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: President Hassan Rouhani reassured domestic audiences that Iranian negotiators will not sign any deal that compromises national security, while IRGC Major General Yahya Rahim Safavi claimed that 80,000 Lebanese Hezbollah (LH) missiles are prepared target Israel if it attacks Iran.
President Rouhani echoed the Supreme Leader Khamenei’s nuclear red lines, stressing that the negotiating team “will never ink an agreement which allows anyone to access the country’s scientific and military secrets.” IRGC Major General Safavi, meanwhile, warned Israel against taking any military action against Iran, stating: “This is not a slogan… with the help of Hezbollah and its other friends; Iran has the power to raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground.” Khamenei’s Senior Military Advisor said that Iran’s long-standing military strategy is predicated on defense, adding: “now, our strategy is also effective deterrence and… offensive strategy does not exist in our doctrine.”
The Iranian cargo ship “Iran Shahed” carrying 2,500 tons of humanitarian aid supplies to Yemen is reportedly near the port of Djibouti,” and will travel to al Hudaydah, Yemen, following UN-led inspections.
Rouhani reiterates government’s obedience to the Supreme Leader’s nuclear red lines. President Hassan Rouhani stated, “The government is fully obedient to the views of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution and we will never ink an agreement which allows anyone to access the country's scientific and military secrets.” Rouhani “also stressed that in case of any nuclear agreement, Iran will implement the Additional Protocol to the Non-Proliferation Treaty based on its redlines.” Rouhani also congratulated the IRGC ahead of IRGC Day. (Fars News Agency) (E) (Defa Press)
Safavi: 80,000 Hezbollah missiles “are ready to be fired” at Israel. On May 20, Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. “Yahya Rahim Safavi said that 80,000 missiles belonging to [Lebanese] Hezbollah are ready to be fired at Haifa and Tel Aviv…” He also stated, “From beginning to end, Iran’s strategy was defensive; now, our strategy is also effective deterrence and defense, and offensive strategy does not exist in our doctrine.” Safavi also stated, “As [Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei] stated…two years ago, “If the Zionists want to do wrong [against Iran], we will raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground.” Safavi continued: “This is not a slogan; in the event of military aggression from the Zionists’ side against Iran, with the help of Hezbollah and its other friends, Iran has this power to raze Haifa and Tel Aviv to the ground.” Safavi also stated, “We know [it is] unlikely that the Zionists are going to provide a military problem against us, because they know that Iran is a powerful country…” (Defa Press) (IRNA)
Iran says it will not cater to excessive demands. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham stressed the importance of an acceptable nuclear deal and said, “It is not important how much time the negotiations take.” Afkham also stated that the IAEA has not made an official request to visit Parchin military base. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs) (E)
- Kowsari: Iranian negotiating team should not be fooled by empty promises. Parliamentarian Mohammad Esmail Kowsari criticized the West for its excessive demands in the P5+1 nuclear talks, claiming U.S. demands exceed the Lausanne framework agreement. The National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission member stated that the West “always wants to be the creditor.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Iranian humanitarian aid ship awaiting permission to enter Djibouti’s port. Fars News Agency reported on May 21 that the Iran Shahed “is now near the Djibouti port,” and will travel to al Hudaydah, Yemen, following UN inspections. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated on May 20 that the UN would inspect the ship in Djibouti. (Reuters reported that the ship “is waiting for a permit to enter” the port.) (Fars News Agency) (E) (IRNA)
Iranian cargo plane expected to land in Djibouti on May 21. On May 20, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated that an Iranian cargo plane carrying humanitarian aid supplies is expected to arrive in Djibouti on May 21. (Press TV) (E)
- P5+1 and Iran hold second day of talks in Vienna. The negotiations took place on the deputy foreign minister and expert levels. The talks are “expected to continue until Friday.” (Press TV) (E)
Military and Security
Artesh Ground Forces exercise begins in Kermanshah. The 27 Beit al Moghaddas exercises began on Mary 21 in Kermanshah. Artesh Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Ahmad Reza Pourdastan stated that the exercises will be held “for seven days in three geographical regions.” Armor, rapid deployment, and artillery units will partake in the exercises. (IRNA) (Defa Press)
- Defense Ministry issues statement ahead of IRGC Day. The Defense Ministry “described the IRGC as the Islamic Revolution and the Iranian nation’s strategic weapon and superior potential for foiling the scenarios hatched by the enemies, the hegemonic system, and the Zionists.” (Fars News Agency) (E)