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: IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari stressed that domestic “deviation from the path of the [Islamic] Revolution” is “our main risk.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus to discuss regional diplomacy in the wake of the nuclear deal. 

IRGC Major General Jafari criticized the lack of attention paid to “cultural attacks” against the values of the Islamic Revolution. He stressed the need to address “cultural threats” in order to advance the Islamic evolution past the “third and fourth stages.”

Foreign Minister Zarif discussed efforts to end the Syrian civil war with President Assad and senior Syrian officials. Zarif described the talks as “constructive” and “good conversations on solving the Syrian crisis.” Before travelling to Syria, Zarif was in Lebanon, where he met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salaam, Foreign Minister Gebran Bassil, and Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah. 

The Armed Forces General Staff Chief Major General Hassan Firouzabadi announced that “missile drills will be conducted according to the schedule approved by the Supreme Leader.”  

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages on 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 qualms about exploiting the nuclear deal's weaknesses."

 Official Statements

  • Jafari: “We must protect the progress and advancement of the Islamic Revolution.” IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari commented on the role of the IRGC during a ceremony in Mashhad.
    • “Promotion of the Islamic Revolution in the cultural fields requires more attention from officials, authorities, and positive actions.” 
    • Jafari also discussed the future of the Islamic Revolution, noting, “The Supreme Leader articulated his own concerns about cultural attacks… but no one anywhere is paying attention to this issue…we have not made great advancement in this field.”
    • “For some time, we have thought that our main task is confronting defensive and security threats; the defensive and military preparations of the IRGC have grown and expanded; today the IRGC, relying on the population, weapons, and various technologies, enjoys great power…”
    •  He stated, “In 1377 [1998-1999] and 1378 [1999-2000], threats other than security and defensive threats became real for us, which could have made a problem for the Islamic Republic, and stop the progress of the Islamic Revolution, and cause it to deviate…”
    • “According to the saying of the Leader of the Revolution, the fourth stage of the Islamic Revolution is the Islamization of society, and the fifth stage is the formation of global Islamic society; this is actually the same path that the Islamic Revolution must go.”
    • “Our main risk is domestic deviation from the path of the Islamic Revolution…”
    • “The realization of Islamic society, the establishment of justice, Islamic ethics, and style of life for the people is the main duty of the [Islamic] Revolution…If we do not undergo the third or fourth stages of the [Islamic] Revolution, in reality the Islamic Revolution will have been violated and will not have advanced.”
    • Jafari added that “if we only defend the [Islamic] Revolution so it does not regress, in reality…this is not the intent of the Supreme Leader, and instead we must protect the advancement and progress of the Islamic Revolution.” (Sepah News)
  • AEOI Head Salehi: Assassinating Iranian scientists “inspired us.” In an exclusive interview with Science, Ali Akbar Salehi discussed his role in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head said that the five Iranian nuclear scientists who were assassinated in the past ten years emboldened Iran to pursue a nuclear program. Salehi said he did not want to join the negotiations, because it seemed like “mission impossible.” Salehi added:
    • “It was about a year and a half ago that they [Iran and the P5+1] were negotiating and they couldn't move forward. In February, I was summoned by my superiors. One…official said, ‘Ali, you have to join the negotiations.’ I said, ‘You’re joking. What can I do?’”
    • “I said, OK, I will go, but on condition that my counterpart [U.S. Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz] also participates." Salehi claimed that the U.S. agreed to bring on Moniz to facilitate the talks.
    • On R&D and advanced centrifuges: “The Americans said, ‘If there's no research on centrifuges, we will be very happy.’ We [the Iranians] said, ‘we would not be happy. We understand you have some concerns. Let’s see how we can mitigate them.’"
    • “If we [Iran] were free, probably within 8 years, we could have come up with a cascade of 164 [advanced IR8 centrifuges]. That is not a big constraint for us, but that pleases the other side so we [agreed]. It could have been better, of course, if we had a bigger cascade…”
    • On military oversight of Fordow: “It’s not controlled by the military. Decades ago, it was a place where the military stored ammunition.” (Tasnim News Agency) (Science) (E)
  • Salehi: Arak’s reactor pit will not be plugged. Salehi reiterated his recent dismissal of Secretary of State John Kerry’s remarks concerning the Arak heavy water reactor. He stated, “If concrete is poured in the reactor [pit] the [Arak] reactor will no longer remain…” The AEOI Head stressed, “The reactor pit is considered to be the heart and under no circumstances will it be damaged…” (YJC)
  • Larijani: Resolving differences needed to create national “unity.” Ali Larijani met with "managers, editors, and journalists of Qom" on August 12. The Parliament Speaker stated that the internal conditions in the country need "refinement." He specified that the country currently has a focus on being “safe,” however Larijani added that it is crucial to resolve any differences of "hatred and hostility" to protect the national "unity." He added that the Muslim killings in the region is "hot on the chest of all Muslims," and stressed that more work is needed to illustrate the true voice of Islam in preventing these behaviors. (Mashregh News)

Military and Security

  • Firouzabadi: Iran to conduct missile drills. The Armed Forces General Staff Chief Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi stated that “missile drills will be conducted according to the schedule approved by the Supreme Leader.” Firouzabadi’s comments are a response to an August 10letter in which several parliamentarians publically called for missile exercises. (YJC)
  • Air defense units are "quick on the trigger." Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili stated, "If [the] enemy seeks to invade our territory, it will receive a slap in the face from Iran's armed forces." The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander warned that its self-sufficiency in developing its military equipment has allowed the armed forces to monitor threats "from land, air and sea" and cautioned that the Air defense units "are quick on the trigger" to counter any threats. (Press TV) (E
  • Navy plans to bring "a range of new equipment into service." Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated that new naval vessels, including "missile launching warships, new destroyers, as well as squadrons of vessels and submarines" will be launched into service in “1394 [2015-2016] and 1395 [2016-2017].” Sayyari added, "This major move, which signifies the Islamic Republic of Iran's self-sufficiency in supplying the naval defense equipment, will certainly once again stun the world." (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Defa Press)
  • 35th Fleet docks at Omani port. The Artesh Navy 35th Fleet, composed of the frigate Alvandand the support ship Bandar Abbas, entered the Omani port of Salalah after a fifty day patrol in the north of the Indian Ocean. After three days in port, the fleet will start a fifty day patrol in the Gulf of Aden and the Red Sea. (Defa Press)
  • Iran-Russian naval exercises in the Caspian. Admiral Afshin Rezaei Haddad disclosed details on the Iran-Russian joint naval exercises in an interview with Fars News Agency. The Commander of Iran’s Northern Fleet and the Fourth Maritime Zone stated that the Volgodonskand Makhachkala, the two Russian corvettes which entered the Iranian port of Bandar-e Anzali on August 9, remained in Iranian waters for three days. Admiral Haddad said that Russian naval officers held meetings with their Iranian counterparts during the first two days. Admiral Haddad added that on the third day, the two Russian warships participated in joint naval exercises with three Iranian vessels, including the frigate Damavand. (Raja News)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif meets with Assad in Damascus. Foreign Minister Zarif met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus on August 12. Zarif and Assad discussed regional developments and insecurity; the two underlined the necessity for all sides to adopt realistic policies and help cut the support for terrorism. Zarif also reaffirmed Iran’s support for the Syrian nation, adding that the country’s fate should be decided by its own people without foreign intervention.  Zarif called the talks “constructive” and “good conversations on solving the Syrian crisis.” (IRIB)
  • Zarif holds joint press conference with Lebanese counterpart. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif identified Israel, extremism, and sectarianism as the region’s “common enemies” during a press conference in Beirut with his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil. Zarif hoped Lebanon and regional countries would realize “the sweet fruits of cooperation” with Iran and said the world’s issues can only be resolved through “constructive dialogue based on mutual respect." (Mehr News)
    • Zarif meets with Nasrallah. Foreign Minister Zarif met with Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut. Zarif told reporters that Iran “supports [the] Lebanese people’s demands” and will “cooperate” with the country.  (IRNA) (E)
    • Zarif meets with Lebanese PM. Foreign Minister Zarif discussed regional developments and the “need” to expand bilateral ties during a meeting with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam. (MFA) (E)
    • Zarif meets with Lebanese and Palestinian resistance leaders. Foreign Minister Zarif emphasized that Iran will always support the resistance against “the Zionist regime [Israel]” during a meeting with Lebanese and Palestinian leaders. He stated that the nuclear agreement was “a victory for the resistance” and “a day of mourning for [Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin] Netanyahu.” (ISNA)
  • Iranian truck convoy attacked in Turkey near border with Iran. Mohammad Javad Attarchayan announced that a convoy returning to Iran with freight from Georgia was attacked in Turkey near the Iranian border on August 11. The Director General in the Office of Transit, Border and Toll Agencies stated that while Turkish officials closed their border, the border of Iran remains open. Attarchayan warned Iranian drivers that Turkish territory is insecure and that they should avoid all non-essential trips. He added that the Iranian government has told the Turkish government that it is responsible for the safety of Iranian nationals in Turkey, and should pay compensation to drivers who suffered in the recent attacks. (Entekhab)
  • Saudi Arabia is not participating in regional talks with Iran. When asked about Tehran's view on cooperation with Riyadh on regional problems, The Foreign Ministry’s Direct General for Arab-African Affairs Hossein Jaber Ansari stated, "We have announced our readiness for talks in this regard to the Saudi side and want negotiations but they escape such talks." (Fars News Agency) (E
  • Hamas announces that relations with Iran will continue. Senior Hamas official Khalil Alhiyeh announced that Hamas will continue relations with Iran and expressed hope that Iran will “continue to stand in resistance with Palestine against the occupying regime.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Larijani to attend an international conference in New York. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani is scheduled to attend the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament at the UN Headquarters from August 31 to September 2 in New York. (Entekhab)

Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Rouhani holds cabinet meeting. President Hassan Rouhani stressed the importance of responding to the population’s needs in a cabinet meeting on August 12. He stated that “even if the request and claim is outside the capabilities of the government, it should be articulated, with reason and logic, why the government is not able to fulfill their wishes.” (
  • Larijani: Parliament to review the JCPOA. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stated, “This agreement must gain legal status, because it creates commitments for the country; it is necessary that [the JCPOA] be reviewed in the Parliament.” (Tabnak)
  • Shariatmadari questions Araghchi’s constitutional knowledge. Hossein Shariatmadari responded to senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi’s August 11 interview concerning Parliament’s legal authority to review the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). The Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan referred to Araghchi’s claim that the JCPOA “does not require Parliament’s resolution” and stated: 
    • “No binding document subject to Article 77 [of the Constitution] can be removed [from this legal procedure].”
    • “One should ask Mr. Araghchi, if the [JCPOA] places no responsibility or obligation on our country then it is not an agreement and basically there was no need for 12 years of negotiations…and if it is binding, which it is, [the JCPOA] can only come into force after [receiving] Parliament’s approval.” (Raja News)


  • Iranian and Spanish companies sign MOU on power generation projects. Iran's electrical products company Sunir and the Spanish firm Bester Generation signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) on implementing power generation projects worth $250 million in Chile and Mexico. Sunir Managing Director Bahman Salehi stated, "Iran plans to turn into an energy and power hub in the Middle East in the near future. Hence, there is a plan on the agenda to set up joint power transmission lines with most of the neighbors [in the region]." (Press TV) (E
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