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 IRGC Ground Forces commenced the second day of the Great Prophet 9 military exercises, which featured several new weapons systems, while senior IRGC commanders reiterated the regime’s commitment to counter its enemies.

The operational framework consisted of 10 Divisions of IRGC Ground Forces comprised of 17 units, incorporating artillery, ammunitions, missiles, drones, and reconnaissance jets, operating at nearly 300 points South and southwest of the country. The drills seemed to be predicated on a strategic and operational level, employing a consolidated force that demonstrated effective mobility and counter-mobility movements. The IRGC Ground Forces Commander, meanwhile, hailed the exercises and said that they showcase Iran’s military might, adding: “Our message to friends is peace and security and to those who think of threatening the Islamic Republic of Iran is that they should know our might will annihilate them."


Military and Security

  • IRGC kicks off 2nd day of large-scale military exercises. Day two of the Great Prophet 9 drills took place in Jask city, Hormozgan Province. 10 Divisions of IRGC Ground Forces comprised of 17 units of forces, including artillery, ammunitions, missiles, drones, and reconnaissance jets, operating at nearly 300 points South and southwest of the country. There were six levels of operations, which included the IRGC’s 33rd al Mahdi Airborne Brigade, stationary defense, mobile defense, ambush, and anti-heliborne defense scenarios. (Defa Press)
    • Several new weapons were tested, including the “Ramait” roadside mine, capable of penetrating up to 50cm of armor. The “RPH” reconnaissance drone, equipped with advanced cameras, “Sayyad” bounding mine with a projectile height of 10-15 meters, “Vasel” a rocket-fired minefield sweeper, capable of clearing 100 meters long and nearly two meters wide. “Jamarat” short-range missile, “Asefeh” 23mm rotary cannon, “Arash” shoulder-fired weapon, “Nasir” 12.7mm equipped with six rotating barrels with a rate of fire of 2500-3500 rounds per minute, and the “Siavash” sniper rifle. (Defa Press)
  • IRGC unveils armed reconnaissance robot. The IRGC tested the combat robot on the second day of the Great Prophet 9 military drills. The robot is reportedly equipped with a 7.62 caliber machine gun, advanced optics and a thermal camera, with an effective operational range of 5-7km. (Mashregh News)
  • Defense Minister: Foreign presence in the area will not be tolerated under any circumstance. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan said that the message of the Great Prophet 9 exercises to regional countries was a message of peace, friendship, and security and emphasized that there is no hostility towards neighboring countries. The Defense Minister called for regional countries to form a coalition to guarantee their security and to not tolerate the presence of foreigners. Dehghan also noted that the message of the exercises is that Iran is ready to defend itself and the security of the region; “today, our country has gained so much power that America and the West accept it.”
    • “The Muslim world today is in a high position of power and advanced industrial countries are in dire need of energy…if America and the West want to do more of these actions against us, we will retaliate because a sanction against sanctions is an efficient principle.”
    • On the delivery and replacement of S-300 missiles said, “We have negotiated with the Russians and have made agreements.” (IRNA)


Official Statements

  • Pakpour: Our power will destroy the enemy. Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour touted the regime’s military strength, highlighting the IRGC’s mobility and counter-mobility operations. The IRGC Ground Forces Commander said, “In this exercise operating units, with full concealment, deprived the enemy of any observation and identification use and abilities,” adding that the drills performed were based on asymmetric warfare. Pakpour added:
    • “Our message to friends is peace and security and to those who think of threatening the Islamic Republic of Iran is that they should know our might will annihilate them." (Defa Press)
  • IRGC commander: Iran will be the burying place for any aggressor. Brig. Gen. 2C Morteza Mirian said that Iran “has made the country a cemetery for any aggressor; we will them nothing but charred corpses.” The IRGC Ground Forces Operations Deputy added that IRGC positions have been setup throughout the coast and country, which can destroy the enemy; “The IRGC’s positions are not detectable by the enemies at all.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Iran boasts its authority to neighboring and trans-regional countries. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member maintained that “Iran is a regional power that is ever ready to confront its enemies.” Kowsari said that the multilateral Great Prophet 9 exercises demonstrate the IRGC Navy and Artesh Navy’s ability to defend itself against aggression from world powers. Kowsari emphasized that the message of the exercises to regional countries is a message of peace, friendship, and cooperation. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Supreme Leader highlights the importance of ‘culture of martyrdom” in society.  Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s remarks during the “Martyrs’ Congress of Educational Affairs” on February 16 were released. The Supreme Leader stated: 
    • “Meetings commemorating martyrs are in fact the continuation of movement of jihad and martyrdom; and the martyrs and the points of navigation in their lives from day to day in common society must be remembered.”
    • “As there is remembrance of martyrs and the issue of martyrdom in society, considered as a persistent reality, this will not mean failure, and the country moves on without fear and grief.”
    • “Although today the dominators with their many tools have found further mastery of the oppressed and dispossessed, in contrast to this situation, the identity of the name of the Islamic Revolution has stood, with the reliance on the principles of God and morals; and courageously stands against the system of domination.” 
    • “The culture of martyrdom means the culture of sacrifice, and dedication for long term goals, and common people and all mankind; and this culture, just the opposite of the culture of Western individualism which calculates everything for themselves with personal and financial measures.”
    • “The culture of sacrifice and martyrdom has become general and inclusive in society, and this society will go on and will never stop in it, and there will be no roll back.” (
  • ???Rouhani emphasizes roll of scholars in society. President Hassan Rouhani spoke with scholars, clerics, and scientists in Qom on February 25:
    • “Today, we have hundreds of important issues for the office of the country, which clerics, scholars, and seminary students need to be theorizing in order to solve them.”
    • “…support of the areas of government is important for us, criticism and warnings are also important to us.”
    • “The Imam [Khomeini] in developing integral theory of religion and politics and the theory of the Islamic government, put on foot the Islamic movement and Revolution, and after the victory of the Revolution, presented very important opinions for the religious management and state.”
    • “Today, if the government wants to have a close and intimate relationship, and establish trust between the people and the government as a great asset, we require efforts from mullahs and especially ayatollahs.”
    • “[Given] the crimes committed in the name of Islam… it is very important for the voice of moderation of Iran to reach the whole world…”
    • On the Supreme Leader’s recent open letter to Western youth: “you can see what impact the Supreme Leader’s letter to the young Westerners…” he noted that the “heavy responsibility of the sustainability” falls on the seminaries. (



  • Larijani: We need a strong economy to resist our enemies. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani addressed the need for a correct strategy in dealing with complicated economic issues, such as youth unemployment, in order to stand up against “arrogant aggressors.” Larijani said that authorities must serve the people and solve their problems and that there must be a transparent and truthful discussion with the people. Larijani added that the concept of “resistance economy” is based on production; the country is a producer of oil and gas, and today a major problem is production. Larijani said, “With a boom in production unemployment will disappear.” Larijani enumerated measures being taken in the parliament to strengthen different sectors of the economy, including the agricultural sector. (Fars News Agency)


Nuclear Talks

  • Ravanchi: Significant progress was made in the recent nuclear negotiations in Geneva. Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi met withDanish Foreign Minister Martin Lidegaard and Deputy Foreign Minister Kim Jørgensen to promote bilateral relations and discuss regional and international developments. Ravanchiexpressed hope that more positive steps would be taken in the next week’s round of negotiations. Ravanchi added that some members of the P5+1 view “cruel sanctions” as a lever against Iran, emphasizing that these sanctions should be lifted unconditionally. (IRNA)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Two killed in suicide blast outside Iranian embassy in Kabul. The victims were a Turkish national and an Afghan passerby. The intended target was a Turkish embassy vehicle; the Turkish and Iranian embassies in Kabul are adjacent. The Iranian embassy condemned the attack and stated that none of its staff members sustained injuries. (YJC
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