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 Analysts Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Ken Hawrey and Shayan Enferadi. 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.
Key takeaway: Iranian officials vowed that Iran will continue supporting Palestine in statements marking the occasion of Quds (Jerusalem) Day.
President Hassan Rouhani acknowledged that Iran has been “distanced from the path of freedom for Palestine” thanks to “disunity in the Islamic world and the presence of terrorist takfiri groups in the region.” Rouhani promised, however, that “the [Iranian] people will stand with the world’s oppressed and next to the oppressed people of Palestine.” Iranian officials launched Quds Day in 1979 to express solidarity with Palestine and opposition to the Israeli state.
Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base Commander Brigadier General Farzad Esmaili announced that Iran’s S-300 surface-to-air-missile system will be operational by March 2017. In mid-May, Russian presidential aide Vladimir Kozhin told reporters that Russia will send several more S-300 units to Iran by the end of 2016. Kozhin also confirmed Iran had already received a single battalion of S-300 batteries from Russia.
- Marie Donovan discusses how the Supreme Leader’s appointment of IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri as head of the Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) may signal Khamenei’s intention to give the AFGS a more significant role in coordinating the armed forces’ increasing joint activities abroad in “Supreme Leader signals possible enhanced role for Armed Forces General Staff.”
- Matthew McInnis analyzes Iran’s prospects for success in its regional conflicts in “How the Middle East looks to Iran one year after the deal.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Rouhani, Zarif deliver Quds Day remarks. President Hassan Rouhani vowed that Palestine “will never be alone” despite the emergence of other regional conflicts while speaking on the sidelines of Quds Day demonstrations. Rouhani stated, “We have been distanced from the path of freedom for Palestine, under the shadow of disunity in the Islamic world and the presence of terrorist takfiri groups in the region… The [Iranian] people will stand with the world’s oppressed and next to the oppressed people of Palestine.” He added that the “global arrogance” -- a term referring to the U.S. and its allies -- does not want the Middle East to have “security and stability.” Separately, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called Israel and terrorist groups a “single danger” and stated, “The takfiris and their supporters have forgotten the reality of Israel’s hostility with the Muslim world.” (Asr Iran) (Fars News Agency)
IRGC Deputy Commander: There are more than 100,000 missiles ready to hit Israel. Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami criticized Israel during a speech before Friday prayers in Tehran, stating that “in Lebanon alone, there are 100,000 missiles ready to be launched” toward Israel. The IRGC Deputy Commander also addressed recent clashes between the IRGC and Kurdish separatists in Iran’s northwestern provinces that border Iraq. He stated, “I warn officials in northern Iraq to abide by their commitments… We will destroy any threat against the Islamic Republic’s [political] system without any hesitation.” IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour also stated recently that Iran will target “terrorists’ primary bases” in northern Iraq if Iraq does not “act upon its commitments” to secure the area. (Mehr News Agency)
- Tehran Friday prayer leader: “Bahrain has become a prison” for its citizens. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said, “Bahrain has become a prison for Bahraini citizens… [Bahrain’s] rulers should be stripped of their citizenship, not Sheikh Isa Qassim.” Iranian officials have heavily criticized Bahrain’s decision to revoke the citizenship of Qassim, the country’s leading Shia cleric, on June 20. Khatami added that Saudi Arabia “does not deserve to run the two Holy Mosques. Hajj rites should be be withdrawn from these criminals.” Khatami also addressed the Israeli-Palestinian conflict, stating that Iran “cannot allow the Palestine issue to go from being an Islamic issue to an Arab issue, nor cause the Palestinian cause to be sidelined.” (ABNA)
Military and Security
Khatam ol Anbia Air Defense Base commander: S-300 will be operational by March 2017. Brig. Gen. Farzad Esmaili stated that the S-300 missile defense system will be “operational” by the end of the Persian calendar year (March 2017) during his Quds Day speech. Esmaili alsostated on June 30 that Iran will unveil a “new missile system” by March 2017. (Defa Press) (Press TV) (E)
Artesh Navy Commander: Iran hopes to conduct naval exercises. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari said Iran hopes to conduct joint naval exercises with regional and transregional countries this year. The Artesh Navy Commander added that naval units provide security for Iranian vessels in international waters. Sayyari has previously stated that Iran intends to establish a naval presence in the Atlantic Ocean. (Mehr News Agency)
- Artesh Ground Forces Commander: Israel will not exist in 25 years. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan praised the high turnout at Quds Day demonstrations and stated that it shows that “the Supreme Leader’s message that Israel will not exist in 25 years” will become a reality. (Defa Press)
- Hundreds of activists, newspaper employees receive threatening text message. A reformist-leaning news site reported that approximately 700 activists and newspaper employees received a threatening text message from 4 separate telephone numbers. The message read, “Warning: Any communication or cooperation with hostile foreign elements through email, secure portals, and other means of communication is a crime and will be prosecuted. It is necessary to end communications. This message is the last security warning.” The site added that the messages “mostly” targeted employees of reformist media outlets. Reformist parliamentarian Mohammad Ali Vakili, who is also the managing director of the reformist newspaper Ebtekar,called for the Central Cyberspace Council and the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance to investigate the source of the message. (Zeitoons) (Borna News)