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: Qods Force member IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi was killed an Israeli airstrike in Syria/ Abdollahian voiced Iran’s support for the al Houthis but reiterated its relationship with the Yemeni government. 

Qods Force member IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi was killed along with several Hezbollah by an Israeli airstrike in Quneitra, a southwestern province of Syria. Allah Dadi served in the 27th Mohammad Rasoul Allah Division before commanding the 18th al Ghadir Brigade based in Yazd, and later joined the Qods Force.  Allah Dadi is one of the highest ranking IRGC members to be killed in the Iraq and Syria conflicts, following the death of IRGC Brigadier General Hamid Taghavi in Iraq in December.  IRGC Command Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari responded forcefully, claiming that the IRGC will stand until the final collapse of Israel. Allah Dadi’s funeral is scheduled for January 21 in Tehran.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian voiced his support for the rebel al Houthi group and its political wing, Ansar Allah, stating that they are “not looking for power, they like many parties, groups, and tribes, are seeking security and stability for their country.” In his comments, he focused his praise on the al Houthi’s efforts against Al Qaeda. Abdollahian also highlighted that Iran has relations with the Yemeni government as well. Abdollahian’s comments highlight Iran’s recent push to publically praise and support the al Houthi movement.

Abdollahian also said that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s canceled trip to Saudi Arabia to hold talks with his counterpart Saud al Faisal was due to al Faisal’s “unacceptable statements concerning Syria,” while SCNS Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated that Iran is ready for serious sand transparent dialogue with Saudi Arabia on issues of mutual concern. The Rouhani administration has made several successful overtures to Saudi Arabia on improving relations, but falling oil prices may stymie the endeavor; last week, Rouhani stated that the originators of the falling oil prices will regret their decision and pointed out that Saudi Arabia’s economy depends on oil for 80% of its government revenues.

Iran and Russia signed a defense and military cooperation agreement and discussed a deal made in 2007 for the delivery of five S-300 missile systems. The agreement may indicate that Russia is finally moving forward to deliver the first missile system due to increased pressure from Tehran.

Military and Security

  • IRGC General killed in Syria. Qods Force member IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi was killed in Syria in an Israeli airstrike while “defending the people of Syria” against takfiri terrorist groups. Allah Dadi supported the Islamic resistance against “Zionist conspiracies” and support of terrorists in Syria. Allah Dadi was killed in the town of Quneitra along with a group of Islamic resistance fighters. Allah Dadi had previously commanded the IRGC 18th al Ghadir Independent Brigade before joining the Qods Force “a few years ago,” purportedly “at the invitation of” IRGC Qods Force Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Qassem Soleimani. The funeral procession will be held on January 21 in Tehran. (Sepah News) (Sepah News) (Kheshab)
  • Dehghan holds extensive talks with Russian Defense Minister in Iran. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan met with his Russian counterpart General Sergei Shoigu in Tehran to promote intensified bilateral cooperation efforts. Dehghan said that Iran and Russia are two neighboring countries with common regional and global views. Dehghan added:
    • “We believe that the current situation provides an opportunity for development and cooperation…[and] that a powerful Russia in cooperation with an independent and powerful Iran can leave durable impacts on regional peace and security."
    • “Given that America and the West’s policy has been to target and destroy the strategic infrastructures of sovereign countries [referring to Syria], Iran and Russia can work together in synergy to enable potential strategic opportunities in order to counter the expansionist interventions of America.”
    • "Strengthening the political, security, economic and regional structures like the Shanghai Cooperation Organization and creation of new structures in the region can provide the ground for overcoming terrorism and extremism." (Defa Press)
  • Tehran and Moscow sign a defense cooperation agreement. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Dehghan and his Russian Counterpart Shoigu signed a defense and military cooperation agreement. The two sides also discussed the S-300 missile defense system, in accordance to the 2007 deal signed between Russia and Iran for five S-300 missile systems. Moscow has yet to deliver a single system, prompting pressure from Tehran. (IRNA)
  • Artesh Navy Commander: “Iran will have a permanent presence in the north Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden.” Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said the Navy would continue its presence in the north Indian Ocean and Gulf of Aden for counterterrorism and anti-smuggling missions in cooperation with Omani naval forces. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base Deputy Commander: We do not rely on foreign technologies for our defense. Brig. Gen. Amir Reza Sabahi Fard said one of the primary goals of the Khatam ol-Anbia Air Defense Base is to secure the country’s critical centers. Sabahi Fard added that his organization’s personnel are increasingly using domestically-developed defensive and weapons systems in their work. (Defa Press)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy 

  • Abdollahian travels to Qatar. Hossein Amir Abdollahian arrived in Doha today, as part of a two-day visit. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister will participate in a joint commission between Iran and Qatar and will also meet with his Qatari counterpart. (Mehr News)
  • Abdollahian: “Houthis are seeking security and stability for their country.” Hossein Amir Abdollahian voiced support of the Houthis in Yemen, but added that Iran also has relations with the government in Yemen. Abdollahian also addressed relations with Saudi Arabia:
    • On Yemen: “Yemen’s security is important to us. Yemen had previously become central to the growth of the fungal species al Qaeda.”
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran has relations with all parties and groups in Yemen, and [Iran] also has relations with the government of Yemen, and closely connected with the al Houthis and Ansar Allah.” 
    • “Ansar Allah and the Houthis are taking effective measures on several fronts in coordination with relevant sections and parties of the Yemeni government: first, the fight against corruption, which has created many problems for Yemen in recent years. Second, the fight against al Qaeda and we explicitly say, neither the Americans, nor the government of Yemen, whether it was during the years of Ali Abdullah Saleh [President of Yemen 1990-2012], or after the recent developments in Yemen, by no means were they able to fight al Qaeda in Yemen.”
    • “Despite America’s military presence and its UAVs and the targeting of al Qaeda, they did not achieve victory or success in this field. But the Houthis and Ansar Allah in coordination with the government the effective use of tribes were able to deliver effective blows to al Qaeda in Yemen.”
    • “Houthi actions were not in coordination with the [Gulf] Cooperation Council [GCC], because [GCC] had great inefficiencies [in its proposed resolution] that, within the scope of corruption, al Qaeda created, and national unity, created issues for Yemen.”
    • “The Houthis are not looking for power, they like many parties, groups, and tribes are seeking security and stability for their country. Even when the Houthis were capable of taking other measures in the capital [referring to the Houthis siege on Sanaa in September, 2014], they found that the best measurement is peace and partnership that will benefit all parties.”   
    • Addressing Foreign Minister Zarif’s cancelled trip to Saudi Arabia to meet his Saudi counterpart Saud al Faisal, Abdollahian stated: “This trip was cancelled because Foreign Minister Saud Al Faisal made unacceptable statements concerning Syria, although Foreign Minister Javad Zarif still looks forward to meeting with Al Faisal.”
    • “We have sent messages to the Saudi government to avoid the damage that low oil prices will bring to oil-producing countries in the region.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Shamkhani: Iran is ready for serious and transparent dialogue with Saudi Arabia on issues of mutual concern. Ali Shamkhani stressed the need for Islamic countries to help prevent bloodshed among Muslims and to confront the extremism and terrorism embodied in groups such as ISIL. The Supreme National Security Council Secretary’s comments came during a meeting with Hossein Sadeghi, Iranian ambassador to Saudi Arabia. (Fars News Agency)
  • Hajizadeh highlights IRGC-Iraqi Air Force relationship. IRGC Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh met with a senior Iraqi military delegation led by Iraqi Air Force Commander General Anwar Hamad Amin. Hajizadeh stated, “The IRGC came to the aid of the people, the government, and the army of Iraq, from the first days of the terrorist ISIL’s invasion.” Hajizadeh said that they were “trying to improve levels of interaction of both parties,” and as a result the “Iraqi Air Force will be strengthened further.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Official Statements

  • Jafari: The IRGC will stand until the final collapse of the Zionist Regime. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari issued a statement concerning the death of IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi in an Israeli air strike in Syria on Jan 18. Jafari said the IRGC will stand against the “Zionist Regime” in Syria and Palestine until Israel’s final collapse and will not rest until the “removal of the corruption” in the region. (Sepah News)
  • Safavi: Cartoons of the Prophet are a reaction to the ‘new power’ of the Islamic world. IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi, Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader, stated that because “A luminous…awakening and flame of understanding and the Islamic sciences have spread around the world, [and] the Islamic world is taking shape”, French magazines have delivered “shameless insults” against Islam. (Sepah News)
  • IRGC Navy Commander meets with Omani National Defense College Commander. Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi met with Maj. Gen. Salim bin Musallam Qatan, and said that the US “publically threatens Iran,” despite being in “no practical position” to do so. Fadavi also said that strategists around the world should know that the Strait of Hormuz “is of particular and special importance.” (Sepah News)
  • Ali Larijani emphasizes the importance of the liberation of Palestine for the Islamic world. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with Ahmad Jebril Secretary-General of the PLO and emphasized the need for unity among Palestinian groups. Larijani later condemned the recent attack on members of Hezbollah in Syria and said that the Zionist regime cooperated with takfiri terrorists to commit the “cowardly act.” In another part of his speech, Larijani criticized the compliance of some countries in the region in sabotaging the price of oil. (Fars News Agency)
  • Zarif points to the challenges of extremism and terrorism engulfing the region. Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Chief Executive Officer of Afghanistan Abdollah Abdollah, who thanked the Foreign Minister for Iran’s continuous support and welcomed the diplomatic and cultural cooperation between the two countries. Zarif spoke about the need for a common solution to the region’s drug problem as well as other common issues such as immigration, trafficking, and economic issues. Zarif emphasized that both sides have had discussions about the many opportunities for the development of eastern Iran and Afghanistan. (Mehr News)

Nuclear Talks

  • Zarif: Next round of P5+1 talks to take place in Davos and Munich. Foreign Minister Zarif discussed last week’s meetings with Secretary of State John Kerry and said that, both parties agreed on and specified the generalities of the nuclear agreement; the principle of enrichment, the need for the removal of sanctions, and maintaining Iran’s nuclear program. Zarif added that, perhaps some details, such as centrifuges and similar issues might still need to be examined. In reference to new sanctions proposed by the US Congress, Zarif emphasized that the other party should accept that if it wants the nuclear talks with Iran to conclude then it should stay away from applying political pressure. (IRNA)
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