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 Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton with contributors Ken Hawrey and Alice Naghshineh. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan called for the “intensification of military operations” in Syria.
Dehghan congratulated “the [Syrian] nation, the armed forces, and His Excellency [President] Bashar al Assad” during a telephone conversation with Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al Freij on March 29. Dehghan reiterated Iran’s “continuous and persistent” support for Syria and called for the “continuation and intensification of military operations to eradicate the cancer of terrorism from the region and liberate the remaining areas occupied by terrorists,” although he did not appear to specify the extent of Iranian forces’ involvement in any intensification.
Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht defended the administration against ongoing criticism that it is not sufficiently dedicated to implementing the Resistance Economy, a doctrine intended to make the Iranian economy resistant to external pressure. Nobakht stated that “those who say that the government does not accept the Resistance Economy are wrong.” Conservative parliamentarian Aziz Akbarian, meanwhile, claimed that there is “no serious determination in the government and executive agencies for the implementation of Resistance Economy policies.”
Paul Bucala and Frederick W. Kagan debunk Iran’s repeated assertion that it is only training, advising, and assisting Syrian forces by analyzing data collected from Iranian media reports on military casualties in the Critical Threats Project’s latest report, “Iran’s Evolving Way of War: How the IRGC Fights in Syria.”
Matthew McInnis discusses Iran’s calculations following the partial Russian withdrawal from Syria and the consequences if Russia scales back its use of airpower in his latest blog, “Did Putin just leave Iran holding the bag in Syria?”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Dehghan: Military operations in Syria must be intensified. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan discussed the situation in Syria during a telephone conversation with his Syrian counterpart Fahd Jassem al Freij on March 29. Dehghan reportedly “congratulated the [Syrian] nation, the armed forces, and His Excellency [President] Bashar al Assad on Syria’s recent military victories,” including the recapturing of Palmyra, which occurred “in the shadow of the faith, unity, and resistance of the people, the government, and the popular and armed forces of Syria.” He also “stressed [Iran’s] continuous and persistent support for Syria.” Dehghan “emphasized the continuation and intensification of military operations to eradicate the cancer of terrorism from the region and liberate the remaining areas occupied by terrorists.” (Defa Press)
- Rouhani cancels Austria trip. President Hassan Rouhani abruptly cancelled a scheduled trip to Austria on March 29. Iranian media reported that the visit was cancelled “in order to provide more favorable conditions for the program and anticipated agreements between the two countries,” while Austria credited the cancellation to security concerns instead. (IRNA)
Parliamentarian: Rouhani administration isn’t serious about implementing Resistance Economy. Conservative parliamentarian Aziz Akbarian stated, “There is no serious determination in the government and executive agencies for the implementation of Resistance Economy policies… The administration must reform its methods of implementation [in order] to take practical steps to implement Resistance Economy policies.” Akbarian is competing for his seat in the April 29 runoff elections. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Nobakht defends administration’s dedication to Resistance Economy. Rouhani Administration Spokesman Mohammad Bagher Nobakht reiterated the administration’s dedication to the Resistance Economy and highlighted several measures to implement it on March 29. He stated, “The government has a uniform understanding of the Resistance Economy. Those who say that the government does not accept the Resistance Economy are wrong.” Nobakht, who is also head of the Management and Planning Organization, called for cutting dependence on oil and reforming the tax system. He also called for the creation of “approximately 900,000 jobs annually” in the Sixth Five-Year Development Plan to reduce Iran’s high unemployment rate. (Fars News Agency)
Military and Security
- Hajizadeh: Threats from inside Iran worry us, not foreign attacks. IRGC Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh dismissed the significance of an “American attack” against Iran during an interview on March 28 and stated, “We are not worried about this. Our worry is from inside the country…. It is from people who influence decision-makers.” Hajizadeh also referred to the historical loss of Iranian territory while defending Iran’s missile program. He stated, “That which we know today as Iran is only a third of the country that existed two centuries ago. Improving defensive capabilities and the armed forces’ power is like a pill for the Iranian nation and for eliminating anyone’s idea of attacking our country… The president, the parliament speaker, and other officials have promised that they are seeking to improve our defensive capability.” (Ghatreh)
- Minister of Health: Rouhani asked me to oversee health of Green Movement leaders. Hassan Ghazizadeh Hashemi, the Minister of Health, stated that President Hassan Rouhani has asked him personally to oversee the health of Mir Hossein Mousavi, Zahra Rahnavard, and Mehdi Karroubi, who were put under house arrest after the 2009 Green Movement protests. Mousavi and Rahnavard’s daughter has claimed that their health has deteriorated significantly while under house arrest. (Khabar Online)