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 pledged to allocate a portion of oil and natural gas revenues extracted from Khuzestan to the province. He also discussed the energy sector, sanctions, and nuclear negotiations, while addressing Darkhovin oil installation employees:
- “If we seek to negotiate with the world regarding our interests, talking in this arena without national interest is the only slogan, and when someone talks a lot in this arena and gives a slogan it is clear that he does not have sufficient power. If a country becomes powerful, the world will acknowledge their power and there will be no need to shout slogans.”
- “If today Iran was able to secure a large part of Europe’s needed gas, could the Europeans have sanctioned Iran easily?”
- “We must all stand upon our principles and national interests. Even if we did not have oil and gas we must stand by our principles, but it is best for this perseverance to take place with reliance on our capabilities.”
- “Some do not want sanctions to be lifted. For their personal and group interests, they oppose the lifting of sanctions and normalization of affairs, while we must all think about the nation and sacrifice ourselves for the people.”
- “God willing and with reliance on divine strength, we will continue the path that we began on [June 14]. The people chose me as a servant and I will be loyal to all of my promises at any cost. But the government and presidency cannot continue this path on its own, rather the people must be present in the scene and support and accompany the administration in all arenas with their: unity, congruence, and participation.”
- “I thank the Supreme Leader who supported the administration step by step. I have no doubt that we will be victorious and successful in this path, despite the challenges ahead.”
- “Production must increase in joint arenas and this is the first priority of the administration in the oil and [natural] gas sectors. I announce right here to the Oil Minister, that the government and presidency supports the measures of the Oil Ministry with all its ability.”
- “Criticizing the administration’s measures in this field [of removing sanctions] is non-problematic and some of them are actually beautiful. But some criticisms are from some who also criticize God’s creation.”
- “There are no small and weak countries in the negotiations of the Islamic Republic with P5+1 countries. The administration announced from the beginning that it is seeking a win-win agreement and of course utilized the maximum skill and elegance.”
- “What has been and remains important to us is the country’s red lines and security that has and will continue to be precisely observed.”
- “There are problems in sections of the country’s oil industry that must be resolved and we cannot be patient for their resolution. From this regard, it is not important whether these problems are resolved with reliance on internal capacity or aid from the outside.”
- “Reduction of crude oil sale must be gradual.”
- Following President Rouhani’s speech, Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh also took to the podium to reaffirm the president’s pledge to Khuzestan and discussed issues facing the oil industry:
- “There are currently 43 oil fields in the entire country that are operational but due to problems emerging from sanctions currently the production capacity of these fields have been reduced to 2 million barrels [per day] while production capacity can be more than 2 million barrels.”
- “The majority of oil fields in the country’s southern region are passing their second-half life, which in this regard, we require expert studies so the level of production does not decrease.”
- “Also, many of our installations are old and need repair. For this reason, we must find our share in the global oil market and in this path increase oil recycling capacity and interaction with foreign and domestic universities.”
- “We must overcome human capital problems in this industry and repair the old installations of joint fields. For this reason we require the aid of the government.”
Diplomacy and Regional Developments
- Head of the Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting Organization Ezatollah Zarqami announced plans to launch the Islamic Awakening Network in testing format before the end of the Persian New Year in mid-March. Zarqami stated, “God willing, a new network with the title Islamic Awakening Network will be launched with the Islamic Revolution’s contents and this network attempts to attract a large number of our viewers who have a more serious need and can become more serious viewers with diverse contributions and very clear positions in the arena of the Islamic Revolution’s contents that can include Sacred Defense, Islamic Awakening, and so on…The reason for the delay in inaugurating this network is because we want many programs to be produced in this network.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Syrian Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Jihad Leham in Damascus and emphasized the need to combat terrorism, saying, “This thinking is not confined to Syria. Currently Iraq and Lebanon are falling victim.”
- He also emphasized the need for Syrians to democratically decide their future, saying, “Other countries must only help reach these conditions. Any type of foreign intervention will only fan the flames of conflict.”
- Zarif then extended Leham an invitation from Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani to participate in a conference of speakers of parliaments of the countries of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation.
- Zarif traveled to Moscow from Damascus to meet with Russian Foreign Minister Sergei Lavrov. He is being accompanied on this trip by Syrian Foreign Minister Walid Moallem. The ministers will be engaging in trilateral talks in advance of the Geneva II conference.
- During a joint meeting with reporters, Zarif said, “Iran is an independent, powerful, and influential country in the region. It will not allow others to put conditions on its role.”
- Zarif emphasized the desire by both countries’ presidents to cooperate and said: “It is important for us, with the help and cooperation of Russia, to negotiate a final framework to resolve Iran’s nuclear program within the P5+1.”
- “We will cooperate closely with our Russian friends in this field. We believe that it is possible to reach an acceptable consensus even though there is a lack of confidence between Iran and some of the Western countries. There is a need for confidence building, but we are certain that there will be no problem reaching a solution over our peaceful program.”
- Zarif again emphasized the need for Syrians to decide their own political future, and Lavarov responded: “Russia believes that countries like Iran and Saudi Arabia must be present at this conference. We hope that the Secretary General [of the UN] will send an invitation to all who want to have a positive effect on this conference.”
- While in Damascus, Zarif met with representatives and leaders from [US-designated terrorist organizations] Popular Front for the Liberation of Palestine Palestinian Islamic Jihad, and the National Liberation Front of Palestine.
- Deputy Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with a number of foreign officials on the sidelines of a conference to raise aid for the Syrian people. Abdollahian met with Kuwaiti First Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Sheikh Sabah al-Khaled al-Saleh, who congratulated Iran on its recent agreement with the P5+1, and said that it would have a positive effect on the region, while also noting Foreign Minister Zarif’s visits to the Gulf countries last month as an important new beginning for regional relationships.
- Abdollahian also met with Iraqi Foreign Minister Houshiar Zibari, Lebanese Prime Minister Najib Miqati, and officials from Greece, Jordan, and Ireland.
- A delegation led by Deputy Justice Minister Abdolali Mirkouhi has travelled to Lebanon to discuss and exchange information on the case of Iranian embassy bombing in November with the Lebanese Justice Ministry. Iranian Ambassador to Lebanon Qazanfar Rokn Abadi also accompanied the Iranian delegation.
Military and Security
- Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi addressed the heads of Shoush village nomads and stated, “In the Islamic Republic of Iran system there is no difference between Arab, Turk, Lor, Kurd and other ethnicities. Choosing Khuzestan as the first presidential provincial visit is due to the importance of Khuzestan. The enemy is seeking to create division and defeat unity among Shi’a and it reaches its goal when it breaks this unity among Shi’a...We completely trust in you and the administration has promised to use all of its power to develop and alleviate the problems of Khuzestan, especially Arab areas.” The elders reportedly requested the Intelligence Minister to relay the problem of youth unemployment in the area to the President.
Law Enforcement Forces Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam discussed recent unrest in the southeast and northwest and criticized the Pakistani government for not taking more measures against the perpetrators of the October 24, 2013 attack on Iranian border forces in Saravan:
- “After the arrest of [former Jundullah head] Abdolmalek Rigi, a heavy blow was inflicted on his terrorist organization, but after the passage of time with the aid of Western intelligence organizations they have become organized in the shape of groups with different names and are designing operations against the Islamic Republic.”
- “In addition to the Sistan va Baluchestan region, terrorist groups are also making moves in the northwest of the country. Fortunately, the preparedness of security and intelligence forces caused these measures to not continue and flourish despite receiving some damages, and just as we anticipated the aim of these terrorist groups was to create unrest. Also, the measures of all security organs are based on: intelligence, supervision, preemptive measures and presence. Of course, confrontational measures are also on the agenda when these groups become present, and whenever their presence is felt, the ready-to-die forces have confronted them.”
- “Those who created the Saravan event are present in Pakistani soil and pursuits have taken place diplomatically because we have no intention to directly intervene in Pakistani soil and pursue them. The Pakistani government must take the necessary cooperation regarding their pursuit with practical measures but unfortunately they pretend to cooperate and the Pakistani government has not taken any practical steps in this regard. In previous years, practical cooperation existed; for example, they arrested and handed over the brother of Abdolmalek Rigi and a number of other terrorists to us. It is expected for them to cooperate more.”
- IRGC Aerospace Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh spoke to commanders at an IRGC Navy base and said, “Thanks to the Supreme Leader …and children sworn to preserve Iran’s honor and independence, Iran has become the determinant element in global equations.”
- “Today, if there were a conference of enemy military experts on the subject of a military confrontation with Iran, the Islamic system’s power would clutter all their calculations and blind their greedy eyes, erasing the imagination of this confrontation from their minds.”
- “One of the important groups in creating Resistance, acquiring this power and ability, and preserving preparedness is the IRGC Navy.”
- Head of the Foundation for the Preservation and Publication of Sacred Defense Works and Values IRGC Brig. Gen. Bahman Kargar said, “The Islamic Revolution of Iran was a cultural, artistic, and spiritual renaissance. Without a doubt, one of the most important achievements of this great Revolution is the glorious return to ourselves in the cultural and artistic arenas.”
- Armed Forces General Staff Basij Affairs and Defense Culture Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Massoud Jazayeri claimed that “During the era of the Imposed War [Iran-Iraq War], America was unsuccessful against us, and tens of documents exist, that say America was the initiator of the war.”
- IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour met with members of the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission in order to investigate recent news and developments, present plans for evaluating the current landscape, and look into protecting manufacturing investments.
- Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi spoke about the nuclear deal implementation agreement and stated,“That which has importance in the Iran-P5+1 negotiations is the will of the two sides to take a step in a direction to solve the problem. It is hoped that the rest of the path continues in the same way.”
- “Under the framework, Iran is taking action to make [its research] transparent. It presented its new-generation centrifuges to the [International Atomic Energy Agency] a few weeks ago.”
- “It was only for the sake of argument that [the West] asked why Iran acquired these centrifuges.”
- “It is correct that Iran has ceased its own 20% uranium enrichment. However, with that stoppage, our 5% production is increasing.”
- Speaking of plans for the existing 196kg of 20% uranium: “Some uranium will be changed into fuel plates to be used in the Tehran reactor. We will dilute uranium down to 5% to use in the Bushehr power plant. We have accepted and given them a return to 5%, but this has caused [the production of] 400 or 500kg of additional 5% fuel.”
- Commenting on President Obama’s statement that Iran’s program has been successfully stopped: “[Americans] have previously said that ‘If we were able to stop Iran’s activities, we would,’ but they have been unable to do so. We stopped nothing. These statements are for public consumption in his own country, and we give him this right because the Zionist lobby in America is very strong and has absolutely no interest in resolving the Iranian file.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gave an interview on the nuclear issue with Russian newspaper Russia Today while in Moscow:
- “US sanctions against Iran have had no positive results. If radical legislators make an effort to increase sanctions, they will not like the results that come out of this.”
- “Sanctions have produced 19,000 centrifuges and the suffering of the Iranian people because the US Congress is opposed to Iran acquiring medicine.”
- “If they believe that sanctions are very important, they can test that and see the results. The results will not be something that they like.”
- Rural Roads Deputy to Khuzestan Road and Urban Development Managing Director Atabak Zarasavandi announced, “In the travel of the administration of moderation and hope, 420 billion rials [approximately $16.9 million] have been allocated to construct and complete Khuzestan rural roads.”
Photo of the Day
- Iranian cinema critics celebration in Tehran.