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.
Military and Security
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Quds Force Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Shirazi discussed martyrdom during the funeral ceremony for IRGC member Akbar Shahriari, who was killed fighting in Syria. Shirazi stated, “A martyr is an individual who supports religion by cutting from the world and follows the divine prophets, because divine prophets were constantly seeking to achieve martyrdom in the path of executing divine commands. This grandeur and place of the martyr rank can make a society move towards perfection. Therefore, if we consider truth the basis of human perfection, the martyr can be introduced as a model in society and every society gives life to a dead [human].”
- Senior Artesh Air Force commander Amir Reza Jihadi claimed that his forces are “at the most prepared status possible” despite the effect of sanctions. He said, “All of our materiel have been optimized and updated to be at peak defensive readiness. Artesh air force artillery units and defense bases throughout the region are at the highest combat readiness and are prepared to execute the missions assigned to them.”
- Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi congratulated Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour on receiving the “Victory One” medal from Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini [Jan. 15 INR], saying “I pray to God that your success in serving the holy system of Iran increases daily.”
The IRGC‘s weekly publication Sobh-e Sadegh published an editorial commenting on “several noteworthy points” during Foreign Minister Zarif’s Middle East tour last week, which included the strengthening of Iran’s regional position and leverage in the nuclear negotiations:
- “A) Popular demand: The Iranians consider the Resistance Front a component for its internal stability and global power. It especially considers it a comprehensive strategy to confront the enemies’ conspiracies and emphasizes the necessity of continuing this path. On this basis, it can be said that one of the important factors in Zarif’s travel was executing popular demands in greater gravitation with the Resistance.”
- “B) Regional situation: Zarif’s travel can be considered an effective measure towards coordination among the pillars of Resistance composed by: Iran, Iraq and Syria in the arena of confronting terrorism. Some believe that Zarif’s travel to Jordan is a sort of warning by the Resistance to this country based on statements supporting terrorist groups and Saudi Arabia in regional crises….With attention to [the fact that] the West seeks to impose its circumstances on this [Geneva II] summit and even uses it to create crises in the region, greater coordination among the pillars of Resistance and also supporters of Syria is an important act…An active presence in regional equations prior to Geneva II is a necessary act, which Zarif’s tour can be considered a measure in this regard. It is a behavior that, from one side, demonstrates the massive regional capacities of Iran regarding the Resistance front and, from another; it creates the necessary coordination among the supporters of Syria to confront the West’s potential designs.”
- “C) Regional necessities: The important point in the behavior of the West is that by claiming an interactive approach with Iran and also the nuclear accord, they attempted to make it appear as if they succeeded in distancing Iran from the Resistance and guided it towards compromise. In recent weeks, the West, despite talking of interaction in appearance, has exerted new pressures on Iran with this outlook and on this belief that Iran has taken to the West to secure economic matters. Zarif’s visit to the pillars of the Resistance Front composed by: Iraq, Syria and Lebanon can be an effective measure in reaction to the West’s recent threats that can strengthen Iran’s position in the nuclear negotiations. Foreign Minister Takht Ravanchi’s travel to Latin America- the other parts of the Resistance Front, despite delays- is the ring completing this policy.”
- “It can be said with praise that Zarif’s travel to the Resistance Front (Syria, Lebanon and Iraq) and its completion with a trip to Russia can be an important step towards fulfilling popular demand via the diplomatic organ and the strengthening of Iran’s regional and global position. Its final result can be witnessed in the strengthening of Iran’s position in the nuclear negotiations and bargaining with the West. It is a measure that can be completed by Zarif’s travel to Latin America- America’s former back yard.”
- National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Vice-Chairman and former senior IRGC commander Mohammad Esmail Kowsari announced, “So far no decision has been made regarding the Armed Forces budget deficit. Therefore, we are still pursuing it so we can reach a determined result. From the other side, our meetings continue in this regard [but] no votes have taken place in the committee yet.” Kowsari then responded to recent criticism of Armed Forces economic construction and stated, “Individuals who have introduced criticisms regarding the presence of the Armed Forces in the arena of the country’s construction, whether they were in Parliament or outside, were based on ignorance regarding the country’s laws. This matter has been noted in the Constitution, which Armed Forces can be used during peace time towards the country’s construction. In order for the Armed Forces to be present at the service of the country’s construction, their budget must be completely secured like the budget of ministries so they do not confront a budget deficit and can stand on their own feet.”
- President Hassan Rouhani spoke to a number of companies, and investors, especially in the automotive and energy industries, while in Switzerland attending the World Economic Forum. Rouhani detailed the investment picture in Iran, concluding, “Different political and economic risks in Iran are in a state of decline, while the Iranian economy is dawning again. There are rare opportunities for lucrative investments in Iran.”
- “At this time, we have gotten the rate of inflation under control and seek to lower it below 10% within three years by executing a comprehensive plan.”
- “The new Iranian government has been leading for about five months, and in this short time it has had notable successes in the domestic and foreign political arenas.”
- “As evidenced by contemporary history, no country in the world is able to grow and develop a stable economy in isolation…My administration is determined to use this experience to upgrade its economic status in the world by making a more open and more competitive Iranian economy…We will provide all the necessary facilities for foreign merchants and investors to operate in Iran. This includes energy, infrastructure, telecommunications, and broadband internet across the country.”
- “The slogan of my administration is welcoming investors, whether Iranian or non-Iranian.”
- “Stability is the most important factor in the decision to make any type of investment. I am honored to be the president of a country that is stable within a turbulent region. Iran enjoys a deep democracy, which is the outcome of the Islamic Revolution, and its citizens are participants in the political arena via elections.”
- “Let me explain to you some of [Iran’s] potential. Iran enjoys a very young population…Likewise, in recent years there have been large investments in higher education. On the other hand, Iran has a unique geographical location, making it a natural regional crossroads. The shortest and cheapest way to connect central Asian countries with international waters is by way of Iran.”
- Rouhani then detailed the growing demand for gas and oil throughout the world, and noted that Iran had these resources in abundance, which opens a number of investment opportunities.
- “Other than energy, the other industry I want to spend time on is Iran’s automobile manufacturing industry. Iran has enjoyed this industry for over fifty years, and with the investments it has made in the past, it now has the capacity to produce more than one million units a year.”
- President Rouhani met with President of the European Commission Jose Manuel Barroso, with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton also present. The presidents spoke about Syria, developing cooperation between Iran and the EU, and the nuclear issue:
- Rouhani expressed his hopes to begin the next nuclear negotiations soon: “I know that this is a difficult and complex job, but with the will of both sides, this important issue can take place in the shortest time possible…If the NPT treaty is used as the basis of negotiations, these issues will be able to be solved most quickly.”
- The president also addressed terrorism, saying, “Terrorism is a threat to all. We must confront this issue hand-in-hand, because if terrorism spreads, it will not only harm the region, but also Europe and the rest of the world.”
- Barroso responded to Rouhani’s call for closer ties by stating, “The European Commission is also interested in developing relations with Iran, as is the EU. We believe Iran has an important role in the Middle East and can be an important and great partner for us through bilateral relations.”
- President Rouhani also met with Azerbaijan’s President Ilham Aliyev to announce his country’s readiness to transfer its knowledge and experiences in the gas and oil field to Azerbaijan: “We partner a great deal with our friend and neighbor Azerbaijan, because the progress and welfare of the people of Azerbaijan is very important to us. Iran is prepared to place its own experiences in various fields, including the fields of gas, oil, and petrochemicals, in the hands of our Azeri friends and brothers.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif urged countries to stop pouring weapons into Syria and said, “All foreign elements must exit this country.”
- Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Saidi spoke during Friday prayer, criticizing the Geneva II negotiations: “Gathering the killers of the Syrian people at the Geneva II conference to find a solution to this crisis they imposed, without the presence of Iran, will in absolutely no way have a clear result for the Syrian people.” He also reacted to the rescindment of Iran’s invitation by saying, “The UN secretary general has shown that he is a puppet of Arrogance [the West] with this unjustifiable action.”
- Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani discussed current divisions within Islam and supported the statements of Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on the nuclear program:
- “Today the world of Islam is facing problems. One of these problems is takfiris and salafists, which have religious roots. It has begun in the age of the Leader of the Faithful [First Shi’a Imam Ali] that has the meaning of bloodshed.”
- “In the recent century, individuals such as Muhammad ibn al-Wahab [founder of Wahabbism] started the takfir movement, misleading people by reciting verses of the Qur’an without attention to their meaning. They trained bigoted and violent individuals and then implemented the matter of takfir.”
- “The truth is that the world of Islam is placed in division, this division has few problems with the existence of vast commonalities between Shi’a and Sunni.”
- “They invited Iran and then withdrew their invitation for the Geneva II conference. Of course the world knows that Iran has an important role in the Middle East and it is unfortunate that they withdrew the invitation with the pressure of America and the opposition.”
- “The movement that the Islamic Republic administration takes with regard to the nuclear matter, P5+1 negotiations and the positions of the Foreign Minister are firm. These are positions that the great nation has stood by. Just as the Foreign Minister stated, Iran will not dismantle any facilities and all that exists will remain there and enrichment higher than 5% will be limited. This is a point that the Western world must take note of. The positions of the Islamic Republic of Iran’s system are the positions of the Foreign Minister [and the administration] supports this position with all its power. It will not accept the positions that the enemies seek to impose on Iran.”
- In an open letter, several members of the reformist-leaning National Confidence Party Central Council and its founding board urged President Hassan Rouhani “to pursue the situation of lifting the house arrests of [2009 presidential candidates] Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karoubi and [Mousavi’s wife] Zahra Rahnavard.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke to CNN on the sidelines of the World Economic Forum and criticized the American portrayal of the Joint Plan of Action: “The White House is trying to put forth this agreement as a dismantling of the Iranian nuclear program. That is the word they use. If you find even one word in the whole text of the agreement that even resembles the word destruction, or one like it, I will rescind my statement.”
- “The words the White House uses to explain the agreement are different than the text that Iran and the P5+1 countries agreed upon.”
- “We are not destroying any centrifuges, and we are not destroying any equipment. It is very simple. We are just not enriching past 5%.”
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Eragchi discussed the results of a special meeting of the International Atomic Energy Agency board regarding who would pay the increased supervision costs of the Joint Plan of Action, saying “The P5+1 has assured the IAEA that they will cover the costs of supervising and verifying the implementation of the Geneva agreement.”
- Eraghchi added that Iran would not pay any of the approximately $8.2 million necessary for the IAEA’s increased supervision.
- Member of the Expediency Discernment Council Saeed Jalili said that “The enemy does not have the ability to oppose our domestic progress, and our peaceful nuclear technology will not be destroyed by the military option… The enemy’s greed will not make us retreat from the nuclear issue.”
- Engineering and Domestic Construction Deputy to the Oil Minister Amad Hosseini announced a ban on the importation of “non-standard and no quality” Chinese drills and stated, “Building drills with the participation of Iranian manufacturers is at the agenda of the Oil Ministry.”
- Iran Concrete and Concrete Structures Engineering Scientific Association Secretary Mostafa Ahmadvand announced, “Even though Iranian companies are capable of exporting $20 billion per year in technical and engineering services, this sector requires the support of the Eleventh Administration.”
- A capital market analyst believes recent losses in the Tehran Stock Market to be “budget ambiguities” and urged the administration and Parliament to refrain from implementing sudden decisions.