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: Multi-service exercise will take place in the Persian Gulf next week. President Rouhani calls for improved Tehran-Ankara relations.

The Artesh Mohammad Rasoul Allah [Mohammad, Messenger of God] exercises will take place in the Persian Gulf from December 25-December 31, with participation by air, naval, and air defense forces. The naval portion will extend from the Indian Ocean in the north to the Strait of Hormuz in the east and the Makran coast along the Iran-Pakistan border in the west, including “the vast majority of the provinces of Sistan va Baluchistan and Hormozgan. The IRGC Naval Bases at Jask and Chabahar and all Artesh Ground Forces bases will be involved. New missiles and indigenously produced UAVs will be tested.

President Hassan Rouhani called for closer Tehran-Ankara relations during his meeting with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavasoglu, emphasizing the need to “find common goals on regional issues” amidst his push to improve Iran’s diplomatic relations world-wide. The Foreign Ministry, meanwhile, announced that Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan will travel to Tehran next month and thanked Ankara for its support of Iran’s rights to peaceful nuclear energy. This may represent an Iranian attempt to use common ground in the fight against ISIL to abate Turkish support for Syrian rebels.

Mohammad Mohammad Golpayegani, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Supreme Leader, praised Iran’s military as “the last word in the region” and the cause of its enemies to resort to sanctions. His comments echo recent regime-wide rhetorical support for Iran’s conventional military capabilities.

The Foreign Ministry announced that the next round of nuclear negotiations will take place next month “at the Deputy Foreign Minister level.”

Official Statements

  • Multi-service exercises to take place in Persian Gulf. The Artesh Mohammad Rasoul Allah exercises will take place on December 25-31, with the participation of air, naval, and ground forces. According to Artesh Deputy Commander BG Abdul Rahim Mousavi, the exercise will cover an area of approximately 2,200,000 square kilometers. 
    • The naval portion will extend from the “north from the Indian Ocean, to the East from the Strait of Hormuz [to] the Makran coast [along the Pakistan-Iran border], including the vast majority of the provinces of Sistan va Baluchistan and Hormozgan.” The IRGC Naval Bases along the Gulf at Jask and Chabahar will be involved in the exercises.  He also stated that the Ministry of Defense will oversee arms.
    •  Farzad Esmaili, Artesh Khtatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Commander, stated that all trans-regional flights would be observed during the exercises. Air Defense forces would participate in the exercises within a range of 133 thousand square kilometers by ground, and 162 thousand square kilometers by air. Esmaili stated that three thousand people would be directly involved, and ten thousand people will be indirectly engaged. Artesh Ground Forces Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Kiomars Heydari stated that all IRIAF bases and 9 types of aircraft would be involved, including medium and heavy bombs and fighter jets. He stated that indigenous UAVs and “new missiles” would be test.
    • Heydari stated that Artesh GF would be participate in a range of 43 thousand square kilometers, focusing on “rapid transfer of power” maneuvers. (Fars News Agency
  • Zarif: Erdogan will travel to Tehran in the coming month. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that Turkish President Erdogan will visit Tehran next month. Zarif also stressed the importance of cooperation with Turkey against terrorists in Iraq and Syria and thanked Ankara for its support of Iran’s right to peaceful nuclear energy. (Fars News Agency)
  • Fattah: The goal of Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base is innovative financial management. Parviz Fattah, IRGC Cooperative Foundation Managing Director, said Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base’s duty is to help the government and described how the organization had eliminated Iran’s reliance on foreign contractors. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Golpayegani: Iran’s military has the last word in the region. Mohammad Mohammadi Golpayegani, Chief of Staff of the Office of the Supreme Leader, said the Islamic Republic’s military power had forced its enemies to resort to sanctions. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Interaction between seminaries and universities is goal of the Islamic Revolution. Hashemi Rafsanjani stated: “The intellectual interaction between seminaries and universities is one of the goals of the Islamic Revolution.” The Chairman of the Expediency Council also emphasized the need for unity among Muslims around the world saying that, “If they come together, they will have insurmountable power and influence in the world, and will be a source of enormous change.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Decrease in oil prices stems from same thinking as terrorism and ISIL. Bijan Zanganeh, the Oil Minister, attributes the decrease in oil prices to the same thinking that is behind terrorism and ISIL today. At the 11th meeting at the Khatam al-Anbia Construction Base Zanganeh contributed the success of the firm to the Oil Ministry and added that the country must overcome the sanctions and conspiracies. Zanganeh said the firm will have a role in expanding business and that “large markets in oil, gas, and petrochemicals in some neighboring countries should be considered in future projects.” (Mehr News)
  • Velayati: Australia’s hostage taking incident a vulgar plan of the intelligence service. Ali Akbar Velayati, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader, criticized the Australian government for offering asylum to a person with mental disorders and a criminal background. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor said: “A mentally ill person can become a tool of a country’s intelligence system and can do whatever they are ordered to do.” (Mehr News)
  • Iran’s supersonic missiles can target enemy aircraft carriers. Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami emphasized Iran’s advanced scientific capabilities and said that despite the sanctions they have achieved these advancements and that no country has the knowledge of the extent of their capabilities. The IRGC Deputy Commander added that “we have highly advanced technology at our disposal that will astonish our enemies.” (Fars News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani: “Tehran and Ankara should find common goals on regional issues.” President Hassan Rouhani met with Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlüt Cavusoglu and stated that close cooperation between the two countries can bring stability and security to the region. Cavusoglu stated that he and Rouhani discussed all aspects of bilateral relations and announced that they set a trade target of $30 billion between the two countries. (IRNA)

Nuclear Talks

  • Deputy Foreign Ministers to hold next round of talks. Abbas Araghchi, Deputy to the Foreign Minister, said that the next round of talks will be held next month at the “Deputy Foreign Minister level.” Iran held separate bilateral talks this week between the US and France as well as engaging in negotiations on Wednesday with the P5+1. (IRNA)



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