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: Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reassured the domestic audience that negotiations will not deviate from the Supreme Leader’s framework, while senior nuclear negotiator Hamid Baeidinejad claimed that a P5+1 deal is within reach.

Foreign Minister Zarif vowed that the Supreme Leader’s guidelines for negotiations are the only criterion for a final nuclear deal. Hamid Baeidinejad, meanwhile, claimed that an agreement is at hand because the P5+1 have “withdrawn from its previous position.” The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs, however, suggested that political discord between the U.S. and EU could prevent a comprehensive deal. Baeidinejad’s statement underscores the regime’s concerted effort to maintain a unified front during the negotiations to project a position of strength.

Ali Akbar Velayati touted Tehran’s position at the negotiating table against the inconsistent P5+1. The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader said that the negotiations team has not backed down: “The Supreme Leader has always emphasized Iran’s nuclear rights, and the lines which he has defined are the same basic frameworks along which the negotiations should proceed accordingly.” Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani, moreover, reinforced the Supreme Leader’s policy of compartmentalized negotiations, by censuring U.S. and EU attempts to engage beyond the nuclear issue. The Judiciary Head said, “Unfortunately, whenever the negotiations arrive at a critical and promising point of reaching a final agreement… America, presents issues which lead far away from the path of an agreement.”


Nuclear Talks

  • U.S. senior sanctions policy officials join negotiations in Lausanne. Felicia Swindells, Senior Sanctions Policy Advisor, Office of Foreign Assets Control, U.S. Department of the Treasury, Christopher Backemeyer, Principal Deputy Coordinator for Sanctions Policy, Department of State, and Joshua Black, Chief, Sanctions and Counterterrorism U.S. Mission to the UN, are all part of the U.S. delegation scheduled to hold direct nuclear talks with Iran on March 26, in Switzerland. (Fars News Agency)
  • Zarif reasserts adherence to Supreme Leader’s negotiations framework. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reassured the domestic audience that Iranian negotiators will exhaust all options in an effort to completely remove sanctions. Zarif vowed to continue to implement the guidelines of the Supreme Leader and said, “This is what the government has insisted on from the beginning of [the P5+1 nuclear talks].” (IRNA)
  • Salehi: it is best to achieve a win-win outcome. On the sidelines of a memorial service for President Hassan Rouhani’s mother, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi praised the current progress of negotiations and stated, “It is best to continue this process and achieve a win-win outcome.” (Fars News Agency)
    • Abbas Araghchi echoed Salehi’s remarks at the memorial service. The International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister said, “A dignified agreement with an honorable win-win position is the means to achieve the slogan of the year in the field of diplomacy,” in reference to the current Iranian year’s motto, “Government and Nation, Harmony and Unanimity.” The Supreme Leader and senior officials attended the ceremony. (Mehr News)
  • Baeidinejad: deal is at hand because P5+1 withdrew from former positions. Hamid Baeidinejad said, “The other party withdrew from their previous positions, if they had not, we would not have reached this stage” and claimed that an agreement would certainly be reached this Iranian calendar year, which began on March 21. He continued, “It is not that the sanctions issue should be resolved first and then move on to other issues, they should be solved collectively” and under a final “comprehensive agreement.” Baeidinejad claimed that, “If there is no agreement, it is due to internal divisions” between the EU and the U.S. (Mehr News)
  • Ravanchi: “one of two essential items” must be resolved in nuclear negotiations. During an interview on the sidelines of President Rouhani’s mother’s funeral ceremony on March 25, Majid Takht-Ravanchi discussed the “recent nuclear talks”: “We had good negotiations and now we have reached a point that requires a serious decision, and I hope that the other side can make a suitable decision.” He stated, “We’ve witnessed in the negotiations that the other countries and the opposite side adjust their positions to each other, and the differences were very low, but one of two essential items remains on which we hope to reach a conclusion.” The Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs continued, “I hope we reach a conclusion, of course this depends on the other side accepting reality.” Takht-Ravanchi stated, “The other side should know that if they want to reach a conclusion, they must set aside the politics of sanctions.” (Fars News Agency)



Official Statements

  • Velayat criticizes P5+1 for erratic positions during negotiations. On the sidelines of President Hassan Rouhani’s mother’s memorial service, Ali Akbar Velayati stated, “As far as we understand the other side, some of the countries on the other side have changed their positions several times; but the Islamic Republic of Iran has not made any change in its stance until this point; today, it moves along the same path that it had already drawn.” The Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader said, “The Supreme Leader has always emphasized Iran’s nuclear rights, and the lines which he has defined are the same basic frameworks along which the negotiations should proceed accordingly.” He stated, “as far as I know, our negotiators have moved along the path of these frameworks, and the high hope is that our negotiators can continue to protect the rights of the Islamic Republic along this path with fortitude.” Velayati reiterated that “Iran has signed the NPT, and like any other country which has signed the treaty, it has a right to peaceful nuclear technology.” (Tasnim News Agency)

  • Ayatollah Larijani: the P5+1 is “trying to blackmail” the talks by discussing human rights violations. Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani stated, “Unfortunately, whenever the negotiations arrive at a critical and promising point of reaching a final agreement, the P5+1 group, especially America, presents issues which lead far away from the path of an agreement.” Larijani accused the P5+1 of using allegations of sponsorship of terrorism state sponsor of terrorism and human rights violations to hinder the nuclear negotiations. He continued, “it is clear that the P5+1 countries, with such a pattern of issues, is seeking to blackmail the course of the nuclear talks; however, tying the negotiations to [such] issues…slows down and postpones…reaching an agreement…with the…support, and vigilance of the Supreme Leader…our country and our negotiating officials are not afraid of military threats and sanctions, and are the final winners in these talks.” (Mashregh News)
  • Rouhani: “All efforts should be made to achieve the slogan: Government and Nation, Harmony and Unanimity.” President Hassan Rouhani met with senior officials and reiterated the Supreme Leader’s New Year motto calling for national unity, and also emphasized focusing this year on the economy. Rouhani said, “The three pillars of the economy this year are a boom in production, employment, and non-oil exports.” Rouhani also noted that upcoming Parliament and Guardian Council elections should take place with “harmony and unanimity.”(



Domestic Politics

  • President Rouhani’s mother’s memorial service. The service was attended by Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei, as well as Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani, Expediency Discernment Council member Ayatollah Ali Movahedi Kermani, Secretary of the Supreme National Security Council Ali Shamkhani, and a number of Parliamentarians. The speaker at the ceremony was Deputy Speaker of Parliament Hojjat al Eslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard. (ABNA)



Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Zarif confers with Chinese counterpart ahead of upcoming P5+1 talks. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called his counterpart in Beijing Wang Yi on March 24. The two discussed the latest developments in the P5+1 nuclear negotiations and exchanged views on unresolved issues. (YJC)
  • Abdollahian departs for Moscow to discuss regional developments. Hossein Amir Abdollahian is scheduled to meet with Russian Deputy Foreign Minister and President Vladimir Putin's Special Representative in Middle East Mikhail Bogdanov. The two will review ongoing crises in Yemen, Iraq, Syria, and Libya, and the situation in Palestine. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister stated, “Strengthening regional cooperation in fighting terrorism and extremism are important topics in these consultations.” (ISNA
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