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: Hardliner MP Gholam Ali Haddad Adel reacted to President Rouhani’s January 4 speech, arguing that the revolution will never be finished. Ayatollah Ahmad Alam al-Hoda censured Rouhani’s proposed referendum as a tool against the legislative system. Tehran hosted the Islamic Unity Conference.

Head of the Parliament’s Principilist faction Gholam Ali Haddad Adel reacted strongly to President Hassan Rouhani’s January 4 speech. Haddad Adel laid out the two “perspectives” in Iranian society – the first holds that the Islamic Revolution is “finished” and that “affairs” with the West must be normalized; the second holds that the revolution is not finished, but rather is an “ongoing process” and “a permanent philosophy.”   Gholam Ali Haddad Adel also reacted to Rouhani’s comment that Iran’s “ideals are not bound to our centrifuges,” claiming that protecting the centrifuges is the same as protecting Iran’s freedom. Haddad Adel rejected the idea that Iran should compromise its centrifuges for normalization of relations with the West.

Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ahmad Alam al-Hoda also criticized President Rouhani’s proposal of holding a public referendum on key issues in place of a parliamentary vote.  The Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader said that a referendum should not be used as a tool against the legislative system, articulating the concern that Rouhani is trying to bypass conservative MPs that are unwilling to compromise on social reform and the nuclear negotiations.

The first day of the Islamic Unity Conference took place today in Tehran. In conjunction with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, 21 different countries met to discuss the role of states in the unity of the Islamic ummah and confronting sanctions.  Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif also met with Lebanese clerics and scholars, including Lebanese Islamic Action Front Secretary-General Sheikh Zahir al Jaeed. In the past, Iran has used the Islamic Unity Conference series to share its revolutionary values and form strategic relationships with potential regional proxies, such as Shi’a clerics in Yemen.


Official Statements

  • Alam al-Hoda: A referendum should not be used as a tool against the system’s legislative institutions. Ayatollah Ahmad Alam al-Hoda criticized President Rouhani’s recent proposal public referendum on key issues, comparing Rouhani to exiled former President Bani-Sadr and saying Rouhani should refrain from such discussions. The Assembly of Experts member also warned against the reorganization of the reformist Islamic Iran Participation Front into a new political party, commenting that the Interior Ministry should be mindful of a “wolf in sheep’s clothing.” (Mehr News)


  • Haddad Adel: don’t compromise on centrifuges for relationship with West. Hardliner Parliamentarian Gholam Ali Haddad Adel rejected the idea that Iran should compromise its centrifuges for a normalization of relations with the West and claimed that protecting the centrifuges is the same as is the same as the protecting Iran’s freedom. The father-in-law of Supreme Leader Khomeini’s son reacted to President Rouhani’s January 4 speech, laying out “two perspectives… and attitudes… in our society” today:
    • “Some believe that the revolution, which began in 1978, is finished today. Therefore, [they think] there is no such thing as continuation of the revolution, and that we must normalize affairs.” They also believe there is an international environment managed by America, and that therefore we have to find a seat at this international power club. With this international power we would trade, and accept the prevailing norms…”
    • Haddad Adel argued that the other view holds “an attitude that the revolution was not a random process which has been finished, but [is] an ongoing process and a permanent philosophy.” Haddad Adel asserted that following the Supreme Leader’s council of faith, Islamic ethics, not relying on foreign powers, and advancing in science will restore the economy. (Fars News Agency)


  • Ali Larijani: regional conflicts benefit the US and Israel. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani underscored the importance of regional dialogue to combat growing fanaticism. Larijani added that regional crises show the need for cooperation and said, “The clashes taking place goes to profit America and Israel.” (Tasnim News Agency)


  • Foreign Ministry condemns terrorist attack in Paris. Marzieh Afkham pointed to the attack on the offices of satirical newspaper Charlie Hebdo and said "such actions are the continuation of a wave of unprecedented extremism and violence that has spread in the world in the past decade.” The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman added that such fanaticism is counter to the teachings of Islam and that "unacceptable policies and double-standards,” by the West have exacerbated this issue. (IRNA)


  • Rouhani referendum contrary to Constitution. Mehdi Davatgari, East Azerbaijan parliamentarian, claimed that President Hassan Rouhani’s proposed referendum is contrary to the Constitution and expressed doubt about Rouhani’s qualifications as a lawyer. Davatgari stated that according to the Constitution the most important political, economic, and social issues had to be approved by two-thirds of the Parliament and the Council of Guardians, and that this procedure had not been taken by the President. Davatgari added that any referendum had to be in accordance with Islamic Law. (Rasad


  • Parliamentarian calls for investigation into news site hack. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari, National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member, called for an investigation by the judiciary and armed forces into messages that were posted on the news site “Khabar Online” that ridiculed the IRGC. The messages were taken down within hours.. Kowsari, a former IRGC commander, warned that if the “opportunists” responsible are not stopped, the incident could spark another dangerous sedition. (Fars News Agency)


Military and Security

  • LEF Commander: Iran is the mainstay of regional security. Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam pointed to Iran’s self-reliance and resilience as the main source of its fully established security and said, “Iran is the mainstay of the region in the fight against instability.” The LEF Commander highlighted the regime’s efforts in transferring its training and institutional knowledge to neighboring countries, referring to the Iraqi Security Forces and volunteer militias in Iraq. Moghaddam added that, when terrorists approached Iran’s 40km redline, along its western border; the area was cleared by the armed forces and Iraqi people. (IRNA)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Islamic Unity Conference takes place in Tehran. 21 countries met today in the Esteghlal Hotel in Tehran as part of a three day Islamic Unity Conference to discuss the role of Islamic states in the unity of the Islamic Ummah. In addition, last night, at a meeting in the Ministry of Foreign Affair’s Center for Research and Studies, hosted by the Islamic Coalition party (Motalefeh), parties discussed the role of Islamic states in confronting sanctions and enemy threats. (Fars News Agency)
    • Sheikh Naim Qassem, also present at last night’s meeting said, “There is no doubt that there are commonalities in our fundamental principles which is why we are all here today.” Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) Deputy Secretary-General added that, “We should not allow discussions to divide us, especially discussions about Takfiris and ISIL…we have encountered them [ISIL] and we smashed them, Muslims should work together in this way”. (Mehr News)


  • Zarif meets with Lebanese clerics on the sidelines of the Islamic Unity conference held in Tehran. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Sunni and Shi’a Lebanese scholars and the Secretary-General of the Lebanese Islamic Action Front Sheikh Zahir al Jaeed to discuss developments in the Islamic world. Zarif expressed the Islamic Republic of Iran’s support for the Lebanese movement against Israeli aggression and terrorism and added that the basis of Iran’s foreign policy is “the support of the pure Islamic and noble cause of the Palestinians regardless of sectarian leanings.” (ISNA)


  • Abdollahian warns against training and arming terrorists in Syria. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister, met with the Political Director of the German Foreign Ministry Clemens Von Goetze to discuss the latest developments in western Asia, including Yemen, Bahrain, and Syria; The two sides noted the dangers of terrorism and extremism in the world and the region and stressed the need for a diplomatic solution to the crisis in the region. Abdollahian said that the training and arming of the opposition in Syria will impede a political solution. (Mehr News)
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