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: Senior clerics reflected the regime’s heightened concerns over Western cultural and political infiltration into Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal.

Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda described the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran as “worrisome,” arguing that it provides “the enemy an opportunity to attack the Islamic Revolution.” Assembly of Experts member and Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari also stated that following various media outlets’ claims that the Iranian people are distancing themselves from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini’s revolutionary ideals; current Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei “advised” the Rouhani administration “to express revolutionary positions bluntly…” Alam ol Hoda and Shabestari’s comments reflect the regime’s increased concerns over Western cultural and political infiltration into Iran following the nuclear deal.

The Iranian and Indian naval forces are scheduled to conduct joint exercises in the Persian Gulf in the near future.

The Critical Threats Project of the American Enterprise Institute has created several pages 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?"

Official Statements

  • Assembly of Experts member: The reopening of the British embassy is "worrisome." Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda described the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran as "worrisome," and that it provides "the enemy an opportunity to attack the Islamic Revolution." The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts, stated that the British embassy in Tehran has “a hundred-year history of crime….” He also stated that the government should "pay attention to the concerns of the people" who are "frightened" by renewed relations with the UK, which is considered to be "our enemy." Alam ol Hoda explained that the West is trying to use the recent agreement to change regime policy, and admitted that "these comments are not my analysis but of Americans [who] openly admit to it..." (Alef)
  • Rouhani Spokesman: Resistance Economy will be implemented. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht hailed the Iranian nuclear negotiating team in a speech before Friday prayers in Tehran. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President reiterated the administration’s commitment to the principles and values of the Islamic Revolution, adding that the negotiating team protected national interests against the P5+1. Nobakht also underlined the importance of a knowledge-based economy; he stressed that Iran’s economy should proceed independently and not become import-driven, in order to strengthen the Resistance Economy. (YJC)
  • Oil Minister: Iran can become the second largest producer in OPEC if sanctions are lifted. Bijan Zanganeh stated that Iranian crude oil exports grew “15 percent in the first five months of the year” despite the fact that oil sanctions had not yet been lifted. The Oil Minister said that the Islamic Republic “will not give up Iran’s historical share of oil production and exports.” Zanganeh also discussed Tehran’s relations with OPEC, stating, “Some in OPEC want to harm us and prevent us from taking our fundamental place in OPEC… If sanctions are lifted five months from now, we can become the second largest producer in OPEC.” (IRIB)
  • Araghchi: Model UN "can promote [a] better understanding of the organization." Abbas Araghchi stated that there are "significant misunderstandings about the functions and objectives" of the UN. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs added that "initiatives such as holding a Model UN can promote [a] better understanding of the Organization and its Security Council." He expressed hope that in the future "the question of [the] Iran nuclear deal" is examined as "there has been no other resolution which has been negotiated word-for-word by the target country..." (IRNA) (E)


Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Shabestari: The Guardian Council’s supervisory role in elections cannot be altered. Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari stressed that the “issue of the Guardian Council’s approbatory supervision” is in the Constitution and cannot be altered. The Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts member also stated that after the nuclear deal was reached, some media outlets “claimed” that the people and the government’s revolutionary identity had declined, and that they had moved away from the ideas of Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini. Ayatollah Shabestari stated, “With this in mind, the Supreme Leader advised the [current] administration to express revolutionary positions bluntly and frankly.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Najafi: Iran will implement the Additional Protocol on Implementation Day. Reza Najafi announced that Iran will begin to “provisionally implement the Additional Protocol on Implementation Day.” Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors also thanked the IAEA for fulfilling its obligations with regards to the confidentiality of information on Iran’s nuclear program. (ISNA) (E)
  • Sedighi: The government must prove to the people that it is not power-hungry. Ayatollah Kazem Sedighi praised the Rouhani administration for its work on reducing inflation and improving public health reform and stated, “I hope this year the government will make the people believe that it is not power-hungry, but is instead in love with service.” The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader also discussed the Guardian Council, stating, “The judicial system and the Parliament are also the strongholds of this country. Therefore the attack towards them… only makes the enemy happy. Why should we keep guards and walls open to encroachment by thieves?” (Mashregh News)
  • Alavi: One of MOIS’ major goals is to ensure “healthy…political activities.” Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated, “An important objective of the Ministry of Intelligence as part of the… government is to guarantee healthy… political activities.” The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head continued, “Everyone must consider dialogue and unity, and differences in political thought should not lead to conflict and confrontation.” (Rasa News)


Military and Security

  • Senior Advisor to Soleimani claims that the U.S. supports ISIS. IRGC Brig. Gen. Iraj Masjedi praised Iran’s culture of resistance and martyrdom. The Senior Advisor to IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani also discussed regional developments, specifically U.S.-led efforts to exacerbate Shi’a-Sunni tensions. Masjedi stated:
    • “The Saudis, Americans, and Zionists [Israeli government]… support [ISIS] in order to destroy the real Islam, which is the front led by Shi’as… and the crescent of resistance.”
    • Masjedi claimed that Washington, Riyadh, and Tel Aviv support ISIS because they want to destroy the emerging resistance movements “in Syria, Yemen, Iraq, and the Levant.” (Entekhab)
  • Iran and India to stage joint naval drills. Iranian and Indian naval forces will conduct joint exercises in the Persian Gulf in the near future. Both countries "will practice [the] exchange of information and intelligence, relief and rescue operations, and operational capabilities and power." Artesh First Naval Zone Commander Rear Admiral Amir Hossein Azad stated that "the message of the joint drills will be [on] peace and security in [the] light of bilateral and multilateral cooperation." (Fars News Agency) (E)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Austrian president to visit Iran in September. Austrian President Heinz Fischer will visit Iran from September 7-9 to discuss expanding bilateral ties and regional and international developments. Austrian businessmen and trade companies will accompany Fischer to explore business and trade opportunities. (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • Salehi meets with the Chinese foreign minister. Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi during the second day of his official visit in Beijing. Wang Yi expressed satisfaction with Salehi’s trip, and hoped that the "visit would lead to fruitful results in Tehran-Beijing relations." In addition, Wang Yi mentioned his desire for the "imminent travel of Chinese President Xi Jinping" to visit Tehran, while also inviting Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif "to visit China." (Mehr News) (E)
  • Swiss ambassador: Iran is a “pole of stability” in the Middle East. During a conference for business owners in Zurich, Swiss Ambassador to Tehran Giulio Hass referred to Iran as “the pole of stability in a very, very unsafe region.” The Swiss cabinet officially lifted sanctions against Iran earlier this month. (Press TV) (E)



  • Seif: Iran has gone from negative growth to 3 percent growth in 2014. Valiollah Seif stated that Iran “has arrived at a rate of positive growth of 3 percent from a condition of negative economic growth” in a press conference. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head also praised government policies for reducing inflation from 40 percent to 15 percent. (Tabnak)
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