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:  Commander of the IRGC pushes back on Foreign Ministry’s comments on Iranian national security. 

Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari, Commander of the IRGC, responded to Foreign Minister Mohamad Javad Zarif’s comments that Iran has become more secure by pursuing negotiations; he argued the country’s security is beholden to the thought of Supreme Leaders Khomeini and Khamenei.  Jafari’s response reflects the IRGC’s ongoing mission to protect and promote Islamic Revolutionary values, extending to a deep distrust of furthering diplomatic relations with the West.

Ayatollah Larijani reiterated the Supreme Leader’s call for reform of the Judiciary Branch; the reforms, he said, should focus on “transformation in the structures and framework of activities… and in the managerial attitude” of the Judiciary Branch. Larijani’s comments may reflect the Supreme Leader and the regime’s acknowledgment of the need for certain internal reforms for the benefit of state stability.

Tehran called for the immediate arrest of terrorists who targeted the Iranian ambassador’s residence in Sanaa in an explosion which killed three people. This follows the kidnapping of Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikhbakht in Sanaa last year.

The Foreign Ministry denied Pentagon reports regarding alleged Iranian F-4 Phantom II airstrikes in northern Diyala province in eastern Iraq on November 30.


Official Statements

  • Jafari responds to Zarif comments on nuclear negotiations. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari responded to Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s comments that Iran has become more secure by pursuing negotiations, saying that the country’s security was beholden to the thought of Supreme Leaders Khomeini and Khamenei.
    • “The power and resistance of the Islamic Revolution has caused the failure of the hegemonic powers’ ideologies and strategies in Syria, deprived them of the initiative in Iraq, kept the revolution alive in Bahrain and given a new spirit to the revolution in Yemen.”
    • “With the great support of the Islamic Revolution’s influence and the Islamic Republic’s defense and security capabilities, our diplomatic apparatus can resist the excessive demands of the arrogant powers.”
    • “There is no option left for the Americans other than to accept the true power of the Islamic Republic.” (Sepah News


  • Foreign Ministry denies reports of Iranian airstrikes in Iraq. Marzieh Afkham reiterated Iran’s policy towards the ongoing crisis in Iraq, saying Tehran provides only “advisory” assistance to Baghdad. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman also denied Pentagon reports regarding alleged airstrikes carried out by Iran, targeting ISIL positions in Eastern Iraq. (Fararu


  • Ayatollah Larijani: transformation of judiciary needed. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani said that the Supreme Leader called for a transformation of the judiciary at the beginning of Rouhani’s presidency.  The Head of the Judiciary Branch stated that this transformation can be considered on three different levels; first, “a transformation of attitude and insight about the laws and the method of the activities of the [judicial] system;” second, “a transformation in the structures and framework of activities of the judicial system;” and third, “a transformation in the managerial attitude and examples.”  (Fars News Agency


  • Tehran calls for immediate arrest of terrorists who targeted ambassador’s residence in Sanaa. An explosion near the Iranian ambassador’s home in Sanaa killed three people and injured “a number of others.” No Iranians were killed or injured in the explosion. (Tasnim News Agency
    • Hossein Amir Abdollahian urged Yemen to identify and arrest those responsible for attacking Iran’s ambassador’s residence. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister demanded that Sanaa make a concerted effort in protecting diplomats and pointed to the 2013 kidnapping of Iranian diplomat Nour Ahmad Nikbakht as yet another example of the incompetence of Yemeni security forces. (IRNA


  • Senior military advisor to the Supreme Leader: Iran’s missile program primarily aimed at deterrence and protection. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Yadollah Javani emphasized Iran’s national right to defense and referred to final project of Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, a leading figure in Iran's missile program: “Fortunately, this project, with the work of his pupils, has finalized and shows us that on this road we are always moving forward.” He added that, “America and the Zionist regime, who threaten us every so often as a result of our situation and deterrence power, do not dare act out their threats.” (Mehr News


  • Oil Minister: “If oil sanctions are not lifted then no sanctions will be lifted.” Bijan Zanganeh expressed disappointment in OPEC’s decision to maintain current oil production levels and stated that decisions need to be based on consensus. The Oil Minister expressed optimism that sanctions would be lifted and that oil sanctions were the most important and that if oil sanctions were not lifted then no sanctions would be lifted. (Tasnim News Agency)


  • Economy of Resistance plan not yet approved. Hossein Abouyi Mehrizi, Planning Deputy to the Minister of Industry, Mining and Trade, stated that the Ministry submitted a resistance economy plan to the office of Mohammad Bagher Nobakht, the Head of Management and Planning Organization in early November but it had not yet been approved. Mehrizi explained that the plan has already been approved and needed to be approved by Nobakht. Mehrizi stated that once approved, a monthly performance report will be submitted to President’s office for evaluation. (Tasnim News Agency


  • Salami discusses flexibility against the enemy. Deputy IRGC Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami said Iran’s students are resisting the enemy with a revolutionary spirit and have been successful in all areas, especially in science.
    • “Confronting the arrogant powers and inflexibility against the enemy is the most important message; of course, the topic of ‘heroic flexibility’ raised by the Supreme Leader is a different issue.”
    • “Be aware of those who believe we must submit to foreigners.”
    • “Some are pursuing seditious ideologies, including that solving our economic problems is tied to submission to the enemy.”
    • “The bombing of Hiroshima, the occupation of countries like Afghanistan and Iraq, and the production of torture systems and weapons of mass destruction are among the work of America, which proclaims human rights.” (Sepah News


  • Artesh commander announces natural disasters exercise. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced the holding of the “Mohammad Rasoul Allah” exercise to combat natural disasters. The exercise will be held in late December or early January in Iran’s southeast and will involve training for both asymmetric and proxy warfare as well as the use of surveillance and “suicide” drones. (Defa Press


  • Armed forces included in crisis management planning and response. Head of the National Water Crisis Management Organization and Deputy Energy Minister Esmail Najjar announced the signing of a memorandum of understanding with the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) to confront crises including earthquakes. (Fars News Agency


  • IRGC Navy Commander discussed the nexus between security and development. Brig. Gen. Ali Favadi claimed that development is not “possible” without the presence of armed forces and praised Iranian deterrence capability. He then criticized “repeated designs” at naval conferences and urged increased activities including shipping constructions. (Fars News Agency


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Kazakhstan-Turkmenistan-Iran railroad inaugurated. Presidents Nursultan Nazarbayev, Gurbanguly Berdymuhamedov, and Hassan Rouhani attended the inauguration ceremony of the 900 kilometer railroad by the Turkmen-Iranian border, congratulating each other on the landmark effort. President Rouhani said “Eastern countries of the region, China, and Russia, and all states that directly or indirectly benefit from this railroad are pleased with its inauguration.” (Mehr News


Nuclear Talks

  • IAEA to hold a special session next week to review funding for continued monitoring of Iran’s nuclear program. According to the Associated Press, based on an email sent by the IAEA to members late Monday, the 35-member Council is to hold a meeting on December 11. Diplomats report that IAEA chief Yukiya Amano will probably ask for an extra $5 million for continued monitoring. (Fars News Agency
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