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.
Key takeaway: Foreign ministry reiterated regime’s full-fledged support for the governments of Baghdad and Damascus, while Iraqi vice president urged support for Syria’s Bashar al Assad.
Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian highlighted Iran’s efforts to resolve the Syrian crisis and to strengthen the political institutions of Iraq, as well as neighboring countries threatened by ISIL. Abdollahian’s statements underscored the regime’s opposition to the US-led coalition and its strategy to combat terrorism. Iraqi Vice President Nouri al Maliki, meanwhile, underlined the importance of propping up Assad’s regime in Damascus in order to bolster regional security. Maliki’s remarks follow recent talks with the Supreme Leader and senior Iranian officials, highlighting his active role in echoing the Islamic Republic’s rhetoric with regards to Iraq and Syria.
Head of the Iran Bar Association Ali Najafi Tavani called for legal reforms to establish an independent advocacy institution that will project confidence in foreign investors, who Tavani said will be flocking to Iran within months. Head of Iraqi Kurdistan Import and Export Union, Sheikh Mustafa Abdul-Rahman, moreover, said that Baghdad, and Kurdistan’s regional government plan to increase its annual trade volume with Tehran to $25-30 billion.
Iran stands behind nuclear redlines in Oman talks. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman and MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi pointed to the recent nuclear negotiations that took place in Muscat, Oman and said that two points were made clear: first, the Iranian negotiations team adhered to the Supreme Leader’s redlines. Second, the meeting showed America’s excessive demands. (IRNA)
Senior official announces plans to launch “off-shore” Iranian banks in free economic zones. Senior Advisor to the President Akbar Torkan announced that the Central Bank of Iran is planning to release regulations and guidelines on the creation of “currency banks” in free economic zones. According to Torkan, these “off-shore banks” will “conduct currency operations” and can hold deposits and issue “currency profits.” The senior administration official noted, however, that domestic Iranian banks cannot attract confidence to hold deposits because they have breached previous payments to depositors. (Mehr News)
Top prosecutor warns against the unfettered growth of financial and monetary institutions. Chief Prosecutor Hojjat al-Eslam Ebrahim Raisi warned against the “mushroom-like growth of financial and monetary institutions” that have created “many problems particularly with regards to leasing vehicles.” Raisi called for the reformation of the financial system saying that the country “does not have the capacity for this level of crime in the financial and monetary arenas and the social environment does not accept this level of violations.” (Alef)
Bar association calls for legal reform to instill confidence in legal system for foreign investors rushing to Iran. Head of the Iran Bar Association Ali Najafi Tavani told reporters at the sideline of the association’s general assembly: “We will face the presence of other countries and foreign investors within the next few months, and an independent advocacy institution can instill confidence in the legal justice system. “ He then thanked the efforts of the President and the Judiciary in addressing the association’s call for a comprehensive advocacy bill. (IRNA)
Senior cleric blasts Obama’s lies regarding Iranian nuclear capabilities. Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi claimed that President Obama lied when he stated that Iran was a “state sponsor of terrorism” and possessed nuclear weapons. Shirazi also stated that “the same people trained these groups [ISIL and other terrorist groups] that continue to haunt, and only the Shi’a can deal with them.” (Tabnak)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Iran emphasizes improved relationship with Azerbaijan. Upon returning from his visit to Azerbaijan, President Hassan Rouhani spoke of how Iran and Azerbaijan have come closer together. President Rouhani and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev have agreed to expand ties in economics, energy, environmental issues, railway construction, and in multilateral cooperation in regional politics. (Mehr News)
- President Rouhani in Baku said that Western states are “untrustworthy” trading partners.President Hassan Rouhani addressed the Joint Iran and Azerbaijan Chamber of Commerce in Baku, and encouraged increased bilateral private sector investment and said, “we have learned from sanctions that we must prioritize expanding and creating close trade and investment relations with neighboring countries…”(Young Journalists Club)
Presidents of Iran and Azerbaijan issue a joint statement. President Hassan Rouhani and Azerbaijani President Ilham Aliyev issued a joint statement following their two-day meeting on November 12-13. The joint statement contained six main points:
- Iran and Azerbaijan are to develop bilateral relations, equal rights, and support constructive and mutual interests between the two countries.
- The two countries will have interactive activities to promote peace and stability in the region.
- The two “parties” are willing to cooperate with the UN in fighting terrorism, extremism, drug trafficking and transnational crime.
- They will develop bilateral cooperation in economic, business, and philanthropic activities.
- They stressed the importance of increased collaboration with Caspian Sea countries.
- The two parties will expand cooperation in the arts, culture, science, and healthcare. (IRNA)
Iraqi Vice President criticizes the US for beginning “a new sedition in the clothes of ISIL and Jabhat al-Nusra.” Iraqi Vice President Nouri al Maliki met with the Trustee of the Holy Imam Reza Shrine Ayatollah Abbas Vaez Tabassi to discuss future reconstruction efforts in Iraq. He also stated, “We should not allow the Syrian regime to fall, as if the government is overthrown, there will be many problems for all the countries in the region.” Maliki also stated that Iran “and other Muslim countries” would work together to “win for the [Islamic] ummah.” (Tabnak)
Foreign Ministry reiterates political involvement in Iraq and Syria: Arab and African Affairs Deputy to the Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian highlighted Iran’s efforts to “strengthen the political processes” in Syria, Iraq, and other regional countries “at risk of terrorism.” He also rejected the involvement of foreign powers in these endeavors. (IRNA)
- President of Iran meets with prominent regional cleric. President Hassan Rouhani met with Sheikh al-Eslam and Grand Mufti of the Caucasus Allahshukur Pashazadeh and emphasized promoting Islam in the region and warned against attempts by some people to divide Muslims. Pashazadeh praised Rouhani’s efforts in the region, especially in Azerbaijan. (ABNA)
Military and Security
Unity and solidarity will thwart seditionist plots. Islamic Revolutionary Guards Corps (IRGC) Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour called for national solidarity to safeguard the Islamic Republic’s values. Pakpour said the armed forces are prepared to respond to enemy threats of sedition. (Defa Press)
The Pentagon has miscalculated Iran’s capabilities. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman and MP Alaeddin Boroujerdi pointed to the successful testing of the Iranian model of the US-made RQ 170 Unmanned Aerial Vehicle (UAV) and said that the IRGC Air Force proved the Pentagon wrong and that this achievement strengthens Iran’s position in nuclear negotiations with the P5+1. (Defa Press)
- Basij military exercises will take place in five provinces. Basij Organization Operations Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. 2C Nasratollah Seif will oversee the exercises that will take place in the provinces of Khuzestan, Ilam, Alborz, Gilan, and Bushehr on November 21. Seif stated that the main purpose of these exercises are for deterrence and for preparing for the liberation of Jerusalem from the evil Zionist regime. (Defa Press)
- IAEA announces Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium gas. The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) corrected a previous report that claimed Iran’s stockpile of low enriched uranium gas was 8, 390kg. The new report estimates the stockpile to be 8, 290kg. (Fars News Agency)
- Baghdad and Iraqi Kurdistan plans to increase trade volume with Iran. Head of Iraqi Kurdistan Import and Export Union, Sheikh Mustafa Abdul-Rahman said that recently Kurdish delegates participated in the Iran-Iraq International Conference in Tehran and that Iran, Iraq, and the Kurdistan region plan to increase annual trade volume to $25-30 billion. (Bas News)