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: Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized opponents of the nuclear deal and expressed cautious optimism about thawing relations with the U.S., while Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda reiterated that the P5+1 agreement violates regime redlines.

Ayatollah Rafsanjani reinforced President Rouhani’s campaign to sell the benefits of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) to the Iranian and people. The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman defended the nuclear deal, claiming that Iran’s “entire nuclear infrastructure” will remain intact. Rafsanjani suggested that regime hardliners “are making a mistake” by opposing the JCPOA. He also indicated that the nuclear deal could be an opportunity for a diplomatic thaw between Iran and the U.S. Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Alam ol Hoda, meanwhile, explicitly criticized the JCPOA. The Assembly of Experts member restated his opposition to the deal and asserted that the nuclear “agreement violates” the Supreme Leader’s redlines.

Reuters reported that an anonymous Iranian official confirmed a report that IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani traveled to Russia during the second half of July despite the UN travel ban. Soleimani allegedly met with Russian President Vladimir Putin and discussed bilateral and regional issues, including the delivery of the S-300 surface-to-air missile system to Iran.

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 analyzes statements from Iran’s senior leadership addressing the ballistic missile provisions of the United Nations Security Council Resolution 2231 in his most recent blog post, "Iran has no qualm about exploiting the nuclear deal's weaknesses."

Official Statements

  • Rouhani: Oil revenues should be spent on infrastructure. President Hassan Rouhani stressed that money from oil must be spent on infrastructural projects and “large-scale plans for future generations.” Adding that the government “considers creating economic growth its duty more than ever,” Rouhani stressed, “In the visits from foreign officials that have increased in recent days, we have said frankly that bringing capital and technology to Iran is the basis of this work [creating economic growth].” (
  • Rafsanjani: The opponents of the nuclear deal are making a mistake. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed domestic opposition to the nuclear deal during an interview with Al-Monitor. The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman stated that “those people who oppose [the nuclear deal] are making a mistake. There has been no retreat and we preserved our own position; our entire nuclear infrastructure needs will remain.” Rafsanjani also stated:
    • On nuclear research: “Nuclear research will be pursued seriously, which is very important. We need time for research because we enrich [uranium] with elementary technology, and we are not able to provide for our needs…now we can have IR-6 or IR-7 centrifuges which have a 10-15 times larger output.”
    • On future relations with the U.S.: “The path for Iran and the America is not as simple as that between Iran and other Western countries because from [the time] before the [1979 Islamic] Revolution [until] now, Iran had this vision that America was behind every scheme and obstacle against Iran. Now, it seems that the Americans want to distance themselves a little bit from the past, [but] this is something that must be proven…in the nuclear issue [the Americans] have acted relatively well until now, and we see now that their officials in the executive branch who are from the Democratic Party are confronting the Republicans; both the secretary of state and the president have clearly announced their positions. In my opinion, the fact of the matter is that America must somehow compensate for the past and clean the minds of the people of Iran…if good results come in the nuclear issue, [the Americans] will have made progress.”
    • On relations with Riyadh after the deal: “We do not have any issues with Saudi Arabia or other Arab countries inherently; they are Islamic and cooperation with them is a priority in our constitution…the recent events in the region, meaning the incidents in Syria, Iraq, and Bahrain, are some of the issues that have created a distance [between us]… It is possible in one swift move to normalize relations [with these countries] for the benefit of the Islamic world. I really do believe this. But we must see where these incidents lead, and this is very important.” (ISNA)
  • Naghdi responds to comments on reopening U.S. and U.K. embassies. Head of the Basij Organization IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi stated that comments about reopening U.S. or U.K. embassies in Iran “come from people that receive salaries from foreign embassies. An Iranian will never say these things.” (Basij Press)


Domestic Politics and Reaction to the Nuclear Deal

  • Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader: The nuclear deal violates the Supreme Leader’s redlines.Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda praised the nuclear negotiating team but stated that “although the negotiating team put a lot of effort into reaching this deal, unfortunately the agreement violates the redlines that the Supreme Leader has specified.” The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts, urged Parliament to closely review the nuclear deal, stating that “the representatives of Parliament must pay attention to the legal authority that the people have put in their hands…Parliament is responsible for accepting or rejecting the [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA] and [UNSC] Resolution [2231].” (Mehr News)
  • Kashani: The West still accuses Iran of building nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani stated that the West continues to charge Iran with building nuclear weapons and supporting terrorists despite promises to compensate for past mistakes during his Friday Prayer sermon. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader, who is also a member of the Assembly of Experts, criticized the U.S. and Israel for their support of Saudi Arabia’s conflict with Yemen, and claimed that the West and Saudi Arabia are cooperating to use ISIS as a “diversion.” Kashani further warned that while the U.S. and other western countries “want to satisfy Israel, they know that they will not be satisfied with you [until] all countries on Earth are eliminated and only they remain; death to them and death to anyone who considers supporting them.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Larijani announces that the JCPOA must be sent to Parliament “in the form of a bill.”Conservative Parliamentarian Mohammad Saqaei told reporters that Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani has announced that the JCPOA must be sent to Parliament “in the form of a bill.” Saqaei also commented on the nuclear deal, stating that because “the government has undertaken certain commitments in the JCPOA, this is a treaty and according to the constitution it must be sent to the Parliament in order to be passed…in my opinion, the JCPOA must be sent to Parliament as a bill, and review and voting must take place.” (Fars News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Gunmen attack Iranian bus in Turkey. Gunmen ambushed a bus carrying Iranian tourists in the eastern Turkish town of Do?ubeyaz?t, located close to the Iranian-Turkish border. One Iranian citizen was killed and three others were injured. One Turkish soldier is also reported to have been killed. While Iranian Consul General of Erzurum Hossein Ghassemi stated that no group had claimed responsibility, Turkish state-run media outlet Anadolu Agency attributed the assault to Kurdistan Workers’ Party (PKK) militants. (Tasnim News Agency) (Press TV) (E)
  • Zarif to meet with Turkish counterpart next week. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif is expected to meet with his Turkish counterpart Mevlüt Çavu?o?lu in Turkey next week. Çavu?o?lu stated that the talks will focus on regional issues, adding that "Iranian peacemaking policy in the region cannot be ignored." (IRNA) (E)
  • Three Afghan residents of Qom killed in Syria. Mojtaba Amiri, Kazem Hosseini, and a Mr. Javadi [first name not provided], who were Afghan residents of Qom, were killed in Syria “during the month of Ramadan.” (IRNA)


  • Economic Minister: Most of the frozen funds belong to the Central Bank of Iran. Ali Tayyeb Nia reiterated that most of Iran’s frozen funds belong to the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and “therefore it is not possible to use these funds twice in the budget.” The Economic and Finance Minister added that “Iran’s foreign [cash] reserves and incomes arising from the increase in oil exports will…mostly be used to further the development of the private sector.” (Tasnim News Agency)
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