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 briefed the Supreme Leader on the government’s actions over the past two years, while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif confirmed that the 10-year restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program will begin on September 23.
President Rouhani reassured the Supreme Leader that the government is committed to fulfilling the necessary requirements to implement the Resistance Economy, citing a 19 percent increase in non-oil exports. Rouhani identified cash subsidies as a significant obstacle for the government and stressed the need for a gradual elimination of subsidies. He also praised the nuclear deal and declared: “We have reached a stage which can be called 'legal deterrence'.”
Foreign Minister Zarif discussed the 10-year nuclear restrictions on Iran’s enrichment capacity mandated by the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and said that once the restrictions “sunset” the UN Security Council will close Iran’s file. Zarif added that the IAEA could also lift the missile and weapons restrictions “at an earlier time.” Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi, meanwhile, dismissed talks concerning Parliament’s legal right to approve the nuclear deal. The senior nuclear negotiator claimed: “It is not necessary for Parliament to ratify the JCPOA, because… it is not like a protocol or an international treaty.”
IRGC Captain Ahmad Heyarri reportedly died yesterday, as a result of injuries he suffered on August 24 from mortar fire in Latakia, Syria. Heyyari was a member of the Basij Imam Hossein Battalions in Shush, Khuzestan province.
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 and AEI Research Assistant Tara Beeny analyze recent attacks on Iranian vehicles travelling in Turkey in the context of expanding Turkish involvement in Syria and Iranian media reports claiming Turkey’s support to ISIS in their most recent blog post, “Are Iran-Turkey relations on the rocks?"
- Rouhani: Iran has “reached a stage that should be called ‘legal deterrence.’” President Hassan Rouhani, on August 26, briefed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei on the government’s actions over the past two years. Rouhani reassured the Supreme Leader that the government is committed to fulfilling the necessary requirements to implement the Resistance Economy. The president also highlighted his administration’s efforts to reduce inflation, reform healthcare, and facilitate scientific progress. Rouhani identified cash subsidies as one of the “great obstacles” the government faced; he also stressed the need for a gradual elimination of subsidies and stated that the Mehr Housing scheme was another challenge. (The Mehr project gave developers free government land to build affordable housing for first-time owners.) Rouhani added: “The debt inherited from the former government [under Ahmadinejad] is also a major challenge to the current administration.” Rouhani also said:
- “The government banned the import of luxury vehicles and non-restricted imports.” Rouhani claimed that a 19 percent increase in non-oil exports and a relative balance between imports and exports are indicative of moving toward a Resistance Economy. “In the post-sanctions era, we need new planning to focus on domestic capabilities to attract foreign investment and technology.”
- On the P5+1 nuclear deal: Rouhani praised the Iranian negotiating team and reassured his domestic audiences that the nuclear deal does not undermine national security and interests, declaring: “We have reached a stage which can be called 'legal deterrence'.” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88948
Zarif: Iran’s 10-year nuclear restrictions under the JCPOA will begin on September 23. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif discussed the timeline for Iran’s nuclear restrictions, opponents of the nuclear deal, and the reopening of the British embassy at a press conference.
- On the nuclear deal: Zarif said that the restrictions in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) are for a 10-year period and added, “The UN Security Council’s resolution [Resolution 2231] is completely clear in this regard. After 10 years, the restrictions are over unless the agreement is cancelled. Then everything will break down… After a period of ten years beginning on September 23, Iran’s file will be officially closed.” Zarif added that the IAEA could also lift the missile and weapons restrictions “at an earlier time.”
- “Differing opinions exist on this issue [of the nuclear deal]. I am happy, especially because the possibility of commenting on the nuclear issue was not like this before. Perhaps because of these past restrictions, people state their opinions with more zeal today. As long as these statements of opinion do not throw water in the enemy’s water mill, there isn’t a problem.”
- Zarif also censured critics of the deal, stating, “Do not tell the people that you have been humiliated… Critics will not turn this victory into a defeat, and they will not make the people’s palates bitter.”
- On regional countries: “In principle, we have no limitations whatsoever for establishing relations with regional countries. No neighbor should feel threatened by Iran… We are also prepared for interaction and negotiation whenever these countries are ready.”
On the British embassy: “We did not close the British embassy. They [the British] did… and now they have also opened their embassy… Opening the embassy has created a space for interaction and conversation, and with that action, we can resolve our differences of opinion, especially regarding regional policies.” (Mashregh News) http://www.mashreghnews.ir/fa/news/459386/%D8%A2%D8%BA%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D9%85%D8%AD%D8%AF%D9%88%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AA-10-%D8%B3%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%87-%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87%E2%80%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84-%D9%85%D9%87%D8%B1%E2%80%8C-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B4%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B9-%D9%81%D8%B9%D8%A7%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AA-%E2%80%8C%D8%B3%D9%81%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D8%A7%D9%86%DA%AF%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%B3-%E2%80%8C%D8%A7%D8%AE%D8%AA%D9%84%D8%A7%D9%81%E2%80%8C%D9%86%D8%B8%D8%B1%D9%87%D8%A7%E2%80%8C-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%B7%D8%B1%D9%81-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%DB%8C%D9%85
Vahidi: “National authority is the key to survival.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi underlined the importance of recognizing national identity and culture. The President of the Strategic Defense Studies Center and former IRGC Qods Force Commander said that the Islamic Revolution embodies the intellectual and ideological foundations of Islam. Vahidi added that “National authority is the key to survival and any country without power [and independence] will not survive.” (Tasnim News Agency) http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/841488
Khatami: Hatred of America will always be a part of Iranian society. Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that Iran’s agreement was with the P5+1 rather than with the U.S. and stated, “So long as America stays the same and its mischief is not over, we will not compromise with America.” The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member added, “The mirth of Iran’s Islamic Revolution is anti-arrogance and hatred of America, and it will always be running through society.” (Rasa News) http://www.rasanews.ir/NSite/FullStory/News/?Id=283681
Shamkhani: Iran is the safest and most stable country in the region. Ali Shamkhani claimed that Iran is “the safest and most stable country” in the Middle East. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary added, “No one can present a counterpart to Iran in terms of stability, security, and power.” He also discussed Yemen, stating, “Ansar Allah [the political wing of the Houthis] have not sought and do not seek domination over Yemen, but they do strive to have their voice heard by the world.” (Tabnak) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/527268/%D8%B4%D9%85%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%86%DB%8C-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%86%E2%80%8C%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D9%85%D9%86%D8%B7%D9%82%D9%87-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA
- Jazayeri criticizes U.S. foreign policy. IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri stated that “America still deceptively dreams of holding a cloud of power over our heads and threatens its competitors with [the] delusion of threatening war.” The Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy further warned that “the guns and conventional weaponry of yesterday have been replaced by the missiles of today,” and added that “the problem with America is that their strategy deceives even themselves and... has been the cause of much of the unrest in the world.” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/5189
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Interior Minister: The government and the Guardian Council are in complete agreement. Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli responded to recent backlash against President Rouhani’s remarks on the Guardian Council’s increasing involvement in vetting political candidates and stated that the government is in complete accord with the Guardian Council. The Interior Minister stressed that the government will continue to work towards “perfect harmony with the Guardian Council, both in implementation and in monitoring [of elections.]” He stated, “The government’s plan is… for more superb and clean elections” in the future. (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5303894/%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1-%DA%A9%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%B4%D9%88%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D9%86%DA%AF%D9%87%D8%A8%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%87%D9%85%D8%A7%D9%87%D9%86%DA%AF%DB%8C-%DA%A9%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%84-%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%85
Shirazi: Protection of British embassy is “obligatory.” Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi praised the nuclear agreement and demanded that Iran ensure the safety of the British embassy during a meeting with Deputy Foreign Minister and senior nuclear negotiator Majid Takht Ravanchi. Shirazi deemed the nuclear agreement a “good contract,” while warning that Iranians should “analyze the margins of the text” and remain vigilant to prevent “the enemy” from interpreting the agreement to Iran’s detriment. Shirazi also stated that Iranians must protect the newly reopened British embassy because “protection of their lives and property is obligatory” under Islamic principles. (Raja News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/220712
- Ravanchi: JCPOA “does not require Parliament’s approval.” Majid Takht Ravanchi dismissed the need for Parliament to approve the JCPOA. The Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs stated: “It is not necessary for Parliament to ratify the JCPOA, because… it is not like a protocol or an international treaty.” (ISNA) http://isna.ir/fa/news/94060503092/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%AC%D8%A7%D9%85-%D9%86%DB%8C%D8%A7%D8%B2%DB%8C-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%AA%D8%B5%D9%88%DB%8C%D8%A8-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%84%D8%B3-%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AF
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
IRGC officer killed in Syria. According to Ahlul Bayt News Agency, IRGC Captain Ahmad Heyarri died in a coma yesterday, as a result of injuries he suffered on August 24 from “terrorist” mortar fire in Latakia, Syria. Heyyari was a member of the Basij Imam Hossein Battalions in Shush, Khuzestan province. (ABNA) http://fa.abna24.com/service/middle/archive/2015/08/26/692081/story.html
Abdollahian: Iran and UN have exchanged views on Yemen. Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that “Iran’s fundamental approach to Yemen is to... solve disputes and disagreements through dialogue” during a telephone conversation with UN Special Envoy to Yemen Ismael Ould Cheikh Ahmed. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs called for an end to the humanitarian blockade on Yemen, and added that Ahmed’s plan to “create a ceasefire in various regions of Yemen and at the same time start a political dialogue [between] Yemeni groups on the basis of UN resolutions [represents] an appropriate framework for solving the crisis.” (Entekhab) http://www.entekhab.ir/fa/news/222898
Rouhani meets with Ghanaian foreign minister. President Hassan Rouhani met with Ghanaian Foreign Minister Hanna Tetteh on August 26 in Tehran. Rouhani called for increased cooperation between Iran and Ghana in various fields and underlined the need for collective efforts among African and Middle Eastern states to combat terrorism. (MFA) http://mfa.ir/index.aspx?siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&fkeyid=&siteid=1&pageid=176&newsview=355158
- Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General meets with Head of Tehran City Council. Lebanese Hezbollah Deputy Secretary General Sheikh Naim Qassem met with Tehran City Council Head Mehdi Chamran in Beirut. Qassem stated that “Hezbollah is honored by its relations with Iran” and emphasized that world powers must hold talks with Iran because of its central position in the region. (Fars News) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940605000669
Iran to offer oil, gas fields to investors. Iran will offer projects to foreign investors for extracting oil from the South Pars gas field as well as three other gas fields at an upcoming London conference in December. Nearly 50 projects will be put up for investment under the Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC) model, according to Managing Director of Pars Oil and Gas Company Ali Akbar Shabanpour. (Press TV) (E) http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/08/27/426567/iran-gas-fields-oil-layer-investment-london-conference
- Iran resolved to reform banking system. Ali Tayyeb Nia called reforming the banking system a government priority and said the government “will not squander post-sanctions economic opportunities to attract foreign direct investments.” The Economic and Finance Minister added that the government has removed “unnecessary paperwork” for investment permits. (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/109569/Govt-resolved-to-reform-banking-system