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 and Marie Donovan, with contributors Farzin Farzad and Diana Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said that even if Iran agrees on the nuclear issue, the U.S. will not lift sanctions because it hates the Islamic Revolution; he stated that Iran can and will sanction the West; he also blamed reliance on oil, Western interference, and over-involvement by the government as sources of Iran’s economic problems.
In a February 18 speech in West Azerbaijan, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stated that the West’s main purpose in sanctioning “is to humiliate the nation of Iran and stop the movement of the nation…towards a new Islamic civilization; I believe that if we accept the nuclear issue as well as the demands they [the Westerners] dictate, the sanctions will not be lifted, because they hate the revolution.” Khamenei also indicated that subsequent to the “threats,” “bullying” and “new sanctions” of the U.S, Iran can and will sanction the West. The Supreme Leader also blamed the West for Iran’s economic woes, stating that the former had kept Iran from economic partnerships with regional countries. He also cited Iran’s reliance on oil and government involvement in the economy as causes of those woes. The Supreme Leader emphasized using the ‘resistance economy’ as “necessary in every situation” as a solution to Iran’s economic problems.
During a visit to a highway construction project, IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari emphasized the importance of infrastructure being in place for growing private companies in the construction field, and also that the IRGC pays attention to the private sector as one of its priorities.”
Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tehran. Yi also met with President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the ongoing P5+1 nuclear negotiations.
Supreme Leader: Iran can and will sanction the West; American influence on economy must be stopped. During a meeting with a group of people in West Azerbaijan, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei discussed the sources and solutions for problems in the Iranian economy. He stated:
- On sanctions: “the main objective of this work [the West’s use of sanctions against Iran] is to humiliate the nation of Iran and stop the movement of the nation and the Islamic regime towards a new Islamic civilization; I believe that even if we accept the nuclear issue as well as the demands they dictate, the sanctions will not be removed, because they oppose the revolution.”
- On the topic of the U.S.’s “threats” and “bullying” and the “new sanctions…followed by the Europeans,” the Supreme Leader stated, “Per sanctions, the Iranian nation can sanction, and will do so.”
- On the causes of problems in the economy: “One of the most important reasons was the planning of the arrogant powers after the Imposed War [Iran-Iraq War], in order to avoid Iran becoming a hub of economic influence in the region and the world.” He stated, “Westerners, mostly Americans, through planning and using different ways to sabotage the economic plans and activities of Iran with countries in the region, and circumventing Iran in oil and gas pipelines,…years after the nuclear issues, began headless and soundless sanctions, which economic fight has continued to this day.”
- “In addition to the continuous and extensive planning of the global arrogance [the West], the country’s economy is suffering greatly from its two problems – “being oil” and “being of the government [reliance on oil and government involvement].”
- The resistance economy, which is necessary for the country in every situation, whether there are sanctions or not, means that the economic base of the country is arranged such that the global shocks do not impact it.”
- On the need for solutions for economic problems: “If we do not take the necessary measures and more serious efforts in the economic sphere, the result will become that now the enemy will affect our provision and condition of our nuclear issue; [the enemy] will also say, if you don’t agree, I sanction!”
- On ‘social capacities’ as a solution for economic issues: “If the basis of the country’s economic becomes based on the use of social capacities and domestic production and planning and strong, do not mourn…for sanctions and falling oil prices, and do not get concerned.” He noted, “We can stand against the commotion and the actions of the enemy on the sanctions issues, and let their goals fail.”
- “Officials will implement good programs and practice for tax revenue resulting from production and trade they have designed which will help people, as soon as possible.”
- He also noted that “improving productivity” as one of the main points to solve the economic problems, stating, “Improving productivity consists of reducing costs and enhancing the quality of production.” (Khamenei.ir)
- Alavi: Terror network disrupted in Sistan va Baluchistan. Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi announced that a terrorist network in southeastern Sistan va Baluchistan Province has been disbanded. The Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) Head attributed the success of the operation to MOIS and IRGC joint efforts: "In a complicated operation and in close cooperation with the people in Sistan va Baluchistan region on [February 5 and February 11], we succeeded in identifying and disbanding a part of a terrorist group which sought to embark on sabotage attacks." Alavi said the operation also led to the discovery of 350kg of explosives. (Sepah News)
- Larijani slams U.S. foreign policy. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani slammed U.S. foreign policy and praised the role of Ayatollah Khomeini and martyrs for Iran’s independence in a meeting in Lorestan on Tuesday morning. The Judiciary Head added that no country has the right to interfere in the internal affairs of another and criticized U.S. foreign policy for its support of Saddam and the creation of ISIS. Larijani also stressed the importance of the clergy in jurisprudence. (Mehr News)
- Jafari discusses the growth of private sector construction. During a visit to a freeway project called “Shrine to Shrine” (Qom-Tehran-Mashad), Commander of the IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari said that “the necessary infrastructure has been provided for the growing presence of private companies in the field of construction and also the IRGC pays attention to the private sector as one of its priorities.” Also Jafari said, one of the main parameters of the Khatam ol Anbia Constuction HQ (engineering firm of the IRGC) is compliance with quality and spirituality in the implementation of this project. In fact he said, the IRGC’s involvement in the field of construction is a result of the valuable aspects of the Islamic Revolution. (Sepah News)
- Abdollahian calls weak or ineffective regional countries major problem in the fight against terrorism. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister in response to questions regarding Tehran-Riyadh diplomatic ties said that steps have been taken to start consultations with Saudi Arabia. Hossein Amir Abdollahian expressed hope and optimism that the two countries would be able to help countries in the region affected by terrorism. Abdollahian added that, the solution to the current situation in the region is for states and key actors to work collectively through purely political approaches not military or security approaches. (Tabnak)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Velayati underscores importance of Iran-China relations. Ali Akbar Velayati highlighted Iran and China’s close historical relations during his meeting with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tehran on Monday. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor and Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Strategic Research Center said, “Iran and China have common strategic interests in west and east of Asia; therefore, we undoubtedly regard relations with China as strategic, and attach great importance to that country.” (ISNA)
- Ali Larijani meets with Chinese Foreign Minister. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi in Tehran on Monday. The two discussed ways to strengthen bilateral relations between Beijing and Tehran. Yi also met with President Hassan Rouhani to discuss the ongoing P5+1 nuclear negotiations. (Tasnim News Agency)
Iran and Iraq sign mutual cooperation documents. Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri met with Iraqi officials and Iraqi President Fuad Masum in Baghdad while participating in a session of the Iran-Iraq Joint High Commission to discuss bilateral relations, and regional and international issues. Jahangir also met with Iraqi Prime Minister Haidar al-Abadi and signed 10 cooperation documents and Memoranda of Understanding. (Raja News)
Maliki: Baghdad and Erbil would have fallen without Iran support. Iraqi First Vice President Nouri al-Maliki said that Baghdad and Erbil would have fallen to ISIS without Iranian support after a meeting with his Iranian counterpart First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri. Maliki said that Iran gave support to Iraqis at the right time and without any preconditions and called for closer cooperation in combatting ISIS. (Fars News Agency)