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: President Hassan Rouhani defended the nuclear agreement and announced that the Iranian economy reached 4.4 percent growth for the first three months of the Iranian calendar year.

Rouhani contrasted the current state of the economy with its negative growth rate of 6.8 percent when he came into office in 2013. Rouhani also praised the nuclear agreement for facilitating economic progress. Rouhani has previously predicted that the economy would have a 5 percent growth rate in this Iranian year, which began on March 20, 2016. His defense of the nuclear agreement’s economic benefits coincides with a wave of domestic criticism of the deal ahead of the 2017 presidential elections. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei recently questioned whether the agreement has had “any tangible effect on the people’s lives,” and Friday prayer leaders appeared to coordinate their sermons on August 5 to downplay the economic benefits of the deal.

AEI Must-Reads


  • Rouhani praises economic growth rate of over 4 percent. President Hassan Rouhani announced that the Iranian economy’s growth rate reached 4.4 percent in the first three months of the Iranian calendar year, which began in March 2016, during a speech on August 14. Rouhani noted that Iran had a negative economic growth rate of 6.8 percent when he came into office in 2013. He also praised the nuclear agreement for facilitating economic growth as well as domestic and foreign investment. Tasnim News Agency reported that Rouhani added that “optimism [towards] the agreement does not mean optimism [towards] the U.S. government.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • Justice minister: Iran’s banking system contains 50 million questionable bank accounts. Justice Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mostafa Pourmohammadi stated that “approximately 50 million bank accounts” in Iran’s banking system are either under no name or have been manipulated. He stressed that “such statistics put the country’s banking system under question. In addition to hurting the country’s economy, they reveal an undesirable face for the country’s internal conditions.” Pourmohammadi noted that some anti-corruption efforts have been carried out and stated, “We are aware of our weaknesses… We understand that the government wants to take a positive step.” Some senior Iranian officials, including members of the Foreign Ministry, have recognized that Iran must reform its financial system in order to assuage investors’ fears and benefit fully from the nuclear agreement. (ISNA)

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Supreme Leader’s advisor: U.S. continued hostility against Cuba even after resuming diplomatic ties. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati discussed American foreign policy during a meeting with Cuban Vice President Ricardo Cabrisas in Tehran on August 13. Velayati claimed that Washington’s “animosity has not lessened” towards Cuba since it resumed diplomatic ties with Havana in 2014. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has similarly stated that U.S. hostility towards Iran did not end with the nuclear deal. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is also scheduled to visit Latin America, including Cuba, for six days starting on August 21. (Fars News Agency) (Tehran Times(E)
    • Velayati discussed Iranian involvement in Syria after his meeting with Cabrisas. Velayati pledged that Tehran has “unwavering support for Damascus.” He added that Iran, whose stance on the Syrian civil war “has never changed, will continue backing the legitimate government of Syria.” He also called U.S. and Saudi involvement in Syria “illegal” without the permission of the Syrian government. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Deputy foreign minister meets with Russian counterpart to discuss Syria. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari met with Russian President Vladimir Putin’s Special Envoy for the Middle East and Africa Mikhail Bogdanov in Tehran on August 15. They discussed cooperation on the Syrian crisis, in particular Aleppo. Ansari also announced that Iran and Turkey have agreed to “exchange diplomatic delegations for talks on Syria” and have also “reached a general consensus on the fundamentals” of a peace settlement. (Tasnim News Agency(E) (Mehr News Agency)
  • Larijani warns of future sanctions. Mohammad Javad Larijani, the secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council, criticized Iran’s nuclear negotiators for failing to secure the removal of the full “structure of sanctions.” Larijani stated that the deal did not fully lift non-nuclear sanctions against Iran and gave the U.S. the ability to sanction Iran in other areas, such as its missile program. Larijani warned that Iran should expect a “huge set of sanctions” in the future because the U.S. believes that Iran will succumb with sufficient economic pressure. (Tasnim News Agency(E) (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Foreign Ministry praises Yemeni parliamentary meeting. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi announced Iran’s support for the August 13 meeting of the members of the Yemeni parliament aligned with the alliance between al Houthi political wing Ansar Allah and former Yemeni President Ali Abdullah Saleh. Ghassemi called the meeting “a responsible and smart move” to address political and legal issues in Yemen. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the international affairs advisor to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and a former deputy foreign minister, also praised the session as improving Yemen’s cooperation with the world during a meeting with a Yemeni political delegation on August 15. Ansar Allah and Saleh’s party, the General People’s Congress, formed the Supreme Political Council in a power-sharing agreement last month. Parliamentarians swore in 8 of the 20 proposed Council members on August 14. (ISNA(E) (ISNA(E)

Military & Security

  • NSFP Commission member: Russia will finish delivery of S-300 missile systems before 2017. Mohammad Javad Jamali Nobandegan, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission, stated, "Fortunately we see that Russia has fully complied with its commitments on the delivery of the S-300 missile defense systems to Iran and they will be delivered to Iran before the start of 2017.” He added that “Iran and Russia have promoted their ties to strategic levels.” Russia has reportedly delivered half of the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran under its existing contract with Iran. (Fars News Agency)(E)
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