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 Ali Javaheri and Wali Miller. 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: Iranian officials indicated concern regarding America's commitment to the nuclear deal in reaction to the election of Donald Trump.
President Hassan Rouhani and Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stressed that the next U.S. president must fulfill its requirements under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), reflecting the regime’s apprehension over President-elect Trump’s previous pledges to renegotiate or even dismantle the deal.
Some Iranian officials expressed hope that Trump’s election would change America's policies in the Middle East, but noted that Iran would have to wait for his policies to materialize. Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani said that he hoped the election would induce U.S. authorities to review “policies based on domination, intervention, and war in other countries.” Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari specifically complimented Trump’s position on Syria as “good.” IRGC Deputy Commander Brigadier General Hossein Salami said that American policy towards Iran would not change with the incoming president as “America’s foreign policy is independent of the type of party that comes to power.”
Iran has exceeded restrictions on its heavy water stockpile by 0.1 tonnes, according to a new report by the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA). The nuclear deal requires Iran to keep its stockpile of heavy water below 130 metric tonnes. Iran reportedly told the IAEA that it will ship 5 tonnes of heavy water outside the country to resume compliance. This is the second time Iran has overstepped the heavy water limit after briefly reaching 130.9 tonnes in February.
- Paul Bucala analyzes a recent speech by former Armed Forces Chief of Staff Major General Hassan Firouzabadi in “Supreme Leader's Adviser Discloses Details on Iranian Efforts Abroad.”
- The Critical Threats Project and ISW Naval Analyst Christopher Harmer assess Iran’s role in the recent anti-shipping attacks off the Yemeni coast in “Iranian involvement in missile attacks on the USS Mason.”
Reactions to Donald Trump’s Victory
Iranian officials call for U.S. to abide by nuclear deal commitments. President Hassan Rouhani signaled the regime’s anxiety over Trump's stance toward the nuclear deal, stating, “Iran’s understanding of the JCPOA is that the deal is not an agreement with just one country or administration. Rather it was strengthened as a UNSC resolution, and it cannot be changed with the decision of a single administration.” (Press TV)
- Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif stated, “It is important that the future U.S. president is committed to implementing its multilateral commitments under the JCPOA. We are certain that the international community holds this expectation of the U.S. as well.” (Alef)
- Moderate Parliamentarian Kamal Dehghani, the deputy chairman of Parliament’s National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Commission, downplayed concerns that Trump’s election could affect the nuclear deal. He stated, “The U.S. pursues its own interests in the international field, and naturally it must abide by international agreements and contracts in order to achieve these interests. It is possible that many of the issues were presented with slogans and electoral propaganda. Usually when a person becomes president of a powerful country, however, that individual makes decisions based upon existing realities.” (ISNA)
- Atomic Energy Organization of Iran Spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi said that Iran was “prepared for any situation, including the election of Mr. Trump,” and that the JCPOA “must continue.” (ISNA)
Officials praise Trump’s victory as a possibility for change in U.S. foreign policy. NSFP Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi praised Trump’s election as a nationwide vote against “warmongering policies” in the Middle East. Boroujerdi added that Iran “must wait” to see the details of Trump’s policies, however. (ISNA)
- Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari celebrated Trump’s election as being “in Iran’s favor overall.” He stated, “Trump’s position during the campaign season and his presidency will differ. All in all, I think that his presidency will be more useful to Iran compared to if Ms. Clinton had won, given his positions during the campaign.” Motahari specifically complimented Trump’s position on Syria as “good.” He added that Trump’s “opposition to the JCPOA is in Iran’s favor. They cannot do anything [to the JCPOA] in practice.” (ISNA)
- Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani said that he hoped the election would induce U.S. authorities to review “policies based on disregard for the policies of the majority.” He also expressed hope that the U.S. would reconsider “the spending of countless resources to pursue policies based on domination, intervention, and war in other countries.” (Dana)
- NSFP Commission Spokesman Hossein Naghavi Hosseini stated, “We hope that the developments of the American election are a lesson for the Republicans to abandon their policies of creating crises and intervening militarily in other countries.” (Dana)
- Foreign Ministry Spokesman Bahram Ghassemi stated that the “performance and policies” of the future Trump administration will be more valuable than the “positions and statements” made during the campaign. (ISNA)
- The head of Parliament’s Economic Affairs Committee, Mohammad Reza Pour Ebrahimi, claimed that America’s “new approach toward Saudi Arabia” will be an opportunity for Iran. (ISNA)
- IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami stated that “America’s policies toward Iran do not change with the change of presidents” because the U.S. political system aims to establish “an oppressive relationship between America and other countries.” He added that America’s foreign policy “is independent of the type of party that comes to power.” (Dana)
- Guardian Council rejects parliamentary bill limiting its vetting powers. The Guardian Council rejected for the second time a parliamentary resolution that would have limited the time period in which it can disqualify electoral candidates, according to council spokesman Abbasali Kadkhodaei. The Guardian Council is a conservative-dominated body that vets candidates for public office and holds veto power over parliamentary legislation. Kadkhodaei repeated the council’s initial criticism that the resolution violates Article 99 of the Iranian Constitution, which empowers the council to supervise elections. Deputy Parliament Speaker Ali Motahari has previously vowed that Parliament would send the resolution to the Expediency Discernment Council, which can override the Guardian Council’s veto, if the Guardian Council rejects the resolution again. The debate over the Guardian Council’s vetting powers began when the council disqualified a reformist candidate after she had won a seat in the spring 2016 parliamentary elections. For more on the significance of the Guardian Council’s decision, see “Iran’s Guardian Council Pushes the Limits of Its Electoral Control.” (ILNA)
Military & Security
- IRGC Ground Forces Commander: We are currently building bases for the IRGC Air Assault unit. IRGC Ground Forces Commander Brig. Gen. Mohammad Pakpour announced the construction of military bases “across the country” for the newly-created air assault unit under the IRGC Ground Forces. Iranian news outlets have claimed that the unit is tasked with “supporting logistic and offensive operations” for the “type of missions carried out by the IRGC Ground Forces across the world.” (Fars News Agency)
- Economics minister dismisses rumors of corruption in Judiciary. Economic and Finance Minister Ali Tayyeb Nia claimed that recent accusations regarding Judiciary Head Ayatollah Sadegh Amoli Larijani’s misuse of bank accounts owned by the Judiciary are “completely inaccurate.” He added that “the profits from these funds were merely spent on some specific costs in the Judiciary.” (IRINN)