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 contributor John Lesnewich. 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 addressed a group of university students a day before the National Day of Confrontation with Arrogance [the West] and expressed his full support for Iran’s nuclear negotiations team while maintaining skepticism towards the outcome of the negotiations process. He then discussed the historical roots of hostility with the United States and urged the youth to investigate the reasons for the Islamic Republic’s hostility towards Washington:
    • “The record of America’s behavior demonstrates that the nuclear matter is only an excuse to continue hostility with Iran. The enemy’s deceiving smile should not make anyone commit mistakes. If negotiations achieve results, then that is better. If not, the recommendation that we must look internally to resolve problems is repeated.”
    • “Imam [Khomeini’s] exile in [1964] due to his speech against capitulation that granted legal immunity to American agents and military personnel in Iran; the merciless massacre of students in Tehran by the agents of the dictator regime supported by America in [1978]; and the reciprocal and brave movement of students in capturing America’s embassy in [1979] are all three related to the American government in a way, and for this reason, the 13th of Aban [November 4] has been named the National Day of Confrontation with Arrogance.”
    • “The faithful and courageous student youths who captured the American embassy in [1979] discovered the truth and real identity of this embassy, which was in fact a spy nest, and put it out there for the people of the world to see.... On that day, our youth named the American embassy the spy nest, and today, after the passing of more than three decades, American embassies in European countries that are America’s partners have been named spy nests. This matter demonstrates that our youth were more than thirty years ahead of the world’s calendar.”
    • “Arrogance is [the title] given to humans and governments that consider meddling in the affairs of other nations, imposing on others as [if it is] their right, and refusing to answer to anyone.”
    • “The counterpart of Arrogance is nations and humans who do not accept bullying, meddling-seeking, or accepting the power of Arrogance but instead confront them. The Iranian nation is one of these nations.”
    • “In reality, the Iranian nation stood against America’s bullying and dominance with its revolution, cut the root of the Arrogant on the inside after the victory of the Islamic Revolution, and did not leave the work half-done like some countries so that it could backfire later.”
    • “America’s arrogant approach has caused nations to have a feeling of mistrust and aversion towards it. Experience has shown that any nation and country that trusts America will see harm, even if it is one of America’s friends.”
    • “Therefore the matter of strife with Arrogance and the National Day of Confrontation with Global Arrogance is a fundamental matter and based on correct analysis.”
    • “The first youth of the revolution did not need analysis regarding confrontation with America because they had seen the oppression and injustice of America and its support of the merciless tyrant regime. However, through research and analysis, today’s youth must discover [the reasons] why the Iranian nation opposes Arrogance and America’s approach and the reason for Iran's aversion to America.”
    • “These [members of the nuclear negotiations team] are the children of the revolution and agents of the Islamic Republic who are executing their difficult duty with tremendous effort. No one must weaken them, insult them or call them compromisers.”
    • “God willing, we will not see any harm from these negotiations, but rather hope they will provide experience at the hands of the nation that, like the experience of temporary enrichment suspension in [2003], will increase the people’s intellectual and analytical capacity.”
    • “In negotiations with the Europeans a decade ago, with a type of retreat, we accepted suspension that was actually imposed. But after two years of suspensions and the recession of many works, we all understood that even with these types of works there will be absolutely no hope for cooperation from the Western sides.”
    • “If we did not do this, it would be possible for some to claim that, if we retreat, the problems would be resolved and the nuclear file would normalize, but with the experience of temporary suspension all understood that our sides seek other goals, therefore we resumed work and progress.”
    • “I am not optimistic towards upcoming negotiations because it is not clear that they will have the results that the nation expects. However, we believe that there is no objection to this experience, with the condition that the nation stays awake and knows what events are occurring.”
    • “By taking lines from other foreign media to lead public opinion astray, some are attempting to produce [the idea] that if we surrender in the nuclear matter, all of our economic and non-economic problems will be resolved.”
    • “Was the nuclear matter in place at the beginning of the revolution when America implemented sanctions against Iran and continued them? Was there an excuse with the name of the nuclear matter during the targeting of Iran’s passenger aircraft and the massacre of its 290 passengers? Was the nuclear matter introduced at the beginning of the revolution when the Americans implemented the coup d’etat design of Martyr Nozheh base? Was America’s weaponry and political support of anti-revolutionary groups after the victory of the revolution due to Iran’s nuclear activities?
    • “Therefore, the nuclear matter is nothing more than an excuse. Hypothetically, if this matter is resolved with our retreat one day, they will introduce tens of other excuses to continue hostility with dear Iran, including missile advancement, the Iranian nation’s opposition to the Zionist regime, and the Islamic Republic’s support of the Resistance.”
    • “The Americans' hostility towards the Islamic Republic is because the Iranian nation believes America cannot do a damned thing against Iran by refusing their demands.”
    • “America opposes the existence of the Islamic Republic and the penetration, credibility, and strength of the system chosen by the Iranian nation. Recently, one of America’s officials and intellectual elements honestly announced that whether or not Iran is atomic, it is dangerous because it possesses influence and strength, and, in their own words, Iran’s hegemony is dominant in the region.”
    • “The nuclear matter is an excuse. The Americans will let go of hostility when the Iranian nation transforms to a secluded, discredited and disrespected nation.”
    • “If a nation relied upon its strength and ability, it would not be tempestuous from the enemy’s front or sanction and we must seek the fulfillment of this goal.”
    • “Relying upon internal capabilities does not mean the negation of diplomacy, but it must be kept in mind that diplomatic movement is only part of the work and that the primary work is reliance on internal capabilities that can also bring capability and strength to the negotiations table.”
    • “In the first decade of the revolution, we did not have many material tools, including money, weapons, experience, organization, or armed forces. Meanwhile the front opposite the Islamic Revolution, meaning Saddam’s Baathist regime and its Western and Eastern supporters, were at the height of their strength and ability but were unable to bring the Iranian nation to its knees.”
    • “Currently, the circumstances of the Iranian nation and its opposing front are completely different from those years because the Islamic Republic of Iran possesses science, technology, weapons, international credibility and millions of talented and ready-to-work youth, while its opposing front, meaning the Americans and its partners, possess numerous political and economic issues and many divisions.”
    • “Of course, they will exert pressure but we must tolerate and surpass these pressures by relying on our own internal abilities.”
    • “This measure [of Islamic Republic officials in nuclear negotiations] is an experience and a potentially useful work. If results ensue, then so much the better. But if results do not ensue, it means that the country must stand on its own feet to resolve issues.”
    • “I reiterate my previous recommendation one more time: [We] must not trust any enemy that smiles.”
    • “My recommendation to the officials of the diplomatic and nuclear arena is to be careful [so] the enemy’s deceitful smile does not make you commit mistakes and errors.”
    • “Officials should pay the necessary attention to the statements and measures of the opposing side. From one side, they smile and express an inclination to negotiate, but from another side immediately say that all options are on the table. Now what damned thing they want to do is unclear.”
    • “If Americans tell the truth that they are serious in negotiations, they must break the babbling mouths [of one America official who sought atomic bombardment of Iran].”
    • “A government that imagines that it has a responsibility towards global issues and the nuclear matter is damned in making a nuclear threat against another country.”
    • “Today, due to the dominance of the powerful Zionist capitalists on the administration and Congress, they have the most formality with the Zionist circles and degenerate regime, and the poor ones are forced to mind them, but we are not forced to mind them.”
    • “We said from day one, say it today, and will say it in the future as well that we consider the Zionist regime an illegal and bastard regime.”
    • “We support any measures of officials that are in the path of the country’s expediency, but we have this recommendation to all the people, officials and especially the youth to open your eyes completely because the only way to reach the nation’s goals is by preserving awareness and caution.”
    • “We hope that with divine kindness and blessing that the youth receive the country with their succulent spirit and take it to the peaks with their initiative.”
  • On Sunday, President Hassan Rouhani thanked the Supreme Leader for his support and said:
    • “Today, the policies of the Iranian people and the Iranian government, which has received life from national will are on two pillars of firm bases in foreign relations: One pillar is anti-oppression, anti-invasion of perseverance, persistence and resistance, and the other basis is effective and constructive relations with the world. Each of the two components are components of a single policy. The Iranian people pursue their rights, just as they are peoples of negotiations, logic, perseverance, resistance and persistence in their rights.”
    • “We hope that the [P]5+1, the American government and all global powers and governments utilize this emerged environment well... Of course, the Iranian people and nation do not have hostility towards any nation. They do not have hostility towards the American nation, what has or will cause concern for the Iranian people are hostile policies, which are in that case condemned by the Iranian nation.”
    • “[W]ithout the support of the people and the Supreme Leader, the administration will not be able to take this heavy load to its destination…” 
  • President Rouhani discussed nuclear negotiations and the economy in a meeting with Fars province MPs and fired back at critics on Monday:
    • “Despite the massive complexity of negotiations, we hope to slowly reduce sanctions and not allow new sanctions to be added and then move in a direction such that sanctions are completely removed. Of course the work is difficult and complicated, but the government’s will is firm in this matter.”
    • “[I]t has been two and a half months since the administration began its work and there is no opportunity yet to reach criticism. It is best for [MPs] to allow it to work for between six months and a year before criticizing the administration.”
    • “When we took control of the administration, economic growth was negative 5.8%. We are now attempting to reduce that number this year to negative three, then zero next year, and afterwards economic growth becomes positive.” Rouhani also announced his plan to reduce inflation from 40% to 34-35% by the end of the year [in mid-March]. 
  • National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission member MP Safar Na’imi Raz stated, “We will continuously shout the ‘Down with America’ slogan at the negotiations table and prove that the Islamic Republic of Iran is firm in its position and will continue standing against Arrogance as in the early years of the revolution.” 
  • NSFP Commission member Ebrahim Agha Mohammadi echoed the words of the Supreme Leader in calling for the protection of negotiators:
    • “The nuclear negotiations team has responsibility for the case, which has had many complexities over the years.”
    • “Nuclear negotiations are undertaken with the protection and guidance of the Supreme Leader. So our pessimism must not be towards the team of Iranian negotiators, but towards the Western side.”
    • “All of the political leaders, institutions, and currents must protect the nuclear negotiators in order to achieve the desired results in this negotiations.”
    • “The 13 Aban ceremony must be held like in past years and must not be a ceremony that creates extremism.”
  • Minister of Defense Hossein Dehghan appointed Artesh Brig. Gen. Amir Hatemi Deputy Minister of Defense, replacing IRGC Brig. GenMajid Bokaei. Bokaei was subsequently appointed Adviser to the Minister of Defense. 
    • Dehghan also spoke, saying that Iran’s war with the West continued and that Iran would not bow to sanctions.
    • “Iran’s Islamic Revolution replaced a 2,500 year old imperial regime and confronted a dominant system [the US] as required. This war between Iran and the dominant system continues.”
    • “No factor can push the nation of Iran from its fundamental path of resistance.”
    • Dehghan said that in the past the enemies thought that they could force Iran to accept their desires, but “today our position is of power at the head of the negotiating table.” 
  • Expediency Discernment Council and Cultural Adviser to the IRGC Mohammad Hossein Saffar Harandi said, “The West and America sought our death and destruction and all of their conspiracies were looking to this ominous goal….The Supreme Leader also said that whenever we see that the Americans are honest in expressing their peace seeking and if such relations are to the benefit of the nation, I will be the first person to support renewing these relations.” 
  • Grand Ayatollah Hossein Hossein Nouri Hamedani visited a seminary and gave advice to the students:
  • Minister of Intelligence Hojjat al-Eslam Mahmoud Alavi gave a speech noting the importance of Ashura [a mourning ceremony marking Imam Hossein’s martyrdom], introducing Mohammad Ali Javadi as the new Deputy of the Development and Management of Human Resources, and thanking Mansour Khaki for his service. 

Military and Security

  • “Retired” IRGC 41st Sarallah Division commander Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Mohammad Jamali Zadeh was killed in Syria while reportedly “defending the Sayedda Zeinab shrine” in Damascus. Jamali Zadeh served as a battalion and “axis” commander with the 41st Division during the Iran-Iraq War, and held senior positions with the division and IRGC southeast operational “Quds” base after the war.
  • Representative of the Supreme Leader to the IRGC Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Saidi discussed the process after the Supreme Leader’s passing and offered his interpretation of Khamenei’s speech in Sobh-e Sadegh Weekly:
    • “In the assessments that we have, the damage that Iran’s Islamic Revolution inflicted on America’s superiority-seeking and power of influence [was more] than the damage inflicted by the Soviet revolution; meaning that Iran challenged the identity of liberal democracy…”
    • “We advocate dynamic fiqh [jurisprudence] and not static fiqh. Dynamic fiqh means that a Shi’a believes that if the Source of Emulation passes away, [he] must refer to the living Source in provisions of worship. This matter is in the worship provision. In matters of government, we advocate dynamic fiqh in the first form. Meaning if the Supreme Leader passes away, we must refer to the next leader. We are no longer in the age of the first leader and the variables of this time must not be the basis.”
    • “Therefore, it is variables that provide the opportunity for the new leader to announce the position. Why do we say dynamic fiqh? Why do we say that the new leader must be immediately elected after the passing of the previous Leader? Because after today there will be new variables based upon which the new leader must certainly make decisions in the moment and advance.”
    • “That we say Imam [Khomeini] said for us not to shout ‘Down with America’ is impossible. First of all, the Imam never said such a thing. Secondly, if the Imam said that if America backs down [then] this will not be our slogan, we cannot solely refer to the variables of that day. Today’s variables are determinants. We must proceed proportionally with current conditions and act based on the Leader’s opinion.”
    • “At that time, we were fighting with America in the framework of our own homeland, but today we are fighting on the international scene. This is the expansion of the field of war. The borders of our war are no longer Mehran, Shalamcheh and Khorramshar [Iran-Iraq War fields]. Rather today our border is Latin America and the sides of the Middle East.”
    • “We have principles that are fixed in the doctrines of Imam Khomeini and Imam Khamenei, but we have certain variables that obey the opinion of its age’s leader. We must become active in cyber matters.”
    • “Therefore these two opinions [one advocating US relations and others opposition] exist and the Supreme Leader has determined the environment to enter in a certain framework. My analysis from this is that his view is an ultimatum. If the enemy accepts our rightful word in which we will have reached our rights, the officials will succeed. And if the enemy does not accept, it will be clear to the people, officials and all the world what an oppressive system we are confronting such that they will pursue other excuses no matter how we act.” 
  • [E] NSFP Parliamentary Commission Member Javad Karimi Ghodousi claimed that “There are hundreds of battalions from Iran in Syria. Although you hear the news about the victories of the Syrian Army from a Syrian commander, there are Iranian forces behind the scene.” He added, "That day when all embassies in Damascus were closed (when the US attack on Syria was announced), the Iranian official delegation were there with their families, which heartened Bashar Assad.”
  • Head of IRGC Public Relations Brig. Gen. 2C Ramazan Sharif responded to Ghodousi’s claims and said that “We strongly deny that there are Iranian battalions present in Syria.” He continued, “As we have said many times, Iran has no type of organized battalions in Syria. We only have advisors to transfer their own defense experiences to the defenders of [Syria].”
    • Sharif then criticized the media, saying “We expect more precision and sensitivity from the media in its publication of these types of news so that a scapegoat is not provided for the foreign media’s psychological operations.”  
  • Head of the Basij Organization BG Mohammad Reza Naghdi talked about the necessity of the Down with America chant and urged Iranians to continue their resistance against the West:
    • “Our constitution emphasizes hostility towards America … and gets rid of colonialism and foreign domination…. Getting rid of the struggle against America means getting rid of our constitution.”
    • “The problems that the enemies have created today are much simpler than the problems the martyrs confronted in the first decade [during the Iran-Iraq War]. We have put behind us the days in which, like Baghdad and Syria, we had 40 martyrs each day, yet now the space for martyrdom is looking to research in order to deal with sanctions.”
    • “Which of the lessons of our great history of national resistance allows for talk of giving up or surrendering in the face of small problems. Some in these conditions want the people to not have slogans against Arrogance or to chant Down with America. We said Down with America while being bombarded with chemical weapons. The nation did not stop saying Down with America while the martyrs’ bodies were being cleansed. They did not have 10% of the welfare we have, but they stood, so how can we now give up the fight against Arrogance.”
    • “Did we not negotiate and have some type of solution with the Baath regime, yet we still chanted Down with Saddam until he was buried.” 
  • Head of the Armed Forces General Staff Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi spoke of the importance of 13 Aban to Iran:
    • “Iran is 34 years ahead of Europe [referring to NSA phone-tapping revelations]. That is why our students seized the American spy nest [embassy] in Tehran at that time.”
    • “13 Aban is a day of struggle against Global Arrogance [America and the West] and God’s day. We must remember this day.”
    • “Down with America is our national slogan. However, this slogan is not for 99% of the American people, but for the dominating, capitalist, and Zionist 1% of America.”
    • Noting the Supreme Leader’s speech: “We must negotiate to protect our nuclear knowledge and technology, but these negotiations are [undertaken] very wisely.”
  • Political Ideology Education and Training Deputy for the Supreme Leader’s Representation to the IRGC, Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Reza Adiani, claimed that “Technocrats and Westoxifiers, [both] paid and unpaid, attack the original Islamic values and way of life…. The enemy intends to change the people’s way of life to the manner they desire by using invasions, murder, culture, and political behavior.” 
  • IRGC Amir al-Mo’eminim Unit (Ilam province) Commander Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Sadegh Hosseini  commented on the Down with America slogan and 13 Aban:
    •  “As long as the revolutionary thoughts of the Imam [Khomeini] and Supreme Leader are commanding this country, there will certainly be a difference between right and wrong, and  Arrogance and anti-Arrogance. And as long as there are the brutalities, violations, and excesses of the Americans, every free person everywhere in the world, especially in Iran, will shout the ‘Down with America’ slogan.”
    • “I have faith that there are students and people in our country, like the students in [1979] who spontaneously captured the American spy nest, who will be present on the stage and with purposeful movements and revolutionary thoughts will strike the mouths of America and the enemies with a strong fist.”
  • The Ministry of Defense’s Aerospace Manufacturing Organization released a statement celebrating the 15th anniversary of its creation, saying that it currently has a program to design and construct new launch bases and stronger satellites which it will soon announce:
    • “The great work of this industry and its development is a primary factor in increasing the deterrence capabilities, honor, and pride of the nation.”
    • “The current products of the organization in different fields, especially in the construction of launch sites and types of satellites, and defense, especially in designing and creating ground-to-ground, anti-armor, air defense, and  cruise missile systems, is the cause of the armed forces’ abilities, their power to maneuver, and the significant increase in defense abilities and military power of resistance.” 

Nuclear Issue

  • Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif reacted to criticism and discussed the “Down with America” slogan:
  • Senior nuclear negotiations team member and Deputy Foreign Minister Abbas Ali Eraghchi welcomed Supreme Leader Khamenei’s support and discussed nuclear negotiations:
    • “We are also partners in not being optimistic and have preserved our pessimism towards America due to this country’s record of behavior and its policies.”
    • “In any negotiations, our primary goal is proving our rights and consolidating respect of the opposing front to these rights that include enrichment. Therefore, any solution must guarantee Iran’s nuclear rights, including the right to enrichment.”
    • “Our expectation is that this time [this week’s negotiations with P5+1] will enter ‘substantive’ discussions and be able to move towards an agreement regarding ‘substance.’”
    • “I do not know in which conditions these statements [by US Undersecretary of States for Political Affairs Wendy Sherman about lifting sanctions] were stated. But in any case, she knows that any solution in which the lifting of sanctions does not exist will not be accepted by Iran.”
    • “If the American administration wants negotiations to proceed, it must convince Congress not to add new sanctions. It is natural that new sanctions, which by chance are pursued by the Zionist lobby that will certainly destruct the negotiations path in pursuit of them.”
    • If there is good faith on both sides and the seriousness and political will that has been demonstrated from both sides continues, we can reach an agreement regarding the first step in less than three months.”  
  • NSFP Parliamentary Commission Spokesman Hossein Naghvi Hosseini commented on the commission’s meeting with Minister of Foreign Affairs Mohammad Javad Zarif, noting Zarif’s answers to their questions left some members unconvinced:
    • Asked about the telephone call with President Obama, Zarif responded, “Dr. Rouhani and I have not acted, nor are we acting, against the views of the Supreme Leader.” Naghvi noted that the questioner, Karimi Ghodousi was unconvinced by the response.
    • Ghodousi then asked about the suspension of uranium enrichment in the P5+1 talks, and Zarif responded “We have not in any way [agreed] to suspend enrichment and this is not true.” Ghodousi was again, reportedly, unconvinced. 


  • Minister of Oil Bijan Zanganeh criticized American oil policies and said that Iran is prepared to export gas to Pakistan and Oman:
    • On natural gas exports to Oman: “Last night we held talks with Oman’s energy and oil minister and reached an agreement on some issues.”
    • “On the basis of our understanding with Oman’s minister of oil, we will reach an agreement by the end of the year or beginning of the coming year. Although we have not negotiated the price of gas in the new agreement, we have agreed that we will first transfer the gas to Oman, and then look to sell and market it to the region from that country.”
    •  “Unfortunately, in current conditions, some countries like America are using oil as a political tool in such a way that they put Europe under pressure to not invest in Iranian oil.”
    • On Pakistan’s agreement to import Iranian gas: “Currently Iran has the desired capacity to produce and export gas…. In the case Pakistan accelerates construction of a pipeline, Iran is prepared to deliver gas to that country.”

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