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 Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Shayan Enferadi and Ali Javaheri. 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: Secretary of Iran’s Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani confirmed that Iran has begun “preliminary discussions” with Europe on human rights.
Larijani’s brother, Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, called for such talks to take place earlier this week but stressed that the U.S. must not be allowed to participate in them due to its lackluster implementation of the nuclear deal. Several senior politicians and clerics have reinforced Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent rejection of negotiating with the U.S. on regional issues. Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami stated, “Those who talk about negotiations with the U.S. are against the Supreme Leader.”
Tehran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaeifar stated that the “last elements” of exiled Iranian opposition group Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Iraq will leave the country “within 45 days and the dossier on this terrorist group in Iraq will be completely closed.” Many MEK members have lived in U.S.-backed camps in Iraq, including Camp Liberty near Baghdad. Camp Liberty wasattacked in July, leaving more than 40 wounded. Danaeifar’s statement closely follows the meeting between Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas and MEK President Maryam Rajavi on July 30 in France, which senior Iranian officials have denounced.
- Caitlin Shayda Pendleton analyzes and translates a recent interview with the newly elected spokesman of the Guardian Council in “Is this proposal the future of Iranian elections?”
- J. Matthew McInnis and Daniel Schnur consider recent shifts within Iran’s military leadership, and what those changes may indicate for Iran’s military posture as it modernizes over the next decade, in “A new direction for Iran’s military?”
?Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Mohammad Javad Larijani: We have started “preliminary discussions” with Europe on human rights. Secretary of Iran's Human Rights Council Mohammad Javad Larijani announced that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini have started “preliminary discussions” on human rights issues in Iran. Larijani added that the “Europeans had proposed meetings about human rights.” Larijani stated that a combination of Iranian judicial officials, politicians, and scholars will be interested in attending these talks. He downplayed Iran’s human rights record, however, noting that Iran is currently engaged in a fight against “terrorism, al Qaeda, and ISIS.” (ISNA)
Iran’s ambassador to Iraq: The MEK will leave Iraq within 45 days. Tehran’s Ambassador to Baghdad Hassan Danaeifar vowed that the “last elements” of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) in Iraq will leave the country “within 45 days and the dossier on this terrorist group in Iraq will be completely closed.” The MEK is an exiled Iranian opposition group, which the U.S. listed as a terrorist group until 2012. The MEK’s remaining members in Iraq are currently housed in Camp Liberty, which was attacked in July, leaving more than 40 wounded. Danaeifar added, “If it there had not been any pressure from the U.S., the Iraqi government would have removed all the MEK elements from the country years ago.” (ANA)
Parliamentarian meets with Assad. Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad as part of his official trip to Syria and Lebanon. The two reportedly stressed that the “insistence of some countries on irrational policies and supporting terrorism… is not in the interest of those countries and has helped the spread of terrorism and regional insecurity.” (Fars News Agency)
- Khatami: There will be no more talks with the U.S. Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent remarksdenouncing further negotiations with the U.S. Khatami stated, “Several months have passed since the nuclear deal and the people’s perspective has not changed. The Americans were supposed to lift sanctions and this has not happened… Those who talk about negotiations with the U.S. are against the Supreme Leader.” (Serat News)
- Supreme Leader appoints new provincial representatives. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Reza Ebadi and Hojjat ol Eslam Abol Ghassem Yaghoubi as his representatives to South Khorasan and North Khorasan provinces, respectively. In addition to representing Khamenei in their respective provinces, the supreme leader’s provincial appointees help manage provincial affairs in line with the Supreme Leader’s decrees and in coordination with the provincial governors. (Mehr News Agency)
Larijani: The most important issue with the IPC is technology transfer. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stressed the importance of the newly revised Iran Petroleum Contract (IPC)guaranteeing technology transfer to Iranian companies during a speech in Qom. Hardliners criticized the original IPC when it was first unveiled in November 2015 and claimed that it was too favorable for foreign firms at the expense of domestic companies. President Rouhani’s Cabinet recently approved a revised version of the IPC, which reportedly included stronger guarantees of technology transfer from foreign firms to Iranian partner companies. (Shana)
- Iran expects Airbus deliveries before end of the year. Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi told reporters that Iran expects the first delivery of Airbus planes before the end of 2016. The U.S. Office of Foreign Assets Control must authorize the sale before Airbus is allowed to deliver the planes to Iran. Iran signed an agreement to purchase 118 aircraft from Airbus in January 2016. (PressTV)
Military & Security
Vahidi: “Iran’s armed forces are at the height of their power.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi praised the state of Iran’s armed forces during a ceremony honoring his appointment to head the Supreme National Defense University (SNDU), the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) officer training school. Vahidi also stressed the role of Iran’s military philosophy in “inspiring other nations,” stating, “Nations and countries need military thought like Iran’s in order to free themselves from the chains of the corrupt Western system.”
- AFGS Head IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri stated, “In recent decades, the Supreme National Defense University has improved so much in terms of quantity and quality that it cannot be compared with the [SNDU] of the past.” (Tasnim News Agency)