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 Marie Donovan, Paul Bucala, and Caitlin Shayda Pendleton and contributors Ali Javaheri and Wali Miller. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.
(E) = Article in English
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: Several Friday prayer leaders criticized the U.S. House of Representative’s 10-year renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act as an affront to the nuclear deal.
The U.S. House of Representatives voted to renew the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) on November 15. The ISA authorizes energy, banking, and defense sanctions over Iran’s missile and nuclear activities and is set to expire at the end of the year. Hamedan Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ghiyas al Din Teh Mohammadi described ISA’s renewal as the U.S. “kicking” the nuclear deal. Qom Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Saeedi stated, “The consensus of Republican and Democratic representatives to renew sanctions for 10 years is a demonstration of America’s hostility toward Iran.” Republican Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell told reporters that the U.S. Senate will vote on the legislation before adjourning next month. Friday prayer leaders also criticized the recent U.S. House vote to block the sale of Airbus and Boeing planes to Iran Air during their sermons.
- Paul Bucala analyzes a recent speech by former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi in “Supreme Leader's Adviser Discloses Details on Iranian Efforts Abroad."
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Friday prayer leaders criticize American sanctions. Hamedan Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ghiyas al Din Teh Mohammadi described ISA’s renewal as the U.S. “kicking” the nuclear deal and stated, “America has approved greater sanctions against Iran… Due to the approval of 200 representatives, America will not send Iran airplanes… America’s neglect of the JCPOA [Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action] shows all of our country’s parties and interests that we must be reliant on ourselves and not be hopeful about others.” On November 15, Supreme National Security Council Secretary Ali Shamkhani also called the renewal of the ISA a “kick” to the nuclear deal. (Tasnim News Agency)
- Qom Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Saeedi stated, “The consensus of Republican and Democratic representatives to renew sanctions for 10 years is a demonstration of America’s hostility toward Iran.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Ayatollah Mohammad Mehdi Hosseini Hamedani, the Friday prayer leader for Karaj in Alborz province, stated that government officials “must not warp public opinion. The JCPOA’s goal, which has not been fulfilled, was to eliminate all sanctions when the JCPOA was accepted.” President Hassan Rouhani recently touted his administration’s economic record during a visit to Alborz province. Hossein Hamedani added that renewing ISA is “contrary to the JCPOA’s provisions.” (Tasnim News Agency)
- Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani called sanctions imposed on charges of Iranian support for terrorism hypocritical and accused the U.S. of creating terrorist groups in the Middle East. (Ana.ir)
Kamalvandi: Iran remains committed to its obligations under the nuclear deal. Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi dismissed the recent report from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) that Iran’s heavy water stockpile had exceeded the 130-ton limit stipulated by the nuclear deal. Kamalvandi stated, “The Islamic Republic of Iran has fulfilled its obligations on heavy water stockpiles based on the nuclear deal and remains committed to it.” Iran has told the IAEA that it plans to transfer five excess tons of heavy water out of the country to re-comply with the limit. Heavy water is used in Iran’s Arak research reactor, but heavy water reactors are also capable of producing weapons-grade plutonium. (Press TV) (E)
- Friday prayer leader calls EU office “second den of spies.” Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda warned that an EU office in Iran could become a “second den of spies” and “a mechanism and factory for [foreign] influence” during his sermon on November 18. Iranian officials have used the phrase “den of spies” to refer to the American embassy before the 1979 hostage crisis. Iranian officials have made conflicting statements in the past month about the probability of the EU opening an office in Tehran. The opening of an EU office in Tehran is one of the suggested measures in a roadmap towards normalization of EU-Iran relations recently passed by the European Parliament. (YJC)
- Iran to receive first Airbus plane by end of 2016. The managing director of Aviation Parts Holding Company of Iran, Javad Hashemi Tehrani, told reporters that Iran Air anticipates it will receive the first Airbus plane by the end of the 2016. Hashemi Tehrani claimed that the plane will be an A321 model. In late September, the U.S. Treasury Department granted a license to Airbus for an initial sale of 17 planes as part of a larger 112 plane deal. For more information on Iran Air’s activities and sanction-free status, please see “Iran’s Airbridge to Syria.” (Press TV) (E)
Military & Security
Russian military vessel docks at Bandar Abbas. The Russian research ship Yantar docked at Bandar Abbas, a port in southeastern Iran, for a five-day port visit. Artesh Navy First Naval Zone Commander Admiral Hossein Azad stated that the visit is part of a larger effort “to maintain and develop relations between Iran and Russia and establish and improve security in the region.” The Yantar is a deep-sea oceanographic research vessel linked to Russian intelligence operations. (Press TV) (E)
- Intelligence minister: There are no security concerns on Iran’s borders. Intelligence Minister Hojjat ol Eslam Mahmoud Alavi praised the security of Iran’s borders during a meeting with Law Enforcement Forces (LEF) Border Guards Commander Brig. Gen. Ghasem Rezaei. Rezaei announced earlier this week that Iraqi officials closed the Iran-Iraq border crossing at Mehran. Rezaei stated that Iraq had reached its “capacity to accommodate” pilgrims entering the country to commemorate Arbaeen, which marks the 40th day after the death of Hossein, the third Shia imam. (IRNA) (Fars News Agency)