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, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton and contributors Ali Javaheri and Wali Miller. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.

Key takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani promised a “decisive” Iranian response if the U.S. implements an extension of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA).

Rouhani stated that Iran would provide a “decisive response” to the implementation of the ISA, which he referred to as an “egregious violation” of the nuclear deal. Iranian officials have not provided details regarding Iran’s response, however. The ISA authorizes the imposition of energy, banking, and defense sanctions over Iran’s missile and nuclear activities and is due to expire at the end of the year. President Obama is expected to sign the renewal into law. White House Spokesman Eric Schultz has stated that the ISA’s renewal “won’t interfere with the Iran deal.” Rouhani also stated that Iran is “resolute” in implementing the nuclear deal, while Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi emphasized Iran’s “complete adherence” to the nuclear agreement so far. 

AEI Must-Reads

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Rouhani: Implementing sanctions act is “violation” of nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani stated that Iran is “resolute” in implementing the nuclear agreement with world powers but also claimed that renewing the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) is a “violation” of the nuclear deal during a speech to Parliament on December 4. Rouhani noted that an Iranian committee charged with overseeing implementation of the nuclear deal will review the ISA in a session this week. He also stated:
    • “We will not tolerate the violation of the JCPOA by any member of the P5+1. We will give a proportionate response [to any violation].”
    • “We believe that Congress’s latest legislation contradicts the JCPOA and is a violation of it. The president of America is therefore obligated to use his powers to prevent the approval and especially the implementation of [the ISA].”
    • “If this legislation is implemented, it would be an egregious violation of the JCPOA, and it will be followed by a decisive response from us. We consider the president even signing this legislation to be counter to America’s commitments.” (IRNA)
  • Parliamentarians criticize ISA as violating “letter and spirit” of JCPOA. A total of 264 parliamentarians released a statement criticizing Congress for renewing the ISA as “contrary to the letter and spirit of the JCPOA” on December 4. The parliamentarians also called upon the Rouhani administration to take retaliatory measures against the ISA. Behrouz Nemati, the spokesman for Parliament’s presiding board, stated that Parliament is considering a ban on American goods as well as “other countermeasures,” although he did not provide further details. Separately, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called for a meeting of the “nuclear council” to study how Iran should respond to alleged violations of the nuclear deal by the U.S. (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Fars News Agency) (Mehr News Agency)
  • Zarif: The ISA will have “no operational effect.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated that Iran “will not permit any party to renege unilaterally on the nuclear deal” during a press conference in China on December 5. Zarif also commented on the ISA during remarks on December 3 in New Delhi, where he appeared to downplay the ISA’s consequences for Iran by stating that the ISA “will have no operational effect” if it is implemented. He added that the ISA “demonstrates America’s unreliability from the perspective of the international community.” (ISNA)
    • Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi called the continuation of sanctions under the ISA “a breach of a promise” during a press conference on December 5. He stated, “The JCPOA is not a bilateral agreement. It is an agreement among several countries. Violating the JCPOA or acting against it is not something that can happen easily.” He added that President Barack Obama is unlikely to veto the legislation. (Fars News Agency)
  • Salehi: The ISA violates the nuclear deal. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi emphasized Iran’s “complete adherence” to the nuclear agreement and urged the U.S. to “abide by its JCPOA commitments” during a meeting with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz on December 5. Salehi called the ISA a “clear violation of the JCPOA” in remarks on December 2. (Fars News Agency) (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Deputy foreign minister meets with Russia’s special envoy to Middle East. Mikhail Bogdanov, Russia’s envoy to the Middle East, met with Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Jaberi Ansari in Tehran on December 5. They discussed developments in Syria. (Fars News Agency)


  • Rouhani presents budget draft to Parliament. President Hassan Rouhani proposed a draft budget of $99.7 billion for the next Persian calendar year (March 2017-March 2018) to Parliament on December 4. This represents a nine percent increase compared to the budget for the current year. Parliament will reportedly have 45 days to complete their review before amending and approving the budget. The budget is based on an average oil price of $50 per barrel. (Tasnim News Agency
    • Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht announced that the administration could submit an emergency budget contingent upon “threats to Iran’s economy and national security.” (Mehr News Agency
  • South Korean shipyard to sell ships to Iran. Hyundai Heavy Industries Co., a major South Korean shipyard, is reportedly finalizing a deal worth $650 million to sell 10 ships to the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL). The deal would be Iran’s first contract with a foreign shipbuilder since the removal of sanctions and includes four container ships and six product tankers. The ships are projected to be delivered in the third quarter of 2018. (Press TV) (E)

Military & Security

  • Sayyari stresses Iran’s need for naval power. Artesh Navy Commander RADM Habibollah Sayyari stated, “The sea is a great opportunity for us, but if we do not have the power to control it, it will become a serious threat.” He also said, “Today, our enemies have expanded [their presence] on the oceans...The [Artesh] Navy will match its activities and missions to this type of threat.” The regime has increasingly emphasized the importance of growing its ability to project naval power beyond the Persian Gulf. (Mehr News Agency
  • Artesh Navy to operationalize Fateh-class submarine. Artesh RADM Siavash Jarreh, a senior advisor to Artesh Navy Commander RADM Habibollah Sayyari, stated that the Artesh Navy will operationalize a second Fateh-class submarine “very soon.” There is currently one Fateh-class submarine reportedly in service. (Press TV) (E)  

Domestic Politics

  • Zanjani death sentence confirmed. Deputy Judiciary Head Gholamreza Ansari confirmed to reporters that Iran’s Judiciary upheld the death sentence for Babak Zanjani, a billionaire businessman who was arrested in December 2013 on charges of embezzling money from the National Iranian Oil Company (NIOC). Zanjani was sentenced to death in early March, but the Rouhani administration has lobbied for further information on the case to be released to the public. (Fararu)
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