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: The office of the Supreme Leader published a speech Khamenei delivered during the Iran-Iraq war, pointing to petropolitics as an enemy ploy to target Iran’s independence, while Deputy Qods Force Commander Ghani said US efforts to combat terrorism are politically motivated. Zarif and Kerry held direct nuclear talks in Paris.

The Supreme Leader’s speech from the Iran-Iraq war era stressed the dangers of British influence over OPEC member states. Khamenei’s recent statements in reaction to falling oil prices, reiterate his position regarding OPEC’s complicit involvement in the oil conspiracy. The release of this speech suggests the office of the Supreme Leader intended to reinforce Khamenei’s message of resistance against economic pressure.

IRGC Qods Force Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani echoed the Supreme Leader’s assertion that ISIL is a tool used by the US and its allies. Ghani said that the US-led coalition has yet to target ISIL’s command center, despite 60 members pledging to combat terrorism. 

Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry met in Paris ahead of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations on Jan 18. Zarif and Kerry concluded their fourth meeting since Wednesday, underscoring the political will and concerted effort to narrow the technical and political gap in order to reach a nuclear deal.

Official Statements

  • Esmail Ghani censures US-led coalition against ISIL. The IRGC Qods Force Deputy Commander criticized US strategy to defeat ISIL and said: “Today they claim to be fighting ISIL, they even formed a 60-member coalition, but the coalition has yet to attack the command center of ISIL.” IRGC Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani also attributed the fighting spirit of the Palestinian resistance forces to the spirit of Iran’s Sacred Defense (Iran-Iraq war). (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Zarif: Today’s world needs dialogue and cooperation more than at any other time. At a joint press conference with his German counterpart, the Foreign Minister stressed the need for dialogue to solve global and regional problems, such as terrorism in Iraq and Syria. Mohammad Javad Zarif commented that failure to acknowledge others’ values leads to grievances that prevent cooperation to solve international issues. (IRNA)
  • Economic and Finance Minister welcomes foreign investment in Iran. Ali Tayeb Nia said that as a result of political developments and the international community’s understanding of the peaceful views of the Islamic Republic, foreign investors will be looking for profitable opportunities in Iran and queuing up to invest in the near future. The Economic and Finance Minister noted that precise figures for this year’s foreign investment in the economy are unavailable because the impact of external factors are unpredictable. Tayeb Nia also pointed to the launch of the Center for Attraction of Investment in Qom Province and other services to facilitate and ease the process of granting investment licenses through the appropriate provisions. (IRNA)
  • Iran-Iraq War imposed because of Iran’s oil and revolutionary system. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s official website published an article referring to a speech from the Iran-Iraq War and compared statements Khamenei made recently about OPEC and the falling price of oil. Khamenei claimed that Iraq invaded Iran for its resources and to counter the system of the Islamic Republic. In recent days Khamenei stated that some OPEC countries are part of the imperialist conspiracy against the Islamic Republic.
    •  “Ideological differences between the Islamic Republic and some neighboring countries have turned ‘economic’ issues into ‘political issues.’”
    • “The oil issue, as I have already said, is a full-blown conspiracy against the Islamic Republic and other progressive countries in the region and all oil producing countries. The original author of this plot is the British.” 
    • “We do not make accusations yet, but there are likely some members of OPEC who are part of the imperialist conspiracy against the rest of OPEC.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Insulting the Prophet is not freedom. Ali Movahedi Kermani, Expediency Discernment Council Member, said that insulting the Prophet is not the same as freedom; doing so shows that the West is afraid of the advance of Islam in Europe, and demonstrates the evil of the West. Kermani added that the national budget needs to decrease its dependence on oil and take advantage of it young workforce. (Fars News Agency)
  • Kowsari: Reformers only know how to chant slogans. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari accused reformist politicians in Parliament of doing and saying nothing except chanting slogans. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission member added that political parties should give priority to solving economic problems and improving the standard of living. (Fars News Agency)

Nuclear Talks

  • Zarif and Kerry meet in Paris. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry met for the fourth time this week in an effort to address the political side of the P5+1 nuclear negotiations, specifically sanctions against Iran. Zarif also met with his French counterpart Laurent Fabius in Paris. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Araghchi regarding nuclear negotiations: “Never lose hope.” Abbas Araghchi, International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, commented on the recent nuclear talks between US and Iran, saying the talks were intense and included a few important issues and added that both sides were very serious. Araghchi expressed hope in the possibility of moving forward, stressing that although no final agreement will be achieved until all aspects of the agreement are settled. Talks will continue on January 18 in Geneva when the remaining P5+1 members are scheduled to join. (Mehr News)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Iran-Iraq ministers to meet this week in Tehran. Iraqi Interior Minister Mohammed Salem al-Ghabban and Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli are scheduled to meet Saturday to discuss the framework for bilateral relations and promoting cooperation between the two countries. Al-Ghabban is reported to be meeting with other Iranian officials as well on this trip. (Mehr News)
  • Nasrallah discusses resistance against Israel and other regional issues. Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah said that events over the past several months in Shebaa Farms (near the Israeli-Lebanese border) demonstrate that Hezbollah will not tolerate Israel’s violation of Lebanese sovereignty. Nasrallah added:
    • “We have had [Iran-produced] Fateh-110 rockets since 2006.”
    • “Iran has an advisory and logistic role [in fighting ISIL] in Iraq.”
    • “Turkey has operational ties to ISIL and the Al-Nusra Front. No weapons enter Syria without Turkey’s knowledge.”
    • “Iran has resisted all pressures, and other countries will collapse from the low price of oil before Iran submits.”
    • “The nuclear issue is intended to target Iran’s independence.”
    • “We have no conditions for repairing relations with Hamas; we have not distanced ourselves from Hamas, but Hamas has distanced itself from us” (Mehr News
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