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 Mehrdad Moarefian, Marie Donovan, and Paul Bucala, with contributors Ryan Melvin and Mondona Salahshoor. 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: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif briefed Parliament on the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), while reassuring the domestic audience that Iran’s defense capabilities do not pertain to UN Security Council Resolution 2231.

Foreign Minister Zarif addressed an open session of parliament on July 21 to brief Iranian lawmakers on the JCPOA between Iran and the P5+1. Zarif declared: “Our biggest achievement is the stamp by the UNSC confirming [uranium] enrichment in Iran…” Zarif also reassured the domestic audience that the country’s missile capabilities do not fall under UNSC Resolution 2231 and reiterated “Iran’s military capabilities including ballistic missiles, are exclusively for self-defense; this equipment [will not] carry nuclear weapons, therefore, it is outside the domain of the UNSC and its attachments.”

Ali Akbar Velayati expressed concern about potential “weak points” in the nuclear deal that could be exploited by the West, “especially America.” The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor cautioned the West against reneging on the agreement and stated: “Iran in no way will allow the inspection of military sites,” or “allow interference on what type of defensive weapons Iran can or cannot have.” Hossein Shariatmadari, meanwhile, claimed that the JCPOA does not preserve Iran’s “vital red lines.” The Managing Editor of Kayhan, who is known to be a close confidant of the Supreme Leader stated: "It is impossible that our Supreme Leader agrees with a deal that has crossed the red lines. The leader would not ask for the deal to be examined carefully, if he had already endorsed it." These statements by Velayati and Shariatmadari are indicative of IRGC concerns over intrusive inspections and imposed limits on Iran’s missile capabilities.


Official Statements

  • Foreign Ministry: Ballistic missiles are “outside the domain” of the UNSC. In an announcement released after the UN Security Council (UNSC) adopted the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) on July 20, the Foreign Ministry stated:
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran is determined to actively help promote peace and stability in the region in the face of the growing threat of terrorism and violence extremism. Iran will continue this leading role in combatting this threat and is ready to fully cooperate with its neighbors and the international community…Iran will continue the necessary measures to strengthen its defense capabilities in order to safeguard its sovereignty, independence, and territorial integrity against any aggression, as well as deal with the threat of terrorism in the region. In this framework, Iran’s military capabilities, including ballistic missiles, are exclusively for self-defense; this equipment [will not] carry nuclear weapons; therefore, it is outside the domain of the UNSC and its attachments.” (MFA)
  • Velayati: Iran will not grant access to its military sites. Ali Akbar Velayati said that the nuclear agreement “is not devoid of problems and weak points, but I do not doubt that the negotiators attempted to preserve the rights and interest of the Iranian nation.” The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor added:
    • On the West: “In my can guess that the West and especially America like always are seeking to misuse the text of the agreement.”
    • On weapon programs:  “Because Iran is self-sufficient when it comes to armaments and the military, it makes decisions independently; no one can dictate to Iran what weapons it can and cannot have, whether missiles, fighter aircraft, or tanks.”
    • “The Islamic Republic of Iran will create any type of missile (except for those that can carry nuclear warheads), whether solid or liquid fueled, whether short or long range.”
    • “[The West] may make statements but Iran in no way will allow the inspection of military sites, nor will Iran allow interference on what type of defensive weapons Iran can or cannot have.”
    • “Other than the construction of nuclear weapons, which the Supreme Leader forbids, and other than weapons of mass destruction which Iran has never used, like chemical explosives, Iran will continue to construct missiles; missiles like the Shahab and the Sejil and…they have not been constructed for delivering a nuclear warhead and therefore   are not included in the provisions of the agreement.”
    • On regional policies: “The policies of Iran will change in no way. The Islamic Republic’s support for the fighters in the ‘axis of resistance’ is the same as it has been; only that it is growing stronger.”
    • “Iran is determined to help Iraq against terrorism, whether fundamentalist or moderate (according to the interpretation of America).”
    • “Therefore, Iran will not hesitate to help the people of Iraq, Syria, Lebanon, and Yemen against the development of terrorism, which is harmful for all countries, including Iran and even the Arab countries (although they themselves do not understand this).”(Fars News Agency)

Domestic Politics

  • Zarif: Nuclear deal proves that “no one can threaten” Iran. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif presented the text of the JCPOA to parliament on July 21. Zarif outlined Iran’s achievements in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations and stated:
    • “Our biggest achievement is the stamp by the UNSC confirming [uranium] enrichment in Iran… Iran has further declared to everyone that… facilities, research and development would not be stopped.”
    • “Safeguarding Iran's dignity, its nuclear program… and [the] Arak heavy water reactor are among the key goals of Iran that have been mentioned in JCPOA… For the other side, the key demands were to prevent Iran from reaching nuclear weapons through limitations and supervision.”
    • “We never thought that the JCPOA is fully in favor of us and we even showed flexibility as the Supreme Leader [advised]… this flexibility has been goal-oriented and well-calculated. I emphasize that negotiating is basically give and take…”
    • “The anger of [Iran’s] enemies, the Zionist regime [Israel] in particular, indicated that Iran is a powerful country in the region and across the globe.
    • “The Zionist regime has never been isolated among its allies to this extent.”
    • On sanctions and missiles: “Restoration of the sanctions against Iran will not be an easy move for the [UN Security] Council and will harm its standing.”
    • “Iran's weaponry and missile programs are not related to anybody… if anyone should be held accountable [it’s] the West, whose weapons are killing innocent people in Palestine, Yemen, and Syria.”
    • “The missile and arms embargo, from the beginning has become limited and will be removed after a certain period and the violation of these sanctions will no longer be a violation of the agreement.”
    • "[Possessing] ballistic missiles doesn’t violate the JCPOA… it is a violation of a paragraph in the annex of the [UNSC] Resolution 2231 which is non-binding."
    • “This paragraph [of the annex] speaks about missiles with nuclear warheads capability and since we don’t design any of our missiles for carrying nuclear weapons, this paragraph is not related to us at all.” (YJC)
  • Shariatmadari: The Supreme Leader has not endorsed the nuclear deal. Hossein Shariatmadari, the Managing Editor of the leading conservative news outlet Kayhan, claimed that the JCPOA does not preserve Iran’s “vital red lines.” Shariatmadari added "It is impossible that our Supreme Leader] agrees with a deal that has crossed the red lines. The leader would not ask for the deal to be examined carefully, if he had already endorsed it." (Kayhan)
  • Araghchi: UNSC resolution “is a very big achievement.” During a July 21 Foreign Policy and National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission session, Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi “said Resolution 2231 confirms the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities.” Araghchi stated, “According to Resolution 2231, previous resolutions are canceled, and a ‘new relationship’ with Iran has been discussed, which is why this resolution confirms the peaceful nature of Iran’s nuclear activities.” Separately, Araghchi also stated, “The resolution, which the UNSC adopted today, is a very big achievement.” (ISNA) (Alef)
  • Salehi: “I hope the inconsistencies can be resolved.” Ali Akbar Salehi defended the technical achievements of the nuclear agreement during a speech to Parliament. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head stressed that “the technical achievements are big enough” and that “history will prove this.” He said that despite the claims being made, he hopes that the” inconsistencies can be resolved.” He added that “we should be grateful.” (IRNA)


  • Nobakht: The government seeks foreign investment not imports. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated that Iran’s frozen assets will be used to strengthen domestic production and increase employment. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President added: “The government has planned to control inflation through increased domestic production.” Nobakht also reassured Iranians that the government will not “focus on imports.” (Mehr News)
  • Rouhani: Germany is Iran’s key to closer ties with Europe. While meeting with German Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic Affairs Sigmar Gabriel, President Hassan Rouhani stated “we hope that the German delegation plays[a] positive role in the expansion of Iran’s ties with Europe.” Rouhani added that enhanced economic ties between Iran and the P5+1 would guarantee the implementation of the nuclear agreement. Gabriel said “German tradesmen are keen to return to Iran and cooperate with their Iranian partners.” (Press TV) (E)
  • Iranian delegation to hold talks with Indian officials on New Delhi’s debt to Tehran. Iranian Ambassador to India Gholam Reza Ansari stated “over the coming weeks, an Iranian delegation will travel to India to meet with Indian officials to discuss New Delhi’s $6.5 billion oil debt to Tehran. (Press TV) (E)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif meets with UN Special Envoy to discuss Syria. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with UN Special Envoy for Syria Staffan de Mistura to discuss new political procedures for ending the crisis in Syria. Zarif called for a political solution in Syria and claimed that terrorism is destabilizing the region. De Mistura stated that Iran could play a very important role in peacefully resolving the crisis. (ISNA)
    • Abdollahian discusses 4-point plan with UN Special Envoy. Hossein Amir Abdollahian hosted a meeting in Tehran with the UN Special Envoy for Syria. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister discussed Iran’s four points for resolving the crisis including strengthening the fight against terrorism and building a political process in Syria. (ISNA)
  • Bahrain summons Iran’s chargé d’affaires after Supreme Leader’s comments. Bahraini officials issued “an official protest memorandum” to Iran’s chargé d’affaires after Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei voiced support for the “oppressed people” of Bahrain and across the Middle East. Iran denies that it is meddling in Bahrain’s internal affairs; rather it is “addressing human rights violations.” (Press TV) (E)


Military and Security

  • Soleimani attends mourning ceremony of Badr Brigade commander. IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani attended a mourning ceremony of Abu Montazar al Mohammadawi, a senior Badr Brigade commander, in the Iranian city of Rey on July 21. Abu Montazar al Mohammadawi was killed last week near Fallujah. (Fars News Agency)
    • Jafari issues statement for the death of Badr Brigade commander. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari issued a statement offering his condolences for the death of senior Badr Brigade commander Abu Montazar al Mohammadawi. (Tasnim News Agency)
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