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 Wali Miller and Ali Javaheri. 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: Armed Forces General Staff Chief IRGC Major General Mohammad Bagheri disclosed that Iran is interested in establishing military bases in Yemen and Syria to support naval operations.

Bagheri signaled the Iranian military’s intent to expand its naval activities, stating, “We should have an Indian Ocean fleet like our fleet for the Gulf of Oman. We need distant bases [for naval operations]. It may be possible one day to have military bases on the shores of Yemen or Syria.” Bagheri added, “Is having remote bases worth more than nuclear technology? I would say that it is worth more than a dozen times over.” Bagheri’s comments are a clear departure from the typical rhetoric of Iranian military officials, who have avoided openly discussing Iran’s ambitions to establish military facilities abroad. 

AEI Must-Reads

Military & Security

  • AFGS chief: We are interested in building bases in Yemen and Syria. Armed Forces General Staff (AFGS) Chief IRGC Maj. Gen. Mohammad Bagheri commented on Artesh Navy operations during a speech marking National Navy Day. He stated, “We should have an Indian Ocean fleet like our fleet for the Gulf of Oman. We need distant bases [for naval operations]. It may be possible one day to have military bases on the shores of Yemen or Syria, on islands, or we could have floating bases.” (Fars News Agency
    • Artesh Navy Commander RADM Habibollah Sayyari praised the expanding operations of the Artesh Navy during comments on National Navy Day. He claimed that Artesh Navy warships have escorted over three thousand commercial vessels in the Gulf of Oman and vowed that the Artesh Navy will regularly operate in the Atlantic. Sayyari recently announced that the Artesh Navy 44th Fleet entered the Atlantic Ocean and visited a port in South Africa. Sayyari also announced that the Artesh Navy will establish two new naval regions and three bases along the Makran coast in southeastern Iran. (Tasnim News Agency) (Press TV)
  • Defense Minister: “Purchasing Su-30s is on the Defense Ministry’s agenda.” Defense Minister IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan claimed that the Ministry of Defense and Armed Forces Logistics is interested in pursuing negotiations with Russia over the purchase of Su-30 fighter aircraft. Iranian officials have repeatedly expressed interest in purchasing Su-30s, which are roughly equivalent to the F-15E Strike Eagle. (Tasnim News Agency)

Regional Developments & Diplomacy

  • Khamenei: Renewing ISA would violate the nuclear deal. Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei criticized the U.S. Congress for considering the renewal of the Iran Sanctions Act (ISA) an “extension” of previous sanctions, not the enactment of new sanctions, during a meeting with Artesh Navy Commanders on November 26. Khamenei responded, “Starting sanctions is the same as renewing sanctions after their expiration. The latter is sanctioning and a violation of the other side’s commitments.” ( (
    • Deputy Foreign Minister Majid Takht Ravanchi similarly declared that renewing sanctions would be “disloyal” to the nuclear deal and warned that Iran “will certainly adopt the necessary attitude” if the renewal is implemented. (Farda News)
    • Head of the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Ali Akbar Salehi warned that renewing sanctions would “absolutely violate” the nuclear deal. He then added that “in a short period of a year and a half, we can reach a sizeable [uranium] enrichment capacity.” (IRINN)
    • Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat ol Eslam Kazem Sedighi stated, “America has not only not fulfilled its obligations under the nuclear deal, it has also violated the nuclear deal with the extension of sanctions. As the Supreme Leader stated, if this continues, the Islamic Republic will definitely react.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Foreign Ministry rejects allegations of nuclear negotiations over nuclear deal. Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi denied that Iranian officials are participating in new negotiations regarding certain provisions of the nuclear deal as reported in a recent Wall Street Journal article. The article claimed that the U.S. and its allies are pressuring Iran to reduce its enriched uranium stockpile in order to bolster the nuclear deal before President-elect Donald Trump takes office. (YJC)
  • Rouhani urges Iraqi government to respond to Iraqi suicide bombing. President Hassan Rouhani called for the Iraqi government to “deal more decisively” with the perpetrators of the November 24 suicide truck bombing near Hilla, south of Baghdad. More than fifty Iranian pilgrims were killed during the attack. (ANA) (Entekhab)
    • IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami warned that Iran will “respond” to the bombing “on current battlefields.” (Fars News Agency) (E)
  • IRGC Commander: Iraqi militias do not need Iranian forces. IRGC Commander Maj. Gen. Mohammad Ali Jafari stated, “Iraqi fighters and Popular Mobilization Units (PMU) are strong enough that they do not need the help of Iranian troops.” He added, however, that “limited advising [by Iran] is possible.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Zarif expresses condolences over Castro’s death. Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif called the death of Cuban leader Fidel Castro a “catastrophe for world liberation movements” during a ceremony at the Cuban embassy in Tehran. Zarif added that Iran will always “stand alongside” the people and government of Cuba. (IRNA)

Domestic Politics

  • Seventy parliamentarians call for  Rouhani cabinet member to resign. Seventy parliamentarians requested that Minister of Roads and Urban Development Abbas Akhoundi resign from his post for his “lack of attention to the duties of his ministry” after a train crashed in Semnan province on November 25, killing 45 people. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Ahmad Montazeri sentenced to 21 years in prison. The son of the late Grand Ayatollah Hossein Ali Montazeri was sentenced to prison after “acting against national security and… publishing audio files with classified secrets.” The website of Grand Ayatollah Montazeri recently published an audio recording of Montazeri condemning the Islamic Republic’s execution of approximately 5,000 political prisoners in 1988 during a meeting with senior officials. Iranian officials condemned the recording as “incomplete and full of errors and distortions.” Supreme Leader Grand Ayatollah Ruhollah Khomeini designated Montazeri as his successor in the 1980s but later dismissed him following Montazeri’s criticism of the regime’s policies and human rights record. (Asr Iran)


  • Schlumberger signs agreement with NISOC over oil development. The National Iranian South Oilfields Company (NISOC) signed an agreement with Schlumberger, the world’s largest oil driller by market value, on November 27 to study and prepare development plans for the Rag Sefid, Parsi, and Shadegan oil fields. (IRNA) (E)
  • Germany gives Iran 1.2 billion euros to help finance a key rail project. An official at the Central Bank of Iran (CBI) told reporters that the German state-run lender KfW IPEX will help finance the development of a railway from Tehran to Mashhad. As of now, the agreement is “close to being finalized” and would be the largest credit line Iran has received from a foreign country since economic sanctions on Iran were lifted in January, according to a German official. (Press TV) (E)
  • Inflation rates continue to fall. Average inflation rates in Iran fell to 8.6 percent from 8.7 percent during the past 12 months, according to statistics released by the CBI. The performance of the Iranian economy will be a critical indicator of President Rouhani’s chances in the upcoming presidential elections in May 2017. (Donya-e-Eqtesad)
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