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: IRGC Brigadier General Esmail Ghani said that Iran has been training Yemeni rebel fighters. IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani stated that Iran and its partners and proxies alone are fighting ISIS, and that the U.S. does not have the will to fight ISIS.
Speaking to a gathering of Iran-Iraq War veterans on May 24, IRGC Qods Force Commander IRGC Major General Qassem Soleimani stated, “America did not do a damn thing to stop ISIS.” Soleimani said, in contrast, “There is nobody in confrontation with ISIS except the Islamic Republic of Iran” and its partners and proxies. Soleimani’s comments underscore the regime’s ongoing narrative of Iran as the sole source of regional security.
IRGC Qods Force Deputy Commander Brigadier General Esmail Ghani stated that Iran has been training the “defenders of Yemen,” likely in reference to al Houthi fighters. While previous rumors have indicated Iran has trained al Houthis fighters, Ghani’s statements mark the first confirmation from an IRGC official.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei highlighted his ongoing narrative of Iran as the leader of the Muslim world during a speech in Tehran on May 23. Khamenei indicated that Muslim countries should follow Iran’s example of reaching strength through ‘resistance’ to the West; such ‘resistance,’ he argued, is “the cure for the world of Islam.”
Khamenei: Certain Muslim states cannot distinguish friend from foe. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed reciters of the 32nd International Quran Competitions on May 23 in Tehran. Khamenei warned regional states not to mistake enemies for friends and called for resistance against the West and its “modern ignorance.” The Supreme Leader stated:
- “We should not allow jahiliyya [ignorance of Islam] to impose itself on our societies, as it has done so recently [and continues to do so].”
- “Today, the world of Islam is suffering in the claws of jahili systems… Islam is suffering from weakness, poverty, discord, and domestic wars…”
- “We should show determination in order to move towards Quranic goals [and liberate ourselves]. If we take one step forward, Allah the exalted will give us great power. This is what Muslim people should understand today… We should take one step forward and experience this.”
- “We the people of Iran have experienced it. We did not surrender to the enemies of Islam… We resisted. This was why God gave us power. The more we resisted the more powerful and capable we became and the more hopeful we became about the future. This is the cure for the world of Islam.”
- “Any [voice] that speaks in favor of discord is the enemy's megaphone, whether knowingly or unknowingly. We should take care not to let our throats become the enemy's megaphone and stimulate discord. Denominational and nationalistic discord, Shi’a and Sunni discord, Arab and ajam [non-Arab] discord… are being ignited among Muslim societies. We should stand up against such forms of discord.”
- “There are certain Islamic countries in which officials do not have foresight. They cannot differentiate between friends and enemies. They consider enemies to be friends and friends to be enemies…” (Khamenei.ir)
Rouhani: Iran committed to reconciliation through logic. President Hassan Rouhani addressed a large gathering on May 26 in the city of Malard, near Tehran. Rouhani called for peaceful coexistence in the region, stressing that Iran is committed to resolving its differences with the world through logical dialogue. Rouhani stated:
- “The administration will continue its moderate policy under the support of the nation… and the government is duty bound to follow the [nuclear negotiations] guidelines of the Supreme Leader of the Islamic Revolution.”
- “Despite opposition from a minority group, the majority of Iranians support the government's constructive and interactive foreign policy…”
- “Today, we need unity, unanimity, and harmony inside [the country] and resistance against enemy plots to create insecurity in the region.” (President.ir) (President.ir) (E)
Soleimani: America “did not do a damn thing” to stop ISIS and has no will to fight ISIS. IRGC Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani addressed a gathering of Iran-Iraq War veterans on May 24 in Kerman province, southeastern Iran. The IRGC Qods Force Commander criticized the U.S. for not stopping ISIS; Soleimani specifically called on President Obama and stated:
- “Mr. Obama, how many kilometers away is your air base [al Asad] from Ramadi? And how is it that war crimes are taking place in a country that you established [a presence] under the pretext of protecting the nation, but America does not do a damn thing? What is this called?”
- "Does it mean anything else than being an accomplice in the plot? There is no will to fight ISIS.”
- Regarding ISIS funding and support, Soleimani stated: “From the oil fields in Kirkuk and Syria, but where is it exported? Because it is not being exported with a tanker or 20 liter [fuel cans], rather thousands of oil tankers are carrying it.”
- "Today, there is nobody in confrontation with ISIS except the Islamic Republic of Iran, as well as nations who are next to Iran or supported by Iran [Iraq and Syria]."
- “Iran does not need Iraq’s soil or oil, and does not need anything from any other country either.”
- "We should immunize our borders against this great evil and we should help those countries that are suffering under ISIS.” (Kayhan) (Sepah News) (Kayhan) (E)
Ghani: we are training Yemeni “defenders.” IRGC Qods Force Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Esmail Ghani stated, “Each one who is with us comes under the banner of the Islamic Republic, and this is our strength. The defenders of Yemen have been trained under the banner of the Islamic Republic, and the enemies cannot deal with Yemeni fighters.” Ghani also stated, “The Americans are trying to show our power and nuclear energy [as] great; but they must know that today, our dominant power is not our nuclear [power]; although it is also great, and we are powerful from a military viewpoint, our missile power is first in the region.” (Mashregh News)
- Rezaei: Saudi airstrikes no different from Israel’s wars on Gaza and Lebanon. At a ceremony commemorating the 1980 Battle of Khorramshahr, Expediency Discernment Council Secretary Mohsen Rezaei “highlighted the Islamic Republic’s defensive approach to regional insecurities and threats against the country’s territorial integrity.” Rezaei also stated, “The Al Saud regime’s brutal aggression against Yemen, which has been carried out with the U.S. green light, is no different from the Zionist regime’s wars on Gaza and Lebanon.”(Press TV) (E)
Fresh round of nuclear talks kickoff in Vienna. Deputy-level negotiations resumed on May 26 in the Austrian capital. The nuclear talks are scheduled to run through May 29. (Press TV) (E)
Araghchi: Negotiators are obeying set guidelines. International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi stated, “Generally, the Iranian diplomats and negotiators act according to the guidelines depicted for them, which [are] based on the country’s interests.” Araghchi reiterated that Iran would never allow inspections of military sites or interviews with nuclear scientists, and stated “All ways to abuse have been principally blocked during nuclear talks.” (Mehr News) (E)
Shamkhani: Iran will not cooperate with the IAEA based on normal procedures alone. Ali Shamkhani reiterated "Iran's cooperation with the [IAEA] will be based on normal procedures and merely limited to nuclear facilities; no trend outside the international rules or access to anywhere beyond (what has been mentioned in) the additional protocol is acceptable." The Supreme National Security Council Secretary also addressed the “recent changes in the area of conflict of the Iraqi army with ISIS in Anbar province,” stating: “Each time the popular forces and the Iraqi army start to advance against ISIS,” the West promotes propaganda against them in order to “prevent victory against terrorism.” (Tabnak) (Fars News Agency) (E)
- Zarif: Negotiating team will obey the Supreme Leader’s guidelines to the letter. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “The Iranian negotiating team will definitely abide, to the letter, by the [Supreme] Leader’s views on all issues pertaining to the nuclear negotiations,” including military site inspections. Zarif also stated that the topic of interviewing Iran’s nuclear scientists was “‘marginal’” and “‘has nothing to do’” with the P5+1 negotiations. (Press TV) (E)
Military and Security
U.S. allegedly launches cyber-attack on Iranian Oil Ministry. Brig. Gen. Kamal Hadianfar announced on May 26 that Iran thwarted a recent U.S. cyber operation against the Oil Ministry. The Head of Iran’s Cyber Police (FATA) stated: “The IP [address] of these hackers was in America and we informed [U.S. officials] of the issue in an official letter and also issued an international judicial order and the case is now being pursued by the Foreign Ministry." (FATA)
Fadavi: “America is always passive…in the Persian Gulf.” At the Fourth National Conference on Fast Crafts, IRGC Navy Commander Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi stated, “America is always passive and complies in the Persian Gulf.” Fadavi also highlighted that “The IRGC Navy is in communication with the Ministry of Defense and private companies in the area of fast [maritime] crafts.” Speaking to reporters, Fadavi also stated, "We observe confrontations and, as a matter of fact, debates between Iran and foreign and American vessels in the Persian Gulf and the Strait of Hormuz on a daily basis and they always comply." Fadavi also “said the IRGC is testing” new speed boats capable of a speeds over 200 km/h. (Fars News Agency) (E) (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Sepah News) (Sepah News)
Dehghan discusses maritime threats. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan stated, "Today, the sphere of our (naval) operation is not limited to our own region, and we have gone as far as the Persian Gulf, the Red Sea, and borders of India and China." The Defense Minister also stated, “When we look at threats, we must simply accept this statement that if there were a threat to the Islamic Republic of Iran, it was at sea, and we must give a response to this by sea.” He also stated, “We do not know any maritime neighbors as maritime threats, but the foreign forces present in the region, especially the Americans, are considered a threat by us.” (Tasnim News Agency) (E) (Sepah News)
- LEF Commander claims 90 percent of cybercrimes have been discovered. Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari stated that FATA is “connected and has mutual interaction” with every country except Israel. The Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander added that FATA has identified 90 percent of cybercrimes, leading to a large number of arrests. (YJC)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Senior Hezbollah field commander killed in Qalamoun province. Ghassan Faqih was purportedly killed in a “clean-up operation” on May 25. ABNA reported that Faqih commanded one of the “Rizwan” battalions within Hezbollah Special Forces and was the deputy commander of Hezbollah operations in the Felita area of the Qalamoun region. (ABNA)
Tehran claims S-300 missile defense systems will be delivered soon. Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated, “I estimate that the S-300 delivery will take place in quite a short time… it will be done at the soonest possible opportunity.” The Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister made the statement following a meeting with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov on May 25 in Moscow. (Mehr News) (E)
Tehran responds to Saudi-led coalition rockets landing near its embassy in Sana’a. Iran summoned Saudi Arabia’s chargé d’affaires in response to the two rockets which landed near the Iranian embassy in Yemen. (Ministry of Foreign Affairs)
- Velayati attends CICA conference in Beijing. The Supreme Leader’s Senior Foreign Policy Advisor Ali Akbar Velayati attended the Conference on Interaction and Confidence Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and stated, “The roots of the problems in Asia are due to the interference of non-Asian countries.” (Fars News Agency)
- Larijani reelected as Parliament Speaker. Ali Larijani received 205 out of 263 Parliamentarian votes and was reelected Parliament Speaker for the eighth consecutive year. (Fars News Agency) (E)