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: The Head of the Passive Defense Organization IRGC Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali claimed that Saudi Arabia has evolved from a “regional rival” to a “proxy threat.”
Gholam Reza Jalali addressed escalating tensions with Saudi Arabia during a meeting with senior government officials in Tehran. Gholam Reza Jalali identified several causes of this rising tension, which included the “cyber realm.” He told officials that Iran “must be prepared for a new type of conflict with Saudi Arabia.”
The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi claimed “we [Iran] sent the message that if ISIS approaches the holy shrines, we will directly enter the area.”

During a conference celebrating Judiciary Week, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei called for measures to ensure the “independence of the judiciary.” Meanwhile, President Hassan Rouhani emphasized the need for judicial reform in order to “make our [Iran’s] judicial system transparent to all.” He also called for greater collaboration between the different branches of government.  Rouhani’s comments echo his June 14 statement criticizing law enforcement officials for canceling several concerts without explanation.

AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis discusses Iran’s agenda during Iraqi Prime Minister Haider al Abadi’s visit to Tehran last week, and the Supreme Leader’s June 23 speech on nuclear redlines in his most recent blog post, "Iran to Iraq: Forget the United States, stick with us.

Official Statements

  • Khamenei stresses “independence and non-impressionability” in judicial system. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with senior judiciary officials on June 28 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader called for legal measures to deal with “all factors disrupting the independence of the judiciary, including threats, subornation, ceremoniousness and public opinion pressure…” Khamenei discussed important issues concerning the judiciary, stating:
    • ?“The judiciary’s seeking authority is not the conventional type of authority sought in politics…it means determination and insistence on the truth.”
    • Khamenei underlined “abidance by the law and full health” in the judicial system as two crucial factors for an independent judiciary. 
    • “With regard to the health of the judiciary, good work has been done and this should continue with seriousness, because any corruption within the judiciary apparatus will clear the way for bigger corruption in the society.”
    • Khamenei expressed concern over Iran’s growing prison population, stating: “This issue is imposing costs from different financial, family, moral and social aspects and a remedy must be found by concentrating on different solutions.”
    • “In order to deal with the negative consequences of the rising number of prisoners [held] on financial and drug [trafficking] charges, new suggestions and solutions must be sought.” Khamenei added, “Law paves the way for the country’s progress and if some laws are flawed or contradict each other they need to be amended…” (
  • Rouhani calls for transparent judicial system. President Hassan Rouhani addressed a ceremonial conference on the occasion of Judiciary Week on June 28 in Tehran. Rouhani stressed the need for enhanced collaborative interaction among the executive, legislative, and judiciary branches of government. He stated that Iran is expected to have a robust and efficient judicial system to combat corruption and eradicate favoritism. Rouhani called for measures to “update bills and laws” in order to “make our [Iran’s] judicial system transparent to all.” ( (E)
  • Rouhani praises armed forces at iftar reception. President Rouhani addressed senior military and police commanders Saturday at an iftar (fast breaking) reception in Tehran. Rouhani criticized the West for trying to create a "false mentality" of Iran building destructive weapons. He asserted that Iran will use its strength to dispel the false propaganda, stating:
    • ?On military readiness: President Rouhani asserted that Iran keeps vigilant and maintains military readiness on the basis of regional conditions and calculated threats. He also underscored the need for defense forces to continue increasing their capabilities in order to foil future enemy threats. 
    • On propaganda: Rouhani emphasized that not only are there strategic threats to defend against, but now there is also the propaganda threat with the enemy trying to convey Iran as a danger to the world. 
    • On providing assistance: Rouhani stated that Iran has helped the people of Yemen, Lebanon, Iraq and Palestine, regardless of being Shi'a or Sunni, adding that the regime will continue to support the oppressed people. (

Military and Security

  • Jalali: “We must be prepared for a new type of conflict with Saudi Arabia.”
    IRGC Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali addressed rising tensions with Saudi Arabia in a meeting with military and political leaders in Tehran. The Head of the Passive Defense Organization identified several causes of this rising tension before stressing that Saudi Arabia has evolved from a “regional rival” to a “proxy threat.” Jalali noted that American strategy in the region has also changed: “the United States does not directly intervene in the region, but now does so through reinforcing the intelligence, logistical, advisory, and political frameworks of its regional allies.” Jalali also claimed that the “cyber realm” is an area of rising tension between the two countries and noted that Saudi Arabia’s “cyber footprint” can be observed in Iran.
    (Defa Press)
  • Safavi: "If we did not support Iraq and Syria, we would be fighting terrorists at our borders.” IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi said that Iran’s military forces had deterred ISIS from advancing farther into Iraq.  The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader claimed that “we [Iran] sent the message that if ISIS approaches the holy shrines, we will directly enter the area.” Regarding the nuclear negotiations, Safavi added that the U.S. accepted Iran’s status as a regional power by negotiating with Tehran. (Sepah News)
  • Ashtari: “Military and security forces stationed along the borders are fully prepared.” Law Enforcement Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari claimed that Iran’s borders are secure and stressed the readiness of Iran’s security forces to counter any threat. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • Three Pakistanis buried in Qom Friday. On June 5, three Pakistani men died while defending the Seyyeda Zeinab Shrine in the southern suburbs of Damascus. There was no indication they were affiliated with Pakistan’s military, but the men were identified as Hassan, Munir Hussein, and Imtiaz Hussein. Head Secretariat of the Assembly of Experts Grand Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi attended the memorial service in Qom. (ABNA)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Shamkhani advocates comprehensive approach against ISIS. Ali Shamkhani stated that ISIS is a threat to world security and stability, and he called for the elimination of the root causes of ISIS. The Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council added that by separating terrorists into “good” and “bad,” the US and its allies have increased violence and terrorism in Iraq, Yemen, and Syria. (IRNA) (E)
  • Velayati warns state sponsors of terrorism. While meeting with South Korea’s Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs Cho Tae Yong on June 27, Ali Akbar Velayati stated “the ISIS terrorist group, which has members from several Western countries, controls parts of Iraq as well as neighboring Syria, carrying out savage crimes...” The Supreme Leader’s Foreign Policy Advisor stated that “due to its ties with some countries which are considered as supporters of terrorism,” South Korea should remind them of the threat of terrorist groups. (Mehr News) (E)

Nuclear Talks

  • Larijani cautions against excessive demands in nuclear negotiations. Ali Larijani warned that Iran will abandon the nuclear negotiations if the West makes excessive demands. The Parliament Speaker noted that the West needs a nuclear deal more than Iran, and that if the West forced Iran to abandon negotiations, the West would be the “real losers” because Iran would speed up nuclear development. (Mehr News) (E)
  • Zarif returned to Tehran as deadline approaches. Mohammad Javad Zarif returned from Vienna on Monday after engaging in nuclear talks over the weekend with the P5+1 members. The Foreign Minister stated his return to Tehran was planned and that except for Secretary of State John Kerry, all the foreign ministers involved departed. Zarif also stated that he would be back in Vienna for the June 30 deadline. (Tabnak) 
  • Salehi: Final agreement is within reach if other side does not make excessive demands. Ali Akbar Salehi stated on June 28 that a final nuclear agreement can be reached if the P5+1 members adhere to the Lausanne agreement and avoid making excessive demands. The Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) added that a “good deal” would not terminate or slow nuclear activities. The P5+1 self-imposed deadline is June 30. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • Kowsari: West is trying to pressure Iran with extended negotiations. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari stated that the “arrogant” West continues to pressure Iran in accepting its demands by extending negotiations. The National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member noted that Iran will not submit to the conditions of the West, and will move within the framework outlined by the Supreme Leader. Kowsari continued that the West must recognize that there will be risks from prolonged negotiations. (YJC)



  • Tehran attracts $3 billion in foreign investment during first quarter. According to an Organization for Investment, Economic, and Technical Assistance of Iran (OIETAI) report the investment figure is a three-fold increase of the total 2014 foreign direct investment. The report attributed the growth in investment to the “regime’s improvement in international relations,” which has attracted overseas investors. (Kayhan) (E)
  • Tehran and Caracas agree to stronger economic ties. After meeting with Minister of Industry, Mine and Trade Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh in Caracas, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro announced Iran agreed to give Venezuela a $500 million credit line as part of six agreements the two states signed to expand economic, industrial, and technological cooperation. Maduro added they have agreed to a “comprehensive plan” to develop a joint nanotechnology program. (Press TV) (E)


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