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, Marie Donovan, and Paul Bucala, with contributors Ryan Melvin, Caitlin Pendleton, and Jordan Olmstead. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Key takeaway: IRGC Major General Gholam Ali Rashid called for Iranian officials to confront individuals who “are seeking to embellish America’s despicable image.”

IRGC Major General Rashid stated that there are two categories of people “who are seeking to embellish America’s despicable image and waiting for Iran’s political distancing from confronting the ‘arrogance’ and America.” The Armed Forces General Staff Deputy said that some of these individuals “are simple- minded and not traitors” but added that others “are spiteful, traitorous, and infiltrators.” Rashid claimed that individuals in the former group are “among” some government officials. 

The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology issued a statement rejecting allegations raised in a November 8 Kayhan article that senior officials in the ministry had connections to recently detained Lebanese-American Nizzar Zakka, who was accused of maintaining ties to Western intelligence agencies.

Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani stated that Saudi Arabia’s “intelligence services” were behind the October 16 shooting in Dezful, Khuzestan province. 

Matthew McInnis analyzes Iran’s strategic goals heading into the Vienna peace talks in his most recent blog, “Iran’s Treacherous Landscape in Vienna.”

Domestic Politics

  • Rashid discusses American sympathizers in Iran. IRGC Maj. Gen. Gholam Ali Rashid spoke at a memorial service for IRGC Maj. Gen. Hassan Tehrani Moghaddam, who was killed at an IRGC missile base in Tehran in 2011. The Armed Forces General Staff Deputy stated:
    • “After the nuclear deal, some are seeking to embellish America’s despicable image and waiting for Iran’s political distancing from confronting the ‘arrogance’ and America. [Of these people,] there are two categories. On one hand, people are simple-minded and not traitors, who are among some officials. But a number are spiteful, traitorous, and infiltrators. We must stand up against both categories, because they want to give America a footing in Iran.” (Sepah News)
  • ICT Ministry denies connection to detained Lebanese-American. The Ministry of Information and Communications Technology issued a statement responding to conservative newspaper Kayhan’s earlier allegations that Deputy Foreign and Communications Technology Minister Nasrollah Jahangard cooperated with the U.S. regarding “internet projects” and helped Lebanese-American Nizar Zakka, who was recently arrested on grounds of connections to the U.S. government, enter Iran. 
    • The statement says, “The directors of this ministry and its affiliated organizations and subsidiaries did not send any formal or informal invitation to Mr. Nizar Zakka to attend or participate in any meeting, and therefore denies any relationship with the named person.”
    • The statement also notes, “Material related to the National Information Network which has been published in [Kayhan’s] report is unfair and unrealistic due to lack of correct information...” The statement says that that ministry is carrying out activities related to the National Information Network “without using any foreign advisory company.” (Farhang News)
  • Supreme Leader discusses Iran’s enriched uranium needs. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei stressed the importance of scientific progress in a gathering of university officials and heads of science, technology, and research centers in Tehran on November 11. The Supreme Leader called for continued efforts to advance Iran’s scientific and technological capabilities in accordance with a comprehensive roadmap that facilitates collaborative relations between industry and universities. Khamenei also urged university officials to use the Islamic Revolution as a model to establish a “modern Islamic civilization” and stated:
    • “We should pursue science that is necessary and beneficial to the country, not only for the current [needs of the] country, but also for 10 and 20 years into the future.”
    • Khamenei referred to Western claims about Iran’s nonexistent need for nuclear energy and stated, “If we do not induce nuclear energy, the day after tomorrow, when our oil is gone, then we will have to go begging for nuclear energy from [other] countries…”
    • The Supreme Leader referred to the West’s issue with Iran’s stockpile of 20% enriched uranium and stated, “You saw what they did over this 20%? We needed 20% enriched uranium for the Tehran reactor; the fuel powering this small reactor in Tehran, which produces radiopharmaceuticals, was running low and in several months it would be [depleted] and the West made such a gesture and look and placed conditions that were truly degrading.”
    • Khamenei explained that Iran’s challenge was producing 20% enriched uranium and once it acquired that level of purity, the West became “anxious.” He continued, “They [the West] wanted to sell [the fuel] so that we would not pursue production.”
    • On the Resistance Economy: “In fact, the action that must happen [to implement the Resistance Economy] has not occurred yet… The government’s official report for programs on implementing the Resistance Economy just recently reached my hands; it has only been a few days.” (
  • Head of Basij professors discusses foreign influence. Sohrab Salahi stated, “Twelve thousand individuals from the country’s Basij teachers” have sent a letter to President Hassan Rouhani regarding the danger of foreign influence in Iran. The Head of the National Teachers Basij Organization stated that the letter discusses the establishment of a committee to address Iran’s “reduction in scientific growth” and identified the assassination of Iranian scientists as “one of the most important factors” in that reduction. The letter warns that assassinations will increase if Iran permits scientists to be interviewed and identified. Salahi also criticized “much of the media” as a conduit for enemy influence. (Basij News)
  • Grand Ayatollah meets with Zarif. Grand Ayatollah Lotfollah Safi Golpayegani emphasized the necessity of having “respect” for differing opinions during a meeting with Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif on November 12. Golpayegani also called for cooperation in government in order to reduce both inflation and corruption. (Rasa News)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Rouhani: The Syrian issue is not only about Bashar al Assad. President Hassan Rouhani discussed the conflict in Syria during an interview with French media. Rouhani stated:
    • “First of all, we must combat terrorism. We must drive the terrorists from Syria. This must be our first priority…the [Syrian] issue is not a question about an individual…security must return to the country.”
    • “Only the Syrian people have the responsibility to make decisions about their future.” (IRINN)
    • Rouhani: America should apologize to Iran. President Hassan Rouhani in a November 12 interview with an Italian media outlet suggested that if the U.S. wants to restore diplomatic relations with Iran, it must apologize first. Rouhani referred to the P5+1 nuclear deal as a potential starting point for restoring Tehran-Washington relations; he added, however, that if the U.S. does not adhere to the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or  JCPOA, relations will “continue as before.” Rouhani also discussed the reopening of the U.S. embassy in Tehran and stated, “If America apologizes to the Iranian nation, conditions will change and good things can happen.” (IRIB)
  • Zarif: We are seriously following up on the Mina stampede. Mohammad Javad Zarif told reporters on November 12 that the Foreign Ministry is “seriously following up on the status of the missing [Iranians]” from the September 24 stampede in Mina, Saudi Arabia. The Foreign Minister stated that the family of Iran’s former ambassador to Lebanon Roknabadi Ghazanfar, who disappeared during the stampede, has membership on the Hajj stampede follow-up commission.
    • Zarif added that a JCPOA implementation commission “has been established,” as stipulated by the Supreme Leader’s October 21 letter to President Rouhani. Zarif reiterated the commission’s dedication to preventing “the enemies’ influence” and “misuse” of the JCPOA. (Fars News Agency)
  • Jannati: Assad must remain president. Ali Jannati emphasized the “necessity” of Syrian President Bashar al Assad maintaining his position as president during a meeting with Grand Ayatollah Ali Sistani’s representative in Iran November 12. The Islamic Culture and Guidance Minister warned that Assad’s removal would lead to “Libya-like conditions” and the “disintegration” of Syria. (Alef)
  • Abdollahian meets with Nasrallah. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed regional developments with Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah in Beirut on November 11. (Press TV) (E)
  • Abdollahian travels to Oman. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian traveled to Muscat, Oman, to discuss developments in Syria and Yemen with senior Omani officials. (ISNA)


Reactions to the Nuclear Deal

  • Zakani compares the JCPOA to a “paved highway” for enemy influence. Principlist Parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani claimed that the JCPOA could be “like a paved highway for enemy influence” if the conditions for its implementation set by the Supreme Leader and the Supreme National Security Council are not observed. The former head of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA also claimed that the U.S. has viewed Islam as “its greatest enemy” since the collapse of the Soviet Union.
    • Zakani discussed the Syrian crisis, emphasizing that Iran “is the only country throughout the past five years that has stood in support of Syria’s regime from the start… While Russia’s officials gave a message to Iran that ‘you should think of the era after [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad,’ the [Supreme] Leader adopted a principled stance about the decision-making of the Syrian nation regarding this country’s regime… Eighty percent of the Syrian people would elect Bashar al Assad as president. ” (Raja News)
  • NSFP Commission submits proposals for composition of JCPOA implementation committee. Principlist Parliamentarian Avaz Heidar Pour stated that the National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission has submitted proposals for the composition of the JCPOA implementation committee. The NSFP Commission member called for “two representatives” from the NSFP Commission to be on the committee and added that a group possessing
    “complete fluency in the English language and international relations” should be included as well. (ICANA)
  • Larijani discusses JCPOA with Society of Qom Seminary Teachers. Ali Larijani stated that Iran made “the most sensible decision regarding the JCPOA” during a discussion with members from the Society of Qom Seminary Teachers on November 11. After the members congratulated the Parliament Speaker for the JCPOA’s approval in Parliament, Larijani promised them that he would relay their concerns about Iran’s “hard economic conditions,” particularly unemployment, to “the relevant officials.” (ICANA)


Military and Security

  • Shamkhani: Saudi Arabia was involved in the Dezful shooting. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani claimed that the gunmen involved in the October 16 drive-by shooting in Dezful, Khuzestan province “received payment from Saudi Arabia’s intelligence services.’” Shamkhani also stated:
    • On Syria: “Russia has no difference in opinion with Iran about the fate of [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad…the only thing that has changed has been the outlook of the West.”
    • “In Syria, the issue is not a lack of forces. The Syrians are defending their own land and there is no problem. The Islamic Republic of Iran has not wanted to send ground forces and will not; there is no need for this topic.”
    • “The reason for the increase in martyrs… is that there is an increase in the presence of Iranian advisors.”
    • On the S-300 surface-to-air missile systems: “The S-300 topic is a very old issue and it is currently going through its technical stages.”
    • “God willing, the issue of shipping the S-300 to Iran will be solved at the end of its technical stages.” (Entekhab)
  • Cyber official announces arrest of “agents” in Gilan protests. An unnamed “cyber official in the Qods Force of Gilan” announced the arrest on November 10 of “agents” responsible for inciting the recent riots of Azeri Iranians in Gilan province. The riots were reportedly in reaction a television show which depicted an Azeri character in an offensive way.  The official stated, “We make this promise to the dear, wise, Azeri-speaking citizens of Gilan: we will inform the public quickly with precise and complete information about the actions of the enemies of our [political] system in cyberspace.” (Tasnim News Agency)


Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • Funeral held in Qom for Afghan and Pakistani fighters killed in Syria.
    • Javad Akbari and Mohammad Reza Ahmadi were members of the Afghan Shi'a militia Fatimiyoun Brigade.
    • Sartaj Khan, Navi Hossein, and Ershad Hossein were members of the Pakistani Shi’a Zainabiun Brigade. (Ghatreh)
  • Two Afghans buried in Mashhad, Razavi Khorasan province.
    • Ali Rahimi and Ali Alami were killed in Syria “over the past 14 days.” They were reportedly members of the Fatimiyoun Brigade. (Fars News Agency)
  • Afghan fighter buried in Markazi province. Mohammad Barati was killed in the vicinity of Aleppo, Syria, by “terrorist groups.”  He was reportedly a member of the Fatimiyoun Brigade. (Dana)
  • Jafari writes letter to IRGC member killed in Syria. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari wrote a letter of condolence to the family of IRGC Maj. Mohammad Tahan, a member of IRGC 12th Ghaem ol Mohammad Brigade who was killed in Syria. (Defa Press)



  • Supreme Leader issues guidance for implementing the Resistance Economy. First Vice President Eshagh Jahangiri discussed Supreme Leader Ali Khamenei’s new guidelines on implementing the Resistance Economy with members of the Resistance Economy Strategy and Management Headquarters November 10. Jahangiri stated that “the meaning of the Resistance Economy is [a] country that can be self-sufficient, undergo stable and continuous growth, and resist foreign shocks.” The Supreme Leader stipulated four parameters for implementing the Resistance Economy in a letter to Jahangir:
    • “The components of the Resistance Economy (being fundamentally just, populist, knowledge-based, creative, and externally oriented) must be implemented in all planning (including the Sixth Development plan and annual budget) and activities of the relevant government organs.”
    • “The Resistance Economy program must not be a program separate from the Sixth [Five-Year] Development Plan [and] must be pursued within its framework.”
    • “The role of institutions responsible for implementation and related geographic regions for scheduling the implementation of projects and objectives must be accounted for in the short run (by the end of [Rouhani’s four-year term]), medium run (the end of the Sixth Development Plan) and long run (the conclusion of the 20 Year Outlook).”
    • “Moving towards providing and determining the role of society in taking part in economic activities, and building its capacities, along with with fully utilizing the country’s workforce capacities (especially youth) must be  a focus, and [these] programs must not only be overseen by the public sector.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Iran announces new framework for petroleum contracts. The Oil Ministry released the text of Iran’s new Integrated Petroleum Contract (IPC), which offers foreign contractors the exploration, development, and production phases of hydrocarbon projects as an integrated package. The IPC replaces “buyback deals” that required Iran to pay foreign contractors a fixed price for all hydrocarbons recovered in a project. (Press TV) (E)
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