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.
- First Deputy Speaker of Parliament Mohammad Reza Bahonar discussed future Iran-US relations and economic indicators:
- “Today we have reached the era of managing the enemy, meaning we can be enemies but manage it in a way that we see the least damage from this hostility. Therefore, today is not the thawing of the ice age, and our story with America will not be resolved with such negotiations and meetings.”
- He pledged Followers of the Line of the Imam and Supreme Leader [conservative parliamentary faction] will support Rouhani and said that there were “positive and negative” points in the President’s first fifty days.
- He referred to the country's “5.4% negative GDP growth [and]15-16% official unemployment rate.”
- “We currently provide subsidies to 73 million people and at least one to two groups do not need this targeted subsidy…. The government runs a deficit of 500-600 billion tomans [approximately $200-240 million] every month to pay cash targeted subsidies that it cannot borrow from the Central Bank, so it borrows from [various] institutions. This weakens the institutions and ultimately inflicts harm on the country’s economic production.”
- Minister of Islamic Culture and Guidance Ali Jannati stated, “In media law, some [prohibitions] have been stipulated that must be paid attention to and, aside from that, the media are free to say and write whatever they want….”
- Head of the Judiciary's Human Rights office, Mohammad Javad Larijani, criticized the recent diplomatic engagement between Presidents Rouhani and Obama: “Negotiation and establishing relations [between] Obama and Rouhani was a plan that the Zionist regime carried out and Israel sought to show with this move that our President is not supported inside the country and [that] his statements at the United Nations were completely personal.”
- In a letter to Alef newspaper, Foreign Minister Mohammad Javad Zarif announced that the audio recording of his recent controversial meeting with the National Security and Foreign Policy Parliamentary Commission will be broadcast live on national television, “so the people can judge for themselves…”
- Steadfastness Front [extremist conservative faction associated with Ayatollah Mesbah Yazdi] member Hojjat al-Eslam Qassem Ravanbakhsh said, “We must not behave in a way that the Americans feel we seriously need negotiations with them…. If the Americans let go of their previous positions and show good will, including measures to lift sanctions, we can negotiate,” but he expressed pessimism about this possibility.
- Head of the Expediency Council Ayatollah Ali Akbar Hashemi Rafsanjani compared the experience of the Iran-Iraq War to the current situation, describing the war as the “best model of the people’s patience and perseverance.” He added, “Democracy is on the basis of majority vote and no minority can disrespect the people’s wishes for various excuses.”
- Rafsanjani-era Intelligence Minister Hojjat al-Eslam Ali Fallahian said, “I had some criticisms regarding some of the positions of Ayatollah Hashemi Rafsanjani during the  presidential elections, of course my criticisms were different than the criticisms of others. Others criticized a little harshly but I try to criticize a little more expertly.”
Interim Friday Prayer Leader and Assembly of Experts and Guardian Council member Ayatollah Ahmad Khatami said that the 'Death to America' chant is a symbol of national resistance:
- “In his recent guidelines, the Supreme Leader has asserted several times the necessity of internal and domestic strength.”
- “The reality is that internal strength is the strongest and most valuable weapon against the enemies. With internal strength it is possible to resist and neutralize all of their plots.”
- “The ‘Death to America’ chant does not mean death to people who are philosophically opposed to velayat-e faghih…. The chant means death to saboteurs, meaning death to the people who attempt to collapse the Islamic system.”
- Zanjan Interim Friday Prayer Leader Hojjat al-Eslam Reza Mousavi emphasized Iranians’ ability to fight sanctions: “America imagines that by strengthening economic sanctions against Iran it can make Iran submit. However, the Islamic Revolution resists with strength and hates America, and it will never allow its economic resources to be seized by America or allow America to impose poor influences on its culture and civilization.”
Ahmad Nojabet, a member of the Society of Islamic Revolution Self-Sacrificers Organization [faction comprised primarily of hardline IRGC war veterans] criticized former President Rafsanjani's current influence:
- “Mr. Hashemi has said about the phone conversation between the President and Obama that this was a divine blessing. Mr. Hashemi! A two-year old child can understand that one of these two actions was considered abnormal leadership, just as it was a telephone conversation.”
- “Individuals who have come to power have a leader in the Expediency Council, meaning they are agents of Reformists. Does this mean moderation?”
- “In the dismissals and appointments, we have seen many red and yellow lights, which is why people who yesterday signed onto the Sixth Parliament or  Sedition are in the government today.”
- “Some of Mr. Rouhani’s ministers have claimed that Mr. Hashemi is our spiritual father.”
- Member of the Islamic Motalefeh political party [primarily traditional conservatives], Asadollah Badamchian warned President Rouhani about crossing an unstated "red line":
- “If the Rouhani Administration steps across the line embodying the spiritual values of our leader, the people of this nation are standing alert and they will defend the revolution.”
- On the upcoming major rally on November 4 (13 Aban), which marks the anniversary of the American Embassy siege of 1979:“on the 13th of Aban, God willing, the people will chant 'death to America' so loud that the foundation of the White House will shake.”
- Speaking of Rouhani as a political leader: “Rouhani is not liberal or reformist; he is a principlist tolerant of reformists and everyone knows this...”
- Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Seyyed Ahmad Alam al-Hoda discussed President Rouhani’s trip to New York:
- “[Rouhani] showed good grace and will, he spoke with logical reasoning, but the question [they] asked was, ‘What is your opinion of the Holocaust?’ We should tell them if your issue is with nuclear energy, then why must you ask such a question?”
- “This question has a message, that message is: 'Until the day you stop supporting Palestine, until the day, Israel (the Zionist regime) [sic.] is officially recognized, until the day, like the traitor Shah, you shake Israel’s hand to display friendship and provide them with the fuel to support their aircraft, our problems with you [Iran] will not be solved.'"
- Chief of Staff to the President Mohammad Nahavandian announced an Iranian proposal to establish the “ECO [Economic Cooperation Organization] Government and Private Sector Dialogue Council,” stating, “Cooperation between the private sector and the government will have a tremendous effect on expanding regional relations.” ECO iscomposed of ten Central and West Asian countries, including Turkey, Pakistan, Afghanistan, and the Republic of Azerbaijan.
- Parliament executive board member Hojjat al-Eslam Hossein Sobhani Nia stated, “If necessary conditions are achieved, this step [exchanging non-permanent consuls between Iran and Great Britain] can be a precursor to increasing the level of the two countries’ relations to ambassadorship.”
- Iran-India trade is to resume after a two week hiatus when India reportedly approved the license activities of Kish and Moalem insurance companies to provide services to tankers.
Military and Security
- IRGC Ground Forces Public Relations announced that five Kurdish members of the IRGC Beit al Moghaddas unit (Kurdistan province) were killed and two more wounded during “a clash with counter-Revolutionary agents” on Thursday near the village of Savan in the city of Baneh in the province of Kurdistan. The battle was against members of PJAK, a Kurdish nationalist group that has been battling Iran since 2004.
- The five IRGC Kurdistan members killed were Fetah Mohammadi, Jalal Mostafaei, Hajj Mottaleb Ahmadian, Loghman Hosseini and Mansour Makhdoumi.
- Baneh MP Mohassan Bigolari stated, “These five members of the IRGC, four of whom were from Baneh and one from Ghorveh, were martyred in a clash with PJAK forces, and their funeral ceremony was held this morning.”
- The attending officials included regional officials, the Hamzeh Seyyed al-Shohda Base Brig. Gen 2 Class Mohammad Taghi Osanlou, and IRGC Beit al Moghaddas unit Commander Brig. Gen. 2nd Class Mohammad Hossein Rajabi.
Commander of the Hamzeh Seyyed al-Shohda Base Mohammad Taghi Osanlou spoke at the funeral and promised that “the counter-Revolutionary agents will receive a harsh penalty and a strong and decisive response for the martyring of IRGC Beit al-Moghaddas Kurdistan guardsmen.”
- He also emphasized that indigenizing security was a goal of the IRGC: “Thanks to the blood of the martyrs, today Iran is the most secure country of the region.... The martyring of native IRGC guardsmen of Baneh gave the message to the enemies who want to bring down the system and Revolution that people today, especially the youth, are protecting the sacred Iranian system place-by-place with their blood.”
- “Today, the participation of thousands of youths can destroy the ground of the counter-revolution.”
- “The counter-revolutionaries will receive their punishment for this action in the shortest amount of time.”
IRGC Beit al-Moghaddas (Kurdistan province) Commander Mohammad Hossein Rajabi spoke about the security implications of the attack:
- “Yesterday, a number of counter-revolutionary guerrillas with no goal other than the insecurity of the region clashed with the IRGC in the region of Savan, Baneh. Unfortunately, this led to the martyring of five IRGC individuals and the wounding of two individuals.”
- “The people of the region cooperate very well with the IRGC, military and police forces in order to establish security and maintain this security and stability. They understand the evil thoughts of the counter-revolution, and fight against it themselves.”
- “The Kurdistan IRGC is carrying out the strategic commands of the Supreme Leader to establish security for the people with all of its capabilities.”
- “IRGC Beit al-Moghaddas has made all necessary preparations against hard, semi-hard, and cultural threats [the doctrinal categories the IRGC uses to describe threats to the system] of the enemies through the use of native forces.”
- Head of the Iranian Aerospace Organization Dr. Hamid Fazeli announced the beginning of preliminary designs for a space launch center in Chabahar [southern port city in Sistan va Baluchestan]. He said the project would take roughly 7-8 years to raise the necessary funds and buildthe infrastructure, and that they are currently looking for land to build the site on. The space agency wants to conduct both Low Earth Orbit and Geostationary Orbit launches done entirely though domestic processes.
- Advisor to the President and Special and Free Areas Cooperation Council Secretary Akbar Torkan stated, “With the complete elimination of bureaucracy and opening doors to investors, a special situation to attract domestic and foreign investments will occur in free [trade] areas.”
- Economist Mohammad Hashem Pesaran, nominated for the 2013 Nobel prize in economics, discussed the Iranian economy in an interview with Fars News:
- The Central Bank’s fixing of the dollar exchange rate “is not only unfavorable, but is also not possible in the long term.”
- “I agree that Iran is currently facing a condition known as inflation stagnation, meaning negative economic growth alongside a relatively high inflation [rate].”
- “Although reducing sanctions is beneficial, it cannot be effective on its own. What can be of more importance in the short term is more confidence in the ability of the government and Central Bank to more effectively manage the economy based on economic realities instead of populist measures [President Ahmadinejad’s primary economic policy].”
- “Increasing non-oil exports should be the first priority and [is an] economic necessity.”
- Rice imports to Iran reportedly increased by 117%, while cell phone and cigarette imports decreased by 25% and 40%, respectively, during the past six months.
- The names of the members of Iran’s Geneva negotiations team have been announced:
- “In the primary negotiations, Mohammad Javad Zarif, our Minister of Foreign Affairs, and Catherine Ashton, the EU’s Head of Foreign Policy, are responsible for the two sides. After undergoing these first conversations, it is decided that this meeting will continue at the deputy level.”
- Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Seyyed Abbas Araghchi will lead the subsequent deputy negotiations.
- Deputy Foreign Minister for European and American Affairs Majid Ravanchi, Ministerial Office Managing Director Eshagh al-Habib Hamid, Director of Economic Affairs Baidi Nezhad will be members of the Iranian delegation, as will representatives from the Atomic Energy Organization of Iran and the secretariat of the Supreme National Security Council.
Photo of the Day
- An ISNA photo essay of Iranian track star Maryam Tousi.