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: Ali Akbar Velayati met with Russian President Vladimir Putin to promote enhanced joint economic and defense cooperation. Iran and the EU-3 held extensive nuclear negotiations in Turkey, while Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif pushed back against critics of the P5+1 talks.

Ali Akbar Velayati met with President Putin in Moscow on January 28, on behalf of President Hassan Rouhani. Velayati encouraged the strengthening of Iran-Russia bilateral relations and highlighted the continued joint cooperation efforts with respect to the ongoing Syrian crisis. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader also pointed to increasing economic ties between Tehran and Moscow, adding: “Russia agrees to Iran’s full membership in the Shanghai Cooperation Organization [SCO]…” President Putin’s endorsement for Iran’s full membership reinforces the reassurances he made to President Rouhani on November 24, pledging Moscow and Beijing’s support for gradual economic relief for Tehran.

The Iranian negotiations team, led by Abbas Araghchi, International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, and Majid Takht Ravanchi, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs held nuclear negotiations with their British, French, and German counterparts in Istanbul. The Deputy-level talks are a part of the ongoing talks between Iran and the P5+1, which are set to resume in February. Foreign Minister Zarif, meanwhile, fired back at regime hardliners who are opposed to the nuclear negotiations: “As the Supreme Leader has said, our nuclear negotiating team is like one person standing opposite an entire army. Our team cannot negotiate with this army while also worrying about those at home who challenge their every action and statement.”


Official Statements

  • Zarif: Criticism of the nuclear negotiators is fine, but criticizing the national interest is a red line. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif gave an interview on the ongoing nuclear negotiations during a trip to Armenia:
    • “As the Supreme Leader has said, our nuclear negotiating team is like one person standing opposite an entire army. Our team cannot negotiate with this army while also worrying about those at home who challenge their every action and statement.”
    • “Iran’s enrichment program will remain, sanctions will be eliminated, and no nuclear sites will be closed; these points have been decided. But some details remain to be negotiated.” (IRNA)


  • Boroujerdi: Iran will help any country that stands in resistance against the “Zionists.” During a meeting with Nahed Hattar, head of the Jordanian Council for Foreign Relations, Alaeddin Boroujerdi expressed disappointment that some Islamic countries today had become “playthings” of the West rather than uniting to help fellow Muslim states. The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman also stated that Iran is willing to share its scientific advancements with other Islamic nations. Hattar in turn thanked Iran for its support of the people’s resistance against occupation in Lebanon, Palestine, Syria, and Iraq. (Tasnim News Agency)


  • Larijani: Conspiracy of low oil prices will not work. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani spoke on January 28 concerning the “conspiracy of falling oil prices” against Iran. Larijani praised resistance economy strategy of the Supreme Leader and assured the people of Bahar that they will see economic growth in many sectors. The Parliament Speaker also criticized the “mischief” of countries conspiring against Iran with low oil prices and labeled the resistance economy strategy as “life-saving.” (Fars News Agency)


  • Jalali: New Google system will help in prosecutions. IRGC Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali spoke at a conference of physical security and engineering and discussed areas of expertise needed for the cyber and physical defense of the country. The Head of the Passive Defense Organization said that creativity and imagination in the field of engineering are needed for technical protection and added that adherence to technical standards and local regulations in contract projects is necessary. Jalali mentioned that “’Google’s new system’ affects the security field and means that surveillance can be conducted on a vehicle or important person.” (Tasnim News Agency)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Velayati meets with President Putin in Moscow. Ali Akbar Velayati spoke about expanding and improving cooperation with Russia regarding the Syrian conflict and in the P5+1 negotiations. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader met with President Vladimir Putin and other Russian officials as a special representative for President Hassan Rouhani on January 28 in Moscow. Velayati added that Russia has agreed to offer Iran full membership into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, in due time. (Mehr News)


  • Abdollahian to attend African Union Summit. Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian will attend the 24th African Union Summit. The Summit is slated for January 30-31, in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. (IRNA)


  • Hezbollah’s Representative to Tehran addresses Parliament. Seyyed Abdullah Safieddine addressed a Parliament session today about the January 18 Israeli airstrike that killed an IRGC Qods Force general and several Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) members. The LH Representative to Tehran said that Hezbollah is pursuing the destruction of the “Zionist regime” and ISIL. (Fars News Agency)


  • Hamas: the “path” to improving relations with Iran is “good.” Senior Hamas leader Ahmad Yousef stated that Iran’s purported “requirement for return of relations with [Hamas] is the resignation of [leader of Hamas] Khaled Meshaal has not been raised,” and said that “Iranians are opposed to interference in the internal affairs of Hamas.” Yousef noted that “Hamas’ relationship with Iran is a strategic one… and a good one; there is a good path to travel in this improvement of [this] relationship.” Yousef stated that, “we are now waiting for the official opening of [Hamas]’s relationship with Iran.” (ISNA)


  • Iran appoints new ambassador to UN. The Foreign Ministry announced on January 28 the appointment of Gholamali Khoshrou, current Ambassador to Switzerland. Khoshrou previously served seven years as ambassador to the UN. In recent years, Khoshrou has participated in numerous international conferences and has focused his research on the role of religious democracy in the “Islamic Awakening” and the revival of a new Islamic civilization. The US opposed Iran’s previous nominee, Hamid Aboutalebi, and denied him a visa due to his role in the 1979-1981 hostage crisis in Tehran; Khoshrou is anticipated to address the UN on the US opposition to Aboutalebi. (Mehr News)


  • Senior cleric on Tehran-Riyadh relations. Grand Ayatollah Naser Makaram Shirazi said that relations between Iran and Saudi Arabia should take up the stance of the two sides’ religious experts and scholars, not low-level extremists. During his meeting with Iranian ambassador to Saudi Arabia Amir Hossein Sadeghi, Ayatollah Shirazi said that despite differences in views and positions between both sides’ leaders, no group of Muslims should be offensive to one another. Shirazi added that all sides should be vigilant in dealing with the enemy’s spreading of Shiaphobia and widespread propaganda campaigns. Shirazi also advised Sadeghi to focus on resolving minor difficulties such as improving Saudi authorities’ behavior towards Iranian pilgrims. (ISNA)


  • Economy Minister Visits Azerbaijan. Ali Tayyebnia left for the Azerbaijani capital of Baku today for a 3-day visit to boost economic cooperation between the two countries. The Minister of Economy stated that he would meet a number of economic and banking officials including Azerbaijan’s Minister of Economy, Samir Sharifov, Central Bank Chairman Elman Rustamov and President Ilham Aliyev. (Tasnim News Agency)


Nuclear Talks

  • Iran and EU-3 negotiators meet in Istanbul for first day of nuclear talks. An Iranian delegation led by Abbas Araghchi, International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, and Majid Takht Ravanchi, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs, met with Hans Dieter Lucas of Germany, Simon Gass of the United Kingdom, and Nicholas de Rivière of France. Also present for Iran were Hamid Baeidinejad Director for Political and International Affairs; Davoud Mohammad Nia, adviser to the Foreign Minister; Mohammad Amiri, Director for Safeguards Affairs at the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI); and Pezhman Rahimian of the AEOI. EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini and her Deputy Helga Schmid represented the EU. (IRNA)
    • Araghchi: “We want to resolve remaining disagreements as quickly as possible.”
    • “Our legal and nuclear experts are with us, and their sessions will review the issues in greater depth. This work has technical, legal, and political dimensions, all of which must be considered.” (IRNA
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