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: Deputy Foreign Minister Hossein Amir Abdollahian said that Iranian military advisors in Syria will “help Russia if Moscow asks.”
During his trip to Brussels, Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs Hossein Amir Abdollahian told Euronews that “a military advisory group with experience fighting terrorism has been dispatched to Syria.” Abdollahian also said that Iranian advisors will “help Russia if Moscow asks.” Meanwhile, National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad in Damascus. Boroujerdi said that Tehran and Moscow have “common views” on combating terrorism. Boroujerdi added that if Damascus were to request Iran to dispatch ground forces to Syria, Iran would “consider” the request.
Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head Ali Akbar Salehi said that Adoption Day will occur on October 19, “if everything goes according to plan.” On Adoption Day, the P5+1 and Iran will begin the “necessary arrangements and preparations” to implement their nuclear commitments under the Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action, or JCPOA. The IAEA also announced that it has completed its inquiries into “outstanding issues” concerning Iran’s past activities in its nuclear program. The IAEA has until December 15 to analyze its findings and determine whether Iran has sufficiently resolved the issues in question.
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 riskier game in Syria.”
Regional Developments and Diplomacy
Abdollahian: We will help Russia if asked. In an interview with Euronews, Hossein Amir Abdollahian stated, “Iran has not sent soldiers to Syria; in response to the Syrian government’s request, a military advisory group with experience fighting terrorism has been dispatched to Syria.” When asked whether Iran has sent weapons to Syria, the Deputy Foreign Minister for Arab and African Affairs stated, “Whatever is happening in Syria, and whatever we are doing, it is for the purpose of weakening terrorist groups.” When asked to describe Iran’s relationship with Russian and Syria, he stated, “Russia does not intend to target only groups opposed to Bashar Assad. We support [Russian President] Mr. [Vladimir] Putin’s decision on weakening terrorists in Syria… our military advisors to the Syrian army and [Syrian] officials will help Russia if Moscow asks.” (ILNA)
Boroujerdi meets with Assad. National Security and Foreign Policy (NSFP) Parliamentary Commission Chairman Alaeddin Boroujerdi met with Syrian President Bashar al Assad on October 15 in Damascus. Boroujerdi had met earlier with Syrian Deputy Foreign Minister Faisal al Miqdad. (Tasnim News Agency) (E)
Boroujerdi discusses Russian and Iranian goals in Syria. In an interview with a Syrian news channel, Boroujerdi stated: “Tehran and Moscow have common views on combatting terrorism; on this basis we agree with one another. In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this issue. After a short time, this idea became practical.” Boroujerdi added that if Damascus were to request Iran to dispatch ground forces, Iran would “consider” the request. He also stressed that it is “our and all Islamic countries’ right” to form a committee to investigate the September 24 Hajj stampede. (IRIB) (Fars News Agency)
- Boroujerdi discusses Russian and Iranian goals in Syria. In an interview with a Syrian news channel, Boroujerdi stated: “Tehran and Moscow have common views on combatting terrorism; on this basis we agree with one another. In his speech at the UN General Assembly, Russian President Vladimir Putin announced this issue. After a short time, this idea became practical.” Boroujerdi added that if Damascus were to request Iran to dispatch ground forces, Iran would “consider” the request. He also stressed that it is “our and all Islamic countries’ right” to form a committee to investigate the September 24 Hajj stampede. (IRIB) (Fars News Agency)
Rouhani meets with Indonesian foreign minister. President Hassan Rouhani promoted broader Tehran-Jakarta economic relations in an October 14 meeting with visiting Indonesian Foreign Minister Retno Marsudi. Rouhani highlighted investment opportunities in Iran as a result of the P5+1 nuclear deal and encouraged Indonesian businesses to take advantage of the Iranian market. Rouhani added, “We hope that the formation of a joint commission between Iran and Indonesia will be a good introduction to achieve this goal.” (President.ir)
Yemeni delegation arrives in Tehran. A Yemeni delegation including members of Yemen's Supreme Revolutionary Committee arrived in Tehran on October 14. The five-person delegation includes a representative from Ansar Allah, the political wing of the al Houthis. The delegation’s intention is to spread “the message of the oppressed people of Yemen” and meet with “high-ranking” Iranian officials. (Alef)
Ohadi: 29 Iranian citizens buried near Mecca. Saeed Ohadi stated that talks with the Saudi Hajj Ministry and forensics experts helped determine that 29 Iranian individuals killed in the Mina stampede have been buried in the vicinity of Mecca. The Head of the Hajj and Pilgrimage Organization added that the situation of 34 other Iranians declared missing after the Hajj stampede is unclear, and emphasized Iran’s resolve to determine their status. (ABNA)
Raja News criticizes upcoming visit by German foreign minister. Raja News covered German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier’s upcoming visit to the University of Tehran under the headline “Influence in the University of Tehran under the Pretense of Cultural Exchange.” An assistant in the University of Tehran’s Public Relations Department “emphasizes” in the article that the goal of Steinmeier’s visit on October 18 is “the development of cultural and academic cooperation” between Iran and Germany. (Raja News)
- First Vice President visits Armenia. First Vice President Eshaq Jahangiri met with Armenian President Serzh Sargsyan and Prime Minister Hovik Aramanyan in Yerevan, the Armenian capital, while leading a politico-economic delegation to the country. (IRNA) (E)
Domestic Politics and Reactions to the Nuclear Deal
Salehi: Adoption Day will occur on October 19. Ali Akbar Salehi told reporters that an Iranian delegation is set to leave for Vienna on October 15 and added that the JCPOA’s implementation will most likely begin on October 19 “if everything goes according to plan.” The Atomic Energy Organization of Iran (AEOI) Head stated that the Vienna delegation includes Deputy Foreign Minister for Legal and International Affairs Abbas Araghchi and AEOI spokesman Behrouz Kamalvandi. Salehi added that after Adoption Day, the EU “will announce the cancellation of sanctions, and the American president will officially announce that he will cancel some sanctions and suspend some other ones.” Salehi added that he expects the JCPOA to be fully implemented around the end of 2015, depending on “the steps Iran takes in Natanz, Fordow, and Arak.” (Entekhab)
Larijani: We will operationalize Natanz if sanctions are not cancelled. Ali Larijani discussed sanctions provisions in the nuclear deal on October 15. The Parliament Speaker warned that “if the opposing side does not cancel sanctions, the Natanz plant will be operationalized again…We wanted to lift the sanctions from our country.” (Tabnak)
Haddad Adel: What happens after the nuclear deal is more important than the deal itself. Expediency Discernment Council member and Parliamentarian Gholam Ali Haddad Adel warned of U.S. plots to wage “soft war” against Iran in the wake of the nuclear deal. Haddad Adel stressed the need for political unity in the face of such threats and warned that the U.S. has a “plan” for the upcoming parliamentary elections. (Mashregh News)
Assembly of Experts member criticizes JCPOA. Assembly of Experts member and Mashhad Friday Prayer Leader Ayatollah Ahmad Alam ol Hoda warned of American influence in Iran and stated, “Influence is not after the JCPOA. It is within the JCPOA itself…The Supreme Leader said that America intends [to create] influence through the JCPOA’s implementation.” (ISNA)
Parliamentarians publish proposals for JCPOA implementation resolution. A group of parliamentarians published the full text of their proposals for the “Proportional and Reciprocal Plan of Action for the Implementation of the JCPOA.” Two of the eight proposals were incorporated into the final JCPOA implementation resolution. Head of the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA Ali Reza Zakani led the crafting of the proposals, some of which were denied permission to be read out loud by Parliament’s Board of Directors during the open session of Parliament on October 13. (Fars News Agency)
Shariatmadari: Can we consider the vote on the JCPOA resolution to be accurate? Hossein Shariatmadari criticized Parliament’s vote on the resolution “conditionally approving” the JCPOA in a recent editorial. The managing editor of conservative news outlet Kayhan argued that rumors regarding the meeting between Parliament Speaker Ali Larijani and Asghar Mir Hejazi, the head of the Office of the Supreme Leader’s Intelligence and Security directorate, led some parliamentarians to incorrectly believe that the Supreme Leader approved the JCPOA resolution. Shariatmadari suggested that this rumor distorted the voting process and led to Parliament passing the resolution. Shariatmadari also questioned why the NSFP Parliamentary Commission reviewed the JCPOA resolution, rather than the Special Parliamentary Commission to Review the JCPOA. (Kayhan)
- Ebrahim Karkhanei: The Guardian Council did not approve the JCPOA. Ebrahim Karkhanei discussed the JCPOA resolution during an interview with Fars News Agency. The Chairman of Parliament’s Nuclear Committee emphasized that Parliament and the Guardian Council had only approved the JCPOA resolution granting “conditional approval” to the nuclear deal’s implementation, rather than the text of the JCPOA itself. Karkhanei warned, “Implementing the nuclear deal has not yet started…” (Fars News Agency)
Military and Security
- Iran and China sign defense and security agreement. Maj. Gen. Hassan Firouzabadi announced that Iran and China signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for cooperation in the fields of defense, technical education, intelligence, cyber, and anti-terrorism. The Armed Forces General Staff Chief stated that the MOU is a necessary step to strengthen bilateral relations “between two great countries that are together in the region.” (Defa Press)
Saeedi: IRISL to expand fleet. Mohammad Saeedi announced that Iran plans to finance a massive expansion in the Islamic Republic of Iran Shipping Lines (IRISL) fleet by 2020 with funds scheduled to be released from international banks after sanction relief. The Managing Director of IRISL further stated that his company is interested in forming “alliances” with foreign firms, and plans to sign a series of shipbuilding contracts, mostly in China, over the next several weeks. (Press TV) (E)
- Economy minister conducts economic diplomacy during trip to Peru. Ali Tayyeb Nia met with senior officials during the World Bank Group and International Monetary Fund (IMF) annual meeting in Lima, the capital of Peru. The Economic and Finance Minister met with senior officials including IMF Director Christine Lagarde, World Bank Regional Director for the Middle East and Central Asia Massoud Ahmad, Japanese Minister of Finance Taro Aso, and UK Treasury Minister George Osborne. Nia also met with Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff. (Mehr News)