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 Mehrdad Moarefian, Marie Donovan, and Paul Bucala, with contributors Ryan Melvin, Caitlin Pendleton, and Jordan Olmstead. To receive this daily newsletter, please subscribe online.

(E) = Article in English

Key takeaway: IRGC Brigadier General Gholam Reza Jalali and senior clerics reaffirmed the regime’s commitment to combat Western influence in Iran during Friday prayers.

IRGC Brigadier General Jalali, the Head of the Passive Defense Organization, claimed that those people who seek “to eliminate Iran's ‘anti arrogance’” with the “development of social networks, ‘McDonald’s diplomacy,’ and diplomacy in various spheres” are part of a “suspicious movement…which it is currently growing in the country.”

Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani called for Iranians to create “walls” in order to block the expansion of Western influence. Kashani also urged for more active measures in order to protect Iran’s “economy, morals, and policies,” stating, “Wall-building is necessary but it is not sufficient in today’s conditions.” Tabriz Friday Prayer Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari, meanwhile, called the public rallies held for the anniversary of the Iranian hostage crisis  “a response to the rumors from foreign media and some... ignorant domestic [individuals] who provide a way for the enemy to infiltrate [Iran].” The remarks from Gholam Reza Jalali and the Friday Prayer Leaders follow President Hassan Rouhani’s overt criticism of individuals who “misuse” the word “influence” to marginalize opposition groups.

Matthew McInnis analyzes Iran’s strategic goals heading into the Vienna peace talks in his most recent blog, “Iran’s Treacherous Landscape in Vienna.”

Domestic Politics

  • Jalali: There are individuals who are seeking to eliminate global arrogance through ‘McDonald’s diplomacy.’ IRGC Brig. Gen. Gholam Reza Jalali stressed the need to actively counter the spread of Western influence during a speech at Tehran Friday prayers. The Head of the Passive Defense Organization stated:
    • “We must monitor, track, and analyze threats; we must count the changes in the essence and strategy of the enemy.”
    • “Fortunately the Supreme Leader, as a guardian and as a captain of a ship, wisely tracks the threats and informs the people and officials when necessary.”
    • “Those people who are seeking to eliminate global arrogance…with the development of social networks, ‘McDonald’s diplomacy,’ and diplomacy in various spheres…are a suspicious movement…which is currently growing in the country.” (Fars News Agency
  • Kashani: Building walls to prevent foreign influence is not enough. Ayatollah Mohammad Emami Kashani discussed the threat posed by Western influence during his Friday prayer sermon. The Interim Tehran Friday Prayer Leader stated:
    • “In the story of the JCPOA and the negotiations we understood that the enemy wants to eliminate Iran…therefore from this experience with the ‘global arrogance’ [American and the West] and foreign domination, we must prevent their influence.”
    • “When we want to prevent their influence, we must create walls and protect our economy, morals, and policies.” 
    • “Wall-building is necessary but it is not sufficient in today’s conditions.” (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Shabestari: The public is helping fight infiltration of Western values. Ayatollah Mohsen Mojtahed Shabestari discussed the public’s response to Western and domestic attempts to “infiltrate” Iran and the Supreme Leader’s November 1 speech. 
    • On the public’s response: The Supreme Leader’s Representative to East Azerbaijan province and the Tabriz Friday Prayer Leader stated that “the people’s massive presence” in the celebrations commemorating the anniversary of the November 4 1979 takeover of the U.S. Embassy in Tehran is “a response to the rumors from foreign media and some... ignorant domestic [individuals] who provide a way for the enemy to infiltrate [Iran].”
    • On Khamenei’s speech: Shabestari praised Khamenei’s comments during a November 1 meeting with Foreign Ministry officials as a strong response to those who “dreamed… of changing [Iran’s] foreign policy.” He also stated, “The principle of the Islamic Republic’s foreign policy is derived from Islam, the ideals of the [Islamic] Revolution, and the Constitution; these major policies do not change with governments’ comings and goings.”
    • On U.S. foreign policy: “Nothing except deception exists in America’s foreign policy; if America returns to its home, insecurity in the world will be eradicated.”
    • He also claimed that “recently obtained evidence suggests… recent cooperation between the Mossad Organization [Israeli intelligence] and the Saudi regime” on the September 24 Hajj stampede. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Hajati: Those who censor commemorations of the U.S. Embassy takeover are infiltrators. Hojjat ol Eslam Ahmad Reza Hajati reflected on the U.S. hostage crisis during his Friday prayer address in the city of Ahvaz. The Interim Ahvaz Prayer Leader claimed that “those who censor news covering the 13th of Aban [November 4, the date Iranian students seized the U.S. Embassy in Tehran] and say that we should not say ‘Death to America’ and that we should trust [America]” are “infiltrators.” Hajati also criticized those who believe “the time for negotiations and friendships and smiling” between Iran and the U.S. has arrived, and encouraged policymakers to confront Iran’s enemies “domestically and abroad.” (Fars News)

    Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader: One British tourist does not mean foreign influence. Hojjat ol Eslam Yousef Tabatabaeinejad discussed foreign influence on Iran following the nuclear deal during his Friday prayer sermon. The Esfahan Friday Prayer Leader stated, “The JCPOA has been approved by the Parliament, Guardian Council, and [Supreme] National Security Council, so we must not equate it with influence… The presence of one British [citizen] on a tour is not influence. The coming of individuals does not mean influence at all; I believe that the existence of one person is not considered influence and cancer. I have no doubt that these are filthy people, but allow these people to come to the country and consider the country’s progress during the years of sanctions.” Tabatabaeinejad also reiterated Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s previous statement that the slogan “‘Death to America’...does not mean death to the people of America, but death to the arrogance and America’s policies.” (ISNA)

  • Larijani: the Rouhani administration has no right to interfere in judicial affairs. Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani emphasized the Judiciary’s independence from the executive branch, and extolled the Judiciary’s role in the nuclear negotiations during a speech in Mazandaran province. The Judiciary Head stressed that the judicial branch is empowered to monitor the executive branch, and claimed that the judiciary branch “provided the [Rouhani] administration with help in the area of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA) when it encountered problems.” Larijani added that Iran supports the Syrian regime and “is not afraid to talk about this support.” (Fars News Agency)
  • Ministry of Information and Communication Technology: Telegram has accepted our red lines. The Ministry of Information and Communication Technology Public Relations Manager Mohammad Reza Farnaghizad released a statement that the popular mobile messaging application Telegram has “accepted Iran’s red lines” with regards to filtering “un-Islamic content.” The Iranian government was alleged to have completely blocked the messaging application when Telegram denied the Ministry’s request to grant access to user data. (Ghatreh)


Regional Developments and Diplomacy

  • Safavi: Syrian war is an “international Islamic front.” IRGC Maj. Gen. Yahya Rahim Safavi discussed Iran’s advisory missions abroad during a visit with the family of IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani. The Senior Military Advisor to the Supreme Leader stated, “The Syria front is an international Islamic front against the Zionists and the Americans. The Americans, the Zionists, and some Arab countries - Saudi Arabia, Qatar, and Turkey – are on this side in order to overthrow the legitimate government of [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad.” He continued, “Before the [Islamic] Revolution, I was in Syria and Lebanon, and after the Revolution, I traveled to this country; the Syria war is a hard war, and in the five years of victory of the resistance front against the terrorists, Iran has been [at the center]; Iran’s main power and advisory focus in the fight against the takfiri terrorists is very crucial.” (Sepah News)
  • Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization: The fate of 25 pilgrims has not yet been determined. The Head of Iran’s Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization Saeed Ohadi announced that the condition of 25 “lost” Iranian pilgrims during the September 24 Hajj stampede has not been determined. (Hajj News)
  • Abdollahian holds phone call with Russian counterpart. Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian discussed “the crises in Yemen and Syria” during a telephone conversation with his Russian counterpart Mikhail Bogdanov on November 6. Both officials underscored the “Islamic Republic’s fundamental role in the diplomatic efforts.” (Press TV) (E) (IRNA) (E)
  • First Vice President holds phone call with Turkish prime minister. Eshagh Jahangiri discussed “efforts to help resolve the Syrian crisis” during a telephone conversation with Turkish Prime Minister Ahmet Davuto?lu on November 5. The First Vice President stated, “Iran and Turkey should use their political capacities to resolve the crises in Syria and Iraq, and both countries should boost their cooperation in this field.” Davuto?lu also praised the “growing trend of Tehran-Ankara relations” under the Justice and Development (AKP) party. (IRNA) (E)
  • European Parliament President to meet with Iranian officials. European Parliament President Martin Schulz is expected to meet with Iranian officials in Tehran on November 7. Schulz was invited by Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani, and will meet with President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif during his one-day trip. In addition, Schulz will meet with “civil society representatives” whose those names have not been released. (Fars News Agency)
  • Iran and Russia sign a MOU on “judicial fields.” Minister of Justice Mostafa Pour Mohammadi announced that Tehran and Moscow “signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) to expand their mutual cooperation in legal and judicial fields” while on the sidelines of the Conference of the States Parties to the UN Convention against Corruption. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)



  • Iran begins blockade of U.S. goods. Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh issued a directive on November 5 to begin a blockade on the import of U.S. consumer goods. The Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister called U.S. consumer goods a “symbolic presence of the U.S.” and added that the blockade is based on the guidelines in Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s October 21 letter to President Hassan Rouhani. (Press TV(E)
  • Central Bank and Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry release new purchasing plan for Iranian goods. The Central Bank of Iran (CBI) and the Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry announced a “new plan” for the purchase of Iranian goods in a joint statement on November 5. The statement details new regulations for domestically produced goods, including cars and agricultural machinery. It also describes the issuance of credit cards through Iranians banks for people with a “fixed and stable income” to buy domestic goods from a list determined by the Industry, Mining, and Trade Ministry. The cards’ ability to buy goods has a “specified ceiling proportionate with monthly income” and has a “maximum of 100 million rials.” (YJC)
  • Nobakht criticizes suggestion to use “foreign managers.” Mohammad Bagher Nobakht criticized a recent statement by Industry, Mining, and Trade Minister Mohammad Reza Nematzadeh that called for “foreign managers” to help improve industrial production. The Planning and Strategic Supervision Deputy to the President called the suggestion a “humiliation of Iranian managers” and added that it is incompatible with the Rouhani administration’s policies. (Tasnim News Agency)
  • Iran Khodro to resume producing cars in Syria. Iran Khodro, the country’s largest automaker, announced that it will “resume production of vehicles” in Syria. Iran Khodro also announced it will export 600 vehicles to Syria and another “500 cars” to Lebanon “by the end of the year.” (Press TV) (E)


Casualties in Iraq and Syria

  • IRGC member killed. Amir Hossein Heivodi was killed in Syria “in the last few days.” He is described as the “first martyr” from Dezful, Khuzestan province. (Tasnim News Agency) (Tnews)
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