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 confirms again that Qods Force Commander Qassem Soleimani is alive and well after rumors of his death in Syria.
IRGC Brigadier General Second Class Sharif rejected claims that IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Soleimani was killed on November 14 in Aleppo, Syria. The IRGC Public Relations Head stated that despite the “dreams and wishes of Israeli officials,” Qassem Soleimani “remains in perfect health.”
Several senior IRGC members commented on Syria during a ceremony commemorating the 40th day anniversary of the death of IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani in Syria. IRGC Commander Major General Mohammad Ali Jafari underlined the importance of preserving security in Syria, stressing that it “has a direct influence on Iran’s security.” Defense Minister IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Dehghan, meanwhile, reassured his Syrian counterpart Fahd Jassem al Freij that Iran is prepared to provide assistance to the Syrian government and nation. Dehghan added that Syria has a “very bright and promising future.”
Matthew McInnis analyzes the arrests of journalists and businessmen in his most recent blog, “The coming crackdown in Iran.”
Military and Security
- Sharif: Qassem Soleimani is in “perfect health.” IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Ramezan Sharif dismissed recent reports claiming that IRGC Qods Force Commander Maj. Gen. Qassem Soleimani was killed on November 14 in Aleppo, Syria. The IRGC Public Relations Head accused “Zionist media outlets” of publishing false reports online. Sharif stated that despite the “dreams and wishes of Israeli officials” and contrary to these reports “General Soleimani remains in perfect health.” (Fars News Agency)
Commander of IRGC Nabi Akram unit: We have arrested ISIS teams in Kermanshah province. IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Bahman Reyhani announced that the Ministry of Intelligence and Security and the IRGC have arrested “many ISIS teams that have been active in Kermanshah province for two years.” The Commander of the IRGC Nabi Akram unit added that some members of these “ISIS teams” had military equipment, tactical vests, and explosives. (ILNA)
LEF Commander discusses ISIS threats. Brig. Gen. Hossein Ashtari stated that “the police and security services have good awareness” about the threat posed by ISIS and "their activities on social media networks such as Telegram.” The Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Commander stated, “Of course, it is possible that some of these operators of these networks are abroad, and some are in the country; but the police will identify these people…if these people have created these networks either intentionally or through an affiliation, the police will deal with them firmly.” (Alef)
IRGC commander: Pilgrims can travel to Iraq “without concern.” IRGC Brig. Gen. 2C Yaghoub Soleimani visited a border crossing checkpoint in Shalamcheh, Khuzestan province. The Head of the Rahian-e Nour Organization announced that the necessary amenities have been provided for serving pilgrims travelling to celebrate Arba’een, the Shi’a holiday which celebrates the fortieth day after the death of the third Shi’a Imam, Hossein. Soleimani stated that “pilgrims can head for Karbala and Najaf via the Shalamcheh international border [crossing] without any concern.” (IRIB)
40th day anniversary of Hamedani’s death. A ceremony commemorating the 40th day anniversary of the death of IRGC Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani was held in Tehran. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari, Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Saidi, Basij Organization Commander IRGC Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi, Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen Hossein Dehghan, and Representative of the Supreme leader to the IRGC Qods Force Hojjat ol Eslam Ali Shirazi attended the ceremony. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Jafari: There is a direct connection between Iran and Syria’s security. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari praised Hamedani’s role in the Syrian conflict during the ceremony. He also stated that Syria’s security “has a direct influence on Iran’s security.” (Defa Press)
Izadi: We can protect ourselves against ISIS. IRGC Maj. Gen. Mostafa Izadi discussed regional threats during a speech delivered at the ceremony. The Armed Forces General Staff Strategic and Oversight Affairs Deputy credited Iran’s security to the “efforts of the great martyrs like Hamedani” and stressed that Iran can protect itself against the threat posed by ISIS. (Basij Press)
- Military exercises begin in northeastern Iran. The “Mohammad Rasoul Allah 3” exercises began in northeastern Iran on November 17. The exercises reportedly utilized “indigenous” equipment and weaponry and included rescue operations. (ISNA)
Reactions to Paris Terrorists Attacks
- Rouhani calls President Hollande. President Hassan Rouhani and French President Francois Hollande discussed Islam and terrorism in a telephone conversation on November 17. Rouhani condoled with the French nation and called for collective action and a “united front” against terrorism. Rouhani also stressed that financial and weapons support for terrorists must cease and stated, “I hope that those countries that tried to use terrorism as an instrument to advance their interests, understand the risks of such practices…” (President.ir)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- Defense Minister Dehghan calls Syrian counterpart. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan conferred with Syrian Defense Minister Fahd Jassem al Freij about recent developments in Syria on November 17. The Defense Minister underscored Iran’s preparedness to provide assistance to the Syrian government and nation. Dehghan also reassured the Syrian people that a “very bright and promising future” awaits them. (Fars News Agency)
Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Najafi: Iran will not implement JCPOA until PMD file is closed. Iran’s Permanent Representative to the IAEA Board of Governors Reza Najafi warned that the IAEA must resolve the Possible Military Dimensions (PMD) issue before Iran fulfills its obligations under the JCPOA. (Press TV) (E)
Parliamentarian criticizes the IAEA. Principlist Parliamentarian Hossein Naghavi Hosseini called the IAEA a “tool in the hands of America and the West” and expressed doubt that the IAEA would close Iran’s PMD file. Hosseini added that Iranian officials should not be fooled by “America’s smile diplomacy.” (Mashregh News)
- Baeidinejad: Talks on JCPOA implementation with Western governments are “tough.” Hamid Baeidinejad stated that Iranian nuclear negotiators are in talks with Western governments to ensure the proper implementation of the JCPOA. The Foreign Ministry’s Director General for Political and International Affairs stressed that Iran’s negotiators were operating within the guidelines set out by the Supreme Leader. (IRNA) (E)
- Zakani: Some do not want IRIB to speak the truth. Principlist Parliamentarian Ali Reza Zakani censured the “persecution” of the state-owned media corporation Islamic Republic of Iran Broadcasting (IRIB) for its coverage of the JCPOA. He called “the type of reflection and review of the JCPOA” on IRIB helpful for public opinion and accused “some” of seeking to control national media for their own use. Zakani added, “Some are striving for IRIB not to speak the truth.” (YJC)
Shamkhani: Iran’s independence depends on its economic strength. Ali Shamkhani emphasized the importance of reducing the unemployment rate, inflation rate, and economic corruption during an interview on November 17. The Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary stated, “Today our independence depends on the reinforcement of economic power… A resistance economy is the primary prescription for solving the country’s problems.” Shamkhani stated that the JCPOA solves “only one portion of the country’s economic problems, meaning sanctions.” He also denied “whispers” from the U.S. regarding the possible military dimensions (PMD) of Iran’s nuclear program and called it “fair” for Iran’s PMD file to be closed.
- On Paris: Shamkhani advised France and other European countries against declaring a state of emergency. He pointed to Iran’s experiences in August 1981, when several senior Iranian leaders were assassinated; Shamkhani stated that Iran “never applied a state of emergency in the wake of that tragedy” and called the refusal a sign of “Iran’s national strength.” (Mehr News)