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 Analyst Mehrdad Moarefian and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors Chris Rawlins, Marie Donovan, and Dianna Timmerman. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.    

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Official Statements

  • Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani discussed recent reports about President Obama’s letters to the Supreme Leader, regional crises, and nuclear negotiations with the P5+1:
    • “The correspondence of the American president [with Iran] has a years-old history, and at times responses have been given to such letters.” 
    • “Unfortunately, Washington’s policies in the Middle East are being regulated by Israel, and the Tel Aviv regime, in return, has spared no efforts in humiliating America.”
    • On elements supporting ISIL: “Five times ISIL was resupplied with ammunition in Jalawla, Diyala Province [in Iraq] and this process is repeated by the so-called coalition against ISIL in the region.”
    • Resolving the Syrian crisis: “The only way to resolve the issue of Syria is to respect democracy and the self-determination of the people of this country, and help strengthen security and [promote] inclusive dialogue between Syrian parties.”
    • “The first step on the path towards peace is to prevent the entry of foreign terrorists and arms into Syria and cutting off terrorist funding.”
    • US pressure on Lebanon: “America’s pressure on Lebanon to deny weapons [and support from Iran] to fight terrorism presents another example of [Washington’s] willingness to continue to fuel insecurity in the region.”
    • “Undoubtedly, this procedure cannot be taken outside the central policy framework of supporting the Zionist regime and weakening the Lebanese army.”
    • Nuclear negotiations: “Tehran has reiterated its unequivocal, transparent and unwavering positions concerning the nuclear issue to the US president, and expressed its strong opposition to a uranium enrichment program that is for show purposes… Iran will not accept anything beyond the scope of the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty.” (Mehr News)
  • Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami hailed the rise of the Islamic Republic's power while addressing the fourth conference of the Armed Forces:
    • “The enemy wants to, from afar and with remote control, challenge the situation in our region…but when the enemy started operating in the region, its weaknesses became apparent.”
    • “Today, the Islamic Republic is in an exceptional position; victorious results, dominant, and loved, in both the regional and global environment. Today we see that the enemy has a lot of physical strength, but is incapable of taking advantage of it.” (Sepah News)
  • Head of IRGC Public Relations Brig. Gen. Ramezan Sharif reiterated the IRGC’s support of the administration, and also criticized its “cultural practice:”
    • “The IRGC’s relationship with the state has been defined and practiced, and is meaningful, and we have been faced with several governments during these 35 years.”
    • “Apart from the IRGC pursuing its mission, we consider the volume of the duties of the government in safeguarding livelihoods, welfare, and education, and the promotion and defense of the internal and external dignity of the people and the system and the revolution; so it is natural that the IRGC should help the government.”
    • “Groups of state opposition, particularly the obstinate media, always try to pursue a gap, two divisions [of the IRGC and the government] from every angle… But the fact is that the IRGC has a defined mission, and a certain logic and a clear road map; and to the extent that governments bring about certain conditions, they can benefit from the capabilities of the IRGC, and the IRGC also helps them; but, whenever it is also felt that the ideals and the processes of the revolution are defined, the system [the regime] is distant, naturally because the IRGC is doing its duty.”
    • “Even in the government’s reforms in the areas of construction and foreign and domestic policy, the IRGC has never had a specific angle with the government; but in the area of culture that corresponds to the ideals of the revolution, the IRGC is not pleased with the cultural practice of this government; and this was advised in private meetings and letters to the government, and at some point, the IRGC publicized and stated their opinion on this issue to the public.”
    • “We know that the success of the government is the success of the Islamic regime, and we will not hesitate to provide any help to the government; in addition, we have a specific strategy for the protection of our mission.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Industry, Mining and Trade Deputy Minister Mojtaba Khosro Taj stated, “If we seek to expand our market with regards to the volume of production and competitiveness, we must have good relations with the outside world.” (IRNA)
  • Head of the Tehran Chamber of Commerce Yahya Al-e Eshagh criticized the country’s present planning system for its lack of orientation and inconsistency with “the needs and realities of the economic arena.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Nuclear Talks

  • Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi traveled to Moscow to meet with Russia’s Rosatom State Atomic Energy Corporation CEO Sergei Kirienko. The two representatives signed an agreement that ensures Russia will build eight new pressurized “turn-key ready” water reactors, four of which will be constructed at the Bushehr nuclear site. Salehi said:
    • “It is the turning point in the relations between our countries. These friendly actions taken by Russia will be well-remembered.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman Marzieh Afkham dismissed reports claiming Iran has agreed to stop testing IR-5 centrifuges and said:
    • “IR-5 centrifuges are among the ordinary machines of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, whose tests had begun prior to the Geneva deal and continued after the deal.” 
    • “These machines were tested in April; this is based on the International Atomic Energy Agency’s (IAEA) research…Testing on the machines will be carried out and stopped depending on the need."  
    • “All reports by the Agency over the past seven months verified the Islamic Republic of Iran’s commitment to the Geneva deal and no case has been reported about any violation of the agreement.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • International and Legal Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Abbas Araghchi said “Iran will continue to enrich uranium, but the question is at what capacity.” Araghchi added, “The [enrichment] levels should be based on our practical needs.” (Fars News Agency)
  • President Hassan Rouhani spoke in a cabinet meeting about the upcoming nuclear talks in Vienna and urged members of the P5+1 to not let domestic issues get in the way of negotiations over the nuclear issue:
    • “To the noble Iranian nation I say that our country’s negotiating team, as in the past, will be present at the negotiating table based on the rights and interests of the people, and of course will also consider regional concerns and will have transparent cooperation with the IAEA.”
    •  “In addition to being committed to all international regulations, The Islamic Republic of Iran is required to follow the fatwa of the Supreme Leader [against nuclear weapons] which is the greatest guarantee of moving in the direction of peace.”
    • “This subject [internal problems of members of the P5+1] is not a legal or logical issue, and every member of the P5+1 must pay attention to the long term interests of other countries and the region.” (Mehr News)

Military and Security

  • Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi spoke about a failed bombing attempt during the mourning ceremonies of Ashura in Qom:
    • “During the mourning month of Muharram some people intended to detonate a bomb in Qom, but before anything could happen they were arrested.”
    • “Sometimes enemies plot against Iran, but the system of the Islamic Republic designed the intelligence forces of the country to discover and neutralize these threats.” (IRNA)
  • Artesh Khatam ol-Anbia Air Base Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Farzad Esmaili announced the successful testing of the long-range “Sepehr” radar system, which is capable of detecting radar-evasive targets and ballistic and semi-ballistic cruise missiles with a range of 2,500km. (Defa Press)
  • Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan appointed Aerospace Industries Organization (AIO) official Mehrdad Akhlaghi Managing Director of AIO, replacing IRGC Brig. Gen. Mehdi Farrahi. Dehghan appointed Farrahi Deputy Industrial Affairs to the Defense Minister, replacing IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Eslami. Defense Minister Dehghan praised Akhlaghi’s record which he achieved “from the lowest to the highest levels of management” in the AIO. (ILNA) (Afsaran)
  • IRGC Air Force Commander Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh delineated some characteristics of the Iranian model of the US-made RQ170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV):
    • “With the opportunity to catch this aircraft with actual accumulated flying ability in the areas of espionage, secrecy, and intelligence and we have found ways in which the Americans were able to spy on us.”  (Sepah News)
  • IRGC Air Force Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Majid Mousavi discussed Iranian missile support of the ‘Islamic Resistance’ movement:
    • “The policy of the Islamic Republic for supporting ‘resistance’ movements and ‘resistance’ forces, is to enable them to manufacture and produce their own products. That is, instead of giving them a fishing hook, our first impression is that we should build their capacity for fishing and teach them how to fish. This strategy in the area of missiles has moved ahead. Of course, perhaps one of the strengths of the implementation of this strategy, and the strategy together with the country of Syria, is in the vicinity of the series of ‘resistance’ [movements] in Lebanon and Palestine, which could be a good bridge to the issue.”
    • In response to the question “how do you assess your rocket and missile potential of these [‘resistance’] movements [of Palestine]?”: “With the orientation of the range of missiles, using what they already have, they could attack all the goals from the southern region and the northern region of the occupied territories.” (Tasnim News Agency)

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Omani Deputy Prime Minister Fahd bin Mahmoud in Muscat and discussed ongoing nuclear talks between Iran and the P5+1. Zarif said:
    • “Iran is serious after the resolution of the artificial nuclear crisis and has entered negotiations with absolute good will.”
    • “Sanctions will have no effect on the Iranian nation’s will to have a peaceful nuclear energy program.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Iraqi Vice President Nouri al-Maliki met with Grand Ayatollah Kazem Hosseini Haeri and Grand Ayatollah Mahmoud Hashemi Shahroudi who both praised Maliki’s efforts for his role in the formation of a new Iraqi government and Maliki explained the military and security situation in Iraq to them:
    • Shahroudi: “Without a doubt the nation and government of Iraq will never give into the demands of its enemies, and political groups must have wisdom to prevent intruding foreigners from carrying out their plans.” (ABNA)
  • President Hassan Rouhani travelled to the Republic of Azerbaijan and expressed hope for “ever stronger bilateral relations.” (ISNA
  • Deputy Foreign Minister for Consular, Parliamentary, and Expatriate Affairs Hassan Gashghavi denied the presence of Iranian nuclear scientists in Syria, following reports that one of the five nuclear scientists assassinated in Damascus on November 10 was an Iranian national. (IRNA
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