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
Excerpts of these translations may only be used with the expressed consent of the authors.
Key takeaway: The Guardian Council ratified the resolution “conditionally approving” the P5+1 nuclear deal.
The Guardian Council officially approved the resolution entitled “The Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA).” The ratification of the resolution allows Iran to begin implementing its nuclear commitments under the JCPOA.
A delegation of lawmakers led by National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi arrived in Damascus. This visit comes amidst reports that Iran is preparing to launch a joint operation against rebels near Aleppo city. Images of IRGC Qods Force Commander Major General Qassem Soleimani purportedly taken in western Syria have also circulated on social media outlets.
The Office of the Supreme Leader issued a statement claiming that it did not have an “independent role” in the review process of the Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action. This statement is in response to allegations that Asghar Mir Hejazi, the head of the Office of the Supreme Leader’s Intelligence and Security directorate, met with Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Supreme National Security Council (SNSC) Secretary Ali Shamkhani in order to expedite the review process.
AEI Resident Fellow J. Matthew McInnis discusses the Iranian parliament’s recent vote to approve the JCPOA, and examines the ramifications of the vote for President Hassan Rouhani’s broader political agenda, in his most recent blog post, “Rouhani’s struggle is just beginning.”
Matthew McInnis also analyzes the strategic and operational calculations behind Iran’s cooperation with Russia in Syria and examines ways this new alliance may go awry in his blog post, “Iran’s risker game in Syria.”
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Guardian Council ratifies JCPOA resolution. The Guardian Council officially approved the resolution entitled “The Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA),” which authorizes the government to fulfill its commitments under the nuclear deal. (Asiran)
Rouhani: New and improved conditions are before us. President Hassan Rouhani discussed the timeline for the implementation of the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action (JCPOA), and outlined government priorities in a televised interview on October 13. Rouhani thanked the Supreme Leader for his guidance and Parliament for approving the resolution to implement the JCPOA. Rouhani stated that the implementation of the nuclear agreement will “begin next week.” Rouhani added that conditions in Iran will be “more favorable” next year and stated, “All must begin the implementation of the agreement and prepare arrangements and the legal formalities so that in about one or two months, the sanctions will be lifted, and new conditions will be created for the country.” Rouhani also called for “greater national unity in the post-JCPOA era.”
- On the Resistance Economy and foreign influence: “The impenetrable path for opposing [foreign] powers is [that of] national power and economic security… We must close all paths of [foreign] influence by reinforcing faith, morals, and a strong economy.”
- Rouhani called for the continuation of the Resistance Economy, policies preventing an economic “depression,” and additional reductions in the inflation rate. Rouhani also called for “serious” mobilization against corruption in order to facilitate “healthy competition” in the economy. He added, “The private sector must be prepared for an opening in economic competition.”
- “My message to the Iranian nation is to be prepared for a jump in production and a jump in economic growth and in economic prosperity, because new conditions are before us. This is not only because sanctions are being lifted. This is one part of it. It is not because the Resistance Economy is being implemented. It is because of the hope that the Iranian nation has and because of the presence that the Iranian nation has in the economy.”
On regional issues: “My message for regional countries is cooperation for stability, development, and an economic boom.” Rouhani added that investigations into the September 24 Hajj stampede outside of Mecca must continue. (President.ir)
Office of the Supreme Leader: We did not have an independent role in passing the JCPOA resolution. The Office of the Supreme Leader issued a statement reiterating that Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei’s position on the JCPOA is “clear” based on his statements. The statement also denied allegations that the Office of the Supreme Leader had an “independent role” in the “review process” of the JCPOA resolution. (IRNA)
Haghighat Pour: There were many meetings with the Office of the Supreme Leader and the SNSC. Mansour Haghighat Pour praised the Parliament’s approval of the resolution granting “conditional approval” for the JCPOA’s implementation. The National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Vice Chairman also responded to criticisms regarding the management of the final vote process and stated, “We believed that Parliament ought to act in the best interests of the political system. Parliament is not an island outside of the political system…there were many coordination meetings with the Office of the Supreme Leader and the Supreme National Security Council (SNSC).” Haghighat Pour added that if lawmakers had raised more proposals to modify the resolution then the deadline for passing the resolution [October 18] would not have been met. (ILNA)
Deputy Speaker: JCPOA resolution is within the Supreme Leader’s framework. Hojjat ol Eslam Hassan Aboutorabi Fard stated that Parliament believed the JCPOA resolution was within the framework outlined by the Supreme Leader while speaking at the end of a public meeting on October 14. The Deputy Parliament Speaker stated that the discussions of preserving the “national interests” highlighted “pros and cons” of the JCPOA; he added that the "vote and [the] opposition" are done. He concluded by offering his condolences to the family of IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani, describing the general as a martyr in the battle "against global arrogance." (ICANA)
Kayhan: The fifteen minute decision on the JCPOA resolution will last fifteen years. Conservative news outlet Kayhan published an editorial criticizing Parliament’s vote on the single-emergency resolution “conditionally approving” the JCPOA. The editorial claims, “Even though lawmakers presented around 200 proposals for changing the implementation plan, the most important foreign relations issue of the country was closed in less than fifteen minutes by illegally not reviewing these proposals.” (Kayhan)
- Khamenei: Hamedani helped make academic opportunities possible. Ayatollah Ali Khamenei met with a group of students on September 14 in Tehran. The Supreme Leader said that Iran has a “bright future” in part due to the “presence” of “young elites” and “the massive and rapid scientific and technological movement.” He stated that Iran’s “superior scientific position was attained thanks to the country’s security…therefore you should appreciate security providers such as martyr [IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein] Hamedani.” Khamenei criticized university students’ trips to “some European countries” as “one of the most wrongful things;” he encouraged them to instead attend ‘Construction Jihad’ camps, which aid in rural development and construction projects. Khamenei also stressed that “ministers must be fully alert” and not permit “officials, administrators, and professors in the universities” to oppose “revolutionary and faithful” individuals. (Khamenei.ir)
Military and Security
IRGC Air Force Commander reveals footage of underground missile base. IRGC Brig. Gen. Amir Ali Hajizadeh permitted footage for the first time of one of Iran’s missile bases “in the heart of a mountain.” The IRGC Air Force Commander claimed that Iran has constructed missile bases 500 meters “beneath tall mountains in all the provinces and cities” throughout the country and stated, “Missiles of various ranges in all of the bases are mounted on the launcher, ready for launch, and hands are on the trigger. We are just waiting for the Supreme Commander-in-Chief’s command.” Hajizadeh discussed the design and manufacturing of long, medium, and short-range missiles by “specialists in the Ministry of Defense and IRGC,” stating that next year “a new and advanced generation of long-range missiles” that run on both liquid and solid fuel will be put into operation. Hajizadeh added, “In the face of the newest and most advanced generation of satellites, spy equipment, and offensives by the enemies of the Islamic Revolution, we do not have the tiniest worry... Those who are happy about their options on the table should just take a look at [Iran’s] options under the table… Our power and capabilities are like an iceberg that floats above water and whose tip barely shows above the clear water.” (Sepah News) (Photos)
Defense Minister: A new joint action plan will lay the groundwork for the complete elimination of ISIS. IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Dehghan discussed Iran-Russia cooperation on October 14. The Defense Minister referenced a “new joint action plan among Iran, Syria, Iraq and Russia for the complete elimination of ISIS.” He claimed that “new developments in Syria are currently forming that, God willing, will prepare the groundwork for the complete elimination of takfiri groups.” Dehghan also credited IRGC Brig. Gen. Hossein Hamedani for preventing “the collapse of the Syrian army and, consequently, the fall of Damascus” by using the Basij as a model to organize Syrians. (Defa Press)
Salami: The period of Western domination over Muslims is finished. IRGC Deputy Commander Brig. Gen. Hossein Salami censured Western policies in the Middle East during a commemoration ceremony for IRGC Brig. Gen. Hamedani on October 14. Salami claimed that the U.S. “is sunk in the swamp of its own policies” in the Middle East. He added that former Egyptian President Hosni Mubarak’s downfall in such a “short time” demonstrates the U.S.’s inability to support any regime “opposed to the Islamic Awakening.” Salami also claimed that “all the West’s schemes in the region have led to defeat” and stated, “The chapter of the West’s domination over Muslims is finished.” (Sepah News)
Tehran and Beijing to enhance joint military cooperation. IRGC Maj. Gen Mohammad Bagheri met with Deputy Chief of the General Staff of the People's Liberation Army of China Vice Admiral Sun Jianguo on October 14 in Tehran. The Armed Forces General Staff Intelligence and Operations Deputy said that the two discussed measures to strengthen bilateral defense relations between Iran and China. (Mashregh News) (Photos)
Artesh Navy Commander meets with high-ranking Chinese military officials. Rear Admiral Habibollah Sayyari met with a delegation of senior Chinese military officials on October 14 in Tehran. The Artesh Navy Commander stated that Iran and China have agreed to increase collaboration in educational and technical training centers. (Defa Press)
- Fadavi: America fears IRGC speedboats. IRGC Brig. Gen. Ali Fadavi said that the U.S. Navy cannot counter the tactical mobility of IRGC speedboats in the Persian Gulf. The IRGC Navy Commander claimed that Iran can effectively “hit” American naval vessels in a “short” period of time. (YJC)
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Boroujerdi arrives in Damascus for three-day visit. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with his Syrian counterpart Fadia Dib. Boroujerdi stated that the aim of the three-day visit is "to reiterate the Islamic Republic's support for [Syrian President] Bashar al Assad's government as a resistance front against [Israel]." He urged the "need for [an] all-out cooperation from all involved sides in the fight against terrorism.” During his visit, Boroujerdi is scheduled to meet with top Syrian officials, including President Bashar al Assad and Foreign Minister Walid al Moualem. (Mehr News) (E)
Zarif meets with the Deputy Secretary General of the UN. Mohammad Javad Zarif met with Deputy Secretary General of the UN Jan Kenneth Eliasson in Tehran to discuss regional matters. The Foreign Minister stated that "according to the people of Yemen" all groups should be involved in solving the crisis, while avoiding "foreign intervention." In terms of Syria, Zarif stated that the terrorist groups in the country have caused great instability and are the reason for the "majority of the refugees in the region, including [in] Europe.” He added, "Today, the world's common priority should be the elimination of this threat [of terrorism]..." Eliasson praised Iran's diplomatic efforts in resolving these crises, while calling on "all countries" to help. (ABNA)
- Zarif: “Kuwait’s security is like our security.” Foreign Minister Zarif denied allegations regarding any connection between Iran and a recently disrupted Kuwaiti terrorist cell in an interview with Kuwait’s al-Ra’y newspaper. Zarif emphasized that Iran does not “interfere in regional states’ affairs.” (Fars News) (E)
Zarif: Iran and Indonesia to boost economic ties. Foreign Minister Zarif said that Iran and Indonesia are “seriously seeking” to expand economic relations during a press conference in Tehran. (Press TV) (E)
Rezaei: “We will bury [the terrorists] in Iraq and Syria.” Mohsen Rezaei spoke about the "special relationship" between Iran and Bakhtiaris—a tribe in southwestern Iran— during a speech in Chaharmahal and Bakhtiari province. The Expediency Discernment Council Secretary added that the people in this province "have belonged to Iran...in all ages and in [the] defense of the great Iranian border."
- Rezaei stated that "infidels or terrorists in Syria, Iraq, Yemen, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and Central Asia" are trying to commit the "worst crimes" in the name of Islam. He added, "In this critical situation we cannot afford to sit still." He elaborated by stating that the takfiri movement through Saudi Arabia, America, and Israel are "connected," but proclaimed that "we will bury [the terrorists] in Iraq and Syria and will prove to the world that their Islam is a deception and [a] conspiracy."
- Rezaei stated that the West has been "facing our nation" for "37 years," and Iran is moving into the "last stronghold of victory." He called on "Iran's young people" to continue the flag of “courage... [as] the martyrs are great lessons for us..." He stated that Iranians are ready to "protect the lives of Muslims and [give] the high price [by sacrificing] our lives," as evident by the death of Hossein Hamedani. (Tasnim News Agency)
Rouhani meets with the Japanese foreign minister. President Hassan Rouhani met with Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida on October 13 in Tehran. Rouhani stated, “Today we are facing perfect conditions for the development of mutual relations between Tehran and Tokyo, therefore we have to compensate the past shortcomings as soon as possible.” (MFA) (E)
IRGC veterans killed in Syria held rank of colonel. According to IRGC Public Relations, senior IRGC veterans Farshad Hassounizadeh and Hamid Mokhtarband, who were killed in Syria on October 12, had held the rank of colonel. They will both be buried in Khuzestan province. (IRNA)
- Nasrallah: Yemen will not submit to Saudi Arabia. Lebanese Hezbollah Secretary General Hassan Nasrallah predicted that Saudi Arabia would suffer a “historic defeat” in Yemen during a news interview. Nasrallah also called Iran’s alleged involvement in Yemen “a big lie.” (Tabnak)
German and Iranian energy firms sign MOU. Germany’s Green Energy 3000 GmbH signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with Khuzestan District Electric Company (KDEC) to generate 10 megawatts of solar power in Ahvaz, located in southwestern Iran. KDEC head Mahmoud Jangorban stated that the MOU will lead to the construction of 90 additional megawatts of electric capacity in Khuzestan province. (ISNA) (E)
Iran begins exploration of new gold deposit. Ali Asgharzadeh announced that early prospecting in the Niku’iye gold zone in northern Qazvin province yielded promising results. The Iranian Mines and Mining Industries Development and Renovation Organization (IMIDRO) Head of Exploration further stated that an anonymous European firm has expressed interest in the project, adding that October 18 is the deadline for prospective bidders. (Press TV) (E)
- Iran and Norway to increase offshore oil and gas cooperation. Managing Director of the Iranian Offshore Oil Company (IOOC) Saeed Hafezi and Norwegian Ambassador to Tehran Norheim Aud Lise expressed determination to improve cooperation between Iran and Norway in the areas of offshore oil and gas during a meeting in Tehran. (IRNA) (E)