the necessary endurance and that it has the power to preserve its national interests and the domain of its constitution.” He also stated, “The Syrian central government has taken on life once again, and has achieved important victories on several fronts.”
- On ISIS: “ISIS and its allies are disintegrating, and will be crushed under the wheels of future developments.”
On Bahrain: “Bahrain has shown the uselessness of repression… the government of Bahrain must reach an agreement with the nation’s elite and release the leaders of the people from prison, in order to be able to track its positive developments in the interest of the government and the people of Bahrain.” (Sepah News) http://sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=907902b1-c951-43da-894c-c826cbf6f1cc
Zarif to visit Damascus in two days. Mohammad Javad Zarif will visit Damascus in two days before continuing on to Moscow. “Informed sources” told the Lebanese newspaper Safir that the foreign minister will meet with his Syrian counterpart Walid Muallem as well as Syrian President Bashar al Assad. The sources stated that Zarif "formally requested the meeting" to submit the beginning of a "political initiative" to resolve the Syrian crisis. (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/523348/%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%B7%DB%8C-2-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B2-%D8%A2%DB%8C%D9%86%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AF%D9%85%D8%B4%D9%82-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%AF
110 foreign media permits issued since the beginning of year. In Honor of “National Journalists Day,” the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance (MCIG) stated that it has issued 110 temporary work permits for foreign media outlets that do not have an Iran office since the start of the Iranian calendar year (March 21). MCIG Minister Ali Jannati stated that Tehran should employ the power of media "to improve its global image, which has been unfairly tarnished over the past ten years." (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/10/424043/Iran-Ministry-of-Culture-Media
- Fatimiyoun Brigade fighter killed. Mohammad Hosseini, a fighter in the Afghan Shi’a militia Fatimiyoun Brigade, was reported to have died on August 6 from injuries suffered during a clearing operation in the Syrian province of Dera’a in January. (ABNA) http://fa.abna24.com/service/middle/archive/2015/08/07/691207/story.html
IRISL to be removed from list of sanctions “early winter.” Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) Managing Director Mohammad Hossein Dajmar stated that the appendixes of the nuclear agreement stipulate that IRISL will be removed from the list of sanctions, adding that it "will probably come [in] early winter." (ISNA) (E) http://isna.ir/en/news/94051709740/Iran-shipping-line-to-be-removed-from-sanctions
- Japanese trade delegation visits Iran. Japan’s State Minister of Economy, Trade, and Industry Daishiro Yamagiwa led a delegation of high-level Japanese trade officials and industry representatives on a visit to Tehran on August 8 and 9. Yamagiwa met with Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh, who highlighted the possibilities for joint cooperation in Iran’s West Karoun oil fields, as well as Japan’s investment in Iran’s liquid natural gas (LNG) production. (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109133/Oil-min-calls-for-Iran-Japan-joint-LNG-production
Military and Security
Jalali: We are tracking all of the enemy’s cyber threats. The Head of the Passive Defense Organization IRGC Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali stated that “in the area of cyber defense, our forces are tracking all of the threats against the Islamic Republic, and their activities in the field of soft war.” (Basij Press) http://basijpress.ir/fa/news-details/53143/
- Russian warships dock at Iranian port. Two Russian warships entered the Iranian port of Bandar-e Anzali, located in Gilan province bordering the Caspian Sea. According to reports, the Russian vessels are scheduled to participate in joint naval exercises with their Iranian counterparts. (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/50989