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: Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan announced that Iran will sign a contract with Russia next week to purchase four S-300 surface-to-air missile “battalions.”
Defense Minister Dehghan claimed that Russia will deliver four modernized S-300 surface-to-air missile “battalions” to Iran “soon.” He also stated that Tehran is negotiating with Moscow over the purchase of fighter aircraft.
Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President Mohammad Nobakht reiterated that the nuclear agreement does not require parliamentary approval. He claimed that the agreement “does not require the approval of any institution other than the Supreme National Security Council.” Nobakht’s comments are in response to a recent letter signed by 201 lawmakers requesting that the Rouhani administration submit the nuclear deal to Parliament “as a bill.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denied reports that IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani traveled to Russia in late July.
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."
Military and Security
Defense Minister: Iran will receive S-300s “soon.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan held a press conference on the occasion of Iran's National Defense Industry Day on August 18 in Tehran. The Defense Minister discussed the Russian S-300 surface-to-air-missile systems, ballistic missiles, and talks of purchasing Russian fighter jets. Dehghan also highlighted the Defense Ministry’s efforts to strengthen Iran’s defense capabilities, which include increasing mobility and agility, under the cost-effective “four-year master plan of the Defense Ministry.” Dehghan stated:
- On the S-300: “All changes that have been made by the Russians over these years will be implemented on the S-300 system that is going to be delivered to Iran; and we will receive the system soon.” Dehghan stated that Iran will receive four S-300 missile “battalions” (gardan).
- The Defense Minister did not specify when the S-300s would be delivered to Iran, stating: “We will go to Russia next week to sign the deal…”
- On Russian fighter jets: “In the field of fighter jets, we declared our requirements to the Russians and we have made no request in this field to France…it is very unlikely for Iran to engage in military cooperation with France in the current situation.”
- On ballistic missiles: “The primary aim has been increasing the range of the missiles which has been accomplished in the case of ballistic missiles.”
- “[Missile] exercises differ from missile tests. Exercises are held each year at their own specific time to assess system strengths and weaknesses.”
- “The Iranian Aerospace Organization has focused on nearly all types of ballistic missiles, and we have worked on the range of our missiles due to the present threats.” (Press TV) (E) (Mehr News) (E) (Mashregh News) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/18/425278/Iran-S300-Russia-Defense... http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109330/Iran-missile-program-entirely-defensive-Dehghanhttp://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/454774/%DA%86%D9%87%D8%A7%D8%B1-%DA%A...
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Nobakht: The JCPOA does not require approval from Parliament. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht discussed the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and Parliament’s role in approving it during his press conference on August 18. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President reassured the nation that “Iran had the upper hand” in the nuclear negotiations. He stressed that that the government will not allow the U.S. to exploit the JCPOA to infiltrate Iran. Nobakht stated:
- On approving the JCPOA: “As long as there is no signature from the President [Rouhani] in the [nuclear] agreement, according to the law, this agreement should not be sent to Parliament.”
- Nobakht stated that the nuclear deal “does not require the approval of any institution other than the Supreme National Security Council.”
- “That has been the case with [previous] agreements struck at Saadabad and in Paris. They were never presented to Parliament for [approval].” (Raja News) (ILNA) http://www.rajanews.com/news/219926 http://www.ilna.ir/%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%B4-%D8%B3%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B3%DB%8C-3/2...
Salehi: The JCPOA is not a treaty or convention that should go to Parliament. Ali Akbar Salehi praised Iran’s nuclear negotiators during a speech at a university in Mashhad, saying that the JCPOA is proof of the success of both the principle of velayat-e faqih (guardianship of the jurist) and Iran’s “model of resistance.” The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head said Iran has entered “the club of nuclear technology holders” with the JCPOA and that the world will see Iran differently after the agreement, which will end global “Iranophobia and Shiaphobia.”
- On the JCPOA and the UN resolution: Speaking on the differences between the JCPOA and UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231, Salehi said that in the JCPOA there is “no section on conventional weapons, but they are talked about in the resolution [UNSC Resolution 2231].” In UNSC Resolution 2231, he said that “bans became restrictions…This means that the weapons ban has been shoved aside.”
- On sanctions: “The EU will cancel their own sanctions after 90 days and the American president will also cancel sanctions… The implementation time depends on Iranian actions… The faster we fulfill our obligations, the faster sanctions will be cancelled.”
On parliamentary approval of the JCPOA: “According to the Constitution, something that must go to Parliament must be a type of treaty or convention. Otherwise, the government will sign agreements during its session.” He said that the JCPOA is neither an agreement nor a convention, and of the P5+1 members, only America has taken an action like sending the JCPOA to Congress. (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/221386
Araghchi: Iran accepts nothing beyond the Additional Protocol. Abbas Araghchi emphasized that the JCPOA’s stipulations fall entirely with the framework of the Additional Protocol. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs added that there are “one or two exceptional cases in the JCPOA on the type of supervision,” but that there will still be “no supervision beyond the Additional Protocol.” (Kayhan) (E) http://kayhan.ir/en/news/17275/iran-accepts-nothing-beyond-additional-pr...
- Rafsanjani defends Rouhani. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani called “the rule of law” one of the Rouhani government’s characteristics during a meeting with members of the Islamic Party Student Organization. The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman added that President Hassan Rouhani has no interest in advancing his work illegally. (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/221294
Safavi: “Iran is the model nation for fostering the Islamic Awakening.” IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi discussed the cultural role of the Islamic Revolution during a ceremony for Iran-Iraq War veterans. The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader asked, “Is not what is now going on in Iraq, Syria, Yemen, and Bahrain part of the transfer of Iran’s martyrdom culture to these people?” Safavi added, “Our nation became the model nation for fostering the Islamic Awakening and the Islamic resistance; the Americans are not able to stand in the way of the Islamic resistance and 1.62 billion Muslims.” Safavi also commented on the “resistance economy,” saying that a “martyrdom culture will be able to create a ‘resistance economy’ in our time; our nation and our government together will be able to remove the risk of sanctions…” (Basij) http://basij.ir/news/69108-%D8%A2%D9%86%DA%86%D9%87-%D8%A7%DA%A9%D9%86%D...
Salami: “No Muslim in any part of the Islamic world welcomes the Americans.” IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami praised Sheikh Naim Qassem’s book Revival Leader during an event at the Tasnim News Agency offices in Tehran on August 18. Salami thanked the Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) Deputy Secretary for writing the book, which discusses the policies and leadership of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei. Salami stated:
- On Ayatollah Khomeini: “Imam Khomeini created great goals for producing glory for Muslims, and Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei has followed these goals; today the thoughts [of Khamenei] have begun the construction of a glorious civilization which in reality is the tracing of a new geometry in the Islamic system.”
- On colonialism: “If we take a good look at the history of England and America, we see that most countries of the world were under some kind of colonial threat from England and America. But the logic of the Islamic Revolution was the guiding factor when the Shah oppressed the Iranian nation; Imam Khomeini defeated America without even firing a gun.”
- On Syria, Iraq, and Yemen: “Today we see the people of Syria living in such horrible conditions because of the complex policies of colonialism and its allies. The situation in Iraq is also significant; this country exists in a condition that has established bloody fractures in the country… In Yemen as well, the wealthiest country has attacked the most impoverished country.”
On the Islamic Awakening: “Today bright horizons of the Islamic Awakening have appeared around the world and the successes and the geopolitical breathing space of America has grown tighter; no Muslim in any part of the Islamic world welcomes the Americans.” (Sepah News) http://sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=1a39dcd5-5b84-498b-ab8b-047c68d10798
- Larijani: America has “new conspiracies” in mind for Iran. Ali Larijani claimed America has “set a fire” in the Middle East to regain its influence during a speech to Parliament. The Parliament Speaker stated that “when one looks around, he sees America securing its grip on the surroundings of Iran, and sees America using its intellect to create conflict between Islamic countries.” He warned that “U.S. conspiracies against Iran are currently taking form.” Larijani also accused “one or two countries [of] promoting a lot of disagreement in the region” with regards to Syria and Yemen and advised Parliament to “carefully consider these circumstances and solve this issue with steadfastness and a national consensus.” (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5295061/%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%...
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Shamkhani: Resistance against the Israeli regime “will continue.” Ali Shamkhani met with Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar al Hakim to discuss regional developments on August 18 in Tehran. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary criticized U.S. policies in the Middle East and attributed the rise of ISIS to America’s military intervention in Iraq. Shamkhani also accused Washington of “equipping” terrorist groups fighting in Syria and stated, “America is not seeking the destruction of ISIS, rather, it is using the terrorist group as a publicity tool to legitimize its long-term presence in the [region]…” Shamkhani reiterated that the nuclear deal will not undermine Iran’s commitment to the Islamic Revolution and reassured Tehran’s allies that “the resistance against the Zionist regime’s evil purposes will continue.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=91409
Zarif denies alleged visit of Qassem Soleimani to Moscow. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif rejected allegations that IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani traveled to Russia in late July. After meeting with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov on August 17, Zarif claimed that the allegations were the result of “American propaganda.” He stated, “We have heard a lot of propaganda on this issue. I think that the creation of this information is related to the situation within the American Congress.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsText.aspx?ID=653086
- LH Deputy Secretary General praises Khamenei’s leadership qualities. Sheikh Naim Qassem unveiled his new book, Revival Leader, during an event at the Tasnim News Agency offices in Tehran on August 18. The Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) Deputy Secretary General extolled Khamenei’s guidance for Hezbollah in its fight against Israel, claiming his comments aided the ‘resistance front’ in achieving “good victories.” Qassem continued, “The strategic views of Iran’s Supreme Leader have made the country powerful.” IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami and Expediency Discernment Council member Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi attended the event. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/832650
Tayyeb Nia: Sanctions lifting will improve the economy in three to four months. Ali Tayyeb Nia forecasted that the benefits of sanctions lifting will appear in the next three to four months during a meeting with officials in the city of Hamedan, located in western Iran. The Economic and Finance Minister added that the government intends to spur growth by reforming the banking and taxation systems. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81723481/
Oil Ministry: Crude oil and gas production has risen 14 percent in the last year. A report by the Iranian Oil Ministry claimed that Iranian oil and gas production increased by 14 percent from August 2014 to March 2015. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh claims Iran can increase oil production by 1 million barrels per day within a month after all sanctions are lifted earlier in August, and noted that while Iran notified OPEC about their intention to increase production, Iran “requires no one’s authorization” to regain lost market share. (YJC) (E) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5295061/%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%...
Iran denies reports of joint Iran-U.S. Chamber of Commerce. Iran’s Chamber of Commerce, Industries, Mines and Agriculture issued a statement on August 17 that “no measure had been taken whatsoever” on the establishment of a joint Iran-U.S. Chamber of Commerce. (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109313/No-joint-Iran-US-chamber-of-commerce-...
- French company makes offer to purchase associated gas from Forouzan oil fields. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh announced that a French company has offered to purchase associated gas from the Forouzan oil wells in the Persian Gulf in order to convert it into liquefied natural gas, or LNG. The French company’s offer will reduce the amount of flaring - the environmentally damaging process of burning off natural gas mid-production - at the Forouzan oil fields by one-fourth. (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/17/425188/iran-associated-gas-fren...