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. 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: Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected non-nuclear negotiations with the U.S. in a speech ahead of the 37th anniversary of the hostage crisis.
Khamenei claimed that the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) exemplifies America’s “oath-breaking and lying” during remarks on November 2. He stated, “Currently some are saying that we must negotiate and compromise with this same America on Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and even domestic issues. The issue of the JCPOA and the Americans’ strategy towards us afterwards are a clear example of why this belief is incorrect.” He also criticized the U.S. presidential debates as revealing “the destruction of human values in America,” adding, “How can a crisis-stricken country fix another country’s problems?” Khamenei has repeatedlyforbidden talks with the U.S. on regional issues since the nuclear deal was reached in July 2015.
Five members of the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade and one member of the Pakistani Shia militia Zainabiyoun Brigade were buried in the city of Qom. They were all reported to have been killed in Syria.
- 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.”
- The Critical Threats Project and ISW Naval Analyst Christopher Harmer assess Iran’s role in the recent anti-shipping attacks off the Yemeni coast in “Iranian involvement in missile attacks on the USS Mason.”
Regional Developments & Diplomacy
Khamenei rules out non-nuclear negotiations with U.S. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei rejected the possibility of U.S.-Iran negotiations after the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) and criticized the U.S. presidential debates as indicating “the destruction of human values in America” during a speech on November 2. Tasnim News Agency reported that Khamenei referenced unspecified “dangerous movements and efforts” to convince Iranians that “compromise and negotiation with America” can solve Iran’s problems. He stated:
- “Negotiation with America will not only fail to solve our problems, but will also increase them… Now it is not just me saying that they are disloyal. Now the country’s respected officials and even the negotiators themselves, who bore a great burden, are talking about America’s disloyalty.”
- “Currently some are saying that we must negotiate and compromise with this same America on Syria, Lebanese Hezbollah, Iraq, Afghanistan, Yemen, and even domestic issues. The issue of the JCPOA and the Americans’ strategy towards us afterwards are a clear example of why this belief is incorrect.”
- Khamenei also claimed that the U.S. “is afflicted with a crisis. How can a crisis-stricken country fix another country’s problems?” Khamenei gave his speech ahead of the anniversary of the 1979 takeover of the U.S. embassy in Tehran, which he attributed to “America’s plots and villainy against the Iranian nation, before and after the revolution.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Judiciary exonerates Saudi embassy attackers. An Iranian court exonerated the 20 individuals accused of “deliberately destroying” the Saudi embassy during the January 2 attack, according to Mostafa Shabhani, a lawyer for several of the defendants. Shabhani added that “some” of the 20 individuals were convicted of “disturbing the public order” and were sentenced to 91 days imprisonment, however. He also noted that “a few” defendants were sentenced to six months imprisonment on this charge. Shabhani added that all 20 defendants “had served in Syria,” presumably as part of Iran’s military efforts in the country. (Donya-e-Eqtesad)
- Abdollahian meets with Lebanese ambassador. Hossein Amir Abdollahian, the international affairs advisor to Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and a former deputy foreign minister, met with Lebanese Ambassador Fadi Hajj Ali in Tehran to discuss regional developments. Abdollahian praised Lebanon's election of Michel Aoun, an ally of Hezbollah, and claimed that Aoun will “certainly have an important role in the resistance against the Zionist regime.” (Tasnim News Agency)
Military & Security
Former IRGC Commander: The U.S. wants to develop military bases along our eastern border. Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi warned that the U.S. and NATO seek to “develop military bases and create instability” along Iran’s eastern border. He also noted that America’s presence in Pakistan and Afghanistan prevents Iran from developing “cultural and economic relations” with those countries. (Tasnim News Agency)
- IRGC brigadier general appointed as new IRGC Ground Forces operations deputy. IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour appointed IRGC Brig. Gen. Majid Arjomandfar as the new IRGC Ground Forces operations deputy. Arjomandfar previously served as the commander of the IRGC Hamzeh Seyyed ol Shohada Base in western Iran. The former operations deputy, IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Akbar Pour Jamshidian, was appointed as the IRGC Ground Forces coordination deputy in late September. (Fars News Agency) (ISNA)
- Former hardline Tehran prosecutor-general sentenced to 135 lashes in corruption trial. A court sentenced Saeed Mortazavi to 135 lashes for misusing public funds in Iran’s Social Security Organization. Mortazavi worked as Tehran’s prosecutor-general from 2003 to 2009 before former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad appointed him as head of the Social Security Organization in 2012. The Canadian government accused Mortazavi of involvement in the death of Iranian-Canadian photojournalist Zahra Kazemi in an Iranian prison in 2003. (IRIB)
Three foreign banks to open offices in Tehran. Central Bank of Iran Vice Governor Peyman Ghorbani announced that Oman’s Bank Muscat, South Korea’s Woori Bank, and India’s UCO Bank are planning on opening branches in Tehran. No information was provided on when their offices will officially open, however. (Press TV) (E)
- Iraq holds $1 billion debt to Iran for electricity imports. Deputy Energy Minister Houshang Falahatian announced that Iraqi and Iranian officials are currently discussing mechanisms to settle Iraq’s nearly $1 billion in debt to Iran. The debt is related to purchasing electricity from Iran’s power grid and “other dues related to earlier years.” (Press TV) (E)
Casualties in Iraq & Syria
- Afghan and Pakistani fighters buried in Qom. Five members of the Afghan Shia militia Fatimiyoun Brigade and one member of the Pakistani Shia militia Zainabiyoun Brigade were buried in the city of Qom. (Fars News Agency)