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: President Hassan Rouhani continued to praise the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) nuclear deal, while Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani called the JCPOA a “national achievement.” Hossein Shariatmadari the Managing Editor of the leading conservative news outlet Kayhan and a group of Iranian professors openly criticized the nuclear deal.
President Rouhani met with the nuclear negotiating team to congratulate them on successfully defending Iran’s interests. Rouhani reassured the domestic audience that the nuclear deal does not compromise the Supreme Leader’s redlines. Rouhani added that during the Lausanne talks in April, “I told them [Iranian negotiating team] that if… [the P5+1] didn't accept our demands, the team should leave…” Parliament Speaker Larijani reinforced Rouhani’s remarks by endorsing the JCPOA and declaring it a “national achievement.”
A group of Iranian professors wrote a letter to President Rouhani expressing concern over UN Security Council Resolution 2231.The professors claimed that the resolution undermines national security. Hossein Shariatmadari, known to be a close confidant of the Supreme Leader, indirectly challenged Rouhani’s claims. The leading hardline commentator raised concerns about violated redlines. Shariatmadari suggested that the resolution is in direct conflict with Iran’s defense capabilities and stated: “One must ask our dear brothers in the nuclear negotiating team; was not the enemy supposed to be prevented from accessing military sites and our weapon capabilities?”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reportedly defended IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani against the West. An unnamed Iranian negotiator claimed that Zarif reminded his western counterparts in the P5+1 talks that if “General Soleimani had not stood up to ISIS and other extremists in Syria and Iraq; they would have witnessed a different situation in many Iraqi and Syrian cities today."
AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis analyzes recent comments by Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei and other Iranian leaders, and discusses the challenges Iran’s leadership faces in selling the nuclear deal domestically, while claiming they haven’t crossed any of their ‘red lines’ in his most recent blog: "Khamenei has his own tough sell on the nuke deal."
Rouhani: Dialogue can resolve the “most…complex international issues.” President Hassan Rouhani addressed a national conference for nongovernmental organizations on July 23 in Tehran. President Rouhani assured Iranians that his administration is committed and accountable to the people. Rouhani declared UN Security Council (UNSC) Resolution 2231 a success and stated:
- “During the recent negotiations in Lausanne [in April], there were at least two occasions in which I sent a message to our negotiators… that if the opposite side [the P5+1] didn't accept our demands, the team should leave the negotiating table and return to Tehran the same night."
- “The agreement conveyed this message to the world: Put aside arms and threats forever! This agreement sent the message to the world that the most difficult and complex international issues can be resolved through dialog and negotiations. It also gave the message that Iranians must never be threatened.”
- “The Iranian people believe that they can resolve regional and international dilemmas through wisdom.” (President.ir) http://president.ir/fa/88302
Rouhani meets with negotiating team. President Hassan Rouhani met with the nuclear negotiating team and their families on July 23. He stated, “In these negotiations, Iran’s nuclear team stood against all the [P5+1] powers, and succeeded in strongly protecting and defending the Iranian people’s rights.” Rouhani added, “The nuclear team’s work and achievement became the pride and honor not only of the Iranian nation, but also of all believers and lovers of the Islamic Revolution.” The President’s Chief of Staff Mohammad Nahavandian stated, “The main achievement of the talks, and their success, was this issue – showing that with a moderate approach, originating from Islamic, Iranian, and Shia culture, one can compel the other side to capitulate to the right position.” (ABNA) http://fa.abna24.com/service/iran/archive/2015/07/23/690550/story.html
- Larijani: Nuclear deal is a "national achievement." Ali Larijani spoke at the new governor of Qom’s inauguration ceremony. The Parliament Speaker referred to the nuclear agreement as “a national achievement,” adding that it will provide a "jump [in] the economy.” He also stated that the agreement should provide a growth in production, enabling the "economy, culture, defense and science” sectors to prosper. Larijani stated that Israel’s fearful statements should serve as “our inspiration” while Iranian officials scrutinized the agreement. (IRIB) http://www.iribnews.ir/NewsBody.aspx?ID=88248
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Iranian negotiator says Zarif defended Soleimani in the P5+1 talks. A member of the Iranian nuclear negotiating team said Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif actively defended IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani in the nuclear negotiations. Zarif reportedly warned the West to “stop showing to the Iranian people that you are standing opposed to the IRGC.” The unnamed Iranian source claimed that Zarif stated:
- "Do you know who you are talking about? Do you know that the Iranian nation appreciates them [the IRGC] for their bravery and sacrifices in defending their homeland against Saddam’s aggression? When Saddam had all types of weapons in his hand and your governments [the West] had closed all paths to Iran's access to arms supplies, the young IRGC forces defended our country with their blood and sacrifices…”
- Zarif repeatedly reminded the western foreign ministers that if “General Soleimani had not stood up to ISIS and other extremists in Syria and Iraq, they would have witnessed a different situation in many Iraqi and Syrian cities today." (Alef) http://alef.ir/vdcdfo0x9yt0jk6.2a2y.html?28txt
Naghdi writes letter to Iraq’s Badr Organization. In a statement addressed to Badr Organization Head Hadi al Amiri, IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi expressed his condolences on the death of Abu Montazar al Mohammadawi, a senior Badr Organization commander. The Basij Organization Commander stated that the “big lesson” of al Mohammadawi’s death is that “our jihad does not recognize geography.” Naghdi praised the “brilliant successes of the proud Badr Corps, the hashd al shaabi [popular mobilization forces], and the Iraqi resistance forces.” Naghdi stated, “The main reason we have given all the victims in the war against the Shah, Saddam [Hossein]…and the takfiris [heretics, e.g. ISIS] and all the suffering of the Islamic ummah [community]…over the last century, is America, Britain, and their grim child in the region – the Zionist regime.” Naghdi also said, “Iran’s Basijis repeatedly [come] to us to [ask] to deploy to the fronts of Iraq…but we have always told them that ‘we say that our beloved Iraq is full of brave warriors, and does not need Iranian fighters, but be prepared – your turn will come soon, as we move towards the great goal and will read the historic prayers to the Imamate of dear Imam Khamenei in the al Aqsa Mosque [in Jerusalem].’” (Defa Press) http://www.defapress.ir/Fa/News/50032
- EU Foreign Policy Chief will visit Tehran. Federica Mogherini is scheduled to visit Tehran on July 28. According to a press release by the EU External Action Service (EEAS), the EU Foreign Policy Chief’s visit “will provide an opportunity for exchanges on the implementation of the agreement [in] which [Mogherini] will continue to play a coordinating role.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) http://www.tasnimnews.com/english/Home/Single/807818
Shariatmadari: “Was not the enemy supposed to be prevented from accessing military sites?” Hossein Shariatmadari criticized the nuclear agreement and questioned the negotiating team in a July 22 op-ed. The Managing Editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan wrote, “Many of Iran’s ballistic missiles are long-range, meaning 1,000 to 3,500 kilometers. Therefore, they have the capacity to carry nuclear weapons; while [Iran] condemns the use of nuclear weapons, [it] must stop the testing and production of these missiles and put these weapon systems aside according to section three of Annex B of the recent UNSC resolution! Now one must ask our dear brothers in the nuclear negotiating team; was not the enemy supposed to be prevented from accessing military sites and our weapon capabilities? So now, in addition to access, permission to interfere has also been granted to the enemies?!” (Tabnak) (Kayhan) http://www.tabnak.ir/fa/news/519090/%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84-%DA%A9%DB%8... http://kayhan.ir/fa/news/50563
Jannati: “Some still want to establish relations with the arrogant America.” Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati discussed Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s Eid al Fitr speech during a meeting with officials from the Guardian Council. The Guardian Council Secretary said, “…the Supreme Leader is the source of Islam’s strength. You heard his position on America. I do not know how some people still want to establish friendly relations with America after his speech.” (Rasa News) http://www.rasanews.ir/NSite/FullStory/News/?Id=276174
Professors write letter to President Rouhani criticizing the nuclear deal. A group of professors from various Iranian universities sent a letter to President Hassan Rouhani describing UNSC Resolution 2231 as “blemishing the independence, the security, and the national interests of the country.” The letter criticizes section three of Annex B in the resolution, which, according to the letter, requests that Iran not engage in activity related to testing and designing ballistic missiles. The letter urges “the relevant government apparatuses” to prevent “these measures against the Islamic Republic of Iran.” (Basij News) http://basijnews.ir/fa/news/8543568/%D9%82%D8%B7%D8%B9%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85...
- Zarif and Salehi attend National Conference of Health NGOs. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi represented the Iranian negotiation team at the National Conference of Health nongovernmental organizations in Tehran. Zarif praised the negotiating team and the public by stating, "We believe that all these achievements [are owed] to the perseverance of the nation against all sanctions and unjust global pressures imposed on us and to the steps the public [has] taken towards excellence of the country." (Mehr News) (E) http://en.mehrnews.com/news/108737/Intl-achievements-due-to-public-support-Zarif
Iran grants license for more than $2 billion in European projects. Speaking at the Iran-EU conference in Vienna, Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh stated, “We are looking for a two-way trade…We are no longer interested in a unidirectional importation of goods and machinery from Europe.” Deputy Economy and Finance Minister Mohammad Khazaei informed conference members that “we have approved more than $2 billion of projects in Iran by European companies.” (Press TV)(E)http://www.presstv.com/Detail/2015/07/23/421523/iran-europe-conference-investment-nematzadeh
British businesses to be briefed on Iranian "commercial opportunities.” Former British Ambassador to Iran Simon Gass will conduct a briefing with numerous companies in Great Britain on how to capitalize on the "commercial opportunities" in Iran once sanctions are lifted. There were no details on the specific businesses set to attend the briefing, but British Foreign Minister Philip Hammond stated he believed that $150 billion in Iranian assets will be released upon the removal of sanctions. (ISNA) (E) http://isna.ir/en/news/94043116684/Britain-eyes-business-opportunities-i...
- Nahavandian: Iran is ready for economic relations with other countries. During a meeting with Secretary of State of the Swiss Foreign Ministry Yves Rossier, Mohammad Nahavandian stated Iran's readiness to establish economic relations with other countries. The President’s Chief of Staff elaborated that the sanctions were a "big hurdle" for countries to benefit from "Iran’s high economic and trade capacities." (IRNA) (E) http://www.irna.ir/en/News/81691825/
Military and Security
- Rezaei: Tens of terrorist operations thwarted after capture of Jaish al Adl members. Border Guards Commander Brig. Gen. Qassem Rezaei stated “140 optical, audio, and time detonators as well as different booby-trap explosive devices were seized [from three captured Jaish al Adl members]…they could use the devices for conducting at least 100 big terrorist blasts…” Rezaei added that the discovered ammunition and weapons bore U.S. flags and logos and “based on their confessions, they [Jaish al Adl members] have been hired by the U.S. to foment insecurity in the Sistan va [Baluchistan], Kerman, and adjacent provinces through acts of sabotage.” (Fars News Agency) (E) http://english.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13940431000723