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
Key takeaway: The IAEA concluded that Iran made a “coordinated effort” to develop “a nuclear explosive device” before the end of 2003 in its report on the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s nuclear program.
As stipulated in the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), the IAEA issued its report today on the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear related activities. The report assesses that Iran made a “coordinated effort” to develop “a nuclear explosive device” before the end of 2003, but the IAEA claims that there are no “credible indications of activities in Iran relevant to the development of a nuclear explosive device after 2009.” Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, meanwhile, claimed that the report proves “the peaceful nature” of Iran’s nuclear program and called upon the P5+1 to “close this issue at the IAEA Board of Governors.”
During a news interview in Damascus, the Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati stressed that any settlement aimed at preventing Syrian President Bashar al Assad from running for reelection would be “unacceptable.”
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani confirmed rumors about ongoing efforts in the conservative camp to create a new political party for the February 2016 parliamentary elections.
Matthew McInnis analyzes the Iranian leadership’s recent moves regarding Syrian President Bashar al Assad and outlines Iran’s parameters for an end-state in Syria should Assad step down in his most recent blog, “Could Iran live without Assad?”
Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
- Araghchi: The IAEA’s report confirms that Iran’s nuclear program is peaceful. Abbas Araghchi discussed the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) final report on December 2. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs stated that the IAEA report “shows there was no sign whatsoever of a military nuclear program or any diversion of nuclear material in Iran... It has proven that Iran’s program is peaceful… Now it is the P5+1’s turn to close this issue at the IAEA Board of Governors.” Araghchi also criticized the IAEA’s assertion that Iran conducted “test explosions in the Marivan region” as “incorrect.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Larijani confirms that efforts are underway to create new political party. Ali Larijani discussed factional politics ahead of the parliamentary elections during a press conference on December 1. The Parliament Speaker stated:
- On the “four-person meetings:” “What has been published in the news is not wrong: the topic of these meetings has been about how we can try to have effective individuals with a ‘national outlook’ come up in the electoral process and increase the effectiveness of the Parliament. We have the same view on this.” The “four-person meetings” were rumored to be between Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, former Parliament Speaker Hojjat ol Eslam Akbar Nategh Nouri, Senior Advisor for Foreign Affairs to Iran’s Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati, and Assembly of Experts member Morteza Moghtadaei.
On forming a new political party: In response to a question about whether he is a member of the rumored “Followers of the Velayat political party,” Larijani responded, “I am confirming that [individuals] in the Followers of the Velayat [political faction] are seeking to create a political organization so that there is the capacity for political activities in the country.” Larijani added, “My discussion with some individuals does not mean that they are members of this organization. Yet, we are all pursuing one idea.” The “Followers of the Velayat political party” is a rumored “moderate Principlist” organization connected to the Followers of the Velayat political faction, which is the largest conservative faction in Parliament with over 170 members. Parliamentarian Iraj Abadi, a senior member in the Followers of the Velayat political faction, told reporters on November 25 that over thirty parliamentarians have joined this new party, including National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi. The head of the Followers of the Velayat political faction, Parliamentarian Kazem Jalali, later said that Abadi’s statement about the membership of this new party was just “speculation.” (Entekhab) (Tasnim News Agency) (ICANA)
Principlist conference to be held next week. A “Principlist conference” will be held next week and will include a speech by Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader and Secretary General of Combatant Clergy Association Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani. “All members” of the Principlist front and “all Principlist organizations” will be represented in the conference, including the Front of Followers of the Line of the Imam and the Leader, the Society of Devotees of the Islamic Revolution, the Pathseekers of the Islamic Revolution Society, the Steadfastness Front, and the Islamic Resistance Front of Iran. Various “legal figures,” including Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati, Tehran Mayor Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf, and Principlist Parliamentarian Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, will also attend the conference. (Rasa News)
Araghi: Rouhani has been intentionally avoiding EDC meetings. Expediency Discernment Council (EDC) member Hojjat ol Eslam Mohammad Mohammadi Araghi told reporters that during a recent EDC meeting President Hassan Rouhani proposed that his administration—rather than the EDC—should be primarily responsible for writing the details of the 6th five year development plan. A majority of the EDC’s members subsequently voted down this proposal. Eraghi said that Rouhani has been intentionally absent from these meeting since. (Farda News) (Fars News Agency)
Bahonar: The Reformist threat should unite the Principlists. Principlist Parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Bahonar, who is the secretary general of the conservative parliamentary Front of the Followers of the Imam and Leader's Line, called for the next Parliament to have a Principlist majority and stated, “In order to reach this goal, all of us, and political activists, are liable.” He also stated:
- “In the Parliamentary elections, it is possible for opinions to be [in favor of] several candidates. If no threat was felt from the Reformists, then it would not be an issue for several individuals from the Principlists to be competing with each other… But if you have doubts that it is possible for a Reformist to go to Parliament with the presence of several Principlists [competing with each other], then all of us are liable and must reach consensus.”
- “When the Guardian Council confirms candidates, it is difficult for us to want to give a score to these individuals – that these individuals’ piety is how much, or their conduct is in what way. Even if we do this, the declaration and announcement of it has been difficult, and annoyance arises… If we want to debate qualifications in particular, then fights become sharp.” (ISNA)
- Larijani meets with Grand Ayatollah. Parliament Speaker Larijani discussed Iran’s “economic, political, and cultural conditions” during a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Javadi Amoli on December 1. (ICANA)
Pars Oil and Gas Company to introduce four oil fields to foreign investors. Ehsan Mohammadi announced that Pars Oil and Gas Company (POGC) will exhibit the North Pars, Golshan, Ferdows, and South Pars fields during a conference for foreign investors. The POGC’s ’s Reservoir Engineering Department Head added that the company is projected to double gas production from 400 million cubic meters of gas per day (cmd) to 800 million cmd. (Mehr News) (E)
Rouhani: Iran striving for “development and prosperity.” President Hassan Rouhani visited a glass factory as part of an Arba’een ceremony, where Rouhani stated that Iran is “trying to meet the needs of the people” and that the country “strives for development and prosperity.” He added that the factory is a “sign” of the country’s progress, and that Iran would “fight” whatever may hinder its continued economic development. (President.ir)
- Ravanchi calls for expanded trade ties with Mexico. Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi stated that “the level of commercial exchange between Iran and Mexico is not commensurate with their economic capacities,” and called for the development of commercial ties between the two countries during a meeting with Mexican Deputy Secretary of the Economy Francisco Rosenzweig. (YJC)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Velayati: President Assad will participate in the Syrian elections. Ali Akbar Velayati highlighted joint Iranian-Russian efforts to restore regional stability in a televised interview with Al Mayadeen on December 2 in Damascus, Syria. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor reiterated Iran’s support for a political solution determined by the Syrian people in a general election, absent of foreign interference. Velayati stressed that an exclusive settlement aimed at barring Syrian President Bashar al Assad from running for reelection is unacceptable, stating: “From the outset, Iran has [stood and will continue to stand] with the people and government and this country’s [Syria’s] President Bashar al Assad…” He also underscored Iran’s firm position in the Vienna II peace talks on Syria and said that Iran will continue to participate in the negotiations so that external parties do not interfere in Syrian affairs. Velayati added:
- “Russia is an influential state in the international arena which is playing a decisive role in stabilizing the region.”
- “The presence of Russian forces in Syria is based on the request of the legitimate government of this country [Syria]. Therefore, the Russians have a legal presence in Syria and they are helping the government of this country [Syria].”
- “Iran, Syria, and Russia are constructively interacting with each other in the interests of the whole region. Their common aim is to secure peace.”
- “President Assad’s government has been formed on the basis of legislative elections and the legal term of this government should end and then presidential elections will be held on their due date and President Assad will participate in these elections.”
- The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor said that the Syrian army will regain control throughout Syria soon and that the joint Iran-Syria-Russia-Lebanese Hezbollah partnership will lead to the Syrian government’s victory.
- “Day-by-day President Bashar al Assad’s popularity in Syria grows and we are certain that the people of Syria will vote for him once again.”
- “The terrorists that took up arms against the Syrian nation do not have the right to negotiate with the Syrian government. Only opposition groups that did not take up arms against the Syrian people can negotiate with the government of Syria.” (ILNA) (Al Mayadeen)
- Ghalibaf meets with Grand Ayatollah Sistani. Mohammad Bagher Ghalibaf met with Grand Ayatollah Ali al Sistani in Najaf, Iraq, on December 2. The Mayor of Tehran told reporters that Sistani emphasized improving facilities for pilgrims and complimented Iran’s internal security. (Tabnak)
Military and Security
- Ayatollah Khatami: Enemies seek to “challenge religious sanctities.” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami discussed threats to Iran and stated that “today, some people are looking to challenge religious sanctities” in Iran and follow the policies of the West. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader claimed that“enemies” seek to destroy the Islamic Revolution and its ideas, but that this “wish will be buried.” (Fars News Agency)