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 and Secretary of State John Kerry resumed direct nuclear negotiations, corresponding with a series of bilateral deputy-level talks between Iran and the P5+1, along with the EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief, in Lausanne, Switzerland. Tehran, meanwhile, rebuked Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s incendiary remarks about Iran’s regional role.

Foreign Minister Zarif said that the P5+1 nuclear negotiations could end Sunday or be extended until March 31, following his meeting with Secretary of State Kerry.  Abbas Araghchi stated that it is too soon to predict whether or not an agreement could be reached by the end of the week. The Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs, nevertheless, stated: “We will stay here until necessary,” stressing that, the current round is aimed at resolving all issues. The Iranians continue to project cautious optimism that an emerging nuclear deal is within reach.

President Erdogan publicly stated Turkey’s support for the Saudi-led airstrikes in Yemen. Erdogan, moreover, accused Iran of pursuing hegemonic strategies in the region, which led to immediate rhetorical backlash from Iran. Foreign Minister Zarif reiterated Tehran’s condemnation of the Saudi-led campaign, while blaming Erdogan for fomenting regional unrest. Erdogan’s support for the military operations in Yemen will further exacerbate tensions between Iran and Turkey, who support opposing sides in the ongoing Syrian crisis.


Nuclear Talks

  • Third round of nuclear negotiations end in Switzerland. Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi said it is still too soon to predict whether a “common understanding” can be reached either by the end of the week or by the end of the current round of negotiations. He added, “We will stay here until necessary...much of the progress depends on the political will of the opponent.” Araghchi emphasized that in this round of negotiations the goal is to reach a solution to all of the issues and then sign a ‘written’ accord in the coming months.
    • Deputy foreign ministers of Iran and the P5+1, along with Deputy EU Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmidt, held a public session last night in Lausanne.  Deputy Foreign Ministers Araghchi and Majid Takht Ravanchi held bilateral consultations with China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi. Also, Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi met with U.S. Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz. (IRNA)
  • Zarif: negotiations could be done by Sunday. After meeting with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif emphasized that the talks have always been limited to the nuclear issue. Zarif also said negotiations could either end by Sunday or be extended until Tuesday of next week:
    • “One discussion is on when a comprehensive and complete agreement will be written and when the writing will begin, but whether concepts and solutions are found is a [separate] discussion.” (Mehr News)
  • Araghchi: P5+1 will join the nuclear talks on Saturday and Sunday. Iran’s Deputy Foreign Minister said the remaining foreign ministers of the P5+1 countries will join the nuclear talks in Lausanne on Saturday and Sunday and referred to the current U.S.-Iran bilateral meetings as “good.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Salehi: we are working on one of two remaining technical issues. AEOI Head Ali Akbar Salehi said there was common understanding on a significant number of topics in the nuclear talks. He also stated, “One of two technical issues remain and we are working on them” but did not elaborate on which issues. (YJC)


Official Statements

  • Friday Prayer leader condemns military intervention in Yemen. Hojjat al Eslam Kazem Sadeghi criticized the Saudi-led military operation in Yemen. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader “[condemned] any violation and interference in the internal affairs of Yemen.” He added:
    •  “The Yemeni people’s resistance was revolutionary and they wanted a vote, because the president did not have time to fulfill his obligations and became a fugitive; …committees were formed and showed the vision and experience needed to run the country.” (YJC)
  • Saudi Arabia’s “intervention in Yemen” is an act of aggression. Parliamentarian Hossein Naghvi Hosseini said, “Saudi Arabia’s military intervention in Yemen is a blatant violation of international law and protocols; it [is] considered a violation of an independent state, and therefore all countries are required to fulfill their legal obligation and confront it.” The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Spokesman went on to criticize the U.S. for having a “dual policy” by backing “Syrian terrorists,” while providing “intelligence and logistical support to the aggressors [Saudis].” He claimed that such behavior was similar to America’s green light for Saddam’s invasion of Iran. (Fars News Agency


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani and Cameron discuss nuclear negotiations. President Hassan Rouhani and British Prime Minister David Cameron exchanged views on the P5+1 nuclear talks during a telephone conversation on March 26. Rouhani reiterated that Tehran’s nuclear program is peaceful and that an agreement could be reached if “unjust sanctions” are repealed. He added: “We must move to safeguard national and international interests and not allow this opportunity…to be lost easily.” Rouhani also condemned the Saudi military aggression against Yemen and called for a political resolution. (
  • Tehran rebukes Turkish President’s incendiary remarks. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif denounced President Recep Tayyip Erdogan’s March 26 statement of support for the Saudi-led military strikes in Yemen and for suggesting that Iran is seeking to control the region. Zarif blamed Erdogan for fomenting regional insecurity and stated: "It would be better if those who have created irreparable damages with their strategic blunders [referring to Turkey’s role in the ongoing Syrian crisis]… would adopt responsible policies." Zarif reiterated Tehran’s support for a political resolution in Yemen and called for regional cooperation. (Tabnak)
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