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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei announced that “those who see the world of tomorrow as a world of negotiation and not missiles” are either ignorant or traitors.
Khamenei claimed that “both negotiations and missiles alongside action” are sources of Iranian strength and stated, “The enemies are continuously strengthening their own military and missile power. How can we say in such conditions that the days of missiles have passed?” Khamenei also criticized “those who see the world of tomorrow as a world of negotiation and not missiles… If such comments are made out of ignorance, that is one issue. But if it is not out of ignorance, then it is treason.” Khamenei was likely referring to a recent tweet by former president and current Assembly of Experts member Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani that read, “The world of tomorrow is a world of talks, not missiles.”
The U.S., Britain, France, and Germany, meanwhile, issued a statement to U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon stating that the ballistic missiles Iran recently launched were "inherently capable of delivering nuclear weapons" and thus in defiance of UNSC Resolution 2231, which endorsed the nuclear deal. Iranian officials have long argued that none of its missiles were explicitly “designed to be capable” of carrying nuclear devices and are thus not covered by the language in the resolution.
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?”
Military and Security
Khamenei calls for “both negotiations and missiles.” Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s website released his comments from a speech supporting Iran’s missile program on March 30. Under the headline “Both negotiation and missiles alongside action improve the people’s livelihood,” Khamenei also strongly criticized “those who see the world of tomorrow as a world of negotiation and not missiles… If such comments are made out of ignorance, that is one issue. But if it is not out of ignorance, then it is treason… The enemies are continuously strengthening their own military and missile power. How can we say in such conditions that the days of missiles have passed?”
- Khamenei also stated, “They should not be propagandizing as if we are opposed to negotiations. We are saying that one must negotiate powerfully and intelligently to avoid being cheated.”
- “If the Islamic Republic seeks only negotiation, economic exchanges, and even science and technology, but does not have missile capabilities, even petty governments would be able to threaten the Iranian nation.” (Khamenei.ir)
- Zarif: Saddam would not have attacked us if we had missiles. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reiterated his previous comments in support of Iran’s development of its missile program in the face of Western pressure. Zarif noted that Iranian officials “have always said that we will continue developing our defensive capabilities.” He added that if Iran wielded ballistic missiles in 1980 when Iraq invaded Iran, “Saddam would not have dared to attack.” (IRNA)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Shariatmadari: “Crazy Trump’s wisest plan is to tear up the JCPOA.” The Managing Editor of hardline newspaper Kayhan Hossein Shariatmadari reacted to U.S presidential candidate Donald Trump’s criticism of the nuclear agreement and stated, “These remarks are different than they appear. They aim to encourage Iran to accept the JCPOA.” Shariatmadari also criticized the JCPOA, adding, “For America, the JCPOA is a gold document, but for Iran, other than damage, humiliation, and deception, there are no other achievements.” (Mashregh News)
- Bahonar: “Larijani is more beneficial for the administration than Aref.” Principlist Parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Bahonar supported current Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani for the parliament speakership over influential Reformist figure Mohammad Reza Aref during an interview on March 30. He praised Larijani for his experience in managing Parliament and comfort with exercising control. He added that Aref “has the votes to be first deputy speaker,” but he does not “have the votes to be speaker.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Parliamentarian: Foreign investment must be used within the context of the Resistance Economy doctrine. Parliamentarian Hamid Reza Fouladgar, the chairman of a special parliamentary commission to review investment in Iran, discussed economic developments during an interview with Mehr News Agency on March 29. Fouladgar stressed that contracts and agreements made with foreign firms must follow the tenets of the Resistance Economy, protect domestic production, and abide by the various regulatory laws, including Article 44 of the Iranian Constitution, which outlines the spheres of government and private ownership of the economy. Fouladgar was reelected to his seat in Esfahan province in the February 26 elections. (Mehr News Agency)
- Economic and Finance Minister: Efforts to implement the Resistance Economy will be intensified. Economic and Finance Minister Ali Tayyeb Nia defended the Rouhani administration’s efforts to pursue Resistance Economy policies following heated criticism from hardliner opponents. Tayyeb Nia revealed that the implementation of a “comprehensive Resistance Economy plan” had started before the Persian New Year, but he added that the administration decided to “intensify” these efforts after Khamenei called the upcoming year the year of “The Resistance Economy: Action and Implementation.” For more information on the development and policies of the Resistance Economy, please see the Critical Threats Project’s report “Iran’s Economy of Resistance: Implications for Future Sanctions.” (Mehr News Agency)