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: Deputy Foreign Minister Amir Abdollahian announced that Iran will hold talks on Syria and Yemen with the six members of the Gulf Cooperation Council. Hamas Political Bureau Head Khaled Meshaal reportedly said that Hamas is interested in expanding cooperation with Saudi Arabia.
Deputy Foreign Minister Abdollahian claimed that Iran will hold talks with the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) starting in September. Abdollahian explained that the talks will focus on reaching “a common understanding for...confronting crises present in the region.” Abdollahian also stated that Foreign Minister Zarif’s trip to Turkey was canceled because of the “absence of essential officials in Ankara” but emphasized that Iran and Turkey share a “strategic relationship.”
Hamas Political Bureau Head Khaled Meshaal said that Hamas intends to expand relations with Saudi Arabia, saying that “efforts are currently underway to open a new page in relations with this country.” Khaled Meshaal had previously traveled to Saudi Arabia in late July to meet with Saudi King Salman bin Abdul-Aziz Al Saud and senior Saudi officials. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati later said that Meshaal’s visit did not create a rift between Iran and Hamas, claiming their relationship was “cordial.”
Guardian Council Secretary Ayatollah Ahmed Jannati addressed the domestic debate over Parliament’s constitutional right to review the nuclear deal. Jannati stated that he considers the deal a treaty and therefore Parliament must approve the agreement. Jannati, however, stopped short of explicitly demanding a parliamentary vote on the nuclear deal, saying that “we must wait for the views of the officials on this matter to see what they decide.”
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 explains how Iran is finding the regional landscape no more favorable after the nuclear deal as it attempts to open diplomatic options to resolve the major Middle East crises in his most recent blog post, "Iran finds the Middle East no friendlier after the nuclear deal."
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Zarif and Indian PM stress bilateral ties. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that the nuclear deal has created an opportunity to enhance Iran-India relations during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on August 14 in New Delhi. They also discussed regional developments and counterterrorism efforts. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81718720/
- Zarif calls for greater economic partnership with India. Foreign Minister Zarif said that “the ground is prepared” for India to join a transit agreement with Iran during a meeting with Indian Prime Minister Modi. Zarif also urged India to invest in Iranian oil, gas, and petrochemical industries and for Indian banks to have a more “active presence” in both countries. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81718905/
Zarif: The nuclear agreement created new opportunities for India. Foreign Minister Zarif said that the P5+1 nuclear deal has created “wide opportunities” for India during a meeting with Indian Minister of Road Transport, Highways, and Shipping Nitin Gadkari. Zarif said these opportunities exist particularly through oil, gas, and petrochemical products, the Port of Chabahar, and Iranian participation in India’s North-South Corridor highway project. Zarif added that it will be important for the Iranian Minister of Transportation and Housing to consult with his Indian counterpart to identify potential projects. (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5290308/%D9%81%D8%B6%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AC%D8%AF%...
- ?Iran and GCC to hold talks on regional crises. Hossein Amir Abdollahian announced that Iran and members of the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) will enter into talks on the crises in Yemen and Syria at the behest of the Emir of Qatar and the Foreign Minister of Oman. also credited President Rouhani for promoting relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia, and Foreign Minister Zarif for building support for the talks and consulting with Iran’s “neighbors and allies” about their “updated” plan for Syria during his diplomatic regional tour. Abdollahian stated that the first phase of the Iran-GCC talks will begin before the end of September, either “in the region or another country that has been agreed upon.” He explained that the talks are intended to “reach a common understanding for...confronting crises present in the region and reaching peace, stability and sustainable security.” Abdollahian also stated:
- On Syria: “An important meeting was held between Zarif and [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad [and] the important point is this: Tehran firmly supports the people and government of Syria and the people of Syria will determine the fate of their country through a democratic process.”
- On Saudi Arabia: Abdollahian stated that a “frank and transparent” conversation with Saudi Foreign Minister Adel al Jubeir at a meeting of the Organization of Islamic Countries (OIC) in July “emphasized the importance of Saudi-Iranian conversations about helping crisis stricken countries in the region confront terrorism.” However, Abdollahian described the August 11 conversation with al Juberi calling for the removal of Assad as “unrealistic and unconstructive.”
- On Russia: “There has been no change in the position of Russia in the defense of Syria and confrontation with terrorism and extremism in the country.”
On Turkey: Abdollahian blamed the postponement of Zarif’s scheduled trip to Turkey on “the absence of essential officials in Ankara,” but emphasized that Iran and Turkey share a “strategic relationship.” He added that Iran “will continue serious consultations with the government of Turkey on approaches to the region and Syria.” (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/524142/%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%8...
Larijani writes congratulatory letter to Lebanese Hezbollah. Ali Larijani wrote two congratulatory letters addressed to the people of Lebanon and Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) marking the ninth anniversary of LH’s victory in the 33-Day War against Israel in 2006. The Parliament Speaker congratulated LH Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on the “great victory…achieved by the Islamic resistance, people’s persistence…” Larijani also thanked his Lebanese counterpart Nabih Berri and reassured the Lebanese people that “the future belongs to Muslim nations and pious and revolutionary youths…” (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109212/Larijani-felicitates-Lebanese-on-Hezbollah-victory-anniv
Nasrallah’s deputy delivers a speech in Tehran. Sheikh Naim Qassem addressed a group of Iranian worshippers on August 14 in Tehran. The LH Deputy Secretary General spoke on the occasion of the ninth anniversary of LH’s victory in the 33-Day War. Qassem reiterated that LH is committed to resistance and fighting against terrorists supported by the U.S. and its regional allies. He also praised Iran and stated:
- “Iran is a role model for making an independent power and free decision-making. Iran has gained power through patience and resistance and managed to restore its rights on the nuclear issue.”
- “Iran is an influential power and among those countries fighting against… [terrorists] in the region… These groups [terrorists] should know that our war will continue until they are defeated.”
- “Israel would have created more problems for Lebanon if the ‘resistance front’ had not been there.”
On regional crises and human rights: “The tragic killing of people in Bahrain and Yemen shows that our enemies [the West] do not care about human rights; the Saudi government is murdering men, women, and children but none of the human rights organizations are protesting [the killing of innocent civilians].” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=90965
Meshaal: Hamas “is seeking new relations with Saudi Arabia.” Khaled Meshaal recently expressed interest in renewing relations with Riyadh in an interview with BBC. The Hamas Political Bureau Head reportedly stated that Hamas is looking to cooperate with the Saudis. Meshaal added, “Saudi Arabia has central role in the Arab region and efforts are currently underway to open a new page in relations with this country.” (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/220602/%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%B9%D9%84-%D8%AF%D9...
Afkham dismisses Bahrain’s “baseless” accusations against Iran. Marzieh Afkham denied “repeated” claims from senior officials in Bahrain that suspects involved in a July bombing on the island of Sitra are linked to Iran. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman stated that “the sources of the export of terrorism and the culture of violence [in this region] are so well known that these claims could not fool anyone.” She added that despite the nuclear deal, Bahrain has “awkwardly” attempted to undermine efforts to build diplomacy in the region, and that it would be better if countries took advantage of the present atmosphere in the region to solve their own internal crises. (MFA) http://mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&page...
Jannati comments on the role of Parliament in reviewing the JCPOA. Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati discussed the nuclear deal during his Friday prayer speech in Tehran. The Guardian Council Secretary expressed his view on the legal process for reviewing the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), stating: “Many believe, and in my own opinion this may be correct, that this agreement is a treaty and must go to Parliament and Parliament must sign and pass it; if this is true, the government then must submit a bill to Parliament…there are other individuals who do not think it is necessary for it to go to Parliament and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) can make decisions regarding it. Of course preparations for each case do exist.” Jannati did not, however, explicitly call for any particular action, stressing: “One cannot make any further decisions on this issue or voice an opinion: we must wait for the views of the officials on this matter to let us see what they decide.” The Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader added:
- On Iran’s regional policies: “The Supreme Leader…has confirmed several times, our position toward America has not changed and the Islamic Republic will continue to be against arrogance and support the oppressed and defend the Palestinian people…the West thinks that with one negotiation and agreement they can change the policies of the Islamic Republic in the Middle East.”
- On the economy: “In our country today, problems of unemployment and housing exist. The executive officials must remove these problems; they will not be solved by speaking and chanting slogans at the podium.”
- On Assembly of Experts and Parliamentary elections: “The election for the Assembly of Experts will be more important than the Parliamentary elections. If righteous, just individuals who believe in the Guardianship of the Jurist are present in the Assembly of Experts, there will be no problems created for the country.”
- “The nuclear debate is a national discussion and one must not look at it in a partisan way; one must not use it as a tool and misuse it in the elections in an inappropriate way.” (Raja News) (Mashregh News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/219537
Assembly of Experts member: U.S. has a history of conducting “major crimes” against Iran. Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda criticized America’s long involvement in Iran ahead of the anniversary of the 1953 coup against Prime Minister Mohammad Mosaddegh. The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts, stated that U.S crimes against Iran have continued for "more than 60 years." He stated that the quarter century "reign of evil" by U.S.-backed Mohammad Reza Shah Pahlavi “is done,” and demonstrates that "we should not have confidence in America.” Alam ol Hoda added that "except for murder, betrayal, cruelty and hostility," the U.S. is nothing to Iran. He also claimed that it was "due to the withdrawal of the American dollar against the major currencies of the world" that a deal was finally achieved. (Alef) http://alef.ir/vdchq6niq23n66d.tft2.html?28txt
- Assembly of Experts member: U.S. and Israel involved in the 2009 election protests. Ayatollah Abbas Kabi responded to a recently published work by American former National Security Council (NSC) adviser Michael Ledeen that Kabi said illustrates the U.S. and Israel's “nature” in the 2009 election protests. The Assembly of Experts member stated that the protests were a complex "intellectual, moral, political, social and cultural" approach to overthrowing the “Islamic system.” The Society of Seminary Teachers of Qom member stated that the slogans proclaiming "liberal democracy" were condemned by the country’s leaders. (Raja News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/219491
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
- Article 90 Parliamentary Commission reviews JCPOA. Lawmakers of the Article 90 Parliamentary Commission reviewed the JCPOA on August 13 with officials from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI). The Article 90 Parliamentary Commission is a body mandated by the Iranian Constitution to review and investigate complaints against the government. (ISNA) http://isna.ir/fa/news/94052212255/%D9%86%D8%B4%D8%B3%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D8%B9...
Iran's largest oilfield to increase production within next month. The Azadegan oil field, which is considered to be one of the largest in the country, is expected to increase crude oil production by "75,000 barrels a day within the next month." The oil field is located west of Ahvaz in southwestern Iran. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/828256
- Russian bank eyes aircraft sales to Iran. The acting general director of Sberbank Leasing Zao, a subsidiary of Russian bank Sberbank, announced on August 13 his interest in exporting Superjet International passenger planes to Iran. He added that aircraft exports to Iran will begin as soon as sanctions are removed. (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/14/424674/iran-russia-superjet-avi...