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 and Marie Donovan, with contributors Farzin Farzad and Diana Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Parliamentarian Esmail Kowsari reinforced the Supreme Leader’s demand for the complete removal of sanctions in exchange for a nuclear agreement with the P5+1, while Alaeddin Boroujerdi responded to the March 20 open letter from House lawmakers to President Barack Obama, by reasserting Iran’s right to a “peaceful” nuclear program.
National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member Esmail Kowsari echoed Khamenei’s “explicit and clear” requirement for a deal— the complete removal of sanctions. Alaeddin Boroujerdi, meanwhile, dismissed the letter signed by 367 House lawmakers warning President Obama that any nuclear agreement with Iran will require congressional approval. The NSFP Parliamentary Commission Chairman suggested that the letter is indicative of Congress’ delusional state. Boroujerdi added that Congress “knows that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any limitation in the scientific field of peaceful nuclear development which is under the accepted red line of a nuclear bomb.”
Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and Secretary of State John Kerry are scheduled to resume direct talks over Tehran’s nuclear program on March 26, in Lausanne, Switzerland.
Kowsari calls Supreme Leader’s New Year’s speech ‘exact guidelines’ for negotiating team. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member Esmail Kowsari reiterated the Supreme Leader’s “explicit and clear” requirement that sanctions be removed in in the event of a nuclear deal. Kowsari underscored Iran’s willingness to continue negotiations to reach an agreement, however, he said: “…we will not agree to a ‘one-sided’ [deal].” (ISNA)
- Boroujerdi reacts to new open letter from Congress to Obama on a nuclear deal. Alaeddin Boroujerdi reacted to the March 20 open letter to President Obama signed by 367 House members regarding Congressional approval of a nuclear deal, stating that Congress is “ going into a world of illusions.” The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Chairman stated, “Iran is the only country which…backs the international NPT with the fatwa of Imam Ayatollah Khamenei.” Boroujerdi also said that Congress “knows that the Islamic Republic of Iran will not accept any limitation in the scientific field of peaceful nuclear development which is under the accepted red line of a nuclear bomb.” Boroujerdi indicated that if disagreements between Congress and the president on a nuclear deal] “…leads to failure in the negotiations,” it would be the fault of the American government and congress.” (YJC)
Zarif and Kerry to meet this Thursday. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry will return to Lausanne, Switzerland on March 26 to resume nuclear negotiations, according to the State Department. (YJC)
Zarif and Lavrov discuss nuclear talks. Foreign Minister Zarif and his Russian counterpart Sergei Lavrov discussed the latest developments in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations over the phone on March 23. (Mashregh News)
- Kamalvandi censures Amano remarks. Spokesman for the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Behrouz Kamalvandi dismissed IAEA Head Yukiya Amano’s insistence on snap inspections, claiming the demands are “illegal.” Kamalvandi added that the adoption of the additional protocol is voluntary and therefore Iran is not obliged to implement the protocol. In regards to Amano’s previous claims that the IAEA has not verified the peaceful nature of Tehran’s nuclear program, Kamalvandi said Iran has responded accordingly to such issues in the past. (Tasnim News Agency)
Memorial service held for Khamenei’s late sister. Fatemeh Hosseini Khamenei’s memorial service was held at Imam Khomeini’s mausoleum in Tehran on March 24. The Supreme Leader was accompanied by a number of senior Iranian officials, during the ceremony. (Leader.ir) (Kamenei.ir)
- Mourners to gather in Qom and Tehran to honor Rouhani’s mother. Memorial services will be held in Tehran and Qom on March 25 for President Hassan Rouhani’s late mother Sakineh Payvandi, who passed away on March 19. (President.ir)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Kings of Bahrain and Saudi Arabia offer their sincere condolences to Rouhani. President Rouhani received messages of sympathy and condolence from Bahraini King Hamad bin Isa Al Khalifa and Saudi King Salman bin Abdul Aziz al Saud for the loss of his mother. (President.ir) (ABNA)
- Badr Organization: “We do not need coalition forces.” Head of Iraqi Badr Organization Hadi al Amiri responded to statements by some Iraqi officials concerning Iranian advisors and said, “IRGC Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani gives us good advice and will stay in Iraq as long as necessary.” He added, “Soleimani has played a vital role in Iraqi victories and in the fight against ISIL, and in preventing its advancement to Baghdad and holy places.” Al Amiri also criticized Iraqi officials’ requests for air support from coalition forces in the liberation of Tikrit and said, “Some weak people in the military believe we need U.S. support, but we do not actually need them.” (ABNA)
Military and Security
Artesh Navy 33rd Fleet docks in India. The Fleet, comprised of the destroyer “Naqdi” and logistics warship “Bandar Abbas,” began its current excursion in late January. It had previously stopped in Sri Lanka and Indonesia. One of the fleet’s duties is “the education of students from the Imam Khomeini University of Naval Sciences.” (Defa Press)
- Sayyari: Artesh Navy is a “strategic force” “from Bandar Abbas to the Gulf of Aden.” Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated that, “The interval of Iran from Bandar Abbas to the Gulf of Aden is about 2500 kilometers, and the navy is present as a strategic force with authority.” Sayyari stated, “Iran has a powerful navy in the Persian Gulf and the northern Indian Ocean.” Sayyari highlighted the need for naval forces in the Gulf of Aden to combat pirates. (Tasnim News Agency)