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

Key takeaway:  Larijani supports Lebanon’s internal reconciliation efforts. Yemeni President Hadi praises Iran’s role in the region and calls for increased Tehran-Sana’a ties.  

Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani praised “any initiative for unity in Lebanon” and said that Iran found “the recent talks between Hezbollah and the Mustaqbal [Future] Movement to be useful,” continuing its efforts to bolster Lebanon and hedge against Saudi Arabia’s influence following multiple offers of Iranian aid to the Lebanese military this year. 

Yemeni president Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi highlighted the importance of Iran’s role in the region and called for enhanced Tehran-Sana’a bilateral ties. Iran has publically supported Hadi’s challengers the Houthis following their takeover of Sana’a in September, praising Houthi political arm Ansar Allah as an exemplary of the Islamic Revolutionary values. The Houthis have acknowledged Iran’s support in general terms only in the last few weeks. Hadi’s comments underscore the magnitude of Iranian influence and involvement in Yemeni affairs. 

Next year’s defense budget is set to be increased by 32.5%. Defense Minister and IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan claimed Iran was the fourth largest missile power in the world after the U.S., Russia, and China. His comments echo the recent uptick in the regime’s rhetorical focus on its conventional military capacities.

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Larijani supports Lebanon’s domestic dialogue. During his visit to Lebanon, Ali Larijani praised “any initiative for unity in Lebanon” and that Iran found “the recent talks between Hezbollah and the Mustaqbal Movement to be useful.” The Parliament Speaker highlighted Iran and Lebanon’s “deep and strategic ties,” and said that Iran has “maintained relations with Lebanon” because it has “demonstrated the power of resistance against Israel” and is [influential] “in the region.” Larijani also said American officials have told terrorists in Iraq that they should target Shiites and Iran. (Fars News Agency)
    •  Larijani also met with Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in Damascus. The two sides stressed the need for bilateral cooperation, given regional developments and security concerns. (Fars News Agency
  • Lebanese Parliamentary Speaker commends Iran’s support for Lebanese resistance. Lebanese Parliament Speaker Nabih Berri stressed the “need for continued support of the Palestinian people to realize their dreams and national aspirations.” Berri also “expressed his appreciation for the Supreme Leader, the President, the Parliament, and the nation for its support for Lebanon in its resistance and especially for equipping the resistance with the necessary resources to fight the invasion.” (IRNA)
  • Yemeni president praises Iran. Yemeni President Abd Rabuh Mansur Hadi highlighted Iran’s important regional role during his meeting with Tehran’s Ambassador to Sana’a, Hassan Nikham. President Hadi also called for enhanced Tehran-Sana’a bilateral ties. (IRNA
  • Hamas co-founder: strengthening relations with Iran “essential.” Mahmoud al-Zahar, Hamas co-founder and Foreign Minister of the Palestinian National Authority, said, “Strengthening of relations with Tehran is essential for the fortification of the resistance, and is considered serving the ideals of the Palestinian cause.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Iran and Norway’s emphasis on the fight against violence and extremism. Minister of Islamic Culture and Guidance Ali Jannati met with Ambassador of Norway to discuss “increased ties between the two countries, including the exchange of culture and art delegations in the fields of music, theater, film, and visual arts.” He added that dialogue between religious figures in the two countries “on issues of common belief between Christianity and Islam can be one of the areas of cooperation…” (IRNA
  • Iran’s nuclear negotiators nominated for prestigious award. The Arms Control Association (ACA) has nominated Iran’s nuclear negotiations team for the 2014 Persons of the Year award. (Tasnim News Agency)            

Official Statements

  • Rouhani: 2009 pro-government rally formed a “government-people bond.” President Hassan Rouhani discussed the Dey 9 [December 30 2009] pro-government rallies in response to anti-government protests over the 2009 presidential election. Rouhani hailed the rallies as “the bond between the people and the guardianship [the government, led by the Supreme Leader].” Rouhani also praised the Supreme Leader for his guidance during the 2013 presidential elections. (Fars News Agency
  • Rafsanjani: “Do not let the enemy split the unity of the nation with negative propaganda.” Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani at the “Prophet of Mercy and Tolerance” Conference called the division among Muslims the “most harmful and dangerous phenomenon throughout the history of Islam” and said that, “The creation of takfiri and extremist groups is the result of the enemies’ constant and daily planning to sow discord among Muslims.” (Tasnim News Agency

Domestic Politics

  • Tabatabai criticizes high prices and the government. Hojjat al-Eslam Seyyed Mehdi Tabatabai stated, “I say to the government, do not let the high prices hurt the people, and pay attention to the people’s needs.” The Society of Combatant Clergy member and former parliamentarian added that the youth are an instrumental part of the revolution and that “it is important to maintain the authenticity of the Revolution; we must not let the history of the Revolution to be wiped out.” (Tasnim News Agency

Military and Security

  • Defense budget to be increased by 32.5%.  According to the report, the total budget has been estimated to be 281,674,170 million rials for the Ministry of Defense, Joints Chiefs of Staff of the Army, IRGC, and Basij and the General Staff of the Armed Forces; while last years’ budget was 212,176,272 million rials. (Mashregh News
  • Dehghan: Iran is the fourth-largest missile power in the world. Defense Minister and IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan claimed Iran was the fourth-largest missile power in the world after the U.S., Russia, and China. Dehghan also said ISIL attacks against Iraq’s holy shrines represented a “red line” for Iranian intervention in that country. (Defa Press
  • Commander highlights Iran’s border security. Border Guards Commander Brig. Gen. Qassem Rezaei said, "The borders in the western, northwestern, southern and southeastern parts of the country are in favorable conditions." He added that Iranian security forces are in full control of the border regions and their security. (IRNA
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