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.


  • NSFP Parliamentary Commission Member and former senior IRGC Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Esmail Kowsari gave an interview to Fars News Agency in which he talked about Rouhani’s election, called the President an “agent of Mr. Hashemi [Rafsanjani],” and, when asked to, participated in a word association:
    • Kowsari provided two reasons for the election of President Rouhani: “From the first degree to the last, the 11th elections had a lack of agreement between the Principlist candidates, which caused the people to hesitate. The other point is that the 10th government [of Ahmadinejad] was known as a Principlist one … and the actions of two years previous were not suitable, which worried the people.”
    • Asked about the Reformists’ claim that Rouhani’s opinions overlap with theirs: “We do not impose anything. Look to the day before the elections. All of the opinions are clear. Mr. Rouhani considers himself an agent of Mr. Hashemi [Former President Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani].”
    • Asked if one can say that [Former Reformist President Mohammad] Khatami’s support was the cause of Rouhani’s election: “We do not see it like this at all. If Mr. Khatami’s words had this much influence, he himself would become a candidate. Why did he move to the side in [2009]? Because he visited three provinces and the people did not welcome him at all, so he moved to the side and Mousavi took his place.”
    • Asked why the disadvantaged voted for Rouhani: “I did research and it was mostly due to the clerical uniform. Thanks to God, the people still pay attention to the clerics.”
    • “One can also look to the moderation that was spoken of. Rouhani was identified as a moderate person, and [the people] did not want the creation of these great differences between the government and Parliament. The people took the lesson from the Imam [Khomeini] and Agha [Supreme Leader] to look for unity and integration, so they believed that if Rouhani [were elected] these differences would not come to be.”
    • “We cannot specifically define moderation. It is possible that some moderation can be defined as good, but some cannot be. What was Agha Ali ibn Abi Talib [Imam Ali] martyred for? For moderation and justice, which does not mean this type that we comfortably say.
    • Asked if Rouhani was looking for political moderation: “This point is also in our constitution that when each official takes his responsibility, he must present his assets. Some of these are moderation in politics, economics, and society. It is my guess that Mr. Rouhani is more in pursuit of that political moderation.”
    • The interviewer then asked Kowsari to give his first thoughts on a number of politicians. Larijani: “Politician.” - Rouhani: “A just and wise individual in service, but must make his own decisions.” - Nategh Nouri: “A person who has advanced to a good place but does not use his own ability well.” - Karroubi: “A simple person who does not pay attention to the depth of a topic.” - Rafsanjani: “A politician seeking for power.” - 2009 election protests: “Desires of foreigners, especially America and England, to overthrow the Islamic Republic system.” - 2013 elections: “Honor for the system.” - Administration’s 100 day promises: “Searching for solutions to economic problems but I consider it far from succeeding.” - Mohsen Rezaei: “Indefatigable during the Sacred Defense and very organized and skillful after the resolution. Has political ups and downs and has not been able to achieve his desires.” h
  • Head of the Principlist Faction and father-in-law to Supreme Leader Khamenei’s son Mojtaba, MP Gholam Ali Haddad Adel, stated that he considers the Geneva accord to be “positive in the first step.”
  • Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Kazem Sedighi supports the Geneva accord but warned, “The West has no logic and these sanctions are one-sided and bullying…. We do not have more expectations from them [United States] who only know force and do not abide by any law. Therefore the only way of confrontation with them is Resistance.” 
  • Speaker of Parliament Ali Larijani announced the Parliament’s support of the negotiations team “to preserve the rights of the Islamic Republic of Iran in future negotiations phases” and labeled claims by Western officials that the Geneva accord was a result of sanctions as “the beginning point of their new misunderstanding.”
  • Head of the Islamic Motalefeh Party Political Desk Mohammad Kazem Anbarlouie praised “the recognition of Iran’s right to enrichment by Western governments” that will “undermine all sanctions … because the foundation for these sanctions is that Iran should not have the right to enrichment.” When asked about the opposition of certain MPs to the deal, Anbarlouie stated, “This matter is because they do not know the text of the agreement. Therefore they look at events with suspicion, while if they were aware they would have no doubts.” 
  • Legal Deputy to the President Elham Aminzadeh announced the codification of a “civil rights charter” with the goal of “teaching and institutionalizing citizens’ rights.” The document is awaiting review by “some university circles” who will submit their opinions by the end of the week.
  • Steadfastness Front member Hojjat al-Eslam Ghassem Ravanbakhsh criticized the Rouhani administration’s economic performance during its first 100 days. He then advocated the formation of a “think tank with the presence of opinionated individuals including members of former nuclear teams to decide on various options between various negotiations.”
  • National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission Member Hojjat al-Eslam Hossein Sobhani Nia commented on the positive outcomes of the negotiations: “Three rounds of negotiations were held in Geneva, and in the end all came to a good conclusion. In my opinion this can be considered a valuable, great, and praiseworthy achievement.” He added, “Netanyahu has indicated his worries over the agreement, which shows that it is a positive deed for Iran.”
  • Former President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad failed to attend his court date. Ahmadinejad has been charged by Parliamentary Commission 90 with a number of crimes, including delaying the introduction of the sports and youth minister and failing to implement the statutes for the National Iranian Oil Company. 


Military and Security

  • IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari praised Basij activities in cultural, social and economic arenas and stated, “That America and Arrogant enemies of the Islamic Revolution speak of the military option alongside a massive volume of internal issues is nothing more than a bluff and exaggeration because they cannot even imagine incursion against the Islamic Republic with the existence of the Basij and the brightness of  this faithful and loyal to the Revolution popular force. They are aware of the Islamic Republic’s abilities, especially the mobilization of Iran’s tens of millions.” He then added that “the smallest military mistake regarding Iran” will lead to the targeting of “American’s facilities and allies in the region and beyond the region.”
  • IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Hossein Salami talked about the importance of the Basij, domestic self-reliance, and the successes of the nuclear program:
    • “True independence means eliminating the potential for other actions to influence different matters and fronts vital to the country.”
    • On Iran’s cruise missiles: “These missiles are of a type that by the time they enter the atmosphere their speed is more than Mach 8. To strike the target they have targeting and control systems.”
    • “Currently there is no knowledge regarding drones that we do not have. We have obtained drones that can cross 2000km, undertake their own operations, and then sit in our desired region.”
    • “It is the same type of thing in the nuclear field, which is the location of our conflict with the world. Until we reached 20% enrichment, the Europeans and representatives of the P5+1 very arrogantly said to our delegation, ‘You do not have the technology or capability to reach a high percentage. Why do you insist on sanctions? You should accept this and put it behind you so that the sanctions end.’”
    • “However, when Martyr Shahriari [Iranian nuclear scientist killed in 2010]  took us to 20% and was martyred [Iran claims by Israel or the US], they paid attention. All of their arrogant conversations changed to requests and pleading.”
    • “We are thinking of a comprehensive agreement and believe that by showing the flexibility we showed, they must cancel all the sanctions, otherwise this path can be reversed.”
    • “The Americans’ design was that with sanctions, they would paralyze our national economy which would influence the lives of our people and then a psychological operation would create an echo through [our] social life. However, that scenario changed to this one, in which all the powers concluded that they must deal with Iran on the basis of equality, not the imposition of their will or threats.” 
  • Senior Military Adviser to the Supreme Leader Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi discussed the goals of the “enemies”  at the inauguration ceremony of Kharazm University Geography and Sacred Defense Masters degree program:
    • “The regional and intra-regional enemies of the great Iranian nation sought to not only humiliate Iran by imposing war on the nation and the Islamic Revolution, but also to bring it to its knees and disintegrate the Iranian homeland…. Our enemies sought to prevent the export of Islamic Revolution culture that is independence-seeking and confronts oppression and Arrogance.”
    • “The main problem of the enemies is a lack of understanding of Islamic Iran’s record of cultural strength, scientific ability and civilization.” 
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi urged the support of “officials in the negotiations arena” because “weakening the internal Resistance Front is one of the goals of the enemies of the Islamic system.” Saidi affirmed, “Diplomacy is a change in tactics that requires a strong backing and the backing of this diplomacy is the resistance of the Iranian nation.”
  • Head of the Basij Organization Brig. Gen. Mohammad Reza Naghdi spoke about the future role of the Ashura Battalions in protecting the core values of Iran: "Eventually a day will come in which the people will allow the Basij to enter the main square in order to shorten the occupiers' usurping hands in Muslim lands." He encouraged the people: "Tighten your belts and prepare yourselves knowing that that the test of our time shall come." 
  • Minister of Defense Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan commented on the ministry’s successes and developments during the Rouhani Administration’s first 100 days in office and with Dehghan leading the ministry:
    • Dehghan said that he held meetings with Omani Minister of Defense Badr Bin Saud Bin Hareb Al-Busaidi and Iraqi Minister of Defense Sadoun al-Dulaimi, among others in order “to activate military and defense diplomacy as well as create stability and security in the region” and to show that “Iran is not a threat to other countries of the region … while it is the foreigners in the region who have created insecurity.”
    • Dehghan also emphasized the “upgrades in defense technology and knowledge” such as the “domestically produced Ghader and Nasser anti-ship cruise missiles,” the Sayyad 2 area defense missile, and the new Fotros drone.
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader and Head of the Martyrs and Self-Sacrificers Affairs Foundation and Deputy to the President Hojjat al-Eslam Mohammad Ali Shahidi praised the Supreme Leader’s guidance that led to “the recognition of Iran’s nuclear rights.” Regarding the Basij Organization, he said that it “must not become political, rather it must be above politics.”
  • IRGC Public Relations and Publications Directorate will unveil the “A Soil from the Substance of the Sky” book tomorrow. The book discusses the formation and expansion of the Basij Organization from 1979-1991. 
  • Interior Minister Abdolreza Fazli appointed Shiraz Governor Javad Zarrin Kolah to the post of Interior Ministry Security Director
  • A large Ashura gathering of defenders of the sanctity of the Velayat was held in Imam Hossein Square in Tehran. The event was held for Basij Week and included the Imam Ali, Imam Hossein, al-Zahra, Beit al-Moghaddas, and Kowsar Basij battalions. 

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