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 the AEI Critical Threats Project's Iran research team. 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
Iraqi Shi’a militant group Hazrat-e Zeynab Brigade (HZB) reportedly arrived in Iraq from Syria on Saturday and is joining the Abol Fazl al-Abbas Brigade (AFAB) in the Balad area of the city of Tikrit. AFAB is engaging the Islamic State of Iraq and Levant (ISIL). HAZB, reportedly numbering 4,000, was fighting ISIL in the Damascus area of Zeynabiyeh before deploying to Iraq. Both Shi’a groups are “determined to forever cleanse [ISIL] and the rest of takfiri groups related to al Qaeda from Iraq.”
- Head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq (ISCI) Ammar Hakim, giving an address in Najaf, urged the investigation of “treacherous measures by some who surrendered Mosul to [ISIL] without any resistance.”
- ISCI member Ala al-Mousawi reportedly announced the formation of the “Ashura Brigades” under ISCI’s command. It is reportedly a 50,000 strong volunteer force answering the Shi’a clergy’s mandatory call to jihad. Al-Mousawi stated that these forces will be equipped, trained and will then deploys alongside Iraqi Security Forces in coordination with the security apparatus.
- Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader and Head of the Expediency Discernment Council Strategic Research Center Ali Akbar Velayati, in a lengthy interview with the Chinese CCTV network, discussed Iraq, nuclear negotiations, and “strategic” relations with China: Velayati said Iran and US are cooperating in parallel with regards to Iraq, pledged unlimited Iranian support should Maleki request aid, supported “legal” US action in Iraq, stated Iran would transfer its Syrian model of military aid to Iraq, announced full Iranian preparedness to defend holy Shi’a shrines, and said Tehran and Beijing have agreed to upgrade their relationship to a “strategic level”:
- Crisis in Iraq: “Both countries (Iran and US) support Mr. Maleki and also the independence and territorial integrity of Iraq. Both seek to prevent the disintegration of Iraq to smaller sections. Both countries seek an Iraq free of extremism, which is a great threat for Iraq, Syria, and all regional countries.”
- “On this basis, no one can accept the growth of the phenomenon of extremism in the region. This is the same reason that Iran opposes extremism and America also opposes extremism. Thus, these two countries move in a parallel ‘direction,’ but this does not mean cooperation between these countries.”
- “I do not see an outlook for cooperation between these countries, because, in our assessments, they seek a sort of dominance in Iraq and in some other important and oil rich countries in the region.”
- “If the legal government of Iraq and Mr. Maleki, as the primary representative of this government, (formally) request aid from Iran, as a neighboring and friendly country, we will aid him without any limitations.”
- “For example, we can do in Iraq what we did in Syria, meaning we are capable of providing the same type of training to the Iraqi army that we have been able to provide the Syrian army in confronting terrorists…We have much experience in this field.”
- “If America is ready to provide aid to the legal government of Iraq, based on the request of the Iraqi government of course, [then] this is completely legal and depends on the decision of the Iraqi government in this regard.”
- “Regarding the Iraqi situation, we are very sensitive as far as sacred shrines are related. We have given the sufficient motivations and stimulus to the Iraqi to place these sacred locations under protection..”
- “Some regional countries support this type of extremism. The main reason for these countries’ financial and equipment support of extremist groups in the region is their competition for achieving political goals in the region, which has lead to the rise of extremism in the region.”
- “[Nouri Maleki] is the best figure among existing Iraqi politicians to lead. I say this because I know Iraq. I have cooperated with everyone who is managing Iraq, even before the victory of Iran’s Islamic Revolution.”
- “The majority of [Shi’as and Kurds] and their leaders have very close relationships with Iran. Some Sunni Arabs have cordial relations with us as well. We can therefore make our most effort to gather the aforementioned [individuals].”
- Nuclear negotiations: “In my opinion, as far as Iran is concerned, the outlook of these negotiations is not bad. America is more or less optimistic…I have noticed that they [Chinese officials] are also hopeful and optimistic since the time I have been here [in China]. The Russians are also optimistic. The situation now has improved in comparison with a year ago.”
- “In my opinion, if they and we can meet and (be content) with something in the middle, for example the opposing sides accept Iran’s right to peacefully use nuclear energy under the precise supervision of the IAEA and lift sanctions, [then] this is completely understandable. I imagine that they are close to reaching this point.”
- “I have talked with China and Germany and my colleague [International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas] Araghchi has talked with America, Russia, and France. These dialogues between us and any of the five aforementioned members can aid towards achieving better understanding.”
- “In my opinion, the reality is that they have gradually accepted that they are losing their levers of pressure against Iran. The most important lever they have used are sanctions. Sanctions are presently broken, disregarding whether they like it or not. Iran is able to sell its oil and receive its revenue. Iran is able to import the necessary material with the various ways we have found.”
- Future Tehran-Beijing relations: “We are very optimistic. Based on our assessments, our Chinese friends are also optimistic about future relations between Iran and China. Both sides have agreed that these relations can reach a strategic level. If strategic, it means that we can be sure [about their support] and this is to the benefit of both sides. Iran and China are considered important countries in Asia. We have mutual concerns about extremism and American domination. We (Iran) know what America is doing around China and Iran.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader in the Supreme National Security Council and former chief nuclear negotiator Said Jalili announced that the Supreme Leader “does not enter the details of nuclear negotiation,” instead “determining the ceiling and floor of the administration’s discretions.”
- The Islamic Republic of Iran embassy and Iranian cultural consulate in Baghdad reportedly extracted 22 Iranian pilgrims who were taking refuge in the Emamin-e Askarin shrine in Samarra for the past week due to unsafe road conditions between Baghdad and Samarra.
- Kermanshah Gubernatorial Political and Security Director Shahriar Heidari announced that the border with Iraq is “continuing [its] usual trend of exchanges.” He added that no Iraqis have sought refuge in Iran, because “they are seeking to confront terrorist groups.”
- Armed Forces General Staff Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base Deputy IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Shadmani announced that the armed forces are fully prepared and that they are “unconcerned that instabilities will threaten our borders.” Shadmani, blaming the US for ISIL’s Iraqi incursion, added that the future of ISIL in Iraq “depends on the effort of the Iraqi people. They must set aside differences and transform to a national power.”
Basij Organization Deputy Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fazli addressed a gathering of veterans of the IRGC Seyyed ol-Shohada 10th Division, which he commanded during the Iran-Iraq war, at the Sacred Defense Garden Museum in Tehran. He emphasized the importance of writing the oral history of his former division. Fazli called the address “the shortest speech I have ever given in various conferences.”
- Seyyed ol-Shohada 10th Division Veterans Association Board of Trustees was formed: Fazli is board head and the board is constituted by the following: IRGC Ground Forces Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Abdollah Araghi, IRGC Chief of Staff and Advisor Brig. Gen. Yazdan Movayyedi Nia [appointed in 2008], IRGC Imam Hassan Mojtaba Unit Commander (Alborz) Brig. Gen. Ostad Hosseini, Hazrat-e Seyyed ol-Shohada Unit (Tehran) Brig. Gen. Ali Nasiri, former IRGC Imam Hassan Mojtaba Unit Commander Brig. Gen. 2C Bahram Hosseini Motlagh, and Brig. Gen. [First name unknown] Khazaei.
- Association Executive Council members: Fazli, heads of the 9 assembly committees, IRGC Imam Hassan Mojtaba Unit Coordination Deputy Col. Davoud Abdoli, IRGC Hazrat-e Seyyed ol-Shohada Unit Coordination Deputy Col. Hamid Norouzi, IRGC Hazrat-e Seyyed ol-Shohada Unit Operations Deputy [Full name unknown (FNU)], IRGC al-Zahra Brigade Operations Deputy [FNU], Director of Alborz Province Foundation for the Preservation of Sacred Defense Works and Publications IRGC Brig. Gen. Abolfazl Eslami, and the Assembly Executive Council Secretary [unoccupied].
- IRGC Imam Hassan Mojtaba Unit Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Molayi also spoke at the event, though the reports do not state whether he is a trustee board or the executive council member.
- Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said “America wants to do with Iraq what it did with Syria…recent Iraqi events show that America will not abandon its two-sided policy in the region.”