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: The Supreme Leader explicitly stated that inspectors will not be granted access to any Iranian military site, while the IRGC Commander highlighted defense technologies. Former IRGC Commander Mohsen Rezaei appears to have officially returned to the IRGC as a major general.

Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his redlines for the nuclear negotiations, warning that Iran’s defense capabilities are non-negotiable. Khamenei explicitly stated: “…no permission will be given for inspections of any military centers… I will not allow foreigners to come in and interrogate the dear and distinguished scientists and sons of this nation.” Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari meanwhile highlighted the IRGC’s advanced defense technologies and asymmetric tactics. Khamenei’s statement does not signal any shift in his support for the negotiations, but it does underscore his fear of international inspectors exposing Iran’s military capabilities.

The Iranian cargo ship dubbed “Iran Shahed” carrying 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to Yemen will reportedly dock in Djibouti for possible inspection by ICRC officials


Official Statements

  • Khamenei: foreigners will not inspect Iran’s military sites. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed a commencement ceremony at Imam Hossein University on May 20 in Tehran. Khamenei reiterated that inspectors will not have access to military sites and stated:
    • "As said before, no permission will be given for inspections of any military centers and for talks with the nuclear scientists and other sensitive fields of study and intrusion into their privacy."
    • “The flagrant and shameless enemy expects us to allow them to talk to our scientists and researchers about a fundamental, indigenous advancement; however, there will absolutely be no such access… I will not allow foreigners to come in and interrogate the dear and distinguished scientists and sons of this nation."
    • On regional issues: “I have information about the enemies’ plan to spread proxy wars to the Iranian borders in collusion with some silly officials of Persian Gulf countries, not all of them, only some…” (
  • Rouhani discusses nuclear negotiations. Addressing an assembly in East Azerbaijan, President Hassan Rouhani discussed the nuclear negotiations and stated:  
    • He “stressed that the nation backs its nuclear negotiating team because they deem it as a great source of dignity.” He also stated, “The end of nuclear negotiations will be the pride for the nation.”
    • Rouhani “said Iran is now at a very critical point in the world arena and [it will] soon ruin the [West’s] Iranophobia project.”
    • He also stated, “it must be remembered, the government and the people have been united since [Rouhani took office on June 14 2013]… Existence of different thoughts are okay, the factions and parties are alright, but our national unity should be preserved.” (Office of the President) (E) (Office of the President)
  • Safavi: “A new era of Cold War has begun.” Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi stated, “We are in a period of strategic instability, uncertainty, and insecurity on a global scale…” Safavi also stated, “In theoretical discussions, the most important principle in passive defense is the correct identification of threats at four levels – international, regional, national, and provincial threats…we must have an understanding of these four levels; for example, a new era of the Cold War…on an international scale has been observed.” Safavi also stated, “As long as the Zionist regime is in the region, there will be oil in the Persian Gulf [sic], and billions of dollars…of arms sales available, and war and instability will continue…” (Defa Press)
  • Jafari gives speech at Imam Hossein University graduation. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari stated, “The enemies are more familiar with the language of weapons, and we also intend to confront them with the same language." Jafari also highlighted the IRGC’s “use of defense and security technologies and up-to-date…tactics of asymmetric warfare.” (Fars News Agency) (E) (Defa Press
  • Parliament committee concerned over nuclear negotiations. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif addressed the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission on May 19. The session was mainly focused on the ongoing P5+1 nuclear talks, specifically the Foreign Ministry’s refusal to release a fact sheet on the April 2 Lausanne framework agreement. According to the report Zarif “failed” to allay the concerns of 10 Parliamentarians. (Press TV) (E)


Military and Security

  • Rezaei appears in IRGC uniform at Imam Hossein University graduation. Mohsen Rezaei wore an IRGC dress uniform bearing the rank insignia of major general during the ceremony. Rezaei was previously the Commander of the IRGC until 1997; he has since held positions such as Expediency Discernment Council Secretary. Rezaei reportedly sent a letter to the Supreme Leader earlier this year asking to return to the IRGC. (Defa Press)
  • FATA issues spyware warning. Iranian Cyber Police (FATA) issued a warning cautioning internet users to refrain from downloading and installing “ilivid.exe” onto personal devices. FATA stated that the malware associated with this software may be in the form of attachments that are used to penetrate the user’s system. (Raja News)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Iranian aid ship reportedly to dock in Djibouti. The Iranian cargo ship dubbed “Iran Shahed” carrying 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to Yemen will reportedly dock in Djibouti for possible inspection by ICRC officials. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
  • Zarif meets with UN deputy. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with UN Under-Secretary-General for Humanitarian Affairs and Emergency Relief Coordinator Valerie Amos on May 20 in Tehran. The meeting was about regional developments, specifically the ongoing crises in Iraq, Syria, and Yemen. (ISNA)
  • Fatimiyoun Brigade expands operational capacity. Afghan Shi’a militia Fatimiyoun Brigade reportedly expanded despite losing approximately 200 of its fighters while supporting the Assad regime in Syria. According to an unnamed Fatimiyoun fighter, “With increased operational capacity and troops the [Fatimiyoun] Brigade upgraded to a division.” (Raja News)
  • Iran and Iraq sign defense agreement on May 19; Dehghan meets with Ammar al Hakim. The agreement is reportedly aimed at “widening defense and security cooperation between the two states and intensify[ing] joint actions against ISIL and other…terrorists.” The officials made the agreement during the second session of talks between Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan and Iraqi Defense Minister Khalid al Obeidi. Dehghan also met with Iraqi Parliament Speaker Salim al Jabouri, as well as with head of the Islamic Supreme Council of Iraq Ammar al Hakim. (Fars News Agency) (Defa  Press) (Mehr News Agency)


Nuclear Talks

  • Nuclear talks resume in Vienna. Deputy-level negotiations between Iran and members of the P5+1 resumed on May 20 in the Austrian capital. Legal and International Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi will meet with EU Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Helga Schmid today. The fresh round of talks is centered on drafting the final nuclear agreement and is scheduled to run through May 22. (Press TV) (E)
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