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 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 reaffirmed his confidence in the P5+1 nuclear deal to allay domestic concerns caused by UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231, while the Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati reiterated that Iran’s missile capabilities are non-negotiable.
President Rouhani reassured Iranians that there is absolutely nothing to “worry” about in the nuclear deal in a live interview on state TV. Rouhani stated that UNSC Resolution 2231 “will not create a national security problem,” stressing that Iran’s military capabilities and defense secrets will not be compromised. Rouhani also indirectly dismissed regime hardliners, who implicitly accuse him of capitulating to the West. Velayati, meanwhile, reinforced Rouhani’s remarks and stated: “First let me stress that the missile issue and the defense capabilities of Iran are not at all part of the agreement. Iran has never, and will never, negotiate with other countries, whether it is America or Europe, about the quality and type of missiles that Iran produces or controls, or what type of defensive military equipment Iran requires.”
Student Basij members from nine universities in Tehran, including the IRGC’s Imam Hossein University, in an open letter urged Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief Major General Hassan Firouzabadi to showcase Iran’s missile capabilities. The students called for an arranged set of defense exercises to deter the enemy from misinterpreting UNSC Resolution 2231.
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 explains how recent meetings between Hamas and Saudi leaders could put a new wrinkle in Iran’s growing contest with Saudi Arabia for power and influence in his most recent blog post, "President Rouhani lays out vision for the new Middle East.”
Rouhani: Iran’s defense capabilities will not be compromised. President Hassan Rouhani addressed the nation live in a televised interview on August 2. President Rouhani highlighted the government’s achievements since he took office in June 2013. He attributed these achievements to the resilience of the Iranian people and said that Iran’s success, particularly with the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) agreement, was more than what the government initially expected to gain from the P5+1. Rouhani stated, “We will negotiate with any country…based on a framework and objectives,” adding:
- “The fact that an interim agreement between Iran and the P5+1 has stood for nearly two years could be a sign that the comprehensive agreement reached between the two sides on July 14 could also be assumed as capable of standing.”
- “Iran is not after WMDs; Iran will not violate ethical values…during the [Iran-Iraq War], Iran did not use WMDs. Now that we are not in war, why should we go after WMDs? This is not our doctrine and logic.”
- “The end results of the negotiations were a ‘win-win.’ The [P5+1]…had said it was pursuing an objective of preventing Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon. Iran never intended to build atomic bombs…”
- “[The idea of] ‘surrender to the world or defeat the world’ is not logical… There has to be a ‘win-win’ agreement…we can devise a mechanism under which no side would face a loss… Of course, the other side [the P5+1] says that it has gained a victory too and that it has delayed Iran's access to a nuclear bomb for one year. Well, let that be their victory and this be ours.”
- On Resolution 2231: “UN Security Council Resolution 2231 adopted last July in the wake of nuclear agreement will not create a national security problem...under its provisions Iran's arms sanctions have been reduced to limitations.”
- “According to this same resolution, we are [Iran is] considered a country seeking peaceful nuclear technology… So yesterday our country was a threat in their [the UNSC’s] opinion and today we are a country that [the world] has to interact with.”
- On military site inspections: “There is no reason to worry at all as what Iran has agreed to under the JCPOA is nothing extraordinary.”
- “What Iran has accepted is from the NPT and its safeguards… What we have accepted today is the implementation of the Additional Protocol. We are not the only country to have accepted it.”
- “No one in the world would trade its national security… Iran’s military capabilities, its commercial and scientific secrets will by no means be [compromised].”
- On sanctions and Iran’s economy: Rouhani stated that the government's success in curbing inflation by 15 percent and achieving positive growth deterred the West “from pressuring Iran at the nuclear negotiations table.”
- Rouhani highlighted that the government lowered inflation rates from 42 to 15 percent in two years, leading the country out of recession with a growth rate of 3 percent.
- “All anti-Iran sanctions will be lifted upon execution of the Vienna deal reached last July, including those on financial, banking, insurance, transport, and petrochemical sectors.”
- “Iran welcomes foreign investment, but not increased imports…the [nuclear] deal has opened the doors to foreign technology and capital and will facilitate Iran's exports after sanctions are lifted.”
On regional issues: Rouhani stressed, “We have principles which are not subject to change. During the [nuclear] talks these principles did not change either. As Iran maintained its nuclear principles, it will pursue its regional principles…” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88539 http://president.ir/en/88528 (E)
Abdollahian: Iran will continue to support its allies. Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed Iran’s foreign policy goals during an interview on state-run television. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs stated that the Rouhani administration is pursuing regional policies “that include a deepening of multilateral relationships between Iran and its neighbors…” Abdollahian added that “there was no negotiating with the P5+1 over regional issues because Iran believes that regional issues concern [only] the countries of the region.” He also stated:
- On Turkey: “I wish to stress that Tehran and Ankara enjoy a strategic relationship. Of course, in this relationship our strategy on the topic of the political future of Syria differs in outlook than our brothers in Ankara. The security of Turkey is important for the Islamic Republic of Iran. But we do not support the actions of Turkey that led them to violate the sovereignty of their neighbors. We believe that any type of combatting terrorism, whether from Syria or any other country in the region, must occur with coordination with the governments of Syria and Iraq; none of these countries must take steps that violate the sovereignty of neighboring countries.”
- On Syria: “Fortunately, a strategic change has occurred from the perspective of the regional players regarding Syria. In the past four years, many of the foreign actors considered warfare as the solution for Syria. Now a major part of the players consider a political solution the most appropriate method for solving the Syria crisis.”
- “Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Muallem will travel to Iran at the end of this week and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif will be his host. This is an opportunity to pursue the Islamic Republic of Iran’s strategy for the Syria crises through political dialogue.”
- On Russia: “Fortunately, Tehran and Moscow have shared views of the political future of Syria...I wish to say clearly that the Islamic Republic will continue to support its allies with great force… President Vladimir Putin's Special Representative in the Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov will be travelling to Tehran and we will discuss the latest regional situation and political developments in Syria.”
- On Saudi Arabia: “We believe that Saudi Arabia’s use of force to solve the problems of the region, especially the problem in Yemen, is a strategic mistake….we believe that relations between Tehran and Riyadh must return to normal…Iran and Saudi Arabia have the capacity to solve regional problems with cooperation and constructive engagement.”
- On Bahrain: Abdollahian rejected allegations that Iran was intervening in Bahrain, saying “If the Islamic Republic intended to intervene in Bahrain, the condition of Bahrain would be different now.” Abdollahian criticized the Bahraini government for oppressing its people and called for “multilateral cooperation” to solve the issue.
On the U.S.: “We do not have any sort of plan of cooperation with America against ISIS…we will only help countries in the region fight against terrorism that are under threat.” (Tasnim News Agency) http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/817920
Velayati: Foreign inspectors to our military sites are forbidden. The Supreme Leader's Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati discussed the nuclear deal in an interview with al Jazeera, saying that in order for any sort of agreement to be reached “each side must understand the requests of the opposite side. For this reason, there cannot be an agreement which exists that 100% fulfills the requests on one side…according to this it cannot be said that the recent agreement is an ideal agreement; and one cannot say that it is a bad agreement. In general, the recent nuclear agreement is not, relatively, a bad agreement.” Velayati also stated:
- On Iran’s missile capability: "First let me stress that the missile issue and the defense capabilities of Iran are not at all part of the agreement. Iran has never, and will never, negotiate with other countries, whether America or Europe, or any other countries, about the quality and type of the missiles that Iran produces or controls, or what type of defensive military equipment Iran requires.”
- Inspections of military sites: “The arrival of any foreigner, including inspectors of the IAEA or any other inspector, to our sensitive military sites is forbidden in any situation.”
- On Israel: “Israel does not dare attack Iran. The time when this regime wants to do so, the important cities of Israel will be leveled.”
On Turkey: “Turkey is helping the terrorists. America has publically admitted that it has created camps for some of the terrorist groups that America considers moderate. But one cannot divide terrorism between moderates and extremists. Terrorism is terrorism.” (Basij Press) http://basijpress.ir/fa/news-details/52314/
Larijani: “The West imposes a set of codified human rights on the world.” Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani discussed human rights and the nuclear deal during a meeting with senior judiciary officials. The Judiciary Head said, “With what logic and rational does the West impose a set of codified human rights on the world, and sanction and reprimand a country if it does not accept them?" Larijani criticized the West for condemning Iran’s human rights record while ignoring other countries “like Bahrain or Saudi Arabia that has not even held one election.” Larijani also commented on the nuclear deal, saying that “If we want to advance to the implementation of the agreement, we must preserve the national unity and the solidarity between the people and the government. All the officials and all the military must be conscious.” Larijani added, “In addition to reviewing and considering the positive points of the nuclear deal, the ambiguous and limited elements must also be considered so that something which is beyond the redlines may not be accepted.” (YJC) http://www.yjc.ir/fa/news/5280830/%D9%84%D8%B2%D9%88%D9%85-%D9%BE%D8%B1%...
Haddad Adel: “Will there be a dependent economy instead of an economy of resistance?” Hardliner Parliamentarian Gholam Ali Haddad Adel commented on the nuclear deal, saying that “the nuclear deal is complicated and I have not announced a particular position, but this does not mean that I do not have concerns on this issue…I have said truthfully that I am anxious.” Adel elaborated: “In addition to looking at the content of the nuclear agreement, we must be worried about its affects. Of course, I hope that it will have a positive affect…the question is this: is it arranged for the style of American life take the place of an Iranian style of life?” Adel stated “another problem is a problem of economics. Will there be a dependent economy instead of an economy of resistance…” Adel added, “There will be conflict between the U.S. and Iran for as long as the [Islamic] Revolution is strong.” (Tasnim News Agency) http://www.tasnimnews.com/Home/Single/817770
Military and Security
Student Basij members write an open letter calling for Iran’s missile capacity to be “in drilling formation.” Student Basij members of the greater Tehran universities and students from Imam Hossein University wrote an open letter addressed to Chief of Staff of the Iranian Armed Forces Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi. The letter called for the provision of Iran’s missile capacity to be “in drilling formation” in response to the threats directed against the country. A copy of the letter was also sent to Artesh Commander Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari and Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan. It was written in the letter that:
- “In all these years, the armed forces of the Islamic Republic have been the model of perseverance, discipline, commitment, sacrifice, and jihad… It has always strove to be a thorn in the eyes of the enemies of Islam and to clear from their minds any fantasy of violating the borders of this country. At this critical juncture, the sworn enemies of the Iranian nation have started absurd and fruitless bragging and speaking of destroying the army of the Islamic Republic and inspecting our country’s military sites. With the approval of the [nuclear] resolution, they imagine tightening the road to growth and development of our country’s defense.”
- The students wrote that through missile capabilities, Iran can demonstrate that this [nuclear] resolution, “or a hundred other resolutions,” will not be a barrier against its Islamic military order. (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/50565
SNSC orders the northwestern borders to be temporarily closed. Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari stated that Iran’s northwestern borders have been temporarily closed on the orders of the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC). The Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander added that "it seems that the reason behind the temporary closure is the problems that have occurred in recent days at the western borders, particularly in Turkey." In addition, Iran's Rail Transportation Company (Raja) announced on July 31 that it would cancel its train services to Ankara until Turkish authorities "make official comments" on the security concerns. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/818625
Esmaili: Iran’s air defenses are constantly vigilant. Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili stressed Iranian preparedness to counter foreign threats during a visit to an air defense site in southwestern Iran. The Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander stated that Iranian air defense systems, including radar and missile systems, constantly monitor for all types of threats and are located at more than 3,600 points across the country. (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/50628
- Sharif: Recent Israeli attack on Palestinians is "modern terrorism." Head of IRGC Public Affairs Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif described the recent Israeli attack on a Palestinian village that left an infant dead as "an instance of modern terrorism...presented by the US type of human rights; this is the latest act of child-killing in the occupied territories by the Zionists." (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940510001163
Seif: We will bring the rate of inflation into the single digits. Valiollah Seif pointed to the government’s economic accomplishments in the past two years, especially in controlling inflation, during a meeting with the government’s economic team and First Vice President Eshaqh Jahangiri. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head emphasized that “achieving single-digit inflation is hard work that we hope is certain.”
- Stressing that the country’s current financial situation must change and that the structure of the banking system is defective, Seif said that one of the concerns of the banking system is the low capital adequacy rate under 4%.
- He said a new space has opened after the conclusion of the nuclear negotiations. The exploitation of this new space requires a good banking system so foreign investors are attracted to invest in Iran.
- Referencing the ten years of the Iranian banking system’s closed relations with the international banking system, he said that a special committee in the Central Bank has been formed to compensate for this lag and that this committee is becoming more active following the nuclear negotiations. (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=90135
Iran and Russia to hold Joint Economic Commission. Karim Arabi stated that members of the Iranian-Russian Joint Trade and Economic Commission will meet along with representatives from 16 Iranian provinces on August 17-18. The Economic and International Cooperation Office of Fars Province Director General stated that the "introduction of historical monuments, tourism, and medical treatment of Fars province will be on the [meeting’s] agenda…" A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between both countries is expected to be signed during the meeting. (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81704958/
- German investors to establish new bank in Iran. Valiollah Seif met with representatives of the Chamber of Commerce, Industry, Mines and Agriculture, during which he stated, "According to regulations of free trade zones, foreign investors can establish new banks or bank branches [in Iran]." The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) Head added that a recent German economic delegation agreed to launch a bank in Iran. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/818775
- Kamalvandi: Salehi is not satisfied with the denial of statements. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi responded to the “foundationless” statements by Parliamentarian Alireza Zakani about the nuclear agreement. Kamalvandi said that Zakani told a group of university professors on August 2 that AEOI Head Ali Akbar Salehi came to the Majlis and said, “Go pray that the agreement is cancelled because it truly is dangerous.” (Raja News) http://www.rajanews.com/news/218631
- The trial of Babak Zanjani will start on October 3. Hojjat ol Eslam Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei stated that the trial for Babak Zanjani will start on October 3. The Judiciary First Deputy Chief did not state whether it will be an open or closed trial. Ejei added that “indictments have been issued for three people but the file remains open for other people and defendants.” Babak Zanjani is a sanctioned Iranian businessman who was arrested in 2013 on corruption charges. (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=90148