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: Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi confirmed that Iran and the U.S. have completed the purchase of 32 tons of heavy water that the U.S. Department of Energy had announced in April.
Araghchi also stated that Iran is currently negotiating the sale of 44 tons of heavy water with Russia. Iran is required to sell its heavy water stockpile in excess of 130 tons in accordance with the nuclear agreement but had reportedly encountered difficulty finding buyers prior to the U.S. sale. Araghchi added that the P5+1 countries “have adhered to their commitments under the nuclear agreement so far.” Other Iranian officials including the Supreme Leader’s foreign policy advisor, however, have claimed that legislation passed by the U.S. House of Representatives to block Iran’s purchase of Boeing aircraft violates the nuclear deal.
Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated that “at least” 13 senior government officials have resigned or been fired due to their involvement in the scandal over exorbitant salaries for certain government employees.
IRGC Navy Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri responded to a Reuters report that IRGC vessels came as close as 500 yards to a U.S. warship carrying General Joseph Votel, head of the U.S. Central Command, in the Strait of Hormuz. Tangsiri stated that the IRGC monitors all foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf, particularly “hostile U.S vessels,” and that this monitoring “is not a new issue.”
- 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.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Deputy Foreign Minister confirms heavy water sale to U.S. Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi confirmed that Iran and the U.S. have completed the purchase of 32 tons of heavy water worth an estimated $8.6 million. The U.S. Department of Energy had announced the purchase in April. Araghchi, who previously said that Iran will not export the heavy water to the U.S. until payment is guaranteed, stated in a televised interview, “We sold 32 tons to the Americans and received their money. Forty-four tons are currently being negotiated with Russia, and we are also in talks with other countries.” He added that the P5+1 countries “have adhered to their commitments under the nuclear agreement so far.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Velayati: U.S. not honoring its nuclear commitments. Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati claimed that “the Americans have failed to fulfill their obligations” to remove anti-Iran sanctions once the IAEA confirmed Iran’s compliance with the nuclear agreement in January. Velayati directly referenced congressional legislation to deny Boeing permission to sell Iran airplanes and said that U.S. officials issue inconsistent statements regarding the ability of companies to conduct business with Iran. Velayati further criticized the U.S. for preventing other countries from conducting business with Iran and called upon other members of the P5+1 to speak out against “the Americans’ oath-breaking.” (Press TV) (E) (Fars News Agency)
Zarif: “Prince Turki al Faisal is tying his future to terrorists.” Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif condemned the presence of Prince Turki al Faisal, the former Saudi intelligence chief, at the July 9 rally in Paris hosted by National Council of Resistance of Iran (NCRI), the political affiliate of the Mujahedin-e Khalq (MEK) opposition group. Zarif called his participation a “clear sign that like Saddam [Hussein], Turki al Faisal is tying his future to terrorist groups.” (Entekhab)
- Abolqasem Delfi, the director-general for the Foreign Ministry's Western Europe Department, summoned the French ambassador to Tehran in response to the NCRI rally in Paris. He criticized the French government for allowing the NCRI, “whose hands are stained with the blood of the Iranian people,” to insult Iran. He also demanded that France take an official stance against the MEK. (Press TV) (E)
Nobakht: 13 senior managers have resigned or been fired due to outcry over salaries. Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht praised the administration’s investigation into the recent scandal over exorbitant salaries for certain government employees. He noted that “at least” 13 senior government officials have resigned or been fired due to their involvement in the scandal and promised that the administration will continue to “seriously pursue this issue.” (Ghanoon)
Rouhani appoints new vice presidents for legal, parliamentary affairs. An anonymous “informed source” told Islamic Republic News Agency (IRNA) that President Hassan Rouhani has appointed Deputy Interior Minister Hossein Ali Amiri as the new vice president for parliamentary affairs. Amiri replaces reformist politician Majid Ansari, whom Rouhani then appointed vice president for legal affairs, according to the source. Elham Aminzadeh, the former vice president for legal affairs, is now reportedly Rouhani’s special advisor for citizenship rights. (IRNA)
- IRGC Intelligence chief: We are investigating economic corruption cases. Hojjat ol Eslam Hossein Taeb, the head of the IRGC Intelligence Organization, called upon government officials to seriously confront the individuals implicated in the recent salary scandal. He vowed that the IRGC Intelligence Organization is currently investigating “large-scale economic corruption cases,” although he did not mention the salary scandal specifically. He added, “Fortunately, the IRGC Intelligence Organization has had significant and important success in this field. By cooperating with the Judiciary, we have been able to return a sizeable amount of funds to the treasury.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Military and Security
Araghchi: Iran will “severely confront” any measure taken to hamper missile activities. Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi criticized UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon’s report calling Iran’s ballistic missile tests “inconsistent with the constructive spirit” of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA). Araghchi stated that claims made in the UN Secretary General’s report were “certainly made under pressure from the United States and Europe” and added that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif “had a very harsh telephone conversation with Mr. Ban Ki-moon” after the report's release. Ban’s report also called upon Iran to refrain from ballistic missile tests and said that it is up to the UN Security Council to decide if Iran violated any UNSC resolutions. (Press TV) (E)
IRGC Navy Deputy Commander: IRGC Navy monitors all foreign vessels in Persian Gulf. IRGC Navy Deputy Commander Rear Admiral Ali Reza Tangsiri stated that it is “not a new issue” that the IRGC is closely monitoring all foreign vessels in the Persian Gulf. He added that “hostile U.S vessels” in particular will be under close observation. (IRNA) (E)
Parliamentarian accuses PJAK, foreign agents of assassination attempt. Heshmatollah Falahatpisheh, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, stated that the assassination attempt against him on July 10 “was organized from abroad.” Gunmen ambushed Falahatpisheh’s car, injuring him but killing his driver and another passenger. He stated that although other groups have claimed responsibility, “I think that the terrorist group PJAK [Party for the Free Life of Iranian Kurdistan], which has not claimed responsibility, is the primary suspect… Although some fake groups have announced that they are responsible for the incident, it is unclear. What is clear is that [the gunmen] came into Iran from the outside.” Radio Farda reported on July 11 that the “East Kurdistan Freedom Falcons” claimed responsibility for the attack, while Falahatpisheh denied that a largely Kurdish religious minority in Iran, ahl-e haq (People of Truth, or Yarsan), were involved. Falahatpisheh also accused Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Deputy Parliament Speaker Massoud Pezeshkian of failing to discuss the assassination attempt during an open session of Parliament. (Mehr News Agency)
- Four hundred political and cultural Kurdish activists released a statement on July 11 condemning the violence in Kurdistan. The statement read, “The presence of armed individuals and groups does nothing but escalate the atmosphere of security in the region and negatively affect the development of Kurdistan… Today, more than ever, Kurdistan needs peace and brotherhood.” (Zeitoons)
Oil production climbs to 3.64 million bpd. Iranian oil production increased to 3.64 million barrels per day (bpd) in June 2016, according to Iranian news agencies. This represents an increase of 78,000 bpd compared to May. (Jam News)
- Iran Air and Aseman airlines in talks to buy planes from Mitsubishi. Iranian news outlets reported that Mitsubishi Aircraft is negotiating with Iran Air and Aseman airlines to purchase commercial passenger jets. Iran Air has also announced multi-billion dollar agreements to purchase aircraft from Boeing and Airbus. (Press TV) (E)