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 contributor Ryan Melvin. 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 takeawayPlanning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President Mohammad Bagher Nobakht asserted that” it was not intended” for Parliament to vote on the nuclear agreement “as a bill.”  

Bagher Nobakht claimed that “it was not intended for the nuclear agreement to be submitted to Parliament as a bill.” He stated that it had previously been agreed “in Parliament” that the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) “would review and make decisions regarding the bill.”  Bagher Nobakht’s statement is likely a response to conservative Parliamentarian Ahmad Tavakkoli’s July 26 statement that according to the Constitution, the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) must be sent to Parliament “as a bill,” but that “no action has yet been taken.” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani also pushed back on criticism that he was preventing parliamentary review of the nuclear agreement, stating “I do not need to defend myself.”

AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis discusses how recent meetings between Hamas and Saudi leaders could put a new wrinkle in Iran’s growing contest with Saudi Arabia for power and influence in his most recent blog post, "President Rouhani lays out vision for the new Middle East.”


Official Statements

  • Nobakht: The amount of frozen assets is $30 billion. Mohammad Bagher Nobakht stated during a press conference that “the Central Bank of Iran possesses $23 billion in frozen assets and another $7 billion belongs to the government.” The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President also stated:
    • On the nuclear agreement: “It was not intended for the JCPOA to be submitted to Parliament as a bill…this is a new conversation because it was accepted before in the Parliament that the Supreme National Security Council would review and make decisions regarding the bill…the Supreme National Security Council has started this review and will submit its report…it was not intended for the Parliament to vote on this [the nuclear agreement], it only had to review the report.” Nobakht added “the Supreme National Security Council will review the JCPOA according to the policy approaches of the government and the measures and commands of the Supreme Leader.”
    • On economic growth: “One part of the removal of sanctions is related to the releasing of frozen assets and another part is related to various areas of foreign investment so that the country can witness economic growth of eight percent…In the past two years, oil revenues have reached $120 billion; we must ask why eight percent growth has not yet been reached.”
    • On development plans: Nobakht stated that the amount the government has spent on regional development plans so far this year is “four times the amount spent in a comparable period last year.”
    • On investment: “One of our most important economic priorities is in the field of investment.”
    • Inflation: “In the past year, the government took three measures to rein in inflation which included appropriate fiscal policy for the control of demand in the market, price controls for the control of supply in the market, and managing expectations of inflation…however, I am saying truthfully that we do not currently have a plan for [managing] an increase in prices…the government, however, will never accept inflation.”
    • On Ahmadinejad’s complaint: “We are happy for [Ahmadinejad] to accept responsibility for all the activities during his tenure…we welcome each of the officials from the previous administration to be held accountable in the courts.” (IRIB)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • EU Foreign Policy Chief arrives in Iran. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and EU Foreign Policy Chief Frederica Mogherini held a joint press conference on July 28 in Tehran. Mogherini claimed that the nuclear deal will benefit the region and the rest of the world. Zarif announced that Iran and the EU will “start a new round of talks” at the deputy level. Zarif said that the upcoming talks will be over “energy, transportation, trade, environment, human rights, and narcotics.” (MFA) (IRNA) (E)
  • Deputy Foreign Minister suggests potential area of cooperation with U.S. Majid Takht Ravanchi suggested that counterterrorism could be an area for Iran-U.S. cooperation in an interview with The Telegraph on July 28 in Tehran. The European and American Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister added that there are “no serious issues” that could prevent the reopening of the British embassy in Tehran. Ravanchi said that the nuclear deal presents “opportunities” for increased cooperation in combating terrorism. He stressed:
    • “It is premature to see whether there will be possibilities for Iran and America to work together on regional issues. First we have to see how this new baby [the nuclear deal]…can be brought up...If everything goes well in the implementation of the agreement, I think there will be opportunities. I cannot say now to what extent Iran can cooperate with the West.” (Tabnak)
  • Abdollahian: “Saudi Arabia is playing with fire.” Hossein Amir Abdollahian accused Saudi Arabia of “playing with fire” in Yemen, and claimed Saudi Arabia is now “playing with the topic of a cease-fire.” The Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs demanded support for a political agreement to end the humanitarian crisis in Yemen. Abdollahian added that Saudi Arabia’s use of force in Yemen is a “strategic mistake” and contributes to the spread of terrorism and instability in the region. (MFA)
  • Nuclear agreement paves the way for Iranian membership into SCO. Dmitry Mezentsev stated that the nuclear deal allows Iran to request membership into the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO). The SCO Secretary General announced that "Iran's full membership in the organization has not been possible so far because of the sanctions...however, this obstacle has been removed now." SCO members will be able to accept Iran's membership request once the implementation of the nuclear deal begins. (Press TV) (E)
  • Zarif meets with the Iraqi President. Foreign Minister Zarif met with Iraqi President Fuad Masum in Baghdad. President Masum called for increased cooperation among Iran, Iraq, Turkey, and the Persian Gulf states, particularly Saudi Arabia. Zarif illustrated his commitment by stating, "I chose my first visit after the nuclear agreement to the neighboring and regional states to...promote [dialogue] and cooperation..." (Mehr News) (E)
  • French Foreign Minister writes op-ed in Iranian newspaper. French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius wrote an op-ed ahead of his scheduled visit to Tehran. In the article, Fabius described that the success of the nuclear deal is contingent on implementing the commitments within the deal’s time frame. He added that even when the two countries had different foreign policy approaches, France had its "relations with Iran based on respect and precision." Furthermore, Fabius explained that the Middle East is "entangled" with “peace and security” issues, but felt that Iran “can play a positive role in confronting…these crises and disasters." (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • Khamenei appoints new representative in Iraq. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei appointed Ayatollah Mojtaba Hosseini as his new representative in Iraq. (ABNA)

Nuclear Deal

  • Tavakkoli: “Evaluating the topic of inspections is not possible.” Conservative Parliamentarian Ahmad Tavakkoli stated during a session of Parliament that the negotiating team had “accepted inspections of military sites with limited mechanisms,” but that the manner of these inspections is “classified.” He added that “therefore, because there is not enough information, evaluating how much we conceded on the topic of inspections is currently not possible.” (Fars News Agency)

Domestic Politics

  • Larijani: No “need to defend myself.” Ali Larijani responded to reports about alleged verbal altercations in a July 28 open session in Parliament. The Parliament Speaker said that it is normal to have differences over issues, however, Larijani stressed that the Supreme Leader has made it clear that the nuclear issue should not divide the nation. Larijani also dismissed allegations from unnamed sources claiming that he would not allow the nuclear issue to be raised in Parliament. The Parliament Speaker stated, “I do not need to defend myself…” (Mashregh News)
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