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, 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: Advisor to the Commander of the IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani emphasized the expansion of Iran’s regional involvement since the Iran-Iraq War.

Former IRGC Mohammad Rasoul Allah unit – Greater Tehran Commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani highlighted the expansion of Iran’s regional involvement during a memorial for service members killed during the Iran-Iraq War. He stated, “There was a time wherein our biggest goal was to reach Basra, which we did not reach; now…we are fighting the enemy of Islam not only in Basra but also in Baghdad and Samarra… we are now fighting the enemies of Islam alongside the Mediterranean.” The Imam Hossein Base Deputy Commander also stressed the importance of domestic unity to national security, stating if Iran’s enemies “damage our unity…they could achieve their goals.”

Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated that “it is not impossible” for the U.S. embassy in Tehran to reopen, but that “until the rights of Palestinians are taken into account, we can’t have good relations with America.”

AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis discusses the implications of the debate over the arms embargo on Iran, and analyzes Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s June 30 announcement of Iran’s next five year development plan in his latest blog post, "Lifting arms embargo would be a real coup for Iran.”

Official Statements

  • Hamedani discusses Iran’s role in the fight “against Islam’s enemies.” At a memorial for service members killed during the Iran-Iraq War, IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani discussed Iranian regional involvement, Iran’s enemies, and the formation of Hezbollah. The Advisor to the Commander of the IRGC  and Imam Hossein Base Deputy Commander stated:
    • “There was a time when our biggest goal was to reach Basra, which we did not reach; now, with God’s help, we are fighting the enemy of Islam not only in Basra but also in Baghdad and Samarra, and we have gone even beyond this; we are now fighting the enemies of Islam alongside the Mediterranean.”  
    • “The takfiris, Salafis, and members of the Taliban are people who have consumed the deception of the false propaganda of the enemies of Islam, meaning America and the Zionist regime; that is why our main enemies are America and the Zionist regime’s Muslims [i.e. the takifiris, the Salafis, and the Taliban].” 
    • “The enemy cannot threaten our borders; but if a gap is created, they could damage our unity through exploitation of [the gap]; in that case, maybe they could achieve their goals; therefore, in order to avoid the creation of a gap, all people must be together, and always consider the national interest.”
    • “The result of the presence of our country’s children in Iraq was that, like Syria, a popular mobilization named “Hashd al Shaabi” was launched; the forces…have achieved an undeniable role in in the victories against the takfiris.”
    • On the formation of Hezbollah: After Operation Beit al Moghaddas in April-May 1982, “…the enemy immediately attacked southern Lebanon… At that time, a number of IRGC [members] went to Syria to fight the invaders alongside the Syrian and Lebanese armies, but when the Imam [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini] sent a message that the IRGC dispatched to Syria…must return to the country [Iran], all of the forces which had gone there returned, and only a few remained to train volunteers to fight Israel, and in this way the initial core of Lebanese Hezbollah was established.” He continued, “The formation of Hezbollah in Lebanon is one of the fruits of the struggles of our country’s soldiers during the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq War], in a way that this popular resistance group, with minimal resources, was successful…” (Defa Press)
  • Rouhani praises negotiating team. President Hassan Rouhani commended Iran’s nuclear negotiating team for “standing against the world powers.” He noted that “whenever I see the text of the agreement…I am proud of how [the nuclear negotiators] have defended the honor and rights of the Iranian people.” He stated that “we hope to be victorious on the nuclear issue.” (
  • Rafsanjani discusses the possibility of reopening the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani stated that “it is not impossible” for the U.S. embassy in Tehran to reopen, although such an action would “depend on both sides’ conduct.”  The Expediency Discernment Council Chairman added that Iran “talking directly to America is a good measure.” Rafsanjani emphasized, however, that Iran supports the rights of the Palestinian people and said that “until the rights of Palestinians are taken into account, we can’t have good relations with America.” (YJC)

Nuclear Talks

  • Zarif: “Never threaten an Iranian.” According to a Russian source privy to the P5+1 nuclear negotiations, EU Foreign Policy Chief Federica Mogherini threatened to leave the talks on July 8, due to the “conditions prevailing over the meeting…” In response, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif warned Mogherini to “never threaten an Iranian.” (IRIB)
  • Nuclear talks continued in Vienna. Deputy Foreign Ministers Abbas Araghchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi met with their U.S. counterparts, including U.S. Under Secretary of State for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman. (Mehr News) (E)
  • German Vice Chancellor to visit Iran.  German Vice Chancellor and Economic Minister Sigmar Gabriel is scheduled to travel to Iran later this month, provided that a nuclear agreement is reached. A delegation of senior German officials will accompany him on the trip. (ISNA)
  • Araghchi urges UN to drop its sanctions. Abbas Araghchi spoke to the media on the sidelines of the ongoing nuclear talks in Vienna. The International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister stated that the principles of economic and financial sanctions have been reached with both sides, but disagreements continue on the arms embargo, specifically UN Resolution 1929. He urged that the resolution be dropped, adding that the P5+1 approach towards the sanctions "should definitely change." Araghchi also said that the arms embargo was a blessing for Iran “resulting in the self-sufficiency of its defense industries." He added that most of the
  • Salehi met with Moniz in Vienna. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi met with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz to discuss the technical annexes of the final agreement. (ISNA)
  • Shamkhani: A final nuclear deal is possible if P5+1 stops making “excessive demands.”Ali Shamkhani stated that “a win-win agreement in the nuclear negotiations” can be reached if “the opposite side [the P5+1] steers clear of…excessive demands.” The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary added that a favorable agreement would safeguard the development of “Iran’s peaceful nuclear industry and the removal of sanctions.” (Press TV) (E)
  • Kowsari: Iran wants sanctions terminated, not suspended. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari stressed that Iran will only accept a final nuclear deal that terminates sanctions, not just suspends them. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member added that “the 15-year, 10-year, and 25-year period(s) foreseen in the Lausanne statement (issued by Iran and the P5+1 on April 2) for implementing the undertakings is not acceptable at all.” Parliamentarian Mohammad Saleh Jokar, a fellow NSFP Parliamentary Commission member, stated that irreversible termination of all embargoes is the main part of any final nuclear deal for Iran. Jokar added “the agreement should include explicit and transparent details and frameworks for the irreversibility of the sanctions.” (Fars News Agency) (E)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani expected to discuss the nuclear agreement during visit to Russia. President Hassan Rouhani is expected to arrive in Russia on July 9, where he will consult with President Vladimir Putin about the ongoing nuclear talks and increasing military cooperation between the two countries. (Raja News)
  • Shirazi condemns international community’ silence on Yemeni crisis. Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi shamed the international community’s silence towards “the Saudi regime’s crimes and atrocities against the innocent Yemeni people.” Shirazi added that the world has also kept silent about “the crimes against people in Iraq [and] Syria.” (Fars News Agency) (E)

Military and Security

  • IRGC members kill five bandits during operation in Sistan va Baluchistan. IRGC forces from Qods Base -Sistan va Baluchistan killed five bandits during an intelligence operation on July 7 in the southwestern province of Sistan va Baluchistan.
  • The IRGC release statement in honor of Qods Day. The IRGC released a statement calling for a passionate Qods [Jerusalem] Day rally to demonstrate the unity and determination of the Islamic ummah (community) in supporting the Palestinian cause against Israel. The statement further added that the celebration of Qods Day creates an indispensable bridge to the past, present, and future for all Muslims. (Basij)


  • Russia states that Iran will join the SCO once sanctions are lifted. On the sidelines of the Shanghai Cooperation Organization (SCO) foreign ministers’ meeting in the Russian city of Ufa, a Russian presidential aide announced that Iran’s application to join the SCO will be granted “sooner or later…after the U.N. Security Council sanctions are lifted.” Iran currently has observer status in the SCO. (Press TV) (E)


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