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: Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi welcomed the IAEA’s report on the possible military dimensions of Tehran’s nuclear program.
Salehi stressed that “there is no way for the file on Iran’s PMD issues to return” since the IAEA report “acknowledged” that Tehran’s nuclear program has been “peaceful.” Reza Najafi, Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors, also expressed laudatory remarks about the report. Najafi, however, pushed back on the IAEA’s assessment that Iran had pursued certain technologies linked to the development of nuclear weapons, stating: “Any type of activity or study related to dual-use technology in Iran has and will only be for peaceful and conventional purposes.” He also noted that the report “acknowledged” some of these “dual-use technologies” have conventional uses.
Iranian news outlets reported that an IRGC Navy officer was killed in Syria.
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
Salehi: The PMD file will be closed. Ali Akbar Salehi praised the IAEA’s recent report on the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head claimed that based on the report, “There is no way for the file on Iran’s PMD issues to return…the IAEA has acknowledged that the nuclear activities of our country have been peaceful...” Salehi also commended the report for “acknowledging that we do not have an undeclared fuel-cycle…this is extremely important.” (Mashregh News)
Najafi: The IAEA Road-map has been finished. Reza Najafi commended the IAEA’s report even if it was not completely “black or white” as IAEA Director General Yukiya Amano had predicted. Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors declared, “The road-map has been finished.” He claimed that the “most important part of the report” is that it indicates “there was no diversion of nuclear material in the country.” Najafi also said:
- “The [IAEA] Director General did not say anywhere in the report that there was a lack of commitment [on the part of Iran].”
- “The report also tacitly rejected claims made about neutron modeling [the computer modelling of a nuclear explosive device] since it described them as being ‘incomplete and fragmented.’”
- “Any type of activity or study related to dual-use technology in Iran has and will only be for peaceful and conventional purposes. In the case of the ‘explosive detonators’ [explosive bridgewire detonators] and the ‘multi-point system’ [the multi-point initiator technology] the report acknowledges that they also have conventional uses, especially in the case of the explosive detonators when it pointed to their growing use for civilian and conventional military purposes.”
- “We expect that the opponents of the Islamic Republic of Iran, especially the Zionists and their media networks, will try to distort some portions of the text [especially] the topic of dual-use technology.”
- “Now it is time for the P5+1 to fulfill their requirements per paragraph 14 of the JCPOA and close this issue at the Board of Governors.” (IRIB)
Baedinejad: The PMD file is an issue of the past. The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs Hamid Baeidinejad welcomed the IAEA report, claiming that the report “confirmed with the strongest language without any sort of conditions the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear program.” (Jahan News)
- New round of Iran and P5+1 talks begin in Vienna. Iran and the P5+1 started a fresh round of negotiations on December 3 in Vienna. Both sides will discuss official procedures to close “Iran’s PMD file.” The JCPOA Joint Commission is also scheduled to hold deputy-level talks on December 7 in Vienna. (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Abdollahian: Vienna II report has been shared with President Assad. Hossein Amir Abdollahian criticized Saudi initiatives to hold direct talks with Syrian opposition groups in Riyadh. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs claimed that Saudi officials insisted on hosting separate meetings with the opposition groups during the Vienna II Syrian peace talks. Abdollahian stressed, “All efforts must be taken in coordination with the UN, Syria's government, and its legitimate president.” Abdollahian also said that the next round of negotiations will start in the next “10 to 15 days.” (ILNA)
Zanganeh travels to Vienna for OPEC talks. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh is scheduled to attend an official OPEC meeting to discuss conditions in the global oil market, and options for managing the global market in 2016. (Tabnak)
- Deputy Foreign Minister visits Ecuador. Majid Takht Ravanchi led a delegation of senior economic officials to Quito, for a meeting with Ecuadorian Minister for Foreign Trade Diego Esteban Aulestia Valencia. The Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs called for increased bilateral trade between Iran and Ecuador. (Mehr News) (E)
- Assembly of Experts member calls for continued resistance against the U.S. Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda invoked Imam Hussein’s principle of resistance in order to solve Iran’s economic challenges. The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader, who is also an Assembly of Experts member, added, “Someone who is Husseini [and follows Imam Hussein], would not kiss America’s hand, even if the economy is compromised.” (Rasa News)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
IRGC First Lieutenant killed in Syria. IRGC First Lieutenant Alireza Gholipur was a member of the IRGC Navy First District, located in Bandar Abbas. (Fars News Agency)
- Funeral held for IRGC member in Hormozgan province. Abdolhamid Salari was reportedly killed by “ISIS terrorists” in Syria. He appears to have been a member of the IRGC Imam Sajjad Unit, which is based in Hormozgan province. (YJC)
Military and Security
- Russia begins S-300 delivery. Russia reportedly began the delivery process of the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems to Iran on December 3. No further details were released. (Press TV) (E)