Iran News Round Up

A selection of the latest news stories and articles published in Iranian news outlets, compiled by AEI Critical Threats Analysts.

Key Takeaway: Iranian and Russian officials expressed opposition to U.S. development of its missile program.

The Foreign Ministry’s Political Affairs and International Security Director-General Gholam Hossein Dehghani and Russia’s Director of Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov voiced their opposition to the “development of America’s missile capabilities without concern for other countries’ interests” during a meeting in Moscow. Driving the U.S. from the Middle East is the primary and enduring common goal between Iran and Russia. Russia may be using the two sides’ statements to create an equivalence between the Iranian and U.S. missile programs.

Reformist Mohammad Reza Aref, moderate-conservative Ali Motahari, and dozens of other parliamentarians met with reformist Former President Mohammad Khatami on February 26. Some analysts stated that as many as 50 parliamentarians attended the meeting to commemorate the gains by the reformist-moderate “List of Hope” faction in the February 2016 parliamentary elections. Motahari declined to discuss the topics of conversation at the meeting, but stressed that he is continuing with a previous plan to press for a meeting with Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard, who remain under house arrest. The size of the parliamentary contingent present at the meeting is notable, as Khatami is under a Judiciary-mandated media ban for his support to 2009 Green Movement.

This Iran News Round Up predominantly covers events from February 28.

Regional Developments and Diplomacy
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March 01, 2017

Iran and Russia express opposition to U.S. missile development.

The Foreign Ministry’s Political Affairs and International Security Director-General Gholam Hossein Dehghani and Russia’s Director of Department for Nonproliferation and Arms Control Mikhail Ulyanov voiced their opposition to the “development of America’s missile capabilities without concern for other countries’ interests” during a meeting in Moscow.  Ulyanov reportedly stated that “Moscow and Tehran’s positions on many issues related to strategic stability, including the issue of America’s “missile shield,” are close.” (Fars News Agency) (E) (Mehr News Agency)

March 01, 2017

Foreign Ministry denies Zarif wrote U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson.

The Foreign Ministry released a statement denying a claim from Mohammad Javad Karimi Ghodousi, a member of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy Commission, that Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif has corresponded with U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson. (Tasnim News Agency)

March 01, 2017

Abdollahian: “there is no difference between Obama and Trump” on nuke issue.

Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the international affairs advisor to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, stated that “there is no difference” between Former President Barack Obama and President Donald Trump “in nature with regard to the nuclear issue.” He stated the difference between their policies toward Iran is that President Obama’s “words and behavior” did not match, while President Trump “declares what he intends to do.” (Fars News Agency) (E)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951210000612

2. Mehr News Agency
http://www.mehrnews.com/news/3919397/%D9%85%D8%B3%DA%A9%D9%88-%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%B3%D8%B9%D9%87-%D8%AA%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%85%D9%88%D8%B4%DA%A9%DB%8C-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D9%85%D8%AE%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D9%86%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. Tasnim News Agency
https://www.tasnimnews.com/fa/news/1395/12/10/1342373/%D9%88%D8%B2%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AA-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%87-%D9%86%D8%A7%D9%85%D9%87-%D9%86%DA%AF%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%B8%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%81-%D8%A8%D8%A7-%D9%88%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1-%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%B1%D8%AC%D9%87-%D8%A2%D9%85%D8%B1%DB%8C%DA%A9%D8%A7-%D8%B1%D8%A7-%D8%AA%DA%A9%D8%B0%DB%8C%D8%A8-%DA%A9%D8%B1%D8%AF

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951210000848

Domestic Politics
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March 01, 2017

MP: Foreign Ministry must explain lower stock of enriched uranium.

Parliamentarian Alireza Salimi stated that the Foreign Ministry owes Parliament an explanation for reports that Iran’s official stock of enriched uranium has decreased by half. Officials determined that a large amount of enriched uranium that was stuck in some pipes is unrecoverable. Iran is permitted 300 kilograms of enriched uranium under the nuclear deal.

  • Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi stated that Iran is slated to buy 950 tons of yellow cake from Kazakhstan on February 25. Kazakhstan will deliver 650 tons during the first two years of the deal, and 300 tons in the third year. The two sides must wait for one final member of the P5+1 negotiating bloc, Britain, to consent to the deal before moving forward. (ISNA) (E) (Shoaresal) (Fars News Agency)
March 01, 2017

Dozens of parliamentarians meet with reformist ex-president Khatami.

Reformist Mohammad Reza Aref, moderate-conservative Ali Motahari, and dozens of other parliamentarians met with reformist Former President Mohammad Khatami on February 26. Some analysts stated that as many as 50 parliamentarians attended the meeting to commemorate the gains by the reformist-moderate “List of Hope” faction in the February 2016 parliamentary elections.  Motahari declined to discuss the topics of conversation at the meeting, but stressed that he is continuing with a previous plan to press for a meeting with Green Movement leaders Mir Hossein Mousavi, Mehdi Karroubi, and Zahra Rahnavard. Mousavi, Karroubi, and Rahnavard are under house arrest for their leadership in the 2009 Green Movement. (Radio Farda) (ISNA)

Citations & Links

1. ISNA
http://en.isna.ir/news/95120704263/Iran-to-buy-950-tons-yellow-cake-Salehi

2. Shoaresal
http://shoaresal.ir/fa/news/53228/%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%A7%D9%86-%D9%88-%D8%B1%D9%88%D8%B3%DB%8C%D9%87-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D8%B7%D9%88%D8%B1-%D9%85%D8%B4%D8%AA%D8%B1%DA%A9-%D8%B3%D9%88%D8%AE%D8%AA-%D9%87%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%87%E2%80%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%AA%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D8%AF-%D9%85%DB%8C%E2%80%8C%DA%A9%D9%86%D9%86%D8%AF

3. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13951210001779

Citations & Links

1. Radio Farda
http://www.radiofarda.com/a/f2-iran-mp-block-met-with-khatami-despite-khamenei-antagonism/28338062.html

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/95120906248/%D9%85%D8%B7%D9%87%D8%B1%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D8%B3%D8%AA%D9%81%D8%B3%D8%A7%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%87-%D9%82%D8%A7%D9%86%D9%88%D9%86-%D8%A7%D9%86%D8%AA%D8%AE%D8%A7%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%AA-%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%86%D9%87%D8%A7%DB%8C%D8%AA-%D8%A8%D9%87-%D9%85%D8%AC%D9%85%D8%B9-%D8%AA%D8%B4%D8%AE%DB%8C%D8%B5-%D9%85%D8%B5%D9%84%D8%AD%D8%AA

Military and Security
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March 01, 2017

IRGC formalizes authority to seize commercial vessels in the Persian Gulf.

The IRGC Navy and the Ports and Maritime Organization of Iran signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on February 28 permitting the IRGC to seize foreign commercial vessels which encroach upon Iranian territorial waters in the Persian Gulf. The agreement likely legitimizes the seizures which the IRGC already carries out on an informal basis. (Fars News Agency) (E)

March 01, 2017

Artesh Navy submarines fire “Valfajr” torpedoes for the first time.

Artesh Navy Ghadir-class submarines successfully fired “Valfajr” torpedoes for the first time. Anti-submarine helicopters practiced detecting and engaging subsurface targets with torpedoes. Simultaneously, a naval helicopter launched rocket and machinegun attacks against floating targets. (Fars News Agency) (E) (ISNA)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951210001218

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://en.farsnews.com/newstext.aspx?nn=13951210000643

2. ISNA
http://www.isna.ir/news/95121006420/%D8%A8%D8%B1%D8%A7%DB%8C-%D8%A7%D9%88%D9%84%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A8%D8%A7%D8%B1-%D9%88%D8%A7%D9%84%D9%81%D8%AC%D8%B1-%D8%AC%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%AF%D8%AA%D8%B1%DB%8C%D9%86-%D8%A7%DA%98%D8%AF%D8%B1-%D9%86%D8%AF%D8%A7%D8%AC%D8%A7-%D8%A7%D8%B2-%D8%B2%DB%8C%D8%B1%D8%AF%D8%B1%DB%8C%D8%A7%DB%8C%DB%8C-%D8%BA%D8%AF%DB%8C%D8%B1

Economy
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March 01, 2017

Russia confirms negotiations for Iran oil deal.

Russian Energy Minister Alexander Novak confirmed that an agreement to export 100,000 barrels of oil per day from Iran will be finalized within the coming weeks. The agreement would stipulate that half of the exported shipment will be paid in cash according to a payment plan while the remainder would be spent on Russian imports. (Fars News Agency)

March 01, 2017

Bank Sepah looking to expand ties with Iraq.

Bank Sepah CEO Mohammad Kazem Choghazardi expressed Bank Sepah’s readiness to expand ties with Iraqi banks during a meeting with Iraqi Ambassador to Iran Rajeh Saber Abboud al-Mousavi. Bank Sepah is the IRGC’s official bank.  (Financial Tribune) (Bank Sepah)

Citations & Links

1. Fars News Agency
http://www.farsnews.com/newstext.php?nn=13951209001131

Citations & Links

1. Financial Tribune
https://financialtribune.com/articles/economy-business-and-markets/60550/bank-sepah-expanding-ties-with-iraq

2. Bank Sepah
http://www.banksepah.ir/module/News/Shownews/page-1301/index.aspx?NewsId=1885

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