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: Ankara and Tehran escalated their exchange of rhetorical jabs following Turkish President Erdo?an’s warning that Iran should avoid “participating in Russian slander” against Turkey. Multiple actors within Iran issued statements alleging Turkish support for ISIS and terrorism in Syria.
During a televised speech on December 3, the Turkish President claimed that he had warned President Rouhani about “participating in Russian slander” after Iranian news outlets circulated reports claiming that President Erdo?an’s family profits from the oil trade with ISIS. Iranian Foreign Ministry Spokesman Hossein Jaberi Ansari, in response, issued a statement urging neighboring countries to show “decency and mutual respect in their relations.”
Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei, meanwhile, stated that Iranian advisors in Syria have recorded ISIS selling oil to Turkey. He warned that “if the government of Turkey is not aware that ISIS is selling oil to their own country, we are prepared to give them this information.”
Four Iranians were killed in Syria. One of them, Maysam Najafi, was a member of the Greater Tehran IRGC Mohammad Rasoul Allah unit.
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?”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Tehran responds to Erdo?an’s warning to Rouhani. Hossein Jaberi Ansari issued a statement on December 4 calling for “neighboring countries” to “show decency and mutual respect in relations, avoid adventurism, and accept the responsibilities of their political stances.” The Foreign Ministry Spokesman added that “pursuing policies and adopting stances that intentionally or unintentionally support terrorism in Syria and Iraq will only lead to an exacerbation of the ongoing crisis in the region and an increase in the problems of the countries that adopt such policies." (ISNA)
Rezaei: We have proof that ISIS is selling oil to Turkey. Mohsen Rezaei proclaimed that “if the government of Turkey is not aware that ISIS is selling oil to their own country, we are prepared to give them this information.” The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary and former IRGC Commander also told reporters that “Iranian advisors in Syria have filmed and taken pictures of the routes of ISIS oil trucks to Turkey and this information can be published.” Rezaei added that “soon important information about the destruction of the takfiris and ISIS will reach the public.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Source denies Erdo?an’s warning to Rouhani. An “informed source” denied that Turkish President Erdo?an warned President Hassan Rouhani to avoid “participating in Russian slander” accusing Turkey of purchasing oil from ISIS. (Tabnak)
Parliamentarian: Our administration must respond to Erdo?an’s rhetoric. Principlist Parliamentarian Ahmad Amirabadi discussed Russia’s accusations about Turkey and ISIS during a news interview. He stated:
- On Turkey: Amirabadi stated that Turkey is “one of the main supporters of aggression and injustice against the innocent people in Syria.”
On Rouhani: Amirabadi questioned if President Hassan Rouhani and his administration have “come up short” against the regional takfiris “especially in the face of recent [Turkish] allegations against Iran’s government.” He added that if Erdo?an’s accusations against Rouhani are false then they “must be denied by our government.” He stated that if the statements turn out to be true then “the president and our administration must be held accountable.” (ICANA)
Parliamentarian criticizes Erdo?an’s wife for her “silence” over social media photos. Principlist Parliamentarian Laleh Eftekhari wrote an open letter on December 2 criticizing the wife of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdo?an for her “silence” after photos emerged on social media showing her son in an Istanbul restaurant with individuals allegedly connected to ISIS. Iranian media outlets have republished many of the pictures. (ICANA) (Photos)
Friday Prayer Leader criticizes ISIS. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani condemned ISIS for “distorting” Islam during his Friday prayer sermon. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader praised Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s recent letter to Western youth as revealing “the real Islam.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Iran and Russia agree to extend technical cooperation over Bushehr. Iran and Russia reached an agreement to “continue Russian technical services for the Bushehr nuclear power plant” on December 2. The technical cooperation will include measures to safely operate the first unit of the plant. Russia and Iran also reached an agreement over preparations to begin building the second and third units of the plant. (Mehr News) (E) (IRNA)
Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Boroujerdi praises IAEA report. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi commended the IAEA report and stated that the “PMD file” on Iran’s nuclear program will be closed “at the next meeting” of the IAEA Board of Governors. (ICANA)
- Haghighat Pour: The IAEA report is sufficient for us. Principlist Parliamentarian Mansour Haghighat Pour welcomed the IAEA report and noted, “It was anticipated before that the IAEA report would be ‘gray’ and have both positive and weak points.” The NSFP Parliamentary Commission Vice Chairman expressed his confidence that the report would be “sufficient” to close the PMD file. (ICANA)
- Iran rejects calls to delay its increase in oil production. Bijan Zangeneh stated that “Iran has no responsibility for this drop [of global oil prices]” on the sidelines of the OPEC meeting in Vienna. The Oil Minister rejected calls from fellow Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC) members for Iran to halt its decision to increase oil production, stating, “It’s our right and nobody can limit us [on oil production] and we will not accept anything else in this regard.” With oil prices continuing to decline, Iran is facing mounting pressure from other oil producers to delay increasing its oil production. (Press TV) (E)
Casualties in Iraq and Syria
Three Iranians from Khuzestan killed in Syria. Milad Badri, Hajj Reza Molaie, and IRGC First Lieutenant Mojtaba Zakavi will be buried in Khuzestan province on December 6. No additional information on their ranks or unit affiliation was provided. Their deaths reportedly raise the number of Iranian casualties in Syria from Khuzestan to 24. (Ghatreh) (Afsaran)
- IRGC member killed in Syria. Maysam Najafi was killed near Aleppo on December 3. He was reportedly a member of the Greater Tehran IRGC Mohammad Rasoul Allah unit. No information on his rank was provided. (Basij Press)