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 the AEI Critical Threats Project's Iran research team. 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.
- President Hassan Rouhani’s live address was delayed after a reported standoff with the head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) Ezatollah Zarqami. The two reportedly disagreed on the interviewer. Rouhani called for greater participation in the anniversary of the Islamic Revolution on February 11 and discussed foreign policy, the economy and the Joint Plan of Action nuclear agreement:
- “I would like to ask the great and dear Iranian people to hold a 22nd of Bahman [Islamic Revolution anniversary on Persian calendar] different than all the other 22 Bahmans. Although our great nation created greatness on every single 22nd of Bahman. This year is a different year and is the year of a political epic, the political epic of the 24th Khordad [June 14, 2013 president election] may not be enough. That epic must be guaranteed with the people’s presence, shouting in unity…I hope to witness glory and greatness on this day.”
- “Great steps were taken in foreign policy…The people placed constructive interaction as their slogan and today we are witnessing a great transformation in foreign relations. With neighbors from one side and great powers from another.”
- “In the matter of the Geneva Accord you and our people witnessed that we were able to reach an agreement and understanding with great powers in the first step with greatness and by preserving our nation’s rights. Today we are witnessing the breaking of many oppressive and unjust chains that held our society’s economic movement.”
- “I thank all members of the foreign policy [team]…Some sideline rumors are baseless.”
- “Overall, we are witnessing a good domestic movement, but a domestic movement is not enough in the economic sector. We need interaction with the outside. The investment environment is very big. I announced in Davos that how much investment we will have. We were able to attract $4 billion in foreign investment during the past 6-7 months. Going to Davos was announcing to the world that a new environment has emerged in the economy. In reality, a renewed dawn has emerged in Iran’s economy.”
- “In the discussion of the Geneva Joint Action Plan, our discussion was win-win…Win-win for us means that we win in a section and the opposing side wins in another. It is the win-win that will make the accord lasting. What is important is observing the red lines, broader policies and the people’s greatness.”
- “We wanted to damage the conspiracy of ‘Iranophobia’ and tell the world that it is a lie and Iran is not a threat, its activities are peaceful and its doors are open for supervision based on the law.”
- Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ahmad Khatami stated, “The Foreign Minister’s answers to the outrageous statements of American officials were not approved by our doctrine. God willing, the Iranian nation will give a decisive answer to these anti-Iranian statements on the [February 11] march.”
- 202 MPs urged the administration to give “a decisive and revolutionary” answer to earlier statements by US Under Secretary of State Wendy Sherman. They added, “The insults of this American official precisely shows the arrogant and satanic nature of the world-eating America that has been repeated by America’s arrogant officials in recent weeks.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to Khuzestan Province Ayatollah Mohammad Mousavi Jazayeri stated, “If Global Arrogance [West] begins a war against the Islamic Republic of Iran, Israel’s destruction will ensue. If Arrogance seeks to impose war against Iran, it will be followed by a storm in the world because all the oppressed and freedom-seekers will come to the aid of the Islamic Republic…The leaders of Arrogance must know that they must not threaten us, rather they must fear us because the Islamic Republic of Iran is the leader of the fight against Global Arrogance in the world.”
- Supervisory Council on IRIB Performance Vice Chairman Ramezanali Shojaei Kiasari announced that the council will review the “independence of national media in choosing the anchor of programs where branch heads are present.” The announcement comes after a letter sent by head of the IRIB Zarqami following a reported standoff.
- In response to President Rouhani’s labeling of Geneva Accord critics as “illiterates” earlier this week, nineteen MPs requested Head of the IRIB Zarqami to hold a debate between advocates and critics of the accord on national television. Signatories of the letter include vocal critics of the administration, National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Spokesman MP Hossein Naghavi Hosseini, and NSFP Parliamentary Commission member and former IRGC commander Mohammad Esmail Kowsari.
Military and Security
- Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami announced the deployment of IRGC engineering units from Tehran to areas affected by heavy snow in the north.
Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi boasts that Iran's influence has "reached borders beyond the Mediterranean for the third time":
- "Global power today is reliant on soft-war strategies. We disrupted the formation of a new bipolar world system after the Islamic Revolution and caused the emergence of a new power in the world, this power is an Islamic power whose source is Iran and Iran's Islamic Revolution."
- "Today we are witnessing Lebanese Hezbollah youth resisting the Zionist regime by taking inspiration from Iranian warriors and martyrs to impose heavy defeats upon this regime."
- "Egypt's revolution was seized by America due to the lack of vali-ye faghih [guardian of the jurisprudence] leadership in this country. The Supreme Leader is our biggest blessing in the current situation. His ethical, religious and divine superiority in comparison with leaders of 192 world countries is observed."
- "The influence of Iran and Iran's Islamic Revolution has expanded to the borders of the Zionist regime, and this is the third time in Iran's history that we have achieved influence beyond the Mediterranean Sea."
Diplomacy and Regional Developments
- Chief of Staff to President Rouhani Mohammad Nahavandian met with a President of Sierra Leone representative and said that Iran would welcome a stronger relationship with African countries. The representative requested the presence of Iranian companies in his country’s expansion, particularly in the energy and housing sectors.
- Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani traveled to Tunisia to discuss Tunisia’s new constitution.
- A funeral was held for Hezbollah commander Qassan Ali Assaf in Lebanon, who was killed in Syria.
- In an interview with Press TV, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head Ali Akbar Salehi discussed at length the technical meaning of “dismantle” and asserted that the Islamic Republic can alleviate Western concerns about the Arak heavy water reactor without dismantling it. He also explained why Iran will not abandon the Arak heavy water reactor facility, which he claimed is intended for “research” purposes:
- “If you look up ‘dismantle’ in the dictionary, you will see that this phrase means separating the parts of a system and finding it. Well, you can come and see whether our nuclear sites, equipment and installations are like this or not. The only thing that we have voluntarily ceased is 20% uranium production and that is it.”
- “Of course there is another matter that we are committed to. We are required not to install major equipment, meaning not to install major equipment in the 40 megawatt Arak heavy water reactor.”
- “Nuclear installations will continue their activities. Enrichment continues and is continuing its work. 5% uranium enrichment continues and those centrifuges that ceased 20% enrichment will produce uranium with 5% enrichment. In other words, 5% enrichment uranium production will increase. The entirety of Iran’s nuclear activities will continue.”
- “In reality, part of the joint operational plan is research [on advanced centrifuges]. It is clear that research and expansion has no limitation. We are currently working on our advanced centrifuges. We have a number of advanced centrifuges under the supervision of the International Atomic Energy Agency that are being tested and uranium gas is injected in them. Of course not for accumulation but for testing.”
- “And these centrifuges will work for a time in a steam. They must work like this for two years so there will be confidence that these centrifuges have good performance so they can be mass produced.”
- “Look, we have two sites for enrichment. One in Natanz and another in Fordo. About 9,000 of the 18,000 centrifuges are working and spinning and we voluntarily accepted not to inject gas to the other 9,000.”
- Q: You did not inject gas in them prior to the JPA and so the situation has not changed?
- A: Yes. This was a political decision taken place in the previous administration and this decision stills stands.”
- Q: Therefore, America did not achieve anything in relation to the injection of gas to these centrifuges?
- A: No, we only accepted to extend this moratorium and not to inject gas to these centrifuges for another six months.”
- “In 1992, we signed a protocol with the Russians during Mr. Rafsanjani’s presidency and the Russians agreed to construct another 4,000 megawatt power plant in Iran [separate from the Bushehr power plant.”
- “We are striving to implement this protocol. We are currently negotiating with the Russians regarding the next 4,000 megawatt power plant. We hope to begin work on the next power plant next year, and of course the completion of these power plants with the Russians will take seven to eight years.”
- Q: Do you consider other partners or just the Russians?
- A: “Currently, we are in serious negotiations with the Russians. Lately we have received proposals from other countries.”
- Q: Can I ask which countries?
- A: “No because I am not inclined to point them until they are not finalized.”
- “If they truly appear with good will, this is an opportunity that they can utilize. If not, Iran will continue its normal and daily trend. Of course I do not deny that sanctions have not created problems but this does not mean that these sanctions have paralyzed Iran.”
- “Iran is a great country. It is self-sufficient in many aspects. It can produce its own goods and indigenously produce many of its needs. We have the capability to continue this trend.”
- Q: If President of the United States Barak Obama is defeated by supporters of the Israeli lobby in Congress and those such as [Senators] Bob Menendez and Mark Kirk and this country decides to cancel the Geneva Accord, how much time will it take for Iran to return to its previous path?
- A: “A few hours.”
- Q: A few hours? Will we do this?
- A: “If necessary we will produce uranium with 20% enrichment. Yes, we will do this.”
- Q: Let us return to the matter of Arak heavy water reactor. Many people ask the question why Iran needs plutonium.
- A: “As you know we have a wide variety of reactors. Aside from light water reactor, we have heavy water and cooled reactors with gas…You can have vehicles that work with battery, diesel or gas or other things. Each of them has its own motor and regarding reactors this matter is also true. You have a variety of reactors.”
- “Arak heavy water reactor is not used for plutonium production. The description of this reactor with this method is incorrect. This reactor is a research reactor. This reactor is used with the goal of radioisotopes and other tests, such as fuel and material testing. There are other tests that you will be able to execute them with this reactor. For example you can use neutrons and can then conduct a wide variety of tests with neutrons extracted from the nucleus in this reactor.”
- “Therefore, this reactor is a heavy reactor but we did not design it for plutonium production. This is the first point.”
- “The second point is that, yes, this reactor can be used for plutonium production.”
- “You can also produce plutonium in light water reactors. But why do they not state anything about plutonium production in light water reactors? We are currently producing plutonium in Bushehr. The technical answer is that all plutonium is not suitable for use in weapons.”
- “Weapons grade plutonium is not produced with this reactor. This reactor produces approximately nine kilograms of plutonium but not weapons grade plutonium. I want to emphasize that plutonium production in this plutonium reactor is not with weapons grade.”
- Q: If Iran ceases plutonium production will harm be inflicted on this country’s nuclear program?
- A: “Just as I said, this is a research reactor and is not used for plutonium production because you need a reprocessing facility if you would like to use the plutonium produced from this reactor.”
- “We have no such factory. But we do not intend to install a reprocessing facility either. Even though this is our right but we do not want to pursue this right.”
- “Therefore, as long as you do not have a reprocessing facility you will never be able to extract plutonium from fuel.”
- “Seven to eight years in addition to a reprocessing facility is need [to extract uranium] and we do not intend on installing it either.”
- “When I presented to the IAEA Iran’s reports about the Islamic Republic’s peaceful nuclear activities in 2003, I also pointed out that Iran does not intend to install a reprocessing facility.”
- “We do not seek to produce solid oxide fuel or extract plutonium and first stage plutonium is not weapons grade and we do not even want to extract it for solid oxide fuel.”
- Q: Why do you want [the Arak heavy water reactor when there is no need?]
- A: “At the first stage, this is a scientific and technological achievement.”
- “Secondly this is a research reactor. In other words it is used for research in the science and technology realm. You can test various materials in this reactor. You can produce radioisotope for cancer patients, you can test fuels in this reactor that you test in Bushehr-future fuels that we may use.”
- “We can conduct scientific research with it or measure cross section by using neutrons-Cross section of various reactions by using various materials.”
- “This reactor can be used to this extent and we do not see a reason to cease work with this reactor.”
- “We can make changes in the design In other words, we can make changes in the design of this reactor so few plutonium is produced and this can reduce the level of concerns with this method.”
- “I am glad that these two sides reached an agreement [on November 24, 2013], my meaning is that they took the first in a thousand mile journey.”
- Parliament Economy Commission Vice-Chairman MP Hojjat al-Eslam Ruhollah Beigi praised the 2014-2015 budget law revision, calling it “realistic and expert.”
- Head of the CNG Trade Station Holders Association Ardeshir Dadras announced the allocation of 25% of CNG’s natural gas sales to the National Iranian Gas Company , “The annual revenue of the station is 2500 billion tomans [approximately] $1 billion, which can construct one phase of the southern Pars Gas Fields every year.”
- MPs voted to allow the Oil Minister invest up to $100 Billion in the oil sector via buy back.
Photo of the Day
- Dust cleaning ceremony of religious minorities killed during the Iran-Iraq War, including Assyrians, Armenians, Zorostrians and Jews, held in Tehran.