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 Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Marie Donovan, with contributors Farzin Farzad and Diana Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani warned that military action against Iran will result in Israel “in a wheelchair.” President Hassan Rouhani stated that the world can work with Iran to reach a nuclear agreement, or accept the inevitability of the acceleration of its peaceful nuclear program.
In response to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress yesterday, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani stated, “…if Israel wishes and/or the American Congress is interested in picking up their unworthy child – Israel – in a wheelchair, it should take military action, and would witness a powerful and comprehensive response from the Iranian armed forces.” Regime officials have increasingly projected Iran’s military power in an effort to deter potential military action against Iran. Larijani also denounced Netanyahu’s speech as a “political show,” while Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said Netanyahu is desperate to sabotage the nuclear negotiations.
President Hassan Rouhani reiterated his February 23 reassurances that national interests will be upheld in the nuclear negotiations, stressing that the negotiations would benefit the country, the region and the world. Rouhani echoed Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif’s March 3 comments on the nuclear talks, stating that the world could work with Iran to reach an agreement as soon as possible, or realize the inevitability of the acceleration of its peaceful nuclear program.
The fourth round of talks between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ended today in Montreux, Switzerland. A full P5+1 and Iran meeting will occur tomorrow.
Larijani slams Netanyahu speech: military action will be met with a powerful response that will land Israel “in a wheelchair.” Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani reacted to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s speech before Congress yesterday:
- “…if Israel wishes and/or the American Congress is interested in picking up their unworthy child – Israel – in a wheelchair, it should take military action, and would witness a powerful and comprehensive response from the Iranian armed forces.”
- “First, the whole affair was conducted as a ’political show’ in Congress, indicating that the employer of the Congress of [such] a large country, which claims to have global management, is in the hands of a puppet regime [Israel].”
- “The second point was an anxiety for this false regime came into being, that Netanyahu’s argument was that under the current condition, Iran endures sanctions, is an influential country in the Middle East, and designates countries which are under the influence of Iran, and if a nuclear agreement occurs, Iran’s economic power will be very high and [it] will put all other [countries] of the Middle East under its influence.”
- “…Iran has not and does not seek empire building, but the ideals of the Islamic Revolution have awakened anti-domination of major powers and anti-usurping Israel [ideas in] the hearts of Muslims; but this [Netanyahu’s] speech shows the desperation and concern of this regime [Israel].”
- “Netanyahu is trying to create fear in Congress and America… that if a [nuclear] agreement is reached, Iran will be able to get a nuclear weapon with the same number of centrifuges available; this…would be dangerous for them [Congress and America] and their puppet regime [Israel].” (YJC)
Rouhani: Iran will not compromise national interests in negotiations. President Hassan Rouhani stressed that the nuclear negotiations will benefit the country, the region, and the world, promoting development, trade, economic growth, and culture, as well as helping resolve regional crises. Rouhani emphasized that Iran is seeking a win-win, balanced, and stable agreement. He pointed out that the P5+1 has two options - work with Iran within the framework of logic and international regulations to reach an agreement as soon as possible, or realize the inevitability of the acceleration of Iran’s peaceful nuclear program. The President added that Iran will not agree to a deal that seeks to undermine the Iranian people’s inalienable rights, meaning progress in science and technology. (President.ir)
- Tehran deplores Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Marzieh Afkham responded to Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s March 3 speech and called it a deceitful campaign strategy pushed by extremists in Tel Aviv. The Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman said Netanyahu is desperate to sabotage the nuclear negotiations, indicating his weakness and isolation. Afkham said Netanyahu’s “constant lies” are a part of his fear-mongering campaign, adding: “There is no doubt that the world public opinion gives no value or status to a child-killing regime.” (Tabnak)
- Kowsari: nuclear negotiators should not be deceived by Israeli lies. Parliamentarian Esmail Kowsari advised the Iranian nuclear negotiations team not to trust the U.S. Kowsari pointed to the U.S. and Israel’s war of words regarding Iran’s nuclear program and called it political theater. The National Security and Foreign Policy Commission member said Washington and Tel Aviv are complicit in a “jeweler’s war,” an expression used in Iran when two parties collude in price-rigging to deceive a third party into thinking it is a great deal. Kowsari added: “As the Supreme Leader has also pointed out that America and Israel are not reliable and the negotiations team… should recognize this issue and not be lured by their [U.S. and Israel] deceit.” Kowsari added that Israel tries to highlight Congress’ opposition to a nuclear deal with Iran. (Fars News Agency)
IRGC Commander: tribes of Khuzestan ready to fight takfiris and secure borders. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Ahmad Khadem Alshohada said that establishing security in Shalamcheh and Arvand is the duty of the IRGC Ground Forces Karbala Base in Khuzestan and it is for this reason that the IRGC 48th Fath Brigade is stationed on the border. The Commander of IRGC Ground Forces Karbala Base in Khuzestan continued, “to maintain sustainable security in the provincial borders with Iraq, in a meeting with the brave tribal leaders of the Arab region... tribal leaders announced that they would spare no effort to protect the Islamic homeland” against ISIS. He added that a number of Basiji militias stationed in Khuzestan were ready to be deployed to defend the shrine of Ahl al Bayt. The IRGC general added that the IRGC 3rdNaval Zone is responsible for the protection of sea boundaries, while IRGC Ground Forces Karbala Base is responsible for the protection of land boundaries. (Defa Press)
Deputy Speaker responds to Netanyahu’s speech to Congress. Hojjat al Eslam Mohammad Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stressed that the government and Parliament should take serious steps to implement Resistance Economy policies. The Deputy Speaker of Parliament added that this year’s budget does not adhere to the policies of Resistance Economy, stating that the budget system needs a dramatic change and transformation to deal with prevailing economic conditions. Aboutorabi Fard also addressed Prime Minister Netanyahu’s speech: “We are faced with a situation that is showing Israel’s gradual isolation from the international community.” He added that Netanyahu’s arrogance and representation of Iran show Lebanese Hezbollah’s victory and strength in the region. (Tasnim News Agency)
Reformist party responds to Netanyahu’s remarks. The Voice of Iranians reformist party wrote a letter to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani in response to Netanyahu’s “hostile” comments. The group made a request to Larijani to invite Palestinian and Lebanese resistance movement leaders to address Iran’s Parliament. The letter also stated that the intent is to show the world that the Iranian nation will standby the Palestinian people and it is also determined to defend its national interests. (ISNA)
Military and Security
IRGC 2nd lieutenant killed in Syria. IRGC 2nd Lt. Mohammad Sahebkaram Ardekani was killed on March 3 “fighting terrorists.” Ardekani was from Shiraz, Fars province. The Sepidan County Basij Forces commander Lt. Col. Morteza Khosravani issued a message of condolence. (ABNA)
Afghan Shi’a militia commander affiliated with IRGC killed in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra forces purportedly killed Afghan Shi’a Fataimiyoun Brigade Commander Ali Reza Tavassoli on “the outskirts of Dera’a” on February 28. Tavassoli was purportedly a resident of Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi province, for several years. A memorial service was held in Mashhad on February 3. Tavassoli was purportedly “trusted by [IRGC Qods Force Commander] Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.” (Mashhad Payam)
- Afghan Shi’a militia commander affiliated with IRGC killed in Syria. Jabhat al-Nusra forces purportedly killed Afghan Shi’a Fataimiyoun Brigade Commander Ali Reza Tavassoli on “the outskirts of Dera’a” on February 28. Tavassoli was purportedly a resident of Mashhad, Khorasan Razavi province, for several years. A memorial service was held in Mashhad on February 3. Tavassoli was purportedly “trusted by [IRGC Qods Force Commander] Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani.” (Mashhad Payam)
- Kerry and Zarif conclude fourth round of talks. The fourth round of nuclear talks between Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry ended today in Montreux, Switzerland. Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Ali Akbar Salehi, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi, Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Takht Ravanchi, U.S. Under-Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, EU Deputy Foreign Policy Chief Helga Schmid, Advisor and Chief of Staff to the President Hossein Fereydoon were present for the latest round. Ahead of this round of negotiations, Salehi held “other technical meetings” with Moniz, lasting for an hour and a half. The negotiations will continue tonight in a meeting between the deputy foreign ministers of Iran, UK, France, and Germany. The deputy foreign ministers of the rest of the P5+1 countries will meet tomorrow. The next round of talks is likely to resume in Geneva on March 15-20. (IRNA)
Next round of IAEA talks will be held in Tehran. The IAEA announced that it agreed to resume the next round of nuclear talks in Tehran on March 9. Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi said, “Consultations and cooperation will speed up in the future.” (Fars News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Iran demands extradition of Jaish al Adl leader. Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani Fazli announced that Tehran has appealed to Islamabad to extradite Abdul Sattar Rigi, the leader of Jaish al Adl, a Sunni insurgent group based in Pakistan. (Mashregh News)
- Jafari’s senior advisor discusses relationship with Hezbollah commander Imad Mugniyeh. Senior Advisor to the Commander of the IRGC Brig. Gen. Khosro Orouj discussed the relationship of Hezbollah Secretary-General Hassan Nasrallah and the Supreme Leader, and his own relationship with senior Hezbollah commander Imad Mughniyeh at the “Children of the Imam” conference. Orouj said he maintained “an intimate relationship” with Mugniyeh and his family from 1984 through Mughiniyeh’s death in 2008. Orouj stated he “accompanied” Mugniyeh during the 2006 Lebanon War. (Basij.ir)