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

  • Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei renewed the five-year term of the Head of the Judiciary Branch Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani and discussed the crisis in Iraq on 22 June. He announced his opposition to U.S. military involvement and expressed confidence that Iraq is capable of “ending this sedition”:
    • “The primary reason for the hostility of the Dominant System [West] towards the Islamic system is its ‘new discourse’ and its ‘shaking of the Dominant System’s foundations.’”
    • “In the Iraq situation Western dominance-seeking powers, specifically the regime of the United States of America, are seeking to take advantage of the ignorance and prejudice of powerless masses.”
    • “The main goal from the recent events in Iraq is prohibiting this country’s people from the achievements that they have gained despite America’s lack of presence and interference. [Iraq’s] most important achievement is the rule of a democratic system.”
    • “America is discontent about the present trends in Iraq, meaning the holding of elections with the good participation of and the determination of trustworthy choices by the people. America is seeking Iraq’s domination and the rule of individuals obedient to America.”
    • “What has happened in Iraq is not a Shi’a and Sunni war. The Dominant System, using the remnants of Saddam’s regime as the primary pawns and the prejudiced takfiri elements as the infantry, is seeking to disrupt Iraq’s peace and stability and threaten its territorial integrity.”
    • “The main elements of sedition in Iraq are as hostile towards faithful Sunnis that believe in Iraq’s independence as they are towards Shi’as.”
    • “The main fight in Iraq is between those who want Iraq to join America’s camp and those who seek Iraq’s independence.”
    • “We vehemently oppose and disapprove the interference of the Americans and others in Iraq’s domestic matters. We believe that Iraq’s government, people, and the senior clergy are capable of ending this sedition. God willing, they will end it.”
  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Quds Forces Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghaani gave a speech at the 30th memorial of IRGC Nasr 5th Division Combat Engineering Unit Commander Brig. Gen. Mahmoud Sabilian on 20 June in Mashhad. He promised the revolution’s ability to overcome the crises of Iraq and Syria “for as long as there are martyrs of Islam”:
    • “It is natural for the events of Iraq and Syria to create obstacles, and it is hard passing them. None can harm the revolution for as long as there are martyrs of Islam and youth who have stood by the velayat [guardianship of the jurisprudence]. It is they who have preserved the system’s main pillar. The existence of Imam Khomeini lit this path in the past. The Supreme Leader lights this path today.”
    • “If you see today that the revolution has remained energetic and the entire world even enemies respect this divine movement is because we did not think in a limited framework.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution has proven that a true Muslim does not forget others at the height of pressures and problems and acts based on religious values. Martyr Sabilian and his likes were at the forefront and blessed the war.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution began from Iran. It has spread to other countries today. Any analyst can understand that Afghanistan is not a place for America to invest and that Saddam and the Baathist party was the best servant for America. He understands who is behind the scene [with regards] to events in Palestine and Lebanon. [He can also] understand the roots of events in Iraq and Syria.”
    • “Anyone who has a correct outlook understands that the main discussion is the Islamic Republic of Iran. Not only were all the obstacles that the enemy placed for Iran transformed into opportunities and progress for us, but they also led to the enemy’s defeat. Our country’s geography has not been limited to borders and we have been successful in all arenas.”
    • “Anyone who wanted to escape war went towards nationalism and claimed denial.”
    • “Martyrs valiantly stood by the revolution and were martyred; they looked at Iran from all angles and moved towards the revolution and an Islamic society. If you see extremist movements today it is because the Islamic Revolution advances. The revolution has not only insured itself but has shown other countries the way of insuring [themselves]. The likes of martyr Sabilian were the pioneers of this path.”
    • “Israel has had no geography during the unblessed course of its occupation. What importance has the revolution created for Islamic society and how insecure are the enemies? Their homes are insecure even when they fire towards Lebanon.”
    • “We must say that the martyrs of Islam are the martyrs of the Islamic awakening. They opened the international path and tasted the sweet flavor of being a true Muslim, and they also taught others. The revolution advances in the world with grandeur [and] with the blessing of the existence of eminent martyrs. None can impede the Islamic Revolution.”


  • Senior cleric Grand Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi, in a statement on 23 June, announced the mandatory defense of holy Shi’a shrines in Iraq: “I plainly state that defending the entirety of Iraq especially the holy shrines is mandatory for all the lovers of Islam and the ahl-e bayt [the Prophet’s household] as jihad in the path of God. The martyrs of this path will join the martyrs of [the Battle of] Karbala. In my opinion, these events are a good opportunity for the Iraqi people to form a popular ready-to-die army alongside the formal army.”


  • An unnamed member of the Iraqi Hezbollah Brigade (IHB) reportedly announced the clearing of the road leading to the Emamin-e Askarin shrine in Samarra on 23 June, forcing ISIL to retreat to northern Salah ah-Din and Mosul. The conglomerate of the Abol Fazl al Abbas Brigade (AFAB), the Karbala Brigade, and the Zeid ibn Ali Brigade are collectively known as IHB.
    • Iraqi National Parliament and al Ahrar faction member Mazen al Mazeni reportedly announced 22,000 al Mahdi brigade members armed with light, medium, and heavy weaponry held a march in Basrah under the name of “Peace Brigades.” Sadrist Movement Leader Muqtada al Sadr reportedly requested the holding of this march as a show of strength. Following the march, the armed combatants will defend Basrah province, holy sites, and government offices.
    • The Imam Ali Holy Shrine established the “Al Morteza Brigade” with the goal of defending holy Shi’a shrines. The group held a joint march with volunteers from Najaf’s husayni committees [Note: husayni committees hold the annual Ashura mourning ceremonies].


  • 900 employees of the Imam Ali Holy Shrine reportedly formed a paramilitary organization to support holy shrines and have deployed to Iraqi army bases to participate in military training. (ABNA PICINT)


  • On 23 June, IRGC Hazrat-e Mohammad Rasulollah Unit (Greater Tehran) Commander Brig. Gen. Mohsen Kazemeini announced his enthusiasm to deploy to Iraq should the Supreme Leader issue the order:
    • “Israel and America, as our enemies, do not want the crescent of the Shi’a and the Islamic Revolution to shine in the region. All of [the Iraq’s] efforts in establishing stability and a republican system have been wasted with the events that have occurred in Iraq. Iraq’s future is unclear.”
    • “The Supreme Leader has not issued a permit for presence in the field of combat. We are ready to fight just like the past should such a permit be issued from the Supreme Leader today. But we must not forget that this front needs support.”


  • IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari addressed a ceremony commemorating 14 prominent martyrs of Semnan province at the Sacred Defense Garden Museum in Tehran on 23 June. He announced Iran’s limited counseling and advising involvement in Syria and Iraq and discussed the “serious threat” of U.S. military action between 2001 and 2008. Jafari also added “we are in a good situation today”:
    • “It is the opinion of the Commander-in-Chief that no one should aid countries like Syria and Iraq unless the work is limited counseling and advising. The people and governments of these countries can overcome their problems without the aid of any country.”
    • “Iran’s borders are secure and no enemy even America dare violate it.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution and the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran system is the result of the precious blood of the revolution’s martyrs especially martyrs of the Sacred Defense [Iran-Iraq war].”
    • “The Islamic Revolution is the prominent feature of Iran and the Islamic Republic. The spirits we have are therefore not because of Iranianness; what exists is from Islam.”
    • “We did not understand the Imam’s sentence [that the Iran-Iraq war was a blessing]. We were sad about the war’s end and that we had not killed Saddam. We understood this wise statement of the Islamic Revolution’s founder much later when [the war led] to our country’s security and the inspiration of other nations.”
    •  “The Americans attacked Afghanistan and Iraq with the excuse of September 11. They sought to conquer Iran by surrounding our country. They abandoned the thought of attacking our country when they saw the 100 percent readiness of the people and the armed forces in supporting the guardian of the jurisprudence and the sacred Islamic Republic of Iran system.”
    • “There was a serious threat against our country between [2001] and [2008] but was unfulfilled.”
    • “The enemies of this people and revolution realized that they would not get anywhere with a military measure against our country. [Afterwards], they sought to destabilize our country’s internal situation, which led to the [2009] sedition.”
    • “One of the achievements of the Sacred Defense was the expansion of the Islamic Revolution. We were able to export the Islamic Revolution to the world.”
    • “Today the Islamic front is fighting Islam’s enemies in areas such as occupied Palestine, Iraq, and Syria. This demonstrates that struggling in the path of God has been perennial but that its arenas differ.”
    • “The Islamic Revolution does not always need struggling in the defense arena, because struggling is needed in the other arenas of politics, economy, culture, and society. Struggling in the path of God, therefore, does not cease.”
    • “This Islamic Republic is neither fake nor artificial because it is founded on Islamic values. Islamic values, therefore, must rule in its various organs and society. As we have a long distance with fulfilling this matter, we must strive to make it flow through society and the various organs with dedication, combat, and self-sacrifice.”
    • “These individuals [who say that the revolution should stop] do not know that the revolution does not cease. Inaction, cessation, hesitation, and reversion have no place in the flag that we have raised. This is well observed in the Supreme Leader’s statements. In any case we are in a good situation today. The road is long, though, which we must continue with struggle.” 


  • On 22 June, Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi discussed the recent crisis in Iraq “not as a guerilla fight but is rather an espionage operation by the U.S.”
    • “When they were defeated in Syria they were thinking that Syria, Afghanistan, and Iraq are the paths of accessing Palestine. It is for this reason that they became present in Iraq. Their belief was that the road of connecting to Palestine will be closed without Iraq.”
    • “After their defeat in [the Iraqi] elections they showed their hands and came to field so they could recover from their defeat in the elections.”


  • Cultural Advisor to the IRGC Commander Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi, addressing IRGC forces based in Mashhad on June 22, discussed the formations of Syrian Hezbollah and Iraqi Hezbollah and claimed that “ISIL is a product of American think tanks”:
    • “Nineva province and the city of Mosul were the primary centers of the Baathist regime. [ISIL] is the remnant of Baathists who have hidden themselves under Iraq’s skin and escaped the blade of punishment.”
    •  “America, which was one day seeking to crush al Qaeda and the Baath [party], is using ISIL today to prevent the growing movement of the Resistance Front.”
    • “In America’s belief, the Islamic Republic of Iran’s power was not to such an extent that would prevent them from achieving their ominous goals. They therefore imagined that Iran would lose its motivation to defend its domestic government when they conquered Iraq and Afghanistan. [They] thought that they can conquer Iran with a military war as well.”
    • “When Nouri Maleki had gone to the UN a CIA official said that the Syrian government would be overthrown within three months, but that Iran’s advising presence in Syria caused the strengthening of the spirit and culture of the Resistance. [It also caused] the disruption of America’s calculus in Syria.”
    • “The enemy was determined to destroy Lebanese Hezbollah so Syria would not have a heel. Presently, however, we are witnessing the formation of Syrian Hezbollah. Iraqi Hezbollah will also form in a not too distant future.”
  • Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan announced on 22 June that ground forces “annihilated” a PJAK [Kurdish separatist group] member “who sought to cross our borders and import explosive materials.”


  • Representative of the Supreme Leader in the IRGC Khatam ol-Anbia Construction Base Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Dehghani condemned ISIL on 23 June and said “The crisis in Iraq caused by ISIL will end like the other crises created by Arrogance [West] in Islamic countries. Arrogance must know, however, that the fire which ISIL has lit with Wahhabi thought and Saudi, Qatari, and Emirati money will engulf [them all].”
    • “This terrorist group takes these savage measures against Shi’as and Sunnis to tarnish the image of Islam in the name of Islam and in the name of establishing the Islamic caliphate—but with Salafist thought. They are unworthy of being called Muslim and human.”
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