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.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Ali Akbar Velayati held separate meetings with Hassan Nasrallah and Bashar al Assad, while Ansar Allah requested Iran’s presence in the upcoming Geneva negotiations over the ongoing crisis in Yemen.
The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Velayati met with senior Lebanese officials in Beirut and Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah to strengthen Iran’s political and strategic relations with Lebanon. Velayati praised Syrian President Assad for maintaining the resistance front, stating: “Syria is in a better situation and has grown more powerful compared to four years ago…” Velayati’s trip to Beirut and Damascus is part of Iran’s ongoing effort to promote enhanced relations to reinforce the key pillars of its resistance strategy in Syria and Lebanon. These activities coincide with Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan’s meetings with his Iraqi counterpart and Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi in Baghdad. Velayati and Dehghan are likely consolidating security measures in response to deteriorating situations in Iraq and Syria.
Ansar Allah, meanwhile, issued a statement reiterating its opposition to UN Security Council Resolution 2216 against the al Houthis and stressed the need for inclusive national dialogue. Ansar Allah also requested that Tehran partake in the May 28 Geneva talks.
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Velayati meets with President Assad in Damascus. Ali Akbar Velayati and Syrian President Bashar al Assad discussed regional developments in a meeting on May 19. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor praised Damascus for combatting terrorism and stated: “Syria is in a better situation and has grown more powerful compared to four years ago…” (ISNA)
- Velayati and Nasrallah exchange views on regional issues. Velayati met with Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah on May 18 in Lebanon. Velayati called for enhanced cooperation between Iran and LH to fight extremism and terrorists “backed by regional countries… [who] are trying to… disintegrate certain Islamic countries.” (Mashregh News)
Velayati praises strategic ties between Iran and Lebanon. Velayati also met with Lebanese Prime Minister Tamam Salam and presidential candidate Michel Naim Aoun in Beirut. Velayati called for enhanced joint cooperation efforts, stating that Tehran-Beirut relations are “strategic and brotherly.” (YJC) (IRNA) (E)
Ansar Allah calls for Tehran to participate in UN-led negotiations. Ansar Allah, the political wing of the al Houthis, issued a statement explaining its position on the ongoing crisis in Yemen. Ansar Allah reiterated its opposition to the April 14 UN Security Council Resolution 2216 against the al Houthis and demanded that Abdul Malik al Houthi’s name be removed from the UN’s sanctions list. Ansar Allah also urged the presence of Tehran at the upcoming Geneva talks scheduled for May 28, adding that there is no other solution to the Yemeni crisis other than inclusive national dialogue and a peace agreement. (Raja News)
Artesh 34th Fleet “in contact with” Iranian aid ship bound for Yemen. The Artesh Navy 34th Fleet is “in contact with” the Iran Shahed, a cargo ship carrying humanitarian aid to Yemen. According to IRIB, the Iran Shahed is “present near the port of al Mukalla…in the open waters of the Gulf of Aden, and is moving towards the Bab el Mandeb Strait.” (Pentagon spokesman purportedly stated that the 34th Fleet and the cargo ship “linked up” on Monday, May 18). (YJC)
Iraqi Prime Minister Abadi lauds Iranian support. Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan met with Prime Minister Haidar al Abadi on May 18 in Baghdad. Abadi praised Iran for standing with Iraq and supporting its fight against ISIS. Dehghan reiterated that Tehran will continue to support Baghdad in various fields. (Tabnak)
Ministry of Foreign Affairs summons Bahraini chargé d’affaires. Bahrain’s Foreign Minister Khalid bin Ahmed al Khalifa had previously criticized Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s statement in his May 17 speech that “We [Iran] support the oppressed… the Bahraini nation is an oppressed [country]” as Iranian interference in Bahrain’s internal affairs. Bahrain also summoned the Iranian chargé d’affaires in response to Khamenei’s comments. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (E)
Taliban delegation travels to Iran. A delegation of Afghan Taliban members arrived in Tehran on May 18 to meet with senior Iranian officials. Both sides discussed regional developments and humanitarian crises, specifically Afghan refugees. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
Abdollahian meets with senior Chilean official. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian met with General Director of Foreign Policy of Chile Alfredo Labbé Villa. Abdollahian highlighted the need for “collective cooperation of world countries” to “fight against terrorism.” (Mehr News ) (E)
Velayati responds to allegations in AMIA bombing case. In an interview with Argentine news outlet C5N, Senior Foreign Policy Advisor to the Supreme Leader Ali Akbar Velayati responded to allegations of his involvement in the July 1994 attack on the Argentine Israelite Mutual Association building in Buenos Aires as “false and a lie.” Velayati stated, “We recommend Argentina not become tools in the hands of the Zionists.” Velayati said, “…we deny any Iranian involvement in the AMIA bombing.” (Defa Press)
Military and Security
- Sayyari echoes Supreme Leader’s comments on Persian Gulf security. Artesh Navy Commander Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari reiterated the Supreme Leader’s remarks on May 17 and stated, “We have announced many times that security in the Persian Gulf can be established through [the collective cooperation of] all the regional states; Iran is also capable of establishing security in the Persian Gulf, the Strait of Hormuz and the Sea of Oman...” (Fars News Agency) (E)
Nuclear talks scheduled to resume on Wednesday. Senior nuclear negotiator Abbas Araghchi announced that Iran and the P5+1 will hold a series of negotiations from May 20-22 in Vienna, Austria. (Mehr News) (E)
- Iran reiterates defense capabilities are non-negotiable. Hamid Baeidinejad stated that Iran will not grant inspectors access to its military facilities. The Foreign Ministry’s Director for Political and International Affairs stressed that Iran will not risk potential enemy infiltration into the country’s sensitive defense sites under the auspices of IAEA-led inspections. (Press TV) (E)
Rouhani urges expansion of “national cultural identity.” In a speech at Islamic Azad University, President Hassan Rouhani “stressed the need to deepen the national cultural identity and called for scientific independent and freedom for Iranian universities.” He also called for the employment in Iranian institutions of Iranian scholars living abroad. Rouhani “said that ‘everybody in the country should show respect and tolerance towards academics and scholars who are residing inside or outside the country [,] even if they have a different attitude which contrasts with official views.'” He also stated, “…no one has the right to deal with citizens outside the framework of the law.” (President.ir) (E) (President.ir)
- Foreign Ministry discusses ceasefire in Yemen. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham said that international organizations must take “serious action” to stop the Saudi-led coalition airstrikes in Yemen. She stated that the coalition had obstructed the provision of humanitarian aid during the recent five-day ceasefire. (Fars News Agency)
- Salehi highlights nuclear energy uses in agriculture. Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi stated that “construction of small desalination nuclear power plants” in the Persian Gulf and the Gulf of Oman were “strategic plans of [the] AEOI for the future.” Last November, Iran and Russia signed a deal to construct eight nuclear power plants in Iran; “up to four of the projected facilities” will be constructed at the site of the Bushehr nuclear power plant. (IRNA)