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 Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Shayan Enferadi and Ali Javaheri. 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: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu pledged to strengthen cooperation between Tehran and Ankara on the Syrian conflict.
During a joint news conference in Ankara, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif acknowledged “differences in opinion” between Iran and Turkey on Syria but claimed that “important views are shared” between the two countries, including the need to “maintain Syria’s territorial integrity” and the requirement that “the Syrian people must decide their own future.” Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu vowed that Iran and Turkey will “strengthen” cooperation “for the establishment of a lasting peace in Syria.” Zarif also welcomed the planned restoration of diplomatic and economic relations between Russia and Turkey following the meeting between Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an and Russian President Vladimir Putin in Russia on August 9 .
Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht issued reforms limiting the maximum allowed salary for government employees in response to the ongoing scandal over “astronomical” pay and benefits for senior public officials.
- Caitlin Shayda Pendleton analyzes and translates a recent interview with the newly elected spokesman of the Guardian Council in “Is this proposal the future of Iranian elections?”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Zarif agrees to cooperate with Turkey on Syria. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu in Ankara, Turkey, on August 12. Zarif stated that “important views are shared between Turkey and Iran on Syria… We will continue negotiations despite differences.” Zarif added that these important views include protecting “Syria’s territorial integrity” and “that the Syrian people should decide their own future.” He noted that Iran “welcomes” improved Russian-Turkey relations and added that additional talks will be necessary to resolve the differences between Iran and Turkey. Zarif also referenced Iran’s condemnation of last month’s attempted coup in Turkey and stated that Iran “believes the era of bullying and coups is over… that’s why all the Iranian officials… condemned the coup.” Zarif is scheduled to meet with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an during his visit.
- Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu stated that “Iran and Turkey will fight jointly against ISIS and al Nusra” and added, “We will strengthen our cooperation for the establishment of a lasting peace in Syria. ” Çavu?o?lu acknowledged differences in opinion between Ankara and Tehran regarding the Syrian crisis but noted, “We believe that Iran can have a constructive role in Syria.” He also stated, “We do not distinguish between the PKK and the PJAK terrorists; we know they are a threat to national security.”
Çavu?o?lu said that Iran and Turkey are aiming to reach $30 million in trade between the two countries. He noted the two sides discussed the transfer of Iranian gas to Europe, and that Turkey “is determined to buy more natural gas from Iran.” Zarif discussed the ongoing crisis in Syria and other regional developments in a telephone conversation with Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov on August 11. (Fars News Agency) (E) (Fars News Agency) (E) (Mehr News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency) (ISCA)
Former deputy foreign minister: We offered to host Assad twice. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the international affairs advisor to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, stated that Iran has offered to host Syrian President Bashar al Assad and his family “perhaps at least twice in previous years.” Abdollahian claimed that Assad declined these offers, however. Earlier this year, Intelligence Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi told reporters that Quds Force Commander IRGC Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani offered Assad asylum, but the Syrian president had declined the offer. Abdollahian also stated separately that Iran “will stand with Syria and the Resistance until the end.” The former deputy foreign minister praised Russian President Vladimir Putin’s policies in Syria and noted that Iran is “very proud” of Lebanese Hezbollah’s “major contribution to the fight against terrorism and the security of Lebanon and the region.” (YJC) (IRIB)
Tehran Friday prayer leader: “The U.S. and Israel are trying to destroy Islam with Saudi money.” Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani accused the U.S and Israel of supporting Saudi Arabia’s efforts to spread “takfiri terrorism” in the Middle East and stated, “The al Saud family says that is the custodian of the two holy shrines but the al Sauds have been destroying the world behind the mask of the holy shrines.” (Mehr News Agency)
Rouhani administration issues salary reforms. Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht issued a memo limiting the legal salary cap for officials from the legislative, executive, and judicial branches. According to the memo, salaries will now be subject to a monthly salary limit of ten million toman (~3,200 USD). (Fars News Agency)
Rouhani’s chief of staff responds to criticism over nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian claimed that “signing and implementing the nuclear deal was the decision of the Iranian political system” during an interview with Iranian Students News Agency (ISNA). He dismissed the recent uptick in criticism over the deal, stating, “Those who tried to obstruct the deal are still trying to block it.” Since the nuclear deal was signed last year, its domestic supporters have cited broader underlying support in the Iranian regime for the deal. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, for example, controversially claimed that “the nuclear file is the Supreme Leader’s file,” when faced with hardline opponents of the deal in Parliament. Nahavandian also denounced criticism of the deal as unconstructive, stating, “Any individual who helps make the investment environment more positive will help remove the problems [surrounding the nuclear deal] and those who create doubt… will not be doing anyone a service.” (Alef)
Interior minister: Ahmadinejad’s recent speeches could be illegal. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli reiterated his previous criticism of former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad’s recent political activity during a news interview. Fazli claimed that Ahmadinejad’s speeches appear to constitute political activity that would be “illegal” according to Iran’s electoral laws, which delimit a specific period for campaigning before the elections. (Tabnak)
Military & Security
- Fadavi criticizes idea of cooperation with the U.S. IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi criticized individuals who “want to establish economic relations with the devil in order to solve the country’s economic problems.” He said that these people are “using the podium to openly tell lies that show their lack of understanding and belief in the principles of the Islamic Revolution.” Fadavi added, “It is surprising that some of these people hold positions of importance,” likely in a reference to members of the Rouhani administration. (Defa Press)
- Karaj Friday prayer leader criticizes IPC. Karaj Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Mehdi Hosseini Hamedani criticized the newly revised Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) during his sermon, claiming that it grants foreign countries an illegal level of control over Iranian oil production. Hamedani also dismissed the nuclear deal’s economic benefits, stating, “The nuclear deal is the best example for understanding the unfaithfulness of the Americans. Look how they have forced the world to not interact with Iran and have prevented the nuclear deal from bearing fruit!” (Tasnim News Agency)