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: Badr Organization Head Hadi al Amiri confirmed the active role of Iranian military advisors in the campaign against ISIS in Iraq, while Tehran Interim Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami echoed the regime’s position on supporting the territorial integrity of Iraq.
Hadi al Amiri praised Iran for its unwavering commitment to Iraq’s security, calling it a great source of pride. The Iraqi Badr Organization Head dismissed critics of the regime’s efforts in Iraq and said, “Anyone who talks about Iranian advisors, must speak with respect, because if they were not there and if brother Qassem Soleimani [IRGC Qods Force Commander] was not there, all of Iraq would be occupied by ISIS right now…”Amiri, meanwhile, criticized the U.S. for stipulating irrational conditions for providing its military support to Baghdad, highlighting that the Americans restricted the use of its tanks and weapons “…not in the Salahaddin battle and…only…in the battle of Mosul…” This purported condition on the use of tanks may pave the way for the overt use of Iranian military hardware in the campaign against ISIS.
Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami echoed Tehran’s official position on Iraq: “Iran is supporting the territorial integrity of Iraq; Iran’s helping this country is [because]…we not only recognize the borders of Iraq…” The Interim Friday Prayer Leader’s statement signifies the regime’s concerted effort to downplay its active military presence in Iraq, which seems to be operating beyond the capacity of an advisory role.
Hojjat al Eslam Ansari: Qassem Soleimani forming Basij forces in other countries. Hojjat al Eslam Majid Ansari in a ceremony commemorating “272 martyrs” in Ramsar, Mazandaran Province said: “the blood of martyrs has borne fruit since our commander [IRGC Qods Force Commander] Qassem Soleimani has formed Basij forces in other countries to stand against invaders.” The Parliamentary Deputy to the President also discussed controlling inflation, improving healthcare, and advised the elite of Mazandaran province to devise a plan to combat unemployment. (Mehr News)
Ayatollah Khatami: Iran is supporting the territorial integrity of Iraq. The Interim Friday Prayer Leader stated, “Unfortunately, some within the country are looking for the prettied face of America, and want America to show a peaceful face; but you, the great people of Iran, have shown in the negotiations that this is not the case... you did not give the Americans an excuse, but showed this time that evil lies in the genes of the American politicians.” Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami added: “Iran is supporting the territorial integrity of Iraq; Iran’s helping this country is [because]…we not only recognize the borders of Iraq, but also because we know and respect the world’s boundaries…; we know that only one regime under the sky is fake, occupying, and usurping, which is the Zionist regime of Israel.” (Mashregh News)
- Kowsari: Younesi should renounce his statements. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member Mohammad Esmail Kowsari slammed former Intelligence Minister and Ethnic and Minority Affairs Advisor to President Rouhani Ali Younesi for comments suggesting “historical and cultural unity” among regional countries. Kowsari said Younesi’s comments hurt the country’s national interest and that Younesi should be dismissed of his responsibilities and be reprimanded by both the justice and security system. (Fars News Agency)
Military and Security
- Three Afghan Fatimiyoun Brigade members buried in Qom. Mostafa Ahmadi, Ali Alizadeh, and Habibollah Heidari died in Syria. The funeral ceremony was held in Qom on March 12. (ABNA)
Regional developments and Diplomacy
Hadi al Amiri: praises Iranian support to Iraq in fight against ISIS. The Iraqi Badr Organization Head pointed to Iran’s advisory role in the recent offensive against ISIS in Salahaddin province and called it a great source of pride. Hadi al Amiri responded to criticism of Iranian efforts in Iraq and said, “What is the reason for sensitivity to Iranian advisors, despite the fact that more than 4,000 American military advisors are in Iraq.” Amiri added:
- “Anyone who talks about Iranian advisors, must speak with respect, because if they were not there and if brother Qassem Soleimani [IRGC Qods Force Commander] was not there, all of Iraq would be occupied by ISIS right now…”
- “Iranian advisors accompany us in battle and provide good advice and we are proud of them. In completely liberating Nineveh, al Anbar, after we have freed Tikrit and Kirkuk, they will have made great contribution.”
- He also criticized the U.S. for stipulating irrational conditions on weapons and tanks it agreed to provide Baghdad with: “America has a condition that these weapons are not to be used in the Salahaddin battle and can only be used in the battle of Mosul…”
- “Our brothers… should not rely on the American military, because they do not even have the capacity to free a single village in Iraq.”
- “Our brothers in the Islamic Republic of Iran consult with us without a single expectation, unlike the Americans…” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Iran-Iraq talks on joint oil fields. Iraq Oil Minister Adel Abdul Mahdi announced negotiations are underway with Iran and Kuwait to resolve issues of the use of joint oil wells and diversify Iraq’s oil production. Mahdi added, Iraq has put into consideration three strategic plans to increase oil and gas production. The first plan would be offering licenses to foreign investors, the second would be cooperation with Oil Ministry subsidiaries, and the third would be the developments of oil production from joint oil fields through cooperation of neighboring countries. Former Deputy of International Affairs to the Oil Ministry Ali Majedi confirmed the negotiations in an interview with state news agency IRNA. (Tabnak)
- Head of Iraq’s Islamic Supreme Council: Iran stands with Iraq with its full might. Ammar Hakim hailed Iran’s commitment to Iraq and said that, Iran was the first country to come to the aid of the Iraqi people without any preconditions. (Tasnim News Agency)