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: President Hassan Rouhani called for enhanced defensive power through military and private sector collaboration; he also declared that Iran can purchase and sell weapons as it sees fit. The Defense Ministry unveiled an advanced short-range ballistic missile. The Iranian and British embassies reopened in Tehran and London after a four-year closure.
President Rouhani underlined the importance of integrating the military and private industry in order to advance the nation’s defensive capabilities. He also emphasized that Iran’s military doctrine is predicated on defense in an effort to allay concerns shared by some Arab states over the regime’s conventional capabilities. Rouhani reassured his domestic audiences that the nuclear deal will not limit Iran’s defense capacity, claiming: “We will sell and buy weapons whenever and wherever we deem it necessary… we will not wait for permission…or any resolution.” Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan stressed that Iran will not waver from its determination to strengthen its defense capabilities. The Defense Ministry, meanwhile, introduced the Fateh 313 precision-guided missile, which runs on solid fuel with a reported range of 500 kilometers.
National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari criticized the Rouhani administration for failing to strengthen the economy, claiming: “Mr. Rouhani made promises to the people regarding the improvement of the economic situation, but today, not much has emerged.” The former senior IRGC commander stated, “Unfortunately, the current government does not tolerate fair criticism…”
British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond traveled to Iran on August 23 to reopen his country’s embassy in Tehran. Hammond and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif held a joint press conference to mark the resumption of Tehran-London ties. The British Foreign Secretary also met with President Rouhani and other senior Iranian officials.
Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Undersecretary for Strategic Affairs Ali Hosseini Tash rejected a recent Associated Press report alleging that he signed a secret agreement with the IAEA, which purportedly allows Iran to use its own inspectors to monitor the Parchin military site.
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.”
Rouhani: “We will buy and sell weapons whenever” we want. President Hassan Rouhani discussed Iran’s military capabilities during a speech for “Defense Industry Day” in Tehran on August 22. Rouhani emphasized that Iran pursues a defensive strategy of deterrence and added, “Our policy of reducing tensions, ‘convergence,’ and confidence-building does not conflict with the defensive power of military industries in the country; if a country does not have strength, independence, or stability, it cannot pursue real peace.” Rouhani also stated:
- On cultural power: “If a country is not prepared, dedicated, or strong with respect to cultural power, we cannot call that country strong or resisting. If a country does not have political capabilities and does not have strong diplomats for negotiating and understanding, it will be defeated.”
- On the arms restrictions in the nuclear agreement: “The only thing that was in the [UN Security Resolution 2231] was not to build any missiles with the ability to carry nuclear warheads; we have never pursued this goal anyway.”
- Rouhani emphasized that there are no “military-related issues that will limit the armed forces” in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).
- “We will sell and buy weapons whenever and wherever we deem it necessary… we will not wait for permission from anyone or any resolution.”
- On strengthening Iran’s defense capabilities: “We must strengthen the defensive power of the country in order to ensure the stability of the nuclear deal and security in the country.”
- “Before the [Islamic] Revolution, we were only consumers of weapons and foreign equipment…praise be to God, in recent years, we have made huge steps in design, construction, and equipment; we are moving towards complete self-sufficiency; every day there is a new achievement.”
- “Today in the defense and military field our country must be strong. However, our capabilities are not against any country. We are not seeking intervention or aggression against any other country; we are equipping ourselves for defense of our country.”
- “We [the government] must be the buyer and willing to cooperate; we must transfer this industry to sectors outside of the Ministry of Defense, especially to the non-governmental sphere.” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88788
Kowsari: The economy is not improving under the Rouhani administration.Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari stated, “Mr. Rouhani’s promises to solve the country’s economic problems were solely based on the negotiations being carried out and sanctions removed…The negotiations have been performed and their results announced, but progress has not been achieved to date, especially with regard to the economic direction.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member continued, “Mr. Rouhani made promises to the people regarding the improvement of the economic situation, but today, not much has emerged.” He continued, “The gentlemen of the government say that inflation has gone from 44% to 14%; but the reality of society does not show this…” Kowsari also stated, “The government’s basic measures in the economic field have been carried out, and in fact, the stagnation in economic activities has caused inflation to be reduced.” Kowsari added, “Unfortunately, the current government does not tolerate fair criticism; a confirmation of this is the government’s protest against the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting.” (Rasa News) http://rasanews.ir/NSite/FullStory/News/?Id=282823
Ayatollah Khatami responds to Rouhani’s comments on the Guardian Council. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami claimed that Rouhani’s “simile of the Guardian Council to an eye” was incorrect. The Assembly of Experts member added that “the Guardian Council has the duty to consider the sensitive issues and stand against individuals in the elections who seek to monopolize Parliament with wealth…” Khatami warned about the presence of “seditionists” and “subverters” in upcoming elections, stating the Guardian Council “must follow its duties to society and not let the political system be damaged…this duty requires that the Guardian Council have greater awareness, insight, and more supervision [over the elections].” Khatami stressed, however, that the Guardian Council should not disqualify candidates “based upon rumors.” (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/222278
Jazayeri explains utility of chants condemning the West. IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri declared that “the shouts of death to America, death to the English and death to Israel were not created overnight…” The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy added that “statistics show that everyday hatred towards America increases” because of the chants, and warned that “the destructive role of foreigners, foreign embassies [and] westernized intellectuals...will not soon be forgotten by the historical mind of the people.” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/51618
- Naghdi: “Our redline is our unity." IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi stated that enemies “want to stop the progress of Iran's Islamic Revolution." The Basij Organization Commander added that the country "must preserve our unity" when reviewing the JCPOA. He stated that the deal is likely to cause a division in Parliament, but stressed that there should not be a split on the support of Palestine and on "the power of our military." Naghdi also stated, "We must do what the legal authorities decide [on the JCPOA], however, the redline is our unity and unity should not be broken." (Kayhan) http://kayhan.ir/fa/mobile/news/53260/508
Military and Security
Iran unveils new Fateh 313 missile. The Defense Ministry introduced the new Fateh 313 missile on August 22 in Tehran. The Fateh 313 is reportedly a solid-fuel precision-guided missile with a range of 500 kilometers. (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940531000465
Defense Minister: Iran will not risk national security. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stressed that Iran’s determination to strengthen its defense capabilities will not waver, stating: “Our nation will not…submit to sanctions and threats.” The Defense Minister claimed that the U.S. and Israel are supporting terrorists to target the resistance in Iraq and Syria. Dehghan also discussed the nuclear deal, ballistic missiles, and the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems:
- On defense and missile capacity: “Nothing can weaken our resolve in the defensive field. We will design and produce any missiles that we want in proportion to threats; we will conduct drills and tests in due time…and increase the range of our missiles in proportion to possible threats.”
- On Iran’s space program: “The program is progressing and this year will test the Simorgh [Phoenix] Satellite and are trying to put 200 kilogram satellites into orbit in space.”
- Dehghan also claimed that U.S. lawmakers serve Israel’s interests, rather than America’s and claimed that President Obama is under constant “pressure from Zionist lobbies.”
- On the S-300: Dehghan said that Russia will deliver the S-300 missile systems before the end of 2015, adding: “The control systems [of the S-300] have been upgraded.” (Sepah News) http://sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=ef40d359-13f2-4b96-bee0-d13b0a0b8d9a
Iranian delegation visits Moscow to discuss delivery of S-300 missile system. A source in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced Sunday that an Iranian delegation would travel to Moscow on August 24 to “ascertain the exact date for the delivery of the S-300” and discuss participation in the 2015 Maks Air Show. (Alef) http://alef.ir/vdcfexd0jw6d1va.igiw.html?290674
Vaezi: An Israeli cyberattack “will not go unanswered.” Mahmoud Vaezi said that while the issue of Stuxnet is now “in the past,” a new cyberattack from Israel “will not go unanswered.” The Minister of Communications and Information Technology added that Iranian businesses and the government communicate with each other to share information on cyberattacks. Vaezi also discussed social networking sites, saying that “we are not against” networks that obey Iran’s laws and moral principles. He added that any social networking site that defies these rules cannot operate in the country. (Gerdab) http://www.gerdab.ir/fa/news/14914/%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%84%D9%87-%D8%B3%D8%A7...
Fazli: We can mobilize 1,000 Basij battalions. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli claimed that the Basij Organization has nearly 2,200 armed Basij battalions during a speech on August 24. The Basij Organization Deputy Commander added that 1,000 of these battalions can be mobilized “quickly.” (Basij Press) http://basijpress.ir/fa/news-details/54675/
- Pourdastan: Upcoming war games will include missile drills. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that the Artesh Ground Forces plan to stage six military games until the end of the Iranian calendar (March 19, 2016). The Artesh Ground Forces Commander stated that one of the war games will include missile drills that will be "carried out with the approval of the Armed Forces General Staff." (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/836003
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Rouhani meets with British Foreign Secretary. President Hassan Rouhani met with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond in Tehran on August 24. The two discussed expanding relations between the two countries. Rouhani stated, “We consider the nuclear agreement as the beginning of better relations in the region and internationally.” Rouhani emphasized that the renewal of relations between the two countries will be founded on “mutual trust,” and stated “we believe that one ought to not stay stuck in the past; we must plan our own actions with a look to the future.” Rouhani noted that “many projects exist in Iran in various fields, such as energy, transportation, aviation, environment, mining, and heavy industry; British companies can participate [in these projects].” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=91888
Zarif and Hammond hold a joint press conference. Mohammad Javad Zarif said that the reopening of the Iranian and British embassies marks the “resumption of bilateral relations” during a joint press conference with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on August 23 in Tehran. The Foreign Minister stated that differences between the two countries can be solved “through dialogue, interaction, and mutual understanding,” and added that Iran is “ready to build relations with all [its] neighbors without any exception” in order to confront regional challenges. (MFA) (E) http://www.mfa.gov.ir/index.aspx?siteid=3&fkeyid=&siteid=3&fkeyid=&sitei...
Shamkhani meets with Hammond. Ali Shamkhani discussed moving toward “stable relations” after the “ups and downs” in Iranian-British history during a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond on August 24. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary stated that combating terrorism requires both developing economic cooperation between Iran and Britain as well as creating regional stability. He added that Iran will continue its “firm support for oppressed nations.” (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/526554/%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%8...
Khaled Meshaal: Hamas will continue its relationship with Iran. Khaled Meshaal stated, “In recent years the relationship between Iran and Hamas has encountered differences over Syria; however, we want good relations with all the Arabic and Islamic countries, particularly Iran…” The Hamas Political Bureau Head added that Hamas will continue its “historical” relationship with Iran. (Ettelaat) http://www.ettelaat.com/etiran/?p=143599
Palestinian President announces plans to visit Iran. Mahmoud Abbas confirmed his upcoming plans to meet with Iranian officials in Tehran. The Palestinian President stated, “I will soon visit Iran,” he added, however, that the Iranians have not agreed to an official date for the visit. (ISNA) http://isna.ir/fa/news/94060201143/%D9%85%D8%AD%D9%85%D9%88%D8%AF-%D8%B9...
Newly released photos of Soleimani alongside Abu Mahdi al Muhandis. According to Ahlul Bayt News Agency, the official Facebook page of an Iraqi resistance group published pictures of IRGC Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in Iraq. The Qods Force Commander is seen walking alongside Kata’ib Hezbollah leader and Deputy Chairman of the Popular Mobilization Commission Abu Mahdi al Muhandis and Iraqi security forces. (ABNA) http://fa.abna24.com/service/middle/archive/2015/08/21/691851/story.html
- Iranian cargo ship transport aid for Yemen. Mohammad Shababeddin Mohammadi Araghi stated that a cargo ship left port carrying "106 tons of medicine and medical equipment" for Yemen. The Deputy Head of the Iran Red Crescent Society (IRCS) stated that the ship "would probably reach the port of Salalah in Oman next week." Mohammadi Araghi did not state the cargo’s immediate destination or method of transport to Yemen after arriving in Oman. He also did not provide the cargo’s final destination point in Yemen. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81730628/
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
SNSC deputy: I did not sign the separate agreement with the IAEA. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Undersecretary for Strategic Affairs Ali Hosseini Tash rejected allegations in an August 19 Associated Press report that he signed an agreement with the IAEA which stipulates that “Iran will be allowed to use its own inspectors to investigate” the Parchin military complex. The AP released a purported transcript of the original draft of the agreement, which names Hosseini Tash as Iran’s proposed signatory for the agreement. In response, Hosseini Tash stated, “There is no agreement [signed] by the SNSC undersecretary for strategic affairs and the IAEA.” Hosseini Tash also argued that the SNSC secretariat’s responsibilities do not typically include signing such an agreement. Speaking to reporters on August 22, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi also stated, “It is not right as [the] AP reported that Iranian experts instead of IAEA staff will inspect the country's nuclear sites." (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940601000574
Parliamentarians issue statement supporting defense and missile industries. A “majority” of parliamentarians signed a statement supporting Iran’s defense and missile industries on August 23. (Mashregh News) http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/457202/%D8%A8%D9%8A%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%8A...
Larijani: Guardian Council preparing for upcoming elections. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani stated that “some people” involved in the 2009 Green Movement have since “changed to the right parties." The Judiciary Head said that since the nuclear agreement there have been “tuneless” discussions describing the deal as a “sign” to elicit more changes within the country. Larijani urged against “these disturbing dreams,” stating that the "country needs sympathy, effort and diligent work." Larijani emphasized that the Guardian Council is “monitoring every channel” of the upcoming elections, and will approve the qualified candidates. Larijani stated that “different political tendencies have come to power,” but the Guardian Council will take a “firm stand” on ensuring the Islamic Revolution’s ideals. (Raja News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/220423
South Korean delegation visits Iran. A delegation of 30 representatives from South Korean oil, gas and construction industries, including South Korea’s Deputy Trade Minister and Minister of Land, Infrastructure and Transport, visited Iran to discuss business opportunities on August 23. Minister of Petroleum Bijan Zanganeh said that South Korea agreed to increase oil imports after sanctions are lifted. (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/24/426121/iran-south-korea-trade-s...
- Iranian banks to reopen UK branches. Valiollah Seif told reporters after a meeting with British Foreign Secretary Philip Hammond that the UK branches of two of the four Iranian banks in Britain- Bank Melli and Persian International Bank- will reopen. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head added that the British want to invest in Iran’s stock market and reopen their banks in Iran as well. (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109450/Banks-of-Iran-to-reopen-UK-branches