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 Will Fulton and Iran Intern Amir Toumaj, with contributors John Lesnewich and Mehrdad Moarefian. 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.
Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei and President Hassan Rouhani exchanged letters following the successful conclusion of the Geneva negotiations:
- Rouhani’s letter yesterday stated, “Your children of the Revolution were able to prove the legitimacy of the nation of Iran’s nuclear activities through difficult and complex negotiations on the international stage. The first step advanced an acknowledgement of Iran’s nuclear rights and right to enrich by world powers – who tried to deny them for years – and opened a path for the next steps to protect the technological and economic advances of the country.”
- “The success in these negotiations showed that it is possible to observe the principles and red lines of the regime by presenting Iran’s logical and reasonable positions. An ultimatum in global public opinion also called for the great powers to respect Iran’s national rights.”
- “As a result of Iran’s initiative and perseverance, the great powers concluded that the sanctions and pressure would lead to nowhere. Likewise, Iran had announced from the beginning that in order to acquire an agreement, there was no way other than respect of the opposition and respectful negotiations, which the other side unfortunately recognized belatedly. Undoubtedly, the outcome of this agreement will be to the benefit of all regional countries and to global peace and advancement in a win-win manner.”
- The Supreme Leader’s complete response on the same day said: “The achievements that you have recorded are worthy of praise and thanks to the nuclear negotiations delegation and others who deserve credit and can be the basis of the next wise measures. Without a doubt, the divine bounty, prayers, and support of the nation of Iran were a factor in this success and likewise will be in the future God-willing. Standing against the greedy must always be an indicator of the straight line of motion of these officials, and likewise will be, God-willing.”
- Interior Minister Abdolreza Rahmani stated, “The world must look at the Iranian people with a logical and rational look, consider mutual interests and also negotiate and interact based on law. But if it seeks to behave based on bullying and imposing force, the Iranian nation will certainly not accept such matters because the Iranian nation believes in the path it has chosen.”
- President Hassan Rouhani spoke during Basij Appreciation Week and praised the organization, saying: “Since its founding by the Imam [Khomeini] until today, the Basij has been the foundation of religious thought and national benefit and played a great role in the defense of national ideals and goals.”
- Rouhani also spoke about the political goals of reducing tension with the West: “The Supreme Leader has been traveling on a path of governmental diplomacy. We support and welcome that the majority of MPs also support the plans of the government. The government is responsible for moving along the path that the nation has defined for it.”
- “I hope that the government is taking the path to secure the rights of the people and to, step-by-step, remove the illegal sanctions that are showering the people.”
National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi gave his evaluation of the nuclear deal, saying that the conditions of the deal must not “become permanent conditions”:
- “Netanyahu and cabinet members of the Zionist regime had announced to the Westerners that the Iranians were trying to deceive them, which is why they have not hidden their anger over this agreement.”
- “The realities of the scene show that curves in the path of negotiations have begun their own decline. The decisions that were taken to remove petrochemical, transportation, and automobile sanctions will have their own effects on employment.”
- “The removal of this level of sanctions is in no way sufficient. From the view of Parliament, lifting all of the sanctions is a serious necessity and is part of our national demands whatever takes place.”
- “In no way must the temporary conditions of six months that have been created become permanent conditions. We are a big country and it has been more than four years since Parliament gave its approval and the government was tasked with producing 20,000 megawatts of nuclear energy. This means that there must be 20 1,000 megawatt reactors inside the country.”
- NSFP member Hojjat al-Eslam Vahid Ahmadi called for the negotiations team to visit the commission and explain the deal, reiterated that the Supreme Leader said Iran would never pursue nuclear weapons, and said that the “most important accomplishment of this agreement and the negotiations is that the world recognized Iran’s right to enrichment.” Ahmadi added that, “Now it is the West’s turn to show its honesty… . America must act on its own responsibilities during these six months.”
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “Apart from all material and spiritual causes, we owe these strong success and national unity to God’s grace that leads to an effective presence in the international scene.” He then emphasized Iran’s right to enrichment under the NPT and added, “We believe that we must reach a final solution with speed.”
- National Religious Seminaries Director Ayatollah Hashem Hosseini Bushehri stated, “Ashura gives a clear message to all humans of the ages, and that is that resistance is the only way of victory against oppressors…. With inspiration from Ashura, whose message is that logic can become victorious over any will, today we must resist in confrontation with Global Arrogance [West] that intends to impose its will on other nations through war, propaganda, et cetera.”
- Islamic Guidance and Culture Minister Ali Jannati praised the nuclear deal that confirms that “using nuclear enrichment is our certain right. Of course this is a first step that has been taken, and we have a long road to victory ahead of us.”
- NSFP Parliamentary Commission Member Ibrahim Agha Mohammadi spoke in Parliament about a letter to invite President Rouhani and Minister of Foreign Affairs Zarif to visit Parliament. “The MPs request this invitation to examine the details of the agreements that were formed during the recent Geneva negotiations.” He added, “Up until now, 40 individuals have signed this letter, and it is very likely that the number of signatures will increase.”
- Ayatollah Nasser Makarem Shirazi spoke to Parliament’s Cultural Commission, calling it “the most important element of Parliament from a religious view.” However, he voiced his concerns, saying, “I have said this many times. Cultural issues easily become political and economic issues. On the same basis, like it or not, influence on other sections will be the responsibility of this commission.”
- Shirazi mentioned his worries with some speeches coming from the Ministry of Culture and Islamic Guidance: “Some of these speeches have led to concerns…. Why has it been said that there is no auditing of books or canceling of papers offensive to Imam Ali? And what is the meaning of the insistence on lifting Facebook filters?”
- Solh News, a conservative website close to Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, claims that the Rouhani Administration has dismissed 218 officials connected to the Islamic Revolution Steadfastness Front [a political front formed by hardline Principlists, initially guided by Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi, and some former members of Ahmadinejad’s government in 2011]. Solh News published a list of 18 of these names, which included members of the Supreme National Security Council, such as Said Jalili, members of various ministries, such as Ali Reza Nikzad Rahbar, and other position holders.
- This report follows Guardian Council Chairman Ayatollah Ahmad Jannati’s criticism of the Rouhani government for “eliminating Revolutionary forces” from the government.
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
- A delegate from the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission will travel to Lebanon on Wednesday for a field survey of the bombing of the Iranian embassy in Beirut last week.
- Iran criticized the “illegal interference and inappropriate confrontation” by Azerbaijan towards Iran’s Cultural Attache Monetary Affairs Deputy to the Republic of Azerbaijan Ahmad Ahmadzadeh, who was arrested November 19 in Baku and released after protest by the Foreign Ministry.
- Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani met with his Lebanese counterpart Nabih Berri and emphasized close relations with Lebanon with regard to “the Resistance.” Berri expressed his condolences regarding last week's embassy bombing. Berri said that al-Qaeda affiliated groups were responsible for the attack and that a Palestinian and a Lebanese individual had been arrested in connection to the bombing.
- Iran and Armenia signed an agreement to construct a new border electricity plant and line. This bilateral agreement was achieved within the context of negotiations to transfer electricity from Iran to Russia via Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia.
Military and Security
- IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari spoke at an event honoring the Basij University Organization. During his speech, Jafari seemed to sharply criticize some members of the Rouhani administration and Reformist-leaning officials:
- “The Islamic Revolution moves on the path and with the slogans of the Ashoura movement, and the first point which all revolutionary forces must consider is absolute obedience to God and the hierarchy of the velayat. Just as with the uprising of Imam Hossein we have observed absolute obedience of God and Imam Hossein, the clearest characteristic of Imam Hossein’s companions and Hazrat-e Abol al Fadl was absolute obedience of the velayat.”
- “Every force that defines itself in the Islamic Revolution and considers itself revolutionary, if it does not have this absolute obedience, we cannot say this force is a revolutionary force with Islamic characteristics, even if it is inherently revolutionary and has a revolutionary spirit and the support of the people. Like leftist or communist forces which are supported by the deprived classes, but the manifest characteristic of Shi’a revolutionary forces is absolute obedience of the velayat.”
- “Some, a number of whom are more honest -- of course it cannot be called honesty, meaning that they have lesser complexities -- they are exposed faster, but whatever complexities of an individual become greater, which sometimes they can also be called politicking, becomes problematic work, and people have problems in identifying them.”
- Referencing a verse from the Qur’an: “God said in this verse that some individuals that say they accept faith and the velayat, in places where differences exist they don’t believe in these. Therefore, a person that accepts an important senior post in the Islamic Revolution must accept the framework of the Islamic system; specifically, the discourse of adherence to the velayat is the principal condition for officials that seek to implement the policies and plans of the Supreme Leader and Islam.”
- “Perhaps we have cases in mind where, for example, an individual, in terms of health, pledge to not misuse the treasury or support some of the principals of the revolution or values of the revolution, such as justice, but if they don’t have absolute obedience to the terms of the velayat, it is possible we will make mistakes and we will not be able to separate individuals from each other. This problem has existed throughout the Revolution and the losses and gains of the Revolution have been because of this issue.”
- This position [standing against the enemy] is a principal criterion which has existed in the majority of the Supreme Leader’s speeches, just as in his recent statements. In the Islamic Revolution, if we want to measure an individual, we must measure them against the criterion of perseverance and steadfastness against the enemy.”
- “With some individuals it is possible that they have an opinion contrary to the velayat but when they realize the opinion of the velayat they accept that opinion in practice. Of course, if someone fuses with the velayat they will not have an opinion contrary to the velayat. Now this issue is very difficult. We consider this a lower status. Therefore, when we implement measures in practice based on the opinion of the velayat, we solve problems, and the basic problems of the country and existing backwardness in all cases return precisely to this issue.”
- “We must observe the policies of the Supreme Leader on offensive and aggressive measures, that is, taking a stance against the enemy must have an offensive mode. But when we want to take practical measures we see individuals barely become present to discuss this issue and they exit the defensive state. An offensive and aggressive state is the same state which the Imam [Khomeini] had. Of course during that time all of the Imam’s word were not implemented.”
- “Anti-Westernism is the principal characteristic of the Islamic Revolution, but many times individuals consider themselves among the Islamic Revolutionaries, but they have forgotten this fundamental principal and axis of the Islamic Revolution, while principal essence of the Islamic Revolution is anti-Westernism.”
- “We have observed many individuals say whatever necessities we have we stand in front of America or we stand in front of bullying and with respect to the people’s interests they say they express such thoughts. In reality, they are seeking excuses for setting aside the principal slogans, but if we take anti-oppression from the Revolution, the Revolution will be shut down.”
- So long as the key posts of the system and hierarchy of positions in this country are not occupied and dominated by revolutionary forces, basijis, and with this type of thought, we will remain in the third phase of the Revolution.”
Senior Military Adviser to the Supreme Leader Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi praised the Basij as “the Iranian nation’s option on the table for confronting any potential threats of the enemies” and said:
- “Today the Basiji way of thought and culture has surpassed the Iranian Basij’s geographical limitations and has reached the 1.6 billion Muslims of the world on the wave of the Islamic Awakening. The movement of Islamic Awakening will continue by divine strength.”
- “Some imagine that the Americans have controlled the Islamic Awakening. If the Americans were able to control the Islamic Revolution, then they can control the waves of Islamic Awakening as well. The Islamic Awakening is unstoppable.”
- Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi offered cautious skepticism on the Geneva nuclear deal and said, “What is important is for us to wait and see what the enemy’s front will do. From what the Supreme Leader has said, our bases are our fundamentals and red lines which must be completely observed. From another side, the complex of the country and government are all required in the path of observing the interpretation of the Supreme Leader and any agreement must be in this regard. God willing, they will progress in a way that the expediencies of Islam and the revolution are completely observed.”
- Artesh Commander Maj. Gen. Ataollah Salehi praised the occasion of the nuclear deal as a “very great and valuable day.”
- IRGC Public Relations announced that IRGC Commander MG Mohammad Ali Jafari had appointed IRGC Nabi Akram (Kermanshah Province) Commander Mohammad Nazar Azimi to the position of IRGC Ashraf Operational Base Commander. Azimi replaces Ali Akbar Nouri in this position.
- Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif spoke at Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization on occasion of Basij Appreciation Week and said that Iran “must not be fooled by American words”:
- “During these negotiations, Iran’s nuclear right was officially recognized.”
- “Americans want to spin their own words to the news to say that the right to nuclear energy remains under the NPT, but in response I say that are not the rights to reactors and nuclear facilities in the NPT?”
- Head of the Iranian Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi praised the result of the Geneva negotiations: “We saw what Libya’s program gave it and we see the situation of North Korea. Thanks to God, we were able to preserve our program in a lawful and internationally legal framework. Thanks to God, the leadership of officials, and the negotiations group, we were able to solve structural political issues through discussions.”
- The rial appreciated by approximately 5% vis-a-vis the dollar following the nuclear deal.
- According to Iran Customs statistics, the volume of trade within the past eight months amounted to $53.5 billion. 53% were imports while the rest were exports.
Photo of the Day
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif and head of Iran’s Atomic Energy Organization Ali Akbar Salehi exit an event honoring the Basij Organization.