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 Rouhani defended his administration’s economic record following Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari’s criticism of Rouhani for failing to strengthen the economy.
President Hassan Rouhani stressed that his administration has delivered on its promises to the people to reduce inflation, stating “Today, we are a country that - after a peak of 40 percent inflation – has arrived at 13.8 percent inflation.” Rouhani’s statement may be a response to National Security and Foreign Policy Esmail Kowsari’s criticism of the Rouhani administration for failing to strengthen the economy and lower inflation.
Minister of Communications and Information Technology Mahmoud Vaezi stated that “the Supreme Space Council, which is now the same as the Space Agency, the National Space Center, and the Space Research Institute of Iran, is currently creating a ten-year space plan…and a meeting of the Supreme Space Council will occur ‘on the presidential level’ in the next month.”
Mohammad Saeedi was appointed Managing Director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) on August 25. Saeedi previously served as Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Deputy Head.
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.”
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Rouhani: “Sanctions will be removed one after another.” President Hassan Rouhani discussed the nuclear deal at a ceremony in Hamadan province. Rouhani stated, “After 23 months of efforts and negotiations by [our] revolutionary brothers and heroic diplomats …we have returned true security to this country.” Rouhani added, “Today, according to their own resolution, they [the P5+1] do not just recognize our right to enrich, but in the resolution, all the powerful countries are bound to support Iran in achieving better technology in the nuclear field.” Rouhani also stated:
- “The sanctions will be removed one after another; our people will enjoy all of their economic and business rights and, god willing, we will witness rapid, sustainable growth and development in future months and years…”
- “We promised to the people [that the administration would] lower the inflation rate little by little and the statistics, which were published by the Iran Statistical Center, show that there has been a yearly inflation rate of a little less than 14 percent. Today, we are a country that after a peak of 40 percent inflation has arrived at 13.8 percent inflation.” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88891
MOIS Head: “We had 70 to 80 percent success in the nuclear negotiations.” Hojjat al Eslam Mahmoud Alavi discussed the nuclear deal and government efforts to improve the economy in an interview with state TV on August 24. The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head praised President Hassan Rouhani for stabilizing the economy and said, “If we pay a little attention to the performance of the eleventh [President Rouhani’s] administration, we will realize—with respect to all the external and internal problems—the evaluation of this administration is very positive.” Alavi referred to the P5+1 negotiations and claimed that MOIS “conducted four surveys” following the Lausanne agreement in April to assess national support for the nuclear talks. Alavi also stated:
- “Between 65 and 86 percent of the [Iranian] people supported the nuclear negotiations and the negotiating team.”
- “Unfortunately, some [Iranian officials] - in the form of criticism - began the sabotage, disrespect, insults, lies, and abuse of the negotiating team…”
- “We had 70 to 80 percent success in these negotiations…” (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/222423
Najafi: IAEA must protect information gathered during inspections. Reza Najafi urged the IAEA to “exercise utmost vigilance to ensure full protection of all confidential information” obtained during inspections of Iranian nuclear facilities authorized by the nuclear agreement. Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors warned that Iran “will not accept any kind of leakage of classified information by anyone.” (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/25/426279/Iran-IAEA-Amano-Najafi-J...
IRISL appoints new managing director. Mohammad Saeedi was appointed managing director of the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) on August 25. Saeedi, the former Deputy Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI), is replacing Mohammad Hossein Dajmar as the managing director of IRISL. (Raja News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/220432
- Former LEF Commander: Ahmadinejad told me to throw 2,000 elites out of the country. Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam reportedly stated that prior to the 2009 Green Movement, former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad “repeatedly told” him that if “we make 2000 [elites] leave, the system’s problems will be resolved.” The Former Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander claimed that after 2009, Ahmadinejad’s “view had changed;” he said that Ahmadinejad told him, “We cannot ignore them.” (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5300484/%D8%B3%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D8%AF%...
Military and Security
Defense Minister inaugurates cruise missile production line. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan spoke at an inauguration ceremony for the production line of Iran’s Nasr air-launched cruise missile on August 25 in Tehran. The Defense Minister emphasized that developing Iran’s missile capabilities will “dramatically increase” the tactical power of the armed forces. Dehghan said that the Nasr cruise missile is equipped with a radar tracking system and is capable of hitting targets with high precision. (Sepah News) http://sepahnews.com/shownews.Aspx?ID=1703cb9e-7f78-4d38-a99b-b492ad8388fa
Vaezi: We are in talks with French and Russian companies on communication satellites. Mahmoud Vaezi commented on Iran’s technological achievements in an interview with Mehr News. The Minister of Communications and Information Technology discussed Iran’s space program and stated that “the Supreme Space Council, which is now the same as the Space Agency, the National Space Center, and the Space Research Institute of Iran, is currently creating a ten-year space plan…and a meeting of the Supreme Space Council will occur ‘on the presidential level’ in the next month.” Vaezi also stated:
- On Iran’s satellites program: “The satellites designed and sometimes launched in the past two or three years had experimental aspects and have been in low orbit.”
- “The launch of two experimental satellites is now on the agenda...they will be launched soon.”
- “The Supreme Space Council’s goal is for Iran to join those countries which have large satellites in high orbit within fifteen years. Therefore, the Space Agency has placed on the agenda the construction and production of national communication satellites that are in geo-orbit.”
- On co-operation with foreign countries: “Considering the political developments of the country, discussions with foreign companies have occurred. For example, in the field of constructing national communication satellites, discussions have started with French and Russian companies; we have also received a recommendation from a Japanese company...the number of foreign companies that are inclined to cooperate with Iran will increase.”
- On “smart filtering”: “We have the topic of ‘smart filtering’ on the agenda...it is interesting here that the topic of ‘smart filtering’ was included even on the statement of the general policies of the 6th five-year plan of the Supreme Leader.”
- “The identity of all internet users is clear. Anyone from any area of the world connects to the internet from with an ‘internet sign’— IP address—and identifying this is very easy. But we in the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology do not seek to identify individuals. In this government, we seriously believe in the private sphere and the rights of the citizen; we will not enter the private sphere unless special conditions are created by a legal order.”
- “In the third stage [of ‘smart filtering’] we intend to implement a system of ‘smart filtering’ with a data center so we can identify and filter all the illegal files and data.” (Mehr News) http://www.mehrnews.com/news/2894529/%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%AC%D8%AF%DB%...
- Nobakht: Iran expects five percent economic growth rate next year. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht projected that Iran’s economic growth rate will increase from three percent in 2015 to five percent in 2016. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President also stated that since oil revenues only comprise 30 percent of the Iranian budget, “decreases in the price of oil will only have a limited effect on government expenditures, including in the area of infrastructure projects.” Nobakht claimed the government “does not want 40 or 50 billion dollars to enter the country,” and asserted that “what is important is that all Iranian foreign exchange assets located outside of Iran are considered foreign exchange reserves of the Central Bank of Iran, [so] foreign investors who wish to invest in Iran can rely upon [those assets].” Nobakht also noted that years of economic isolation from sanctions “has kept Iran safe from the global market crisis.” (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/526824/%D9%86%D9%88%D8%A8%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D8%B...
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Two Iran-Turkey border checkpoints close. Mohammad Javad Atrchian announced that Turkey has closed the border crossing points at Kapikoy- Razi and Esendere-Sero. The senior official at the Ministry of Roads and Urban Development counseled Iranian citizens against traveling to Turkey by ground. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Fars News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/839321http://english.farsn...
Khatami: Reopening U.K.’s embassy in Tehran doesn’t change its record in the region. Ayatollah Khatami stated, “Britain has the blackest record in Islamic countries…therefore, do not think that this hatred will disappear with the opening of four buildings.” The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member stated, “The introduction of the issue of the nuclear agreement will never have the meaning of reconciliation with America or a thaw in relations between Iran and America; until his death, the Imam [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini]’s line was a cutting of relations with America.” (Rasa News) http://www.rasanews.ir/NSite/FullStory/News/?Id=283138
Abdollahian: “The nuclear deal is for the benefit of all in the region.” Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed relations with Saudi Arabia and the nuclear deal during an interview with state TV. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs claimed, “If Saudi Arabia plays a constructive role, it will certainly benefit [from the nuclear deal].” Abdollahian, however, added that “Saudi Arabia’s negative role… will be a serious threat to the security and stable development of the region.” (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=91954
Velayati underlines importance of Tehran-Beijing relations. Ali Akbar Velayati promoted increased bilateral cooperation between Iran and China in a meeting with Deng Li, the Director General of the Department of West Asian and North African Affairs of the Chinese Foreign Ministry. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader announced that Chinese President Xi Jinping plans to visit Iran; Velayati did not give a specific date for the official visit. (Velayati.ir) http://velayati.ir/fa/news/1555/%D8%B1%DB%8C%DB%8C%D8%B3%E2%80%8C%D8%AC%...
Zarif meets with Ghanaian foreign minister. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with his Ghanaian counterpart Hannah Tetteh in Tehran. The two discussed expanding economic cooperation between the two countries. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81734120/
- Beirut to name street after former IRGC Commander. The street will be named for Mostafa Chamran, who also served as the first defense minister after the 1979 Islamic Revolution. Tehran’s Ambassador to Beirut Mohammad Fathali will attend a ceremony inaugurating the street’s new name on August 25. (Kayhan) (E) http://kayhan.ir/en/news/17535/major-beirut-street-to-be-named-after-mar...