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, Farzin Farzad, Diana Timmerman and Warren Marshall. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

Key takeaway: 208 parliamentarians signed an open letter hailing Qassem Soleimani as a strategic mastermind and defender of “sustainable regional security.” Hossein Salami reiterated the regime’s intent to expand the armed resistance into the West Bank. MP Hassan Asafari warned that Parliament would push legislation to enrich uranium to 60 percent if new sanctions are imposed.

208 MPs praised IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani for leading the fight against ISIL and called the Qods Force the “powerful arm” of the Islamic Republic. The President of the Strategic Defense Studies Center IRGC Brigadier General Ahmad Vahidi, meanwhile, attributed recent victories in Iraq against ISIL to Soleimani. The Former Qods Force Commander added that the US strategy in Iraq has failed, echoing regime rhetoric regarding Washington’s Middle East policies and the US-led coalition against ISIL.

IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami reassured the domestic audience that a concerted effort will be made to expand the armed resistance into the West Bank, as well as carrying “…out a particular work specifically in retaliation and revenge for the incident that happened in in the Golan Heights, near Quneitra,” which killed Qods Force member IRGC Brigadier General Allah Dadi. Salami also highlighted the “sharp contrast” between the “interests” of the al Houthi movement, which he noted is “inspired by the Islamic Revolution,” and those of the US and its regional allies. His comment underscores the regime’s increasing willingness to rhetorically cast recent developments in Yemen as loss in regional influence for the US and a gain for the Islamic Republic.

Parliamentarian Mohammad Hassan Asafari announced Parliament’s plans to push legislation to enrich uranium to 60 percent in the event the US Congress passes new sanctions against Iran. Ali Shamkhani, the Supreme National Security Council Secretary, moreover, said that such approaches by the P5+1 have proven to be ineffective in the past and added that, appropriate and proportional measures will be taken in response to the behavior of the opposing party.

Official Statements

  • 208 Parliamentarians laud Soleimani’s fight against ISIL. An open letter was signed by 208 members of Parliament praising IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani for his efforts in combatting ISIL. The letter praised the Qods Force as the “powerful arm of the Islamic Revolution and the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution” for its “role” “in defense of the Muslim nation and sustainable regional security.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Vahidi: Soleimani broke ISIL, not the coalition of 60 countries. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ahmad Vahidi, President of the Strategic Defense Studies Center and former Qods Force Commander, stated that the recent victories against ISIL in Iraq is because of the actions of the resistance headed by Qassem Soleimani and had nothing to do with the coalition of 60 countries against ISIL. Vahidi asserted that the US wanted to change the democratic regime in Iraq to be more favorable to its own interests, but Vahidi claimed this strategy has failed. (Defa Press)
  • MP says Parliament will push legislation to enrich uranium to 60 percent in the event of new sanctions. Parliamentarian Mohammad Hassan Asafari said that if the US imposes new sanctions on Iran, Parliament will call for 60 percent uranium enrichment with the new generation centrifuges. (IRIB)
  • Salami: we will open up a front on the West Bank and enact revenge for Quneitra attack. IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami discussed the response to the January 18 Israeli air strike which killed IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi and several Hezbollah members, the West Bank, and Yemen:
    • On the West Bank and the response to the Quneitra attack: “Opening a new front in the West Bank, which is a major part of our dear Palestine, surely will be on the agenda; and this matter is part of the new reality…which will gradually be revealed.”
    • “This means opening the front on the West Bank means still supporting the Palestinian and Lebanese militant groups in Palestine and Lebanon, [and] creating new defensive capabilities and infrastructure for Muslims who are living near the borders of the Zionist regime and Palestine; these are our past policies, and will be continued in the future. However, we will carry out a particular work specifically in retaliation and revenge for the incident that happened in in the Golan Heights, near Quneitra.”
    • In response to the question of whether “the response and retaliation will be made by Iran or by a resistance group”, Salami stated: “the manner of this [response and retaliation] cannot be announced; we do not intend to announce the manner of this [response and retaliation], but God willing, something will happen.”
    • On Yemen: “When you look at the scene in Yemen, you feel that the forces are inspired by the Islamic Revolution and that today they are in the process of regaining a larger role, one which is in sharp contrast to the political interests of America and its regional allies.”
    • “The developments in Yemen will never benefit the ongoing American policies.”
    • On Bahrain: “We see the flames of revolution in Bahrain, which will never be extinguished; and this trend is at odds with the policies and objectives of America; finally, Bahrain is one of the strategic American bases in the Persian Gulf region; America is faced with a disturbing new phenomenon in which they feel they have lost the balance of power between themselves and the Islamic Revolution.” (Defa Press)
  • Naghdi: Zionists should be prepared for the complete destruction of Israel. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, Head of the Basij Organization, stated that the martyrdom of IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Ali Allah Dadi in an Israeli airstrike is grounds for an “appropriate response” against the Zionist regime and the beginning of the liberation of Jerusalem. Naghdi added that this martyrdom proves that the “takfiri” terrorists in Syria and Iraq are irregular forces of Israel and the US against the Islamic nation. (Fars News Agency)
  • Firouzabadi commemorates defeat of 1982 Communist uprising. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi commemorated the anniversary of the failed 1982 attack by the Sarbedaran, the armed wing of the Union of Iranian Communists, on Amol, Mazandaran province. The Armed Forces General Staff Headquarters Chief stated that the “memories of the struggle and sacrifices” of the townspeople and Basijis who repelled the attack will not be forgotten. (Sepah News)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Larijani: nuclear agreement not far from reach. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with Vesna Pusic, Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, who expressed hope that a final agreement would be made that would expand peace and stability. Pusic said that Croatia, as a new member of the EU, is ready to promote the talks. Pusic also expressed interest in increased Parliamentary relations in order to increase trade and investments in a joint industrial and petrochemical venture. (Mehr News)
  • Zarif: The West and Europe need to gain the trust of the Iranian people in the negotiations. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Vesna Pusic, Croatian First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign and European Affairs, to discuss the development of bilateral relations in all fields. Zarif welcomed cooperation in the political, economic, cultural, tourism, and sports fields. Zarif emphasized the need to strengthen cooperation and exchange of parliamentary delegations between the two countries and stressed that Iran supports the promotion of private sector programs in order to increase cooperation and investment in joint projects. Both sides expressed hope in reaching a final nuclear agreement and Zarif said that Croatia supports the EU Foreign Policy Chief’s opposition to new nuclear-related economic sanctions. Zarif also expressed regret that insult to Muslim beliefs can be easily expressed in Europe. (IRNA)
  • Shamkhani meets with Georgia’s Parliament Speaker. Ali Shamkhani, the Supreme National Security Council Secretary, met with Irakli Garibashvili, Parliament Speaker of Georgia, to discuss the importance of developing increased bilateral ties, the need to confront common threats such as terrorism, the facilitation of transport routes, energy, and “other topics.” On the nuclear negotiations Shamkhani said that Iran has adhered to the interim nuclear agreement and that the P5+1 countries should do the same by removing sanctions. Shamkhani said that the opposite side, by using approaches that have been proven ineffective in the past, will be responsible for any obstruction to the negotiations. He added that appropriate and proportional measures will be taken in response to the behavior of the opposite party. (IRNA)

Military and Security

  • Pourdastan: Iran owns the most powerful armor units in West Asia. Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan, Artesh Ground Forces Commander, spoke about the capabilities of Iran’s tanks and armored units. Pourdastan stated that the tank systems and armored units of the Artesh are equal to the best around the world, and are the most powerful in the West Asia region. Pourdastan said the tanks are able to hit moving and fixed targets, and in battle are able to provide multiple types of combat support. (Defa Press)

Nuclear Talks

  • Iran and the EU-3 will hold nuclear negotiations this Thursday in Turkey. International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi and Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi will meet with their British, French, and German counterparts in Istanbul on January 29. (Fars News Agency)
  • Iranian negotiator says Zurich nuclear talks touched on uranium enrichment and sanctions. Abbas Araghchi described last week’s two-day talks with US and Officials as “useful” and said the other side had shown seriousness during negotiations. The International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister also stated that an Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) delegation traveled to Russia for further discussions with Russian officials after the recent P5+1 session in Geneva. (Fars News Agency)
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