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: Ali Akbar Salehi said recent agreement with Russia to construct light water reactors strengthened Iran’s position in P5+1 talks.

Ali Akbar Salehi, Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran, said that Russia’s pledge to construct eight “turn-key ready” light water reactors in Iran reinforces Tehran’s position in expert-level nuclear negotiations. Salehi’s statement reflects Iran’s strategy to showcase its capabilities in producing its own nuclear fuel. Ali Larijani, moreover, said that Iran has constantly cooperated in the nuclear negotiations, while Congress has only been “talking tougher.” The Speaker of Parliament added that the US has “no strategic approach to the negotiations.” Larijani’s comments underscore the regime’s attempt to hedge its bets against failure to secure a final deal with the P5+1.

IRGC commander Brigadier General Hossein Hamedani echoed the Supreme Leader’s assertion that US supports terrorists. Hamedani, Iran’s former operations lead in Syria, claimed that the US provides ISIL with intelligence, arms, and supplies.

Official Statements

  • Hardline by the P5+1 will hinder a final nuclear deal. President Hassan Rouhani said if the opposing party has the political will for a deal with Iran and “avoids excessive demands,” then the groundwork for reaching a comprehensive agreement will be set. (IRIB
  • Parliament Speaker criticizes Washington. Ali Larijani said that while Iran has been constantly cooperating in the nuclear negotiations, Congress has just been “talking tougher.” The Parliament Speaker also praised the “spirit of resistance” in Iran for allowing the country to increase its regional influence and move forward with its nuclear program. Larijani also noted that prolonging the nuclear talks is not in the US’s interest, and that the “Americans have no strategic approach to the negotiations.” (Tabnak) (Mehr News
  • Intelligence Minister welcomes foreign investment.  Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi invited international companies to invest in Iran with their “minds at ease.” The Intelligence Minister added that it is his duty to maintain a secure environment for foreign investors. (ISNA
  • Salehi: Recent agreement with Russia strengthened Iran’s position in P5+1 talks. Ali Akbar Salehi said that the November 11 deal for the construction of eight new “turn-key” light water reactors in Iran strengthened Tehran’s position in nuclear negotiations. The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Head also noted that Iran’s position at the expert-level of negotiations are “so strong that there is no room for dialogue.”  He also noted that the Arak heavy water reactor was designed “such that your [P5+1’s] main concerns are resolved.” Salehi also rejected additional visits to Iran’s nuclear sites, citing Tehran’s signing of the Non-Proliferation Treaty, various IAEA safeguards agreements and the placement of seven thousand surveillance cameras in the sites.  (ISNA
  • Office of the Supreme Leader: US and Israel are to blame for ISIL’s rise. Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Mohammad Golpayegani, Chief of Staff to the Office of the Supreme Leader, said that “Through ISIL, the enemies want to show the world that Islam is brutality and beheadings.” (ISNA
  • America helps ISIL with intelligence. Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani said the US has yet to kill a single member of ISIL and that the US informs ISIL before every operation. The Deputy Commander of the IRGC Imam Hossein Base and former operations lead in Syria stated that last week ISIL forces were surrounded in Iraq and Syria, but were saved by American support of arms and supplies, showing that ISIL is really the “infantry” of the US. Hamedani added that the “Great Satan” is pretending to fight ISIL in order to exonerate itself for its crimes. (Nasim Online)
  • Official touts circumventing sanctions to purchase US helicopters. Iran Helicopter Company Managing Director Mahmoud Azin announced the purchase of four American made-R44 civilian training helicopters through “dealers." (Tasnim News Agency

Nuclear Talks

  • Iran, EU, and US negotiators meet in Vienna. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif, EU Foreign Policy Chief Catherine Ashton, and US negotiator William Burns held trilateral talks today. Secretary of State John Kerry is scheduled to leave Paris today and join the P5+1 negotiations with Iran in Vienna. (IRNA

Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Palestinian Parliamentarian reiterates the Supreme Leader’s call to arm the West Bank. A member of Palestine’s Parliament said Khamenei’s “call should be fulfilled and people in Palestine, especially in the West Bank, should be armed.” Mushir al Masri added that the Palestinian people can defeat the Zionist regime and create a “new equation” in the region. (Bibak News

Domestic Developments

  • Top officials met to discuss nuclear and economic issues. President Hassan Rouhani, Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and Head of the Judiciary Branch Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani held a meeting to discuss nuclear negotiations and the state of the economy. (Tasnim News Agency)                                                                                                                                             
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