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 Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Marie Donovan, Warren Marshall, and Dianna Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

Key takeaway: Supreme Leader calls for continued strengthening of the armed forces “irrespective” of the current political situation.

Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that Iran’s armed forces should “increase its deterrence” capabilities despite the ongoing nuclear negotiations between the P5+1 and Iran, indicating the regime is using the extended talks to build up its military capabilities.

Mohammad Javad Zarif met with the new Jordanian ambassador to Tehran and said that Iran is ready to fully cooperate with Jordan in “combatting extremism and sectarian strife.” This may indicate an Iranian attempt to improve its relationship with Jordan in order to hedge against Saudi influence in the region.  Meanwhile IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Salami stated that all of occupied Palestine can now be targeted by Hezbollah, Hamas, and Palestinian Islamic Jihad (PIJ), reiterating the Supreme Leader’s call to “arm the West Bank like Gaza.”

Russia reportedly supported Iran’s bid for membership in the World Trade Organization and agreed to facilitate Iranian relations with Eurasia Union member states. This is the latest in a stream of Russia-Iran economic cooperation efforts, including a landmark 70 billion euro trade agreement between the two countries in September.

IRGC 2nd Lieutenant Hassan Hezbavi was killed while fighting in Dar’a, Syria.

Official Statements

  • The Supreme Leader calls for continued strengthening of armed forces. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei advised the regime’s senior military commanders to enhance the armed forces military capabilities “irrespective” of the current political situation, given negotiations with the P5+1. Khamenei added:
    • "Given our vast maritime borders and the enemy's huge investments in this area, our armed forces should continuously improve their readiness…”
    • “The Quran teaches us that if there is strong faith and a spirit of resistance, even with limited resources, there is the possibility to defeat the enemy.”
    • “Peacetime offers opportunities for our armed forces to increase its [capabilities and] deterrence.” (Khamenei)
  • Shamkhani: Iran’s missiles are proportional to its threats. Ali Shamkhani said that the regime’s missile capabilities are defensive. The Supreme National Security Council Secretary added: “The deterrence power of the Islamic Republic of Iran has pushed the possibility of any military threat in the near future toward zero; and the enemies of Iran never consider this option due to the heavy costs that military action would inflict on them.” (Sepah News)
  • Foreign Ministry: US seeks military presence in Iraq. Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with United Nations Special Envoy to Iraq Nickolay Mladenov in Tehran to discuss recent developments in Iraq. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs criticized the US strategy in Iraq and said that there are “serious doubts” about the sincerity of US efforts to combat ISIL. Abdollahian added that, Washington intends to redeploy troops to ensure an American military presence in Iraq. (Mehr News)
  • Senior IRGC official discussed US military efforts in Iraq and Syria. Brig. Gen. 2C Yadollah Javani, Supreme Political Advisor to the Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC, said that US action in Iraq and Syria against ISIL, including bombardments and the deployment of 1,500 military personnel, indicate that Washington seeks "a sort of minimal punishment and management" of ISIL with the goal of placing "ISIL terrorists in the framework of its desires." (Defa Press)
  • Sharif warns of enemy’s psychological operations. Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif said one of the country’s greatest problems is that those knowledgeable in psychological operations play a divisive role rather than uniformly attacking the enemy. The Head of IRGC Public Affairs added that the BBC is carrying out many activities against Iran behind the scenes. He described Iran as an “island of stability” in the region, saying that the country must not let small shortages or inadequacies become large problems and threaten its security. (Sepah News)
  • Senior cleric praises IRGC Quds Force Commander. Ayatollah Hossein Nouri Hamedani met with senior Artesh Navy commanders and said, "Our country is proud to have the likes of Qassem Soleimani. Qassem Soleimani is not just one person; Iran is full of such policymakers. The biggest wish of John Kerry and Barack Obama is to meet Qassem Soleimani, because conspiracies are doomed to defeat and peace returns wherever this policymaker is present. We must therefore form ranks in such a way that causes the enemy's fear and distress." (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Salami: West Bank will soon become hell for the Zionists. Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said America is unable to secure the Zionist regime’s security because all of occupied Palestine can now be targeted by Hezbollah, Hamas, and Islamic Jihad. The IRGC Deputy Commander added that soon the West Bank will become “hell” for the Zionists. He also commented that the Iranian RQ-170 drone will soon be demonstrated in flight.
    • “We have reached a point where the military option has completely left the minds, imaginations, and even fantasies of the enemy.”
    • “We must separate the path of economic development from the political and diplomatic processes so that the enemy cannot subdue us through sanctions.”
    • “The foreigners’ talk of confrontation between the IRGC and the government is totally illogical and intended to create divisions between the IRGC and the government in the minds of the people.”
    • “Our country is strong internally and does not need suspension or removal of sanctions to continue life.” (Sepah News)
  • Regional coordination needed to overcome Zionist regime. Mohammad Javad Zarif met with the new Jordanian ambassador to Tehran and spoke about the need for countries to work together to overcome the Zionist regime’s actions against Jerusalem and the Temple Mount. The Foreign Minister emphasized that Iran is ready to fully cooperate with Jordan in “combating extremism and sectarian strife.” (Mehr News)
  • Haji Zadeh: Hamas and Hezbollah have their crosshairs on Tel Aviv. Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Haji Zadeh said that with Iranian support fighters in Gaza and Hezbollah now have their crosshairs on Tel Aviv. The IRGC Air Force Commander also claimed that the operational range of Iran’s Unmanned Aerial Vehicles now reach 3,000 kilometers. (Sepah News)
  • Boroujerdi: We’re winning in the nuclear negotiations. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi said the lack of a final agreement in the nuclear negotiations demonstrated the resistance of Iran’s negotiating team in sticking to the Islamic Republic’s positions. Boroujerdi pointed to the Americans’ excessive and illogical demands as responsible for the failure to reach an agreement. He said the views of Iran’s negotiating team are generally close to the P5+1 but that Iran has no obligation to abide by the interim November 2013 Geneva agreement  in case a long-term agreement cannot be reached. (ABNA)
  • Rafsanjani: Oppression, colonialism, and terrorism, with the use of ethnic and religious differences, fuel insecurity among people. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani discussed the insecurity and instability in Iraq and its impact on the region in a meeting with UN representatives in Iraq. The Head of the Expediency Discernment Council pointed to the role of despotism and colonialism in creating, developing, and strengthening the terrorists and said, “as long as these two factors exist the terrorists will continue to grow.” (Tasnim News)
  • “Even after 100 years, we still do not have a strong party, and we still have economic problems.” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reflected on Iran’s Constitutional Revolution and referred to the period of Prime Minister Mossadegh and the dissolution of the Parliament. He continued to criticize the shortcomings of the government both from an economic standpoint and organizational standpoint. He concluded by saying: “One hundred years should be enough time to solve these problems.” (Fars News)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • IRGC officer killed in Syria. IRGC 2nd Lieutenant Hassan Hezbavi was killed while fighting in Dar’a, Syria. His funeral procession was held in Ahvaz, Iran yesterday. (ABNA) (ISNA)
  • Iran fights alongside Iraq in battle for life and death against ISIL. Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al-Abadi said that Iran has stood beside Iraq in the life and death battle against ISIL. Abadi added that Saudi Arabia has had no choice but to improve relations with Gulf countries because of the danger, but still Riyadh does not understand the reality of ISIL’s threat to the region. (Fars News Agency)  
  • Moscow supports Tehran’s WTO membership. Russia reportedly inked its support of Iran’s membership in the World Trade Organization and agreed to facilitate Iranian relations with Eurasia Union member states, in addition to boosting bilateral exchanges in commerce and technical investments.  (Tabnak)

Military and Security

  • Navy unveils new missile, torpedo, and fire control system. The Artesh Navy unveiled a new electronic system that will be installed on Artesh Navy vessels that will allow a vessel with missiles, rockets, and torpedoes to simultaneously engage surface and air targets. The system is also able to detect and engage targets with a small radar signature. A new fire control system will also be used on naval vessels. (Defa Press)



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