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 and Marie Donovan, 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 takeaway: President Hassan Rouhani lauded Iran’s nuclear negotiating team for defending national interests, while tolerating disrespectful regime hardliners. Ali Akbar Velayati, meanwhile, enumerated three “non-negotiable” conditions for the P5+1 nuclear talks.
President Rouhani explicitly criticized hardliners opposed to the nuclear negotiations, telling them that the negotiating team tolerates their “very ugly and hurtful language,” because the diplomats are safeguarding national interests. He rhetorically asked: “Who has the right to talk to our diplomatic commander [Foreign Minister Zarif] in an impolite tone?” Rouhani dismissed conservative critics by reassuring his domestic audience that the administration is following the prescribed guidelines of the Supreme Leader in the nuclear talks.
Supreme Leader Khamenei’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Velayati reiterated that Iran will not capitulate to the P5+1’s excessive demands. Velayati added that Tehran has three conditions: “The first condition, [Iran] will never permit inspections of military installations… [of] any location outside of the nuclear [issue]. Two, under no circumstances will we allow our scientists and staff working on the nuclear issues to be investigated. Three, we are not prepared to connect the nuclear issue with regional cases.” The three conditions are in line with Khamenei’s policy on compartmentalized negotiations and his refusal to grant international inspectors access to Iranian military sites and nuclear scientists.
AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis discussed the fall of Ramadi, increasing pressure on Bashar’s al Assad’s Syrian regime, and the ongoing conflict in Yemen in his most recent blog “Iran doubles down in the fight for the Middle East.”
Rouhani: the negotiating team has “tolerated very ugly language” from Iranian officials. President Hassan Rouhani addressed governors and Interior Ministry officials from all over the country on May 30 in Tehran. Rouhani explicitly defended the negotiating team’s efforts in the ongoing P5+1 nuclear talks and asked: “Why does the government make all these efforts in the nuclear field and sometimes tolerates very ugly and hurtful language?” because it is defending national interests. Rouhani added:
- “Anything can be given a pass, but in my speech I mentioned that… if a group wants to harm the people’s hope for the future, it will not be tolerated… Why are certain people unwilling to see people become happy? We should be united and have solidarity on this issue.”
- “Who has the right to talk to our diplomatic commander [Foreign Minister Zarif] in an impolite tone? Where did that impoliteness come from?”
- “The nuclear negotiations issue is a sensitive one because its success or failure would affect the economy, business, value of national currency and every other thing.”
- “The negotiating team moves within the framework of the Islamic establishment’s opinions and red lines… and is moving in the right path.”
- “We should not lie to the people, this lie will be revealed, [maybe] not today, but it will be revealed tomorrow. Let us not betray the public trust.”
- “Iran is not like, let's say, that country in the Far East in which people live as if they are in garrison. Here people are free; they speak freely and express their ideas.”
- “Today, some criticize the government freely and easily without fear, which means the government is on the right path… There is no branch of government that the people can voice their criticism without stuttering or being concerned, except for the [Rouhani administration]…” (President.ir) (President.ir) (E)
Shariatmadari criticizes Rouhani for using the people to gain sympathy for his “failure.” Hossein Shariatmadari responded to President Rouhani’s statements regarding domestic critics of the nuclear negotiations and stated: “Dr. Rouhani’s attack on critics is to cover up the [administration’s] shortcomings and failures.” The Managing Editor of the leading conservative news outlet Kayhan pointed to Rouhani’s remarks on transparency and said, “… critics want an explanation about the ‘Lausanne agreement’… requests have been repeatedly declared to explain this data… What is your interpretation of the mentioned agreement?” (Raja News)
Rafsanjani accuses hardliners of attempting to sabotage nuclear talks. Expediency Discernment Council Chairman Ayatollah Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani criticized regime hardliners for undermining the government’s efforts in the P5+1 negotiations, stating: “… certain groups prefer problems to remain because resolution of issues may endanger their interests.” (IRNA) (E)
Shamkhani: Saudi airstrikes were due to “amateur…thinking” from new Saudi leadership. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani discussed Saudi Arabia, ISIS, and the nuclear negotiations:
- On Saudi Arabia: “The goals were raw and based on amateur, emotional, and youthful thinking due to the change in the rule in Saudi Arabia leading to a wrong strategic decision… a very bad decision-making model was implemented in our region.”
- On the nuclear talks: “When the Americans started talks with Iran, they came to the conclusion that imposing a military threat against Iran is inconceivable. They also realized that they can start a war against Tehran, but by no means [can] end it; while they will not have the ability to destroy Iran’s indigenous nuclear technology.”
- The article also stated that “According to the SNSC Secretary, an Arabic Front should be formed to deal with people who target the interests of the Muslim world.” (Raja News)
- Shirazi condemns Saudi Arabia in light of recent attacks on Shi'as. Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi censured Saudi Arabia: "Within a week, two great crimes against the Shi’asin Saudi Arabia" occurred with suicide attacks at the Imam Ali and Imam Hussein Mosques. Shirazi criticized Riyadh for continuing to label Shia’s as "infidels” and for condoning terrorism. (ABNA)
Velayati lists three important conditions for the nuclear negotiations. Ali Akbar Velayati stated that there are three issues in the negotiations that are non-negotiable for Iran: “The first condition, [Iran] will never permit inspections of military installations… [of] any location outside of the nuclear [issue]. Two, under no circumstances will we allow our scientists and staff working on the nuclear issues to be investigated. Three, we are not prepared to connect the nuclear issue with regional cases.” The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor added that Iran will continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching an acceptable deal. (Tabnak)
Velayati reacts to Fabius’ remarks on including military site visits in nuclear deal. In response to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s May 27 comments that France will not accept a nuclear deal which does not include visits to Iran’s military sites, Velayati “said that such remarks are aimed at appeasing certain regional parties, with which Paris has economic relations.” He also “said Paris does not play a defining role in international politics.” Velayati highlighted that “the Islamic Republic supports [the] resistance of the Yemen nation in [the] face of oppression.” (Kayhan)
- Velayati reacts to Fabius’ remarks on including military site visits in nuclear deal. In response to French Foreign Minister Laurent Fabius’s May 27 comments that France will not accept a nuclear deal which does not include visits to Iran’s military sites, Velayati “said that such remarks are aimed at appeasing certain regional parties, with which Paris has economic relations.” He also “said Paris does not play a defining role in international politics.” Velayati highlighted that “the Islamic Republic supports [the] resistance of the Yemen nation in [the] face of oppression.” (Kayhan)
Zarif and Kerry meet in Switzerland. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry held direct nuclear talks on May 30 in Geneva. Zarif indicated that several differences remain between Iran and the P5+1. Zarif added that both sides “decided to work full-time during the next three or four weeks to see whether it is possible to reach an agreement or not.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
- Araghchi: differences remain on how to implement Additional Protocol. International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said that one of the main issues being discussed right now is how to implement the Additional Protocol to the IAEA’s safeguards agreements. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (E)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Two Iranians killed in Iraq. Saeed Qarloqi of Karaj was killed “in Iraq” on May 27. Jassem Nouri of Khuzestan was killed in Ramadi. Nouri was “one of the commanders” during the Iran-Iraq War, and also purportedly fought at “various resistance fronts in Syria and Iraq.” Nouri’s past service includes “an important role” in the IRGC 37th Nour Brigade. IRGC Imam Hassan Mojtaba unit – Alborz province Commander BG 2C Ali Ostad Hosseini attended Qarloqi’s funeral. (Neither Mehr News nor Kayhan confirmed that Nouri or Qarloqi were IRGC; however, Nouri’s history of service and Hosseini’s presence at Qarloqi’s funeral indicate that they were likely IRGC members.) (Kayhan) (Mehr News)
Soleimani reportedly promises major developments in Syria in coming days. According to Arab media outlet Asharq al Awsat, IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani promised that “in the next few days the world will be pleasantly surprised from what we [the IRGC] working with Syrian military commanders are currently preparing arrangements [for].” (Mashregh News)
Saudi jet follows Iranian humanitarian aid plane. A Saudi jet purportedly followed an Iranian passenger plane carrying humanitarian aid in support of the relief efforts in Yemen for an hour. The plane was unable to deliver its cargo, and the Saudi fighter aircraft stayed "in the sky for an hour" as the plane returned to Tehran. (Defa Press)
- Larijani Meets with Syrian counterpart, describes regional countries as spreading terrorism. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani hosted Syrian Parliament Speaker Mohammad Jihad al-Laham in Tehran on Monday. Larijani stated that with the right resistance, the Syrian people could "destroy" the terrorists plaguing their country for four years. However, Larijani also stated that some "regional countries" are providing a "greater support to terrorists in Syria and Iraq.” (YJC)
Agreement signed with China for transfer of petro-technology. Deputy Head of National Petrochemical Company (NPC) Mohammad Hossein Payvandi stated that a non-disclosure agreement with China has been signed allowing Iran to gain the technology needed to produce propylene from existing methanol. Iran is "already the biggest producer of methanol," and is building another methanol plant to "rival...U.S. shale gas." The production of propylene is the second "most important raw material in the petrochemical industry" and can produce many other "organic chemicals” needed as “new projects are coming on.” (Press TV) (E)
Sixth Economic Plan requires $15 billion to increase mineral sector. Deputy Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mehdi Karbasian stated at the first annual Iran Mines and Mining Industries Summit (IMIS 2015) that according to the Sixth Economic Plan Iran will need $15 billion in order to properly "increase production capacity of steel, aluminum, and copper industries." The Head of the Board of Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) also stated that "70 percent of the 6,000 mines in the country are currently active," which have directly or indirectly "created about 620,000 jobs." (Kayhan) (E)
- Zanganeh: we will develop oil fields irrespective of sanctions. Oil Minister Bijan Zanganeh stated, “Currently the [Iranian] oil fields are developing with reliance on the domestic capacity and [efforts] to provide the conditions for foreign investment.” Zanganeh stressed that Iran will develop its oil fields irrespective of the West’s lifting of sanctions. (IRNA) (E)
Military and Security
- MOIS captures terrorist leader in southeastern Iran. Intelligence Minister Hojjat al Eslam Mahmoud Alavi stated that the Ministry of Intelligence and Security (MOIS) had captured a terrorist leader named Abu Hafs in Sistan va Baluchistan province. (Fars News Agency)