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, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Marie Donovan, Warren Marshall, and Dianna Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

Key takeaway: Tehran responded to the US Senate CIA report, while a Parliamentarian called for a UN-led investigation of torture.

Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham censured Washington for its implicit consent to inhumane tactics used by the CIA. Afkham added that, violence and extremism are institutionalized characteristics of the US security state. Parliamentarian Mohammad Saleh Jokar, meanwhile, said that the Senate report was a “finishing blow” to American human rights discourse, citing the US’ breach of international law and criticized the West for its hypocritical approach to human rights. These statements underscore a concerted effort by Iranian officials to publicize the issue in order to undermine US-led human rights resolutions against Iran. The Supreme Leader is opposed to engaging in dialogue over the regime’s human rights record with the West as part of the P5+1 nuclear talks; therefore it appears that Khamenei’s insistence on compartmentalized negotiations will be reinforced, as the political debate surrounding the Senate investigation continues.

Tehran reiterated its claim to the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa islands in the Persian Gulf. The statement was issued in response to the Gulf Cooperation Council’s recent objection to Iran’s administration over the Islands. Iran argues that its sovereignty is legal and based on historical realities. Tehran, nevertheless, has worked to diffuse this issue through diplomatic overtures and promotion of friendly ties, based on trade and security.

Official Statements

  • Iran censures US breach of international law. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham responded to the US Senate report on CIA torture and said, “The contents…reveal the undercover, aggressive, extremist nature of the American security apparatus that has become a part of its character.” (Mehr News)
  • Pourdastan: All enemy movements outside our borders are being watched. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan said the strategy of Iran’s enemies is to create a proxy war in the region, claiming that ISIL and al-Nusra (al-Qaeda in Lebanon and Syria) are fighting for America and Israel. The Artesh Ground Forces Commander claimed that America’s support for these takfiris is intended to paint a false picture of Islam and to create a split between Sunnis and Shi’as. (Fars News Agency)
  • Parliamentarian calls for UN investigation of CIA torture. Mohammad Saleh Jokar said the US Senate’s report on the CIA’s interrogation program was a “finishing blow” to American human rights. The National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member added that America’s support for dictators had made it the most hated country in public opinion. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Velayati: “Iran-Afghanistan relationship is very close.” Ali Akbar Velayati met with Head of the People’s Islamic Unity Party of Afghanistan Mohammad Mohaqiq to discuss national and regional issues, including the new Afghan administration’s Cabinet. The Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader stated, “The relationship between the two countries is very close and [they] share a lot of similarities on different grounds; we hope to further expand this cooperation in the future in such areas as the Shanghai Summit and the ECO [Economic Cooperation Organization].”
    • Velayati also met with former Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari and said, “The relationship between the two countries is exemplary and unique, because Iran and Pakistan have been historic partners and have common interests in various areas.” Zardari and Velayati discussed “the role of Afghanistan in bringing peace to the region, as well as how to cope with terrorists such as al Qaeda and ISIL.” Zardari also endorsed Iran’s role in helping Iraq, Syria, and Lebanon “fight against terrorists and extremists in the region.” (Fars News Agency) (Mehr News)
  • Path of negotiations is difficult. President Hasan Rouhani said that negotiations will remain difficult because Iran’s enemies cannot be trusted. Rouhani added that the P5+1went to the negotiating table not in good faith but to manipulate the situation in order to reach their own goals. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • If not for spirit of Basij, ISIL would control Baghdad. Parliamentarian Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stressed the importance of educating and training the nation’s youth during their formative years. Aboutorabi Fard also praised the Basij and said that if it were not for the spirit of the Basij, ISIL would have taken control of Baghdad. (Fars News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Tehran reiterates policy on Gulf Islands. Iran’s Foreign Ministry dismissed the Gulf Cooperation Council’s recent statement, questioning the status of the Greater Tunb, the Lesser Tunb and Abu Musa islands. Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham added that such claims have no legal bearing on historical realities. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Iran and China pursue broader cooperation. Ambassador Ali Asghar Khaji met with Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng in Beijing. Both sides expressed interest in increasing trade volume and enhancing bilateral relations in various sectors. (IRNA)
  • Khaled Meshaal likely to visit Iran. Hamas Representative Osama Hamdan announced that the political leader of Hamas, Khaled Meshaal plans to meet with Iranian officials in the near future. Hamdan added that, the details of the trip cannot be discussed due to security matters. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • 350 Iraqis volunteer to fight ISIL. 350 Iraqis volunteered to fight ISIL alongside Iraqi security forces during a rally for Arba’een, a commemoration of Imam Hussein bin Ali’s martyrdom. One fighter stated that they were answering the Fatwa issued by Grand Ayatollah Ali al-Sistani, a prominent Shi’a cleric in Najaf. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Hezbollah commander killed in Syria. Hassan Ali Fahs, a commander in Lebanese Hezbollah, was killed in Syria during “Operation Rainbow,” which began December 7th to tighten the siege on Aleppo. Fahs fought in the 33-Day War between Hezbollah and Israel. He was also injured three times fighting in Syria. His funeral was held today in southern Lebanon. (ABNA)




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