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: Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei stated, “The JCPOA is the beginning of our new era with America.”

At an academic ceremony in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan province, Mohsen Rezaei highlighted the period from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s death in 1989 to [President George W.] “Bush’s time” as a “period of détente between Iran and America.” In contrast, the Expediency Discernment Council Secretary said that America increased sanctions and negative “slogans” against Iran in the period from President George W. Bush’s administration to President Barack Obama’s administration. Rezaei said President Obama “pulled America out of a foreign policy swamp,” and stressed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, “is the beginning of a new era with America.”

Kurdish separatist group Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK) killed five Basij members during a firefight on August 11 in the northwestern province of Kurdistan. 

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.

Official Statements

  • Rezaei: “The JCPOA is the beginning of our new era with America.” Mohsen Rezaei discussed Iran-U.S. relations, the nuclear negotiations, and the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA, at an academic ceremony in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan province. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary stated: 
    • On the history of Iran-U.S. relations: “After the victory of the [Islamic] Revolution, there were many challenges with America; in this period, negotiations have taken place, even in recent years, America’s president wrote a letter to the Supreme Leader.”
    • “We must analyze America’s behavior towards Iran in these 38 years…After the death of Imam Khomeini, we witnessed a period of détente between Iran and America; this period continued until [President George W.] Bush’s time; during this period, sanctions were…low, and America did not make military threats.”
    • “…new approaches in Iran had been formed; but America’s answer to Iran was based on a fair-weather attitude and arrogance, insofar as [President George W.] Bush described Iran as an axis of evil… Bush wanted to attack Iran; but some of the American military commanders dissuaded him from doing so.” 
    • Rezaei stressed that the U.S. increased sanctions and negative “slogans and resolutions” against Iran in the period from George W. Bush administration to the Obama administration.
    • On the nuclear negotiations: “The JCPOA is the beginning of our new era with America.”
    • “Today, America is apparently showing a certain phase known as friendshipbut if it’s [America’s] behavior shows something else, we must examine America’s behavior after the victory of the [Islamic] Revolution, and arrive at the question of whether America has made change in its relationship towards Iran, or whether its behavior is just to create an appearance, and we are facing a new face.”
    • “In this work [the nuclear negotiations and the JCPOA], Obama pulled America out of foreign policy swamp, and Congress should give Obama a medal; of course, we obtained some successes as well.”
    • “In my opinion, even though the Americans’ behavior is deceitful, we can obtain our own interests.”
    • In response to a statement that “America will not make a military attack against Iran out of fear of an Iranian military attack against Israel,” Rezaei stated: “After the negotiations, this theory is very weak; but if America really does make a military attack against Iran, we will threaten not only Israel but also all of America’s interests.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (   
  • Soleimani extols Iranian resistance. IRGC Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani delivered a speech at an art and culture festival on August 13 in the city of Kerman. The IRGC Qods Force Commander praised the people of Kerman, Sistan va Baluchistan, and Zahedan in southeastern Iran, for their influential role in shaping the country’s history. Soleimani reflected on the heavy losses these cities took during the Iran-Iraq War and expressed how proud he is to be from Kerman. Soleimani stressed:
    • “A society that sacrifices can achieve great victory and pride…”
    • “The battlefront is a [character] building school and the impact will remain forever…”
    • “We live in a society with the aroma of martyrdom, sacrifice, culture, and resistance can be sensed everywhere in Iran…” (Sepah News)
  • ??FM Spokeswoman: The U.S. is isolated from the international community, not Iran. Marzieh Afkham denied President Obama’s August 11 claim that the JCPOA’s implementation might change Iranian foreign policy. The Iranian Ministry of Foreign Affairs Spokeswomen claimed that President Obama fails to realize that Iranian power depends on “the steadfastness of the Iranian people against domination and threats and fundamental support for oppressed countries.” Afkham added that “in our view and [that of] most of the free world, the Zionist regime and their supporters are secluded from the international community,” and that if American officials objectively assess their credibility and image in Islamic countries, there are “few opportunities available for examination” because of several decades of “mistaken policies on the basis of warmongering and support for terrorism.” (MFA)


Military and Security

  • Ground forces to conduct six war games. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated, "The Ground Forces will stage six war games by the end of this year." The Artesh Ground Forces Commander added that some of the war games will focus specifically on missile drills. (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • Sayyari: Islamic Republic of Iran Navy “establishing naval diplomacy.” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated that exercises with Russian ships off Iran’s coast mark Iranian efforts to “establish naval diplomacy with friendly countries” as a step towards “establishing effective security.” The Artesh Navy Commander stated that the Navy will hold a “big” naval exercise by the end of the year, and plans to deploy new missile systems in 2015 and 2016. When asked to respond to comments made by President Obama about the viability of the U.S. military option, Sayyari responded, “We only smile at him.” (Defa Press)
  • Saeedi is appointed as a new air defense commander. Colonel Bijan Saeedi was appointed as Commander of the Martyr Dastanbu Western Air Defense Region. Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Reza Sabahi Fard stated at the ceremony that "the Islamic Republic has the safest skies in the Middle East." (Defa Press)
  • Five Basij members killed in firefight with Kurdish separatists. The Party of Free Life of Kurdistan (PJAK), a Kurdish separatist group, attacked a group of Basij militia members on August 11 in Kurdistan province, located in northwestern Iran. IRGC Beit ol Moghaddas Coordination Deputy Colonel Ebrahim Hosseini claimed that the attack was “revenge” for Iran’s capture of a major PJAK base near Iran’s northwestern border.  (Ettelaat)
  • Homemade explosive kills one and wounds four in Urmia. Abbas Hassankhani said an individual threw a homemade explosive at a shop in Urmia, West Azerbaijan province that killed one person and wounded four others. The West Azerbaijan Governor emphasized that the incident “resulted from a personal conflict” and rejected “any other rumors” on the incident. He added that a suspect has been arrested and investigations on the incident will continue. (Mehr News)


Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Vaezi: The nuclear deal has broken the basis of sanctions. Mahmoud Vaezi stated that whether or not the nuclear deal is approved by Parliament, the basis for sanctions against Iran is “broken.” The Minister of Communications and Information Technology added that since the nuclear deal, many foreign countries have been in contact with Iran and "are willing to invest in our country.” (IRNA)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif: Iran will cooperate with Pakistan on border control and counter-terrorism. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Pakistani Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif in Islamabad and stated that Iran is ready to cooperate with Pakistan on matters of finance, energy, anti-terrorism, and border control. He added that Iran seeks “strong and extensive” relations with Pakistan. (Mehr News)
    • Zarif and Pakistani counterpart discuss regional crises. Foreign Minister Zarif and his Pakistani counterpart Sartaj Aziz emphasized the importance of diplomacy for solving regional crises during a meeting in Islamabad on August 13. Pakistani Foreign Ministry Advisor Nazar Abbas announced on August 12 that Zarif was also expected discuss a gas pipeline project to help meet Pakistan’s “dire energy needs.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
    • Zarif meets with Chairman of Pakistani Senate. Foreign Minister Zarif called the role of the Iranian and Pakistani parliaments in enhancing bilateral ties “very important” during a meeting with Pakistani Senate Chairman Raza Rabbani. Zarif added that a new banking setup to facilitate public and private business is an integral part of expanding the countries’ mutual cooperation. (ISNA)
  • Abdollahian: Maintaining Turkey’s security is a major concern. Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that preserving Turkey’s security is an important issue for Iran. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs added that Iran considers the creation of a “buffer zone” in Syria to be a violation of the country’s territorial integrity and national sovereignty. He said that the only solution to the Syrian conflict is a political one, and that Syrian President Bashar al Assad proposed “constructive ideas” for strengthening the political process and fighting terrorism during Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent visit to Damascus. (IRNA)



  • Switzerland lifts sanctions against Iran. The Swiss cabinet officially lifted sanctions against Iran on August 13. The Swiss sanctions, which had been suspended since January 2014, included restrictions on precious metal transactions and reporting requirements for the trade of Iranian crude oil and petrochemical products. The Swiss cabinet made the decision to show support for the implementation of the nuclear agreement and its confidence in the negotiators. The cabinet stated that the JCPOA opens “a new chapter of bilateral political and economic relations with Iran.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Indian government prepares to pay $1.4 billion in oil debt. Indian Finance Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi allegedly requested Indian refiners to prepare two installments of $700 million for payment to Iran. Indian refinery companies reportedly owe Iran $6.5 billion in oil dues. (Press TV) (E)
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