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: IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari warned government officials not to challenge regime principles, while the Foreign Ministry confirmed reports that British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will travel to Tehran this weekend to reopen the UK embassy.
Major General Jafari reinforced the Supreme Leader’s recent call to counter U.S. “soft war” plots to subvert the regime. The IRGC Commander advised Iranian officials not to pursue policies that contradict the values of the Islamic Revolution. He stressed the need to safeguard national security and stated, “Those who…[undermine] the orders of the Supreme Leader—to open new holes for foreign influence in the country—should know that we [the IRGC] will never allow the growth and implementation of such thinking.” Jafari’s warning is indicative of his fear that the U.S. will exploit Iran’s social and cultural vulnerabilities.
An informed source in the Foreign Ministry said that British Foreign Secretary Hammond is scheduled to reopen his country’s embassy in Tehran on August 23.
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 highlights the Iranian leadership’s ongoing fears of the United States’ “soft war,” or use of covert activities and corrupting Western cultural and political ideas to subvert the Iranian regime, in the post-deal environment in his most recent blog post, “Iran braces for ‘soft war’ post nuclear deal.”
Jafari: IRGC will not allow the hegemonic powers to influence Iran. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari echoed the Supreme Leader’s warning about the West’s plot to influence Iran during a speech on August 20 in Tehran. The IRGC Commander criticized some Iranian officials for blindly supporting the nuclear deal and restoring relations with the West. Jafari reiterated the IRGC’s commitment to defend the Islamic Revolution and stated:
- “The IRGC is strongly standing beside the brave and faithful people of Islamic Iran and thanks to this resistance, sympathy and unity…and with God's help we will not allow the hegemonic powers to exercise influence on our country in any area.”
- “Some [Iranian officials] believe that our behavior must be set within the framework of the enemy’s will.”
- Jafari suggested that some government officials are compromising the “regime’s dignity, passion, and revolutionary consciousness...” Jafari added, “Those who want to contradict the principles of the [Islamic] Revolution and [undermine] the orders of the Supreme Leader—to open new holes for foreign influence in the country—should know that we [the IRGC] will never allow the growth and implementation of such thinking.” (Sepah News) http://sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=02f2ef90-8a1e-4d3f-897a-81adba96f1ab
Rouhani: “Iran is not alone and isolated.” At an event marking “World Mosque Day,” President Hassan Rouhani stated, “Today is a day when, more than ever, we need unity and solidarity; with our unified approach, we can overcome problems and achieve victory.” He stressed, “The mosque is not a house for a [political] party or wing, but rather a house for all people.” Rouhani also stated:
- On Iran’s isolation: “Officials from neighboring countries were invited to participate in the Republic’s [presidential] inauguration, and about 50 countries participated in the event; it was a clear message that Iran is not alone and isolated.”
- On the role of public opinion in the nuclear negotiations: Rouhani indicated that improving the public’s opinion of Iran was a key step to a good outcome of the nuclear negotiations, and cited his speech to the UN General Assembly in 2013. He stated, “We presented a proposal [World Against Violence and Extremism, or WAVE] for a world free of extremism and violence, and asked that this proposal be approved.” He continued, “Of course, for some countries which have promoted Iran as the center of violence, adoption of this proposal was difficult, but…the scheme was unanimously adopted at the UN General Assembly; with this introduction, we have shown to the public that Iran is a country of peace...”
On the effect of the nuclear deal: “The resolution of the nuclear issue is a topic which…can rectify economic issues and problems, produce prosperity, create employment for young people, and can event create conditions in which we aid and assist neighboring countries who are suffering.” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88780
Safavi: Baghdadi is trained at U.S. military bases. IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi accused the U.S. of training and supporting ISIS in an interview with Lebanese media outlet al Ahed News. The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader said, "After the defeat of the Americans in Afghanistan, as well as their occupation of Iraq, they [the Americans] created… ISIS.” Safavi also claimed that Iran has “credible and compelling security reports that show Abu Bakr al Baghdadi, the leader of ISIS, goes to American camps and receives training there.” (Mashregh News) http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/455841/%D8%B5%D9%81%D9%88%DB%8C-%D8%B3%D8%B1%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B9%D8%B4-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF%D9%88%DA%AF%D8%A7%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%A2%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%B4-%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA
LEF deputy: The West is trying to turn the Iranian people against the government. Brig. Gen. 2C Mohammad Sharafi stated, “To seriously confront the enemies’ soft war, the system of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s cultural power must be improved…” The Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Prevention Unit Head continued, “Today, the enemies are not afraid of the power of our arms, but of the Iranian nation’s soft power, faith, convictions, beliefs, values, and norms…” Sharafi stated, “The enemies’ strategy is political and cultural transformation. They do not want the people of Iran to love the sovereignty of the system of the Islamic Republic, and are trying to undermine the foundations of thought and conscience.” He added, “People must learn their social responsibilities well… and have greater accuracy with respect to their individual responsibilities to help others and invite them to good and desirable works.” (IRNA) http://www.irna.ir/fa/News/81727268/
- Shamkhani: “Our main war is an economic war.” Ali Shamkhani discussed the “resistance economy” during a meeting with local officials from East Azerbaijan Province. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary claimed that “today, our main war is an economic war; if we are not prepared for the mechanics of this war, we will be condemned to defeat.” Shamkhani said that the “resistance economy” is “our main strategy in the economic war.” Shamkhani added that “implementing this strategy requires tools and financing which it must be equipped with…” Shamkhani also commented on the nuclear deal, saying that “the nuclear deal will be implemented with the goal of stabilizing and consolidating national unity.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=91567
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Larijani: It is not productive to look for weak points in the nuclear deal. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani discussed the public debate over the nuclear agreement during a meeting with officials in Fars province. Larijani stated, “There are several opinions on the nuclear deal itself; one is that we will find a weak spot in the very foundation of the text…and this will cause people to worry; some media outlets have this very same behavior, but in my opinion this behavior of ours is not productive for the country.” Larijani added, “We are able to look at the nuclear agreement in another way, however….we can see how we can utilize the nuclear issue and the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] document to achieve our goals.” Larijani also discussed the issue of parliamentary review of the deal, stating, “In the case [of reviewing the nuclear deal], there are many opinions and I am personally aware of them; a special commission has been established for reviewing the JCPOA paragraph by paragraph and this will occur.” (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/221752
Mohammad Javad Larijani: “The Guardian Council must be involved in reviewing the JCPOA.” Mohammad Javad Larijani called for a parliamentary review of the nuclear deal during a news interview. The Secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council clarified that “the discussion [about Parliamentary review] is not about rejecting [the nuclear deal] but it is about the Parliament saying that it will not allow the government to undertake the commitments of the JCPOA.” Mohammad Javad Larijani also opined that “the Guardian Council must be involved in reviewing the JCPOA.” (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/525554/%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%AF%D9%87%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%B1%D8%B3%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%AF
Kamalvandi denies AP report on Parchin inspections. Behrouz Kamalvandi dismissed a recent Associated Press report that cited a document claiming Iran will use its own inspectors at the Parchin military site. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesperson stated no such secret document about Iran-IAEA cooperation has been disclosed, and that the IAEA has upheld its commitment to keep documents protected. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/834368
- Shamkhani: Review of the nuclear deal is in its final stages. Ali Shamkhani claimed that the nuclear deal “provides for [Iran’s] national interests” during a speech at Tabriz University. The SNSC Secretary added that the SNSC’s review of the JCPOA “is in its final stages and the people should not have any concerns on this matter.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=91591
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
British foreign secretary to visit Iran. Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting reported that an “informed source” in Iran’s Foreign Ministry has confirmed that British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond will travel to Iran on August 23 and that the British embassy in Iran will reopen during his visit. Non-Resident chargé d’affaires to England Mohammad Hassan Habibollah Zadeh stated that bilateral talks with British officials are underway to reopen the Iranian embassy in London. (IRIB) (Alef) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=91587http://alef.ir/vdcfx1d0xw6dc1a.igiw.html?289900
Afkham promotes Syrian peace plan. Marzieh Afkham praised the UN-backed peace initiative for Syria, claiming that the plan reflects the “current realities in the political scene and the battleground in Syria.” The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman added, “The Islamic Republic believes that the people and government of Syria have the main and fundamental role in leaving behind this sensitive juncture; the international community can also help Syria on this path within its framework of tasks.” (Press TV) (E) (IRIB) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/20/425557/Iran-Syria-Afkham-UN-Mistura http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsText.aspx?ID=658345
Afkham: Timetable for Zarif’s visit to Turkey set. Marzieh Afkham announced that the timetable for Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s trip to Turkey has been arranged and will soon be announced. (ISNA) http://isna.ir/fa/news/94052916658/%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%B1-%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%B1%DA%A9%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B4-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C
- Afkham: Timetable for Zarif’s visit to Turkey set. Marzieh Afkham announced that the timetable for Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s trip to Turkey has been arranged and will soon be announced. (ISNA) http://isna.ir/fa/news/94052916658/%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%B1-%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%B1%DA%A9%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D8%AF%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D8%B4-%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C
Abdollahian visits Germany. Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed regional developments during a meeting with German State Secretary of the Federal Foreign Office Markus Ederer in Berlin on August 19. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs praised Germany’s “positive approach” in the Middle East and expressed hope that “consultations can lead to effective cooperation ...between the two countries in the international and regional fields.” Abdollahian also thanked Germany for their constructive role during the nuclear negotiations. (MFA) (E) (ALALAM) http://mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&pageid=176&newsview=354211http://en.alalam.ir/news/1731032
Hakim: Soleimani has had a “large role in Iraq’s recovery.” Ammar al Hakim discussed American and Iranian roles in combatting Iraq’s terrorism challenges.
- The Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq stated, “After the Americans left and after the new Iraqi army was formed, al Qaeda’s terrorist network found favorable conditions for entering the country... because of the weakness of some Iraqi politicians.” He accused al Qaeda of creating a split between Sunnis and the Iraqi government and of publishing rumors that the government was neglecting Sunni regions.
- He claimed that conditions in Iraq “were deteriorating every day” until Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s fatwa on jihad and the formation of the Popular Mobilization forces, which Hakim credited Iran for helping create.
- He added that the coalition of countries against ISIS “must act against terrorism in the way that we want, not in the way that they want.”
- He further stated, “Without a doubt, the Islamic Republic of Iran was our first supporter in these hard times… [al Sistani’s] fatwa and the help of the Islamic Republic through [IRGC Maj. Gen.] Qassem Soleimani have had a large role in Iraq’s recovery.” (ABNA) http://fa.abna24.com/service/sixth-conference/archive/2015/08/18/691707/story.html
Military and Security
Defense Ministry: Iran will not suspend its missile activities. The Defense Ministry released a statement on August 20 to mark “Defense Industry Day” in Iran. The statement said, “The country’s defense industry’s achievements in the field of missiles….sends the message that the country’s domestic capabilities …will not be suspended or stopped.” (Tasnim News Agency) http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/834660
35th Fleet engages with pirates in the Gulf of Aden. Artesh Navy Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Mahmoud Mousavi stated that the Artesh Navy 35th Fleet has repelled three pirate attacks in the Gulf of Aden, including one on an Iranian oil tanker. The 35th Fleet is composed of the frigate Alvand and the support ship Bandar Abbas. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940529000478
- Jalali: Defense industry helps guide Iran’s “stability.” In a statement issued for “Defense Industry Day,” Passive Defense Organization Head IRGC. Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali praised the defense industry as “the helmsman of the country’s stability, the symbol of sanctions-breaking,” and for “supporting the Islamic Republic of Iran’s defensive power and deterrence.” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/51562