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 Chris Rawlins, Diana Timmerman and Warren Marshall. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

Key takeaway: Iran and the US concluded bilateral nuclear negotiations in Geneva. The Economic and Finance Ministry proposed a new budget in response to falling oil prices. Abdollahian rejected reports alleging Qods Force Commander Soleimani was injured in Iraq by ISIL militants.

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry met as part of a series of direct nuclear talks between Iranian and American officials. Zarif is also scheduled to meet his German and French counterparts and EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini ahead of the P5+1 negotiations on Jan 18. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, meanwhile, criticized the West for its excessive demands at the negotiating table. Larijani warned of backlash from Iran’s Parliament, adding that some have plans to increase enrichment activity if sanctions continue to be imposed. Zarif’s main efforts during his trip will continue to be geared towards gaining assurances from his counterparts regarding sanctions relief. Larijani’s statement seems to suggest that the Parliamentarians he is referring to are hardliners who oppose negotiating with the West.

Ali Tayeb Nia, the Economic and Finance Minister announced a new budget bill that anticipates $40 per barrel price, whereas the original budget was based on a $70 per barrel oil price. Iranian officials continue to dismiss the threat of plunging oil prices; nevertheless, this budget proposal coupled with Tehran’s concerted effort in promoting regional cooperation to stabilize oil prices is indicative of the regime’s dire need for economic relief.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian dismissed circulating reports claiming IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani was injured in Samarra, Iraq. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs added: “General Soleimani is fully healthy and these reports are not true. He’s in good health and present in Iran.” Abdollahian is the first regime official to reject this report, albeit without proof of Soleimani’s actual condition.


  • New budget bill anticipates $40 per barrel oil price. Ali Tayeb Nia, Economic and Finance Minister, announced that the original budget bill which planned for $70 per barrel of oil will be changed to $40 per barrel. To get through this drop healthily Tayeb Nia recommended eliminating waste in production. Tayeb Nia also announced an anticipated decrease in inflation from 40% to 16%, and an increase in oil production by 50%. (Fars News Agency)

Official Statements

  • Abdollahian rejects reports claiming Qods Force Commander Soleimani is injured. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs dismissed Western media reports claiming that IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was severely injured from a blast in Samarra, Iraq. Hossein Amir Abdollahian said, “General Soleimani is fully healthy and these reports are not true. He’s in good health and present in Iran.” (ABNA)
  • Larijani: “The behavior of Americans and Westerners in recent negotiations was tragic.”Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani criticized US and Western behavior in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations, saying that negotiators have admitted that Iran does not have nuclear weapons, but are concerned about “regional balance.” Larijani explained that because the Islamic Awakening has disrupted the enemy’s plans, it is going after Iran’s nuclear program. He warned that many in Parliament have plans to continue and increase uranium enrichment if sanctions endure. (Fars News Agency)
  • Shirazi: The clergy’s duty is to remain aware of cultural and economic threats. Grand Ayatollah Naser Makarem Shirazi said Iran’s power had caused its enemies to set aside their political and military plots and instead focus on creating cultural and economic dangers for the Islamic Republic. Shirazi pointed to the use of online networks to corrupt the beliefs of the youth and said the clergy must frame Islamic values in terms appealing to this age group. He also described sanctions, monopolization, dependence, overconsumption, and extravagance as the country’s greatest economic problems. (Mehr News)
  • Rafsanjani: authorities are obliged to give the people free and competitive elections.Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani, spoke to a group of reformists on the people’s role in the upcoming Parliamentary elections: “All of the authorities in the country, particularly those involved in elections, are obliged to enforce the law and the right to free and competitive elections of the people.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Sedition, sanctions, and takfiris are the three sides of the triangle of the enemy’s strategy. IRGC Cultural Deputy Hamid Reza Moghaddam Far praised Iran’s advances in science, technology, biotechnology, and industry despite the sanctions imposed by the West. Moghaddam Far said that perseverance as found in the Quran is necessary to overcome Iran’s enemies and warned that the seditious uprisings within Iran and the rise of “takfiri” [heretic] terrorist groups in the region are part of an enemy plot against Islam and the Islamic Republic. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Abdollahian: Kuwaiti media distorted the President’s remarks. Hossein Amir Abdollahian said certain Kuwaiti media outlets misrepresented President Rouhani’s recent comments that Saudi Arabia and Kuwait would be more hurt than Iran by falling oil prices. Abdollahian added that regional countries must not allow a single oil-producing state to take actions that benefit foreigners but negatively impact the whole region. (ISNA)
  • Firouzabadi condemns Paris attack. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi, the AFGS Headquarters Chief, in condemning the recent terrorist attack in Paris said, “We condemn the massacre of people, whether it be in Iran or Paris it makes no difference, because Islam is opposed to the killing of people for no reason.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Military and Security

  • Artesh artillery group deployed to Iran-Iraq border. The Artesh 33rd Major General Khodabandeloo Artillery Group has been deployed to Kurdistan to counter regional threats to Iran’s western border. 33rd Artillery Group Commander Mohsen Arafirouz stated that the deployment of two battalions from the group had already diminished ISIL’s movements. Arafirouz stated that, “according to the Artesh, if this group [ISIL] comes within 40 kilometers of the border… they will be attached with Artesh mortars.” The 33rd is supporting the provinces of Kermanshah and Ilam as well. Arafirouz said that “the Artesh artillery today is one of the biggest organizations and units in the Middle East and played a valuable role in the [Iran-Iraq] War.” (ISNA) (Ghatreh)
  • Artesh Khatam ol-Anbia Commander announces plans to unveil new electronic warfare system. Brig. Gen. Amir Farzad Esmaili announced a plan to unveil a new indigenous electronic warfare system at the upcoming Fajr celebrations (1-11 February). Esmaili also praised the December Mohammad Rasoul Allah military exercises and said the message of the exercises was of peace and friendship to the countries in the region and to demonstrate Iranian military might to aggressors. (Fars News Agency)

Nuclear Talks

  • Zarif and Kerry conclude series of direct talks. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry wrapped up the third round of bilateral nuclear negotiations in Geneva. (IRNA)
  • Zarif scheduled for meetings in Berlin, Brussels, and Paris ahead of P5+1 negotiations.Foreign Minister Zarif will hold bilateral talks with his German counterpart tomorrow in Berlin. The following day, Zarif will meet with EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini in Brussels, and on Friday Zarif and his French counterpart will meet in Paris. (Mehr News)
  • Iran and the US hold deputy-level nuclear negotiations in Geneva. Abbas Araghchi, the International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister and Majid Takht Ravanchi, the European and American Affairs Deputy met with US Under Secretary for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman and former Deputy Secretary of State William Burns. (Fars News Agency)
Arrow down red
Feb '15
Jan '15
Dec '14