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 Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Marie Donovan, with contributors Farzin Farzad and Diana Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari addressed the Assembly of Experts, while Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani congratulated Chairman-elect Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi. The Guardian Council objected to language on subsidy cuts in the Parliament’s budget proposal.
Commander of the IRGC Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari reinforced the mission of the IRGC on the sidelines of the 17th meeting of the Assembly of Experts on March 10 and said, “The only force which must protect the Revolution is the IRGC.” Jafari’s comments come in the wake of Commander of the Artesh Major General Ataollah Salehi’s February 9 open letter which stated, “We assure, alongside the dear fighters of the IRGC… we will be more capable than in the past of protecting the Islamic Revolution and the independence and territorial integrity of our country.” Jafari touted the regime’s regional influence and defensive capabilities. Jafari, moreover, stressed that Iran will defuse any threat, citing the offensive against ISIS in Tikrit: “…they were not able to resist in this city, this means that in the two remaining cities of Fallujah and Mosul – which are also at their disposal – [they] will be driven out and ISIS will disappear from Iraq.” Jafari’s statements and photos of IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani in Tikrit reaffirm Soleimani’s operational command of major operations in Iraq.
Ayatollah Rafsanjani congratulated Ayatollah Yazdi on his election victory for Chairman of the Assembly of Experts. Yazdi was an alleged harsh critic of Rafsanjani for his purported role in inciting the 2009 Green Movement, which protested the legitimacy of the 2009 presidential elections.
The Guardian Council issued a public statement voicing its objection to Parliament’s budget proposal for the upcoming fiscal year. The Council opposed the phrase “high-income households,” which was used in Clause 21 to describe the families whose subsidies would be cut, claiming it was “ambiguous.”
Jafari to Assembly of Experts: “the only force which must protect the Revolution is the IRGC.” IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke on the sidelines of his address at the 17th meeting of the Assembly of Experts on March 10:
- On deterrence and defense capabilities, Jafari stated: “we’re strong to the extent that we have no fear of irrational behavior of the enemy.”
- On the mission of the IRGC: “According to the IRGC’s mission, we must speak about the achievements of the Revolution….” Jafari also stated, “The Supreme Leader in the meeting, which we attended, said that preserving the [1979 Islamic] Revolution means protecting the advance of the Revolution; this is the central mission of the IRGC. The only force which must protect the Revolution is the IRGC.”
- On Iran’s regional influence: “Lebanese Hezbollah and its resistance against one of the ‘pretender’ armies of the world – meaning the army of the Zionist regime – is a miracle of the Islamic Revolution, and a powerful influence of the Islamic system as a director of the region.”
- “Today, not only Palestine and Lebanon but also the people of Iraq and Syria also acknowledge the role of the influence of the Islamic Revolution, and in the context are grateful to the nation of Iran; despite the propaganda of the enemy…what we’re witnessing is we have seen two closer and closer nations.”
- On the 2009 Green Movement: “The ’88 fetneh [sedition during 2009 Green Movement] created a serious threat to the Islamic Revolution and the country…”
- On the U.S.’ role in the Middle East: “In reality, Imam Khamenei has raised the Islamic world as a power pole, and reduced America from a global manager and moderator, to an actor.”
On the Tikrit offensive: “Due to the strategic location and particular importance the city has at the end of the Hamrin Mountains, the message is this: that ISIS cannot resist in any other Iraqi city.” He also said, “If this group was able to resist, they would have resisted in Tikrit; this is because the surrounding mountains of this city and the position allow for resistance; but because they were not able to resist in this city, this means that in the two remaining cities of Fallujah and Mosul – which are also at their disposal – will be driven out and ISIS will disappear from Iraq.” (Sepah News) (Basij.ir) (Fars News Agency)
Assembly of Experts member discusses Jafari’s comments. Hojjat al Eslam Ali Eslami said of Jafari’s address to the Assembly of Experts: “Major General Jafari told the gathering… that Iran had good success regarding regional issues in such a way that it is very prominent that America failed and victories gave strength to the ‘resistance’ and the Islamic Revolution.” Eslami stated that Jafari “asserted that tangible improvements have been noted in the field of defense, but that… [we] still suffer in the categories of culture and the economy.” (Fars News Agency)
- Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani congratulates Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami, said this year’s Assembly of Experts election could be a model for other elections held in the country, adding that the atmosphere was “fun and friendly.” After the Assembly meeting, Rafsanjani congratulated Chairman-elect Yazdi. (Mashregh News)
Ali Larijani addresses Assembly of Experts session. When asked how to resolve important issues in the region, Larijani said that it depends on the will of regional states. The Assembly of Experts also asked Larijani to clarify his remarks from yesterday in Doha about former Yemeni President Abd Rabbuh Mansour Hadi. The Parliament Speaker said: "Naturally, we don’t approve of his [President Hadi’s] escape as a correct move; Yemen as an important regional country can only end problems through political talks. We invite all sides to constructive talks for common solutions." (Tasnim News Agency)
Haddad Adel calls for concerted effort to implement Resistance Economy policies. Parliamentarian Gholam Ali Haddad Adel said that Resistance Economy policies require management and widespread cooperation. The Advisor to the Supreme Leader added: “The administration, Parliament, and the people need to join hands and work and with management and perseverance the Resistance Economy [will be a] shield of resistance against firing sanctions.” (Fars News Agency)
- Firouzabadi praises the revolutionary youth at Rahian Nour commemoration. In a Rahian Nour commemoration ceremony, Chief of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi issued the following statement: “The revolutionary movement of millions of youth in Rahian Nour to preserve and promote the identity of the Iranian Islamic Sacred Defense represented another great victory of the revolutionary miracle and the leadership of thevelayat-e faqih [guardianship of the jurist] can revolutionize jihadi ideology and develop the culture of the country.” (Sepah News)
Analysis and reaction to Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani’s defeat. Rafsanjani was defeated yesterday in the election for Chairman of the Assembly of Experts by Ayatollah Mohammad Yazdi, his longtime rival and critic.
- Etemad Newspaper reported that leading up to the election Rafsanjani was the favored candidate, however, purportedly, Ayatollah Movahedi Kermani, as part of the largest group close to Ayatollah Yazdi, traveled to Qom to meet and discuss with Grand Ayatollahs, and to dispel assumptions that Rafsanjani was a favorable candidate.
- Kayhan Newspaper reported that since Rafsanjani was accused of his involvement in the “sedition” [Green Movement after the 2009 presidential elections], he lost favor and trust within the Assembly of Experts.
- Raja News reported that perhaps the message of the election was the Assembly’s dissatisfaction with Rafsanjani’s unacceptable political activity in the last 3 years: his participation in the presidential elections, his support of Rouhani’s administration, and his attempts to close files related to him, both domestic and foreign by using his “position of strength.” (Meshregh News)
- Moghaddam appointed Senior Advisor to Firouzabadi. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi announced the appointment of Former LEF Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ahmadi Moghaddam to the position of Senior Advisor for Security Affairs to the Chief of General Staff of the Armed Forces. (Mehr News)
- Guardian Council objects to wording on subsidies in next fiscal year’s budget. Upon reviewing next fiscal year’s budget which was passed by Parliament last week, the Guardian Council objected to the phrase “high-income households,” which was used in Clause 21 to describe families whose subsidies would be cut. The Council said that the term is “ambiguous” and asked the Parliament to “clarify” it. (Kayhan.ir)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Iran and Turkmenistan sign 17 bilateral agreements. President Hassan Rouhani met with his Turkmen counterpart President Gurbanguly Berdimuhamedow in Ashgabat, Turkmenistan on March 11. The two sides stressed the need for increased collaboration and signed 17 joint-cooperation agreements covering various fields, such as economic, cultural political, legal, and technology. (President.ir)
Ali Larijani underscores importance of Tehran-Doha inter-parliamentary cooperation. Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani met with his Qatari counterpart Muhammad Bin Mubarak bin Saleh al Khalifi in Doha. Larijani pointed to the important role Qatar plays in regional affairs and said, “I hope this visit will increase economic cooperation between the two countries and parliaments, as well as other areas… At present, the region is suffering from many crises, and restoring tranquility needs collective cooperation." (ISNA)
- Imam Hossein University ready for educational exchanges. Brig. Gen. 2C Bahram Hosseini Motlagh hosted a delegation from the Pakistan Naval Command and General Staff College led by Pakistani Navy Commodore Matin al Rahman at Imam Hossein University. The Commander of the College of Defense Science Research announced that Imam Hossein University was ready to pursue a format for the exchange of students, professors, “educational literature” and “scientific capabilities.” Motlagh said that Iran’s strength comes from its ability to use the best equipment. He continued, “Today our enemies know that ‘Mojahed fighters’ possess knowledge and advanced military equipment and can play an important role in the region and the world.” (Defa Press)