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. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
Key takeaway: Arguing that Iranian missiles are “for the defense of…the entire Islamic world,” Mohsen Rezaei stated that Iran would “defend” the “sovereignty of Saudi Arabia” if necessary.
Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei stated “We will not stop our missile program; these industries are for our defense… Our weapons are [also] for our defense [and]… the defense of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and the entire world of Islam. I am sure if someone violated the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia, we would defend this nation.” Rezaei also stated that Iran and Saudi Arabia do not want to fight one another. Rezaei’s comments reflect Iran’s self-projection as the leader of the Islamic world and the power responsible for regional security.
International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi dismissed the possibility of Congressional intervention having a lasting outcome on a nuclear deal, stating that it “can only deter the execution of a nuclear deal for approximately two months, and will have no other effect.”
Rezaei: Iran and Saudi Arabia do not want to fight one another. Mohsen Rezaei warned the Saudis against escalating their aggression in Yemen. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary stated that Iran “recommends” that Saudi Arabia “not fall too much in the swamp of Yemen, because it cannot be removed.” Rezaei also discussed Iranian missile capabilities and said that hyping the threat of Iran is aimed at triggering an arms race and increasing arms sales in the region. Rezaei stated: “We will not stop our missile program; these industries are for our defense… Our weapons are [also] for the defense of Saudi Arabia, Qatar, the UAE, and the entire world of Islam. I am sure if someone violated the sovereignty of Saudi Arabia, we would defend this nation.” (ABNA)
Khatami warns Riyadh of consequences of executing prominent Shi’a cleric. Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami responded to Saudi media reports announcing that Riyadh plans to execute prominent Shi’a cleric Sheikh Nimr Bagher al Nimr. The Assembly of Experts member warned the Saudi government that the bloodshed in Yemen and executing a religious scholar is tantamount to following the path of pharaohs and blasphemers. (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Safavi: U.S. has been “targeting…Muslim countries” as the “new threat” in the post-Soviet era. IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi stated, “For more than five decades, America introduced communism as a major threat; when the Soviet Union collapsed, it had to introduce a new threat and enemy. After the incident of September 11, it said that Islam is the greatest threat for us, and we must go after Muslims and Islamic countries.” He also stated, “What the Americans want, is Saudi Arabia’s oil.” The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader stated, “Targeting of the Muslim countries and nations and their strategic resources and thoughts are the goals of [their] 15-year war in this region.” Safavi also stated that the “Saudis have started a war against Yemen, a vicarious war on behalf of America, Israel and their European allies.” (Fars News Agency) (E) (Sepah News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
U.S. and French forces purportedly change course after warning from 34th Fleet. Fars News Agency reported that the Artesh Navy destroyer Alborz sent a warning signal to “U.S. and French reconnaissance planes, helicopters, and warships” in the Gulf of Aden for disregarding the internationally-set distance of five miles from the 34th Fleet. The U.S. and French forces thereafter “changed their direction.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
Iranian ship to deliver humanitarian aid to Yemen. The Iranian Red Crescent Society announced that a ship carrying humanitarian aid supplies left the port of Bandar Abbas, Iran on May 11. The ship is reportedly carrying 2,500 tons of medical supplies and it intends to dock at the Yemeni port city of al Hudaydah. (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Iran urges UN to halt Saudi aggression. Hossein Amir Abdollahian called the Saudi-led military campaign in Yemen “totally unlawful and barbaric” during a phone conversation with the new Envoy of the UN Secretary-General on Yemen Affairs Ismail Walad Sheikh Ahmad. The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister stated that in addition to the UN, “international relief organizations should urgently begin assisting the victims of the Saudi crimes against humanity in Yemen and alleviate their pains and sorrows.” (IRNA) (E)
- Parliament responds to U.S. Senate bill on nuclear deal. Iranian lawmakers overwhelmingly censured the U.S. Senate bill on an Iranian nuclear deal. The Parliamentarians released a statement on May 10, stating: "The... bill is indicative of a new case of extremism which we have experienced time and time again under the cover of democratic gestures… Under the rules of international negotiations, such an attitude has no name but deceit and will have no outcome but mistrust.” (Kayhan) (E)
- Araghchi: U.S. Senate intervention could delay nuclear deal. National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini said that Abbas Araghchi addressed Parliament about the ongoing nuclear negotiations on May 10. Araghchi reportedly talked about the U.S. Senate bill to review a nuclear deal with Iran. The International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister stated: “A Senate intervention can only deter the execution of a nuclear deal for approximately 2 months and will have no other effect.” Araghchi also said, “If we assume that Congress can override the American president's veto, who will lose? Certainly, the Americans will. Because we will continue our path, P5+1 unity will be lost, sanctions will be shaken, and the results will be favor Iran.” (IRNA) (E)
Military and Security
New Artesh Navy torpedo passes field test. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari stated that “The Artesh Navy’s new torpedo has been made and has successfully passed through experimental phases and a field test.” Sayyari also “said that mass production of the “Samen” fire control system is ongoing.” (Defa Press)
Artesh: we are carrying out the Supreme Leader’s edict to strengthen the armed forces. Artesh Commander Brig. Gen. Ataollah Salehi stated, “Immediately after receiving the Supreme Commander-in-Chief [Ayatollah Ali Khamenei]’s order to improve the combat capability of the armed forces [during the latter’s April 18 Artesh Day speech], we have strengthened the relevant base with a focus on operationalization…” (Fars News Agency)
- Ashtari: LEF is one of greatest sources of martyrs for the regime since Iran-Iraq War. Law Enforcement Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari stated, “Because the police have been responsible for maintaining order and security in the country [in] the most grappling with banditry and counter-revolution, accordingly, after the Imposed War [Iran-Iraq War], the police were one of the institutions which offered the most martyrs of the [Islamic] Revolution.” Ashtari stated that “yesterday, a number” of LEF members were killed “in a confrontation with bandits and counter-revolutionaries,” but did not specify any names or where they were killed. Ashtari also stated, “….the police have on their agenda to reduce the amount of their physical presence by using facilities around the country…however, in many places this…is not possible, and therefore we need to have the physical presence of officers for confrontation with banditry.” (Defa Press) (Tasnim News)