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 claimed that Iran is not obligated to implement restrictions on its missile program under UNSC Resolution 2231.

President Rouhani asserted that UNSC Resolution 2231 does not legally bind Iran to implement restrictions on its missile program.  President Rouhani added that he opposes a parliamentary vote on the JCPOA because it would transform the nuclear deal into an unnecessary legal obligation for the government. Rouhani also responded to pushback from conservatives on his comments regarding the Guardian Council, stating, “We have no intention to quarrel with any institution...We must enforce the law.”

Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan praised the nuclear deal for maintaining “all the infrastructure, capabilities, and technologies of the peaceful nuclear program.” Dehghan also stated that Tehran is discussing purchasing “Sukhoi fighter planes” with Moscow.

An IRGC member was killed during an engagement with “anti-revolutionary elements” along the Iran-Iraq border in Kermanshah province. The rank of the IRGC member was not reported.

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

  • Rouhani: Violating UNSC Resolution 2231 does not violate the JCPOA. President Hassan Rouhani discussed future elections, the government’s economic goals, and the legal review process for the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) during a press conference on August 29.
    • On the JCPOA: Rouhani stated that according to Article 125 of the Constitution, Parliament does not need to approve the JCPOA because it has not been signed by the president. Rouhani continued, “Look at the JCPOA. It says that Iran will act on a voluntary basis. To add to this, no P5+1 member has taken the JCPOA to its parliament. Meanwhile, if we take it to Parliament, what will happen? It will become an obligation on [our] government, not on them – meaning that we act to their benefit [if we approve it in Parliament].”
    • On elections: Rouhani stated, “God willing… we will hold elections that are more spectacular and competitive than in the past and that have a healthier feeling.”
    • Rouhani stated that he will carry out his responsibilities in elections by implementing the Constitution and added, “We have no intention of quarreling with any institution… We must enforce the law. God willing, all people and institutions will enforce the law.” 
    • On the economy: Rouhani emphasized his administration’s commitment to economic growth, stating that the government will continue to strive for single-digit inflation rates, while also facilitating economic growth. Rouhani stated that he “hopes to continue” three percent economic growth this year.
    • On the Arak heavy water reactor: Rouhani stated that developing the Arak heavy water reactor “can be done through China and one of the other P5+1 countries, possibly America.”
    • Rouhani claimed that the nuclear agreement will not reduce Iran’s defensive capacity, stressing that Iran did not and will not accept any type of restrictions on its defensive power. He stated that “there is nothing in the JCPOA about missiles, defense, and weapons. Those that exist are in [UN Security Council] Resolution 2231… In this new resolution, restrictions have been proposed instead of sanctions. The export and import of weapons have been converted from a permanent ban to a five-year restriction. It also says that Iran cannot design missiles that can launch a nuclear warhead, although we never pursued and will not pursue that work… Meanwhile, we clarified in the JCPOA that violating the resolution does not mean violating the JCPOA.” He added, “We unveiled the Fateh 313 missile so that the world would recognize that our path is the same one that we told our negotiators.”
    • On American influence: Rouhani reassured his domestic audiences that the government plans to block U.S. infiltration and stated that it is “completely correct” for Iran to prevent the influence of “the great powers” in the country. (
  • Rouhani: Iran has been a victim of intervention and terrorism. President Hassan Rouhani stressed that “the world must stand with a unified position against all terrorist groups” while speaking at the 2nd International Congress on 17,000 Iranian Terror Victims. He stated:
    • “How can America and some European countries claim to fight terror, but famous terrorists who killed thousands of innocent people in our country conduct terrorist activities [under the guise of] political activity, freely, in their countries?”
    • “Before the [Islamic] Revolution, Iran…was a victim of inappropriate interventions by major Western powers, especially America; after the Islamic Revolution…it was a victim of terror and the imposition of a great war [the Iran-Iraq War]; and in that same war, [Iran] became a victim of the widespread use of unconventional weapons and weapons of mass destruction.” (
  • Firouzabadi: Iran’s “grand strategy” is to block U.S. infiltration. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi reiterated the Supreme Leader’s order to prevent the U.S. from exploiting opportunities to infiltrate and influence the Iranian nation. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief stated that Iran’s “grand strategy is based on blocking paths of American influence…” Firouzabadi warned about Washington’s plot to exploit the JCPOA and stressed the importance of protecting the Islamic Revolution. (Sepah News)
  • Dehghan: Nuclear deal observes regime redlines. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan underlined Iran’s commitment to strengthening its defense capabilities at an Armed Forces General Staff ceremony on August 30. The Defense Minister praised Iranian resistance against the West, particularly in the nuclear negotiations. Dehghan accused the U.S. and Saudi Arabia of waging an economic war against Iran by drastically reducing oil prices; he also blamed Washington, Tel Aviv, and Riyadh for exacerbating regional insecurity and for the rise of ISIS. He also reaffirmed that “Iran will continue to support the oppressed countries” in the region and combat terrorism. Dehghan also stated:
    • On the JCPOA: “What the JCPOA has done—in  addition to observing the redlines that have been drawn by the Supreme Leader—is maintain all the infrastructure, capabilities, and technologies of the peaceful nuclear program…”
    • “The Iranian nation does not need permission from any [foreign] authority to meet its security needs… Under no circumstance will we [Iran] allow an individual or country to tell us what to do, what to build, what to test, and how to hold military exercises…” (Sepah News)
    • Iran in talks with Russia to purchase Sukhoi fighter jets. Defense Minister Dehghan stated that Tehran is “discussing the purchase of Sukhoi fighter planes” from Moscow. Dehghan added that Russia has agreed to start delivering the S-300 surface-to-air missile defense system to Iran by the end of the current Iranian calendar year (March, 19, 2016). (Press TV) (E)
  • Larijani: We should believe in a cultural attack from the enemy. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani pointed to the “increasing expansion of Persian-language satellite channels, obscene sites, and immoral books” as evidence of an ongoing cultural attack on Iranian religious and moral values. The Judiciary Head called for greater oversight of Iranian TV series and films. Larijani dismissed criticisms from American officials on the Judiciary’s handling of cases, and censured American support for Saudi Arabia and Israel. (Rasa News)
  • Velayati: "Iran will not recognize Israel." Ali Akbar Velayati refuted suggestions from British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond that Tehran would one day recognize Israel. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader stated, "Iran will not recognize Israel. We still emphasize that Israel is a usurper and [an] occupying regime..." (Kayhan) (E)


Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Araghchi and Ravanchi attend JCPOA review session in Parliament. Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araghchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi attended the fourth meeting of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. Hossein Naghavi Hosseini said that Araghchi highlighted the “achievements of the JCPOA” during the meeting. The Spokesman of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA added, “Araghchi...said that according to the JCPOA, our nuclear rights are preserved, Fordow and Natanz are preserved, [UN] Security Council resolutions are canceled, and nothing is mentioned about missile or weapons activities in any part of the JPCOA. These two issues have come up in the Security Council resolution, and are not binding for us. It is also mentioned in the JCPOA that if [the] JCPOA is violated, sanctions will be returned, but… if a violation of the resolution [occurs], sanctions will not return.”
    • Naghavi Hosseini stated, “[Araghchi] explained, ‘whether the JCPOA is a bill and should go to the Parliament is not within the authority of the Foreign Ministry, but is a decision of the government… In our view, it does not matter whether the bill goes to Parliament or not, but we do not know whether it is…in the interests of the country that [the JCPOA] goes to Parliament [as] a bill.’” Naghavi Hosseini stated that the commission’s discussion of the JCPOA would continue on September 6. (IRIB)
  • Salehi responds to Zarif’s comments about Adoption Day. Ali Akbar Salehi discussed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s recent remarks on the start date for restrictions on Iran’s nuclear program. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head stated, “Maybe Zarif’s intent was to define the end date for the nuclear deal, and he used September 23 as an example for a start date; however, when the JCPOA comes into effect depends on when Adoption Day occurs. Ninety days from July 14 will be about [the] middle of the month of Mehr [September 23- October 22]; after that day…there will also be some time until the implementation of the JCPOA.” Salehi also commented on his recent trip to China, saying that the Iranian delegation “inspected [China’s] research reactors and reached an understanding with their engineers on modernizing the Arak reactor….” (ISNA)
  • Kamalvandi: Process to lift sanctions against Iran to start in October. Behrouz Kamalvandi announced that sanctions against Iran for its nuclear program will be lifted 90 days from the conclusion of the “negotiations and the adoption of the UN Security Council resolution," which is “mid to late October.” The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman added that it is possible the "reviewing process" could end "10 to 12 days sooner" due to certain considerations. He added that other countries have already agreed to the “legal proceedings” of the implementation of the JCPOA, for which it will remain unchanged even with the possibility of U.S. President Barack Obama vetoing a Congressional ruling on the JCPOA. In addition, Kamalvandi stated that once the obligations are met with the IAEA, there "will be no need of approval" by the P5+1. (YJC)


  • Rafsanjani praises efforts of Zarif and negotiating team during nuclear talks. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated that “efforts by Mohammad Javad Zarif...will be everlasting” during a meeting with the foreign minister. The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman criticized the “harsh stances of a limited minority of individuals” who oppose the deal, and praised the Rouhani administration and its diplomatic team for promoting “détente [tanesh zadayi], defusing and countering dirty Iranophobia, [and pursuing] constructive interaction with the world.” Rafsanjani also emphasized the necessity of closely monitoring the nuclear talks until all sanctions against Iran are removed. (Raja News) (IRNA) (E)


Military and Security

  • Naghdi: Iran currently has “approximately 24 million Basijis.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi said that Iran’s animosity toward the U.S. is “deep, and cannot be solved with dialogue.” The Basij Organization Commander added that Washington is using the nuclear issue as an excuse to weaken Iran’s defense capabilities and stressed that Iran never had and never will pursue nuclear weapons. Naghdi also discussed regional developments and claimed that U.S. military bases in the Middle East are in “the crosshairs of the Islamic Revolution’s missiles.” Naghdi added that the Basij Organization currently has “approximately 24 million Basijis.” (Tabnak)
  • IRGC clashes with “anti-revolutionary elements” in western Iran. An unspecified number of “anti-revolutionary elements and collaborators with global arrogance” were killed and wounded during an IRGC Ground Forces clearing operation along the Iran-Iraq border in Kermanshah province. One IRGC member was also killed in the operation. No rank was reported for the IRGC member. (Mashregh News)
  • Court sentences two people for spying for U.S. and Israel. Judiciary Spokesman Gholam Hossein Mohseni Ejei said that Tehran's Islamic Revolutionary Court sentenced two unidentified people to 10-year prison terms for spying for the U.S. and Israel on August 30. (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • IRGC military drills to take place this week. The IRGC “Power of Sarallah” military exercise is scheduled to take place this week. “Sarallah” means “blood of God,” in reference to the blood spilled by Hossein, the third Shia Imam. The slogan and message of the IRGC exercise is, “Sustainable security, national sovereignty, influence, empathy and compassion (in the light of Quranic principles...).” (Raja News)
  • Esmaili: “Drills will be held at the end of fall.” Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili announced that air defense drills will occur at “the end of fall” during a press conference on August 29. (Mehr News)
  • Pourdastan: Artesh Ground Forces will hold drills by the end of the year. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that the Artesh Ground Forces intends to stage “quick reaction drills” before the end of the year. The Artesh Ground Forces Commander also praised the advancements in Iran’s drone strike capabilities. (Defa Press)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif: Tunisia a model for popular participation in state affairs. Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Tunisia represents a “successful example of people’s presence” in state affairs during a visit to Tunis. The foreign minister is scheduled to discuss deepening economic, political, and cultural ties between Iran and Tunisia with senior Tunisian officials, including the president, prime minister and foreign minister. (Press TV) (E)
  • Larijani meets with Japanese counterpart in New York. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with his Japanese counterpart Tadamori Oshima on the sidelines of the Fourth World Conference of Speakers of Parliament in New York. Larijani stated that Iran has a "positive view" of Tehran-Tokyo ties. Oshima expressed his country's approval of the JCPOA and added how Japan "would like to see the ground prepared for its implementation." Oshima also described Japan's preparedness in opening "up a new chapter in its relations with Iran on political, parliamentary, economic, trade and cultural fronts..." (Press TV) (E)
  • U.S. senators have asked to meet with Larijani. Hossein Sheikholeslam stated that two unnamed U.S. senators have requested for a meeting with Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani while he is in New York for the World Conference of Speakers of Parliament. The International Affairs Deputy to the Speaker of Parliament added, "There have been talks [of a meeting], but nothing is finalized yet." In addition, Sheikholeslam announced that there are speculations that Larijani will meet with a Saudi delegation, insisting that if a meeting occurs it will be a way to demonstrate "Iran's goodwill as well as reminding Riyadh of the repercussions of its behavior." (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
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