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: The Foreign Ministry echoed its previous support for a unified state in Yemen. Bilateral U.S.-Iran talks will occur on February 20 ahead of a P5+1 meeting on February 22.

The Foreign Ministry reiterated its position of preserving a unified state in Yemen, in which the Houthis would play a dominant role. Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham stated, “All political groups inside the country must contribute to filling the vacuum.”  Iran has provided support for the al Houthis, who seized power earlier this month in Sana’a.

The Foreign Ministry also echoed the Supreme Leader’s emphasis on the compartmentalization of the nuclear negotiations, asserting that negotiators are exclusively discussing the nuclear issue.  Bilateral US-Iran negotiations will begin in Geneva on Friday February 20, ahead of a P5+1 meeting on Sunday February 22.

First Deputy Prosecutor Hojjat al-Eslam Mohseni Ezhehi discussed the list of names of 170 individuals who purportedly received money from former Ahmadinejad Vice President Reza Rahimi, who was sentenced in January to 5 years in prison on corruption charges. This supports previous indications that Rouhani’s anti-corruption campaign will chiefly target Ahmadinejad-era officials.

Official Statements

  • Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman expresses optimism over nuclear talks and Yemen. Marzieh Afkham reiterated that negotiators are exclusively discussing the nuclear issue during the ongoing nuclear negotiations. . In response to Israel’s purported leaking of negotiations material, she said that the provisions of the negotiations between Iran and the P5+1 have been established and that the talks should be held within those parameters. Afkham also said that the bilateral and multilateral negotiations will come to an end before the end of the year, conforming to the standards of the P5+1.
    • On Yemen: “In principle, we support the territorial integrity, sovereignty, and a political solution in this country, and we believe that a political solution must be geared to filling the current political vacuum in that country.” She added that, in order to do this, all political groups inside the country must contribute to filling the vacuum. Afkham also expressed optimism that both the international and regional community would find a solution without applying political pressure on certain parties which may have political motives. (IRIB)
  • Senior prosecutor comments on individuals connected to Rahimi corruption case. Hojjat al-Eslam Mohseni Ezhehi discussed the list of 170 names of individuals who purportedly received money from Ahmadinejad Vice President Mohammad Reza Rahimi, who was arrested in January on corruption charges. The First Deputy Prosecutor said that none of the 170 individuals listed are current Parliamentarians, however, some were previously elected officials in Parliament. (Fars News Agency)
  • Boroujerdi accuses Bahrain of arming terrorists. Alaeddin Boroujerdi pointed to the recent arrest of terrorists and the discovery of a cache of weapons and ammunition by Iranian security forces in Saravan, Sistan va Baluchistan Province. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman said, “Bahrain gave these terrorists the money to buy these weapons.”(Nividar)
  • Javad Larijani blasts US for meddling in Iranian internal affairs. Mohammad Javad Larijani said that the US State Department’s statement concerning Iran’s internal affairs is a clear violation of the Treaty of Algiers and even a violation of international obligations. The Head of the Human Rights Headquarters of the Judiciary Branch’s remark came in response to a recent statement made concerning measures by Iran’s Judiciary and the imprisonment of criminals. (Fars News)


Domestic Politics

  • Judiciary to review several new cases of corruption involving banks. Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani announced that 2 to 3 cases of corruption need to be reviewed, including a 65 trillion rials ($~2 billion) corruption case involving bank lending to a private individual. Larijani added that some of the amount is in a foreign currency. (Ghatreh)
    • Larijani also reportedly criticized existing bank procedures, saying that in some areas banks are dealing incorrectly and that as a result of increased exchange rates and economic problems, some recipients can return the loans. He emphasized that this was a problem that arose in the case of Amir Aria [Amir-Mansour Aria]. Aria was executed in Evin prison last year. (Kayhan)



Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Salami: thanks to Iran, “Syria has become the axis of resistance.” speaking at a meeting of the Student Martyrs of Esfahan Congress, Deputy Commander of the IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stated, “thanks to the material and moral support of the Islamic Republic of Iran, Syria has become the axis of resistance, and Lebanon and Palestine have stood as resistance fronts in the struggle against the Zionist regime… these blessings and accomplishments exist despite the will of America and superpowers…” Salami praised students as “always the genuine followers of revolutionary clergy and promoters of the high ideas of velayat-e faqih in society.” He noted, Students are people who build ballistic missiles and destroy enemy targets with high accuracy.” (Sepah News Agency)
  • Sheikholeslam: China and Russia will veto any resolution against Yemen. Hossein Sheikholeslam criticized the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) for opposing Yemen’s popular resistance movement. The International Affairs Deputy to the Parliament Speaker said, "These [GCC] countries are ruled by monarchies, and are, thus, fearful of any kind of democracy and populism… and they cannot tolerate public presence in any scene." Sheikholeslam added: "If the UN Security Council passes a resolution against Yemen, it will be surely vetoed by Russia and China." (Raja News)


Nuclear Talks

  • Iran and US to meet in Geneva this weekend. Bilateral negotiations between the two countries will begin on Friday. Iran’s Foreign Minister Javad Zarif will likely meet with US Secretary of State John Kerry on Sunday as well as Wendy Sherman, US Under-Secretary. Iran and the P5+1 will hold an official meeting on Sunday. (Mehr News)



Military and Security

  • Pourdastan: Mohammad Rasoul Allah exercises demonstrated only a part of our power. During a ceremony commemorating the 40th day after the death of Artesh 55th Artillery Group Commander Col. Hedayat Dashtpah, Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated, that the Artesh-led Mohammad Rasoul Allah Exercises, which were held in the Strait of Hormuz to the Gulf of Oman in December 2014, “showed only a part of the power of Iran and its armed forces.” Pourdastan commended Dashtpah for his commitment to the Islamic Revolution, who died of a heart attack on January 9 after returning from the exercises. (Tasnim News Agency) (Fars News Agency)
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