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: Iraqi Shi’a militia Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) reiterates its allegiance to the Supreme Leader; Oil Ministry signs memorandum of cooperation with Russian natural gas company.
AAH’s emphasis on its commitment to the doctrine of velayat-e faqih, which supports the Supreme Leader’s all-encompassing temporal authority, and on the historical ties between AAH’s predecessors and first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini, show the militia’sincreased interest in developing its political and ideological ties to Iran. AAH Representative to IranHojjat al-Eslam Jabar Rajabialso stated that “no distinction has been made between AAH, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah, and other groups [by Iran],”echoing Iran’s self-projection as the regionalleader of resistance.
IRGC Brigadier General Mohammad Reza Naghdi announced that Iran has been training Iraqi ‘Basijis’, or paramilitary volunteers, and that there is no need for a direct Iranian military presence in Iraq. This reaffirms Iran’songoing role in training ‘popular resistance’ forces similar to its own Basij force.
The Oil Ministry’s signing of a recent joint memorandum of cooperation with Russian Gazprom company underscore recent efforts between Tehran and Moscow to strengthen economic ties in order to hedge against Western sanctions.
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Shi’a militia reiterates allegiance to Supreme Leader. Representative of Iraqi Shi’a militia Asa’ib Ahl al-Haq (AAH) to Iran Hojjat al-Eslam Jabar Rajabi said AAH’s allegiance to the Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and commitment to Iranian revolutionary doctrine on leadership was not just a political move; Rajabi also highlighted Iraqi Ayatollah Mohammad Mohammad Sadegh Sadr’s support for the first Supreme Leader Ayatollah Khomeini during Sadaam Hossein’s reign. Rajabi also stated that “Iran has given all kinds of help” to Iraq against ISIL, “and no distinction has been made between AAH, Kata’ib Hezbollah, Hamas, Lebanese Hezbollah, and other groups.” Rajabi further said “Hamas and Palestinian Islamic Jihad are Sunni groups, but because they have the blood of liberation, Iran is supporting them.” (Fars News Agency)
Russian official expresses disapproval of sanctions and emphasizes need to stabilize oil prices. Sergei Naryshkin met with Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and stated that sanctions against Iran are against international law. The Chairman of the State Duma of Russia also stated that Russia is ready to cooperate with oil-producing states to stabilize the price of oil. (IRNA)
Iran and Russia sign natural gas agreement. Deputy Oil Minister announced the signing of a joint memorandum of cooperation with Russian Gazprom company, underscoring recent efforts between Tehran and Moscow to strengthen economic ties in order to hedge against Western sanctions, discussed in-depth in AEI’s latest piece on “Iran’s Economy of Resistance: Implications for future sanctions.” (Tabnak)
President meets with Venezuelan Foreign Minister to discuss oil prices. President Hassan Rouhani met with Venezuelan Foreign Minister Rafael Ramirez to discuss cooperation in stabilizing oil prices. Rouhani stated that fluctuations in oil prices negatively impact the global economy. (Mashregh News)
- Senior officials brief advising body on nuclear negotiations, Iraq, and Syria. Ali Shamkhani, Supreme National Security Council Secretary, and Mahmoud Alavi, Head of the Ministry of Intelligence Services, gave a report to the Expediency Discernment Council on the result of the latest round of nuclear negotiations in Muscat, Oman, and events in Syria and Iraq. Details of the briefing were not published. (IRNA)
Senior IRGC commander states Iran has provided training to “Iraqi Basijis” and reiterates US connection to ISIL. IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi accused the US Embassy in Baghdad of coordinating ISIL operations and that Washington’s plan is to bring ISIL to the Iran’s borders in order to increase pressure on Iran. The Head of the Basij Organization also announced that “Iraqi Basijis”, or paramilitary volunteers, have received training in Iran and that there is no need for a direct Iranian military presence in Iraq. (Ghatreh)
Parliamentarian announces that any nuclear deal without the full lifting of sanctions is treasonous. Parliamentarian Ali Alilo announced that any nuclear deal with the P5+1 that does not lift international sanctions are “betrayal,” by the administration. (Tasnim News Agency)
Parliamentarian expresses confidence in reaching “some sort” of a deal with P5+1, citing interest and demand from the US and public opinion. Parliamentarian Mohammad Reza Mohseni Sani, National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Committee member, expressed confidence in the possibility of reaching "at least some sort of a result" in the nuclear negotiations, citing "high" US interest and demand from public opinion. (Mehr News)
Supreme Leader warns of enemy plots to spread Islamophobia. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei reiterated his assertion that the West uses terrorist groups to exacerbate regional instability while speaking at the Imam Ali Military Academy:
- “Global ill-wishers and bullying powers are trying to use art, politics, militarism and all means to keep the voice of pure Islam from being heard, but the voice has been heard, and an indication of that is hegemonic powers’ growing fear.”
- “The enemies promote Islamophobia by creating armed groups that massacre civilians in the name of Islam.” (Khamenei)
Official defends efforts to arm the West Bank. Hossein Sheikholeslam stated that obeying the Supreme Leader’s directive to arm the West Bank will have a direct military impact in addition to changing Israeli views on the Palestinian issue. The International Affairs Deputy to the Parliament Speaker then said all Islamic Republic activities in the West Bank follow international law provisions on “aiding independence-seeking movements.” (Shahr-e Khabar)
Military and Security
- New head of Defense Industry Research Institute assigned. Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan, IRGC Defense Minister, appointed Brig. Gen. 2C Abutaleb Shafghat as head of the Defense Industry Research Institute. (Fars News Agency)