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: The Supreme Leader said that he will not negotiate under the “sword” and reinforced his redlines for a nuclear deal, while senior negotiator Abbas Araghchi reassured his domestic audience that sanctions will be removed upon implementation of a final agreement.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei explicitly stated in his speech on May 6, that Iran will not tolerate negotiations under the “shadow” of a threat. He specifically pointed to Washington’s rhetoric about military options and said, “In these last few days, two American officials made threats… I do not understand, what does it mean to negotiate under the shadow of threat? …the Iranian nation is not like that…” Khamenei warned against the use of force against Iran, calling it a “foolish” option that would leave the U.S. “trapped in the sand.” The Supreme Leader, meanwhile, cautioned his negotiating team not to cross his redlines, stressing that the prescribed guidelines “[must] always be observed, which is [he let out a noticeable sigh], I suppose, God willing…”
Abbas Araghchi announced that the P5+1 nuclear negotiations will resume on May 15, in Vienna. The Legal and International Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister claimed that the P5+1 agreed to lift sanctions once the final deal is entered into force. Araghchi, however, expressed concern over a potential stalling of the negotiations due to the U.S. Congress and said that the final deal will stipulate the termination of “all unilateral and multilateral sanctions.”
Supreme Leader will not tolerate negotiations under the “sword.” Ayatollah Ali Khamenei addressed teachers and educators on May 6, in Tehran. The Supreme Leader reinforced the Islamic Republic’s revolutionary ideals and its commitment to resistance against pressure. Khamenei talked about sanctions and the ongoing nuclear negotiations, stating:
- “If the sanctions they [the West] have imposed on Iran and the pressure they have launched against the Islamic Republic were against any other country, it would have been destroyed…”
- “I have spoken repeatedly about these negotiations and the nuclear issues, and what was needed to be said has been said; however, everyone should pay attention— our Foreign Ministry officials, various officials, the elite of society— if a nation cannot defend its identity and greatness against foreigners, certainly it will be struck. There is no return; it has to know the value of its identity and character.”
- “The enemy makes threats. In these last few days, two American officials made threats. We do not care about those [U.S. officials] who do not have critical positions. I do not understand, what does it mean to negotiate under the shadow of threat? [They expect] us to negotiate under the shadow of a threat; it is like having a sword above our head; the Iranian nation is not like that… [it] does not tolerate negotiations under the shadow of a threat. Why do you make threats? Why are you being so foolish? They say if this or that does not happen, we will take military action against Iran. First of all, you will not do a damn thing. Second, I said it during the previous American president's tenure that the time for attacks going unpunished is over. It will not be the case for you to attack [Iran] and then leave. Your feet will be trapped in the sand, and then we will come after you. The Iranian nation will not let any aggression go unpunished. We will go after you."
- “Everyone take note of this meaning, our negotiators also pay [close] attention, the red lines, the main guidelines that have been stated, [must] always be observed, which is, I suppose, God willing, it is their desire and they [Iranian negotiators] will not cross these lines.”
- “This is also unacceptable that the opposite side continues to make threats while simultaneously negotiating. What threat? You don’t need these negotiations any less than we do. [Khamenei stressed that the U.S. desperately needs a deal].”
- "The current American administration really needs these negotiations. One fundamental point that will be in their legacy is that they can claim 'we brought the Islamic Republic to the negotiating table and imposed this or that upon them.' If America's need for the negotiations does not exceed Iran's need, which it surely does… Why do they keep threatening us?”
- "Yes, we would like to see the sanctions removed, but even if they are not, we will still be able to manage ourselves through other means… resolving economic problems requires our own planning, will, and ability, whether the sanctions are in place or not.”
- "The negotiators can carry on with the negotiations and reach an agreement while observing the red lines. However, they should not welcome any imposition, humiliation, and threats."
- On Yemen: “The Saudi government is busy killing innocent people, women and children in Yemen without any justification or logic, only under the pretext that the Yemeni people do not accept a so-and-so person as the president, and the Americans are also supporting this monstrous crime. How disgraced can one be?”
- “America is the most disgraced government in the world. The Americans are supporting the massacre of the Yemeni people without any shame; then they say ‘why are you [Iran] helping?’ We wanted to provide medical aid and food to the Yemeni people. We did not want to send weapons; they do not need our weapons…” (Khamenei.ir)
Salami: “We welcome a war with the Americans.” IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami discussed the Supreme Leader’s May 6 speech in Tehran and the nuclear negotiations:
- “The Supreme Leader’s message and warning today is transparent, clear…serious, and real. I am announcing the Supreme Leader of the Revolution’s great message today to the Americans so that [they gain a] better understanding that the season for gaining political advantages through threats, intimidation, and even the use of military power is over.”
- “If they [the Americans] use their aircraft carriers as a fulcrum and as source of power, they know that they will be destroyed; if they use their air bases on the ground, they will be burned; if they want to fly their aircraft in the sky, they know all the floors and ceilings of heaven will be on fire.” He also stated: “I warn the pilots that the first flight will be their last flight, and no one will return home healthy….”
- “We welcome a war with Americans, because we believe that it will be the scene of our success and [display] the true potential of our power, if the Americans are bluffing and are employing psychological warfare, we will still deal with this case seriously, and if they speak the truth [and mean what they say], we are ready…”
- “My advice to the nuclear negotiating team is, if they see that the Americans are furthering their political ambitions in the negotiations through…threats, intimidation, or humiliation, they [should] leave the field of negotiations…” (Defa Press)
Jafari: Westerners “have shifted their focus” away from the military option and towards soft war. Addressing a large gathering of Iran-Iraq War veterans in the city of Semnan, IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari stated: “The military option that the Westerners speak of constantly is ridiculous, and they know that if the military option could have produced any result, they would have already used it many times, and today they have shifted their focus to other types of threat and to the soft war front." He also stated, “it is true that sometimes they dawdle in the nuclear negotiations, but if you go deeper and look at things carefully, we have realized that today, Westerners are submitting to the authority of the Islamic regime [of Iran], and have realized the power of the Islamic Republic of Iran and the Islamic Revolution.” (Fars News English)
Iran releases Maersk ship. Iran’s Port and Maritime Organization (IPMO) announced that the Maersk Tigris cargo ship was released on May 7. The IPMO stated: “the court verdict was against the vessel only, and the crew of the vessel had not been subject to any restrictions from leaving the port or the country…” The Marshall Islands-flagged ship was seized by Iranian naval forces on April 28 in the Strait Hormuz based on a lawsuit in Iran. (IPMO)
- Tehran reiterates opposition to intrusive inspections. Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham stated: "We will not comply with an unconventional and exceptional system of inspections and as a country which is a signatory of the NPT, Iran… will not [permit] exceptional inspections; we have stated this to the negotiating sides in a straightforward manner.” (Fars News Agency)
Araghchi: P5+1 nuclear talks resume next week in Austria. Abbas Araghchi echoed the Supreme Leader’s call to protect national interests during an interview on May 5. The International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister stated that the Iranian negotiating team will meet with EU Deputy Secretary General for Political Affairs Helga Schmid on May 12, in Vienna. Araghchi said that the P5+1 representatives will join the talks on May 15 and stated:
- “… on the first day of implementation [of a final deal, Iran] will act on its commitments and the sanctions will be removed.”
- “They [the P5+1] agreed to remove the sanctions at the start of the agreement and the entry into force of the [nuclear deal] is a day which measures are undertaken by both sides.”
- Araghchi expressed concern over a potential stalling of the negotiations due to the U.S. Congress and said that the final deal will stipulate the termination of “all unilateral and multilateral sanctions.”
- “If there will be no good agreement, we will not insist on striking a deal, we are certainly looking for a good deal, otherwise we prefer not to have an agreement.”
- “We have a draft [of the agreement]. Now, we have to work on this draft for the second go, third go, and fourth go as long as it’s necessary to remove the brackets one after another and come to a clean text.”
- “We have to continue… until everything is clear, not only in the text itself but also in the annexes. We will have some annexes which clarify or specify the details of each and every measure that each side should undertake after the deal.”
- On inspections: “Iran has no problem with taking measures towards trust building or improving transparency but, as it has always highlighted, it is very sensitive to prevent any misinterpretation of its good intentions or attempts to carry out espionage through inspections of Iran`s military or defense centers, or to identify its scientists.” (Mashregh News)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- IRGC Deputy Ground Forces Commander: West cannot stop the Yemeni revolution. “Stating that the ‘global arrogance’ [the West] will be crippled against the authority of the Yemeni revolution,” IRGC Deputy Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Abdollah Araghi said: “Today, the enemies do not dare to take the smallest action against Iran.” Araghi also praised the spread of the ‘Islamic Awakening’ to “various countries.” (Basij News)
Oil Minister to participate in energy and security conference in Germany. Bijan Zanganeh arrived traveled to Germany on May 6 to participate in The Energy Security Summit in Berlin. The Oil Minister is scheduled to meet with German Economic and Energy Minister Sigmar Gabriel and Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier. Zanganeh will also meet with heads of German oil and gas companies to promote shared economic interests between Tehran and Berlin. (IRNA)
- Iran-India ink seaport contract. Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi held extensive negotiations with his Indian counterpart Nitin Gadkari to develop a port in southeastern Iran. The two signed the deal on May 6 and announced that the seaport will be located in the city of Chabahar, in Sistan va Baluchistan province. (Press TV)